June 23, 2009

Frop 3b'ing

Long time no post...I've been completely beaten down this month - games are tougher, I'm running like poo, I haven't been as sharp, and confidence is down. Recipe for disasater for sure...ROR. Well the focus of this post is to look at a few hands where I 3b the flop.

Games are becoming increasingly aggro lately - everyone understands c-betting and how profitable it can be...thus people are leveraging their position with raises. Obviously one method for combatting this strategy is to 3b...a strategy that right now is used pretty infrequently. If you are going implement this into your arsenal - you need to think a little deeper.

Check out the two examples...

Full Tilt Poker, $2/$4 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players

BTN: $257.90
SB: $258.80
Hero (BB): $607
UTG: $410
MP: $62.90
CO: $334.90

Pre-Flop: 6s Qh dealt to Hero (BB)
3 folds, BTN calls $4, SB calls $2, Hero checks
(pretty standard x through here with rags, but we have a donk alert with the button limping - stay tuned.)

Flop: ($12) Tc 2d Ks (3 Players)
SB checks, Hero bets $8, BTN raises to $36, SB folds, Hero raises to $70
(ok this is where things get interesting...I opt to lead with the intention of 3b'ing the B bc of his limp - he has a relatively high steal % so him not opening the B eliminates quite a bit of his range. The B goes ahead and raises my lead and I follow through with a min 3b which gets him to insta fold. On this board I can rep a pretty wide range, bottom set, any two pair combo, QJ, and the occasion Kx type hand. If he decides to call the 3b on the frop - I'm bombing the turn unless the QJ draw completes.)

Results: $84 Pot ($3 Rake)
Hero mucked 6s Qh and WON $81 (+$41 NET)

Unfortunately this one did not turn out so well...crashed and burned in an epic fashion.

Full Tilt Poker, $2/$4 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 9 Players

UTG+1: $91.70
UTG+2: $444.10
MP1: $406
MP2: $900
CO: $468
BTN: $450.40
Hero (SB): $402
BB: $400
UTG: $92.70

Pre-Flop: Td 9c dealt to Hero (SB)
7 folds, Hero raises to $12, BB calls $8
(standard open in the CO)

Flop: ($24) Ks 3c Jd (2 Players)
Hero bets $14, BB raises to $42, Hero raises to $104, BB calls $62
(this board is SOOOO dry that when my C bet gets raised by a semi competent regular who propensity to raise more than the fair share of c bets, I feel obligated to put in another bet in order to rep the absolute top of my range - AA, KJ, and sets. It is a bit thin with my gutter ball (which could potentially be no good) but I think I can blow him off Jx, 44-88. The only value raise he is making on this board is with KJ, 33, and the occasional KQ. I am certain he will 3b other value raising combos. QT is the only draw out there...could have that - my 3b is small enough that it is definitely profitable for him to call.)

Turn: ($232) 7c (2 Players)
Hero bets $112, BB calls $112
(sick turn, I open up a double gutter...I had intended to bet the turn regardless - but some added value is nice. I was very close to overbet shoving the turn...but i thought a small bet would be scarier.)

River: ($456) 2h (2 Players)
Hero checks, BB checks
(for some reason, my vagina swells to epic proportions and I can't put the rest in...let's see how things work out for T high? Somehow I convinced myself that he could not fold KQ).

Results: $456 Pot ($3 Rake)
Hero showed Td 9c (King Jack high) and LOST (-$228 NET)
BB showed Qs Th (King Queen high) and WON $453 (+$225 NET)
(Q high outkicks T high for 56 bb's...FML)

When thinking back on this - first off I need to shove that river with T high no matter what. That being said, even if I do get looked up by KQ - SO EFFING WHAT? Gotta think back to my Gbucks equity...which absolutely DESTROYS KQ.


Yer Gonna Rove My Nuts! (Part 7)

Back to the cash games today, feers good...

