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Micro-Small Stakes Limit Discussions about micro-small stakes Texas Hold'em (all stakes up to around 15/30)

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Old 02-18-2012, 05:31 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 914
Hey new guys -- Bob's quick guide for new SS LHE players

Welcome to the forum, please read the faq, and the micro stakes limit forum FAQ and library. There's so much good stuff in there.

This isn't bingo. This is psychological warfare. Your opponents are the most important factors in your decision making.

Loose passive players are the easiest to beat. They limp in, don't raise without 2 pair, don't 3 bet without a set on a non straight/flush board, don't 3 bet without a straight or flush if one is possible, and they pay off with weak pairs, even in multiway pots. The bet fold line is your bread and butter against these players. Many of these players will limp in then call the flop with a backdoor flushdraw(3 of the same suit), ace high, or anything better. Some play 100% of hands in limped pots, some play only 30% of hands. The higher % of hands they play, the thinner you can value bet.

Tight passive players are a little tougher to beat. They limp in just like loose passives, but they do it with a tighter range. Think of a range that includes most pocket pairs(sometimes all, sometimes 55+), AT+, A8s+, KTs+, QTs+, JTs. They only raise AA, KK. Most will cold call 99-QQ. Some are looser, some are tighter. Sometimes they know to limp wider in late position in multiway pots. They don't bet without top pair. Some will raise the flop with top pair top kicker, but most wait for 2 pair to raise the flop. Most don't know how to check raise, but some do. Often these players will call a raise out of the big blind, check call the flop, then check raise the turn. Your top pair middle kicker is junk.

There are a few loose aggressive players out there playing small stakes. Some limp in preflop, then play aggressively postflop. Some like to raise preflop and create big pots with drawing hands like 97s, I know I do. You must raise these players to protect your hand and get the pot heads up. Knowing your table makes a big difference here. If you expect cold callers, you might not raise A5 on a 25T board. But if a raise will get out hands like 98 and AJ, then that's a reason to raise. What you don't want to do is bloat the pot out of position in a multiway pot with a mediocre hand. Your implied odds are huge against these players. You can count on other players calling the loose aggressive player since they don't believe him. If the loose aggressive player has the betting lead up front in a multiway pot, and you're on the button with a gutshot, you could have as much as 5 big bets in implied odds. It depends a lot on your position relative to the loose aggressive player, but you usually have at least 1 big bet in implied odds with him at the table. All that said, some loose aggressive players really know what they're doing. Although they are rare at small stakes, you'll find guys who really know how to exploit their loose image by value betting thin. You'll see them take down some huge pots with mediocre hands. Look out.

If you happen to encounter a tight aggressive player who is positionally aware(plays more hands the closer he is to the button), you should read "Winning in Tough Hold'em Games" by Stoxtrader. It will transform your game, but forget the stuff about free showdown raising. Many of these players will have wider ranges than this book suggests, but the concepts remain the same. You'll have a hard time if you try to isolate with A8o at your average small stakes table, even if you have an edge on the opener. Tight aggressive players are very aggressive(lol redundant) in multiway pots in late position. They value bet thin. They'll probably take your money. Until you're comfortable playing in 3 bet pots heads up you should avoid them unless you have a strong hand or a good draw.

Learn the odds of drawing hands on the flop and turn, this can't be stressed enough. If you don't know how to count outs properly, calculate the pot odds needed to call a bet, and count the pot, you'll probably lose. If you haven't, read "Small Stakes Hold'em" by Miller. If you have, read it again.

Everytime the small blind and big blind hit the table, imagine that you own a piece of it. You're entitled to a piece of it. At a ten handed table, even before you get your cards, you own a tenth of the money on the table. Once you get your cards, this equity changes, for better or worse. The better you are at estimating your equity, the better you will play. If you're serious about getting better at this game, download Equilab. Examine preflop, flop, turn, and river decisions. Look at drawing hands like JTs against a preflop raiser and four coldcallers. Look at AA on a JQK flop. Look at 98s on a 28K flop against a wide preflop 3 bettor(I love playing co vs btn, I miss online poker). This will make you so much better at estimating your equity at the table.

When it comes to playing in multiway pots with unknowns, you should be focusing on value betting top pair+, and jamming your strong draws when there are four or more players in on the flop. It gets tricky when an unknown raises you. Depending on your kicker and pot odds you might get to showdown as cheap as possible, or you might fold. Don't get into the habit of folding for one bet in big pots. You only have to be right once in a while to make a river call correct, and you get to see what they have.

And of course, respond to threads, post hands, and argue respectfully. Good luck.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:57 PM   #2
Howard Beale
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Re: Hey new guys

I think that it could use a psych paragraph. Here's mine:

Action packed LLHE games are a rollercoaster, chip-wise and emotion-wise (non action packed LLHE games are not worth playing, imo). It's very easy to become frustrated when losing and you will lose in the most ridiculous ways imaginable. It's critical not to lose your self-control or to give into the temptation to 'play down to their level' and get involved w/ sub-standard hands thinking that your post-flop skill is so great that it can be made up for on later streets. It is nearly always the case that the biggest winner in a given night is one of the poor players, by turn. This is to be expected and even celebrated bec it keeps them coming back. Always remember that it's the long term, don't let yourself get rattled and never let them see you sweat. Lastly, try to have fun and don't take it personally.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:01 PM   #3
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Re: Hey new guys -- Bob's quick guide for new SS LHE players

Another great resource for people trying to beat loose/passive games would be Izmet Fekali's Playing with the fish. Read his site as archived
Sadly, this link doesn't work beyond the front page of Izmet's old site.

Last edited by DougL; 09-27-2018 at 08:55 AM.
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