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Someone explain pros at a table

FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,581Subscriber
So I go to the casino to play on Saturday.

There is one 2/5 table. I go and sit down. I notice one tricky pro, one backpack pro, one thinking LAG, one overly aggressive pro. All have $1500+ in front of them. So that's 4 tough players.

There are 2 short stacks with ~$250 eacy, and 2 recs who look like they are scared shitless for roughly $400 to $500 each.

After 5 hands I promptly get up and leave. I literally go to the 1/2 game and wait for the next table.

1 hour later the next 2/5 opens up. One bad TAG, One bad LAG, One predictable LAG, me, and 5 passive players. People are calling $30, $35, $50 raises and draining the LAGs that all the LAGs stop being Laggy and turn passive. The game is fantastic.

I look back over at the 1st table. Same pros playing each other. I sit here scratching my head. These guys all play for a living. I constantly see them playing each other. I am always bum hunting.


  • Jesse_The_SuitJesse_The_Suit Posts: 493Subscriber, Professional
    I see the same shit everyday. 5 or 6 pros at a 2-5 game, right next to 2-5 game that has 2 pros and 7 recs and a 1-3 game with 9 recs. It's got to be ego/laziness. Only thing I can think of anyway.
  • Jack7777Jack7777 Posts: 655Subscriber
    I go to a couple of casinos like that, only usually they just have one table. They may not be as capable as these players you mention, but they sit there all the time playing each other. If a new player sits, the game picks up until they leave. Then it's back to paint drying. These places play with a rock on the 2-5 game. So, it $10 to go from all over the table. Position. The new guy never gets his button, so he can't play his weaker opening hands as easy. It's a $10 blind game, it not 2-5. The floor lets these guys run the game they want, whether it's good or bad for the room. These rooms used to have two 2/5's and a must move on weekends. Now, just the 2/5 rock game. Clue.
  • AJoffAJoff Posts: 546Subscriber
    A couple years back I read a PGC where the OP posts a about a “weak, passive” villain. A couple days later another poster links a thread where the villain posted the hand from her perspective and called the PGC op an “aggro donk”.

    Prolly easier for the players you are describing to convince themselves they have an edge than to move down.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,581Subscriber
    Most of the pros I meet are not that good but they can beat the fish. Some barely competent, and others are incredibly aggressive. But 90% of them don't understand all the other factors involved in playing for a living. The non-hand play factors.
  • ActionTwinActionTwin Posts: 147Subscriber, Professional
    I see this all the time, most notably in my trips to Vegas. Every session I've seen pros sitting in games filled with one another while there's multiple way better games right around them. If there's a decent amount of winning players in the rooms you play then game selection is everything in regards to your win rate. Bum hunt, bum hunt, bum hunt. I live in LA and play there mostly and it's even more of a consideration in those games due to the high drop. While the games are softer in LA, the presence of a couple winners in your game can really suck up your win rate when there's already $240 coming off the table every single hour in the form of drop, jackpot, and tips. I really think at the $5 blind level if there are 2 or more winning players at your table other than you then it's time to table change unless there are whales at your table.
    Thanked by 1Fuzzypup
  • CycleVCycleV Posts: 1,196Subscriber
    I want to say thanks to you guys for providing me with some perspective. Between my 2 small poker rooms there is only a single 2/5 table. I keep wanting to "move up", "be a 2/5 player", but the lineup is usually 5-6 full-time players and 1-3 short stacks. I've only played in the game a few times, when it looked like a decent opportunity. Otherwise, every time my name comes up, I look over at it, then back at my fun and usually unchallenging 1/3 table and say, "Nah, I'm good."

    The casino with 2/5 is expanding to 10 tables and will prob run a pair of 2/5 games (must move), so I will always have my eye open for new faces, but I can probably stop beating myself up for not "being a 2/5 player". I'm also close to nonstop chatter, and the idea of being surrounded by 5 earbud players would bore me to tears.
  • Jesse_The_SuitJesse_The_Suit Posts: 493Subscriber, Professional
    That's actually another factor I think about when selecting between 2/5 and 1/3. A game with a bunch of nit-grinders is way less fun to play in than a splashy 1-3 game (where people are talking and having a good time). If you are a pro, it might not really be an option, but for those of us who are semi-pros/advantage-rec players, it's totally reasonable to consider how much fun it will be to play at a particular game.
    Thanked by 1CycleV
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    I guess no must move at your casino? Yesterday I was in a rather good must move game then one by one we got moved over to the main game. That game was awful when I first got to the casino. there were 4 winning pros there.. 1 of which is a pretty good player..

    but as they all left one by one the game got better and better as the recs moved over to the main game.. til finally the main game was better than the must move.

