Saturday, November 3, 2007

Deep stack poker

A while ago, Ryan posted an entry about a Negreanu article which dealt with deep stack poker. There was some discussion about what the differences were with deep stack poker versus normal stack poker. Well last night was an experiment in that arena. Starting stacks were typically 400 units though you could buy in for as little as 200 units. Rebuys were constant throughout the night and by the end of the night I was even having to buy straps off of players to get straps for the rebuys. The table had over 5700 chips on it when we broke the game, and keep in mind this is with 1/2 blinds. That's an *average* of over 800 units per person but of course the stack sizes differed. If two of the big stacks got into a hand together there could have been over six buy-ins on the line.

If you don't think that deep stack poker changes anything about how you play, I invite you to come along to the next deep stack night to see for yourself.


jason said...

Very different play. Deep stacks and more meaningful stakes really changed things. There were a number of "sick laydowns" shall we say. I know I layed down AQ on a Ace High Board and I believe Ryan did the same. For those that bluffed, few people were making speculative calls.

Joe Sola looked like he had just been through a battle when the night ended. I am not blaming Joe, he was in a number of hands with very tough decisions.

Our new players played extremely well in my opinion. Since our group is so conditioned to big raises with big pairs, any other action leaves us befuddled. I know I had a really hard time getting reads on our new players since their play was somewhat unorthodox. With big raises coming frequently, players had to make very difficult decisions.

Marsh playing somewhat nit like and getting a reputation for never bluffing was a real treat.

I wonder what an Aces vs. Kings battle would have looked like if 2 of the bigger stacks hooked up.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Indeed, even "Action" Jason was nitting it up once his stack grew. THAT is how much deep stack poker can change things!

Ryan said...

It was particularly relevant with opponents prone to overbetting at the table. A double-edged might be facing an all-in overraise of 2-4 buyins with marginal hodings that you have to release. Alternately, you might be facing an all-in overraise of 2-4 buyins with the nuts.

Oh, wait, third edge: you might be facing an all-in raise of 2-4 buyins with the nuts, and then watch the raiser hit a four-outer to felt you. Sorry Martin, so brutal last night, you played really well and got punished badly in return.

Marshall said...

Ya it changed the play quite a bit. I think I was probably more aware of the stakes themselves than the stack depth. I just didn't want to bone off 10 bucks preflop with a speculative hand. On WNP I might do that, but here I didn't want to make it a habit. It was pretty awesome to be the nit of the table and get the reputation for NEVER bluffing. I usually try to bet often enough so that my image is the opposite, but last night was quite different.

Comments on play:

Martin: Played well, that K on the river was just sickening. I thought he brought his A game though.

Jason: Played well also, had some huge hands but I felt like he played them very very well. Perhaps a bit too cautiously, dare I say it.

Ryan: With the exception of one bit pot error played his normal game and even managed to stay aggressive given the stacks and higher stakes.

Joe Sola: Agree with Jason here, looked like he just got through his 3rd tour in WWII or something. The word "weathered" comes to mind. But he just put on his music, put his head down, and played some solid poker to turn a catastrophic night into some juice. Nice work.

Other Joe: Played his game. I was honest with him when I told him what I thought of his game. Aggression is the great equalizer and it works for him great. He is of course prone to the big mistake, but a few suck-outs and flopped monsters go a long way to rememdy that.

Derrick- Brutal night for him. I thought he played most of his big hands reasonably well, with the exception of letting people draw a bit too cheaply. Had some situations where he had virtually no choice but to lose his stack. Really tough night.

MB: Played her normal game and got tired. I thought she played fine, no complaints there.

Me: I rule. Either flop the nuts or turn them, then bet it. And I never bluff. Remember that boys.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Me: I rule. Either flop the nuts or turn them, then bet it...

...AND don't get outdrawn!

Actually I didn't feel like I played that well. I did have some hands that I pat myself on the back on. Still evaluating how I played my strong second best hands. I spent some of my Sklansky bucks from my "either break even or drop down two buy-ins" hand on a Cinnabon yesterday. Twas delicious. The last hour or so I was just looking to double or triple up my stack so I got WAY speculative and saw too many flops for too much money. I offset some of it by stealing as much as I could but that is totally not EV+ poker at the end.

I agree about Jason though. There is a glimpse of what Jason could be if he started (learning and) playing better fundamentals and wasn't so much of an action junkie. Thankfully for us he will de-nit at TuNP.

Ryan I thought showed extreme patience despite not having his DS to pass the time. Good laydown on his first big hand against Derek's pop on the flop.

