Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!

lions and tigars and bears

There are the 3 top cards in poker that prevail in anyone’s 2 hold cards.
Everyone plays AcesKings, and Queenssome with almost any other card. 
The “Momma Bear or Queen” will be the most fierce card in the deck as most players are thinking Ace or King. Even Q7 or Q8 (unsuited) is a great hand to some players. To that extent, one of these 3 cards will hit the board about 50% of the time.
If you have one of them that end up hitting the board, you need to be aware of the ones you don’t have. If you don’t have one, odds are better than 50%, someone does. Having 2 of them, AK, AQ, KQ, gives you the opportunity to gamble pre-flop. They are still just drawing cards, so don’t go crazy, but most payers are not likely to throw them away pre-flop, regardless of the bets and raises.

Pre-Flop:
An AceKing, or Queen will hit the flop about 50% of the time, so if it didn’t show up, there’s a good chance it will by the river. If you have the Queen and a good kicker and it hits the flop, you need to bet it to eliminate those who are waiting for their Ace or King to hit. The King is not so bad because you can usually chase it away, but people just love to hold on their Ace, especially if their other card already hit the flop.

After the flop:
Now we are down to betting into 4th street, or betting after the flop, so we are talking outs vs outs. You have one of the top 3 cards and are still in the hand because the betting has been low or everyone is just checking and waiting for their card. You have 3 outs or about 14% to hit your card vs 28% that one of the others will hit. 2 to 1 against you. If you are in the lead, you need to at least make a value bet, but that gives 3 to one odds, so you will likely be called. Bet the pot and give 2 to one, and you may also be called. You need to chase them away with about 1 and a half times the pot to 2 times the pot to put some pressure on them. If you have AK, AQ, KQ and one hits, your odds are reversed, but 3:1 odds are the minimum you are looking at. In order to play any of these, you need a deep stack or you are just gambling.

4th Street (Turn)
Betting into Fifth street, the odds are worse. 12:1 for you and only 6:1 for the others. Holding an Ace is optimal and preferred to holding the King or Queen. Even holding KQ and waiting for one to fall on the river is a big gamble, even with 8:1 odds to hit the King or Queen.

5th Street (the River)
You have what you have. Bet into weakness or check and determine what either of you have to lose.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker
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Sun-Tzu on Limping in Poker

Display profits to entice them. Create disorder and take them. Attack, where they are unprepared. Go forth, where they will not expect it.

SunTzu1
I was watching one of the poker shows on TV, I try to record most of them. One of the announcers asked the other, “I wonder what The Art of War (Sun-Tzu) has to say about limping?”
Being a advocate of The Art of War and Poker, I thought I’d take a look at it. There has already been a good book on the subject written by David Apostolico, Tournament Poker and the Art of War, and there is also a web site devoted to it. Sun Tzu’s Art of Poker

From “The Art of War” by Sun-Tzu,
In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack:
1. The direct betting/raising
2. the indirect –checking/limping
These two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
The direct and the indirect lead on to each other in turn.

It is like moving in a circle — you never come to an end.

(It’s also an effective act of randomness to keep your opponent off balance.)

Masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.
Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act.
He sacrifices something, (so) the enemy may snatch at it.

  • Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline,
  • Simulated fear postulates courage;
  • Simulated weakness postulates strength. It’s all part of the Lying Game of Poker!

If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to an engagement even though he (is) sheltered behind a high rampart and a deep ditch –a wall of chips-. All we need do is attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve.
If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in his way –Randomness.

  • The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided.

By holding out baits –limping/slow playing-, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.
By holding out advantages –showing weakness– to him, he can cause the enemy to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting damage, he can make it impossible for the enemy to draw near.

Whoever is first –to act-with –active or passive Aggression– in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle – will arrive exhausted.
Patience is a virtue in poker, more so in cash games than tournament, however,

“In a balance of mutual terror, whoever ACTS FIRST has the ADVANTAGE!”
  • Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.

Numerical weakness – lack of chips – comes from having to prepare against possible attacks; numerical strength –many chips-, (by) compelling our adversary to make these preparations against us.

  • Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may prevent him from fighting.
  • Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of their success.

If we are able thus to attack an inferior force with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits.

  • When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped.

Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances –Randomness and Deciet– .

Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics –Randomness– in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.
So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.


So, Limping is a weakness than can mask strength.
Some though say “Limping is Lame“. It really doesn’t happen that much in low stakes cash games. There is usually at least one Loose Aggressive player and frequently there are 2 or more in a game, so anyone limping is generally raised. This actually makes limping a good trapping play with strong hands out of position. Especially when the typical buy-in for something like a 1/2 game is only 50 Big Blinds.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker

How the Predator and Prey Game evolves at the poker table

Predator Prey
Poker regulars at work.

OK, this has happened to me, probably you too.
“While the other players at the table played cautiously against one another, they were relentlessly and collectively aggressive against me. Check-raising me, trapping me, slow-playing me with big pairs, going over the top of my feeble raises and bluffing me right into the ATM machine.”

It’s obvious, most of the players knew one another and I was regarded as the “New Fish” in their pond.

Low-stakes cash games, like those at many of the card rooms around Los Angeles and Las Vegas, are home to the “regulars” of the area. They are there almost every night, they know how they play and they don’t play against each other. They are here to work, and it’s not just those “retired” old folks that frequent the tables. The lost boys and girls that had to come out of their “on-line” sanctuary when “Black Friday” came, are trolling the tables too. It’s a like  a game of cut throat pool, when a new player enters the game, only at a poker table with 3 times as many sharks. If the new player isn’t in the hand, they limp and check to the river, if it ever goes that far.

Before you enter a cash game, look around the room at several of the tables, if there are more than one. You will certainly find one or two tables where there is some banter among the players, like a good home game, with the usual ego trip by one obnoxious Loose Aggressive player. Avoid that table, it won’t be fun, unless you’re a player who craves action. In that case, I’d rather you came to my table.

Look for a game where people are actually having fun, and you might stand a chance. Find a poker room where there’s a lot of young people drinking a lot and making a lot of noise and having fun. There are many of them in Vegas and on certain weekends in other card rooms around Los Angeles. Look for the action places in Vegas, like conventions, holiday weekends, spring break and during their big special tournaments. You may find a few pros there, but mostly fun-loving gamblers like the ones at the craps and roulette tables.

In most other card rooms, like those in Los Angeles or northern California, it’s better to only buy into a newly started game, where everyone starts with the same stack size. It’s easy to check the board and see how long the waiting list is. If the list is long, there may be a new table opening up. You’ll still find the old players that buy in for the minimum and the loose players that buy in for the maximum, but you can choose where you want to start with your chips. I prefer games where I can buy-in for around 100 Big Blinds.

Be aware though, all the money isn’t on the table.
Many poker rooms won’t let you buy in for more than 50 big blinds in low limit poker games and most of the players have set an amount they will gamble, so they will reload when their stack gets low. Loose players and gamblers will often reload several times. You should be prepared to reload, at least once, if you want to be profitable in the long run. If you are winning and you decide to pack it up, you may have to wait a certain amount of time before you are allowed to buy in at another new table at the same limit range, check with the floor man.

I NEVER BLUFF

Mr Lucky Poker
Mr Lucky Poker