20/09/2007

The Dean’s Limit Hold’em Surgery Part 2

Carl Sampson 'The Dean'

So carrying on from last week, how are we going to handle this situation? Anyone at this stage who is confused about what I am talking about…. please read last week's article.

In online play, you don’t have that long to decide what to do but in the overwhelming majority of cases, if you have to think about it then it is probably a very close call either way anyway.

But as was said last week, he is multi-tabling so is unlikely to have noticed me too much anyway. The answer here is that I really could go either way with this and either call or cap it depending on the circumstances. I feel that it is very important that you try and get some sort of balance into your game. That way, it makes it much more difficult for observant players to get an angle on you.

Despite the fact that this opponent may or may not have noticed you, you can rest assured that at least one or two players on your table will be watching you and this gets more prevalent the higher up the ladder you play. So I elect to cap it in this instance and this sends out a very important message to my aggressive opponent….that I cannot be run off this hand very easily.

Despite that, he knows that I am not a favourite to have a big pair or to hit the flop so my show of aggression cannot stop here. After they call, then it becomes psychological warfare at its finest as many pots become a battle of no hand against no hand and get decided by one player finally convincing the other player that they do in fact have a hand.

At this stage of the proceedings, I simply do not believe their three bet before the flop for being a big hand, they are going to have to do a bit more than that to get rid of me or convince me here. When you are up against a big hand then it gets more expensive than if you had simply played more passively but if you have aspirations of making a lot of money at this game, then you are simply going to have to accept higher variance.

So what is the flop? Does it matter…..for the purposes of this very short article then it cannot matter. I could go on all year quoting flops, turn and river cards, the possible permutations are endless. You can always tell a players overall level of poker development by the type of questions that they ask. “How do I play aces from middle position” and “what do I do with this hand”.

Questions like these seem to indicate that the player thinks he can memorise every possible play that can be made almost like learning basic strategy at blackjack and strategy deviation tables. Poker is simply not like that and is why hand charts simply do not cut it beyond a certain level. Poker expertise is arrived at through a process of evolution and not revolution.

Rather than quote hand examples and situations that are almost meaningless as they will never get replicated in your game anyway, I will try and describe the methodology behind how I play and think in certain situations and as always, I am always open to comments either on the forum or on www.pokersharkpool.com.

Behind my modus operandi is a philosophy of attempting to construct a table image. Although I tend to do this less if I am on a table that is filled with multi-tablers. In most games I would say that at least three players in a 6 MAX are entering more pots than me. But when I enter, I am very aggressive and there are no half measures and I will not be re-raised into my shell before the flop when heads up unless I know them to be a rock.

But when you play in a 6 max limit hold’em game then you are in fact going into battle and you do best to remember that fact. Do not be afraid of a confrontation, you do not enter a boxing ring if you are afraid of getting punched and you are going to take a lot of punches in limit hold’em. When you take the fight to your opponent then your style promotes action and conflict, so expect punches and expect to get hurt. You don’t win any fight without taking punches but if you pick and choose your fights carefully and punch your weight then you are going to knock your opponents out with great regularity.

To round off the first part of this series, next week I will take a look at one possible continuation to this hand just to highlight several further points into how I sometimes play and think post flop.

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