The Rake

A poker player’s four letter word. Sure we love it that we get dealers and free food and a place to play, bad beat jackpot and the like. But I can’t stand to watch it go. I think most players at the games I play in or the levels I do don’t pay attention. If ever I am making more money than the rake, and have been there for any considerable length of time, I’m gone.

            The math on the rake is simple. It’s not even basic math; it’s less than basic math. At the club, the rake is 10% with a max of 4. Doesn’t seem too bad when most of the pots have well over sixty in them. The casino is a max of 3, but over forty they put one in the bad beat and 2 if it’s over 50. At the club in Fort Collins (no limit) it was 2 at 15 and 3 at 100, but anything across the line counted. So if there was 50 in the pot and you bet 100 to run people out, everyone folds, you actually lost money, because they just raked your bet.

            Now all of this sounds stupid to someone playing for a day at a casino or a couple time s month. This is nothing to worry about. But here’s the math: the club where I play 4-8 deals around 30 hands and hour and most of the pots are raked full. That’s 120 bucks off the table every hour. The whole table loses it. Everyone tips at least a buck, but it probably averages between 2-3, but I’ll say 2 just to keep the figure conservative. That means 180 an hour is leaving the game. Just to keep the game solid and ripe, two players need to get another rack or two new players need to sit down. Otherwise, that rake starts eating into me, whether I’m playing pots or not.

            At the casino, they are raking less, but they go through more hands with the shuffler. I know a dealer who used to deal there and she said they wanted them averaging 50 hands an hour before the shufflers came along. So whether it goes to the casino or to the bad beat, more than 200/hour is coming off any table I sit at. That’s tough business.

It is imperative that new money arrives steadily. The casino is never a problem, but the 4-8 can pose some threats, especially when you have to play for 2 hours unless you are stuck, then you can leave any time.

            So again, tight play is the only way to protect your chips from bad luck, other players and the rake. Otherwise, all three are chipping away at your stack.

North/South: Magnetic Chips

I’m sure everyone has a name for what I’m about to discuss, but I call it magnetic chips. When I enter a game I want my chest to be north and the chips to be south. Every one of them should be draw to my chest, to be sitting in front of me until it’s time to go. If I put some of them in the middle, they better come right back. With friends. Sounds Like a good idea, but when everyone wants a northern chest or hands, it’s hard to move a game.

            I have made only one mistake in magnetic chips that I’m aware of. It was a 4-8 game, which is typically very loose, but there wasn’t much money in. I lost 60 and put another 60 in front of me. Got down to 80 and put in another 60. Ended up losing 220, and had more money in that game than I ever have in my life. What I didn’t realize is that there was no new money. One guy was catching everything, was up 500 and everyone else was see-sawing, basically playing with my chips. The table was too tight to ever dig myself out of that hole. Pots were small and I would have to net 10 of them just to have a chance at daylight. I don’t think that buying back in in regards to my talent was a mistake, but if I’m playing to catch people making mistakes, and they are basically tight players, then it just won’t happen. No one was getting paid. Well one guy. But there just wasn’t enough money in the game to make that profitable. The chips were magnetic to too many others. Loose players have to be involved or there is just going to be a competition involving the best cards. And I was running bad, the first day of the skid to be exact, and that makes it hard to net 10 pots.

            The important thing to watch for the employer. Someone is going to pay people, and it might be more than one person, probably should be more than one. Otherwise, it will be a long grind.

Defense

OSU is coached by Eddie Sutton who teaches defense. Pressure defense to be exact. My high school coach patterned himself after Coach Sutton, and Sutton’s law can be translated into poker just as almost anything a person can sense.

            Sutton’s idea is that a good defense can stop a good offense. Okay, maybe he’s right. I won’t debate that; it does seem to be an adage in the sports realm. But Sutton’s other thought is that defense is not dependent on luck. Funny thing to say for a man who isn’t coaching a team in a game of chance. But basketball has a luck factor the same as poker. Calls that can go either way go the other way. Rebounds keeping falling just out of your reach, a ball rattles out, the timekeeper lets an extra second eek away and you can’t get the shot off before the buzzer. Good shooters will tell there is no luck. Sure they understand a good roll, but the ones that are nothing but net were intended to go exactly there.           

