29/11/2007

Don’t try this Multi-tabling

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

I thought that this title would get you. After some of the recent posts on the forum last week about multi-tabling then most people will be thinking that the title is telling people not to multi-table. I have made my views perfectly clear on this matter (or have I?). It seems that a few responses on the forum indicate that there has been some confusion as to what I have been trying to say.

Let me get one thing perfectly straight, I am not knocking multi-tabling. I know people personally who do very well and I multi-table myself. In fact our very own Mr Joe Beevers does very well thankyou playing his usual three PLO tables on Full Tilt.

Anyway, enough about that as this is not the point of this article. The point is that I want to talk about my regular feature of beating the 6 max games and the play that I want to discuss today should not be tried while multi-tabling (hence the title) but can be very effective taking down pots against tight players and especially tight aggressive players who like to exploit position.

With your Poker Tracker filters set to between 4 and 6 then anyone who has a VPIP significantly greater than 25% is entering too many pots. Couple this with their pre-flop aggression and you have the basis of some very useful information at your disposal. The sample size is very important of course but even without a significant sample to go on, witnessing an opponent make a certain play several times starts to indicate a pattern.

You cannot wait until your opponent has a significant sample size in which to base your play because chances are that you either may not play with them again, they could lose their money and not buy back in, or they could change sites or whatever. Plus, your opponents don’t always play ball by playing the same way all the time.

They un-sportingly read books, join forums, read magazines and improve their all round knowledge frequently... the rotters! So those 5,000 hand samples that you had on your opponent might not be worth an awful lot without constant re-evaluation.

So onto the hand in question, the game is $10-$20 six handed and I am under the gun with 55 and limp in. Firstly the limp deserves some explanation. I sometimes like to play hands in this way in certain circumstances because it is extremely flexible. If the hand gets played passively then I can see a flop and hope to hit a set.

If there is heavy action to my left then I can fold quite easily. But in this instance, having a solid conventional player on the button who likes to use his position as a weapon opens up a possible opportunity to be creative.

My limp indicates weakness so if it gets folded around to him on the button, his raising range will be fairly wide and I can play along. My VPIP in these games is in the low twenties and this keeps my image just where I want it to be and allows me to make certain plays against solid thinking types.

I feel that I must point out here that this is not a standard poker play to limp in with pocket fives in this manner in a $10-$20. Most games at that level are tight aggressive and limping in hoping to make a set in a multi-way pot... well it just ain’t going to happen.

But I am playing this hand in this way for a totally different reason to how I would be playing it in a very loose passive $1-$2 game for instance where I would be limping in hoping to flop a set and bust a weak player who makes a mistake with a hand like top pair top kicker.

The point of this article is to show you that it takes an element of creative thinking if you aspire to beating games at the $10-$20 level or higher and solid bog standard play does not work as well. So I have limped in with the fives for $20. If there is significant action like a raise and re-raise then I muck the hand and lose the $20... big deal.

But I am looking to exploit the guy on the button who after it gets folded to him duly pots it and so it proves the case here. My overall style in these games is tight aggressive but merely calling it that does not properly label it. I am not conventionally aggressive as with the position raise type of aggression for instance (although I do my share of that). But I am constantly on the look out for situations where I can use aggression to exploit obvious over aggression on behalf of my opponents.

So in this instance the guy on the button raises it to $90 and both blinds fold and I call. I am neither getting pot odds or implied odds to hit my set but the set is the bonus and not the goal. The pot stands at $210 and I check to him on a flop of 1072. He fires $150 at the pot and I instantly check-raise to $500.

In the majority of instances with me having the proper image and correct frequency of VPIP/PFA (if they are using PT against me) then I will get away with a play like this the vast majority of the time.

I have scooped $270 in profit in this hand and risked $590 in order to get it which is around 1-2 in fixed odds terms. On the face of it, this does not seem good value as I have to be taking down two pots in three to break even. But against the right opponent with the right style of play and with me having the proper image, then it can be rare to get called in a heads up situation.

This play works in tight aggressive games with good players on the table and not something to be tried at low stakes. On your good days, your opponent calls and you hit your set on the turn and stack him. On your bad days, you hit your set on the turn while he is sitting there with 77. On most days, you just simply take the $270 and call it a day for trying this play again in the same session... or maybe if you are greedy then...

Anyone who wishes to discuss this article with me is free to do so either on the forum or through my website at www.pokersharkpool.com.

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