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I still have trouble playing against mega fish

UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
I realize I sound like a big fish for posting this. If this were twoplustwo, I'd expect responses like "OP must be the real fish"

But I have trouble winning against mega fish if they're so bad that I have trouble putting them on a range. It's like playing against land mines. I don't mean standard fish like the bad recreational players who have some concept of how to play the game and have some identifiable patterns. Those are the ones I make a profit off. But I feel like I usually lose massively when there's a mega fish at the table

Like the ones who are wildly aggro but also can't fold (I'd almost rather be playing against a good LAG). It's hard to make a hand in this game! And the trick is, it's almost never profitable to flat them pre-flop because they always get the pot when you miss the flop

Or the ones who seem like they're just clicking buttons and make absurd looking bet sizes. I really have no idea what it means when I raise, and they donk into me for twice the size of the pot, and I have top pair medium kicker. Or when they bet $20 per street every street.

So at this point, when there's a mega fish in the casino and all the grinders are in line for that table, I'm usually happy to sell my seat for $20 to the grinder who wants it.
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Comments

  • LucasE Posts: 167Member
    I have a similar problem. I think everyone does because it's so hard for someone who thinks about poker properly to get into the mindset of someone who thinks about it really, really badly. People sometimes say 'fish aren't thinking, they're just clicking buttons'. I disagree with this in most (not all) instances - these are human beings who may be really smart outside the casino, but terrible at the table. Odds are, they're thinking *something*, but how do we get an idea?

    The biggest thing I've been working on is paying close attention to any time a 'megafish' shows their cards. I write down that action (if it's complicated) and try to work through the hand in the fishes head. See a couple of showdowns and you can get at least a general idea of what an individual is doing. After that, yea, it can come down to position, hitting a hand, and calling down or peeling light when you know a guy is just betting for the sake of betting.
  • Philly Dave Posts: 114Subscriber
    Claire why not post some specific hands ITT? Not really sure thread can be of much use otherwise since your op is so broad.

    Generally speaking the probs I have had playing weaker players tend to be a combination of cockiness and mental laziness on my part. Labeling a player a fish does not really help me to adjust to properly exploit the player and sometimes is worse because I subconsciously development this entitlement tilt. I'm better than the fish so the pots are mine wtf? How does he show up with that hand here? Etc.

    What is important is to focus on specific attributes of his play that might be "fishy" and exploit them. Frequently I have to "reset" my defaults for unknowns. For example, I might stick to going for fat value only until fish demonstrates he is a post flop calling station. Some fish for example under value or perhaps better stated under repp their hands. Interpreting weak bets or checks as weak and bluffing or going for thin value can be a mistake.

    My main point is to deemphasize the "fish" characterization and instead on focusing on what traits they exhibit that are weak or exploitable and adjust accordingly. Avoid the temptation of thinking that because I play more poker and study the game that I will automatically dominate the less experienced player.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    Fancy play syndrome..

    Against the mega donks.. just value bet value bet value bet.. I wouldnt try to outplay them, just basics..

    ww
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    As for a few examples...
    My examples might be a little off because fish who are bad to this point are rare, and the hands are so non-standard that it's hard to remember the action

    Fish ($350 effective) who raises really big with premium hands but limps with top 70% limps in MP
    Average not great reg ($700 effective) raises to 25 from CO which looks like he's isolating the fish
    Guy who's a dealer at another casino but also your average slight losing reg ($800 effective) calls from SB
    I'm in BB with AhTh and decide to squeeze to $100, expecting a fold from the fish (because he limps weakish hands), and the two mediocre regs (because they tend to fold to 3bets unless they have a pair or AQ+ as long as I don't really abuse it)
    Fish tank calls
    Original raiser folds
    Dealer guy tags along

    As 5s 9c flop (~$320)
    SB checks
    Hero checks
    Fish bets $50
    What the hell am I supposed to put him on when he bets $50 into $320?


