Getting into Small Stakes Online 6-max NLHE (nextgenneo)........................................3 My 5k post (fees)...........................................................................................................13 Basic theory – expected value (matrix).........................................................................27 A FRAMEWORK FOR POKER STUDY (learnedfromtv)..........................................31 What matters, What doesn't (cbloom)............................................................................36 6 Max fundamentals for SSNL players (Tien)...............................................................38 Tien's Article on Mentality, Image, and changing gears (Tien)....................................41 Almost there with Success and Failure (Gigabet)..........................................................44 Thoughts on Running bad for UNL guys (ssdex)..........................................................47 Do things for a reason (ofishstix)...................................................................................49 Evolving (MTG)............................................................................................................50 Opening Up Your Eyes and Your Game (AJFenix)......................................................52 How to use Poker Tracker (Pokey)................................................................................56 SOME THOUGHTS ON GAME SELECTION (fiksdal).............................................59 How to Put It All Together and be a Winning Player (MikeyPatriot)...........................62 Advice from a MHNL'er (whitelime’s).........................................................................64 UNL YOU ARE WEAK TIGHT (Pokey).....................................................................71 Working on your game (kom)........................................................................................74 The Basics: session review & " Deconstruction" (matrix)............................................77 THE EVOLUTION OF A POKER PLAYER (aejones)...............................................79 BETTING THE TURN vs BETTING THE RIVER (Reguin)......................................84 Crushing Short Stacks (Cry Me A River)......................................................................87 My Pooh-Bah post (C/R vs. b/3b) (Dan Bitel)..............................................................97 Small PP's - Moving beyond set mining (AZplaya)......................................................99 Where the !*$# is Valuetown?? (pokey).....................................................................101 Playing OOP (epdaws).................................................................................................118 LOOSE AGGRESSIVE PLAY (BalugaWhale)..........................................................122 You Should Open Limp......... (RichC.).......................................................................124 Suited Connectors, Implied Odds, and You (goofyballer)..........................................126 Reraised Blind Battles and Bluffing with Marginal Hands (sam h)............................130 3-betting light (Dan Bitel)............................................................................................134 Preflop 4betting (Theory) (tannenj).............................................................................137 Blind stealing (Pokey)..................................................................................................147 Taking stealing the blinds to next level (Dan Bitel)....................................................152 TILT and PSYCHOLOGY...........................................................................................154 The psychology of TILT (DaycareInferno).................................................................154 TILT and R.A.A. (Pjo336)...........................................................................................156 My Take On Tilt (beavens)..........................................................................................159 Variance, Tilt, Ego, and SSNL (lmw)..........................................................................162 EVERYTHING ABOUT CONTINUATION BET.....................................................164 Continuation betting – PART I (MYNAMEIZGREG)...............................................164 C-BETTING (The Machine)........................................................................................166 CONTINUATION BET ARTICLE (FreakDaddy).....................................................169 WHY AM-I C-BETTING AGAIN ? (biblio-san).......................................................173 Some thoughts on continuation bet sizing (Panthro)...................................................177 DOUBLE BARRELING (orange)...............................................................................184

GET IT IN (poincaraux)..............................................................................................186 PLAYING JUNK FROM LATE POSITION (tannenj)...............................................189 HAND RANGES, READS AND NOTES....................................................................201 READS (djoyce003)....................................................................................................201 HAND READING / BET SIZING (carnivalhobo)......................................................205 AN UNBELIEVABLY LONG GUIDE TO HAND READING (Pokey)...................209 Taking Notes & Making Reads Article (I) (FreakDaddy)...........................................217 Taking Notes & Making Reads Article (II) (FreakDaddy)..........................................227 HAND RANGES (Mercman572)................................................................................232 RANGES (supwithbates).............................................................................................234 The thought process during a hand (Nogastira) ......................................................................................................................................236 .....................................................................................................................................239 Profiling opponents using PAH (sh58)........................................................................240 SOME GOOD TO KNOW PAHUD STUFF (Nick Royale).......................................244 BLUFFING.....................................................................................................................248 Bluffing assay (ThePortuguee)....................................................................................248

