Week 2 - 888 grind
Day 6 – Session 1
Time: Between 1pm and 7pm UK time
Really epic start to the grind at 888. There is no doubt that we are running hot however. We are flopping a number of full-houses, sets, trips, and people are actually giving us action. It’s not that we are flopping better than usual as such, it’s simply that people are paying us off instead of folding.
Players are definitely less disciplined here in certain spots. Actually, it feels like we are playing poker in a different universe. There is probably a period of time where a player from PokerStars needs to adjust before he can perform at his best at 888. There are certain lines that players from Stars don’t take that frequently which appear to be occurring all the time at 888. For example, min-betting across multiple streets and donk-betting flops and turns. This might be something to focus part of our analysis on at the end of the sample.
In the meantime, let’s check out some of the hands from the session.
This was actually a very tough hand because we are starting out with deep stacks. Both hero and CO have at least 200bb.
The pot is relatively small until the river where we make a flush. We lead for value and BTN shoves all-in for 200bb. We have no idea at this stage whether he is a weaker player or not, although admittedly most decent regulars would not typically overshove the river like this. Playing the same hand on stars we’d expect to see the nuts here with a very high frequency. Note that we have the second nuts in this hand.
We tanked for a long time on the river before making the call. We certainly did not expect to see K9. It really makes no sense for villain to be doing this. He could potentially put out a very small river raise and it would be reasonable, but still on the thin side. Shoving is likely a huge overplay since we were not even that comfortable with the second nuts for 200bb. His chances of getting paid off by worse holdings are very low therefore.
We lead the flop with a mid-pair as a type of semi-bluff here. We prefer to take the pot down, although it’s not a big deal if we get called since we have outs. We spike one of those outs on the turn.
We fire both turn and river for value which is standard and we face a river raise. This is possibly a fold in this scenario. It’s close simply because villain can take a worse 2-pair combo and raise. Also in the light of the deep-stacked flush hand that was played, it’s easy to wonder if other players are also hugely over-valuing hands on the river.
This is why it can take a period of time to adjust between networks. It can be difficult to know what constitutes variance and what constitutes a genuine population tendency until there is a bigger sample of hands.
Day 7 – Session 2
Time: Between 8am and 3pm UK time
We saw a slightly tougher side to 888 today. There were still plenty of very fishy-looking things going on, but we weren’t fully able to capitalize on that since we were mostly card-dead. It happens at every network, even the softer ones. We still managed to pull a buyin away from the tables which is not a bad result, but we were up three at one point which slowly disappeared after missing the vast majority of flops.
The biggest winner was actually misplayed completely. There were some connection issues (nothing to do with 888). It was literally all we could do not to time out on the turn. Flop should be a clear bet here also.
Now, on a site like Stars, this typically means that it’s very unlikely that we get paid off. We failed to build a pot on earlier streets with a premium. However, on 888, Our opponent decides to overbet shove all-in when we make the full house. He is bluffing and holds 5-high.
It’s not as if this happens all the time at 888 either, but so far we are beginning to get the impression that it will happen a lot more frequently than at Stars.
There is likely more than one way of playing this hand, but all of them entail a reasonably high-degree of variance. We can’t really fold 99 after we open in late position, so that leaves calling or re-raising. The effective stack of 50bb means that a re-raise would typically be a jam. While we often don’t get all-in preflop with 99 in these games, it starts to become correct as the effective stacks get low. It’s virtually impossible to 4-bet/fold at this stack depth so we make the decision to jam all-in preflop.
It’s mostly unlucky when we see KK, although we don’t expect this play to be hugely profitable in the long-run. It’s worth remembering that a decent chunk of our profit when taking this line is generated by the fact that our opponent sometimes folds to our jam. So when he does decide to call we are frequently either flipping or crushed. It is nice to know that he will sometimes play hands like AK and AQ this way however, making us a slight equity favourite with pocket-pairs.
We can see that our biggest pot lost is only half a stack. Yet we swung down 2 buyins at some-point according to the graph. This is basically because we were card dead and our profits got eaten away bit by bit over a period of time.
Day 8 – Session 3
Time: Between 8am and 3pm UK time
A little bit of a rough start in this session, but we managed to turn it around with a 5 buyin upswing half-way through the session. It’s nice to see that we are consistently making profit (often as a result of donations from opponents). There were times at Stars where we felt a little bit like a beaten dog. It was only towards the end of the grind that we realised we might even make any profit.
Sometimes people attribute bad runs to coolers and bad-beats, but this is not always the case. Coolers and bad-beats happen at all sites, 888 included. Just because a site is evidently softer like 888 does not mean that we are not going to encounter really sick setups, we will.
The difference is that those setups are less significant at a site like 888 where our opponents are just waiting to donate their stacks to us. The losses we incur through bad-beats and set-ups are quickly outweighed by the profits we make through donations.
