I have a pretty good idea of when to hold 'em.

After mucking around in 7-Stud and Omaha8 for a while, I decided it was time to see if all that book-learnin' I been doin' would help me out in full-ring limit Hold'Em. Realization: doing your homework helps. Also, $2-4 games are easier to crack than $1-2 or $.50-1 for me. (I hear it gets a little tougher at $3-6, where I haven't ventured much yet.) I'm still playing a bit too tight for the game some of the time. My litmus test for table image is to raise UTG once every three or four orbits no matter what I'm holding; if you can get the (relatively loose-passive) table to fold back to you when you're holding 29o, you're probably playing too damn tight. So when that happens I've started trying to mix it up more, raising with TPNK, middling pocket pairs, or questionable draws on the flop and then trying to get to a cheap showdown. The way these tables are it usually ends up being break-even advertising for me, since I'll often win one head-up pot and lose one smallish multiway, and then I'll get action on good hands for the next few orbits. I've only had one losing session out of the last five (-25BB, spread over three tables), so variance will probably get me whipped into shape soon enough. Last night I found the ultimate calling station to my left, though - he'd cold-call a preflop raise with any two and he'd call in a three- or four-way pot with ace high or bottom pair. I never lost a pot to him and must have taken 20BB off of him with TPGK alone. I was only playing one table at the time, and only when it was getting too late for me to think straight did I realize he was sitting at two other $2-4 tables at the same time. Missed opportunity. This morning I started out horribly, losing 10BB in just over an orbit, fought my way up to +10BB, lost most of that when my nut flush draw didn't come in in a huge four-way pot, and had decided to call it a day once I made it through the next orbit. Which was coincidentally when my (minor) rush came - cowboys that held up, 68d that backdoored a gutshot straight in a smallish multiway pot, Q9 suited in my blind to start the whole thing off for a whopping pair of nines that beat the small blind's 88-with-a-busted-straight-draw. I've been thinking about my play (no PokerTracker yet), and I think one of the primary leaks in my game is my vulnerability to check-raises on the turn with an obvious draw on the board - I fold too often. Yeah, I know, what were they calling me with on the flop other than a flush draw? Lots of things, like ace-rag with a backdoor flush draw, an all-too-common holding in these games. Yeah, sometimes they've made their draw but I think I give up too easily to what may well be a semi-bluff there. Something to think about. Anyway. I did my first-ever cashout last night, which dumped enough cash into my checking account to buy my wife something nice for Christmas like, say, a Powerbook, and left enough of a bankroll behind (my original $500 buy-in) that I can continue playing comfortably at these limits. I haven't been keeping great track of my sessions (time to start!) but I'd estimate I get about 20 table-hours in every week (not counting freerolls or cheapo tournaments, at which I haven't seen much of a profit - they've been -EV for me overall), and I've been playing at that rate for about eight weeks. For roughly 160 table-hours I've made a profit of about 500BB at present limits, giving me a rate of 3.125BB/table-hour. This seems suspiciously high to me given that I'm a tight, (semi-working-toward-fully-I-think) aggressive player, and I've only been playing at the present limit for 2 of the 8 weeks; then again, I've had some great runs at PLO and Seven-Stud to go with my ground-out Hold'Em wins.


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