    Another example from tournament
    I think it was 200/400 blinds and ~20k effective
    Fish limps 400
    I iso to 1200 with AQxx
    I get a Qh 7h 3x flop and fish donks 4000 into me
    I am not comfortable stacking off here. But folding seems ridiculous too.
    So I call the donk bet
    Turn is a blank and he bets 1000
    Wtf?
    I call again
    Flush comes in on river and be bets 2000
    Wtf?
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    With the distribution of cards I get, I really have trouble playing a maniacs who also can't fold, meaning you can't bluff or semi-bluff them, but when you both have nothing, they always get the pot. I feel like I have no tools against these players. Maybe I feel like I have to bluff so much because I never pick up a damn hand I can value bet for 3 streets and get three smooth calls (instead of getting raised and needing to fold)

    I'd almost rather play a good LAG because I can do certain things to get him to value own or bluff him in certain situations when his range is mostly thin value or bluffs.

    Say the maniac makes a 10X raise every hand. What do you flat him with? Are you going to sit around all day waiting for AA/KK to 3-bet him with? If you flat him and he gets the pot every time you miss, it's expensive to put in 10BB to see flops.

    Or the maniac who makes ridiculous overbets...
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    Hmm, since I can't fall asleep, as usual, I decided that I should log into Lock Poker and try to find a heads up game in micros against a really bad player so I can get used to playing players who are completely clueless. It might even be a challenge to find a player bad enough.
  • surfdealer Posts: 21Member
    Claire said

    As for a few examples...
    My examples might be a little off because fish who are bad to this point are rare, and the hands are so non-standard that it's hard to remember the action

    Fish ($350 effective) who raises really big with premium hands but limps with top 70% limps in MP
    Average not great reg ($700 effective) raises to 25 from CO which looks like he's isolating the fish
    Guy who's a dealer at another casino but also your average slight losing reg ($800 effective) calls from SB
    I'm in BB with AhTh and decide to squeeze to $100, expecting a fold from the fish (because he limps weakish hands), and the two mediocre regs (because they tend to fold to 3bets unless they have a pair or AQ+ as long as I don't really abuse it)
    Fish tank calls
    Original raiser folds
    Dealer guy tags along

    As 5s 9c flop (~$320)
    SB checks
    Hero checks
    Fish bets $50
    What the hell am I supposed to put him on when he bets $50 into $320?


    Another example from tournament
    I think it was 200/400 blinds and ~20k effective
    Fish limps 400
    I iso to 1200 with AQxx
    I get a Qh 7h 3x flop and fish donks 4000 into me
    I am not comfortable stacking off here. But folding seems ridiculous too.
    So I call the donk bet
    Turn is a blank and he bets 1000
    Wtf?
    I call again
    Flush comes in on river and be bets 2000
    Wtf?
    i would not try a squeeze vs 3 players already in the pot preflop imo, when you check flop now and dont cbet he might think a $50 bet is a big bet, look to see if he follows the size of the pot and if he bets close to pot when he bets, and or see if when he raises any type of bet if he raises and gives around 2:1 odds, some players bet $100 because $100 is $100 a lot of money (overbets live are always the nuts i think) , also how does he play in 3bet pots?

    notice that he bet $50 but he did it when there was 2 players in the pot including yourself...

    the tourney hand donk overbet seems like a set imo, unless he likes to donk top pair hands like QK but would he limp call AQ-TQ? and donk bet them so large??? or can he limp-call QQ-AA???
    think of the hands he might limp with, hands like 22-88 maybe 99-JJ

    usually if a player was semi bluffin the flop with a draw (a flush in this case) the flop donk wouldnt be so big i think, but i could be wrong, but his bets out of position seem strong to me
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    Claire,

    regarding your hand example with ATs:
    - I think your reasoning for squeezing in this spot sounds reasonable. I wouldn't use ATs to do this, however. You are trying to end the hand preflop, which is effectively a bluff, and ATs is way too strong to "waste" your equity. Rather take a hand which is a bit too weak to flat OOP against 3 players, like A7o or KTo, to do this.
    - As played, what's your reasoning for checking the flop? I think this is a mistake. First, you want to get value from worse (there are three opponents!); second, you probably wouldn't check with a pure bluff; third, it puts you in a really shitty spot, since you get no information about your opponents hand ranges; fourth, betting out would put villain into the bad relative position.
    - What's so bad about the 50$ bet? Just see what the other guys are doing, and then call. I guess you could also minraise it, but it's just a strange line.
    - His limp-call looks a lot like a pocket pair, so you should have the best hand a lot.

