Thursday, 8 November 2007

Finished 10k hands of 2NL

This will be another tl/dr. They'll be shorter in the future. I finished the last 3000 hands of 2NL today to bring me up to a total of 10k. Ran according to the average for the past couple of days: 20BB/100. Here's my stats over the whole period which started last weekend and a graph.



I ran pretty good to start with and also had a really good stretch yesterday when I was hitting set after set (hit a set around 18% of the time when I had a pocket pair, which is quite a bit over average). The areas where it plateaus, I pretty much just ran card dead and didn't get paid off at all when my draws hit or when I hit a set.

If you look at the stats, you'll see that I ran at about 16/8/2, which is a little more nitty than I would have like to have played, but it worked out allright.

So some final tips for playing 2NL before I move one to the next level:

MORE 2NL TIPS

1. Deepstacks. I found that being deepstacked was a huge advantage to me, so I looked for tables that had a lot of full stacks. People buying in for $2 is good enough as well, but your options open up so much more when there's a few deepstacked players and your drawing hands increase in value due to bigger implied odds. Try a couple tables deepstacked when you're comfortable. Don't be afraid to raise those suited connectors and small pocket pairs!

2. Aggression is good. Now I said in my other post not to bluff at these levels. I will add that in a lot of situations it is major +EV to semi-bluff when you're on a draw to help build a pot for when you hit your hand. A lot of people say that players at this level don't think a whole lot about what they are seeing you do, but the one thing that I think they do notice is when you appear to be bluffing a lot. I only had an aggression factor of 2, meaning I was betting and raising twice as much as I was calling. This helps to build a LAGgy image even though I'm still playing my TAG game, and people will be calling down your bets a lot lighter to try to catch you bluffing.

3. Value bet. When you hit your hand, do not slow play it, especially if it is hidden. You can win quite a bit at this level when you hit a monster by playing it fast. What is your natural instinct when you hit a huge hand? Slowplay, right? And that's exactly what everyone expects you to do, so do the opposite. Hit trips on the flop and you're in the SB? Anyone who had trips wouldn't open the betting would they? BET IT. Hit a set on an A high board and your opponent raised UTG? RERAISE. River a fullhouse with 4 to a flush on the board? Do not check-raise. GO ALL IN. Your opponent will be thinking that you must be bluffing again and will decide to play sheriff often enough for this to be hugely profitable, especially being deepstacked. If they fold, you weren't getting their money anyways.

4. Common Patterns. There are a few common things that micro stakes players will do when they have a monster. If you can recognize these, you can get away very cheaply and save yourself a ton of money. While patterns mean different things to different people here are some general ones that can be applied to probably more than 50% of the players at this limit.

*A player who limp/calls preflop, check/calls the flop, then check/raises the turn has genuine strength almost always. This is a set so many times its not even funny.

Lets say you have JJ, and raise on the button with 3 limpers, 2 of them call. Flop is 942r. Player 1 and 2 both check, and you make a standard continuation bet. Player 2 calls. Player 2 checks again, you make another 3/4 pot size bet on the turn J.

This is where you need to take notes on how players play their sets: a lot of them will min-raise you, some of them will raise a pot sized bet, and a few will go all in. But once you have them figured out, it's quite easy to put them on 99 44 or 22 and they let you get away for as cheap as possible.

Going back to value betting and aggression, if I raise preflop and bet out on this flop, are you ever going to put me on 44? Probably not. You'll probably put me on A9 T9 and TT-QQ which you are ahead of and I'll stack your JJ a lot more often because almost no one plays a set that way.

*Taking a long time to bet when there are 3 flush cards on the board. Most of the time they will have the flush, they are just trying to figure out how much they can get you to call. Take notice that this does not apply to multi-tablers who may be acting on another table. If you find a multi-tabler, put it in his notes right away so that you don't misread a delay.

*A quick call. This is often a draw and they are thinking ahead of time that they are going to call x amount. When you bet that amount or less it's almost as good as if they had the call button pressed ahead of time. Once in a while you'll find someone who either uses this to scare you (they'll do this a lot if that's their intention) and some people do it when they have a monster and are impatient to see the next card. Again, take notes.

So I'm off to 5NL tomorrow. I'll play 10k hands of that as well, all deepstacked at 200BB ($10). I will try my best to keep up the winrate, although I do suspect it will drop slightly due to stacks being not quite as deep and a little less limping and less than half the table calling preflop raises. I probably won't be adding quite as many tables so it'll take a little longer to get in the 10k.

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