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Confessions of a Bumhunter

by Katie Dozier |  Published: Feb 08, '12

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Before I get a confused text from my Mom, bumhunting in poker is loosely defined as seeking out weak opponents to play against. It’s often slung at players as an insult, which has baffled me since the first time I saw the phrase used as a zinger in an NVG thread.

Poker is a game of outplaying your opponents, so wouldn’t everyone want to play against the worst possible opponents to maximize their edge?

While I did have a good (albeit stressful) time playing day 2 of the WPT Bellagio main at a short-handed table with Vanessa Selbst, Annette_15, Mark Newhouse and Tony Dunst, it is never a table I would have voluntarily chose to be seated at. One of the biggest downsides of being primarily a tournament player is that it somewhat limits my ability to bumhunt.

Of course, one can learn something from being at tables with the best players in the world, but even if someone is slightly winning against them, there are much lower variance seats to find. Someone that’s the best player in the world won’t have nearly the edge sitting with 8 world-class opponents versus 8 not-so-great players.

I started out in super-turbo SNGs, back when 3xraise/folding a 10 BB stacks seemed reasonable to most of the weaker players, and a high single-digit ROI was attainable. When more regs surfaced, and table selecting wasn’t leaving me with enough games to play a week, I transitioned to MTT SNGs, which were easy to glean a high ROI in. When more regs flocked to that format, I also added MTTs which tend to have a field that’s more diluted with novices. (Of course, bumhunting wasn’t the only reason for this—I love playing large tournaments.)

Sometimes, even from players I have a lot of respect for, I hear the complaint that they, “Don’t play well against bad players.” This also baffles me. Yes, it can take more effort to put a player on a range that only has a loosely defined concept of hand strength. But there are easy ways to combat that, such as utilizing pot control. Reads, and the ability to remember hands that a novice played become very important, but as a good poker player one should be paying attention at all times anyway (or at least have a HUD to partially do this for them).

Part of the reason good players seek out games with other regs is that they can make up the majority of the player pool at mid-high stakes. However, I think a lot of players willing to play at less glamorous stakes and/or be more flexible in format (to find softer tables) would often be rewarded with a higher hourly and lower variance.

Of course, sometimes playing against top-rated villains is not really a choice. Suppose there’s a turf battle for a player wishing to constantly sit the high-stakes heads-up SNGs. If one thinks they’re at least break even (including the rake) it can certainly be worth it to take the player on to maintain territory. But playing regs just because they have a couple of leaks is rarely the best decision if one can play against a more novice opponent—whose game will have way more leaks.

It’s not cool in poker to admit that my dream table is 8 deep-stacked “recreational” opponents that have just learned the rules and think top pair is always the nuts. But then again, I’m a confirmed bumhunter. :)

Katie “hotjenny314” Dozier is a lead coach for Team Moshman and one of the Grindettes. An accomplished super-turbo and MTT player, she makes videos for Drag The Bar and PokerStrategy . Dozier, co-authored Pro Poker Strategy: The Top Skills and The Superuser. She posts more frequent updates on Twitter.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

mikeyb111
over 8 years ago

Why does the list of so called best players in the world keep changing. I'm willing to bet there are 3-6 limit players who know and can play poker as well as any of these world best players.

 
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LiquidKaos
over 8 years ago

"Bumhunting" has always been around ... just not with HUDs and continuously-updating databases of hands.

 
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mass-adam
over 8 years ago

lol...I love hearing so called "poker pros", whatever that really means, talk about "bumhunting". The people you mention sitting with in the wpt bellagio all laughed when you left because you were the weakest player there....poker isnt rocket science, no matter what the "pros" say or want you to think. Sit at a table, hope to catch cards and run well and be happy. When you win you think your great, when you lose, the game is all luck....who are you anyway and why should we know you???

 
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VoiceOfReason
over 8 years ago

*raises eyebrow* I remember the days when you never spoke to, or about, a lady like this. I guess those days really have gone, and we are not better off for it.

 
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bparmalee
over 8 years ago

I dont mean this as insult at but the term "bumhunting" is really funny to me. Most purely recreational players are players that can afford to lose the money and most of them (in my experience) have good jobs....they are just there to have fun. If you walk into any casino and take a look at the "regulars"... now that's a bunch of bums. No real job.... some months they are flush with cash..other months the child support doesnt get sent out. Most everyday players have every vise and leak in the world... so I am not sure they should be labeling anyone else as bums to hunt. For the most part this group of "bumhunters" has been successful enough in life that they can afford to sit down and support these games without too much concern for what they may lose... they just want to have a good time. I think for the most part regulars take these people for granted and often demean them with these kind of labels. I think a more fitting term would be "benefactors". Without them how would these regulars make enough money to support their sports betting or drinking habits?

 
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mrjimbob
over 8 years ago

I'm sure this lady is a nice lady, but I've never heard of her. I guess anyone can call themselves a poker pro and give out their strategy. It seems quite obvious to me that you would want to play against weaker opponents. I can't believe she got a whole article out of it. I hope Cardplayer paid her well for this.

 
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clunker
over 8 years ago

I think the pay they get is the free exposure they get for what ever product they are selling. In her case her husbands coaching classes.

 
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Katie_Dozier
over 8 years ago

@VoiceOfReason, thanks for proving that there are still nice guys on the internet. :)

 
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mass-adam
over 8 years ago

I_P...although dunst had a bad wsop, he is not a losing player. He is a very good player actually, do some homework. As for mrs Dozier acting like the posters are bad people, when you write a blog sounding like a nit, people are going to treat you like one. "bumhunting"......who are you again?

 
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kevko_2000
over 8 years ago

I_P-
Dunst has cosniderable online winnings that I believe you are overlooking. jUst because he had a bad WSOP doesn't make him a losing player over his career.

What the hell is wrong with you people? She is just trying to write an article for those of use who can appreciate a little food for thought.

If you don't like it then click yourself away from the page. Amazing how miserable and hateful people can be.

 
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quest
over 8 years ago

Nice article Katie. Also enjoying your videos on Dragthebar.

 
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Katie_Dozier
over 8 years ago

Thanks, and glad to hear it! :)

 
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Matthew1
over 8 years ago

and there was me thinking bum-hunting was my usual friday night antics!

 
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