I read an interview recently by Patrik Antonius who stated that no-limit hold’em was getting tougher as more and more people knew how to play the game. He is right and I agree with him but not entirely. The kind of games that he circulates in are a far cry from the rest of us so he might find that to be the case more so than others.
But even in lower limits like $3-$6 and $5-$10, there has been a substantial tightening process over the last year or so. But it is not all doom and gloom just yet as there are still plenty of fish in the sea, you just have to cast your net a little bit wider or maybe settle for smaller fish.
But I always feel that winning poker is a culmination of small edges compounded. But experience in these games can get you an awful long way and was a point that I made in a recent forum post about the weaknesses with poker books. For instance, you will end up getting all in more frequently online than you will in a live game.
It does not really matter how good you are, most of the time it will not be of your choosing as weaker players have a tendency to push more frequently or to overbet. This getting all in more often needs to be factored into your game plan because it highlights very important traits in the behaviour patterns of your opponents. This tendency to get all in is also prevalent on certain sites over others.
Maybe someone will offer evidence to the contrary but at this time I think that Full Tilt and Pokerstars are the toughest sites to play on and UB was not far behind at one stage. But when you sit down at any poker table then you should pay special attention where you sit whether it is in a live game or online.
For instance if you are about to sit in a $10-$20 no limit game and it is a 6 max table but the only seat available is to the right of a player who has a stack of over $6000 then you have to be asking yourself, “should I really be taking this seat?”
OK, so he might be a weak or ordinary player who has been on a rush. But with a 100 big bet maximum buy in then he is in front by at least $4000. If you have no statistics on him then you are advised to use a little bit of caution before you sit down. You could just be conceding position to the best player on the site who is bossing this entire table for all you know.
You cannot always shy away from having very good players on your table but you can avoid them having position over you. So why not just either sit and watch for a while and check them out or go and play on the other $10-$20 table where the largest stack on the table is only $2000?
The reasons why most players don’t do this is either because they are not aware of the potential downfalls and act out of ignorance or they just simply cannot wait to get into action and jump into any old game against anybody. If you think that all the top players are playing $200-$400 and $300-$600 all of the time then you are very much mistaken.
Why should they anyway? When there are ample players with cash on the hip who frequent the $3-$6 to $10-$20 range. But if no limit hold’em is tightening up (and even if it isn’t then it almost certainly will at some stage) then other game factors begin to escalate in importance.
These days, I find that I spend as much time studying data as I do playing the game. Even when I am not studying data then I will sit and watch a game for quite some time and quite often I won’t even play at all. If more players simply refused the action that is in front of them then more of them would be winning players! Anyone who wishes to discuss any element of this article is free to contact me through the forum or through my website www.pokersharkpool.com, see you next week.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson can also be found playing free poker