I have spent countless hours, weeks, months, and even longer studying, practicing, and logging information on my game and the games I play in regularly. Now not all of this is wasted time. I have learned a great deal about the game of poker. My game has become much stronger. I have made a modest profit on a regular basis over the last several years. Now I know there is a huge base of players that believe low limit casino poker is for the dogs, and that it is purely a waste of time to try and beat the game as a whole because you are against so much crap in this environment.
I do not completely disagree with them. You are faced with huge challenges to overcome. Multiple players drawing against you, a huge rake percentage in the game, and the fact that you are playing a game designed to go to the end and have two or more players show down their cards. The showdown is for the most part the entertainment part of the game for the majority of players that I see on a regular basis. For me I have found that I very rarely want to see a showdown if I can avoid it I do not really care what my hand is I would prefer winning uncontested more than showing down a hand of any kind, but that is not what happens a lot.
I am a glutton for punishment and basically too stubborn to be smart. Even though I have some larger limit games and some spread limit games available to me I have been determined to "show them". Them being the folks who swear you can not make money playing low limit limit poker. Why have I been so determined? Who freaking knows it is not like "They" actually care if I do or do not make money playing the game.
I guess it is the fact that this is the challenge I have posed for myself and this is what I have used as my own motivation to learn and grow and develop as a player. I can honestly say that I am an above average limit player at this time and that I understand the game of limit poker and the strategies much better than the base of players I face on a regular daily basis.
That is one of the most valuable things to clarify "The strategies of limit poker" especially low limit poker are SO VASTLY DIFFERENT from other forms of poker that people I talk to generally have no real clue as to how to approach the game overall. I did not have a clue either when I started all of this I was so far out of the loop I could barely see. This forced me to learn and study and read and think and then start it all over again. I had to develop a completely new approach to the game and a completely new set skills and understanding for the environment and my opponents.
I have done all of this over and over just as any player in any game at any limit would have and it has paid off. In the beginning I got cleaned very regularly I could not figure it out I lost and lost again had a small win and then lost had a huge day and then lost 3 sessions in a row. I tried adjustments to starting hands and to image I tried ultra tight and supper aggressive I was a super nit I tried the maniac raise all game. Oh how I tried, I tried to change every thing I could think of about my game how I played the game, how I acted during the game, how I looked during a game. I tried to change or as I kept calling it adjust anything I could think of to beat the game.
Then it all settled I got a clue about it.
It wasn't the game it was ME.
I was trying too hard. Trying to solve a mystery that did not exist trying to change them rather than let them be them and let the game come to me. I was trying to beat the game and the players instead I needed to play the game and let it do what it does naturally and then benefit from the natural activity of the other players. They for the most part came to "PLAY" to "GAMBLE" to have fun and to challenge and test fate. I came to make money on their natural desires and tendencies.
They want to play and to put chips in action and see cards and call bets I did not have to do anything to manipulate this activity or action it occurred naturally. I had to stop fighting this and just let it happen and change how and when I interacted with it. The game is not rocket science and it does not take magical skills of deception or manipulation. Basic math, a little courage, and a lot of understanding and I was finally making money on a regular basis and not fighting so hard.
Overall the one an MOST IMPORTANT SKILL that all of this has forced me to develop is PATIENCE.
The second most important skill for this PERSISTENCE.
The third most used skill I have developed is HUMILITY.
Playing low limit limit poker properly and as an income earning en-devour is to say the least BOOOOORRRRRIIINNNGG!!!!!!!!! As with even the mid limit limit games. Limit poker in itself is a true grind.
I am teased regularly that I fold more than a road map. This is true I am now very conscious of what I play, when, and why. But believe it or not I have had to actually open up my game a bit and play a more position based game rather than a true nuts based game. Hand values in this environment are skewed drastically by traffic in the hand, and by the house rake. Pre-flop odds are changed a lot and post flop play is the meat of the game.
So I wait a lot for the right situation and the right value for a hand not the true nuts. Even then I see very few turn cards with traffic. The flop is of monumental value and changes the direction of my hand regularly. Good starts are that, "starts" once the flop is out with 5 or 6 others on average values are now all changed and odds and position will dictate activity almost no matter what two I hold in my hand. I can not tell you how many times I have had 2 red aces against 4 opponents in a raised or even capped hand and see a flop of 3 spades or J97 with two clubs and a bet and a raise in front of me. I am gone I have no value here.
I have days where this is a recurring issue and I get destroyed. Fluctuation at this level is and can be drastic. I also have the opposite days where every thing works well and I get paid off with the nut straight on the every street by 4 players and they cram the pot for me with two pair or a small baby set and sometimes even less. But I stick to MY game I stick to MY approach I try my best to play consistent and I am persistent I take my beats and go home only to come back and do it again and again day in and day out.
I do not hate or berate my fellow opponents any more. (I used to believe me I used to throw a fit) I do not make comments on play or lack of play. I am polite social and just a regular old guy as best I can be. I try to laugh joke and congratulate my weaker and less knowledgeable friends on good days and lucky draws as I have watched on so many other days as they go to their wallets and purses and say hold my seat as they hit the ATM for the second and third time in the day.
it is boring playing well and frustrating when the deck will not cooperate at all and you feel like the universe is against you. It is tiresome sticking to your game plan day in and day out while others play any two from any spot and get there again and again. It is hard to take your beats with a smile and say good game to the player who knocks you out for the day with a 8/5 off after calling a three bet cause he was in the blind anyway and it is only limit poker. You say well done and see you tomorrow as you head for home after a 7 hour session with a 15 dollar profit or a break even day (which at this limit is a success believe me). You play the game cause that is what it is nothing more nothing less and at the end of the month your bank roll is up and you put a few in the bank, at the end of the year you add all the numbers and see that you made more playing this game than you would have working at the stop and go mart part time.