"The mission of the BQ Digest is to inform and entertain its readers."
Editorial staff: Bona, Papapyrite, Whydowe_fall, Obviously.bogus,
Welcome to BQ Digest, thanks for reading it. In the February BQ digest, PapaPyrite updates us on the evolution of U.S. internet poker law. We can follow the Bee's trail to improve his game, get some serious strat advice from Mike, catch up on the end of the year SHANOOBIGANS
frivolity or see how SHENANIGANS
has started in 2012. Don't forget to read the funny papers.
This month the digest editors formed a public service entity called:
"The Legion of Decency."
The legion will be carrying out random acts of justice and good works during the year. Our first project is in the interest of justice. We think it an injustice that so many solid players are regulated by mods whose playing ability is untested. We have posted a thread calling out these mods to see if they can actually play poker. We have our doubts. See that thread for details.
February 2012 POTM is Artysmokes. Artysmokes is very active in the forum, we notice he is helpful to new posters and typically posts good strat.
Here in Artysmokes own words is his introduction as February POTM. Don't forget to use this avatar for the month of February Arty. We think you have earned it.
Hi guys. You've no doubt noticed that I'm a 2+2 addict that makes tons of posts in BQ every day and I think it's time I told you a little bit about myself.
I'll be 41 this month, live in England, and poker is just a pocket money game for me. Due to chronic health problems (I'll spare you the details) I've been unemployed for years, so I've developed a few hobbies to pass the time. Poker is just my latest obsession. Although I was gifted at maths as a child, I developed more of an artistic bent as I got older. Prior to getting addicted to poker, I dabbled in music, web design andphotography. I also fancied being a novelist or journalist, and I guess that writing is probably my greatest skill.
Unfortunately, writing isn't much use at the poker table, but my ability to analyse and explain situations clearly perhaps makes it seem like I know what I'm talking about when I post on 2+2. I come from a family of teachers/writers, so I'd probably be a good coach if I could only play as well as I write!
I've only been playing for real money since August 2011. I tried play money on PartyPoker about 10 years ago, but then got addicted to Zynga poker on facebook in 2010 and - after crushing the "bingo players" - decided I'd like to take the game a little more seriously. I deposited just $32 on WSOP.com on the 888 network and started playing full ring 2NL, while reading as many poker books as my local library would lend me.
Joining 2+2 opened up my eyes to the wealth of information available. This site is an amazing resource if you dig around for the information, and it must have saved/earned millions for the players that use it wisely. I've not gone busto yet!
Unlike some posters on 2+2, I don't really have any long term poker goals. I take it day by day. I'm currently grinding out a deposit bonus on Stars, but I don't put in nearly as much volume as others, as I have a low boredom threshold and have no great desire to become a full-time grinder. I'd like to gradually move up the limits, but I'm prone to stress/tilt when there's money on the line, and find that the only way I can deal with it is to take time off when I hit a bad run of variance.
In the meantime I'll continue to "think out loud" by posting on 2+2, as I get a buzz from helping other people and getting involved in debates. In fact, I'd go as far as saying I enjoy talking about poker more than actually playing it! In that respect, I hope the friendly dialogue in BQ continues, and we all benefit from posting our thoughts and ideas.
Although I get quite a few PMs asking for advice, sweat sessions and skype adds, I'd prefer that discussion happens on the forum, so that the whole community can benefit. After all, I'm a just a nanostakes donk with as much to learn as everyone else. See you around the forum, and maybe at the tables too. Byeeee!
In my experience playing No Limit Holdem, I have found that isolating limpers is very important to a player's winrate. Usually, limpers have weak holdings, and by isolating them in position with a wide range of hands, you put pressure on them to either fold or to continue in a hand wherein they are out of position and lack the initiative.
In my own HEM database of 321,929 hands played after Jan 1, 2011 at stakes ranging from 4nl to 200nl, I have compared my winrates when open-raising vs raising behind a single limper. In pots which were unopened before me, my PFR was 17% and I had a WR of 73 bb/100 hands when I raised. In pots where there was a single limper in front of me, my PFR was 21% and I had a WR of 118bb/100 hands when I raised. Despite having a wider range against limpers than when open-raising, my WR was over 50% greater when I isolated a single limper. Clearly, the extra money put in by the limper with a weak range more than compensated for the fact that my own range was wider than normal.
