I am currently starting to play a few hours a day of both “No Limit Holdem’ and “Limit Holdem” cash games online. My goal is to play about 20/25 hours a week, earning a modest income and having fun while doing so.
My game choices of Limit and No Limit require that I pay strict attention to the details of the game. Limit Holdem is more of an ABC type of game, in that if you don’t have a good starting hand you don’t play it or try to bluff your way through. Yes, there are times when you can bluff and you should bluff even in Limit Holdem, but for the most part you need a good starting hand based on your position relative to the dealer button.
No Limit Holdem is more of a game of position and power then Limit Holdem. You don’t even need a good hand to play. If you are on the button, a raise of three or four times the big blind will usually get the small blind and the big blind to fold and give you their chips, even if you have just 7 2 off suit. That is the power of position in No Limit. It helps if you have good cards, but this is more about playing the player.
Both games offer the opportunity for a good player to earn a reasonable amount per hour while having fun doing so, providing that the player does one thing very well.
That one thing is: paying attention to what is happening around him.
Last night I was playing two games at once, at two different poker sites. This was made possible because I was folding about 83% of all hands I was dealt pre-flop. Of those 27% of the hands that I stayed in for, I folded almost half of them after the flop. I folded almost half of the remaining ones on the river. So I had a little free time between hands that I was not actively playing.
I used that free time for tasks that I hoped would help my overall playing ability. I took notes about certain players and their actions. Some players will play any two cards or will never fold. This information is good to know and I write notes to myself about these players. Some players do not like me to steal their blinds and will defend themselves, so I write notes about that as well. Of course, that does not mean that I will stop trying to steal their blinds, just that I might plan my attack better.
When I am playing a hand I usually try to pay very close attention to what is happening, such as betting patterns, betting amounts, cards being turned up on the table, etc.
A couple of times last night, I was lax and paid for it by losing some chips. In one hand, I lost about a quarter of my total chip stack because I kept raising and calling raises even after the third diamond hit the board. I had top and bottom pair, which was enough to win, up until my opponent hit his flush on the river. At that point in the game, it was time for me to give it up and check or fold. Instead I called a reasonable value bet and saw my chips float away to his side of the table.
So the point of all this is just a simple reminder … pay attention to what is happening in the game and you will be okay, as long as you are doing what you are supposed to do.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever missed noticing a flush or a straight possibility that your opponent might have? Has that cost you a large pot or a tourney? How could you have prevented that from happening?