Getting into Small Stakes Online 6-max NLHE (nextgenneo)
Disclaimer: This is something I wrote for a friend who wanted to get into poker and I’ve decided to share it with the general populous. This is designed for uNL 6max and a lot of the concepts may not apply to higher stakes games against opponents thinking on higher levels. There could be plain wrong information, in here so question everything, in turn you will gain better understandings of fundamentals and maybe even help me overlook something I've forgot. I am not claiming that preflop 6max is "chart based" or a few simple rules will make you a winning player but for someone starting out I think the concepts here are good starting points. Take everything in this for face value. Some of the stuff might be fairly trivial however it never hurts to think about fundamentals. I don't claim to be the best in the world but I know I am a proven winner at MSNL so that counts for something. I've worked up from $300 on $25NL so I've put my time in on lower stakes and no the grind it is, however it’s got to be done. Introduction When it comes to NLHE, this is the fundamental theory: You're opponent has a range of hands, some are better and some are worse. Your goal is to maximize your profit from the worst hands whilst minimizing your losses from better hands and so, make the most money against their range. As the hand goes on and more betting decisions have been made, your opponents range is narrowed so at no point in the hand do you have to "find out where you are". This is a common misconception. Consider a hand where you have 99 oop in a 3bet pot on an 8 high board (without the lead). If you c/r the flop to find out where you are, your average opponent will fold all the range you beat (over cards, small pairs) and stack off against the opponents range of QQAA. The fundamental theorem has been violated by trying to "find out where you are" on the flop. Instead if you check called and check/raised the turn all in this would allow an opponent to double barrel a hand such as AK, over commit with pairs or check behind giving us free information to narrow the opponents range and profit more. This is how you should be thinking during your hands. Do not allow your opponent to make easy and perfect decisions against your hand by playing it poorly. Also if you want to play poker for fun then enjoy it, try and improve; whatever. But if you want to move up and make serious money you need to approach it from a different angle. When you have a bad session, instead of thinking “oh crap I lost 6 buy ins from bad beats”, think “how could I have saved myself I buy in or two”, “how could I have made more money than I did on so and so hand” etc. Until you are the best player in the world and playing every hand perfectly there is always room for improvement. Take responsibility for your play, and stop using variance as a scape goat. Stats are very important but not the end all of being a winning player. TAG stats are at minimum 15/13/3 and can range all the way up to 25/20/4 where its vpip/pfr/af. Try and aim for 16/14/4. The spread is also really important and it is vital to have your pfr close

to your vpip whilst learning, so I suggest you play a mainly raise / fold strategy preflop. The better you get and the more comfortable you feel postflop, the more you can cold call preflop and this spread can get wider. Its also very important to not play too many tables whilst you learn. This is a mistake a lot of people make and even I still do sometimes. Playing loads of tables means you need to be comfortable making 95% of decisions with little thought (autopilot) so until you are really experienced this isn’t going to be the case. First bit of advice is to play no more than 4 tables until you are a solid winner. Post flop is going to be a lot about thinking during hands and will come from reading, thinking, watching videos and mostly experience. Learning is key to playing good poker, its a lot of work but the monetary reward later and satisfaction in being truly good at something is a reward in itself. I really hope you read this and take something out of it, I wish someone handed all of this to me on a platter when I was coming up!

Recommend Stats for HUD I definitely recommend playing with a HUD. The stats that are a MUST are preflop raise, vpip, number of hands. Aggression frequencies / factors. Fold / raise / call continuation bet. Attempt to steal blinds and fold SB/BB to steal. Preflop Chart First thing to do with preflop is a general hand chart. This is a style that was successful for me. You need to keep in mind preflop that different table conditions and your image on each table can vastly shift these ranges. As you gain a clear understanding of how these factors should change your ranges then you can move away from this rigid form of play. Raises should always be 4 x the big blind + 1 big blind for every limper e.g If two guys limp and you are on the button with AK in .05-.10c game you should make it .60c. Open raise the following hands (open raise means if no-one has raised or limped). These positions are dependent on how far from the button you are so if its less than six handed then change accordingly. Early Position UTG (3 from button) 22 + AJo + ATs – AKs TJs, QJs, KQs KQo, AKo 56s – T9s (consider raising from time to time, especially if there are weaker players in the blinds) UTG + 1 (2 from button) 22 + ATo + A2s + TJs, QJs, KQs, KJs QJo, KJo, KQo, AKo 56s – T9s (consider raising from time to time, especially if there are weaker players in the blinds) Late Position Something interesting from a theory perspective, if you look at the small blinds fold SB to steal stat and the big blinds fold BB to steal stat, if they multiply to be > 0.7 and you assume every time they don’t fold you never win the hand then theoretically you can

