Bar (Pub) Poker – Good Practice or Negative Reinforcement?

About two years ago I participated pretty heavily in bar league (free) poker. I did well. After stepping away from it I recently decided to return. I mean, it’s free to play, you can win weekly prizes and then there are the big offerings (like seats to WSOP events) that can be had. Plus, one of our home poker league members (who I recruited from the bar league I was in and who kept playing after I left – won just such a WSOP seat last year – Event 2 for $1500). I figured – “hey, it’s my turn now!”.

Now, I’m back at – in the Free Poker Tour Network with a different home league member who plays there. The first 8 week session has concluded. I finished in second (from about 35 semi-regular players), which means I’ve qualifed for “regions” (at regions you qualify for state and at state you win the grand prizes – about 15% of the field advances at each level).

But, here’s the quandry – 85% of these players (at the local level) are total donks. Loose aggressive dunkards willing to put in chips at any time (with any hand). I’ve tried the “Tight Aggressive” approach (this actually works best overall) – simply waiting for your premium hands, raising it up preflop and betting more when it hits. And, I’ve tried the loose passive prefop limps (which seems pretty standard – it’s after the flop that the chips start flying) – but with 7 of 8 players in the pot you rarely know if you’re actually ahead (they’ll call anything). Some of our other home league members have commented to me about how they seem to think that the bar league players’ games in our league have deteriorated the longer they’re involved in free poker. And, while my second place was great in the free poker – I’m in 11th of 12 in tour home poker league after 6 weeks.

So, your thoughts? Bar (pub, free) poker : good practice or reinforcer of bad habits?

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  • The free poker tournaments like this can be really good practice. Obviously it is for beginner and amateur poker players, but it can still be a lot of fun. Playing poker without the fear of loosing a lot of money can sometimes be more fun then the high dollar pay in tournaments. Gaining experience through small tournaments like this could really improve your poker skills and head you in the right direction of becoming an expert oker player.

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