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Saturday, 30 July 2011

small buy in, big buy in.....

Wow! Is the only word to describe the way I played yesterday. My afternoon was spent playing at the University's regular small buy in table and my evening at a High-stake private game I happened to receive an invite to, through a friend.
The quality of players at the respective tables were uncomparable, university poker tables are filled with young aggressive players spending lunch money looking for entertainment. However I have utmost respect for these player as they have master great betting strategy and understanding of low-staked cashgame. The buy in was only R20 with the blinds 25/50 cents. It was difficult to adapt my betting style to the small blinds, I have noticed that each table has a "standardized raise" - basically an amount acknowledged by the table as a significant raise. Difficult to explain but at the campus table a bet of 6x BB was still not enough to limit the amount of callers.
High stakes table
- My game plan at the table was an tight style initially whilst I build a chip stack and then once I had an efficient amount of chips infront of me I would loosen up my range. In the back of my mind though POSITION played a vital role in the hands in got involved in. My biggest frustration at tables where the blinds are so low is the range of cards your opponent can have because its so cheap people are involved in the majority of pots. A combination of luck, good cards and great reads I managed to build a winning stack of R350. (A win that was acknowledged by the entire university poker playing community. I played for about 3hours raking up many hands and chips. The most significant hand I was involved in was with a player I deem to be the most calculated and capable player at the table, Cliffie. I start the action off with [10s.7d]Pre-flop bump to R6 (12x BB). I get raised by Cliffie to R12. I call. Flop comes [K 6 3]. I open the betting with R10, he thinks n raises it to R20. While his thinking I'm trying to put him on a hand. Which I can't! I decide to see how serious he was and raise R40, he reraises to R80. I snap push all in R200. He ponders for about 5minutes before tossing away QQ. This 3bet was award winning. I flipped over the 10 7 and got applause from even spectators.
In conclusion, during small-staked games keep your basic playing style. Don't necessarily adapt your game all the way down to 'cheap', attempt to bring it up a notch. Maintain your original playing style but don't be afraid to see more cheap pots. A very important component you may need to adapt is Continuation Betting! Bet preflop and raise on the flop 7/10 times it will win you the hand.

About 2hours later, I arrived home from university on a high from the afternoon's outcomes. I get a call to invite me to a HIGH-STAKED private game. As a student its a privilledge to be seated with these business men at a high rollers table. Riding the highest of confidence I arrive at the well organised and professional looking tournament, while I was driving tho the venue I contemplated playing the same style I did earlier in the day. I Did and it worked! The players sitting at this big money table were pretty seasoned campaigners, people who have been playing long enough to have widened and practiced with a wide range of hands. The evening started off pretty quietly only got involved in one hand pocket 9s - hit a set on the flop and doubled up... Which allowed me to patiently wait over an hour before I got involved in another hand. At one stage I claimed to the table "I am card Dead!", but it was merely a matter of time before decent cards started landing in my hands. But before the card high started I needed to make a few brilliant plays if I say so myself. The most memorable the player behind me (extremely aggressive) raises preflop, I look down at 33 and re-raise so that his all in, he calls and flips over [10s9h], I had a strong feeling he had air... The board comes perfect and my 33 hold up!!
My chip stack at the end of the evening
As tight as it seemed I played, my style was majority tight but played many randomly selected loose hands. Loosest of all 67 hearts. You will scratch your head when I explain how this hand unfolds... So I get [6h7h] and check in the big blind with 3 callers. The flop comes [As.5h.2d] - now according to any strategy I have explained in the past, you should fold right? Wrong. There's a bet half of pot size, only I call. The next card [Qh] giving me a flush draw... BACKDOOR. My thoughts if the next shot this opponent fires at me is anything less than pot size I will call... However, unpredictably and very weak on his part, he checks behind me. The river brings a [9h].. I have the unexpected flush. Yip, I raked in serious chips after I stunned the entire table. Nobody saw that, was an out of character, loose but brave way to play the hand - sometimes you just have the good feeling and you should go with it. My opponent did have two pair so that kind of put him on TILT.

I learnt sufficient lessons from the evening besides the fact I cashed well. It was more the experiences I took from the table. Patience and confidence are the biggest keys to success in this business, if your feeling the cards and are 'in the zone' don't hesitate in making the most of it. Another tip I can offer from this poker day, if you have a good understanding of your own style it will make reading and deciphering your opponents routine easier.

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