    regarding your question about a villain that openraises 10x every time:
    - If he plays too many hands and opens to 10x all the time, there are plenty of ways how to exploit him. But you need to no how he reacts to 3bets, and how he proceeds postflop. Jst 3bet him once or twice and see how he reacts. Most maniac call pre and then decide on the flop if they want to invest more money. Some are playing fit or fold, some call down too much. You have to find out which one he is, and then exploit him.
    - If he is stationy post, 3bet him large with a wider range for value and valuetown him postflop
    - if he folds to 3bets pre, then 3bet a polarized range with a lot of trash
    - if he plays fit or fold, 3bet with a larger sizing and stab postflop with smaller sizings
    - be aware of stack sizes and position; if stack sizes are deep, you can put an INSANE amount of pressure on him. If he has seen once that you show up with a goofy hand, then you can adjust and 3bet him wider for value.
  • surfdealer Posts: 21Member
    Whatsyourplay

    Nice post man
  • CruelUltimatum Posts: 160Subscriber
    Claire said

    Hmm, since I can't fall asleep, as usual, I decided that I should log into Lock Poker and try to find a heads up game in micros against a really bad player so I can get used to playing players who are completely clueless. It might even be a challenge to find a player bad enough.
    If you're really looking for clueless players, play some Facebook poker where it's all play money.

    Anyway, when I've played with these types of players, I just tighten up and focus on the fundamentals. Play tight, play in position, bet for thick value (fat value?), don't bluff, and if you're ever raised, you're probably no good unless you have the nuts.
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    surfdealer said

    Whatsyourplay

    Nice post man
    Thanks, Surf. No prob.
  • wildncrazyguywildncrazyguy Posts: 422Subscriber
    Concerning sizing, Bart brought this up on one podcast and I do what he suggests which is small bets are usually similiar to a chk and treat it as such. Of course as it the case with everything it depends as some villians are clueless about pot size but at least playing online I've noticed a lot of people try to name their own price and will bet weaker with draws and top pr weak kicker. I bump it up charging the draws and it gives you a better idea of where you're at. If I think I have the best hand I will sometimes just call a small bet if I think it will get the villian to keep firing where otherwise he'd fold.

    On your A10 hand I think chking to the raiser is fine. I'd probably chk raise the flop than lean turn. I know it sounds like I'm turning my hand face up but playing it any other way makes things more difficult. Plus worse will call if he's a megafish. If he calls turn he'll most likely chk back the river with everything but 2 pr. Like Bart says, most people are showdown monkeys and that's true. I actually use that info now where I didn't in the past and foudn it to be the case A LOT.

    On your other hand I wouldnt just call and give him a good price. I'd be raising for value. No worries. Most likely he has a draw or a weaker top pr and if he's got better you'll hear from him. If you raise him on the flop or turn, 9 out of 10 times the villian will shove back with something like a set figuring you can't fold your top pr. Get your money in there since he'll call down with worse if hes a fish.

    Biggest problem I have are fish that overvalue their hands and play it very strong when all they have is top pr weak kicker.
  • WackabrewWackabrew Posts: 400Subscriber
    CruelUltimatum said
    Claire said

    Hmm, since I can't fall asleep, as usual, I decided that I should log into Lock Poker and try to find a heads up game in micros against a really bad player so I can get used to playing players who are completely clueless. It might even be a challenge to find a player bad enough.
    If you're really looking for clueless players, play some Facebook poker where it's all play money.

    Anyway, when I've played with these types of players, I just tighten up and focus on the fundamentals. Play tight, play in position, bet for thick value (fat value?), don't bluff, and if you're ever raised, you're probably no good unless you have the nuts.
    This is great advice.

    Zynga (is that the same as facebook) poker is actually, believe it or not, really go practice at playing in low stakes live games. Play something like 100-200 (it's obviously play money), but try to play as closely to the way would would play if it were a live cash game. It gives you a feel of playing against people that don't have a clue.

