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Beer, brewing and poker, with possibly some inane drivel on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday, January 10, 2005

“If your goal is to the maximum, you must build big pots with your best hands. Do not say ‘But I’m out of position’, or ‘Maybe if my ace-king were suited,’ or ‘My big pairs never hold up.’ If you get an edge, push it. Poker is a gambling game; timid play is not rewarded. When you have the best of it, be willing to put the chips in."
–pg 240 of SSH by Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth

I’ve been playing poker for over a year now, and have shied away from limit poker, using the faulty logic that it was “boring poker”. Just plugging along, hoping not to get sucked out on. I’m not that bright. I’m lucky in that I don’t tilt that often, but that doesn’t mean that I particularly like getting sucked out on by a twit.

Early last week, I bought finally SSH on the recommendations of a few people out in bloggerdom. I’ve read other books that Sklansky has been involved with, and know that sometimes his reasonings for playing a certain hands can be a bit dizzying, so I was skeptical about getting started in limit with this book. Now, about a week later, I finally understand the appeal of limit poker. At least what the appeal is to me, and is summed up in the above quote.

In no-limit, I love the possibility of seeing someone’s whole stack move over to me. What can I say? I’m sadistic like that. I’ve never had a problem with the variance inherent to that game, because I’m historically pretty damned tight. A little too tight, probably. And that’s left far too much money on the table. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m a little better than break-even, and isn’t it about time that I try to recoup some of that money I stupidly didn’t pick up the first time around? I think it is. Missed bets add up, and I openly admit that I've missed alot.

In limit, though, I love trying to figure out how to make the most off your big hands. How to push any edge you have to maximize profit, and minimize the losses. Face it, you can’t win every hand, but the key is try to balance out the lost hands with bigger, winning hands. That, and exploit stupid opponents. It shouldn’t have taken this long for me to realize this. Like I said before, I’m not that bright. Not that I’ve played that many hands of limit so far, but SSH has already paid for itself 5 times over, and even if the VarianceBitch decides to rear it’s ugly head some time tonight, at least now I’m not “afraid” of limit poker.

Not that most of the concepts in SSH are completely new to me, and in fact, I’d say that not many, if any, are totally new, but they’re presented in a way that it boggles my frickin’ mind that most, meaning the fish, don’t understand them. Not that I’m complaining about it, really, because those are the dolts that I need to exploit like a barely legal runaway.

I was on my way to a poker tournament at my buddy, Anthony’s buddy’s, house on Saturday night, and Anthony and I were talking poker, like we normally do. He’s one of the few friends that I have that I can actually talk strategy with. He’s been playing poker longer than I have, more in B&M’s and has just recently jumped in the online poker battlefield. On my prodding of course. He’s got more “real-life” experience, and I’ve got 15,000 times more hands in. Funny how that works out.

I’ve played with him a number of times, and he’s not stupid by any means, but when he told me in the car that night that he’s just started throwing K-rag in a pre-flop raised pot, my windshield was this close to getting a Frappuchino shower.

After I got done sighing, and then laughing in his face, I agreed to let him borrow SSH when I finish reading it again. Not that I think I’m good just by reading a silly-assed book, but it definitely has provided me with a light-bulb, “AH-HA!” moment, which have been few and far between lately.

I was going to go into the actual home tournament that had a kid I wanted to punch in the face because of all the stupid, disrespectful things he did at the table, but I don’t have the energy to deal with that right now.

Instead, I'm going to try and figure out how many bets I just lost by misplaying quad kings. Oof!


At 4:14 AM, Blogger StudioGlyphic said...

I don't mind the suckouts as much as I used to, but when you lose your stack on two hands, it can be a little rattling. More frustrating than that, however, is seeing the suckout kings leave before you can get the payoff. Oh well.

Oh, and moving on to a higher stakes NL game doesn't always help. ;)

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

I've also seen a vast improvement in my game since I've read SSH. I win more pots (even unimproved) simply by pushing good draws and being more aggressive in the blinds.

The one thing I haven't learned is when to step off the gas with a calling station.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Chad said...


I completely understand what you're saying about the suck-outs. I don't mind them as much now, either. They're going to happen, but now I realize what I need to do to balance everything out so that I'm ahead at the end of the day.


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