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Know your level

January 30, 2008

One thing that permeates this blog in many different ways is the difference in playing levels. There isn’t a lot of categorized discussion about it on the internet, other than when people say “at this level, expect …” In other words, they understand there is a difference, but I’m surprised at the lack of delineation or attempts to define specifics.

“Value bet”, “don’t bluff the calling stations” are standard adjustments, and I’ve noted a bunch of characteristics in another blog entry, but it makes it tough sometimes to try to learn from books, videos, internet postings when they are talking about players at $100NL or $50 tournament buyins. You can’t make the same analysis because micro players will have a much wider range, you can’t make the same plays because the micro players will not understand. A stop and go means nothing to someone who sees they have a gut shot straight or overcards and they’ll call off most of their stack. You can’t assume heads-up that the player hasn’t got an Ace just because they didn’t raise because they don’t know how big a hand with any Ace is heads-up.

And of course the same applies within the micro levels as well. I’m having fun lately with the $1 turbo STTs when I don’t have time or the focus to play anything else. The rake is ridiculous, but so is the competition. Last night, lying in bed, I looked up my remaining competition on Sharkscope. Of 5, only 2 had positive ROI, and one of them had only played 28. One of the losers had played over 1,000 and was -$747 and the other two were around 500-700 with losses of $400 and $500 respectively. They must have won sometimes, and they’re only playing cheap tourneys so that’s a lot of losses.

The point for me is that since I play a fairly wide range of game levels, I have to be able to shift gears and adjust for what I expect to find at any given level. Aggression is bad against calling stations, but good against tight/weak players. Preflop raises and c-bets may be a waste of chips against limp/callers, but shoving two pair on the flop may get calls from weak draws. QQ and JJ can be good preflop shoves as you can get called with A2o or even KTo, but be prepared to get sucked out on. $10NL seems to be the most troublesome for me as it seems to be a crossover point. At $25NL the number of limp/callers drops enough that I seem to be more comfortable playing the game that I like to play but it requires attention to reads that I’m not always willing to put in.

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