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General Hold'em Help

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Posted this on the tech forum (didn't see this one after 3 years on PL :o )

Hi All First a bit of background... I've played Holdem for about 3 years now and just about hold my own when playing online (small stakes). Over the last few months it has taken off locally with a bunch on mates who play 2-3 times a week. The losses are limited as we buy 1500 chips (normally £20) and winner takes all. My problem is that I seem to regularly get down to the last 3 or 4 (out of 12 or 13) and no further. What I am after are some simple mathmatic rules that I can follow to play a better games. I know that a good approximation for improving your hand is (out cards * 2)% but I know there are other equations you can follow ie pot odds? I know there a web sites out there that try to explain it but I was hoping that someone could go through a worked example with thoughts about what each player should be calculating. I'm sure that this question is a little vague but the mates play with are so 'loose' that I can't understand why I can't win. An example of this is busting out last time around with 2 pair (Aces+Jacks) to 3 fives. I had AJ and the flop came AJ5. He had 56 (unsuited) and stayed to the river and caught a 5 to bust me out. Maybe my staking is wrong to allow for these guys who stay in hoping to catch a card. Any thought appreciated.
Got a couple of quality replies thanks. Follow up questions though as having thought about it I think my problem lies in my stakes. We start with 1500 chips and blinds are 5/10 to start and double every half an hour up to 200/400. We have 10-12 players and 6-7 of them are very loose canons. An example problem: I draw AQ suited in an early position and there will be 3-4 callers who's hands I know will be low pair / unsuited low connectors / K4 etc... ie hands I would fold. I would simply call hoping to see a cheap flop but these guys will raise 50 or even 100 only to fold after the flop/turn. This forces me to fold before seeing the flop as there are too many callers but I wonder wether I should be and wether there is an equation that I can use to help me decide? Thanks in advance. Mike

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Re: General Hold'em Help Hi Mike and nice one on finding the forum ;) I am not quite sure what you are asking here to be honest. Your home game (just like the one I am in) sounds very loose aggressive with quite a few "loose cannons". You can take advantage of this by just playing nice and tight and betting your hands aggressively when you make something decent. You will find yourself on the receiving end of quite a few outdraws (like the 5 on the river example you mention in your post) but not to worry this is common in loose games and the maths will come back to you in the long run - make them pay for their draws (bet the POT size) and let the small stacks take their chances with you on preflop gambles, avoiding confrontations with the larger stacks. When the blinds are small I would play extremely tight preflop but as they get bigger tend to raise more and more before the flop. Since your game is so loose I would imagine AQs is ahead of most raisers hands preflop (in a tight net game, if someone raised a decent amount before me and i had AQ I almost always muck it straight off). In your situation I would not have raised on my own with all the callers before the flop but if someone had raised before me like they did to you I would have reraised them. If you are wondering how much to raise/reraise/bet then I would suggest always raising/betting the size of the pot. this is mathematically an important concept in big bet poker and one that everyone should adopt. (as well as being nice and aggressive and offering your flush chasing opponents a bad price on their draws if you always bet the pot noone is going to be able to tell if you are bluffing or betting from value from the size of your bet as is a lot of players failing) Jez

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Re: General Hold'em Help Oh Joy .... Oh Joy.... Bought the book by Mike Caro (Poker Tells). Spent a couple of hours reading it yesterday and went into the Tuesday night game fully armed. It was like a revelation. took out 4 players on my table in first 1/2 hour as they were all displaying bluffing tells EXACTLY as described in the book. Got down to the last 4 (out of 18) and just in the money and bombed out with pocket Queens against 8,7 suited. Three 8's on the flop blew me away as I called his all in. I think that I played 2 or 3 bad hands and should have sat tight for a little longer to get to last 2 but next time I'll definitely drink less. A couple of players were hard to read as they sat the same way after every deal / flop so I just stayed clear of action when they were in. Thanks for the advise again chaps. Mike :clap

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