Thursday, February 15, 2007

Why online poker NL games are dangerous and why limit games might be a better choice online

You see it a million times online and note Mike's comment about Gus Hanson on pokerstars season 3.

Mike was correct assessing Gus's play during his interview after Gus knocked him out. So how does this equate to my post here about NL online poker? Very simple, the bad beats occur more often than not online because online poker is full of moronic idiots, who do not consider the pot odds, ev, even the basic concept of the NL Holdem game.

They just do not fold, no matter how much it is for them to call a gutter ball, even and up and down draw or flush draw. They play way too many pots and they seem to win allot. Well let me tell you, they win from time to time per player, but the issue is when you are a skilled player and you are out numbered at any given table by these morons, all it takes is one or 2 of them to get hot and hit their cards and you can get into real trouble. So 6 of them can lose their asses but again, if one or 2 hit their cards, and online because they do not fold, they usually do, the skilled player can become sandwiched my these morons.

Skilled players now are forced to make a choice between 2 ways to play online, ultra tight pre flop and over betting the pot with top pair, or raising themselves on occasion in bad position with garbage starting hands. But when morons are always coming after you, like in Mike's case, any one of the 6 guys at the table can and usually get lucky when they had no biz in the pot at all. THEY JUST WANT TO BRAG HOW THEY OUT PLAYED THE MOUTH!!

Mike gets beat allot online because Mike chooses option one. Because these players want to brag about beating Mike, even when they got gutterballs and the pot odds are all wrong, they call anyways, and will continue to call, and most times they don't hit their draws, but allot of times, they suck out on the river with 2 pair. What happens allot to Mike is that he gets gun shy, and begins to play weak because he gets sick and tired of donk morons out drawing him. I do not think my brother has fully accepted and taken into the fact that he cannot play his game online which is power out play poker. His bluff equity is low because of ESPN showing Mike bluffing allot, so everyone assumes he is always making a play.

Personally I believe players like my brother should play less online and focus more on live cash games against moderately skilled players.

Their you can get a read on those players much better.

My recommendation for players out there with a decent skill level is to stay away from NL Holdem and go towards the Holdem limit games. If you play 1/2 NL online, choose the 3/6 or 2/4 limit game.

in Limit, skilled players can control the pot sizes better and they understand how to raise the flops and turn to get a free card on draws. If they are re raised the pot can still remain under control at this point by simply calling. Basically, they can get their EV out of any hand on hand situation.

It is pointless to cap the pot in limit trying to bluff another player. Limit does not work that way because people will call down allot more with draws. Where the Limit game can help you is once again, pot size control. and more options to limp call pre flop. There is less over play when another player senses you might be weak, You can still stay in the pot without getting bullied out of it by a player once again thinking you are weak.

NL game if you decide to make a play on a draw and raise hard on the flop, you can get into allot of trouble if a strong hand moves all in on you, and the pot their can get out of control. In a Limit game, if you flop trips against a draw, you can raise there and get the draw to just call, you get allot more fold equity and are not forced to push in with your trips your whole roll if DONKEY KONG OVER BETS THE DRAW.

Yes NL game you push there and u win the hand which you are 4 to 1 in most cases to win, you make more money, but if the 1 shot in 4 comes up, your roll can be gone very fast. Getting my point yet out there?

Understand? In limit you do not lose your roll at this point and can receive better pot odds to flat call a raise, even re raise because each pull is capped. The draw at this point will always most likely call the re raise. If he hits and your read is he was on draw, there is your fold equity, or you can check and call for one card to a board pair into a decent size pot. following?

Conclusion, choose the limit game if you are more skilled player online. Remember as well, Better players fold more when they are up against the moron donkey retard.

This is what happens to Mike allot online. Is Mike a top skilled player? You bet he is, Mike can go play with Ivey, Doyle, Harmon and the rest of them and do very well because those players all understand the real game of NL Poker. Because of ESPN and other TV networks popularizing Poker, everyone thinks they can play NL poker and most have no clue at all, TRUST ME!!


R2K said...

: )

Jack said...

I agree with this assessment. I like NL tournaments, but for cash games I choose Limit precisely because of All-In monkeys.

I've found that the best strategy to win over time is to see the flop often, and decide right then and there if you're going to fold, call to the river, or raise to the river.

Harv said...

Hey Scotty, Harv from that 3/6 limit game on FT earlier. Just wanted to prove that I really did go to the page & read your blog entry. ;)

I've never really been much of a no limit player. It just happened quite by coincidence that when I first started playing, I gravitated to the limit games. My few forays into the NL cash games online have been bizarre, to say the least. I well remember one hand where I wound up with five players all in preflop when I was holding aces...they miraculously held up in that one. One of my opponents had 73 suited. Oh, and he called all in.

