Games have remained relatively good since the changes on Stars. Weekends have been incredibly good. It's nice to see the 60/5's coming out of the woodwork again at 50NL and 100NL. I'm back to my 3 stake range of what I consider to be my home stakes: 25NL to 100NL. I thought I'd give a quick update on each for this post.
25NL has become extremely easy and very transparent.
Nits and TAGs play their hand straightforwardly typically in a weak-tight or obviously strong way.
LAGs and maniacs over-do everything and c/c down 3 streets with 2nd pair is most likely profitable.
Everyone's showdown value+ range is extremely inelastic so go ahead and exploit the shit out of your bet sizing depending on what you want to accomplish. Note that SDV is overrated by most of 25NL.
50NL is back to not being a huge nitfest.
Nits are still set mining nits.
Some TAGs are somewhat more floaty and better postflop but they pick the most obvious spots to apply the latest epic strategy concept post.
Ranges are generally inelastic early in the hand or when the pot is small. Tops of absolute strength ranges are inelastic. Mid and bottoms of ranges are extremely elastic in large pots and on later streets.
100NL is much more of a gradual step up in terms of skill level from 50NL for the first time in recent memory. This is encouraging in that perhaps some new money is being deposited there from the former 20-50 players and hopefully money is already starting to move up.
Plays very similar to 50NL with two caveats: More preflop aggression in the obvious light 3bet and squeeze spots and regs playing stickier postflop and most likely outleveling themselves a ton.
I'm still pretty wary of the effects of the rampant preflop aggression going on even though games have improved a ton since the changes. I'm all too aware that I'm most likely wrecking the enjoyability of the game for that 30/15 20% fold to 3bet guy when I value 3bet wide with KQs and he would rather just see cheap flops to quad mine J6o and c/c down postflop to see what's going to happen with his sooted hand. I imagine this game is much more enjoyable if you can do all that fun stuff without having to stack off constantly and busto your account in a relatively small number of hands. There has to be some $/hour or $/hand value involved here and if I were them I'd be fealing kind of ripped off and frustrated in terms of entertainment value if I'm a standard fish.
In some awesome life-news, I am going to get to play pretty much full time poker for 9 months total this year. Stars is looking good again so I'm going to be putting in 95% volume there with Rush on the backburner when I want to change it up.
I'm fairly confident now that the disaster that was 2010 was:
a) instigated by the Stars changes.
b) my unwillingness to leave terrible games.
c) mounting frustration leading to perma-tilt and steady rate of spew.
d) eventually realize that in the 2010 state of the game and my 2010 progressing state of mind, I could not win at small stakes.
e) lesson: it's kind of silly to get upset and then attack people by throwing fistfuls of cash at them.
I'm back to 2 winning months in a row now. Note that before June 2010 when the Stars lobby settled down into it's rut, I had never had a losing month pre-rakeback. Between June and the end of the year, I had 4 small losing months and 2 breakeven months post-rakeback.