Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sklansky + Microlimits = Profit

I can't say enough about Sklansky's Small Stakes Hold 'em, which, as I mentioned last week, I read before losing $50 at $1/$2 limit at Commerce Casino. I've been using its strategies intently at the 2¢/4¢ tables, and over the last week, have ended up...

2/7/06: +1.54
2/8/06: +1.74
2/9/06: -0.25
2/11/06: +1.17
2/14/06: +0.66
2/15/06: +1.56
Total: +6.42

In a nutshell, Sklansky says that at these no fold 'em tables, where any two cards can win, you're not going to scare off weak hands with agressive betting. Your pocket aces are a 6:1 favorite, but you'll see the river with four other people often enough that you're gonna get them cracked, frequently.

My inclination was to tighten up my play, paying monster pairs and maybe AK, AQ. Skalnsky points out that when you fold hands like T9s in the face of a 9-player limped-in pot, you're losing money; the pot odds are in your favor.

Instead, I've been watching the pot odds a lot more closely -- with five others in pre-flop, yeah, it makes sense to go in with A5s.

Sklansky's other advice is that when you get to the river, in these loose games, it's almost always a mistake to fold in the face of a bet. With a 40¢ pot, a 4¢ call gives you 10:1 pot odds, so you'd better be at least 90% sure that the other guy is bluffing. And in these games, you can't be 90% sure of anything.

Expect to see and lose a lot of hands, but those that you win, you'll win big. $1 pots haven't been uncommon.

(Side note: Before reading Small Stakes Hold 'em, I'd been sucessfully trying to play less than 20% of all hands pre-flop, including the blinds. In the last 163 hands, it's been 46%.)

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