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crazy 1/2 games. no idea how to navigate.

Sickbay Posts: 24Member
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
Hey fellas. I am here to tell you how a local 1/2 game looks in my town. Notice that we don't talk 1/2$ but local denomination that is worth about 1/3rd of a dollar. so the game is kind of 0.3/0.6$. The min buy in is 100 and the max is 500.

Even from the start of the night, the normal raise is 12. And with such a big raise you still get 3 4 sometimes 5 callers. And people go all in easily. You can see all in almost every hand at the start of the night [ when people play shallower stacks ]. For example last night there was a 4 straddedl, a 8, and a 16 straddle!!!

A guy called 30 pre with 79 and cracked AA in a 500 pot.

But after midnight, everyone still at the table has a minimum of 500, with 1000+ being the norm and the normal raise becomes 20-22.

I don't understand anything, and I certainly don't have the bankroll toplay this. THIS is not 1/2 in my opinion.

Do you deal with crazy games like that in your town? If so, what's your strategy?

Thank you

Comments

  • GimicioGimicio Posts: 14Member
    Where I am from the min buy is $100 and the max is $300 for $1/$2 NLH. It can get pretty silly like the games you are describing, the opening raises varies from $10 to $22 and the usual number of players to the flop is 3 - 8. It is VERY rare to open for $12 and see a flop less than 3 ways. Players can also straddle UTG for $5 and when that straddle is active the player in UTG+1 can double straddle to $10 (not to mention the occasional blind raise to $20 and $40 from MP1 and MP2)! So needless to say this $1/$2 game gets out of hand quite quickly.

    My general strategy (and PLEASE correct me if I am doing this wrong) is to buy-in for the max and basically just nut peddle. What I mean by that is just wait for a monster and try to get as much money as I can in while I still feel as though I have the best hand. I find that using Bart's 15x, 25x, and 35x rule REALLY helps me make the right decision in calling pre-flop raises with pocket pairs, suited connectors, and one gap suited connectors. Once your stack gets bigger you can make some pretty big calls pre-flop (barring the other player has close to, or same effective stack as you) with these hands because people will go broke with marginal hands so much in my game. Also knowing your basic poker math to calculate the value of your draws when playing deeper is so important, I was losing so much value before I listened to Podcast #30 Simple Poker Math (I have since listened to it 5 or 6 more times).

    There is not a ton of real poker being played in this game (yours as well), but there is still a TON of money to be made. My strategy is just be patient and wait for the right spots to bust these fish. Trying to out play them is just pure suicide in my books. Hope this was helpful, and please feel free to tell me what you agree and disagree with.
  • electricsheep Posts: 169Subscriber
    You will just need to adjust your 3bet and 4bet get it in range relative to your opponents'. These games are juicy but I find them very high variance and you will need to be rolled adequately for them. There's just not a lot of dominated hand situations because of your opponent's super wide range. High pocket pairs are practically the mortal muts preflop.
  • nahcretep Posts: 108Subscriber
    I play in similar crazy home game where people open for 10x. if you want to win money, you have to play tight and play positions. its very easy to get suck into calling and limping and try to play bingo like the rest of the players. if you play in the game with the same line up, play couple of session and pick up betting patterns and bet sizing tells. people in these type of games do not fold and multiple callers create snow ball effect that convince players they have pot odds to peel very lite, and often over play hands. player who over plays hands are the best since you can just let them put in the money for you.
  • MichaelFirmani Posts: 3Member
    I play 1/2 and its somewhat similar. the standard open is usually $10 or $12 and sometimes its $6 but if you raise to anything under $10 you are going to get a minimum of 4 callers. raising to $12 will still get you a average of 3 i'd say. the games play extremely loose and if someone 3-bet's you its 100% AA or KK. ive seen one time where that wasnt the case and he was a young guy who clearly played a lot and he 3-bet with QQ and I cold 4-bet with KK and he decided to ship it and i called. the only all in preflops ive ever seen over 100bb deep have been with me involved and its only been twice, that hand being one of them and i've been playing in this game for 2+ years.

    players CANNOT fold either so just bet for value and get 3 streets from second pair. just play super tight and dont worry about not getting action because you will always get callers and if they hit any piece you will get some money. if you get some good aggression post flop then you can bet they absolutely have it.
  • Sickbay Posts: 24Member
    Thanks for the great replies folks. I am happy to see that the games here are not that different from yours.

