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Thread: The Absolute Worst Mistakes in Low Limit Hold'em

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  1. #1 The Absolute Worst Mistakes in Low Limit Hold'em 
    RX Senior HateTheRiverCard's Avatar
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    Just scanning through some old items I saved and found this article that some of my fellow card players here might enjoy!

    By Brian Steinberg

    Make no mistake about it. Hold'em is a game of patience and discipline — to win you need an abundance of both. I have played thousands of hours of low limit hold'em and every time I play I see the same mistakes by the same players every day, every hour. It's one of the main reasons I'm able to beat a low limit game consistently. You'll surely recognize yourself as one of the culprits of these bad plays.

    1. Protecting your blinds. The next time some genius tells you to always protect your blinds, be happy, for you are now playing with a sucker — a fish, if you will. Blinds are part of the game to get the hand started and if you protect your blinds with weak hands, you are a loser and will continue to be one. So what if everyone folds and the puck raises your blind? What is it that you are protecting: $3, $5? The next time someone raises your blinds, ask yourself how much you stand to lose if you fold. Protecting your blinds only gets you into trouble when you flop top pair with a weak kicker, or you flop a draw. It's suicide. If you always protect your blinds, then I want to play with you. I'm always looking for weak opponents.

    2. Playing a good starting hand that goes sour after the flop. I know that good starting hands are few and far between. However, it's the nature of the beast and you need to drop hands that go sour fast. I've seen it a million times over. You start with AK and the flop is J 9 4. You have nothing. Let me repeat that. You have absolutely nothing. Zilch.

    Yet, you refuse to lay it down in case an Ace of a King hits the board. In the unlikely case that it does, you want to be there. Problem is, some guy is playing A9 or A4 and you end up losing even more money. Some player may have even flopped a set, so what is it that keeps you in? At this point (after the flop) the hand only stands you 1 or 2 bets. Lay it down and forget about it. Or you have KK with six players in the pot and an ace hits.

    It's bet and raised, yet you still refuse to lay it down. Why? You're bet my friend, staying in when you know you're beat is bad strategy. If you refuse to lay down good hands that have gone sour then I want to play with you.

    3. Playing suited cards. This is perhaps the most common of all bad plays. In every low limit game, you will run into players that refuse to lay down suited cards. Playing them will diminish your bankroll fast. Fact is, the chances of flopping two of your suit on the flop is roughly 8-1. On top of that you have to complete your draw, which you will, 1 in 3.4 times. You are also fighting the chance of the board pairing and making someone else a full house, or another player drawing to a higher flush. In most cases, you'll end up putting in an average of four bets to make your flush. In a 5-10 game that is roughly 25 bucks. You will win, on the average, once in every 14 tries: 14 x 25 = 350. Unless your average 5-10 pot is more than $350 (which I guarantee it is not) then you are fighting a losing battle. If you always play suited cards then I want to play with you.

    4. Playing weak hands in early position. I could write a whole book about position play in hold'em, as it is the most crucial part of any low limit game. Playing marginal hands in early position is a common mistake that will hurt your bankroll. Hands like 10-9, 7-6, A-10, K, 10, J-10, Q-9, Q-10, J-9, 8-7, 5-6, etc. are weak hands in early position and should not be played for several reasons. First, you just don't have enough information to put in money with those types of hands. For instance, you don't know how many players will be in the pot; you don't know if the pot will be raised or even worse, double raised, and it puts you in a very precarious position, which you could have avoided. Play very tight in early position and loose in late position. If you never consider position, then I want to play with you.

    5. Takin' it out on the dealers. Forget about being angry with the dealer. On the inside she's laughing at you, and doesn't really care whether you win or lose. Your anger is an attempt to make her feel guilty. She doesn't; she has dealt 1,000 times as many hands as you've ever played and each hand had at least one loser. Dealers know they're not responsible for the cards you get, nor how you play them. In that respect, they could just as well be robots that distribute cards. The dealers have nothing to do with the outcome; to think otherwise is ludicrous. By dwelling on this, your concentration will suffer as will your bankroll. If you blame the dealer for your hardships, then I want to play with you.

    6. Revenge. A player just put a bad beat on you and you won't sleep tonight until you pay him back. Fat chance! You start reaching, chasing hands. You're going to show him a thing or two about poker. Most likely, unless you get very lucky, he's going to show you another winning hand and take even more of your money. Remember, he's not angry. On the contrary, he's probably quite happy with his wins and is playing his usual, steady game. You're the one chasing with inferior hands against his normally good starting hands. And while his head is on straight, yours is not. It's just that he played his cards to the best of his ability... the same as you were doing. Forget revenge — nobody did anything to you. If you can't get over a bad beat, then I want to play with you.