Sola did what I wanted to do on the first hand and call down with JJ with a single overcard on board though I think I would have suffered the same fate.

If MB would take a nap in the afternoon so she could play longer she'd be rich.

Joe has clearly added the slow play to his arsenal along with the aggressive play that Marsh mentions, a dangerous combination!

I agree with Marsh and the rest of the table on Derek. Some second best hands you just are not going to get away from and might even be wrong to lay down depending on the situation. There are simply some hands which are designed to make someone lose all their chips and Derek ran into a multitude of them that night.

Bob Loblaw said...

Sounds like I missed another good one.

One question: on the big suck-out hand that Martin lost, was running it twice ever mentioned?

I'd think that would definitely come up more in deep-stack play if somebody were to ever go all in.

Sushi Cowboy said...

It was not. I think I can probably count the number of times that we have actually run it twice on one hand since it was first introduced. With Joe and Derek new to the game I would have felt uncomfortable suggesting it anyway without having full buy in from them on the idea beforehand. Bringing it up at such a critical time would have seemed very awkward. Plus I only re-raised Joe's turn bet of 100 to 300 instead of pushing all in for the last 64 or so chips in my stack which was another departure from convention on running it twice.

I should really keep that in the back of my mind though so I can start suggesting it for those times when I have a buy-in or more at risk and am favored by 90% or more. There is nothing like running it twice to guarantee that I will end up winning the first run and losing the second one to give me a chop instead of a win.

Ryan said...

Generally agree with the individual assessments, although I would say that while Derek was destines to take some tough losses with the second-best hand, but he was compounding his losses with two classic beginner habits: making massive overbets with the non-nuts on a scary board, and raising with the non-nuts on the end when he should be calling.

Jason's final boat on the KK2 board is a good example. On the river, Derek bet, Jason raised, and Derek pushed. With more experience, you learn that this is a spot to make a crying call, not to shove.

I would say Derek and Joe are playing well for their experience level. They are using aggression to mitigate the skill gap, but they have some of the expected holes any beginner will have.

jsola said...

That game was incredibly tough for me. I was down about $350 dollars at one point and consider myself incredibly lucky to have turned it into a $40 profit. I was considering leaving around my low point just because I could feel myself starting to go into insta-push tilt-mode. Putting the ipod on was a great idea and helped me take my mind off of the game and how bad I was stuck.

The night really brought home the point for me that no limit is unlike limit in that it is not a battle for the blinds, it is a battle for stacks.

Bet sizing and implied odds are incredibly important in that type of game, and as such, good preflop play has to account for the huge stacks. In retrospect, I should have made gigantic raises with big pairs and hands that flop a good TPTK, as it makes postflop play a lot easier. Beginning players do not give much attention to bet sizing, and I think they would call a 15 or even 20 chip raise just as soon as they would an 8 chip bet. I would rather call a push from Joe with 1/8 of our chips in the pot than with 1/32. Likewise, if I have a suited connector or pocket pair type hand, I should have made smaller raises to commit fewer of my chips preflop, but still pump the pot up enough to give me a chance to get the rest of my stack in when I hit.

I think this was one of the few games I've played in where I was correctly assessing my implied odds. They were HUGE. Unlike the normal WNP game, there was a GREAT chance that I could get paid off with a two-pair+ sort of hand. By the end of the night, I was playing fairly wide open preflop when the bankers were in a pot. Limping behind or calling a raise when Joe or Derrick were also in the pot was, in my opinion, profitable with just about any two cards, and I was calling with suited aces, suited kings, any pair, suited one or two gappers and offsuit connectors. Easily dominated hands like offsuit aces, KJ/KT, were instamucks for me, and although I doubled up with QJo, I think that was a clear fold in retrospect. My huge fold for the night was laying down KQo on a dry queen high board after Joe put me to the test for my last 200 chips. After that I resolved to not get myself into that situation again.

I have to hand it to Joe and Derrick. They were wielding their stacks like giant clubs, completely oblivious of the stakes we were playing at. If they had better hand reading and evaluation skills, they would have crushed us. It's like when I first started playing against Marsh in the WNP game. He was able to pull off huge bluffs and they worked consistently because a $60 game was twice as big as I was used to at the time. This game was the first time since then that I've felt that same fear of losing my stack, and it caused me to make some horrible calls and probably some horrible folds as well.

Overall it was a great experience and I would love to do it again, if only to get more comfortable with bigger stakes and deeper stacks.