    I rarely play live, but when I do I try to do just what some of you suggested - play tight, keep with the plan - but sometimes I get carried off, with so much action around me and not getting cards. Also,I feel that after not playing a hand for 1 hour, raising is like I have a bulls eye on my forehead, like everyone can see exactly what I'm doing. Anyone else gets this feeling?
  • Jalix Posts: 4Member
    Same thing here. Games are very loose passive, just like you guys described. Just play TAG and don't be shy do bet/raise. Usually they will call a raise with 2nd pair or a gutshot, so you have to raise top pair decent kicker, it's the nuts. Just bet every street. And bet BIG. They'll call 80% of the pot with gutshot, don't save them money, bet big and stack them off.
    If players do realize your playing too tight and start folding to you (that won't happen too often), slow playing is the best option. Say you've hit a set on a 4 way hand and you feel that they might fold if you raise, just call and let them build the pot to you. But that is sooo rare...
  • Jalix Posts: 4Member
    And be sure to have enough BR to reload 2 or 3 times per session. Your opponents won't release any draw no matter the price. Bet big, put them all in and just reload when they hit.
  • Jalix Posts: 4Member
    Sickbay said

    Thanks for the great replies folks. I am happy to see that the games here are not that different from yours.

    I rarely play live, but when I do I try to do just what some of you suggested - play tight, keep with the plan - but sometimes I get carried off, with so much action around me and not getting cards. Also,I feel that after not playing a hand for 1 hour, raising is like I have a bulls eye on my forehead, like everyone can see exactly what I'm doing. Anyone else gets this feeling?
    Playing tight sucks indeed, but it is what it is. Try to limp behind or call a few hands in late position or on the blinds with suited connectors to try to hit a big flop. Avoid doing so in early position, someone will raise and you will might think you have implied odds to call 4s5s UTG+1 on a raised pot with 3 callers. But the fact is that you'll get lost during the hand because you'll have to play a big pot out of position with a shitty hand even when you hit a draw. Just fold suited connectors in early/mid position.
  • Jalix Posts: 4Member
    Sickbay said

    Thanks for the great replies folks. I am happy to see that the games here are not that different from yours.

    I rarely play live, but when I do I try to do just what some of you suggested - play tight, keep with the plan - but sometimes I get carried off, with so much action around me and not getting cards. Also,I feel that after not playing a hand for 1 hour, raising is like I have a bulls eye on my forehead, like everyone can see exactly what I'm doing. Anyone else gets this feeling?
    I add a few tricks to fool them into thinking I'm not that tight after all. For instance:
    - Straddle every now and then UTG. It's just 2BB, if they are raising 10x anyway, that's nothing. If you happen to get a hand you'll win a big pot. Otherwise, just fold if they raise. -EV play but help to buid an image.
    - If folded or limped to you, make a very small raise, 2.5x or 3x with some hands, like 78o or some trash. If they think you so tight they might just call and you'll see a flop cheaply with some potential to hit a great hand. If they 3bet pre, just fold and make the same raise later with a monster. Don't be tempted to CBET or semi-bluff, you're paying some chips to build an image, not to make a move. Just fold if you miss.

    Two simple examples that will cost you as little as 5 or 10BB per hour but will help you to win a huge pot when you have it.
  • PokerIsFrustrating Posts: 657Member
    $12 is basically a standard 1/2 raise in any 1/2 game. $1/2 bet sizing really doesn't follow any logic. Usually 2/5 makes more standard bets.

    I know your game sounds "crazy," but IMO what you've described is basically a loose 1/2 game that could occur anywhere. A guy calling $30 preflop with 79 is bad, but there are bad players in probably every 1/2 game anywhere that 1/2 is the smallest level.

    Basically play for straight value. Setmining is going to be very profitable if stacks are big enough. If you're deep enough you can play other implied odds hands, but just be careful to recognize that you're usually going after the PFR's stack so just because there are other deep stacks involved doesn't mean you can always call big raises.

    If they're super aggro, you can sometimes limp/reraise big hands. I really dislike doing this in general but if someone is always raising to $30 in a $1/2 game every time and never folding to a 3b this can sometimse work.