Hero (CO): $101.50
BTN: $24.80
SB: $44.05
BB: $105.35
UTG: $65.90
UTG+1: $109.90
MP: $100.00

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is CO with Jh Th
2 folds, MP raises to $3, Hero calls $3, 3 folds (This virrain was kind of nitty and the brinds not too aggro, so not too much fear of getting squeezed. 3-betting is OK, too, as I think he'll either fold AQ/AJ or call and then check/fold the frop when he misses. I mix up between raising, carring, and maybe the occasionar ford in this spot.)

Flop: ($7.50) 9c Jd Ts (2 players)
MP bets $5, Hero raises to $15, MP raises to $97 all in, Hero calls $82 (Frop top two, definitery good. I raise the frop because there are a bunch of turn cards that could kill my action if he has an overpair, and maybe he'll think here on the frop that I'm just messing with him and spazz out. When he overbet ships, I'm not super-duper excited, but I'm obviously not folding. I'd estimate most of his range is QQ-99, AQ,QJ, and JT (if he had KQ for the fropped nuts, I don't think he'd 3-b shove), against which I have almost 55% equity.)

Turn: ($201.50) 2h (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($201.50) Tc (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $201.50
Hero shows Jh Th (a full house, Tens full of Jacks)
MP shows 9d Td (a full house, Tens full of Nines)
Hero wins $198.50

Bet sizing fail!! This is a classic "I don't want to fold but I also don't want to play the rest of the hand out of position on this gross board" play. I'm pretty sure my range for calling this shove is limited to QQ-99, KQ, JTs, and 87s. His equity against that range is 25%, so pretty crappy. Given the relatively small pot when he shoves, he'd be way better off calling and check/raising a safe turn (non-J/Q/K/8).


June 21, 2009

Bleh...Pwnd in the Step 6

I finally played my Step 6 ticket on Poker Stars, but unfortunately the results were not so good. It was a 12-player tourney which started out with 2 tables of 6. I think I got a little bit of a crappy table draw as just through observation of the other table it seemed like play there was worse. In any case, through the first few levels, I was fairly active, opening often in late position as I normally would at a 6-handed table. I got re-raised a couple of times and had to fold. A couple of other times I re-raised other players' opens and got folds. In general I thought the play was pretty solid.

The first interesting hand I had came when I raised UTG with 88 and got called by the big blind. The flop came 554 with two diamonds and my c-bet got check-raised. Definitely not a great spot, but folding there is way too weak. On the other hand, not much reason to raise. I called and the turn came an offsuit deuce, a pretty big blank. The big blind checked. There was about 1700 chips in the pot, and a little bit more in the big blind's stack. It's pretty close between betting and checking there, I think. I'd like to price out a flush or straight draw if he has it...it's possible he'd fold TT/99. Even if he has random overs, I don't want to give him a free river. But it's also possible he has QQ or a boat and I don't want to stack myself. I ended up deciding on a check. The river came a non-diamond 3, giving a wheel to any hand with an A. He checked again and again I had a close decision, as it's tough for him to call a river shove with an overpair that's better than mine, and I don't think he'd check a boat or rivered straight to me. Finally I checked it back and he showed KQo, so I won that one, getting my stack up to 3750 or so from the starting stack of 3000.

A couple of orbits later, one player had already been eliminated. With blinds at 50/100, I opened to 275 with 99 from the CO, with my stack at around 3200. It folded to the big blind, with a stack about the size of mine, who re-raised to 800. This guy hadn't 3-b me yet, but he had 3-b I think three times at the table thus far. I had folded to a three-bet three times already. It's a pretty thin spot. I could force him to call off more than 2k more, so I certainly think I have fold equity if he is weak. I'd think his calling range is JJ+, AK snap-calling, TT, AQ probably timing down a bit and flipping a coin. The question is how wide his 3-betting range is. With over 1000 chips in the middle already and 33% vs. the snap-calling range, I don't have to be getting a fold that often to show a profit on a shove. I don't think calling is really a viable option 30 bbs deep. If I thought the table was full of donkeys that I could beat handily playing small pots, I would fold, but I decided here I had to go with it...so I shoved and got instacalled by the nuts ROR. I'm still not sure what I think of the play though. 99 is a little bit light to shove with that early. But if I'm folding 99 to a re-raise when I open from the cutoff it's just insanely exploitable as 99 is towards the very top end of my range for opening from that position. Oh well. The guy who stacked me went on to bubble the tourney so...eff that guy ROR.