            But there are some days when nothing seems to fall. On those days, when Sutton’s offense in slumping for a few minutes, the defense isn’t under the control of streaky play. There is no luck factor in defense. You smother the opponent and force them to make mistakes. Even if an individual gets beaten by a player, a good defense can come to the rescue without weakening the team as a whole. If you add pressure to this kind of defense, well there are more mistakes to capitalize on.

            Sitting at a felt table hour after hour is going to require more defense than offense. Every hand I don’t play is me guarding my chip stack, my payroll for the day, week, month. I can see the potential in every hand that passes because the saying is true “Any hand can win.” Some of the hands I fold (actually it seems like all of them) get hit hard on the flop. No good play goes unpunished, as they say. Winning a pot means protecting those chips. At the casino, I might net 25 off of one pot, but that can be gone in seconds if I’m not careful. So I play defense.

            As for pressure defense, it can frustrate your opponents. It’s happened so many times I’ve lost count that someone has remarked that I haven’t lost a hand that day or that they’ve never seen me down. It’s the best thing they could say. It’s free advertising. Of course it isn’t true, but no one needs to know that. If a stranger comments to its validity, I say something that feels like a denial but can be read as me trying to hide it. “Oh, I’ve lost before.” “You weren’t here the other day.” “I’m just having a good day.” But something sparks in the hunters. They want to beat me. They will overplay hands to get at my chips, which makes the pressure higher, but the read easier. Then if the cards have been kind enough to let me dole out some beatings, and they came down in such a way that I could play them in sneaky ways, I usually can bluff a few pots. My pressure D has them rattled.

            Of course this is the same game as playing tight, not gambling with hands that might already be beaten, but just another way I like to think about it when the cards are cold.

A Couple of Pot Limit Hands

Doug’s game has been the most consistently difficult game I’ve played in. I don’t feel outmatched talentwise, but there are a few factors that make this game tougher than most. Doug, for one, used to be a semi-pro. In the early-80s, he was out of a job, had a mortgage and a newborn and played poker for a little over a year to pay the bills. He said his goal was to make $100 a night, and I think he played four nights a week. Doug didn’t have any cardrooms or casinos to frequent, so he had to grind it out in home games and country clubs. The biggest credit to his play is that no one knew he was doing it. So Doug is about the most solid player I’ve ever played against. I modeled my low-limit play after him.

            My friend Joel plays in this and he’s very good, an excellent numbers man, one of only two people, besides my wife, that I would share a bankroll with. Like most good players, Joel plays even better in this game than others.

            My friend Larry plays in this, and he plays for the most money of anyone in our group. He has had more big wins for bigger money than anyone in the game. He also has the same credits with losses. Larry’s not afraid, and he’s not afraid to play reckless.

            There are another two guys who don’t know what they are doing: Rick and Mike. Mike will be the star of the first hand I discuss, and I’ll let his play be the description for both Mike and Rick’s play.

            The other players in the game are pretty solid. They have read poker books and know what hands have good appeal and what hands don’t. They play a little too tight in that they may have the best hand, Aces full or something, but won’t raise you in fear of you having quads. These guys are up money for their lives but not much, and they nearly cry at every one of these games at the aggression and their stupidity for laying down the winner.

            The real reason anyone comes to Doug’s game is Kenny. Kenny is a multi-millionaire. He owns the biggest contracting company in Wyoming and he makes around 40 million a year. Kenny loves to raise the pot with nothing, without looking and continue to raise it until all your chips are in the middle or your cards are. He will bet the flop, flip over his cards and you’ll see you have him beat, and you’ll still be scared to call. Kenny has played pots from the bathroom and won. Once he left to go to piss and told the table to raise the pot every time. A guy actually had Aces on this hand. Kenny had 6-3 offsuit, and he didn’t even know it. He also asked us to flip his hand over so the other guy would know what he had. Two sixes hit the flop. There are parts of Kenny’s game that could not be worse, and parts of it that couldn’t be better. Typically, I bring 200 in there, though I have brought 400 when I thought 4 100 shots at it were worth the risk. Others have been in for 500 and the table quiets down as we are all feeling a little sorry for our friend trying to dig himself out of a 500 hole. Kenny regularly has 1200 in and has put 3300 in without batting an eyelash. He typically writes a 1000 check every time there.

            This sounds like an ideal game to be in. But with all the combining factors, having a pro, a maniac, two idiots and solid players in the pot, it’s hard to know what to do. The good thing is I can just wait for hands. The bad thing is, everyone at the table but me has a job that pays at least 50,000.