From conversations and strategy discussions with other winning players, I have found that my results are not atypical at all; virtually every winning player is also isolating limpers with a wide range and making a healthy profit doing so. Yet, when working with microstakes players, I have found that one of their most common leaks is failing to isolate limpers as frequently as they should.
In this article, I will attempt to contruct some ranges for isolating in a couple of situations. I will be using PokerStove and the CardRunners EV tool to evaluate the EV of hands against villain's range. I will explain the factors which might make you play more or fewer hands than the recommended ranges.
In our first example, we'll look at a situation which is very favorable for isolating wide. Let us suppose that a 40/10 player open limps in front of us. It is folded around to us on the button. The blinds are on the tighter side, and if we isolate, they will only 3bet us with 5% of hands and cold-call with 9% of hands. Everyone's 100bb deep. We have seen the limper limp/fold about a third of the time that he limps, and call the remainder of the time. His fold to cbet stat is 54%. If someone 3bets us, we will fold unless we have TT+ or AK. For the purposes of this example, we will raise to 4.5bbs and cbet every flop for 2/3 pot if we get HU with the fish. If villain does not fold to our cbet, we will assume that we will realize our share of pot-equity against the range with which villain will call. If we get a called by anyone else besides the limper, we will also just assume we will win our equity share of the pot against villains' ranges. My calculations will assume a 5% rake.
Let's make up some ranges for villains now:The range with which the limper will call our raise is about 20%; he is limping a 30% range but will only continue 2/3 of the time. I have made up what I consider I reasonable 20% range for villain:
The blinds will cold-call with 9%, I realize it's somewhat unrealistic that the SB and BB will both call with the same range, but for the sake of simplicity we will assume that they will do so. A 9% CC range from the blinds I think looks something like this:
After assigning these ranges, it is possible to calculate the EV of every hand with which we might consider isolating. The math involved in this is tedious, so I will skip the math and present the list of hands which I have calculated are +EV to isolate in this situation. For those who are interested, I have explained the math which I used in the spoiler below:
It turns out that in this situation, we can isolate the limper very
My calculations did assume we will always win our equity share of the
pot when we get called, which will not always be the case, so probably
we can remove some of the really trashy hands like J3o and T4s from
our range; nevertheless I think we can surely isolate greater than 50%
of hands here.
Some of the reasons that we can really get out of line here are:
The limper has a wide limping range
The limper will fold sometimes preflop, and furthermore will fold
often on the flop
The players behind us are on the tighter side and will not interfere
with our play very often
We are on the button, so there are only 2 players left to act (3 if
we include the limper), thus there is a good chance that everyone will
fold and we will win the pot immediately
Now, let's look at a trickier situation. For this example, let us
suppose that there is a 35/15 player who limps in front of us and we
are in the HJ. This player will fold to our raise 20% of the time;
however, he will limp-reraise us 10% of the time. We will have to
fold our garbage hands to his reraise. He will fold the flop 45% of
the time to our cbet. The players behind us are aware that we like to
isolate limpers. They each will 3bet us with approximately a 5%
range, and will cold-call about 5% of the time. If they 3bet us, we
will fold our hands except for AQ+; 99+. If we isolate and get HU
against the fish, we will cbet 2/3 pot, and if he continues we figure
we will win our equity-share of the pot. If, however, anyone else
calls preflop, we will figure that we will only win 90% of our equity
-share, as our opponents are tougher than in the previous example.