    I find sometimes in these pro and reg heavy games that interesting things happen that you would never see at the better game. Pro on Pro violence when one pro tries to outplay the other pro. If one pro loses a big pot and then goes on tilt then you can have a game turn on a dime..

    that said I too see regs sit there in bad games because they are too lazy or too involved in their phones , ipads etc to care.

  • CycleVCycleV Posts: 1,196Subscriber
    "advantage-rec player", man I love that term. Way sexier than "studious rec" or some such
  • Jesse_The_SuitJesse_The_Suit Posts: 493Subscriber, Professional
    I didn't coin it I am afraid. It's what some nit grinder called me at the table.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,581Subscriber
    Had another funny incident at the casino.

    Come in with 3x 2/5 tables open. 1 is bad, 1 is meh, 1 looks promising but some short stacks. I look over @ the 1/2 tables. There is one table where 3 players have $50 or less, 1 player $300, and 4 players have $750-$1000 and the open seat is on their left.


    Not one good player at the table. Walked out with $800 that night playing 4 hours. Players who play 2/5 for a living didn't even notice it.
  • ohsnapzbrahohsnapzbrah Posts: 632Subscriber
    I think there are a few things you can do to combat this. Perhaps the biggest thing is to be able to play multiple games. On occasion, even though I'm not great or good at PLO by any means, I've switched from a 2/5 NLHE game to a 2/2 PLO game, because that's where the money was at. Or I've turned down playing 2/5 games because my 1/2 table was so good or I had a God like image that would allow me to run over the table.

    Pros have egos. Just like football or basketball. LeBron James has won fewer titles than he should have, because he has a huge ego. Look at Golden State, Individually, they're not as talented as LeBron. But they put aside their egos and play GTO basketball, and they're far more accomplished than LeBron. And it's the same thing with poker. Those regs may be better than the guy refusing to play the reg-infested higher game, but that guy will have a higher hourly because he doesn't let his ego dictate how he plays.
    Thanked by 1Fuzzypup
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,581Subscriber
    I got zero ego in this game. I am there to make money. I put the money in retirement accounts and let compound interest do the work tax free.
  • beauregardbeauregard Posts: 1,592Subscriber
    there are times when I don't mind sitting at a table with "pros"
    because, while I'm ultimately there to make money, sometimes I'm there to learn
    if I can get a handle of Vs ranges and how they play them...
    I can then reverse-engineer their plays style and find the exploits

    I used to bum-hunt and even seat change
    but now, I see it as a challenge... an opportunity to improve my game
    again - my goal is to make money... but guess what?
    If I can beat ANY of the pros or regs in my game for a good clip...
    I will be the one they have to watch out for...
    and then THEY will be the ones asking for a table-change when I sit down
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,581Subscriber
    Most of the pros I meet are just the typical static minded TAGs I meet online. Not creative, not balanced, all technical. They don't understand the finer adjustments and realizations about scenarios in a live game. Some have obvious tells. Some are stoic but don't pay attention to the player's reactions and timing tells. Online betting patterns. Then if confronted with a weird betting patterns they get angry at how stupidly that person played the hand.

    Roughly 50% of the pros I don't have any problems with. Either they aren't very good, fold too much, or realize that we are there to make money off the fish and they have just enough aggression. The ones that irk me are the over aggressive ones that create a cascading effect of fish playing better at the table or leaving. They iso-raise all the time, they open a lot, straddle a lot. Fish will play better and my overall money value per player drops. They keep stealing pots until someone stacks them.

    Last night I was at a very good, although fucking slow table. I had a real bad run of luck and surprisingly only lost $500. The static pro to my left who raised 5x as much as I did lost $2000 at the same table. He kept blowing me out of pots at a table I can't 3b bluff light because all the players would call massive bets preflop or be tricky limping with big hands. He was a really nice guy too and had his technical play down. He failed to realize the amount of other variables that can influence a hand in a live game.