So anyway, no Vegas for me this year. Thank God. Now I can avoid arr this tourney gheyness and get back to the cash game grind.


June 17, 2009

THIN! (Part 15)

First off, big congrats to Rana on scoring 10th place in the $1500 HORSE event at the WSOP. Of course I'm happy in part because I had a piece of her action, but also I'm just glad for LJ playing well and getting a nice score. Great job, LJ!

On to some thintastic value:

UTG: $35.80
UTG+1: $44.35
MP1: $57.55
MP2: $50.00
CO: $50.00
BTN: $54.05
SB: $105.05
Hero (BB): $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with Th Ts
1 fold, UTG+1 calls $0.50, 3 folds, BTN raises to $2.50, SB calls $2.25, Hero calls $2, UTG+1 calls $2 (The UTG+1 limper is a donk of the 45/0 variety. The button I didn't have too much info on, but seemed pretty nitty in the small sample I had. 3-betting here is definitely an option, but I decided to play it safe and just call.)

Flop: ($10.00) 7s 8h 6h (4 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, UTG+1 bets $1, BTN raises to $13, SB folds, Hero raises to $47.50 all in, UTG+1 folds, BTN calls $34.50 (Here's where the action happens. I decided from the beginning that I was going to check and make some sort of committing raise, unless it went something like UTG+1 pots and button shoves all-in. But the way the hand played out was perfect for me. I'm not really worried about UTG+1 at all - his min donk-bet is weak and retarded...if he calls, he's as likely to have A7 as 86, which I'm not that far behind anyway. The more relevant player is the button. I think this is a great place to shove because he's almost MORE likely to call me with a weaker hand than a bigger overpair. Stacking off on this board with AA-JJ would be pretty gross. Sets and T9s are just all over my range, as well as monster draws like JhTh or AhTh. But he will call off with 99, AhKh, and AhQh, all of which I beat (70% equity vs. these hands). Of course he could have a set already, but in that case I do have straight, running hearts, and higher set outs. Also, I think he'd be limping 66/77 at least some of the time instead of raising preflop. Even if you put all the sets in his range, vs. 66-99 and AhKh/AhQh, I'm only a slight dog. My other options are to fold...which isn't terrible I guess, but a bit too nitty I believe, and call, which I do think is pretty terrible as I am lost on later streets and so much of the deck is difficult for me, especially if UTG+1 calls too.)

Turn: ($106.00) 8c (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($106.00) Ad (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $106.00
BTN shows 9h 9s (two pair, Nines and Eights)
Hero shows Th Ts (two pair, Tens and Eights)
Hero wins $103.00

Ship the thin value! As for his play, I think he played it fine. He's almost definitely value betting vs. the donk, and he can't expect me to show up with a hand that often. And I just happened to have the absolute worst possible hand for him. Against other hands I might be shoving with (say, sets, AhTh,QhTh,JhTh,T9s,87s,67s), he has almost 40% equity.


June 15, 2009

Yer Gonna Rove My Nuts! (Part 6), Plus My First CardRunners Video

My first CardRunners video is now available for download/viewing, so if you're a member of the site, it would be much appreciated if you give it a look. The topic is playing out of position on the river. If you like it or have suggestions, go ahead and leave a comment and rating.

I finally hit a little more of a stride in tournaments over the weekend, getting a couple of pretty good scores in 90-man SNGs and 45-man SNGs. Soon I think I'll be ready to go ahead and play my Step 6 on Stars.

I've talked before about how playing "small ball" often works out well in tourneys, keeping your bet sizes smaller than normal. The obvious advantages are that you lose less when you're bluffing, but you also get called more often by worse hands (although obviously you make less when you are called in that case), and you also induce some spazz-outs some of the time.

