1/2 ring play

I occasionally drop down to the lowest stakes in order to take the pressure off and just play some hands.

At 1/2, you can expect almost anything, except maybe a decent game of poker. But occasionally it can happen.

What I find more often is a game where limping is the rule. Reasonable open raises (up to 7-8bb) are always called, usually by 3-4 other players, and that’s at a 6-seat table, which makes raising opens with a tight range advisable, but forget about opening anything but pocket pairs 99+, and fold lower than that unless you find a set.

Even suited broadway cards are not good to open with, because you can expect a multi-way flop 100% of the time and c-bets are never effective at folding out draws. You have to learn how to play well multi way with opponents who often don’t know when to fold or how to bet according to the conventional strategies, and it can be difficult unless you are making hands pretty regularly.

Since preflop raising doesn’t help you to isolate, I end up in bloated four or five way flops with nothing, and if the board is the least bit wet there’s a good chance someone hits a draw hand. And even if no one is betting, you can bet that several will call most any size bet 80%of the time with any pair or any draw, and one of them will hit, making bluffing and continuation betting close to useless.

If you can’t beat them, join them. You too can see a cheap flop by limping and then assess and either dump or continue depending on what you get, and exploit your opponents tendency to over-call. And if you limp, usually the whole table will limp, like a gentleman’s agreement exists not to initiate hostilities until postflop. So you can limp any two cards and fold everything that misses, continue with strong draws and 2nd pair or better, generally assume that anything over a min bet means that they have a made hand, never a naked draw, and it’s pretty obvious when it’s correct to fold. Multi-way, you can always assume someone has at least a pair, and you’re never winning a hand with High Card Ace unless no one bets from flop to river. Call with less than top pair, bet on top pair, good kicker and better, and if you make two pair+, raise small and you’ll get 2-3 calls every time and be good most of the time. Over the long run you’ll win more than you lose.

Bluffs of any size never make any sense at 1/2, there’s always a player who won’t lay down, and even chases their draw to one pair. You can exploit this easily enough by simply hitting and betting. It’s not sophisticated, and as long as you bet on the reasonable side you can usually get three rivers of value out of top pair. Play draws passively, don’t try to build a pot, let the table do it for you, keep the pots reasonable, and check-raise when you fill. You can bet small with straights and better and get everyone to call, or if you go big usually there’s at least one player who will read large bets as bluffs and call you down. Mostly if your opponents are betting, they have something, but occasionally there will be a player who is just trying to buy every pot no matter what they have, which is great as long as you have a pair or better.

Occasionally you’ll find a low stakes table where the action is maniac, and these are easy exploit if you are getting cards at all. Just make a hand and assume your opponent is full of it, and you can call very thin and be good often enough that it’s worth it. You can induce this behavior at tables pretty easily by making a few big splashy hands and show garbage, and show you’re not afraid of losing your stack 4-5 times in a row. After that no one is going to give you any credit, and you can bomb the pot when you hit for real, and stack multiple opponents with sets and straights.

Once in a while there’ll be someone who is hitting every hand, filling draws like nobody’s business, and it looks like they’re bluffing every time, there’s no way they can have it that often, but they do. Just find another table when that happens. There’s never any sense in challenging these players, and even your best starting cards will be no match for their luck hitting strong draws every time. Even if you catch a straight they’ll make a flush or a full house.

You do get some strange calls sometimes. I opened AKs for 10 chips last night, and got 3-bet to 34 by what turned out to be J6o, and the player behind them called with 76o, another player decided to call, and that wasn’t really comfortable for me to just flat with AKs to see a 4-way flop, so I 4-bet to 170, hoping to get even just one to fold, and the 3-better goes all-in on J6o for about 200 chips, fine, 76o calls, and the player behind them was at least decent enough to fold. I scored top pair, KKings on the flop, and had one player committed to the showdown, and another player who would be all-in for a half-pot bet, so I have no fold equity, and I know it. But that’s good – I don’t want him to fold. I bet his exact stack and he called, having made 2nd pair with his 6. Fortunately the board runs out K, A, giving me KKKAA and two stacks for my nuts. After that, everyone left the table for some reason, except one guy, so I packed it up and left too.