    7. Bluffing a weak player. Simply stated, if you try and bluff a weak player, it makes you a weak player. Weak players don't lay down hands; they call you with anything and everything. Some hands you just won't make anything and that's all there is to it. The only players that can be bluffed are solid players, since they respect the cards and the game. If a weak player gets bluffed once, he will never get bluffed again, ever, for fear he may be laying down the winning hand. This player has to be able to sleep tonight with nothing on his mind. If you try and bluff weak players, then I want you in my game.

    8. Calling with second pair after the flop. You hold J-Q and the flop is K-J-2. It is never correct to check and call in this position. It is only correct to check and fold, bet, raise, or fold. End of story, If you are second on the flop, chances are you will be second when the hand is over. Remember, it is what you save, not what you win that ultimately makes the difference between winning and losing. The chances of improving your hand are exactly the same as the player with the K, and he has you beat to begin with. This is a common mistake by many low limit weak players. You can't turn cat food into caviar, so why bother? If you keep calling with second pair then I want to play with you.

    9. Check raising. Although I will get many arguments on this one, my position remains the same. Unless you are 100 per cent sure that someone will bet, you should always bet when you flop the best hand. If you check one of two things will happen: you will get in 0 or 2 bets. If you bet, you will get in 1 or 3 bets. Which one is better? Think about it. Check raising is a bad play in most cases. There are exceptions to this rule; however, for the most part, it is almost always correct to bet when you think you have the best hand. Unless, of course, you have the cold stone nuts and don't want to lose anyone. If check raising is your most common poker ploy then I want to play with you, for I will get some free cards and beat you wen I should have been out of the hand.

    10. Raising with flush draws. Another beauty and a common mistake by weak opponents. Why on Earth would you want to raise with a flush draw and chase out players on belly shots, open end straight draws, 1 pair, etc. It just doesn't make sense. You want everyone in this pot in case you hit your card. Raising gets people out and in a low limit game; bluffing only works once in a blue moon. If you bet and someone else raises, that also knocks out potential revenue. The only time it's okay to bet is when everyone else checks and you are on the puck. Otherwise, just check and call. Raising on a flush draw accomplishes absolutely nothing except losing you money. You want as much money and players in this pot as possible, just in case you complete your draw. If you don't complete it, you're going to lose anyway. If you raise with flush draws, I want you in my game, for I am always looking for weak players.
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  2. #2  
    RX Junior agreeen's Avatar
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    Great tips..thanks river..unfortunately I happen to do all of them except number 5!...

    I must be everyone's dream to play with at Paradisepoker.com
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  3. #3  
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    Good post. Question do you really hate the river?


    wil.
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  4. #4  
    RX Senior HateTheRiverCard's Avatar
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    Wil,

    I was in a game about a little over a month ago and took afew bad beats on the River Card, hence the name when I registered shortly after.
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  5. #5  
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    hate...great post..

    In your opinion.

    what are the best hands to play besides pairs early in the game.

    thanks ..I love playing at partypoker and am looking for tips on playing. thanks
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  6. #6  
    The Great Govenor of California Railbird's Avatar
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    best tip is to not play low limit poker, all your profit goes to the rake. your much better off playing video poker
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  7. #7  
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    Hate:

    I'm guilty of #3. I only started playing hold 'em a couple months ago so I feel pretty good about my play.

    Thanks for sharing. These are good tips.

    Sometimes the river card can be your friend.
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  8. #8  
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    Should never play 2-4 unless your bored. Outside the obvious rake, EVERYONE stays in. Broken straights and long shot flush draws. Some miracle hands appear in 2-4.

    To the skinny asian guy at Binions last weekend around 2am. May you get some rare skin rash that never goes away. I flop a ACE high flush on the flop and this cat stays in the whole time betting and re-raising and gets a full house on the last card. At that very moment I never hated someone that much in my life,
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  9. #9  
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    Yes you will hear arguments about check raising.

    Check raising is great to put the breaks on overly aggressive semi-bluffers.
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  10. #10  
    RX Senior drunkguy's Avatar
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    great points.

    Like areef, I agree that the check raising advice is not 100% right. Most pros will tell you the check-raise is one of the most potent weapons in your arsenal, when played correctly...
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  11. #11  
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    Also i wouldnt necessarily fold AK on a J94 flop. If i was betinto i'd reraise and if he calls and i don't get a K or A on the turn assume i'm beat. Also it's easy to know who may or may not have trips by what they did preflop but then again how many players play like they are supposed too?