MP1: t1485 M = 33
MP2: t1425 M = 31.67
CO: t1455 M = 32.33
BTN: t1500 M = 33.33
Hero (SB): t1755 M = 39
BB: t1500 M = 33.33
UTG: t1380 M = 30.67
UTG+1: t1500 M = 33.33
UTG+2: t1500 M = 33.33

Pre Flop: (t45) Hero is SB with Ks Ah
2 folds, UTG+2 calls t30, 1 fold, MP2 calls t30, CO raises to t90, 1 fold, Hero raises to t270, 3 folds, CO calls t180

Flop: (t630) Jc 9s Kc (2 players)
Hero bets t275, CO raises to t550, Hero raises to t1485 all in, CO calls t635 all in (Nail top pair but on a kind of gross board...given the stack sizes, I'm never folding, but I want to induce as many bruffs as possible by underbetting and hoping he goes nuts with AT,AJ,QJ,JT, or...)

Turn: (t3000) 7c (2 players - 2 are all in)

River: (t3000) 2d (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: t3000
CO shows 8d 9d (a pair of Nines)
Hero shows Ks Ah (a pair of Kings)

Here's one more:

SB: t1335 M = 17.80
BB: t1460 M = 19.47
Hero (UTG): t1365 M = 18.20
UTG+1: t1530 M = 20.40
MP: t6275 M = 83.67
CO: t1260 M = 16.80
BTN: t1730 M = 23.07

Pre Flop: (t75) Hero is UTG with Kh Kd
Hero raises to t150, 4 folds, SB calls t125, 1 fold

Flop: (t350) 8d 4d Ks (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets t175, SB calls t175 (I could even bet less here, just because I want to keep in the hand - I want him to call me down with 66, A4, etc.)

Turn: (t700) 3c (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets t350, SB raises to t700, Hero raises to t1040 all in, SB calls t310 all in (Another 1/2 pot bet, whereas in a cash game I'd be betting more, mostly because there would be more money behind that bet in our stacks. Whether because of the sizing or whatever, he decides either middle pair is good or I'll fold pocket jacks...or more likely he just knows he doesn't want to fold and doesn't want to make a decision on the river.)

River: (t2720) Qh (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: t2720
SB shows 8s Ah (a pair of Eights)
Hero shows Kh Kd (three of a kind, Kings)
Hero wins t2720


June 12, 2009

Mets Are Frustrating, Big Boxing Match this Weekend

If you want to add a lot of stress to your life, one way is to become a Mets fan. I'm sitting there watching Wednesday night's game vs. the Phillies. Mike Pelfrey has somehow managed to get through 6 innings and allowed only one run to a potent Phillies lineup. He hasn't exactly been dominating, striking out only 2, allowing a home run to Chase Utley, and gotten lucky with quite a few hard-hit balls right at infielders. Moreover, he gets into some sort of confrontation with Chase Utley at the end of the sixth.

With the Mets up 4-1, and Ryan Howard leading off the 7th, to be followed by Raul Ibanez, it should be COMPLETELY OBVIOUS that Pedro Feliciano, the best lefty in the Mets 'pen, should be starting the 7th on the mound. Howard's career OPS vs. right-handed pitchers is 1.065. Vs. lefties, .770. There is no earthly reason why he should ever be allowed to face a right-handed pitcher from the seventh inning on. Moreover, lefties have an OPS of .553 against Feliciano over his career. Any way you slice it, Feliciano vs. Howard is WAY better than Pelfrey vs. Howard for the Mets.

Of course, Mets manager Jerry Manuel left Pelfrey in, Howard and Ibanez (another left-handed hitter) both got base hits, leading to a big inning for the Phillies. As if to laugh in the faces of Mets fans everywhere, Feliciano started the 8th inning, once the Phillies had already tied the game, and retired Utley, Howard, and Ibanez in order. FML.