Let's make up some ranges...the limper has a 20% limping range, but he
is limp-reraising 10% of the time and folding 20% of the time, so we
need to assign him a range to call of 20% x 70% = 14%. I think
something like this is about right:
And we will give the other players 5% cold-calling ranges:
After running the numbers, I have discovered that we must be
considerably tighter in this case than in the previous example:
The reasons why we need to proceed cautiously are:
The limper's range is wide, but not extremely wide
The limper is continuing a lot of the time to our isolation raise, and
is furthermore continuing a lot postflop
The limper likes to limp-reraise
There are many players behind us, who are not afraid to 3bet us
The players behind us are tough and are going to make it difficult to
realize our postflop equity
There are some things we can do here which will allow us to open up
our isolating range a little bit. We can lower our raise size, so
that we lose less when we get 3bet. We can 4-bet bluff some of the
time that we get 3bet. When we get HU with the limper, we can check-
back some boards instead of cbetting them, and we can vary our cbet
size depending on the action we expect to get. All of these measures
together will allow us to add a few more hands to our range, as hands
which would normally be slightly -EV when we are playing
straightforwardly will become profitable when we change our play style
to account for table conditions.
Now, most of the situations you encounter for isolating limpers will
be somewhere in between these 2 extreme examples. There are a
plethora of situations which can arise, and it is unfortunately not
feasable to go through many of them in this article. I will close
this column with a list of things to consider when facing a single
limper ahead of you:
Link to January 2012 Digest
Link to December 2011 Digest
Link to November 2011 Digest
Link to Micros Limit Library
- The wider the limper's range is, the more often you should isolate
- The more poorly and passively the limper plays, both preflop and
postflop, the more often you should isolate him
- The later your position is at the table, the more often you should
- If the remaining opponents are nitty and predictable, you should
isolate more often than if they are aggressive and unpredictable
- If the limper tends to continue past the flop often, you will want
to weight your range towards high cards
- If your remaining opponents will 3bet you often, or will cold-call
and play well postflop, you should consider reducing the size of your
isolation raise, as it will save you money those times that you get
- If you are playing in a game without rake, you can isolate a
little bit wider than usual
- If the limper will donk bet the flop often, then you must tighten
up a little bit and play hands which tend to flop good pairs or good
draws with which you can continue in the hand
BQ forum FAQ
Read the FAQ
Tough spot on the flop
with QQ, with maths
Top pair on a dry board passive villain
Everyone loses from the blinds?
Big pair preflop
Hand reading basics
JJ in position, live
Book referals, PLO
TRIP REPORTS, MILESTONES, CHALLENGES, Fun stuff:
Behind the scenes review of the upcoming PT4 software from Pokerfuse
Wafflehouse1's goals thread in PG&C
PapaPyrites Girls goals thread in PG&C
IceW0lf's goals thread in PG&C
Sheeprustler 2k MIlestone post
Enprinte's Pooh-Bah Post
Bat v Bogus multi-game challenge
Digest LHE challenge
Wafflehouse vs Mike
A.Ertbjerg vs Enprinte challenge
Get ready for the next poker boom! While it may only be a mini-boom in comparison to what we witnessed in 2003, it appears that within a year some form of regulated US poker site will become a reality.
The District of Columbia has technically already legalized online poker. Nevada has regulations in place for a legalized online poker market, but new licenses have yet to be issued. It would be an exercise in guesswork to predict which state will pass new laws next. I believe you have to look at California, New Jersey, New York, Florida, Illinois, Iowa — states that are evaluating legal online poker as of January 2012. But the bigger question in my opinion is who will get there first, states or federal government, to implement effective online gaming legislation?
What happened with the lotteries in the past may be the blueprint for any new proposals in the states. While an individual state may not have a sizeable enough population to make online gaming profitable, if they were to enter into multi-state operations then the "critical mass" of players could more easily be reached and profits maximized, very much like lottery systems that have grown over the past forty years.
The one thing that may trump the individual states moving to regulate online gaming individually is the potential for legislation from the federal government. There is only one bill being discussed in the House of Representatives, but Senator Harry Reid of Nevada stated recently that the issue of regulation of online gaming should be left to the federal government, rather than the states.“We cannot have a series of laws around the country related to gaming,” Senator Reid stated following an appearance on the political talk show “Meet The Press.” “I know a lot about gaming (and as) a former chairman of the Nevada (Gaming) Commission, I think it’s very important that we have a national law.” Senator Reid has joined with Senator Jon Kyl in discussion of regulating the online gaming market in the United States, and may be close to sponsoring new proposed legislation in the next few months, according to the PPA.
