Some General Concepts

Aug 17th, 1999

Following are excerpts from rec.gambling.poker on some general low-limit play ideas. Please keep in mind that these ideas apply to low-limit no-fold'em and only in some instances to "normal," tighter games.

From: izmet@siol.net (Izmet Fekali)
Subject: Re: Ram and Jam, Bank shots and other no fold'em tactics
Date: 03 Aug 1999 00:00:00 GMT

In <7o67q7$grh$1@garnet.tc.umn.edu> Doug wrote:
> Also, I would be interested in hearing any other no fold'em tactics
> that others would like to share. Any hints on how to beat this game
> would be greatly appreciated."

Suited aces and kings go way up in value, I do not fold them early. Raise late with suited aces on the button when facing limpers, raise with strong offsuit hands (and onsuit hands, of course) even against a full field to punish limpers. These hands (like AQo or AJo) are *not* in trouble in these situations as pagan S&M gods would like you to believe. Jam preflop with strong pairs or strong suited hands even if you *know* you are against a better hand if there are several other people in the pot. These poor souls contribute enough to make a profit for *two* strongest hands in the pot. So even if your hand is second best, you are still making money on your raises, provided there are many callers trapped (your opponent with a better hand is making more than you, of course, but you are still earning money, provided there are benefactors in the pot). In these situations, two stronger hands are forming a kind of partnership to punish weaker hands for their unsound play. This is not collusion, this is good play. However beware, it *might* look like collusion and you *could* get in trouble.

Play small pairs for whatever price preflop if there are several people in the pot. Fold if you don't flop a set. Do not continue beyond the flop (unless there are more than about 16-18 small bets in already) and you are closing the action. Raising on the button with small pair preflop is not something I like to do, despite the popular S&M advice. Maybe you know better for your particular situation.

Never slow play a flopped straight! You'll get plenty of action from pairs and one card straight draws. Get your money in early in case it gets counterfeited, and you have to split the pot.

Never slow play a flopped set! Nobody knows you have a monster anyway, therefore, it is stupid to conceal the strength of your hand. Backing off to a raise and then check-raising on the turn is a valid strategy (although not necessarily best). I do not back off when there is a third suited card on board. I feel that I have enough outs to disregard the possibility of a made flush against me. If you lose with a set, you'll lose a lot of money. If you don't, you are not playing your sets correctly.
Never slow play a flush. If somebody slow plays a worse flush you'll feel like a sucker when it gets checked around. Anyway, nobody is going to believe you anyway. Most importantly, do not try to check-raise with a made flush. When a flush card hits, players tend to be careful with their bets, so you might not get any. It's probably better to lead, hoping somebody raises.

Read Lee Jones even if his strategy does not appear to be ideal. He is a strong advocate of straightforward play and this is the surest way to win against the fish. Read past posts by Gary Carson and Abdul. Forget about S&M advice on loose games. If Mason came to play in my game with the loosest fish possible, he'd be asking me for a loan in a couple of hours. Anyway, I tend not to trust guys who think a 21st Century begins at Jan 1st 2000.

--
Izmet Fekali
Burek Experts Ltd.
Catering the World since 1389!



Subject: Re: Learning to Win
From: izmet@siol.net (Izmet Fekali)
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 15:05:00 GMT

In <7pa8ak$lli@news.service.uci.edu> "Gabe" wrote:
> Hi. I've just recently started playing poker. I've bought and read (only
> once so far) Sklansky's The Theory of Poker, and Turbo Texas Hold 'em is in
> the mail. I also managed to lose $80 in 6 hours my first time out at the
> Sahara in a 1-4-8 Hold'em game. I live in the South Bay (SoCal) and there
> are card rooms in Gardena that I hope some of you are familiar with. I'm a
> disenchanted philosophy major about to graduate who's looking to make a buck
> in cards/sports/backgammon. OK so that's where I stand...I was hoping some
> of you experienced players might help me out.
>
> 1) Books: What to read? I think I did good choosing the Sklansky book and
> will read it often I'm sure...now what? I've ordered Sklansky's Hold'em book
> (not the advanced one...yet), but couldn't find a comparable seven stud
> book...suggestions? Other general reading advice?


You can't go wrong with Theory of Poker. The first book on hold'em by Sklansky is also OK. The Advanced edition is not helpful for low limits and tends to confuse beginners.

The best book to date on loose games is Lee Jones's Winning Low Limit Hold'em. It's a must. For 7stud, Roy West's book is about best for beginners. When you put some mileage in 7stud, S&M Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players is best.
Get Caro's Body Language of Poker, it will not make you money in your novice period, but it will make you aware of what is going on at the table during a game of poker.

Get Mike Petriv's Hold'em Odds, you will use it repeatedly as a reference.

You do not need anything else currently in print, but if interested, rgp-ers will give you more pointers. There is lot's of good reading out there.

