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Nits and Lice

Well, the nicest, nasty old man from the southern climes scored again.  I wrote a nice look the last time he final tabled.  He made a comment to that that really made me laugh.  It was to the effect he is just a nitty player and undeserving of any special attention.   That sneaky bastard!

Now I am going to insult a few folks but what the hey.  Its what grumpy old men do.  Frankly, it took me way too long to buy a clue too.   One of the earliest articles I sold was about “Gear Changing”  and it wasn’t necessarily catchy or under review for a Pulitzer — but it was ok as far as it went.  Structure and stacks are going to make fools of us all.  There have been way too many blogs on that subject.

While I wrote about changing your game, I didn’t really get a real handle on it until I started playing that Stud8 tournament which I’ve written about ad nauseum.   Believe it or not, if you want to learn to play great NL tournament poker, play limit tournaments.  I’d done it by accident from time to time by seeing one ready to start and leaping in without noticing it was limit.   I’ve ranted about what I encountered. I was playing it as stupid as is possible and didn’t have a clue.

The first thing you encounter in limit is the calling stations and the super aggressive.  No different from no-limit but more obvious in the futility.  “I am a nitty old man.” needs to go through translation.  What he is saying is the first half of any tournament doesn’t mean squat.  What he’s doing is proving that you don’t want to buy a horse or mule from this man — even if he throws in a bridge.  It is really lose, observe and laugh time — home of the nit.

What limit highlighted was the futility of great early play.  Limit eliminated the joy of an early double/triple up.   You saw player’s basic nature.  Whether limit or NL, an hour or so into online play, half the players have departed.   Mine was a small tournament so, I recognized players easily.  But, throw away names and it goes for the big tournaments.  It was just a bit easier.

Limit taught me that what goes on early is immaterial.  The same agros that couldn’t manage their stacks were leaving in the same timely fashion but limit underlined the cause.  Those hanging around a hand hoping for lightning in a bottle were the same as their NL counterparts.  It gave me a clarity I hadn’t really had.

So, background behind us.  Mojo put on a clinic that several readers here should take to heart. Look at this tweet:

Level 5, 150/75 blinds. 6.8K. Laid down AA on turn. Villain showed 2 pair! Most would’ve gone broke.

Yes, but what he isn’t telling you is this is very solid play — even when the guy showed you a pair of jacks.  He says nitty.  Not nitty.  No, it isn’t the proverbial A-game either.  It doesn’t have to be.  That little limit tournament taught me that.  Kick sand in my face, bully boy/girl.  Come in aggressive every hand.   Brag about the fold you forced with your post-oak bluff.  What it shows is people taking real risk without real reward.  It is in the class of day one chip leaders that never get heard from again.

Run good is going to happen or not happen.  I love getting a big stack.  But isn’t the reason for being there.  That’s counter intuitive.  But we are talking luck.  Dave is trying to minimize the bad luck to hope for good luck when it means a lot.  That’s the nit part.

Look at a late hand by the nit.

On the very next hand, I had 10 9 [hearts] and shoved again (for about 95K). This is why I showed the aces: Look at me, I only play the nuts. I wanted to pick up the blinds and antes. If someone called, then maybe I’ll get lucky.

Another guy thought, then moved all in for around 400K and the big stack also moved all in! The first guy turned over A-Q and the big stack showed K-K.

The flop was A-10-6 with two hearts. The turn was a black eight giving me more outs. A heart wins it for me, a 10, a 9 gives me two pair and a 7 gives me a straight. The [hearf] 5 on the river gave me the flush and a triple up.

Had he done that early, we could put our hand over our mouth and point.  But, you won’t say this is nit’s play.  It is late play with a stack-based A-game trying to create success.  Success or failure isn’t what’s important — that’s in the shit happens category.  It getting to the fun part to make all the components start working for instead of against.  He could have tried pulling this off on level 3; but he ain’t stupid.

A tournament provides at least three distinctively different games.  One and a half of them reward the nits.  It is boring but the way to get to the fun part.   It lowers variance.   Daniel Negreanu’s term “small pot poker” is an adjunct to what we are discussing.   Get yourself beyond the boring part that is fraught with unneeded risk.  Learn from the Walls, MS Nit!  He can school you now or school you later.

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  1. March 4th, 2012 at 00:58 | #1

    I think you give me too much credit, but thank you.

  2. March 4th, 2012 at 06:54 | #2

    It may be but the intent is really to act as a counter-point to those who talk like,  “I never limp; I always enter raising.  It just after the first level and I have doubled up twice and am in great shape.”  The early fact is that a nit game or “small ball poker” or whatever you want to make of it carries the greatest EV.   I doubt any of us will get backed or interviewed on PokerNews for our prowess.   But, discounting some of the flaws we all have, you are what I’m describing. 
    The fact is early risk carries far less reward than it does late.  Most fail to fully understand that.  I wasn’t fully aware why that works; it isn’t intuitive.  You seem to be.  As I said, “I really didn’t understand it until that Stud8 tournament exposed it for me.

    You know how to adjust your game to blind and stack-size better than many.most recreational players.  It missed by many to their detriment.   Tournament play is different from ring and you understand that. 
    Does understanding that make one great.  Not a chance.  It just provides a better profit than that skill level player would obtain otherwise; along with decreased variance. 

    In the recent tournament you were at the last tabled.   The return is 8 or 9 times the buyin.   If you are going to hope for long term profit, you can’t play in a way that carries a lower EV.  That is the goal for few in truth. That really isn’t why most of us are playing.  But, it doesn’t hurt to understand some of the whys  anyway.

    No, you aren’t that special.  But you are a great counter-Waffles or anti-Josie.   🙂

    When you look at the rake for casino play, I don’t know anyone who could expect a long term profit .  You don’t need to play Bobby’s Room but you need to play at levels where rake is not 5% or more.  Skill will never overcome that.  So, all the stuff we all posture at is a lie anyway.

  3. March 4th, 2012 at 19:12 | #3

    Memphis MOJO is my hero …

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