All right, so I've been contemplating life, poker and why I suck at poker.
I think that I just have a large degree of gamble in me naturally, and even 6m is nittier than my natural instincts. In HU, I get to play every hand, be agro as I want, jam, shovel, min-bet. I'm not horrible at hand reading and range guessing. I do pick up on patterns. But at ring games I just ignore my reads. Too much gamble in me to fold enough, I suppose.
HU seems about right for me. I do want to fold every now and then. And I know that most HU turbo SnG's hinge on a couple big hands. It's not just about reading them, it's about being unreadable. Finding the patterns, then tweaking the patterns when the big hand arrives so he doesn't know where he's at.
Another big key is the adjustments. If you can guess where the match is headed, and get to the adjustment before the other guy realizes it, he changes his game right as you adjust. He's always a step behind.
Here are some of the obvious ones.
A pfr std of 3x is unusual. Most of the pfr's at HU5 are 2x. See a 3x pfr on the first hand and there's about a 90% chance you're up against a TAGG-reg who's opening 45-50% of his hands, most for 3x raises. Oddly, the TAGG-regs don't 4b much, but they flat a lot a of 3b's and donk. Laggy Tagg them with 3b/cbet used judiciously, and c/r's on the dry flops. Other than that, small ball and look for value to jam on or trap with.
See a limp, and it'll be a few hands before you know exactly what you're facing. About half the limpers are the loose passive, weak-tighties, and the small ball game works fine if you open it up a bit.
Other the other hand, some of them are Lagg-tards, and depending how aggressive they are, you can either tighten up and bit and counterpunch (if they're hyper agro) or you can play Laggy Tagg small ball with them but cross them up with the occasional 3b and c/r tossed in.
The stations emerge after about 8-10 hands. Anyone can catch 2nd pair a couple of times and make some call downs when you're playing small ball as a default. The only problem stations are the tight ones who play fewer than 40% of their hands. Their range is reasonably strong, so if they catch some hands early you get short stacked value betting the 2nd best hand. But any station who opens at least 50% of his hands, you just small ball him, play fit or fold post flop, and try to string together some nice betting lines for him to go broke on.
The odd thing about stations is that they hate being jammed preflop. Of all the styles, stations crack the worst during jam/fold time. I guess by nature the stations want to see the whole hand of poker play out, street after street. Jamming the flop seems like heresy to them. Mostly they play super weak-tight during jam/fold until they decide you're bluffing (which you are) and try to catch you at it with K8o. So...get one TPTK hand with 3 streets of value, and it's game nearly over. Jam/fold bluffy. He's still limping preflop with a 6.5xbb stack, so look to jam 2nd pair or better on the flop. They seem to hate that line, too.
The TAGG-regs are an interesting bunch. The biggest thing with them is that they're too cards face up. I've played that style so long it's ingrained in me, pretty much. "Oh, I'm getting out-aggressed, why don't I ... 3b light. And c/r a flop. And then try a donk lead on a paired board." The interesting thing about HU is that there are so many more draws.
Example, you're playing J9s and the flop is T83 with a BDFD live. Normally, we'd call that 8 straight outs + 1 for the back door flush, but here against a TAGG who's willing to bet and raise the flop, often the 3 J's are outs. He's probably in with a broadway Tx and is betting the shizzle out of TPGK, which is usually the nuts. And he's not often on JT. So you donk into him small after flatting his 3x pfr, and he raises bigger but he's not quite pot committed, and you jam all-in. He snap-insta calls, and you draw out on him. He's pissed off, but in fact you had it read right and had 12-ish outs and were pretty much a coin flip. Since you had an 1800 to 1200 chip lead, a 50-50 coin flip won't kill off the match if you lose it, and you do have fold equity. Sure, they insta-call a lot, but many of them will tank, too, and get away from it.
Also, I just have to say it's appalling how few folks know that there's a correct way to play the jam/fold with less than 15bb effective stacks. There's a chart and everything, but they don't seem to know it. Do they not read Colin Moshman or Kill Everyone or Mathematics of Poker? Or a web site? I almost feel bad for them. Oh, yeah, right.
So I played 73 hands of start-table 6max last night, and I ended up 3 stacks to the good. You get about a dozen hands on a guy and you can place his most likely style. Then, a big hand comes up, and you take the line that your HU SnG experience tells you is mostly likely to extract chips from him. And if you're rolled well enough to mind losing a few coin flips, you can play a crazy Lagg HU style with min-raises and 4b's and shovels, which I love doing. It's unorthodox. They're used to 6max and think they're agro, but it's aggression at a very different level HU. And you can add the pressure to them until you can almost see them steaming. If they're smart, they leave, or sit out until the table fills. If not, they try to adjust, and like a I said above watching the clockwork adjustments of a TAGG is just waiting for the moment to profit. Sure, it's bit higher variance, but it's the kind of variance I'm used to and they're not.
So...I think my full table 6max career is on hold for a while. I still will probably grind some start-table 6max, and stay on for some of the juicier ones just to keep my 6m game from rusting out completely. But playing 2 or 3 tables trying to find someone I can get 20 hands of HU cash game poker against is where I'll be for now.