At least it worked out for me that time.

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/707762911

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And so?

Why you wasted your time writing this?

To waste your time reading it.

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Puggywug,

Maybe I am reading into your post too much but lower stakes games probably not your favorite type of poker and you play larger stakes most of the time. However, if that is the case, consider Bankroller B&R.
It is one of my favorites when I want to just enjoy playing poker for giggles and grins.

Basically you describe the action in the the Bankroller B&R MTT. You get all of that wide range of bets and calls since many players open up their range of bets. It allows for the patient player to ring up a good hand and set themselves up with a nice stack for after the break or you hit a lucky hand like your KKKAA.

As the game progresses in the rebuy period the range of bets starts to shift as players don’t want to risk their stacks so you can get value folds. After the break the play still can be wild with players with short stacks trying to catch up to some of the monster stacks. Once again a chance for the patient player to pick up some big hands.

As the game gets toward the bubble play shifts again to smaller ranges of bets which allows big stacks to bully a bit and after the bubble some fun action then you start to see serious play going into the last two tables are so.

I have won and made it to last table several times even with short stacks after the break.

My point in this post: I invite you to play B&R. I think you would have fun.

I played in one Bankroll B&R and it wasn’t for me at all. Every single hand every player at my table just open shoved for 500 chips, and then reloaded. There was no strategy involved at all just a pure bingo game. I don’t know if they are all that way, but I didn’t want to try it again.

So, the next time you are in the mood to play a lower stake game to take the pressure off and just play some hands.…If you don’t mind me trying to persuade you to try a few more times… This particular game has really grown on me for several reasons…and there definitely is a way to play this game and have fun:

Really, I get it, and after the first time I played I felt the same way you did. Then I decided to try again, mostly because I was in a “what the heck” mode and thought a little Bingo for giggles and grins would be fun.

  1. The first 24 minutes can be wild west but as players grow stacks their play does change. For example this hand. I had hit a lucky hand earlier plus pocket Aces pulled in a good stack and now I had a decent stack. There are two players at my table who have been going all in with a wide range of hands fairly consistently…however, this was late in the rebuy period and I suspected correctly that I could get a fold if I had a decent hand to push and end up one on one with the more loose player.
    Hand #708881440 · Replay Poker

This put me in 4th position out of an active player field of 77 players,

I lost some of my stack to a great hand vs a great hand. A similar hand as above played out one more time and after the rebuy period break I was in 12th position out of 68 players.

My total investment was 1,000 chips, 500 entry and one rebuy.

  1. Based on some of your other posts plus some friendly advise you have given me to my posts you seem to have a good grasp of the game and enjoy Replay. The theories and strategies you know still apply in the rebuy period. Watching and knowing that desperate players who think they need a big stack going into the break and larger stacks need to be protected as the 24 minutes wind down you can use your knowledge and experience to really get a decent stack going into the break. Going Bingo all the time can ring up a large stack, I have seen it happen, but then you really have to get to the final table to break even on your rebuys…My experience has been you don’t need to be a lucky Bingo player to win this MTT…I have won a couple times with maybe one or two rebuys.

  2. A large stack after the rebuy period is nice but not always necessary to make a deep run into the MTT. I find if I am somewhere in the middle of the field most of the time I can make it into the money and get all my chips invested back plus extra. Occasionally I am really short stacked and have to be really patient and think through my play but I have survived but also just tanked and I am out early. The fun part is trying to get caught up to the leaders and making to the end if you like a challenge.

  3. After the rebuy period break and especially as you get to the final tables and near the bubble the play really does transition into what I think you would call “normal poker”. All the strategies and theories are relevant at this stage of play and Bingo is long gone in the rear view mirror.

  4. For a small investment the pay out is fairly good. Usually around 50 k for top place. 4k to 60k for top15 players.

Today I made a horrible bet and finished 20th…but that’s on me not the game.

I hope you try again and look forward to seeing you around this game!

gg, then I was right to read it bad and quickly.
I’m sure you didn’t write it with the same haste.

3 days and that’s the best comeback you can come up with? I hope you didn’t spend the whole time thinking about it.

I liked the write up, pretty insightful stuff for a beginner player to study on how to beat other beginner players.

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