Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where are the softest games?

If you visit the Brick & Mortar or Las Vegas Lifestyle forums on 2+2, or check out AllVegasPoker, you will find numerous threads of the following generic form:
Hey Guys, I'm going to Vegas/AC/Tunica/LA and I'm wondering where the softest 1/2 cash games are. Thanks!
The standard reply you see on the forums is:
Dude! All live poker is ridiculously soft compared to the internet. I crush whenever I play in a casino. But the action at [insert casino name here] is always especially donkalicious!
Honestly, whenever I see posts like this, I want to respond: "It's always softest wherever I'm playing. Y'all c'mon down!"

Because, seriously, think about it.
  1. Do you actually believe that there's a consistent answer as to where the softest games are? Are you so inexperienced that you don't understand that game complexion changes from hour to hour and day to day? That the sharks move to where the fish congregate and then away again; that the fish school in one place rather than another depending on a whole host of transient circumstances?

  2. The fact that you're asking the question betokens a certain naivété about the game, and an experienced player will be happy to have you sitting at his or her favorite happy hunting ground.

  3. On the other hand, if they look at your posting history, and you ~ despite the question ~ DO seem to have a clue, then why on earth would a player who's found a (temporarily) soft spot invite you to come and dilute his or her profit potential?
As for the standard, "Live poker is teh EZ, anyone who profits at 25NL online can crush!!!11!!1"... sure, whatevs. Except that live plays differently from online, and a lot of successful online players are lousy at adjusting. They get bored playing only 30 hands an hour and wind up spewing. They don't understand the importance of social interaction in keeping the table friendly and chase away the fish. They forget they're not home alone in their underwear and are giant tellboxes. Or ~ to be frank ~ they come with so many arrogant preconceptions about the abilities of live players that they completely fail to notice when someone at the table has their number and outplays them. Ooops!

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Blogger Freeland said...

Whenever I see these threads on 2+2, I just think of those 1/2 or 2/5 games I've had in almost every casino. The games where you sit down and within 3 hands, you know there's at least 3 people just there to gamble. They might be there learning the game or they may be there to chase any 2 cards (and they best part is, they don't mind re-buying).

Bottom line is, when you're dealing with low-limit NL, it's a crap-shoot (at any time in almost any large casino, you could luck into that sweet game you remember for years). You could be playing against 4 deep-staked beginners, or against 5 20-somethings who did research into where the best '1/2NL' games are.

ps: Nice blog - glad I read something about it.

8/3/09 3:05 AM  
Blogger Freeland said...

Oh and PS: I'd tell anyone who was serious about poker and asked this question 'Macau'. Or anywhere else poker is being introduced to a new populace. Some of the stories my friend - who's in the business of drawing new players from the Baccarat pit into the poker room - tells me just makes me envious of the tourists out there 'grinding'.

8/3/09 3:09 AM  
Blogger FkCoolers said...

I don't think I've ever seen a shark in a 1/2 NL live game. I've seen competent players in 2/5 games but no one spectacular.

And after about 40 live sessions I can say with confidence that Foxwoods is consistently soft Thursday through Sunday.

There are consistencies - weekday mornings are typically old rocks while the end of the week and the weekend brings out your recreational players.

The two things I strongly agree with you on are people being tellboxes, and people not keeping the atmosphere friendly enough.

If I here one more early 20's, skinny online geek talk about 3-betting or 2+2 I'm going to track them down one by one and pummel common sense into them. The worst part is you can tell those people barely break even at 1/2 online which is just pathetic.

8/3/09 9:40 AM  

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