I am looking forward to another big sporting event this weekend in New York: Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey in MSG Saturday night. The fight will be on HBO and is a must-watch for anyone who likes boxing. We've talked about Cotto fights quite a bit in the past here at Spritpot, and it's because he's one of the best fighters out there, puts himself in against top competition, and doesn't shy away from action. He looked fine in his first fight back from his loss (perhaps unfair, as Margarito was later found to be using loaded gloves in his next fight against Shane Mosley) to Margarito, but against overmatched competition. Clottey will definitely provide a true test of whether Cotto can regain his previous form.


June 10, 2009

Shock and Awe

The title of this post is pretty much how I feel after witnessing the cesspool of idiocy that is online tournament poker. Tournaments are where decent poker goes to curl up into a ball and die, while a whole parade of stupid comes and has a party at its funeral.

My last post was about how even at lower stakes cash games, the game has gotten much tougher, with even the donks tightening up or at least playing more aggressively. After playing through a bunch of tournaments over the past few days in preperation for playing my Step 6 ticket on Stars, I can safely say that the same is not true in tournaments.

Somehow I managed to barely eke out a win in the ~100 tourneys I played, finishing with a 4.2% ROI. I could regale you with all the ridiculous bad beat stories, etc., but I think I'll just spare you. The question remains...why is play in tournaments so terrible compared to cash games? Shouldn't the better players move to tourneys from cash if the play there is so much worse? Well, here's my list of reasons why that hasn't happened:

1) For a given difference in skill, the difference in expected earnings is larger in cash games than in tourneys. This is the biggest reason. It's mainly due to i) the fact that most tourneys get short-stacked pretty fast, which decreases the number of decisions in a hand, and therefore the advantage to those who can make better decisions. Cash games are usually deeper, so this isn't a problem. ii) The fact that the expected winnings function is concave in chip totals, which means that (good players, at least) should try to play more conservatively and keep the pot small early on. Bad players can very easily combat that in a no limit tournament by going all-in early and often. In cash games this isn't the case, since chips are money, so winnings are obviously linear in chips.

2) The rake is higher in tournaments. In cash games, rake is 5% of the pot up to $3. At .25/.50, I think this comes out to a little less than 3%, on average. In tournaments, if you buy into a $10 tourney, you'll pay $1 in rake. Even for a $69 tourney you'll pay $6 in rake. So if your expected earnings are equal in cash and tourneys before taking rake into account, then you'll be better off sticking to cash games.

3) Variance is higher for tourney players. Of course cash players have gross downswings (and I am no stranger to them), but in general cash players have less variance than tournament players, especially those playing in big tournaments with large fields. I think this high variance is part of what brings the donkeys out that like to gamble, paying a $10 for some infintesimal (for them at least) chance at a big prize, but for serious players variance is a bad thing.

4) Tournament play is boring. This is more my opinion...but with the shallow stacks and the large population of retards that are infesting your tables, the decisions just aren't as interesting. Now there are all these simulators and wizards or whatever that just tell you whether you're supposed to shove or not pre-flop. To me post-flop play is a lot more fun. Also, to me tournaments are more frustrating because i) you almost always lose at some point, and ii) when you lose, you can't rebuy and start right back up pwning the same donkeys. You have to go start some new tourney with new donkeys, meanwhile the donkeys that lucksacked into your stack get to keep on donking along in the old tournament, probably thinking how hard they pwnd you when they limp/called 1/3 of their stack with 52s and fropped a frush or some other such nonsense.

Anyway, just my 2 cents. If you're some tournament player that's really offended by my assessment...well, come and play some cash games and see what you think.

One more thing: If you're on the lookout for my first CardRunners video, I'm told it will be up on Monday, June 15th, with the author bruechips919, which is my CardRunners member ID.


