Sunday, November 26, 2006

Analysis of Daniel Negreanu's No Limit Play

I've watched most of the episodes of High Stakes Poker on the Game Show Network and I found it highly entertaining and educational. I may write about others I see on the show, but I was drawn to watching Daniel since he seemed to play almost every hand.

Daniel is a very loose player preflop. I'd say he plays over 50% of the hands he is dealt. However, he is careful to do it in position. He is liable to raise with any 2 cards if he feels the time is right.

This raising of any two cards can pay off later, when he hits a strong pocket pair, and gets called by players with weaker hands.

He bought in for an obscene amount of money in both shows, so his implied odds are good for most of his hands, because if he gets lucky, he can take his entire opponent's stack.

Daniel also tends to be a calling station on the river. He made some "bad" calls on some sick beats. Most of them were where he had flopped the nuts, but the hand was beat by the time the river card fell.

He also talks alot during the game and is constantly guessing his opponents hand out loud in the middle of a hand. I believe he does this for two reasons. First he is looking for a reaction from them to confirm his guess. Secondly, if he does guess correctly, it tends to spook the other player. I believe this is also why he tends to call a lot of bets on the river. Between his hand reading ability and his tendency to call, it is near impossible to run a big bluff on Daniel. Think about how nice it must be to know that your opponents will eventually just bet their good hands and check their mediocre and bad ones because they know you will pick off their bluffs. It is a nice luxury to have.

I think his strategy is a sound one, until he steams. When he steams, this strategy can get pretty expensive. I have to believe he could have gotten away from a couple of those big hands if he had not been steaming from the prior beats.

It's ironic that tight solid play has actually done pretty well in the TV series. Phil Laak did nothing but play good cards and walked away a big winner. Antonio Esfandiari tried to do the same thing, but he kept getting his big pocket pairs cracked.

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