I only spent about 3 hours playing today but i found it long and difficult for a few reasons. I spent most of  my morning wondering what the best way to accumulate money was. I really have 3 options. Either sit and go's, however the buy-in's of $1.50 seemed a bit much for me to risk. another option was multi-table grinding, this seemed like a great option and i thought it would be just like playing one table, it turns out i was wrong (i'll say why in my next post). finally i had the option of just playing single tables.

I tried multi-tabling for a little while, i sat down to four tables with $2.00 at each. i started to win a little, i had profit on three of the tables and a small loss on one of the others. but as the number of people on the table increased my stack decreased. I was down $2.00. After a few risky all-ins i had managed to get back to about $0.30 down. I did something very british, i closed all of my tables and went and had a cup of tea. I really didn't want to finish my first day down as it is kind of a depressing start. I had a choice to face, either go back to multi-tabling or stick to one table and use everything i know to try and get that 30 cents back so i could draw even. clearly the multi-tabling idea didn't look good at that moment, so i decided to play a single table and really concentrate.

I searched through the list of the microstakes NLHE tables looking at each of the tables stats as i went. I wondered how important the table choice is to your success, my answer: very important. There are a few very important things to look for when picking a table:

  • stacks - if you have a table where at least 3/9 players have more than 150BB, then i would stay away from it. a big stack at a smaller stacked table will always be prone to raising you out before the flop or making you give up on the river because of a shove. A table which is mostly big stacks is just as bad. you will find that the bets will be larger as standard, simply because they can afford it. So even if you have good cards, the bet size may be simply to big for you to consider playing good-ish cards.
  • Number of players - If the table is full, then obviously each hand played is likely to have more hands in, which increases your pot odds, but also decreases the chance of you winning because a lot of people means a lot of cards. I find smaller tables, say four or five people, works best simply because there are less people to have good cards.
  • Number of players to the flop - this might not seem to be that important compared to stack size and number of players, but to be honest i think it is probably just as if not more important. If there are a lot of players to the flop, it means one of two situations is regularly occuring: either, there is often a pre-flop raise, and people don't want their blinds taken, or they are loose callers. the second possibility is that there is very rarely a pre-flop raise and so most are happy just to limp in regardless of hand. both kind of give the impression of a loose table. If there are only a few players to the flop it usually means that people are playing tighter and are happy to give their blinds up to the pre-flop raiser, if there is one.

Those are the things that i look for, and the reasons why i look for them, if i find any others then they shall join the list as well, but i think those are the most important.

anyway, i finally decided on a table with 4 others. i sat down with my $2, as opposed to their $0.8-1.5 stacks. I waited for the big blind to check if there was anyone that was 'shove-happy'. there didn't seem to be. i didn't really get any good hands to begin with, I lost a few blinds to raises and limped in a couple of times to see pointless flops that turned out to be worthless. I was down to about $1.76 and fluctuated a few cents up and down for about 10 hands. then finally some decent cards. i had pocket kings on the button. i limped in with 3 others. a king came of the flop with a seven and  nine, all different suits. so i've got the nuts, the first player to act throws down a $0.04 bet, im thinking about what he could have. everybody limped in which means that there probably aren't big pairs out there, so i'm not worried about someone having a pair of aces. it is possible that someone has a pair of nines or a pair of sixes and has now hit their set, i doubt it is the nines because you would raise with that pre-flop, the sixes you would probably limp to see a flop. the sall others fold so it is just me and the raiser. I know i'm ahead so i take a few seconds and then call him. Next comes an ace on the turn. This isn't as much of a scare card as you might think, because i have already eliminated the possibility of him having pocket aces, the most it does is gives someone one pair or even two pair,or a very slim possibility a straight draw, but i'm not worried about that yet. he bets $0.12, this is about two thirds of the pot. with an ace and a king now on the board would be a really good position to put out a bluff bet, or if he thinks i have a pairs of nines or kings then he will definately want to respresent the overpair to scare me out. so i take a bit of time and then call. next a two comes out, so lets look at the posibilities, no straight, no flush, no boat, so im pretty much 100% sure i have the best hand. he bets $0.5, which is a pot sized bet. if i didnt have my set i would be very wary of calling this, say if a had a pair of kings with a good kicker, i can't really tell if he is bluffing or not. seeing as he has let out with good sized bets each street, as i have kept up with him, he probably has two pair, and is trying to make me think he is bluffing so i go over the top of him, or fold. As it happens i have the best hand so i three bet to $0.8. its not very much and most would probably shove here. if i shove i think he will fold as he might catch on to my set, or think i have a better two pair. he calls the threebet, and he mucks his cards.

i ended up on $12.00 after the session. i learnt some really good things for the first night, which i will talk about in my next post.