            The last hand I played on this night was with Larry and he broke me. I raised the pot out of position with KQ and Larry smooth called. Flop comes K-9-3. I check raised Larry and he put me all-in. He had 9-3. That was my first hundred. I wasn’t pissed or tilting, but I wasn’t happy. But Larry can do this to people, and I know that if I’m at the table long enough, I’ll be in the hand when he doesn’t hit his miracles.

            On the hand in question I was in middle position and there were several limpers, which is what I’m looking for in this game. I am known as a tight player in this game, I have lost only once there and am up almost a grand in my career there. In other games with Larry, Joel and some of the guys who are there, I’m known as just the opposite. Anyhow, because of the limpers I can put in a good-sized raise. I have 8s-8h. Because of my reputation, I run off almost everyone, I think Joel stays in and so does Mike. Mike is late and Joel is early.  Now Mike is a real idiot, he makes a lot of money doing something, but he’s not very fond of it at the poker table. I put Mike on something solid because I don’t know how else to go about my pre-flop mind. I forget about Joel. Flop comes Q-8-3, all clubs. Joel checks and he is not afraid to check-raise.

            I want to pause here to talk about a good play that I made and didn’t actually make at the same time. Usually after a hand is over guys will tell you exactly what they were thinking and why they are so smart. They are full of shit. In hindsight, I think my move with my reputation was solid. The problem it has is that anyone who calls you is going to have you beat. So the only thing to hope for is a 9-high flop with an eight. Check into the overpair or bet at them and you will get twice the amount of chips you started the hand with. Typically you are going to get called by a pair, maybe AK if it’s suited or even AQ, but every other non-paired holding will wait for a better situation and if they don’t and don’t flop to their hand, all their action is over. So this is a dangerous play, but in a game where tight players will call you with Aces instead of raise because they have seen A-A get beat too many times, and then they flop a 9-high and you raise them, they will fold half the time because they have talked themselves into seeing a better hand and folding. Try this play when you are up, proceed gamble.

            Back to the action, I think for a minute and maybe I’m tilting and maybe I’m not, but I’m going to make a run at it anyway. I don’t figure I can run out a made flush because they called a raise with it, so if it’s not the nuts then it’s big anyway, but if someone only has one club, they are going to have to pay to draw. I’m still not sure If I thought anyone had a flush or I didn’t care, but I made the hand I was looking to make with 8-8, and so what if it was a flush flop.

The pot had a little over 100 and I had 97 so I get it all in the middle. Mike calls and so I figure I’m going to have to pair the board to win, and I think Joel laid down a big club. I flip over the set, Mike flips over Q-5h. He doesn’t even have a club! Of course I’m happy that he’s an idiot. Joel whispered to me that he was surprised that I would do that with 8-8. So there was added bonus in that I got some street credit. Of course the lesser players just saw my set, my winning hand, and the savvier players realized I made a big move with a vulnerable hand. I got back all I lost to Larry on my original buy-in and then some, and cashed 220 that night.

The other hand was at Doug’s a few times before the Mike hand. Only 5 people showed up to this one: Doug, Larry, Joel, Me and my friend Brice. Brice is pretty good at home games and does well, but he’s pretty scared over at Doug’s and doesn’t usually do so well. But everyone there is solid. There is no dead money, which sucks, but there is also no live money. I figure this will be good practice but I don’t stand to win much at such a tight game without much money in it.

Brice raises the pot from the gun to I think 13. Because of being short-handed, I had come not to respect the opening raise. Maybe I was the only one. I had K-K and reraised the pot to I think 36. As I was raising, Brice said “Really” or something that let me know, he thought he was beat, but I was concentrating on my hand because Larry who was after me cold called before I could get my money in. Brice goes ahead and calls but he’s not happy. Flop comes K-J-10, two spades. Brice checks and I think I would have given my hand away to anyone paying attention because I felt like I was smiling pretty big with my top set. I bet 100. I could have bet more but I hate counting the pot and 100 was big enough. Larry calls as soon as I say it. Brice is frustrated, but calls off his last 54 (I had busted him earlier that night).

With Larry’s call, I have to figure him for AA or AQ. I’m hoping they are not spades. If he tripped up with Jacks or Tens then I’m in good shape as long as it’s not runner-runner spades, which I have none. The next card off is a 6 of spades, so if someone was drawing to it, they got there. I figure I’m not dead, but really I’m thinking I made the best hand I can make with this and I’m going to see it through. I think I had 46 or something in front of me and Larry has to call, and will call since the board hasn’t improved.

