Crazy High Action Games

Crazy High Action Games

Crazy high action games are those where there are two or more players who are ultra aggressive in most hands. On a large percentage of hands, the betting is capped before the flop. On the flop and turn, aggressive betting typically continues, but on the river, it can slow considerably. In other words, this is a game where implied odds are not necessarily brilliant because highly aggressive players (who understand the game) will often slow down when an opponent starts playing back at them on the turn/river. However, the pot odds are usually large.

Now that you know what I'm talking about, let me undo my entire argument before it even begins: "Crazy" high action games are dangerous. Deciding whether to play them is a difficult decision to reach. I would say that the first precondition is that you must have a lot of money and not be afraid to lose it. Second, the ultra aggressive opponents must have a good idea about the game. For example, if the board finished 9-10-Q-2-K and you bet into one of the ultra aggressive players with A-J, he must be capable of folding if he doesn't have a Jack, two pair or a set. In other words, the aggressive players must have an understanding of what's going on and not simply dumb and aggressive. Typically, these opponents are usually playing a limit that is lower than they are used to which is why they pump it so hard. Yet, it is amazing how much money some of them can shoot off in a hour just while they're "passing time" and this presents a good opportunity for smart players to make fast money.

However, as I mentioned, the game can be dangerous and you can end up losing more in one session that you can in four losing sessions on a more typical game. Because of this, my advice consists of two parts. First, I will give you a general approach to the game. Second, I will give you advice on managing your chip stack during the game. The latter is much more important than the former.

General Approach

Assuming that you have a solid game, your approach doesn't require remarkable adjustment. But if the betting is often capped preflop, you can't take too many chances with speculative hands like A-7 or J-8.

However, I will play suited connectors as you often have enormous pot odds if you pick up a draw on the flop. Similarly, I like to jump in with pocket pairs, but I am ultimately trying to hit a set on the flop. Hands like 6-7 off suit, Q-8 suited and K-9 off suit do not play very well in these sorts of games for a variety of reasons, including your susceptibility to throwing away the best hand under the pressure of aggressive betting.

Crazy High Action Games

On the flip side of the coin, I will never be ridiculously aggressive with pocket aces on the turn and river, especially when the board is troublesome. Some players try to put in reraises and caps with AhAd on the turn when the board reads: Kd-Js-9s-6s. They figure that the table is perfect for betting, raising and reraising all the way with pocket aces. What they fail to realize is that the people who are drawing are probably not going to fold no matter how much you put into the pot because they have the pot odds to keep chasing. More importantly, they are often already beaten with no or few outs in this situation. So my approach is to simply check, call and hope on the turn and river with pocket aces in a crazy aggressive game.

If I hit a set, flop a straight or turn a nut flush, I'm come out firing relentlessly. Slowplaying in this game is pointless because players will be more cautious on the turn and river than they will be preflop and on the flop. Because of this, it is more difficult to get raises in on the later betting rounds. So the best thing to do is to ram and jam as soon as you have a good hand, even though conventional wisdom says that you should wait till later rounds when the bets are twice the size. Further, when you are ultra aggressive with the nuts on the flop, aggressive opponents will often misread your hand, thinking that you are trying to force draws out of the pot when, in fact, you want them to stay.

For example, I had one hand in a crazy game where I had Ah-10h and again the betting was capped preflop by the two crazy ones. The flop was Kh-9h-7h. Now when I came out raising and reraising on the flop, but opponents put me on a hand like K-Q and think I'm betting to get out the heart draw. Consequently, they called me down with hands like Jh-8s and even 6h-4c, thinking that another heart will ruin me. On the other hand, if I were to slowplay this hand and come out with fancy check-raises on the turn, most opponents will muck their hands. So go hard on the flop because (a) you will get an opportunity to cap the betting on the flop with the nuts; and (b) more players will call all your raises on the flop because they assume you don't have the nuts. They think that if you have the nuts, you probably would wait until the turn to raise and because of this, they misread and often end up paying you off all the way.

Managing your stack

Crazy High Action Games

This is critical. Because you are in danger of losing so much, there are two approaches you should take to managing your stack. First, set a loss limit that is fairly generous, but stick to it. If you ordinarily buy into a game for $100 and would rebuy once for another $100, be prepared to put $250 - $300 into this game. It is easy to recover initial losses in this sort of game and turn a tidy profit. So if you are going to STICK to your limit, give yourself a reasonable limit to stick to.

Second, use a stringent stop loss when you are winning. There is nothing worse that have a good stack in front of you and then having it sucked away by a series of bad decisions or bad beats. If you have three times your buy-in in one hour, be prepared to leave relatively soon. One stop loss method can be: play until you lose a pot. Once you lose a pot, stand up and leave. But the most common one is to leave when your stack dips to a particular point. In the game described above, your stop-loss point needs to be relatively high.

Let's say you sat in a 10/20 game with $300. In 90 minutes, your stack is at $850. If this is the case, your stop-loss should be around $700 - $750. This may sound tight, but you have to take particular care in these sorts of games because it is easy to shoot off $500+ when your opponents are super-aggressive, even if you don't see too many showdowns in the process.

But like I said at the start, these sorts of games are dangerous and you should only contemplate it if you have the bankroll allowance to do so. Happy hunting.

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