Stay out of trouble, & Protect my hand

by ~ August 30th, 2007. Filed under: Philosophy and approach.

I want to refresh something that I was using a while back. This was the way I originally approached my first stab at $25NL.

  1. Buying in short stacked (60%) to protect my bankroll against bad plays on my part. This gave me a little more comfort, particularly as I was under-rolled for the move up. (Not generally recommended; I only do this when I’m trying something new, like a new level or multitabling. After a few sessions I became more comfortable and bought in for the full amount.)
  2. Stay of out trouble. This was an attitude / approach that I wanted to use. Fold lots, fold potential trouble hands like KJ/KT/QT/Ace-small, don’t limp garbage from late, fold marginally hit small pots rather than get involved. Stay out of trouble. Don’t get into situations that will lead to difficult decisions down the road.
  3. Protect my hand.
    1. This means raising preflop with good hands to keep garbage from getting in from the blinds, and
    2. Betting at hit flops, to keep drawing hands and garbage from drawing out on me. Using this attitude of trying to protect my hand helped keep me from slowplaying, as well as keeping me from underbetting out of intimidation.

I think the combination of 2) and 3) kept me in good stead for a while, and it only got lost when I started trying to add situational aggression that boiled out of control.

At one point I had been considering doing a stab up at $50NL because I seemed to be losing interest at $25 and because I seemed to be becoming too casual with $25 and was not a winning player. I thought that the fear/intimidation/newness of playing $50 would bring back my attention. Looking back at it now I think I had lost 2) and 3) and thought I was too good for $25, plus I had recurring undisciplined aggression problems.

I think keeping 2) and 3) in mind is important for me (unless I’m learning to play LAG, and I don’t think LAG works well at $10 or $25 anyways). And, it’s true, I do know some moves and aspects that are beyond most of the players at $10 or $25, but I really shouldn’t be trying them as you can’t bluff calling stations, and raises are rarely bluffs at these levels so I shouldn’t read bluffs into them.

In other words, I have to keep my eyes at the levels that I’m playing at. If I’m playing an event it’s a different matter, but don’t play above the level that I’m playing.

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