June 8, 2009

Late Position/Blind Wars

Remember a couple of years ago when re-raising preflop without AA-QQ or AK was kind of a revolutionary strategy that only sharks knew how to do? My, how times of changed...for a while, 3-betting became popular but this could be exploited by 4-betting light and getting a lot of folds. These days, it's really not that big a deal to stack off pre-flop in late position/blind battles with AQo, TT, and even lesser holdings. Everybody is just willing to ship in 100 bbs when in late position or in the blinds with pretty much anything. For instance, here's a hand I played the other day vs. a semi-regular who, while definitely on the aggro side, is a break-even player, and not a total nutjob:

SB: $79.05
BB: $48.00
UTG: $53.45
UTG+1: $19.20
UTG+2: $31.95
MP1: $45.35
MP2: $24.20
Hero (CO): $50.00
BTN: $15.70

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is CO with Kd Ks
5 folds, Hero raises to $1.75, 1 fold, SB raises to $8, 1 fold, Hero raises to $20.50, SB raises to $79.05 all in, Hero calls $29.50 all in

Flop: ($100.50) 2c Jd 4s

Turn: ($100.50) 7h

River: ($100.50) Js

Final Pot: $100.50
SB shows 3c 3h (two pair, Jacks and Threes)
Hero shows Kd Ks (two pair, Kings and Jacks)
Hero wins $97.50

Pocket threes...good enough for a 5-bet shove. Obviously one way to combat this is to stack off lighter pre-flop and just get it in with TT. But this subjects you to the whims of the RNG quite a bit...given that I'm down about 25 buy-ins on all-in EV in the last month or so, I'd like to avoid that. But on a more serious note, postponing some aggression until later streets makes it more likely you'll get a fold. Everybody knows that against most regulars's range for stacking off preflop in a LP/blind battle, no two cards are a huge dog, since you're villain could always have AK or 33. Hand values just run really close together. After the flop, things change. It's easier to convince a villain that he may be way behind, and also you could actually get it in when he is way behind (not just in the sense of your specific hand destroys his specific hand, but your range slaughters his range). Here are a couple of examples of hands where I raised AQ in late position and got 3-bet. In both cases, I may or may not have gotten a fold by 4-betting preflop, but also if I get shoved on, I'm in a gross spot. No matter how weak a villain's preflop 5-betting range is, AQ is never going to be a monster favorite vs. that range.

Hand #1:

MP2: $90.35
Hero (CO): $54.05
BTN: $58.85
SB: $98.75
BB: $68.05
UTG: $69.55
UTG+1: $65.80
UTG+2: $96.70
MP1: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is CO with Ad Qs
5 folds, Hero raises to $1.75, 1 fold, SB raises to $5.75, 1 fold, Hero calls $4 (I think my edge post-flop in position with AQo is bigger than my edge pre-flop for stacks with AQo...so I call)

Flop: ($12.00) Ks 4d Jh (2 players)
SB bets $7, Hero raises to $20, SB folds (It's WAY more difficult for him to stack off on this frop than it would be for him to stack off preflop. TT-55 obviously hate this frop...really anything besides a king, it's tough for him to continue, because when he ships it in and gets called, he's pwnd pretty hard a lot of the time. JJ,44,KJ are definitely in my range, as well as QTs, which has a lot of equity against whatever he has, and occasionally I'll have a slowplayed AA,KK, or AK. If he does ship it in, I'll have to call with my gutterball and over. I'd have to call off about $28 more to win $52, and even against what I'd call a very tight range I have 32% equity:

Board: Ks Jh 4d

equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 32.283% 31.94% 00.34% 15180 161.00 { AdQs }
Hand 1: 67.717% 67.38% 00.34% 32018 161.00 { KK, JJ, 44, AKs, KJs+, QTs, AKo, KJo+, QTo }

So I still risk the possibility of getting it in as a slight dog, just as I would by shoveling money in pre-flop, but I have a lot more fold equity raising the frop instead, AND I win more money when he does fold, because at that point he has also put in a c-bet.)
Final Pot: $26.00
Hero wins $24.70

Hand #2

This villain is 14/12 in about 250 hands that I have on him (just to show you that even guys with tight stats can turn into maniacs when facing a steal attempt of their blinds):