We experience a similar amount of coolers and setups at stars. The difference is that there are less players willing to donate their stacks to us. Our profits no longer outweigh our losses in a bad run. This can cause us to think that we are losing as a result of running-bad, whereas a more significant reason is that we are simply not getting our value hands paid off for longer periods.
Let’s start with the biggest loser today, which was a huge bad-beat.
The hand-history got a little corrupted here, but basically we open-raise in UTG, MP calls, and BTN overcalls.
Villain was a huge whale and we’d seen him play a few hands already during the grind where he had stacked off extremely light. This is one advantage of the 888 Snap player-pool as opposed to Stars. There is usually around 100+ players in the 10nl Snap pool, whereas there are often 600+ players in the Stars Zoom pool. For some it might feel like a disadvantage to player in a smaller player pool, but if we are careful to observe our opponents and leave coloured tags on then the smaller player pool can easily be an advantage. If we had run into this same guy at Stars, we’d have absolute no idea how terrible he was.
The standard thing to do here is definitely not to shove all in for 270bb. But at the end of the day, we have the stone-cold nuts, and this guy is definitely capable of calling with worse.
He as a set which is unfortunate for us because it means he has a ton of equity. It’s not a big deal though, since we are still a favourite to win, so this kind of scenario should be extremely profitable for us in the long run.
Anyway, he binks quads on the turn. It’s pretty sick to lose 270bb in one hand. But it happens on all networks and is a standard part of the game. If we were playing on Stars we’d probably have ended up with a losing session, but on 888 we managed to turn things around and bag a winning session despite the biggest beat of the grind so far.
Well, what goes around comes around they say. We lost to quads earlier and now we take down a stack with Quads.
In all truth the turn was probably misplayed. We should fire again for value, but it can of course be extremely tempting to slowplay Quads. Just because the guy made his straight on the river and it worked out for the best does not automatically mean that we took the best line.
Anyway, there is no way the guy should be calling the river raise with a one-card straight on a paired texture. This will be a huge losing play for him, and very lucky for us.
Day 9 – Session 4
Time: Between 1pm and 7pm UK time
888 finally won this time! Great start to the session, then we got absolutely killed with a 5 buyin downswing. It had to happen sooner or later. According to the EV line we should be about break-even, so we are roughly 3 buyins below our expectation when we consider all-in situations only. This is nothing in the grand scheme of things though, and something that poker players have to get used to.
Let’s look at a compilation of our beats!
It seems highly unlikely that we can do anything different here. We have the nuts with the flush-redraw so of course we get the money in as fast as possible. We even have the straight-flush draw here. Villain has considerable equity (around 20%) with top-set, although we are still a clear favourite.
Note villain’s flop play however. This is important in seeing the difference between Stars and 888. The guy has flopped top-set, and the obvious thing to do is to go for a somewhat large continuation bet on the texture. But instead, he min-bets. This is extremely unlikely to be the best play, he is not protecting his hand adequately, nor extracting a decent amount of value. This type of play seems to be extremely common at 888, much more so than Pokerstars.
It’s obviously good for us since our opponent doesn’t extract maximum value from us and also allows us to draw cheaply in many scenarios. This is an example of a spot where, although we ended up getting stacked, it should increase our confidence in the profitableness of the games. We didn’t profit this time, but we see how our opponents’ mistakes will be beneficial for our long-term winrate.
We flop top-trips and lead into a multi-way pot. We fire turn and river also for value and face a raise. This is definitely not a call with all 7x hands, but it might be a marginal call with an A kicker when we consider our opponent may raise worse 7x hands for value. It’s close, and he has the boat this time which is unfortunate.
Villain is half stacked in this hand so it is difficult to get way from 2-pair on the turn regardless of the fact that he represents a ton of strength. It certainly should be one of the weakest hands we stack off with however and is pretty close to being a fold. We decide to shove because the villain in the middle is unlikely to be strong after he just calls our turn bet as opposed to raising.
Day 10 – Session 5
Time: Between 2pm and 7pm UK time
Ok, grind is finally over, finishing with a decent session.
Let’s have a look at our overall grind also!
So a positive grind and a nice winrate overall.
On the turn we decide to lead after board pairs. It’s not necessarily a card that our opponent will bet again on frequently. This guy had been tagged as a weaker player so it’s probably a good idea to re-raise immediately on the turn here. River play is only ok also given our reads. Against a better player we should probably think about check/raising instead. Anyway, even though we possibly didn’t take the best line, there is absolutely no reason for him to be paying offer a river overbet here.
The biggest losing hands were not overly interesting in this session.
One hand we got AA in preflop and lost. Another we had the nut-straight on the turn and villain hit on the river.
Let’s have a look now at a breakdown of the entire 888 grind.
Great result overall for the grind. Head now to the analysis page for a full breakdown of the stars vs 888 challenge.