Sunday, January 07, 2007

10 Ways Pot Limit 5 Card Draw Can Improve Your All-Round Poker Game

Have been playing a fair bit of PL 5 Card Draw this weekend, as posted before my belief is that this game exaggerates some of the aspects of poker relevant to all games. Do not believe that the game is in any way 'superior' or 'pure' poker - more an enjoyment of the game dynamic, the lack of information available that forces you to play the players! Also love the fact that your opponents mistakes are magnified by the nature of the game - what could be better!!!

Here are 10 ways I believe PL 5 Draw can improve you as a player. PokerStarshave a good number of tables (usually with their fair quota of novices) - go take their $$$!

1) Teaches the value of good starting hand selection;
- This is table dependant but you will find that those players who play any pair, premium pairs with a raise ahead or chase thin draws will quickly lose their money. Good starting hand selection is important in all games, in 5 Draw it is vital!

2) Stresses the value of position;
- Again important in all forms of poker, the button becomes more valuable in a game where the information available is limited. Especially when combined with good reads on your opponents. Position in relation to closing the betting action is also important, for example you can decide whether to play those 2 small pairs by closing the betting - if there is the danger of a reraise ahead you could instead pass.

3) Exaggerates the importance of pot odds;
- You will see many examples of people chasing flushes and straights without the correct pot odds and implied odds to do so. Calling a small raise with a flush draw can be a good play, but if your opponent is the type who will not call a raise after the draw without a monster then this is a waste of money. People who limp open ended straight draws out of position are another example of this - now there is the risk of being raised out of the hand pre-draw combined with the danger of making a second best hand after the draw... just fold! There are also many errors made after the draw, if you have an opponent who always bets when checked to in last position then you may be getting 3, 4 or even 5 to 1 on the call - comparing your hand with the range of your opponents holdings can make a call worthwhile on many occasions here.

4) Forces you to play the players;
- In a limited information game playing the players is critical. You need to have reads on what people raise with, whether they bluff, whether they will bet more hands on the end than they will call with or vice versa, and how much they will call on the end when you are the one betting. This is good discipline for all games, if you combine this with pot-odds then it is possible to bet 1 pair on the end into a tighty knowing that over time he will fold enough to make it profitable!

5) Teaches you correct bluffing strategy;
- Here is the dialemma in many games, if you bluff too often people will pick up on it and you will lose too many pots. If you never bluff you become easy to read and will not get called often enough when you value bet. The best path, as in most forms of poker, is the occasional semi-bluff. Raise with a 4 flush from the button for example. Obviously you have to combine your bluffing strategy with the pot odds and player reads - if you bet half the pot in last position will that pair of aces call you more than 1 in 3 times??

6) Stresses the importance of aggression;
- Callers will not win much in this game, they are relying on hitting cards too much. Raisers have another way to win the pot, particularly against tight opponents. A mistake you see often is to limp with 2 small pairs - giving your opponents with 1 high pair a free chance to outdraw you from the blinds. Raise instead, taking the pot pre-draw is not a disaster with a mediochre hand!!
Combine aggressive play with reads, pot odds and position and you are well on the way to beating this game.

7) Table Selection;
- Mentioned the guys from Kiev in previous posts, well these are just one example really. There are strong players out there so why sit at a table with them? Think of it this way, your hourly rate is a product of your opponents errors, if you have an 2 strong opponents out of the table of 6 the number of errors has gone down by 40%, not only that but the share of the remaining errors is now divided by 3 people... not good! Reads and good notes on the strong players will allow you to avoid them, make sure you do this!

8) Teaches the importance of correct bet sizing;
- An extension of some of the concepts already covered really. Here it is important to be aware of what size of raises are being called by multiple opponents and what size is thinning the field to a single opponent. With a monster you obviously want to get as much money in the pot pre-draw as possible, with a vulnerable hand you want to thin the field. Reads are dependant on bet sizes, if someone who normally limps / calls suddenly bets the pot then fold those 2 small pairs - you can be pretty sure he has trips or better.

9) Stresses the importance of deception;
- If you raise consistantly with your hand each time then even a novice opponent will eventually adapt. If you discard cards consistantly you are giving your hand strength away to anyone who is closely watching. Occasionally you have to adapt your game to avoid becoming prediactable, an example is discarding 1 in 1st position while holding trips - an opponent with 2 high pairs may be more likely to call a big bet after the draw if he believes his hand is good.

10) Exaggerates the importance of opponents errors!!!;
- More a summary of the points above here, but had to include it as it is my favourite topic. No other game that I have seen exaggerates errors like 5-draw, once you have spotted and noted a pattern you will be able to take that players money again and again - he will sit there wondering how you go so 'lucky'!!!

Good luck at the tables,

Cheers, Mark

1 comment:

Austin said...

i think the kiev players are colluding, reported it to stars, waiting to hear back