Friday, June 16, 2006


Since I can't spend twelve hours (off and on) outside anymore, I have drifted back to playing a little O8 online.

I'm not an online player. I will never be, unless illness forces me to become homebound. Even then, I would probably only play when I was so bored that I couldn't stand it anymore. I do not believe, in my lifetime, I will ever be classified as an "online player."

When I open online poker software, the only two thoughts going through my head are usually: this will help pass some time, and, I'm going to make a little scratch. No thoughts of fun and enjoyment ever enter my mind.

Okay, so that being said, since Stars is doing another bonus, I figured I may as well get the max, too. Stars has always been my favorite software, and I play there most frequently for more reasons that I won't go into right now.

The only game I can tolerate online is Omaha. I can play (in order of preference): LO8, PLO8, PLO. Forget the rest. That is it.

I have never played higher than 3/6 limit or 1/2 blind PL. The only reasons are that I am not funded for anything higher, and I can't roto-play anything higher (most likely). I want to play one table, two max, and surf at the same time. If I am forced to play more than two tables or forced to stop surfing, I simply will not play. I have many years of online experience to support these statements. I'm not whining, I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. I don't have that full-time, online grinder mindset (I truly wish I did).

Yesterday I jumped around all types of limits. I played a good looking 3/6. I played a .10/.25 blind PLO8. I played .25/.50 LO8. I don't have any feeling of false pride, or being "too good" to play a certain limit. My thoughts about poker have always been, "sit in the best game." While I AM picky about the variation I will play online (only Omaha), and the amount of tables, time, upper limits...I am never picky about the low end of the spectrum. I will play at .01/.02 if it's a good game. I don't care what anyone thinks of this, or of me. Yes, I had so many railbirds asking me what I was doing in micros that I finally had to disable chat altogether. Plus lots of time it's Glenn playing, and I didn't want him to have to deal with the questions all the time (he plays a lot more games than I do).

So yesterday I was bopping around, playing on and off for a couple of hours to stave off boredom. Something happened which reminded me of one of my constant themes in this journal, something I am screaming over and over again to readers, to try to get them to understand and help them become better players.


Adjustment, adjustment, adjustment. It's almost the location, location, location of the poker world, isn't it? And adjustment/location are sort of the same thing when it comes to poker, too.

I am always telling readers that they must adjust to everything. The current "times" of poker. The venue, the game type, the limit, the players, the individual game, tourneys or cash games, live or online, the rake, the BBJ. On and on I could go.

But with some players, it just doesn't sink in. No way, no how. I could yell it from a mountain top day after day, until my throat stops making any sound, and some players will still assert that poker is a rote game, to be played in a rote way, and never to be deviated. They will assert that there is a specific poker playbook, and it should be obeyed to the letter, regardless of anything that changes.

Some of them consciously admit this. They assert on 2 Plus 2 that this is true. This takes balls, I admit, because usually these people get absolutely blasted on the forum. Lorinda is one of them. For years s/he has asserted that there are no such things as tells, no psychology in poker, and that the game should be played in a rote like manner with no deviation, period. You can imagine the flame-fest when people like this make those assertions online. Oddly enough, the field is pretty divided when it comes to this issue. There are so many new, online players who have never played live, and have never played anything but hold'em. So that is to be expected. Rote play is their bread & butter. I, myself have often said of these low buy-in, NLHE games: sit, sit, sit, shove, repeat. Or "wash, rinse, repeat." Easy peasy. It's not rocket science, that is for sure.

Okay, so those people have some balls to make these assertions, but they are correct somewhat in their limited scope of play. The rest of us, who have been virtually everywhere and seen everything know the difference.

Adjustment is one of the main keys to success.

I was playing in a good 2/4 LO8 game on Stars. I was just folding and folding, minding my own business, until I was dealt an AA5J ds hand. Raised before the flop and four of us saw it.

The flop was all low: A63, with one of my double suited suit. I was amazed when an EP player bet into me. I raised. Two players were caught in between us. I believe that one got out after calling two bets, but the other stayed in throughout all four. Yes, I realized that I didn't have a low, but I still had a decent low draw, and I wanted to make the initial bettor pay for any high draw that he had.

The turn brought a high spade, so now I also had the spade draw to go along with my set of aces (currently the nut hand).

Once again, I was bet into! How fortuitous could I be? Once again, another player stayed along for the entire ride of four bets.

The river paired the board and I was sure to have the nut high (because it paired the turn card). Once again we made it four bets. But this time, the guy who stayed along throughout the whole thing folded after two bets cold to him. Also, the aggressor once again kept betting into me and raising. He never slowed down for an instant. Not even one blink of the Stars eye.

I figured he must have some kind of low, and I obviously didn't. But we lost the guy in the middle after two bets, and the max rake had been paid long before, so I wasn't going to slow down.

Glenn even questioned me in the middle of the whole thing, asking if maybe I should slow down. I didn't answer, nor did I slow down (we usually try not to do this to each other, but he obviously couldn't help himself).

After the last bet went in, the total pot was $120 ($117 after the rake). And lo and behold, it was pushed to me. Scoopa!

The mindless raiser had 66. His low had been counterfeited on the flop, and like me, he never made a valid low, with the two high cards on the turn and river.

Once it was over, and I was out of the game, I told Glenn that in a game like .25/.50 LO8, yes, I might have slowed down. But in 2/4? I adjust. I know that some players can be trickier, or play differently than nut/nut. I'm not slowing down. The rake was taken, there was a player in between, I had the lock for high with a redraw to the nut flush. No, in this game, I'm not slowing down.

And this is why adjustment means so very much in poker. I played my opponent, plus the two players in between. I tried to get as much money into the pot as possible, knowing that sometimes I will lose the whole thing. I knew that the raiser could be capping without a nut hand, and although it is probable that he has a low, or the passive caller has a low, I'm going for more money when I have a great hand.

If the passive caller had a low, he gave up half the pot. But I understand how he could think, with all of that action, that there was no way his non-nut low could be good. So although he got out way too late if he didn't have some monster high draw to go with it, at least I was able to get him out of half of the pot, by forcing him to call more and more bets. If he did have a low, I'm sure he kicked himself after the hand. But that is what we have to do, if we want to make more money. Slowing down only would have cost me half the pot in that spot.

So there you have it. Adjustment won't necessarily turn a good player into a world-class player, but you just might get some extra scratch into your bankroll if you are able to adjust to the difference between a nut game and a non-nut game.

Felicia :)