Larry flips over AK, no spade and Brice Q-Q no spade. We have talked about this hand a lot and figured that Larry made the worst call. Whatever hand he put me on, I had him bested except for Q-Q, and that was open-ended and also had half his outs to improve to Broadway. A-A had him dominated to a gutsot, Kings, Jacks and Tens outflopped him. But that’s Larry. He plays so many shit hands that he doesn’t know when good ones are beat.

Brice didn’t make a bad play. If I were him, I might have tossed Queens before the flop to a 36 reraise and a cold call, but we were 5-handed, how could he not think he was good. On the flop when he was getting 2:1 on the rest of his money to draw, well what can you do. If he had more money, maybe he would have laid it down.

This last hand is the example of paying people off. You hear a lot about it in Super System about just having to pay guys off. It seems stupid to put money into the pot when you feel you are beat, but have the hand you wanted to make from the time you entered the pot. There is no real percentage of chips per bet or whatever. In low limits, I only pay guys off on the end for one bet and the pot had to be enormous with half of my money in there. If for one second during the hand I thought I lost the lead, I can make it cheap to go the rest of the way. So I try to spot the payoff before it starts raising me.

But in Pot Limit and No limit, the chance that someone is bluffing is greater, and since the pots are bigger, people want to get them any way they can. The fact is, sometimes I have to put money in the pot when I’m a loser because of the size of the pot and the chance that someone is tilting, knows he’s beat and just wants to get all his chips in. The only way to avoid paying people off occasionally is to always have fewer chips than everyone at the table or never play a hand. Both hard ways to get ahead. Payoffs happen. I say nice hand and move on to the next investment.

Big Slick

The striking fact about AK it’s not a very big favorite over even 7-2, in the 2:1 range. It does have any other Ace dominated except a pair of them, which is a great situation to be all-in before the flop against any other nonpair holding. In low limits, AK is hard to maneuver. If you miss, there’s nothing much to do with it. If you hit your Ace and someone is still playing with you, depending on the player, you’ll never know if they paired their kicker or not. All you’ll know is that you didn’t pair yours. On top of that, when you lose to a lesser Ace, you are more upset because that would never happen in no limit and there is some electrochemical charge that makes you think it shouldn’t lose. Which makes it twice as bad.

            The hard facts about AK is that it can only make one straight, which is the nuts. But it will always be a draw to a gutshot. If it’s not suited, it really sucks. If it’s unsuited and three of Ace’s suit hit on the flop, then usually you can hang around, depending on the pot and how people are reacting, which is how I determine how many flush cards are still in play and the likelihood of another falling. So it has to be suited just to give it some added weapons.

            At the casino, I play this hand before the flop three different ways. If I’m in middle and especially late position and no one has come in, I’ll make it 5,6, or 7 to go, depending on my feeling of how many players will call that extra money having only 2 in the pot so far. Typically, if there’s a flop I can interpret as one that didn’t hit anyone too hard and missed me as well, I can fire at it if it’s checked to me. If someone shows strength or leads out, I’m done. If it hits me that’s another story.

            Most of the time I just limp in the 4-8 and at the casino. Not to be sneaky, though it is a side product, but to risk very little to see what I can make. Because so many people love and value AK, they won’t think you have them beat if they played A-9 or A-10. If the flop misses me I’m done. I don’t draw to gutshots, even if I’m priced in a lot of the times. If I limp and someone raises and a lot of players fold, then I fold. If someone raises and everyone stays, then I stay. There is a little more incentive to play AK at the casino since they have the bad beat, which is constantly at 40,000. And AK is a hand that can get beaten badly.

            If there is any heat in front of me, I usually throw it away. Even if the heat is from AQ or another AK. AK is just not a hand that can show a lot of profit at lower limits, which is not its problem. Its problem is that its stigma creates a sense that it should win, even when it improves, and it gets overvalued and overplayed. The problem is that most people lose money with it when it doesn’t hit and that people invest too much front money trying to make it work. If the theory is to play opposite of your opponents, then playing it cheaply and carefully is the way opposite. AK is a brilliant blind hand because everyone thinks if the blind doesn’t raise before the flop then leads out, that they have hit bottom two rags. And because most people raise with it from the blind, the fact that you didn’t makes it all the more deceptive.

