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Thursday, May 06, 2004

It's All About Table Selection
I bought into Pacific Poker yesterday for the poker blogger tourney Iggy's organizing for the 16th. My username is ChpThrls, which I settled on after being frustrated that they wouldn't give me JD, **JD**, or similar variants because screen names must be 4-8 characters long, standard letters and digits only.

The software is pretty interesting. No frills such as 4-color decks or avatars. An odd chat window. No e-mailed hand histories, but they do have an interesting "game history" feature where you can watch a video replay of your hands.

The lobby shows the average pot size and the number of average number of players seeing the flop (flop%). Boy do I love having that latter statistic. Despite having read all the advice by Izmet Fekali and many others, I enjoy ring games more when the players are not crazy-loose maniacs. Not that I go looking for tight games. Loose is fine. It's passive players that I love, and I found them at Pacific last night :)

I played a little .50/$1 around 6pm last night. Flop% numbers at some tables were near 90, but I found one in the low 50s and made a couple bucks in a couple orbits. Then after the WPT I came back and the flop%s at .50/$1 were all way up there, so I sat down at a $1/$2 where the flop% was 44.

What a great passive table it was. These guys loved checking and folding. They were giving free cards, and when I was on a draw I was raising on the flop from late position to take advantage of that. I also bluffed at scare cards a couple times and it worked. It felt nice to make plays like that (and have them work) after the past couple weeks of crazy ring games on Party. I felt like I was running the table. 40 minutes (and +$43.50) into my session and our flop% was still 44, average pot size $14.53. Good stuff.

Then I foolishly tried a $5 SnG. I wanted to see what theyr SnGs were like, but it was foolish because 1) I left a very good table, and 2) I usually do well at either ring games or SnGs, but not both. Also it was pretty late in the evening. Sure enough I finished 5th.

Interesting Glitch

I did see a pretty interesting thing on the SnGs. When a player goes all in and 2 other players who can cover him call, 4 cards came on the flop. You read that right. When someone has gone all in pre-flop, but there is still betting between other players, 4 cards were dealt to the board, and the players in the hand were only able to bet twice, on the turn and river. This happened twice in the SnG I was in and a couple players there said they had seen the phenomenon before.

Anyway, back to the lesson I'm taking away from last night: It's all about table selection. At the risk of sounding like a weak-tight player, I think that weak-tight players are drawn to tables with low flop percentages and small pot sizes, where they feel that everyone else is playing like they do. The trick is to play better than them (who would've guessed?), which is easier if they are playing in a predictable, by-the-book manner. The average pot size and flop%s can't guarantee that the table you play at will be passive, but I find that flop% figures in the high 30s to low 50s, coupled with average pot sizes not more than 10x the BB, are a good sign. Unfortunately I'm looking at the Pacific lobby right now and I don't see anything that fits that bill. Guess I'll try back later . . .

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