    For example some hands which online I raise, live I limp instead. The amount of information available live is so much more.
  • beauregardbeauregard Posts: 1,592Subscriber
    If you can reverse-engineer this dude... that 2k is waiting to go in your pocket.

    sometimes I'll adjust by forking my range into limp/call and limp/raise.
    if can become expensive for a few sessions (so I'd buy in shorter) - but once you've got a handle on how he behaves with whatever, you'll never have to seat change again... because he'll gladly change tables and avoid you.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,581Subscriber
    I thought of that but I had 2 Isles players at my table. If these old guys called a raise they had a premium hand. So it was tough to maneuver around them due to my table position. The pro was to my right and I was sandwiched between the old tricky farts. They are so ridiculously tricky that it hurts them. They don't realize by being this tricky they lose money. But they impact me quite a bit. I have to adjust to MTT bet sizing when in a pot with them.

    Like this hand went down. Limps around. I got A :s: 7 :s: in MP. $500 stack

    $30 FLOP Q :s: 3 K :s: - Xs to this drunk idiot at the table who bets $5. I got one guy behind me, old man tricky (OMT). I decide to raise here to control the bet sizing because if I just call I know OMT will raise more than I want to pay if he has a hand but fold a GS on this board because the bet is $5. But if I raise he will slowplay.... yes it's backward logic but so are there guys. I raise $35, OMT calls.... rhu rho raggy. SB folds, BB folds, UTG now XRs $100, folds back to me. Because of how this player plays I know his hand is exactly K3s. He raises KQ UTG, any pair, TT, and KK...... So I call because he can't fold. Now OMT back rereaises $300, folds to UTG who ships $700 all in and my head explodes. I fold because I needed roughly 3.5:1 to call this for profit .... OMT has a set. I am 100% sure of it. OMT starts worrying... genuinely worrying. Then he finally calls with a set of QQs, other guy has K3s as I suspected. Naturally turn was a spade and river bricked.

    One thing I have learned is that I don't care how good a table is.... if you are getting 20 hands per hour it isn't worth it for a variety of reasons. I cemented this fact that night.

    I use this formula I created to solve for tables.

    VF = value factor... how often you get paid on big hands 1-10
    BF = bluff factor... how often you can successfully move people off of hands 0-10
    HPH = hands per hour

    (VF + BF) * HPH^2 = value of the table.

    A 2004 table would be a VF = 10, BF = 0, HPH = 28
    A typical 2/5 table at the HR VF = 4, BF = 4, HPH = 33
    The table above? VF = 8, BF = 2, HPH = 22

    Sometimes I find 1 player can hold up a table. Like there is this one player who is a huge bluffer. Isn't afraid to stack off $750 with no odds on just an 8 out draw on the turn. The problem is he doesn't shut up and can slow a game down to 20 HPH. It simply isn't worth it. He raises often and doesn't fold. So you literally have to wait for a reasonable hand, hit, then let him hang himself. I would rather be at a table of nits bluffing them @ 40 HPH. The time value is worth more than people realize.
  • beauregardbeauregard Posts: 1,592Subscriber
    yeah, I was at a table the other night with a drunk dude that didn't want to stack his chips.
    We went down to maybe 20 hph... but drunk dude was in nearly every hand - trying to win every pot - that it became more profitable to limp/call with great RIO hands and try and stack him when you hit.
    bluffing nits to win the 1/3 blinds feels more productive.
    but ultimately - I'd rather wait 3 hours and win one $800 pot than to pick up $4 every 10 minutes.
  • beauregardbeauregard Posts: 1,592Subscriber
    on your hand - I think it's a call...
    35 + 100 + 500 + 500.... and you've got 400 left (I think you were effective stack)
    so pot should be 1135 and 400 to call.
    you're getting more than 33% to call and you're about 33% to hit a flush with 2 cards to come, no?
    once you raised to 35 (I would have smooth-called) and then call the 100 raise... I think your decision is made for you.

    I've played a lot of these types of players before - snowbirds at Tampa that like to play tricky/trappy.
    I love to trap the trapper and slow-play sets and big hands.
    they think they're the only ones who can play backwards... but two can play at that game.
    That's why I would have smooth-called the nut flush draw on the flop if I never wanted to get it all in....
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,581Subscriber
    Equity in the hand is lower than you think. 27% vs their range. If you are heads up all in vs TPTK you need 2:1.
    vs 2 sets nor 2P+set you need 3:1..... vs a single set its 25%. So the added big hand doesn't change the equity much.

    I needed 1200 in that pot to just break even. That would be a 0EV call. Then there are the micro factors. How the loss impacts my image, my tilt, the confidence of the 2nd agro player, etc.

    Lot's of variables.
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