Friday, Aug. 9, 2013

The Loose/Passive Fish

These types of players are your bread and butter, cash-cow ‘friends’ that you want to be up against all the time since you will win the most money out of them. The fish are usually found in most small stakes cash games and tournaments. At higher limits there are not so many fish and when they are there, you will have to find yourself quickly joining the tables or wait lists. But first, how do you know someone is a fish…

Poker Stats to look out for (that is if you have PokerTracker or Holdem Manager - all for 6max):

  • Call too much: Involved in way too many hands and many times from early position - high vpip, usually higher than 35-40%.
  • Low Raise Pre Flop: Usually less than 10%.
  • High Donk bet %: Donk bets are bets made by limpers who called pre flop raises and bet the flop vs the pre flop raiser. Usually higher than 20% donk bet.
  • Low aggression %: Usually lower than 1.5 on all streets but some have very high river aggression number such as 3-5 which indicates that this fish may bluff a lot river (or chase a lot and hits the river and bets usually).
  • High went to showdown %: Anything above 30%. They are just so curious to see if you were bluffing or not and will payoff with practically anything.

Other characteristics:

  • Minimum raising or minimum re raising pre flop: Fish love this move and it’s a terrible play since it lets other players in cheaply and doesn’t protect their hand, if they have a strong hand.
  • Small bets or raises post flop: A fish will continue not trying to protect his hand and trying to get value from worse hands. You will often see them betting even less than 1/3 of the pot with a strong hand. Call these bets, outdraw and profit.
  • Limping: They love to limp from practically any position and see a flop. Many fish play any Ace, any suited and any connector from any position. They will also call raises from big blind since they reckon that its cheaper since they already put their ante in and they are getting a discount.

How to beat a fish:

Now that you know what they are, here is some advice on how to beat them:

  • Sit to the left of fish: This will make it easier to isolate them with a raise. You will then often be able to play heads up.
  • Raise regularly when they limp and you have at least an OK/decent hand: Charge them to see a flop with their junk. I tend to raise the button with almost any OK hands such as any pocket pairs, suited connectors and QJ, KJ, QT, J9, JT type hands. Simply having position makes weaker hands more powerful since you can represent many flops with continuation bets. You will get called sometimes and that’s OK since some of the times you will pick up a monster hand and get paid off.
  • Bet bet bet bet bet with strong hands: Never slow play a fish since they will call anybody down very light and many times not bet with good hands. It is important to try to get the most value from weaker hands immediately, even if it means sometimes overbetting the pot. Let’s say you have JJ and the flop is Q48. Against some players you would check that flop but against a fish you have to bet bet bet bet since he will often call with hands like A8, 77, 56, A4, 55 and so on. Occasionally he will have AQ, KQ, 888 type hands that beat JJ but more often than not JJ is a monster when up against a fish on that type of flop.
  • Watch out if you get raised or have to make a big call if you check: If you do get raised or check and have to call a big bet then unless you have a strong hand such as overpair, two pair, a set or powerful draw, then it is best to fold versus this type of player. Some fish play weird and make some weird bluffs so it’s important to take notes, particularly if you see them doing it against someone else. As mentioned before, if they have a really high river aggression rate then checking the turn and calling any river move can be profitable in certain situations but do not over-do it.
  • Don’t ever try to bluff a fish: This seems really obvious but even I still find myself doing it and it’s a huge mistake. It’s one thing to put in a continuation bet when you miss but to keep firing the turn and river with air versus a fish is terrible poker. Don’t ever let them outplay you by calling as you would be shocked with the types of junk they would call you down with. Like wow, I had AK and flop was 494 turn Q river 8 and he called me down with 33 after betting all the way!!

In Summary:

1: Sit to the left of them.

2: Bet strongly for value even when you would otherwise check versus other players.

3: Call small amounts from them for implied odds since if you hit, you are likely to be paid you off generously.

4. Respect their bets and particularly their raises.

Happy fishing!