After another long session, Jacob and I concluded our second challenge match. The game was Five Card Draw, starting stacks of $250 and 3/6 limits. The limits went up twice, to 4/8 and then to 5/10, before I finally busted Jacob for all his chips. My strategy was basically to take advantage of Jacob's aggression by betting often before the draw with solid holdings and check-raising after the draw. I started out playing very conservatively and was able to lure a few bluffs out of Jacob later in the game. Jacob was clearly less wary about putting money in the middle than I was and was able to build and take down a lot of key pots; he was consistently aggressive and managed to bluff me off a few weak pairs. The game was fast and aggressive, but I think if we hadn't brought the limits up it may never have ended.Our next game is Stud, in which Jacob has more experience than I, and then Pot Limit Hold Em, another game that I expect will make for a very difficult match. Jacob generally has a better feel for Pot and No Limit games than I do so I'm just hoping for the best in some of the more fast-paced games to come.
Jacob and I finished our Deuce to Seven Triple Draw match the other night after an hour and a half of some of the most grueling poker I've ever played. I went on a crazy rush in the first 35 minutes or so; I think Jacob won just 2 pots in that whole time. He was way low on chips and I could just about taste victory, until he got his rush. I donked off about $100 in chips and he was back on his feet before long. We went back and forth for a while, but in the end I was able to squeeze out a win. Here are some things I learned from the match:1. Observe and Obey Game Tempo - There were times in the match where I would be on a big run and I could just about take every pot down just by representing strength. I added as much to my stack as I could during these times by extracting bets when I had a big hand and timing a few key bluffs. But when the momentum shifted, I was slow to react. I kept trying to dominate the game; I started bluffing too often, and Jacob found it easy to call me down with just about anything. By the time I adjusted properly, Jacob had added a lot to his stack and had regained a lot of confidence. I made the mistake of trying to run the game all the time and it cost me a lot. In a heads up game, when you lose control of the betting and pace, let it go, sit back, and play it straight for a little while until you are back in the saddle.2. Control Pot Size - Jacob and I rarely raised before the first draw, and even if one of us did raise, we only folded when we were holding something like AKKQJ. I only raised when I was holding a monster or when I knew I could draw a monster, something like 7543T for instance. This helped me build a pot early on; having extra money in the middle would entice later bets out of my opponent since the pot would be worth playing out. When I didn't have a monster or a big draw, I would usually check before the first draw and often before the second draw as well. This way, if my draw missed I wasn't losing much, and if I did hit my draw I could still entice some big bets out of my opponent after the second and third draws. This concept works well in No Limit games, but has especially good application in limit games. By checking and calling, I could limit the size pot to one bet per round; I could show down my medicore hands cheaply when they had a decent chance of winning. This strategy made it especially difficult for my opponent to bluff at me, and limited my losses with medicore hands. Play a big pot with big hands, keep pots small with weak hands.I'll post more details about the challenge matches as they continue.*****In other news, I've been having some success playing low stakes Omaha online. I've had four straight winning sessions, and here are some tips I would have for anyone giving it a shot:1. I generally play pretty tight, sticking mostly to double suited pre flop holdings with aces and pairs.2. I play full tables so the blinds come around slowly. This works with my tight style.3. I play in position so I can save myself bets when I'm drawing after the flop.4. I bet my strong hands on the turn and river; I'm getting paid off, so there isn't much incentive to try tricky check-raises.5. I try to play multi-way pots to maximize my profit while limiting my risk.Hopefully I'll keep building my bankroll by grinding at the low levels. Bellagio, here I come...?
Jacob and Brian will face off in a series of 11 challenge matches. The order of the games will be:Deuce to Seven Triple DrawFive Card DrawStudPot Limit Hold EmLimit Hold EmOmaha Eight or BetterStud Eight or BetterOmahaNo Limit Hold EmRazzPot Limit OmahaUpdates will be posted here as the matches play out.
That's all you gotta know.