SB: $50.00
BB: $63.10
UTG: $73.60
UTG+1: $50.00
UTG+2: $64.40
MP1: $115.65
MP2: $9.25
Hero (CO): $53.50
BTN: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is CO with Ah Qh
5 folds, Hero raises to $1.75, 1 fold, SB raises to $5.75, 1 fold, Hero calls $4 (Same reasoning as before)

Flop: ($12.00) 5d 2d 4c (2 players)
SB bets $7.50, Hero raises to $20, SB raises to $44.25 all in, Hero calls $24.25 (I frop a gutter and two overs and put in a raise. This is really more of a value raise than in Hand #1, because I think he will ship in a lesser ace much of the time, as well as some flush or straight draws that I'm a favorite against, and sometimes total air. And if he's towards the top of his range with, for instance, TT, I still have 37% equity.)

Turn: ($100.50) 8d (2 players - 1 is all in) (Preparing to throw raptop out of window...)

River: ($100.50) 3s (2 players - 1 is all in) (Whew...)

Final Pot: $100.50
SB shows 8c Ts (a pair of Eights)
Hero shows Ah Qh (a straight, Five high)

Of course these plans backfire sometimes when your villain 3-bets some junk hand that he would fold to a 3-bet and then frops a monster vs. you. But with people seemingly so willing to stack off with anything pre-frop, I think in the long run it's better, especially with position, to take a frop with your medium-strength hands and proceed from there. The worry is then, what's left in your 4-betting range? Is it just AA-QQ and AK? If that's the case, you might be afraid villains will start folding too much to your 4-bets, which you don't want when your 4-betting range is so strong. Two potential responses: 1) just call preflop with AA-QQ and AK as well...this gives more credibility to your flop raises, and avoids the problem of getting folds on all your 4bets...you're never 4betting. 2) Mix in some 4-bets with hands are total bluffs and play poorly post-frop...QTo, A5o, etc.. I try to mix it up and use both 1 and 2. Even if you're not balancing your range exactly right, it only takes your opponent seeing you 4-bet/fold once or twice for him to be suspicious of all your later 4-bets and give you action. Or even better than seeing you 4-bet/fold, he flats your 4b with AA and you frop trips with JTo....

Anyway, sorry for the long-winded post, but I'd definitely like to hear some comments. I think the idea used to be that calling 3-bets with medium strength hands pre-frop was bad (especially out of position, and I still agree with that to a large extent) because you don't know where you're at and there are a lot of flops that you don't want to see. However these days when you 4-bet and get shoved on, you still don't know where you're at, because there is 5-bet bluffing going on. Putting in 30bbs or whatever your 4-bet amount is and then folding with any decent hand is probably pretty bad. Thoughts?


June 5, 2009

10,000 Hits!

We passed a big milestone today at spritpot. Thanks to all our readers and passersby that have helped us get to 10k!

Art of the Min Raise (Part 16)

I don't know whether donkeys have been reading spritpot or just trying to get more clever in general, but I have been running into WAY more min 3-betting from aggro donkeys recently than I ever remember before.

Just as with normal 3-betting, it's somewhat difficult to combat when the villain is doing it with a wider range than AA/KK (where the clear response is to call with implied odds to get paid off huge if you nail the frop, like here). Of course, some of these donkeys are still willing to stack off with any pair post-frop after they min 3-bet pre-frop (see here and here).

But I'm wondering if I should start again playing my AK/AQ type hands more aggressively in these situations against players that have a lot more than AA and KK in their range. Here's an example from yesterday:

CO: $42.00
BTN: $199.40
SB: $64.15
BB: $4.60
Hero (UTG): $50.00
UTG+1: $97.25
MP1: $33.60
MP2: $50.95

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is UTG with Ks Ah
Hero raises to $1.75, 3 folds, CO raises to $3, 3 folds, Hero calls $1.25 (Raise UTG, get min 3-bet...usually means strength...I had like 12 hands on this guy and he had been really aggro, but I chickened out and just called. Calling a 3-bet out of position with AK is pretty crappy, but I can't exactly fold given these odds and the aggro opponent, even over a small sample, and 4-betting seems fraught with peril as well. If I make a smallish 4-bet to say, $9, he's going to call with about anything, and never be folding a pair or decent draw on the frop. Since I'm OOP, I'm going to have to take a stab at it, say $12 or so. Then I've already put in $21, and I'll pretty much have to call off the final $21 with any equity at all. If I make a bigger 4-bet, to $12, I might deter a call from some of the weaker hands, making subsequent decisions less complicated, but of course I'm losing more money to his big pair hands. Suggestions, please...just insta-felt with AK vs. a guy that's this aggro, even over 15 hands?)

Flop: ($6.75) 8d 2s 3c (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks (Whiff...preparing to check/fold...his check behind not indicative of the big pair he is representing...)

Turn: ($6.75) Th (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks (Not much reason for me to bet...hoping to keep pot small...)

River: ($6.75) 2h (2 players)
Hero bets $4, CO calls $4 (I actually thought this was a value bet. I think he'd look me up with A-high. But instead he turned top pair...rame...)

Final Pot: $14.75
CO shows 9d Td (two pair, Tens and Twos)
Hero shows Ks Ah (a pair of Twos)
CO wins $14.05

So anyway he did run me down with T9 and got some minimal value...and I think I could get some decent value out of him if I did frop a pair...but I felt kinda lost on the hand in general and it made me wonder if I'm getting pwnd more than I think by donks min 3-betting prefrop and then continuing on the frop (if he bets the frop, I instaford). Have other players been seeing more of this as well?


June 1, 2009

Brack is Beautiful (Part 18)

Well, now that High Stakes Poker is over, it'll be back to your reguarly scheduled programming here at spritpot. And by that, of course I mean MORE SPADES. Let's get to the action:

CO: $42.60
Hero (BTN): $105.65
SB: $11.15
BB: $29.65
UTG: $16.55
MP: $40.75

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Js Ts
2 folds, CO raises to $1.75, Hero calls $1.75, SB calls $1.50, 1 fold (I had just stacked the big donkey at the table, and was going to sit out when the brinds next got to me, since there wasn't any other deep stacked donkey sitting. In any case, I didn't have much info on this guy raising in the cutoff. I decided to just call instead of 3b, happy to take a frop in position with the nut suit. I'd def 3b sometimes though.)

Flop: ($5.75) Kd Qs 3s (3 players)
SB bets $7, CO calls $7, Hero calls $7 (Amazing frop. Got the OESD and the frush draw. Given that my draw is to spades, I carcurate that my equity is ~99%. If the SB checks and the CO c-bets, I probably raise and get it in, but instead the SB, who is short, leads with an overbet, leaving himself $2.40 in his stack...if you can't tell, that guy wasn't too bright. Anyway, in this situation, there's really no point in raising. I'm going to have to showdown against the SB, and J-high isn't likely to ever be any good. Moreover, I'm going to have odds to call anything on the turn no matter what card it is, so it's not like calling instead of raising will prevent me from seeing the river. But the turn could brick and the CO could check, giving me a free river card, which would be tasty. So as ghey as it may seem with a monster draw, the correct play here is to suppress your button-mashing instincts and just call the $7.) 

Turn: ($26.75) Ad (3 players)
SB bets $2.40 all in, CO raises to $33.85 all in, Hero calls $33.85 (Bink!!! Turn the nuts and I've to two players shoving in front of me...hmm...I think I call...)

River: ($96.85) Jc (3 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $96.85
CO shows Qh Ah (two pair, Aces and Queens)
Hero shows Js Ts (a straight, Ace high)
SB shows Td Ks (a straight, Ace high)
Hero wins $61.55
SB wins $16.15
Hero wins $16.15

So unfortunately I got rivered for some of the pot...but I still win all of the big side pot vs. the CO. If I raise the frop, the SB calls, CO probably folds, and I just have to race with the SB for a smallish pot. But by calling the frop instead, I make much more when I do get there, and even have a shot at getting to see the river cheap.