Final Thought on Blind Play

Back when antes used to be the norm in home games and there were seven of you, it cost a buck a hand. Sometimes we would play where the dealer antes for everyone so that we didn’t spend all night barking at people and trying to remember who anted. In 4-8, with 2/4 blinds, as long as there are at least 7 players, I’m paying less than a buck for every card I see. Generally at a full table, I’m paying $.60 a hand or less. The blinds are always out there. Once a round they are yours. Once a round they are someone else’s. I think about them like condensed antes. Nothing to defend or get crazy about. Sometimes they present an opportunity to play with a hand I would never think of getting involved with, and I get to make something out of it. But I don’t try to make it happen at any cost just because it has worked once or twice in the past.

            The upper limits may be different, as blind stealing can be profitable with fewer players seeing the slop every round. But at 2-5 and 4-8, this is the way it is.

Good Card & Bad Cards in the Big Blind

Bad Cards

Of course this is the best opportunity to try to make a hand with something no one can see coming. But I’m not sticking my neck out any further than the amount of the blind. It’s terrible position. Even if you are certain that the only player in the hand, who raised, is trying to steal you blind and you call and don’t connect, you’re still out of position, still going to have to check-call all the way just to keep your end down to 28 for the hand and maybe he turns up something good anyway. I save my reading skills for another day. If no one raises, fine. I’ll take a peak. But it’s not really even my blind, it’s table tax. So why defend.

Good Cards

I play these in the same way as the Small Blind, with one exception: I never raise, ever. Not even with A-A. The only hope of raising with a lot of players in is to maybe get someone in early position to reraise and knockout some people and up your chances. But these games are erratic and predicting the play of 7 guys to the flop is a migraine waiting in the weeds. The best idea is to hope for a ragged flop so that you can bet at it like you hit a blind hand. If there happens to be JJ or 10-10 out there and they are an overpair, then you’ll have their money the whole way.

            The other way is to just check-call until you have found a good spot. The only hands I might do this with are solid suited-connectors: QJ, J-10, 10-9, 9-8. I would only be doing it to build a pot so I could draw. There would first have to be 4 or fewer players in and they would have to be tighter players who can fold to the heat, but will throw away gutshots and backdoor flushes and small pocket pairs when they don’t trip the flop. If savvier players are in I don’t try this shit.

            At the casino is a different story. If I have those solid suited connectors, I bet four. All 2 dollar limpers will call and if I get enough then I can’t get priced out unless I check the flop and someone bets 5 then gets raised. Still I’m right to draw, but may be beat if I get there. Same thing in the blind by raising it 2. Build the pot. Small investment for a good-sized pot.

Good cards from the Small Blind

The most important thing to remember is that you are in the worst position on the table. If five people see the flop without a raise, and you have KK and J-high flops and you lead out, the guy in last position is priced in for a gutshot with everyone calling. That’s not what I want. I want people making mathematical mistakes against me. I don’t want to give them the right numbers to call. So what do you do? AA and KK are great hands, not ideal in a low limit game, but for whatever reason I sit there wanting to see them every hand even though they break my heart quite a bit. But position is the game.

            So I don’t play hands like this slow, I play them carefully. I’m waiting until the turn to let anyone know I have any strength at all. If there is a late position bet and/or raise I will raise myself just to get guys out. If on the turn there are three of us still going and I check and the next guy checks and the last guy bets, I’m going to raise if I think I have the best of it. It’ll be awful hard to cold call 16 for the guy in the middle, but at least you’re giving him the wrong price.

            If before we get to the turn there is a lot of action, I just throw it away quietly. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m capable of doing what I do. They are great cards, but in awful position and better luck next time. It’s possible to turn a piece of paper into a swan, but it’s damned hard to do, and I don’t know origami. Wait until that situation calls for you to make a paper airplane, then scoop it.

            Now if it had been raised to me in the small blind I go ahead and raise. Since you have that springboard you might as well try to eliminate the big blind from getting a cheap shot with a random hand. I’m not afraid to cap it from the small blind. I can hit and still check and no one will think twice about it. That’s the only time to raise.

            As for AK, I won’t call a raise with it unless it’s suited, and I don’t spring board with it. Too costly.

Bad Cards in the Small Blind

If the plan is to maintain the same amount of chips when you’re not playing, this blind strategy is the way to protect your stack. 18 bucks an hour is not that much. If you never play your blinds and sit there for 3 hours, you’ve lost about fifty bucks just in the blinds. Of course, when you’ve won, someone else’s blinds are now sitting in front of you. 