The key to all this new movement in the US regarding online gaming was the recent Department of Justice reversal on the Wire Act in December. The DoJ’s clarification appears to have changed the attitudes of state governments all around the country, confirming that the law only makes sports betting over the internet illegal, rather than all gambling. This was the only real hurdle that Nevada and other states needed to overcome in order to implement state regulations and issue licenses for online gaming operators.
Now, it is only a matter of waiting for the domino effect - somebody has to be the first to issue licenses and operators will need to get a site up and running - then I believe state after state will follow rapidly. And at some point this year, the federal government may decide that broader legislation needs to be enacted on the national level in order to control the growth of online gaming that likely will result. We are closer to regulated online poker in the US than ever, and it appears a near certainty that we will see regulated online poker sites at least at the state level, so I believe the next online poker boom is coming this year!
Late breaking update to US poker law progress
In the Beginners Questions section of 2+2, one of the questions asked time and time again is, “Should I go pro?” The answer that most of the people asking will receive is, of course, “If you need to ask, the answer is no” with little or no further explanation. This, of course, leaves the poster asking feeling doubtful, confused, and maybe even a little ashamed for asking. They will see the forum regulars responding in sarcastic or disparaging tones and either feel the need to prove the world wrong, or will take the polar opposite approach and stop playing poker, because ifthey cannot be a professional now, what is the point?
A person can say ‘I’m going to go pro’, even playing small stakes and facing a giant hill, and accomplish it. But the opposite can always be
true as well.I have personally watched two different people attempt to play on a professional level, and I have watched two completely different outcomes. Poker is different from most professions that people think of because there is that variance that we all love/loathe; where you made fistfuls of money one month, you will be leaking it out orifices you did not even know you had the next. Just because one person can do it does not mean that every person can, and even if you are able to beat poker at a comfortable clip, something in real life will always, always interfere.
One of my roommates started poker in the spring of 2008. I can very clearly remember him playing for hours on end, starting in Sit & Go’s and eventually working his way over to micro stakes cash games (the lowest of which, at the time on Full Tilt, was 10NL). Not once did he redeposit. Not once did he let the fact that he was playing tiny stakes deter him from learning how to move past those games. I watched him glide easily from 10NL through 50NL that year. This was a person who had never had a job in his life before poker, and if he had failed, there would not have been a second chance due to financial pressure. We will call him roommate A.
My second roommate I met on 2+2 at the end of 2008, well into his poker career. He was someone who had played professionally in the past and was now putting it on the back burner in order to go back to school. I was not around when he started playing, so I do not know how fast he moved up, but I do know that he had incredibly solid fundamentals. We will call him roommate B.
The three of us lived in Minnesota in a house that was literally falling apart around us for a year, and that year was full of ups and downs, both poker and otherwise, for all of us. Roommate A moved from our home state to Nevada because of differences in taxation in regards to poker. I ended up following him.
Our second roommate stayed in Minnesota for a year-and-a-half longer than we did, and then eventually came out to Las Vegas as well. Roommate A had, in this time, moved up to 5/10 and 10/20. Roommate B came out with a large amount of real life savings and bankroll large enough to play at a stake that he could make a living at, having withdrawn when he was not as serious about the game and having built it back up with the intent of going pro. Things were good. Everyone in the entirety of Las Vegas prospered (trust me), and life was good. Both roommates were playing well and things were on the up-and-up. And then Roommate B’s car was stolen and stripped with no insurance for it. And then Roommate B had a downswing. And then Roommate B got into some more automobile related financial problems. And then, you know, Black Friday happened.
Roommate A had money on both Stars and Full Tilt, at about a 2:1ratio. Roommate B had the entirety of his roll on Full Tilt. I am sure I do not need to elaborate on this issue further.The two roommates began playing live, working their way around the casinos in town, with Roommate A staking them both. Roommate B was forced to more than double his stakes just to play, and a series of bad sessions marked the end of his time in Las Vegas, as he moved back to Minnesota at the beginning of July of last year.
