Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Deepstack poker musings, Part 4

Here are some brief observations as I scuffle to find enough spare time to write the follow-up post I promised last time.

Most truly good NLHE players are genuinely strong players because they are able to consistently outplay their opponents postflop. Aggressive preflop play and discipline in situation selection can only take you so far (especially in tournament poker): to excel, especially in a deepstacked NL cash game, you have to master betting on later streets, where the bets are biggest and the decisions are the most important ... and have the greatest impact on your bankroll.

A good way to develop and practice postflop play is to -- don't laugh! -- play a form of poker oft-derided by the post poker-boom breed of poker players who know but one variant of the game. As some of you may have guessed, I'm talking about limit hold'em. The nature of the game simply forces you to play hands all the way through and see every street. You gain valuable experience -- very quickly! -- as you constantly put yourself in situations where you have to analyze situations postflop. These lessons and skills are transferable to no-limit games.

Standard LHE tactics like free card plays (in other words, betting with the worst hand on an earlier street to try to buy a cheap or free card in the future), and thin river value bets (maximizing value is a cornerstone of all poker games, but especially LHE), are important NL tools that can be practiced and refined at a much-reduced risk to your poker bankroll with time spent in limit games.

I hope to edit and expand on this post later tonight, but for now, work beckons.

1 comment:

Gnome said...

I completely agree with your assessment that limit poker teaches postflop play far better than no limit does. I credit my limit background for a lot of my current success because it helped me understand the fundamentals.
That said, postflop play is still very difficult for me. So much of it is based on hand reading, pot size, board composition and opponents' tendencies that it's hard to evaluate situations except on a case-by-case basis. There aren't as many general rules of thumb to postflop play as there are for preflop play because there are so many variations postflop.