    Playing at party poker right now on the 3/6 and i have QJ suit in middle position call preflop and the flop comes down KJT rainbow. I have 2nd pair and straight draw. I bet out to see where i'm at and increase the pot and 3rd guy reraises me and everyone else (4 in calls).
    Next card is 5 of whatever. irrelevant since no flush draw still we still have a rainbow. I bet out and he calls and the other 2 fold.
    The next card is 8 of hearts doing no good other than giving him a straight if he happened to play Q9 but i heavily doubted it and i check and he checks and i win with jacks..

    People just plain play crazy.
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  12. #12  
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    Strong post and I agree with whoever wrote it, check raise is vastly over done by most players. They will check all night long and miss bets giving free cards when everyone checks behind them. Sometimes even keeping someone in the pot by doing this looking for the miracle card (and hitting it to give a pot away). When they get a check raise in later they are happy as a $2 hooker on GI payday. It's a move that most who don't know what they are doing lose money in the long run on I guarantee you that. No need for all the crap in limit poker. Should you never check raise? Yes at times it can be useful but most think it's a sign of a top player and way over use the move. Very simple, would you rather get 0 or 2 bets in, or 1 and 3 bets in? If I am in a game with an over agrressive player to my left who bets every time I check I may check raise him once or twice to let him know just because I check doesn't mean I don't have anything. Other than that I prefer to bet out and if they raise me then I get 3 bets in rather than checking and hoping to get two bets in.

    That bit about bluffing bad players is right on the money as well. You absolutely can not bluff a bad player. Quit wasting money trying to.
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  13. #13  
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    I agree with some of the points listed in the post BUT...

    3. The odds for completing a flush draw once you've flopped four of a suit is something like 2 to 1 not 3.4 to 1 (If I'm wrong, someone please correct me but I'm pretty sure I'm correct here.) The odds of completing a flush draw on the turn or river (if you don't catch the suit on the turn) are near 4 to 1 each time so you have approx. a 4 to 1 shot each time making the combined odds 2 to 1 if you flop four to a flush.

    9. I don't think check raising is a bad play when used properly. In low limit most folks that call the first bet will call the check raise even if they have nothing but an overcard. With that said, in low limit you want to give players as few chances as possible to catch you so betting when you have the best of it is generally the right move.
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  14. #14  
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    it is saying 1 in 3.4 which is meaning 2.4 to 1.
    ---
    math

    u hold 2, 2 on board. 9 of the remaining 47 cards are $. basically u r 19.1% to hit on turn, then if no good there u r 19.6% to hit it on riv.

    2.58 to 1

    this can vary a few % depending on how good u r
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  15. #15  
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    Thanks for posting River. I disagree with what has been said about low limit holdem and not being able to make money (I guess the question is how much money). I have been playing seroiusly online now for two months and have made over 1k, playing .50/1.00 and 1.00/2.00. The key is to have a mix of players. In my experience when you have 8 or 9 players staying for every flop, it is tough to win, because someone always hits a straight, flush or boat. However, if you have 4 or 5 players staying, with one or two who always stay on every hand, you can win pretty consistently. I think table selection is about 80% of the battle at low limit.

    I have a question regarding flushes. If you are holding two suited cards, what are the odds you end up with a flush at the end?

    Also, I have one strategy question. I had pocket 6's and the flop came 7-6-6 rainbow, I was UTG and checked, no one else bet. Was it proper to slow play this hand. I had two guys stay to the end calling. Never had this hand before and was wondering best way to play.

    In regards to check raising. I think you have to do it selectively. If you have a guy betting or raising everytime and on the river you have the nuts, I usually check, figuring this guy is going to bet. I would say 80% of the time he does, which gives me a positive expected value.
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  16. #16  
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    Thanks for the feedback guys, I think it just goes to show that as players we are bound to have conflicting view points and that is what makes the game that much more entertaining.

    Dante, I think it may depend on the game and players. If i'm in a 10/20 or 20/40 game then AK,AQ,AJ suited would keep me around for the flop but in smaller lower stakes game like 2/4 or 3/6 you tend to see alot of players hanging in after the flop with bad cards hoping for a miracle TURN CARD or RIVER CARD, in games like that I will play conservative early while trying to collect as much info on the players as I can, it can become very beneficial later in the game. I believe your likely to find more bluffers (fishers) in a low stakes game IMO.

