Split Suit Poker this morning and was amused by how seldom any of the strategy discussed has any application in the games I play.
A video that reflected reality at my games would have the voice over saying something like this:
"Jim is on the button and while he has no hand at all, he is really forced to call the Big Blind's over-bet because everyone else has folded. Jim is the chip leader now, but calling this bet could change that. I'm not sure how much money is in that pot, but it sure looks like a lot!"
"Jim is out of position here holding 8-9 off on a rainbow flop of A-K-Q. I don't remember who, but someone raised pre-flop, so there could be some strong hands here. Possibly Jim will push all-in to represent strength, but I can tell you this much: he's unlikely to check!"
Yeah, it can be that bad. There are good players at these games, but the bad ones do stand out brightly. More important in respect to strategy videos is that it is impossible to guess at a weak player's hand - they could be playing anything. Their bets tell you very little - they are blissfully unaware of how the size of their bet should affect other players and, in fact, it often will NOT, simply because almost nobody is thinking about any of that.
The biggest mistake I can make is to loosen up too much in response to their play. While I know they will enter almost any pot with K-4 off, that doesn't mean that I should, although very late in the game it does give me more confidence with that sort of risk.
Let's imagine that you somehow found yourself in a situation where Negreanu and all the other big names are at your table and you had to play - your life or your financial future is at stake. How do you play?
Obviously even my best game wouldn't help. I'd be slaughtered. My best chance might be to play like the fictional "Jim" above. I'm still likely to get killed, but bad play at least keeps them off base and with a tremendous amount of luck, I might just suck out this one time and walk away whole. Not likely, it's like buying a lottery ticket in hopes of paying your mortgage, but it could happen and trying to outplay them would be like hoping to earn the mortgage money selling pencils from a cup.
Update: Lost $7.00 today. First hand I flopped a full house, 7's full. After river, the remaining Blind raised, position 4 called, I raised half my stack. Blind folded, other guy called, turned over a full house, Kings full. He didn't raise because he wanted a shot at high hand.
Later I put in my last 240 chips on the last hand to buy in with. Flopped Aces and Fours, beaten by Aces and sixes. Bought in, dribbled away blinds, went all in for 300 with pocket Aces, knocked out by two pair.
Just not a good day. Probably should have hung in longer rather than trying the Aces, but I don't feel bad about the other hands.