Monday, 5 November 2007

Starting off small - 2NL

I decided that I would make this a bit more interesting by starting off at the lowest stakes possible - namely 2NL at Stars. The lowest I've played before this was 10NL. 2NL - and 5NL as well for that matter - are a bit of an anomaly at Stars as they allow you to buy in for more than 100BB; the standard for any other limit. Instead, they allow you to buyin for 250BB at both of these levels. This is exactly what I intend to do at both of these levels as most players do not understand how to play deepstacked and I am assuming that my implied odds are going to skyrocket.

I didn't get to play quite as much as I would have liked to this weekend, but I managed to get in 1400 hands, so here are the results:

I don't know if 50 ptBB/100 is really sustainable but at least I'm off to a good start!

So here's some thoughts on how to beat 2NL and what has been working for me so far:


1. DO NOT BLUFF. These players are calling me down with any piece of the board, coordinated or not. Also trust them when they are betting or raising, they don't bluff as much as you think they would. If they check the flop and then bet the turn, the turn helped them.

2. Value bet. When I hit 2 pair or better I start betting 3/4 to full pot sized bets or even if I have top pair and a good kicker and I think my opponent is calling me down with a worse kicker or better yet, second pair. Hitting a set is a real moneymaker at this level. I don't slow play these at all, especially on an A or K high board, you can stack a lot of people with a set because they will not lay down top pair.

3. Tighten up, especially from early position. I usually play a lot looser than the 14/7/2.5 that I played over these 1400 hands, but when you have 5 people calling a 5BB raise preflop, you need to be coming in here with a hand that can flop very well or can stand on its own. A lot of people would say that you need to raise more to get less callers, but I feel that even with these players, raising more isn't necessarily +EV because you can not make a standard continuation bet and push them off their hand when you miss like you can at higher levels. That being said, I still like to raise a lot when I have position against a lot of the players at this level because I will get a lot of value out of them when I do hit. You have to remember that pots grow exponentially. An unraised pot is not going to get nearly as big as a raised one.

For those of you that are new to the no limit game, consider this:
If you have 2 players (lets say the button and the BB) that are going to see the flop one will bet the pot all the way to the river and the other will call...
a) an unraised pot will be - 2.5BB on the flop, 7.5BB on the turn, and 22.5BB by showdown
b) a pot with a preflop raise to 3BB will be - 6.5BB on the flop, 19.5BB on the turn, and 58.5BB by showdown
c) a pot with a preflop raise to 4BB will be - 8.5BB on the flop, 25.5BB on the turn, and 76.5BB by showdown

So for hands where you want to build a large pot, slowplaying does not help your cause much. You need to build that pot early on in order to get more value later in the hand. This applies to all levels of play, not just the micros.

Anyways, I plan to consider moving up to 5NL once I have played 10,000 hands of 2NL. 10,000 is still a small sample size, but it will give me an idea of my winrate at that level and a winrate to try to match for the next level. Bankroll management is not really an issue at this level as I said I will be starting with $200.

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