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I'm kinda new to poker online so i'm sorry if my question is kinda silly.

I decided to start building my bank-roll by start playing from micro-stakes, where i'm more comfortable in having some losing sessions.

Often i find myself in a particular situation where i don't know exactly how to play it.

Full ring, blinds 0.1 / 0.2, max buy-in 5$, average stack size of 3$ with a few players with reasonable VPIP %.

I find my self either :

  • AK in early position , i raise 2x or 3x BB and i get called by 3/4 other players from later positions.

  • AK in late position and someone raises from early position and 3/4 other players call before it gets back to me. (Somestimes i find myself in the blinds)

I know that i'm ahead of most hands, specially considering that most of the players are just way too loose. Should i re-raise in the second position ? Sometimes i do and i still get called by lot of players. Often i find out that , even if i hit my cards i end up losing more money because there is so many players involved that someone is gonna make a decent hand.

AK is not favorite to win against so many players, is it really profitable in the long run ? What should i look for in this 2 situations to decide if it's profitable on the long run ?

Should i consider play AQ as well in this situations ? I often don't.

Thank you so much.

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liked the question +1 –  amigal May 22 '12 at 8:45
I think this is too broad to answer. Add average stacksize for better answer. –  Tomáš Šíma May 22 '12 at 19:23
Alright. I added max buy-in and avg stack size –  bmartins May 22 '12 at 20:17
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are quite a few things we need to address here. I'm going to do my best to break them down point-by-point.

First off...

AK is not favorite to win against so many players, is it really profitable in the long run? What should i look for in this 2 situations to decide if it's profitable on the long run? Should i consider play AQ as well in this situations ? I often don't.

AK and AQ are typically much stronger than the hands that your opponents will hold (though this will change as you see how your opponents play - some won't play AQ, others may reveal that they only raise with AA/KK). Because these hands are stronger than what your opponents hold, you will win more often than they will each individually win. For playing these hands to be profitable, you don't have to win the majority of the time - you just have to win more than your fair share.

Now then, let's look at your first situation (AK in early position getting called by several players when you raise 2x to 3xBB). This is a profitable situation, but it is not as profitable as it could be. With most hands (especially in early position), you would rather face only one opponent. If your raises are routinely called by 3+ players, then your raise is probably not large enough. 2xBB is rarely large enough in any game, and almost never large enough in micro stakes. 3xBB is better, but if it is getting called by a lot of players, raise 4xBB or more.

Finally, let's look at facing another player and several callers. Typically, the best play here is going to be to reraise. And your reraise should be pretty big. If the initial raiser put in 3xBB and then 3 more players called, the pot is over 12xBB before it gets to you. With so many people in the pot, your reraise should probably be to 10xBB or more (and shoving all-in is not out of the question). The major thing you want to be careful of is watching to see if the initial raiser only raises strong hands - if so, that can change things and may even warrant just calling to try to make a pair.

The general concept is: try to make the pot between you and one other opponent, but if you must play against a lot of opponents, keep the amount you put in small unless you make a pair or better after the flop.

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+1. totally agree :) . –  Radu Murzea May 25 '12 at 6:26
What you say is true but general. In many cases, its irrelevant in very low blinds tables. In those tables, many times, the players just don't care what they have. Again, I think tour answer is generally correct, but it doesn't suits this specific case (-0.5) –  amigal May 25 '12 at 8:23
@amigal: Nothing about my answer depends on your opponents properly valuing their hands - it just depends on you properly identifying their tendencies and adjusting for it. –  Jeffrey Blake May 25 '12 at 13:14
what I meant is that its very hard to evaluate moves or behavior in a table with such small blinds. I think the answer should be more specific to the case. –  amigal May 25 '12 at 17:03
@bmartins "If your raises are routinely called by 3+ players, then your raise is probably not large enough." This is all the information you need in this situation. If your opponents are willing to call with worse hands, how big of a mistake are they willing to make?! Bet/Raise more $$$. –  Toby Booth May 27 '12 at 14:21
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I will separate the answer to 3 parts:

  1. many players treat very low stacks table the way you treat "play money" tables. They just don't care. I believe you see many showdowns and all-ins. Its really hard to consider an action as good or bad in such situations. In many cases the one with the best hand pre-flop find himself loosing at the end because, as you say, someone catch cards.

  2. You should learn the players at the table. Whether the players in the table are loose players; whats the "default" raise and so one... you should first ask yourself if it suits you. If its OK with you, play accordingly.

  3. to be more operative - AK is a very good starting hand. In early position, I usually raise (as you did). In many hands, the other players will only call you. In such case, against more than 2 players, If you missed the flop and someone raise, just fold. In late position, I will call if more than 3 players are in the hand. If less than that, I will consider all-in pre-flop.

I think that in the long run, you can't just fold big aces (in regular basis), because you will find your stack eaten by the blinds. At the end you will be so upset that everyone raise that you'll end up shoving all-in with a mediocre hand.


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You reference your stack being eaten up by the blinds and that leading you to shove all-in with a mediocre hand. Are you referring to tournaments? –  Jeffrey Blake May 24 '12 at 18:55
No. In a matter of fact, I am talking about patient. It doesn't matter if its tournaments or cash game –  amigal May 25 '12 at 8:17
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When a game is played like the money isn't real, your best bet with big hands is "shove and pray."

A +EV strategy in these microlimits is to over-raise with AA, KK, QQ, and AK and try to limp into any single raiser in late position with pairs and big aces. It manages to be both boring and highly volatile at the same time, but it will make money over time.

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This may be profitable at microstakes, but it certainly is not "your best bet". –  Jeffrey Blake May 24 '12 at 18:53
Just a small note. Technically sound poker does not require any "praying"! ;) –  Toby Booth May 27 '12 at 14:16
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