But, the best material BY FAR can be found in past rec.gambling.poker archives. Go to www.dejanews.com and take it from there. Some rgp posters are pretty smart, some are blissful morons, it's up to you to figure out who is who. By doing this, the game will soon start making sense to you. Make your own conclusions, build your own strategy. Listen to everyone. Trust no one. Read rgp FAQ, it's a good starting point for finding more information.

Turbo programs? Get them all. In terms of value, the price is negligible.

> 2) Playing: Namely, where? I've got to start somewhere, and I'm hoping the
> Normandie Casino low limit games in Gardena aren't a bad idea. What's the
> scoop? I haven't been there yet. I won't come across overwhelming
> competition will I? How about in Vegas? Where should a relative beginner
> play (low limit hold'em mostly) when he's in Vegas? Would I be better off
> trying to make a profit in Gardena or Vegas?


What are your motives? Don't care about the money, have enough and want to be on par with the best someday? Bellagio in Vegas is the place to be. Wanna have some inexpensive fun? Maybe eek a nice steady profit? Stay in California.

> Any general advice?

Hold'em is my game, sir, I do not dare giving advice on 7stud. On hold'em, I'm confident enough to offer the following to be brain munched:

When you get some experience, study Abdul's Preflop Openers (http://www.posev.com/poker/holdem/strategy/preflop-abdul.html). This should help tremendously with your preflop game. It will make you understand the underlying mechanics of the game. Learn the preflop game well. It's a rare occasion to call correctly preflop, it's usually much better to raise of fold. Play tight.

Take a look at http://www.fekali.com, you'll find more material on low limit hold'em there as days go by.

Play, play, play. When starting out, play a solid straightforward game, do not waste time with bluffs, slowplays, banks, good laydowns. Do not let them push you off your hand if you started good. Fight. Fight with raises, not calls. Learn when to run. When there's a good (but not 100%) chance of holding the best hand, throw your chips at opponents like there's no tomorrow. Aim for the forehead with a solid swing. Let them fear you.

Try not to call if you cannot raise. It's OK to raise with speculative holdings, but it's a disaster to routinely call with second best hands. You simply *have* to have a hand to call.

Call when drawing. Even then it pays to stick 'em with a raise sometimes. Know your basic drawing odds down pat. What are your chances with a four flush on the flop? What are your chances of hitting your kicker? What are the chances your kicker is good? Is it smart to chase this pot with a gutshot? What are your chances of drawing dead? For thorough discussion on drawing, again see Abdul's Theory of Sucking Out at http://www.posev.com/poker/holdem/strategy/outs-abdul.html.

It's not an easiest read, but it surely is the most relevant advice published on the subject anywhere.

When surrounded with fish, learn to ram and jam. See http://www.fekali.com for this concept.

When raised, stop, think, reevaluate. A raise is an incoming message. What is the sender trying to communicate? Does he have something to say or has he just pressed a wrong button at the wrong time? Bets and calls are often automatic, not so with raises. When in doubt, fold. If you like winning, you'll have to do lots of folding. Flea and live to tell.

Try to know your players. The correct poker move at any point is a function of the opponents. What are their tendencies, what are their motives, what are their habits? Who is the best player at the table? Who are the suckers? Who is having fun? Who is losing? Who is the village idiot? Who seems always to flip over a solid hand at the showdown? Who hit a gutshot-gutshot straight on the river? Who will you run from, who can you run over?

Examine your motives for playing. Some people play for money, some for fun, some for the excitement, some for the punishment. These are all valid reasons to play poker. Respect the losers, they have their own reasons for playing. They are usually getting what they need from the game. It's OK to be a loser if that is what you need (I'm not speaking with tongue-in-cheek here, this is a fact. Self punishment is the underlying reason for most weird behavior in life). If so, be a loser in moderation.

Know yourself, play within your means, be aware of your motives. Have fun at the tables, there's not much point in doing anything if it's not fun, IMHO.

Build a bankroll. Treat it as a funny money. Have enough to withstand challenges of fate. Do not spend the winnings. After a while, if the game is good to you, buy yourself something out of the bankroll. A shiny gambler's watch maybe. A little token of pride. A mark of achievement. You will feel good about yourself, that's never a bad thing.

Think about the game. Listen to pros, listen to losers. You can learn both ways. Make your own opinions. Make your own mistakes. Re-evaluate. Post. State your opinions. Ask. Comment. Disagree.

Be comfortable at the tables at all times. If not, leave. The game of poker never breaks it just suspends for a moment. You can return whenever you are ready again. Take a fresh start. Maybe a kiss from a woman in love is all you need to come back with a vengeance. There are no blinds to worry about when away from the tables.

Be gracious at the tables. Win with flair, lose with style. Have pride, have strength. Do not steam, cuss, offend, whine, cheat, grunt or sneer. Do not masturbate. I've seen that too.

Be happy if you break about even after a few months. You proved yourself better than most, you have beaten the house. Not everybody can.

That's off the top of my head. Have fun and learn. I hope you'll be giving me advice soon.

--
Izmet Fekali
Burek Experts Ltd.
Catering the World since 1389!