Last night I decided to play for a couple of hours at a cash game at DoylesRoom.Com at the .25/.50 No Limit Hold ‘Em tables. The average buy-in is $50, while some bring $100 and others $10. I bought in at $30.
The advantage of buying in as a small or medium stack is that you can limit your initial losses to whatever you pick as your buy-in. Of course, this also means that you limit the amount that you can win to multiples of your buy-in as well.
The advantage of a large stack is that you can be more aggressive and steal pots from others that don’t want to challenge you when you put in large raises or bets. It is all a matter of deciding what style suits you and what works well at the table you choose to play at.
I had played with four of the other eight players at my table before and I had notes about their tendencies. When I sat down at the table, (this is online of course, so my avatar is shown as sitting down), I did not immediately start playing but instead waited until I was the big blind, BB, to start. The advantage of waiting until being the BB is that I can observe the action occurring at the table and plan my strategy accordingly.
I noticed a very aggressive big stack, $80 plus, just three seats to my left who almost always played every hand and always came in with a pot sized bet which caused most of the players to fold to him. This allowed him to win the blinds and limped in calls uncontested most of the time. If someone did call him, the aggressive player would usually bet about 1 1/2 to 2 times the pot size after the flop and take the pot without any further challenge to him.
When it was my turn to be the big blind, I was dealt a pair of pocket Aces, the best starting hand possible before the flop. Two players to my left folded but the aggressive player raised by betting the pot, $1.75. Everyone folded to him and when it was my turn to bet, I raised the pot to $5.00 and the aggressive player called for $3.25. The flop was 8s,Tc,6h and I bet the size of the pot or $10.25 and the aggressive player called. The turn card was a king of hearts. Again I bet as much as I could, less than half of the pot, which put me all in for my remaining $14.75. The aggressive player called. He turned over an A6 off suit. He had only a pair of sixes against my pair of aces. The river card was a 6, giving him three sixes or the best hand and the aggressive player won the pot containing $57.25 which included my entire stack and whatever he bet, less the rake that DoylesRoom took from the pot.
I bought in again for $30 and continued to play. I tried not to let the fact that I was called by a pair of sixes and my opponent got lucky and won in-spite of the poor starting cards he started the hand with. Sometimes large stack players will take risks thinking that the small stacks are trying to bluff them out of their winnings.
Overall, I played 122 more hands before leaving the table and session. I was able to win back most of the $30 I had lost from the aggressive player that initially had won my buy-in stack from me. I was not trying to beat him in particular but it just worked out that way. I left the table with $63.80 or $3.80 more than I started with. Considering what had happened in the first hand, I was satisfied to leave with more than I started with.
By the end of the session, I was able to tag him as a LAG or Loose and Aggressive player who would play just about any two cards, including pocket aces. He had pocket rockets in a three way pot in which all three players went all in. The aggressive player had AA, a small stack player had AK and a TAG or Tight and Aggressive player had Q5. The flop was Qd,Kd,5c. The turn card was an 8c and the river card was a 7s.The TAG player ended up having two pairs, queens and fives against the AA and KK and won a hugh pot of $112.
Do you play No Limit Hold ‘Em? Are you willing to risk your stack when you have a good hand but you have not seen the rest of the board cards? Do you move all in pre-flop? Post flop? Or at the turn or River? Do you only move all in when you know for certain that you cannot be beaten? How do you play No Limit?