Monday, August 24, 2009

Analyzing NLHE:TAP Concept 5

One by one, I'm analyzing the concepts at the end of No Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

Concept No. 5: When you first sit down, evaluate your game and decide whether your profit should come more from big pots or small pots.

I don't have a whole lot to say about this one. It's certainly a good idea to consider your situation when you sit down at the table, so I guess the only question here is whether deciding between big pots and small pots is really a top priority. Frankly, I don't know how to analyze this concept. I'll try comparing it to what I do when I first sit at a table.

If you were to ask me what the first thing you should do when you sit down in a NL holdem game is, I would tell you to first note your opponents' stack sizes. Then, listen to any table banter. This might give you an idea of who is winning and losing, who is aggressive, and who is passive. You'll need to take these impressions with a grain of salt, but they can give you hints as to how your opponents might behave or how they think about the game. Then you should watch the action closely, noting who plays lots of hands and who plays few. Ask yourself "is this table generally loose/aggressive, or are they more tight/passive? Do they tend to call too much preflop and fold too much on the flop? Generally, how can I exploit my opponents at this table?" This is a lot to think about, so maybe there is some value in simplifying things a little and just asking myself whether I should be trying to win big pots or small pots, as suggested by this concept.

Evaluating this concept further doesn't really fit my brand of analysis. The best approach probably depends on your personality. In any case, I like this concept because it encourages the reader to focus on his opponents, to assess his situation, and to think about how to exploit it.

1 comment:

Danyul said...

I like this concept actually and I think it may be one of their top 5 most constructive for me, at least. I have found by thinking in terms of big pots or small pots and whom to play said pots against really determines bluffing frequency and calling frequency. If you have determined that small pots are where your profit is coming from then you can small bet bluff much more often as you will only get called by monsters (i.e. a small percentage of the time) and you should be calling very rarely as their bluffing tendencies are much smaller and their hand ranges are much more narrowly defined.
Conversely, if your profit is going to be in big pots this usually implies that your opponents are either gambling by playing draws fast, bluffing too much, or just out and out misplaying their hands and leaking EV instead of missing EV. In all these situations, it would seem that bluffing should gone down quite a bit from the small pot distribution and calling should increase as well.