    Also - I find myself value-owning myself a LOT in games with a lot of rec/fishy players, just given the nature of how passive they are. I tend to adjust my bet sizing down with medium strength hands once they start calling me (stuff like top pair mid-kicker), as people will be calling pre-flop with all sorts of crazy nonsense and won't raise things like bottom 2 at all, even on the river. On the opposite side, I am adjusting upwards with big hands that are near-nutted.
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    In the AT hand, he had somehow limped with AQ and bet $50 into a huge pot because he didn't understand sizing in NL and thought it was a decent size bet

    In the AQ hand, he somehow had the NFD and decided to bet almost twice the pot as a semi-bluff (which I couldn't really raise because it looked like it could have been a protection bet from a better hand) and I let him get there

    You guys see why it's hard to put players on a range when they're bad enough? Nobody here accurately put either of these two players on any of the hands they actually had

    On Zynga poker, you just have idiots shoving all in with any marginally playable hand. Not exactly what I'm looking for because that's pretty easy to play against. Just fold until you have a decent hand.
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    Claire, what you are saying sounds a bit like you expect from yourself to be able to put villains on exact and very specific hands if you just try hard enough and/or become good enough. IMO, this is a respectable and worthy objective in itself, as striving for it will definitely make you a better player. But still, you will experience lots of hands where you are not able to do this, and there's nothing you can do about it. It is a part of the game. Remember that making less errors than your opponents is what will make you money in the long run. So, if some really bad player overbets the pot only with medium strength hands in order to protect from something, or if he minbets because he has no clue about potsize, you are gaining EV! You can't read perfectly any donkey you meet at the table, that's just impossible. But if you had the chance to play with a weak player long enough, you'd be able to figure him out and own his soul.
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    whatsyourplay? said

    Claire, what you are saying sounds a bit like you expect from yourself to be able to put villains on exact and very specific hands if you just try hard enough and/or become good enough. IMO, this is a respectable and worthy objective in itself, as striving for it will definitely make you a better player. But still, you will experience lots of hands where you are not able to do this, and there's nothing you can do about it. It is a part of the game. Remember that making less errors than your opponents is what will make you money in the long run. So, if some really bad player overbets the pot only with medium strength hands in order to protect from something, or if he minbets because he has no clue about potsize, you are gaining EV! You can't read perfectly any donkey you meet at the table, that's just impossible. But if you had the chance to play with a weak player long enough, you'd be able to figure him out and own his soul.
    Thanks, I feel a little better about those two ridiculous hands mentioned

    Problem with hands like the AQ hand against random fishy unknowns is, that was a tournament and his nonsense cost me like half my stack. That's a big deal when it's a tournament and not a cash game. Maybe I'm trying to become like Phil Hellmuth, though obviously not as good yet. Getting angry with I lose to fish who are doing idiotic things and trying to soul read. Although I obviously don't explode in the middle of the game the way he does :D
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    Claire, don't forget all those situations where villains' idiotic lines earn you a decent profit. We tend to forget those spots quickly, because we basically take them for granted if it works out for us. If not, we are angry about villain's stupid play.
    This is why dealing with idiotic lines often is rather a psychological challenge then a technical poker question IMO.
  • Mike Posts: 371Member
    Just figure out what makes them a mega fish. Once you find that out exploit it. There are a ton of different types of fish. Determining which type each fish is makes you so much better. If they call to much or fold too much bet a lot. If they raise pf big 3b then alot. If they do random things play your own hand strength. To maximize your ev you wanna be 1 level above the villain. If they are randomly doing things the most profitable way to play is based 100% on your own hand strength. If they play their cards then play yours vs their range ect.

    What helped me a lo was playing micro stakes online. Usually fr or 6m. Or play $1-$3 mtts online. It will help you identify the fish fast and what kind of fish they are.

    I label every fish as calls too much untill they prove they are a different fish.
  • Gordon806 Posts: 59Member
    Playing bloated pots like this OOP versus fish are going to be very difficult, but as played not sure what you were hoping to flop if your not betting this board. Playing like this is causing the fish to play perfect without even knowing it. If your going to do this have a plan of what your betting on the flop vs certain boards and number of villians. If you don't plan on c-betting and are just bluffing pre then do it with 27o and not ATs.
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    VincentReo said

    Playing bloated pots like this OOP versus fish are going to be very difficult, but as played not sure what you were hoping to flop if your not betting this board. Playing like this is causing the fish to play perfect without even knowing it. If your going to do this have a plan of what your betting on the flop vs certain boards and number of villians. If you don't plan on c-betting and are just bluffing pre then do it with 27o and not ATs.
    First of all, the fish limped in middle/late position. So I didn't expect him to still be in the hand.

    Second, a pot control check in or out of position with top pair medium kicker after you 3-bet light in 3-bet pots is pretty second. If the SB made a decent size bet on the turn, I would have folded because I don't think he would bluff in that spot.
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