Both of these roommates are amazing players. Both roommates have hundreds of thousands of hands under their belt, and both of them were studying and constantly looking for ways to improve their game. Even more important, both DID have an improved game and were beating their stakes. The major difference between the two was the fact that variance is a ***** and sometimes you cannot account for everything you will have to deal with.
Now that I have bored you with a ‘too great, didn’t read story’, I can give you a little more advice.People in this forum hear the question about going pro multiple times a month, if not week. Even if we have the best of intentions in mind, we will sometimes get snippy when we have the same question asked over and over again. When asking this question, please remember to take the attitude with a grain of salt and do not immediately say, “They were right, this is hopeless, no amount of work will get me there.” Please actually step back and take a look at your personal situation.If you incurred a large expense, would you be able to have a financial buffer to keep you afloat through it? Would you be able to get money off of your site in a timely enough fashion to make up for your losses?
And for US players, are you even able to get money off of your site often enough to pay your bills in a perfect month? Will your family approve? Even if it is just you, making your own way in the world, will your parents, siblings, or friends approve of you ‘gambling’ for a living? Do not scoff; even if you do not think people will think differently of you, or that you will not care that they have comments to make, you will.
Do you have the stamina to keep up the grind day after day, month after month, knowing that it is not a hobby anymore? It is not just a game, and it is not all for fun anymore when your day-to-day depends on your results.
If poker does not work, for any number of reasons, will you be able to find employment again? Will you be able to explain that gap in your resume?
Is health insurance an issue? Have good enough credit to make up for the fact that you don’t have ‘real people’ employment? Are you prepared to spend the extra money to buy books, coaching, or training videos?
If you can honestly tell yourself that, even if everything went wrong, you would be better off playing poker than in some other profession, please go for it. Don’t let all the discouragement deter you if you are truly confident in yourself and are willing to take the leap; it can be a very rewarding experience. It can also turn out very poorly. Just be prepared to embrace good old lady variance.
From Bumbling Fish to Killer Bee – Part 2
This months article, supposed to be an update from January, is a little tricky to write. The main reason being I have barely played any meaningful poker. I didn’t start playing until about the 3rd week of January and have so far racked up only 1000 cash hands. That’s the trouble with being a recreational player I suppose – I don’t have to play, and seriously lacking any motivation means I haven’t. I made some token gestures though, so here’s a little of the good stuff:
- Bought BlackRain79’s book Crushing the Microstakes, and have read a
- Re-jigged my HUD and settled on Stars to take this whole project forward, mostly because it’s the easiest to multi-table on and because Table Ninja is compatible.
- Set up the colour coding note options on Stars to 4 or 5 categories so when I did play I could quickly sort the fish from the TAGS
- Filtered the lobby to look for tables worth playingThe book is good for the micros and has already helped in forcing me to do the last 3 things on that list, and most importantly pay attention when at the tables. It’s all too easy to just be a robot and click buttons.
I also now have ABC standard raise sizes for when IP or OOP, with limpers, and 3 bets and 4 bets. So I suppose I’ve taken some baby-steps, but that’s all they are. To seriously continue with this though I’m going to have put some volume in, and that is hopefully what will happen in February. February’s goal is 10,000 hands per week. Nothing else. Many readers probably lol as they do that regularly in a day, but it’s kind of a catch 22 for a recro player I think. I started to play poker because I found it fun, and get a maximum of 2 hours to play maybe 3 to 5 days a week, and grinding away after work isn’t necessarily fun, but in order to work on the flaws I’ll need to do just that.I’m going to see if making some sort ofstructured itinerary to playing helps with this. For example, setting a fixed routine at the start of the week where I have to play NL for a couple of hours on most week nights, then say weekends I get to play drunken 10/20 badug………….oh, hang on a minute I banned myself from that! Thank you Stars responsible gaming policy
Anyway, it’s been a miserable start to this project which pretty much fits my mood towards poker after the turn of the year. Let’s hope February provides a much needed pick-up.
Forum Games are friendly low buy-in games ($1-$3) for all readers of Beginners Questions forum. They can be found on RPMPoker (merge network) in the Tournaments > Private > League tab. They are password protected, but the passwords are posted here in BQ in the SHENANIGANS
threads, usually posted on Thursday and Saturday mornings.