    Pat, The article was written by Brian Steinberg and I don't have much info on him but after reading it I thought I would save it and revisit it every 6 months or so to refresh my memory and see if my game had changed or progressed. I agree with you that keeping an aggressive bettor off balance is important, it will plant a seed of doubt that most times will give you a bit of an edge when a strong hand shows up, and yes it is useless trying to bluff a bad player, they just refuse to fold and will fish for cards as JohnnyDetroit mentioned above. But having a player or players like that at the table can be beneficial over the long haul when the cards work in your favor.
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  17. #17  
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    Thanks Hate...


    good info
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  18. #18  
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    Pre-Flop Strategy - General Ranking of Pocket Card Strength

    Premium Cards - these are the very best 2 pocket cards you can be dealt and can be played from any position in order

    Ace-Ace
    King-King
    Ace-King suited
    Queen-Queen
    Jack-Jack

    You should be prepared to raise with these cards in any position, with the first 3 you can reraise a raiser. With Queens or Jacks they can be raised in middle or late positions, if there have been no raises before you bet.

    Other Strong Playable Hands - good hands but not quite as good as premium cards

    Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack, Ace-10 all suited
    Ace-King
    King-Queen suited
    10-10
    Ace-10, King-Jack, Queen-Jack, Jack-10 all suited
    Ace-Queen, Ace-Jack
    9-9
    King-Queen
    King-10, Queen-10 suited

    Playable Hands - somewhat strong but not as good as the hands above

    8-8
    Jack-9 10-9 both suited
    7-7
    9-8,8-7 both suited
    Ace with any other suited card
    King-Jack, Queen-Jack, Jack-10

    Playable Hands - Not so great

    Any low pair (e.g. pairs below 7)
    Connected suited card, such as 8-7,5-4,4-3
    Ace-10, King-10, Queen-10
    King-9, Jack-8 both suited

    All other hands not described above are weak hands and should be played with caution.

    General Strategy

    You should raise with Premium Cards no matter what position your in, with exception of Queens and Jacks which should be raised only if no one has raised before you.

    With the other strong Playable Cards you are looking to raise in the middle to late position if no one betting before you has raised.

    With Playable hands you can raise in mid to late position if everyone betting before you has folded.

    You do not want mediocre hands to stay in the game hoping for a miracle board that will save their hand, and you do not want to be tagged as a rock who only plays the best hands. The only way to really gain a feel for poker strategy is by playing, but these basic strategies are meant to give some general ideas about the strength of your pocket cards and how to play them.
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  19. #19  
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    Where is "Butch" when you need him?
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  20. #20  
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    sounds like good info to have next to you while playing hatetherivercard.

    like that Blackjack Strategy card people pull out at the tables...thanks hate
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  21. #21  
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    There is some bad math in the holdem advice especially in the number 3 section playing suited cards.

    If you flop 4 to the flush you are a 1.85 to 1 dog to hit your flush on either of the last 2 cards.
    Thats 38.7% chance you will complete.
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  22. #22  
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    If you flop 4 to a flush than you are exactly going to make the flush 19.15% of the time on the turn. How do you get it? Divide 9 into 47 for the turn and 9 into 46 for the river. This is simple, there are 13 suited cards and there is 2 suited one's in your hand and the two on board of the same suit. Out of 13 (spades for example) when you take those 4 cards away it leaves 9 more of the suit you need to complete the flush. The 47 comes from out of the 52 card deck you only eliminate the cards you can see, take the 2 away you can see in your hand and the 3 on board (52-5 = 47).

    On the river you will make your hand 19.57% of the time. Instead of 47 cards there is now only 46 cards as the turn card has been revealed. Divide 9 (possible winners) into 46 and you get that answer providing you didn't hit your flush on the turn.
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  23. #23  
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    McIrish-

    I'm with lurker on this one. Your math is fine for each INDIVIDUAL (turn OR river) event but when you COMBINE the two events, you have odds of something like 2 to 1 (against) to make your flush once you flop four to a flush. Bottom line is that you have TWO shots to make the flush. Mathematically (according to my recollection of my intro stats class from YEARS ago), you have to ADD the probabilities of EACH individual event so add the 19.57% for the turn PLUS the 19.17% for the river and you get the combined probablilty of hitting the flush once you flop four to the flush.
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  24. #24  
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    Swami - I am just stating the odds of you making the flush on each betting round. Of course that is not the odds of you making the flush for the entire hand. The odds are not stagnant for both the turn and the river though, they are two independant events. What do you disagree with that I wrote?

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  25. #25  
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    WELL these are nice facts about LOW limit holdem.

    But I want to make sure that everyone knows the difference between LOW limit and NO LIMIT like the play on TV. It is a TOTALLY different ballgame on TV guys.

    I have played no limit holdem for many years and I can tell you that the above rules dont apply in those games if you have a full 10 person table or at least 7 people.

    The betting change in these cases depending on who is still in your game
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