Anyway, as you obviously saw this morning, the donkeys are there in full force in any online game, be it limit, no limit, hold'em or stud. It really is all about pushing your edges, getting the most equity you can out of every situation, and knowing when your big preflop hand just got cracked. The big edge that we (as winning players) have in these games is that, while we won't win all the hands that we should win based on pot odds and equity, the pots that we do win will often be monsters where we should by all rights have just picked up the blinds. And while it is excrutiating to have your flopped top set lose to a runner runner straight "draw", there's no feeling more satisfying in the world than being able to cap every street when you're holding quads. ;)

Cell 1919 said...

Oh so true!

And I speak as a microlimit donk who tries to play the game 'correctly'.

The number of times you'll see a player raise all in in a S&G with typically nothing but a ten high flush draw is amazing. Nice when you get rid of them but they often have far too many outs. If they kept losing then perhaps they'd go back to the drawing board, but they only remember the suckouts they inflict and so the circle starts again.

For some any suited hole cards is an excuse to go all the way, and dodging the bullets is very difficult and discouraging.

Scott Matusow said...

Harv; it would help if I took my own advice.

I decided to switch to bank to an NL game. I did ok in the limit game. I picked up aces in the NL game and I had an all in behind my raise. I called and the guy hit trip q's on the river and their goes most of my roll. I decided to take out all my money and quit online poker. I have next to no advantage online over the donks. I cannot see them. look at them. It is basically for me like roulette.

To be honest, I am getting caught up in their game, I easlily get too upset when I see bad play, even when I win the hand!! I enjoy poker more for the sake of the pure game. out thinking, out playing, etc. This cannot be done online as they do not think, but play any cards, hit any cards, FOLD NOTHING etc, etc.

I personally saw one gal who could not play a lick of poker go from 20 bucks all the way up to 700+ in that 3/6 game playing every pot winning every pot with any 2 cards. Something I have rarely seen before in my life, the hands she was winning.

Personally. it is a waste of my time, it is not real poker in the sense again of not being able to properly read opponents tendecies, when they are playing any 2 cards, it is hard to pick them off and pick up what they have, esp when they have nothing and hit every card they need. I fnd it hard ot put them on draws, pairs. I cannot read what they have half the time.

The same player sometimes might be bluffing the very next hand. I saw this allot, even on bluffs, picking up that one card they needed. Again, this is not the poker I grew up around.

While ESPN and other networks have brought allot of money into poker. It has also dilluted the skill level of the game to the point it is just another form of gambling like again, roulette.

I can assure you guys this; If some donk who is a multi millionare deciced to play the big game at the Bellagio, playing like an internet donk. Doyle and the rest of those guys could get into some trouble if the donk is loaded enough and feels he can play any 2 cards and feels he/she always has value;

No different there than trying to break the casino, You cannot. The bigger BK that had you out banked 20 to 1 will eventually win out in the long run.

pete said...

Scott, I also agree with your assessment of online poker. You hit the nail right on the head. Your point about pros like Mike being faced by a never-ending army of NL morons who are (1) unaware of pot odds, and (2) who are incapable of folding a hand... so very true. If Mike could play the same 9 fish night in and out, maybe he could at least predict patterns in each bad player's moves and get more consistent results over time. But as it currently stands, bad players outnumber good players online about 1000 to 1, and so bad beats rule the day at online tables, especially NL tables.

I've watched Mike play alot, both online and live, and he's an amazing live player, one of the top 5 in the world IMHO. But watching him online is like watching a different person entirely. One of Mike's NL trademarks seems to be the strategy of winning alot of smaller pots by overbetting the pot. This works well live because he is usually playing pros who understand odds. He cleverly turns the concept of pot odds on its head and in effect, he prices people out of pots sooner than later, a sort of pre-emptive strike. He's the best at this, especially when he mixes it into his overall game and when he gets his talk going.

Online poker has too many unknown factors and the inability to detect physical tells works in bad players' favour.

I'm not sure Mike needs to quit online NL. Maybe he needs to simply play less, be a bit more selective in who he plays with and what levels he plays at. I'd be interested to know if he runs worse at the 25/50 level (or lower) than he does at the higher levels.

Your point about limit vs. NL: I agree entirely. Limit poker suits math/odds oriented players, ie. better players, like Mike. NL online tends to be a crap shoot when you are sharing a table with 8 virtual unknowns who couldn't calculate pot odds if their life depended on it. Mike's strategy of pre-emptive bluffs & overbets to earn smaller pots is never gonna work with these donks. Never. And even when he plays tight and moves in on good hands, he's still up against opponents who gamble on 3-outers.

I've recently decided to quit online poker altogether, and opt for live card rooms. I've enjoyed way way more success live than online, plus I just enjoy the social aspect of the live game. It sure is easier to talk an opponent into or away from a pot when you are sitting next to them and actually talking to them rather than typing at them. :)


Scott Matusow said...

