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Old 07-05-2018, 07:23 AM   #1
wootTHEhuman
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Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

Local casino's 1/2 game is max buy in $100 (50 bb), with a flat $5+1 rake on every flop, chopping allowed.

Is it possible to get a solid bb/hr? How will smaller stack sizes affect my play? How will obscene rake affect my play?

The tables are super super fishy, usually with some combination of maniacs, nits, and LPs, with some TAGs sprinkled throughout
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:39 AM   #2
AKQJ10
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

Thread probably better suited for SSnlhe.

Almost certainly +EV to play. Depends on what you mean by solid winrate. Maybe $10 to $20 an hour?

You'll need to change your game a bit. Play tight, increase value of top pair hands (AJ, KQ), decrease value of implied odds (33) and semibluff friendly (76s) hands.

SPR will always be low so if you're decent at NLHE, postflop will usually play itself.

Much more like limit. Read some LHE literature to get a sense of how that game is different, but don't overapply it. Just think a lot about similarities and differences away from the table.


You won't enjoy this game at all if you prioritize "getting to play REAL NLHE" whatever that means over gambling it up with a nice edge. The bad NLHE players who think the purpose of no limit is to blast draws out of the hand so they call win small pots won't enjoy this kind of game. Play good hands and enjoy the roller coaster and you'll win in the long run. The really long run.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:14 AM   #3
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

What are min buy-in and average stack size? If everyone has to buy-in for 50BB, the game should be easier to play than one where stack sizes vary from 20-100BB.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:20 AM   #4
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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Originally Posted by madlex View Post
What are min buy-in and average stack size? If everyone has to buy-in for 50BB, the game should be easier to play than one where stack sizes vary from 20-100BB.
$40 (20 bb) is minimum. 50 bb is max. Short buys are allowed at table discretion.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:41 AM   #5
wootTHEhuman
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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Originally Posted by AKQJ10 View Post
Thread probably better suited for SSnlhe.

Almost certainly +EV to play. Depends on what you mean by solid winrate. Maybe $10 to $20 an hour?

You'll need to change your game a bit. Play tight, increase value of top pair hands (AJ, KQ), decrease value of implied odds (33) and semibluff friendly (76s) hands.

SPR will always be low so if you're decent at NLHE, postflop will usually play itself.

Much more like limit. Read some LHE literature to get a sense of how that game is different, but don't overapply it. Just think a lot about similarities and differences away from the table.


You won't enjoy this game at all if you prioritize "getting to play REAL NLHE" whatever that means over gambling it up with a nice edge. The bad NLHE players who think the purpose of no limit is to blast draws out of the hand so they call win small pots won't enjoy this kind of game. Play good hands and enjoy the roller coaster and you'll win in the long run. The really long run.
Great advice, thanks! Especially about lowering the value of semibluff hands and low pps. $10 - $20 per hr is certainly fine, Im only here until I can move up.

What kind of preflop raise size would you recommend considering the rake? I usually keep it at a standard 3 bb (more with premiums if I think they're bad enough to call with an overly wide range), but I keep finding myself in situations like this one:

folds to me on B, raise to 3 bbs, sb folds, bb calls, then folds to cb. After rake there's only 7 bucks in the pot which means I only make a dollar or half a bb.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:08 AM   #6
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

Wtf kind of 50 blind 1/2 nl game has 2 people heads up to the flop for 6 dollars?
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:13 AM   #7
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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Wtf kind of 50 blind 1/2 nl game has 2 people heads up to the flop for 6 dollars?
The kind that's full of nits. I guess I should just avoid those tables
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:24 AM   #8
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

Good news is that $5+1 isn’t bad and the game is certainly beatable if opponents are loose/passive. With those players, the 50BB max doesn’t really hurt because it’s hard to get in significantly more anyway against someone who only raises the nuts.

Bad news is that two or more 20BB guys with basic understanding of shortstack strategy will make it pretty tough. You can’t raise 3-4BB preflop because that pot will be mostly going to rake if your opponent check/folds the flop. But if you make it 6BB+, the 20BB stacks can just shove on you which means you have to play pretty tight preflop. And to get anywhere close to $20/hour, you either have to play a decent amount of hands to maximize your postflop edge or your opponents have to be ridiculously bad.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:50 PM   #9
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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with a flat $5+1 rake on every flop
They take $5+1 no matter what is in the pot?
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:09 PM   #10
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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They take $5+1 no matter what is in the pot?
Isn't that the way lots (all?) poker rooms in California handle it as soon as a flop is spread due to casinos not being allowed to offer percentage games?

Some like Commerce take only $3 in their 1/2 games though.