The grand final of SHANOOBIGANS
with a color title and custom undertitle up for grabs was played on Jan 28th. A few eligible players were AWOL, but there were seven runners.
The main takeaway was ... I waz robbed !!! It came down to HU with myself and Mike, and somehow I had a pretty good chip lead ... I flopped bottom 2 pair, and all the chips went in the middle. The moral of the story here is, 1) don't count your chickens before they hatch, and 2) check PokerStove ... it will give you a better understanding of situations like this. Now I don't think I was wrong to get it all in, HU with 2pr, but vs TPGK there's still plenty of ways to get sucked out.
Congratulations Mike ... hopefully teh bee will get your color title/custom undertitle sorted out soon
January winners ...
The new year has started, so that means there is a new scoreboard. Monthly winners win a ticket to the next year-end tourney. The new scoreboard is here --> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en_US&hl=en_US&key=0AnRmiOjnBmXndGQ5T0VEYnZ rMmNCb2taY05wSTVINHc&output=html
The winners for January are relative noobs in SHANOOBIGANS, proving that anyone can win ...
Congrats wdwf and "the pokerz" who both had insurmountable leads after 3 weeks.
Mike who is the host of SHENANIGANS
offers an extra prize for High Hands ... Qualifying hands depend on which game is being played ... the rules can be found here -->
It had been a while since anyone had hit the Jackpot, but "Doc" hit it big time when he rivered a Royal Flush in the Hold'Em level of HORSE and scooped nearly $100 from the Jackpot pool!
Not to be outdone, a few hands later PapaPyrite rivered a J high Straight Flush for a jackpot of $36
The prize pool therefore is somewhat diluted, but come and play SHENANIGANS
. Maybe you can luckbox too!
The new scoreboard for 2012 is here -->
Fish Fry ...
This is a multi-tournament one day event that has been run a few times in previous years. I'm hoping that it can be run again soon. Stay tuned for more details.
And as always, watch for the *SHANOOBIGANS
* and *SHENANIGANS
* threads in BQ each week and come play with us !!
The first time you play in a SHANOOBIGANS
event you are eligible to win $2 for each BQ DIgest editor
you knock out of the event. Please post your results in the Digest
thread, we want to pay it but may not notice it without your help.You
are eleigible in your first SHENANIGANS
event AND in your first
event. Most of us are fish, so easy money.
Last year Mike's impressive luckbox overflowed and he
was a BB jackpot winner. Mike generously shared some of his winnings
with the SHENANIGANS
game by establishing and maintaining a BBJ
system. That system was replaced by a high hand jackpot system. Since
the change there have been several high hand winners but no one really
took the fund apart until this month. This month, as noted in OB's
column, Doc hit the toppest hand possible, quickly followed by a
straight flush from Papa. Congrats guys!!!!. And thanks Mike!!!! Now
the fund is growing again and continues to be part of the fun of
From the poker dictionary: lottery (noun):
A tax on people who are bad at math.
What is the…difference between a poker player and a dog?
The dog will eventually stop whining.
Dear John, I’m sorry I broke off our engagement. I miss you terribly
and regret my decision. Please take me back.
PS. Congratulations on winning the World Series of Poker Main Event.
A guy was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife walked up
behind him and whacked him on the head with a magazine.
“What was that for?” he asked.
She shouted, “I overheard you talking to your poker buddies about how
great Betty and Barbara were the other night!”
The hubby chuckled as he explained the mix-up: “Two weeks ago I won a
huge pot with pocket Queens. I called them Betty and Barbara!”
“Oh honey, I’m sorry,” she said. “I should have known there was a good
Three days later he was watching a ballgame on TV when she walked up
and hit him in the head again, this time with the iron skillet, which
knocked him out cold.
When he came back to he asked, “What in heavens name was that for?”
She replied………..”Your pocket pair just called.”
The BQ Digest thanks those who have contributed articles, jokes, and/or have given us suggestions to improve the digest. Please keep 'em coming. You can comment in this thread or go to the digest discussion thread.
Play in SHENANIGANSand SHANOOBIGANS. Have fun playing poker.