            It’s easy to toss 7-2 away and Q-3 and J-4 and other hands like this. But what if something like Q-10 comes across in a five-way pot or 7-8 suited with one guy raising? Muck muck muck. This point is the money maker or money saver I should say. Table tax is 18/hour. If there has been no raise, which is fairly common, and it’s just two for you to call and you call with anything because of that half bet, then you’ve upped the seat charge from 18 to 24/hour. If you play 10 hours a week that’s 240 bucks for your chair, not to mention tips and rakes. And unless you flop quads there is not a shitty holding that isn’t vulnerable to getting run down by a bigger full house. If you hit quads, which is a super long shot and not worth calling every small blind to try and hit it 1 in 10,000 tries, then it’s hard to get paid because the only non-raising holdings that can be out there are small pocket pairs or player who hung around with overcards, and they won’t be raising and they sure won’t be betting on the flop, so even quads will not scoop a very big pot.

            Now if there is no raise and plenty of people in and I have cards that play well in big pots and will be getting correct odds the whole way like small suited connectors or one-gappers or small pocket pairs, then you can call as the enormous odds are there and correct for calling with the cards you have. I did this a few months ago with 2-2 and flopped quads. I checked, hoping to get some action since twos are about the best quad hand out there. It was capped before I got back around to me. I never made a bet that whole hand. Long shot though. It’ll never happen again.

            Here’s the real key to small blind play: know your big blind. Even when you have something playable and you call the big blind and he raises and by the time it’s back around it’s an extra bet or two or the big blind fires it up again and now your stuck, and a gutshot or backdoor flush is out there and you are getting the right money to call. Plus you have gotten suckered into 16 bucks with a weak hand. It can be a dangerous 2 dollar call, especially considering you will be first to act the whole way.

I play with a guy named Randy who is fairly solid and doesn’t scare easily, but he wins about as much as he loses. Several times he has sat to my left and raised with only KK, AA or AK out of the blind. This is almost good strategy, but not quite. I can’t say that everyone knows what he’s raising with but I sure do and as long as I’m certain of what he’s holding it makes it that much easier to figure out if my call from the small blind would be profitable to call his raise. The chances of getting AA, KK, AK are pretty slim. Catching them specifically in the big blind is pretty far. But if I’m there for 3 hours, the small blind will occur ten times.

Personally, I can usually sense what is going to happen with a guy like Randy and if I’m not in the mood to mess with a big hand, then I don’t. But if I’m up quite a bit and in the mood to gamble with my proceeds, I’ll give it a go.

Other times when I’m to the right of my friend Duke, I have no idea what he’ll do with his big blind. He comes there to play and he likes to raise. I have to play tighter from the small blind, and as a result of this I usually get better cards just for the punishment of it. It makes it tougher on me, but if I couldn’t handle the pressure I wouldn’t be playing this much.

The Blinds

Here’s a fundamental: blinds are not yours. It’s table tax. In a 4-8 game table tax is 6 bucks a round. At the cardroom where I play they average a little better than 30 hands an hour. So you owe 18 bucks an hour for your seat. Now it doesn’t mean that you can’t win a hand on your own blind, that you won’t chop with the other blind or that you can’t steal other people’s. Some novice tournament players want to steal blinds in a round so that they can fold for another round. It’s weak play, but it is a sort of natural strategy that comes to you when you start playing tournaments: fold and move into the money.

            The same sort of thing occurs with younger-minded players or even experienced plyers, when they develop a defensive strategy about how to protect their blinds. A funny thing happens when you have a small bet committed to a pot before you even see your cards. The immediate idea is that no matter what the bet or raise, you are getting a discount, better pot odds and the like. Not so. You are getting suckered. It’s difficult to have someone move on your blinds when they know you’re tight. A woman whom I used to play tournaments with quite often developed a sort of “mama bear” reputation when her blinds were in play. Even if you were new to the game, you could feel that if you fucked with a little bit of her money, it was going to cost you the rest of yours to get at it. I loved it. Loved watching her do it. To this day she’s the only one I’ve ever seen who has cultivated such an image for one particular position per round.

            Of course that was tournament play. In live action, at 4-8 anyway, things are different. I don’t doubt that this idea might be wrong for 10-20 or 30-60, but at 4-8 and definitely at 2-5 spread, this is the way to go.