Last edited by madlex; 07-05-2018 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:10 PM   #11
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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They take $5+1 no matter what is in the pot?
Standard California drop.
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:20 PM   #12
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

Never been to California. That's brutal.

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What kind of preflop raise size would you recommend considering the rake? I usually keep it at a standard 3 bb (more with premiums if I think they're bad enough to call with an overly wide range).
Preflop raises should always just depend on the vibe at the table. I usually just go with what everyone else seems to be doing but just add a bit more. If the usual raise is to $6-8, I will go with $10-12. The other option is to be aggressive and you can change the vibe at the table. If you continually start raising to $15-20 every time, eventually the new norm will be higher. Many of the nits will leave though.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:27 PM   #13
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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folds to me on B, raise to 3 bbs, sb folds, bb calls, then folds to cb. After rake there's only 7 bucks in the pot which means I only make a dollar or half a bb.
If that's often happening then this game isn't as good as you said. I wouldn't play in a tight game under these circumstances.

But something's not right. CA games impose extra blinds or other hacks to make sure there's some pot on the flop. In your example one player could limp, the SB could complete, the BB could check, and the dealer wouldn't have a single chip left in the pot to cover up the burn card. Someone might take it down w/o showdown and owe two bucks.

I've seen NL games in CA something like $2-3 with $5 on the button (for pretty small buyins, like maybe $300 max, not like normal 2-5). I've seen stud games with a ridiculous $1 ante for a $2/4 game. Anything to build a pot.

Are you sure the structure is simple $1-2 with this rake? If so, the cardroom is apparently run by dolts. But the game is still probably worth playing if as you said in the OP. Raise to like $10, get two callers, stack off with AA against TPNK and a missed flush draw, now you have a reasonable pot.
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Old 07-05-2018, 04:29 PM   #14
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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Some like Commerce take only $3 in their 1/2 games though.
Note that way you can have a limped blind v blind (if one of the blinds is both stubborn and dumb) and still have $1 in the pot on the flop. Not coincidental.
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Old 07-06-2018, 12:39 AM   #15
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

If you're good you can beat these games for $20 an hour.

I agree with the strategy advice so far. Also avoid limping at all costs. The rake just decimates limped pots in these games. I would size your raises as big as you can get away with, 8-14 depending on limpers. The rake is your biggest enemy in this game so try to play big pots.
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Old 07-06-2018, 06:46 PM   #16
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

if the shorties hate straddle, button straddle and raise pot whent it gets back to u, scoop up their straddle limps
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:37 PM   #17
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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They take $5+1 no matter what is in the pot?
Pechanga I think drops 3+1 for the 1/2. Anything 1/3 or higher is 4+1.
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Old 07-07-2018, 02:09 AM   #18
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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if the shorties hate straddle, button straddle and raise pot whent it gets back to u, scoop up their straddle limps
Whenever I used to short stack NL, I loved when someone straddled (as long as they weren't directly to my right). It made my stack even shorter and easier to get it in with.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:21 PM   #19
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

The 50 bb max is going to hurt your potential winrate -- simply because there is less money on the table for you to win.

But your game is probably still beatable for more than minimum wage. (I beat my local 1/2 game for $16/hr plus $2/hr in food comps over 2K hours... but mine had a 100bb max).

Agree with Rob, straddle makes the game easier for short stacks.
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Old 07-15-2018, 09:17 PM   #20
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

OP's game IS at the Commerce.

Over the course of 60-90 minutes, half or more the $40 buy-ins at 1/2, and the $100 buy-ins at 1/3, bust out.

They can then buy in for $60 and $150, respectively.

And most of their money (except the rake, of course) is now in bigger stacks scattered around the "busted out and rebought stacks".

After 90-120 minutes, after this cycle repeats a couple of times, the stacks are now $200-$300-$400, sometimes more.

But most of the Villains are still playing "short stack style".

$15-$20 an hour is possible, even more if you pay attention, as the level of play is what you would expect from short stackers with bigger stacks.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:19 PM   #21
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Re: Is this game even worth playing? And other questions

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Originally Posted by DarkOne View Post
If you're good you can beat these games for $20 an hour.

I agree with the strategy advice so far. Also avoid limping at all costs. The rake just decimates limped pots in these games. I would size your raises as big as you can get away with, 8-14 depending on limpers. The rake is your biggest enemy in this game so try to play big pots.
I think that trying to play big pots in this game means trying to create massively multi-way pots. Limping isn't so bad if the players cooperate with building a pot post-flop. Maybe a small pot-builder raise that makes no one fold. Iso-raise and take down a small-ish pot with a flop c-bet seems like a not-great result.
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