Poker Is Alive and Well
...and that's a good thing because I'm getting killed in the markets.
Make no mistake. The games are getting tougher, even at the (live poker) lower limits; the ratio of grinders to recreational players is rising. But, there are still plenty of opportunities to make money.
Quarter-to-date, I've played 110.25 hours and earned $4,565 or $41.41/hr. A shift back to my "home casino" (Horseshoe Southern Indiana) from Jack Cincinnati has produced some run good, but I still struggle to find enough hours in good games. The local player pool just isn't that deep.
To make my headline's case, check out this hand from late last month.
Amazing $ Fantastic $$ Printing money $$$
For you non poker players: I had two kings (the second best possible starting hand) in the small blind and faced several limpers (i.e. players in for the $2 minimum) when the action got to me. I raised to $16 then the first limper put in the rest of his chips, $69 total, with AJs (s = suited). That's not a terrible move, but the next player, with a big stack, called $67 more holding QJo (o = offsuit). The next player also called, putting a third of his chips in the pot, with 53o. Neither of these hands should ever consider limp/calling a limp/shove of this size. With three players in for $69, it was an easy 4-bet shove (i.e. I made the 4th bet or 3rd raise) with my remaining ~$250. Amazingly, both players called. The AhJh (h = hearts) improved to a flush despite me holding the Kh, but the side pot doubled my starting stack!
A lot of the money to be made at the low limits comes from players entering pots with too many hands preflop. Mistakes compound from there (beyond the scope of this post) - if you want to explore this topic more, read Ed Miller's The Course then Poker's 1%. I learned a ton from these modern poker texts and highly recommend them to serious players.