    Realize that you're going to lose some big pots, and it's going to suck. Being mentally prepared (and rolled) for games like this is essential.

    I see it all the time at 2/5. There are a few crazy action fish that never fold and bluff like crazy. Then guys sit down because they want to play with the big fish, but flip out when their aces get cracked by the fish's 68o or when the fish calls with a FD and stacks them. If you want to play in that game, accept that you can't always get it in with a lock hand and you're sometimes going to get coolered or sucked out on. Then just reload, and eventually take down the money.
  • Mike Posts: 371Member
    If people are going crazy with their opening sizes its much better to buy in short and just shove on them a lot. Break the game down to whatever their sizing is and adjust the game so their open is the BB

    For example i played in a game where this guy was opening to $30-$80 in the dark every hand. So just pretend you are playing in a game where the BB is $30 or so and shove accordingly. Buying in for say $150 is much better since you can shove so wide profitably. Buying in deeper is going to also be profitable but i dunno how often you are gonna wanna flip for say $300 stacks. And what about when you get deeper to say $500 stacks? Its still profitable to shove over his opens with a ton of hands but i dunno how much you are actually going to follow through with it.
  • Sickbay Posts: 24Member
    Mike said

    If people are going crazy with their opening sizes its much better to buy in short and just shove on them a lot. Break the game down to whatever their sizing is and adjust the game so their open is the BB

    For example i played in a game where this guy was opening to $30-$80 in the dark every hand. So just pretend you are playing in a game where the BB is $30 or so and shove accordingly. Buying in for say $150 is much better since you can shove so wide profitably. Buying in deeper is going to also be profitable but i dunno how often you are gonna wanna flip for say $300 stacks. And what about when you get deeper to say $500 stacks? Its still profitable to shove over his opens with a ton of hands but i dunno how much you are actually going to follow through with it.
    Actually this is not a bad strategy. Have 3 150$ buy ins and just shove over people etc. if you double up once, continue. if you double up again, consider leaving although you haven/'t actually played "poker" so that's that. I must try this once. But in fact one need to realize that when you buy in for 150 you are actually saying that you don't have the bankroll for this, nor the inclination to play poker with these guys. Not for real at least.

    Consider this: you have AQs in bb. guy makes it 12 from mp. 2 guys call. pot = 40. you have 150. what do you do? you could 3bet, shove any flop but 3bet to what? make it 30 you get 2 callers pot=90 you have 120 behind. flop 9 8 2. are you still shoving? if you don't someone will bet, you fold. now yopu have 90 and didn't see a showdown. something, somewhere must have gone wrong. So what do you do?

    a. make it 40, and shove any flop [ you will have less then potsized bet]

    b. call?

    c. buy in for 100.

    That's actually the thing, I'm not that good playing shortstack poker.
  • PokerIsFrustrating Posts: 657Member
    I'd still buy in deep for those games because setmining is really profitable and you want to be able to setmine for the standard opens which might be $15-20.

    Sure, you might have to flip for $300 when you 3b and get shoved on, but that's a bankroll issue. If you're not comfortable getting $300 in at 1/2 when you're ahead of villain's range by a lot because you might be coolered, then of course buy in short but also build up your roll.

    As far as I can tell we're not talking about huge dark opens multiway. It's more like PFR sizing is a little large, but $20 isn't even really that big for $1/2 especially after limpers or in a straddled pot.

    I'd argue that buying in short can increase variance because we're always all in, we have no fold equity, and most of the time we're all in preflop when we're often only 60%-70% at best. If the guy is going to stack any hand preflop for $300 we win more. If we have fold equity, it's actually good because we're taking down a lot of $60 opens without a fight.

    I used to 20bb cap on stars and I went through a streak of 2000 bb -ev followed by roughly 2000 bb +ev which is 100 20bb buyins.
  • Mike Posts: 371Member
    My short buying idea was mostly for games where someone is being retarded and raising huge every hand. In the normal 1/2 game Buying in as deep as possible is always going to be the best. Just rememeber that when people are opening to 7bbs normally, 100bbs isnt 100bbs anymore. The way to approach MOST 1/2 games is to pretend the bb is $5 and play the stack sizes accordingly. So if you are buying in $200 it is more like playing a 40bb capped game.
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