Pete wins most intelligent comment of the month hands down. The prize? heh, my response, lol. all kidding aside, great post comment Pete, you are right on the money, Myself, I am quitting cash game poker for the most part, might play tournaments online and perhaps wsop. I consider myself a very good player with good understanding and read ability, but so what? You can show me my opponents hole cards and I can still lose to a guy that will not fold!!!

Where I need to improve, if I ever decide to get back into today's game is sticking strictly to value betting, calling and staying away from raising as much and keeping pots under control. I feel Doyle Brunson might be the best player in the world doing this. I need to take ego out of game and control my emotions better.

Most people, myself included used to beleive Cash game was more skill. I begining to change my opinion on that as I'm seeing tournament NL poker for the most part remaining somewhat sane. ( except for guys like Tido Phan, hes a nutjob)

To add, I find it comical some people think Mike is a donkey, but praise a guy like Stu Unger. MIKE AND STUS GAME (when he was alive) ARE NEARLY INDENTICAL.

If stuey was around now, he's get hammered online, beleive me!! I se Ivey get killed online all the time. Ivey is smarter than Mike in the reagrd he rarely plays online that much.

Allan Cunningham is smart in the fact that he plays lower limt games and less time online.

Yes Mike needs to play allot less online.

You tell him, He will not listen to me in this regard :)

conclusion, If I ever play cash limit games online again, I need ot stick to my plan and be ultra tight, not get greedy and control the pots, and understand if they wont fold, ok, Ill keep the suck out loss factor lower by putting less money in the pot and allow my opponsnts to see more cards and just call more. Ill win less but in the long run I wil come out ahead. Will have to work harder at it. But then again, hard work usaully equates to success anyways!

NO MORE EASY STREET!! << Big problem I got, runs in family, I cannot bully donks out of pots, I have to play under control and as Harv said, when I get the buts, then raise and cap them since they have no understanding of table image anyways, they will donate even to a guy tighter than Ebonizer Scrooge man!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it was Mike who said that limit poker was for idiots.

I used to play limit until I heard that, went onto No limit and lost half my role.


Smaptastic said...

This is quite possibly the dumbest thing I've ever read regarding online poker.

Yes. You play idiots. Idiots, however, are where your profit comes from. You may have to adjust, but if you can't fix your game to beat someone that will call a push with 67 on a 257A2 board, you don't deserve to make money from poker, live or online.

Obviously you are unfamiliar with the concept of bankroll management, which is essentially the idea of having a big enough roll to absorb a few beats. You say you lost your roll in one hand - clearly you should have been playing a lower limit.

You are completely unfamiliar with some basic poker concepts, and rather than choosing to improve your game, you decided to bitch and moan about the state of online poker as a whole. I can assure you, as someone who has created a respectable bankroll from a $100 deposit playing nothing but NL poker online, that you are sadly mistaken in almost everything you say in this entry.

Smaptastic said...

If that comment doesn't make it to the blog, I understand. You seem to have only allowed in comments that agree with you so far. Wouldn't want someone to have a different opinion in your own post comments, now would you?

Scott Matusow said...

Sure I allow comments. I'd kindly suggest you tone it down a bit, other than that, all good.

My roll meaning a measly buy in. I still maintain online poker is not real poker. And I will be happy to play you live and pick all your tells apart and and prob slam you to prove my point. However, you might be able to beat me online. Too much luck involved and again it is not real poker.

I understand poker very very well and I am very sucessful at it.

Do you think Stu Unger played by the book? He could tell you at least 90 percent of the time your hole cards.

I said online NL games can be dangerous, and meaning especially when you are up against morons who will play any 2 in any position.

I am watching right now in a game online I am playing, a total donkey calling any raise and running with any 2 the whole room, EXCEPT ME, I'm staying away from him. Just beat him in a small pot and dure eventaully, he wil donk off his chips. Only a matter of time.

But that was my whole point, and the point is geared to lesser experienced players, follow?

You are entitled to your opinion, after 15 years in and around poker I think I understand poker very very well.

it is all about my ability to read players, especially in a live game mode, but I pick up tells online as well.

Scott Matusow said...

update not that you would care, I spanked that guy eventaully and bet out the nuts on him cause i knew he could not fold. I STAYED AWAY FROM HIM WHEN HE WAS ON A HOT RUN.. He liked to limp call every pot in any position with any 2.

I finally slammed him when I had position on him and drew out on the turn on him.

I win 8 out of 10 sessions online. I'm sure you do well too.

But I do know a hell of allot about poker. Remember, my points are geared to the begining players. Read my post on live game tells for more intricate live poker play stuff.

Your posts and most others are always welcome. I only disallow a very few posts, namely only post to date I did not allow, because guy was rude and nasty.

You are certainly welcome to disagree with me, that is your right, and you are welcome to post your disagreements. As long as you do not get personal and stick to the points, I will allow any poster to give his opinion, whether he agrees or not. Peace