I managed to get the Full Tilt roll just barely over the $500 mark last night, after much grinding at the .25/.50 6 max tables. Not a bad little run so far, especially in light of the fact that KK/AA have been reverse set-magnets for me of late, only holding up at about a 40% collective clip.
Once I got over the slight embarassment at playing at reduced stakes, I've actually found myself thinking about poker again, as well as looking forward to playing, which is nice. SnGs are just so mindless, at a certain point, and that's predominantly what I'd been playing for the last year or so. While the play at the .25//50 tables obviously isn't the highest caliber, it's been interesting and instructive for me to put the training wheels back on and essentially start from scratch.
I've been four tabling the 6 max tables, which is pretty much the limit of my ability to focus and concentrate on the action. A RaiNKhaN I ain't, especially when I usually have something else going on as well, as far as working on a spreadsheet or document or something or other. In the past my typical default standard opening raise for cash games was 3xBB, which involves typing/sliding. At some point of late I just started clicking the "Bet Pot" button instead, which is $1.75 at my current nosebleed stakes.
One thing I've been working on lately is loosening up what hands I'll open raise with in 6 max games, especially from the button in steal situations. Not at the any two cards stage yet as far as steals go, but I've not been shy about lumping in a pot sized raise with all the usual culprits and more marginal hands any ace, and jack/queen/king suited, any connectors/single gap conectors, etc. So I'm a lot more prone to click the "Bet Pot" button these days if it's folded around to me in late position, with a much wider range of hands.
Ditto for hands I'll re-raise with, especially if it's a standard raise in front of me. In the past I'd find myself calling raises with hands like AJs, KQs, A10s, etc. with the thinking that I can easily get away from them if they don't hit big, or easily lay them down if there's more action behind me. If I'm going to play these hands, of late I'm clicking either the "Bet Pot" button or folding.
All that clicking of the "Bet Pot" button in 6 max games leads to a lot of picking up of blinds, and a lot of heads-up play with one opponent. It also leads to a lot of checking to me. At which point my default play has been to, you guessed it, click the "Bet Pot" button, regardless of the board and whether or not I hit it.
If I get called on the flop, then I slow down and play actual poker from the turn on, as far as whether or not to fire another bullet, what size of bullet, if I can blow someone off a hand with a larger bet, if I'm completely done with the hand, etc.
The eye-opening part is just how many pots you pick up by always clicking the "Bet Pot" button, especially on the flop. Granted, we're talking .25/.50 players here, so yeah, they're going to call with hands they shouldn't and meekly fold on the flop more often than they should, so I'm not claiming to have discovered any great poker truth. If anything, I'm just reminding myself the importance of staying aggressive, especially at 6 max games. But man, all them folds add up pretty quickly, and more than compensate for when people play back at you and you lay down your hand. Plus it's hard for people to put you on hands, as you're just flinging pot-sized bets out there time after time after time.
The slightly interesting part, though, is I wonder just how terrible a strategy it would be to simply bet the pot, every single time action was on you. It's not optimal by any stretch of the imagination, but it's also puts even thinking opponents in a generally uncomfortable situation a great percentage of the time. It'd be pretty exploitable if you continued to mash the "Bet Pot" button on the turn and river, so I'm not advocating that, just relying on it pre-flop and on the flop. And yeah, the fold button doesn't get ignored either. Just the check/call button, and any bet/raise other than a pot-sized one.