TJs. AKo 56s – T9s Button The majority of your money comes from the button. QTo. KQo. KQs. KQs. KQo. J9s TJo. Q9s. KJs.raise any two profitably. KQo. J9o+ Q8s +. AKo . QTo. 98s. KJs. KTo. QJs. AKo Big Blind when it folds around and someone completes (same as CO) 22 + A9o + A8s + T8s. CO (1 from button) 22 + A8o + A2s + T8s. J9s TJo. QJo. 98s. 22+ Any Ax o / Ax s Kx suited Any suited connector 54s or better Any one gapper 68s or better Any two gapper T7s or better Any connector 89o or better J8s +. If you consider you make money with these hands then this 0. KJs QJo. QJo. KJo. T9s. KTs. QTs.7 number can be lowered further. TJs. K9s. T9s. KQs. Small blind when it folds to you (pretty much same as UTG+1) 22 + A8o + A2s + TJs. KJo. KTo. Q9o+ K9o + Blinds This is the area I struggle with the most and when you’re starting out I recommend playing a very tight range in the blinds. QJs. KJo. KTs. QTs. 30-40% of my profits come from the button so you want to abuse it. Q9s. QJs. K9s.

. The big blind can be tricky but I prefer to check my option most of the time and see a flop. They are for most experienced players including myself. Play as tight as you possibly can from the small blind but with pocket pairs you probably want to be raising when there are limpers. Suited connectors are good to be calling raises with however when you are playing deep i. Hands like 96o are garbage and should never be completed! You will have to play the rest of the hand out of position and unless you flop the absolute stone cold nuts your gonna get in a lot of trouble and be throwing money away. Playing from the blinds When you are starting out the blinds are going to be the trickiest spot to play from. I wouldn’t be calling raises with suited connectors even from position because people over-estimate implied odds all the time and they can get tough to play post flop. Also they are good to open according to my opening guide above.Big blind when there are a few limpers 99+ (sometimes raise with lower pockets if the table is fishy) AQo + KQs + AKo Suited connectors Suited connectors are generally over-rated by a lot of players and are very tough hands to play. If someone is raising a lot of hands from position then you can reraise them occasionally with suited connectors but this has a lot to do with metagame and table image which is a little too advance for this but some food for thought.e 150bb + with someone but don’t get carried away. First off don’t fall into the. They are also good to 3bet. its only ½ big blind to complete trap. Every now it is alright to call with 78s if the raiser is a bad player (as in he has 40+ vpip and is spewy).

I can’t stress enough though you want to play tight from all positions other than CO and Button and loosen up from those spots but still play aggressive! Limping Limping in 6 handed NLHE cash games is always going to be a mistake. you prob don’t want to raise to 0. Limping also leads to people playing less than optimal hands. A player that limp/folds a ton means you can isolate him with any ace and even hands like Q7s / 78s. including strong ones.Preflop Concepts Position As you can see from this guide position is everything. If you are always limping behind with pockets its going to be obvious against thinking opponents Reasons to just limp behind with pockets are if their stack is not a full 100bb.10c game someone open limps UTG with a $2. Generally if your raise is going to be more than 10% of their stack then don’t make the raise. By doing this you will be putting money in with the worst hand a lot of the time and not enough fold equity pre or post. However if one person who limps has a large stack and another is short. keeping your ranges balanced without the bigger headache. your image on the table and how the table has been playing. Deception. By always raising you’re making yourself harder to play against. limpers are and will be a part of the games for the foreseeable future. It is generally a mistake to isolate them with weak connector type hands. If its not good enough for a raise. This is so you can:    Punish their limp and pick up the free money You build a pot so if you hit your set its going to be easier to get their stack in. and limp/raising AA and limp/raising bluffs to balance your ranges. To exploit these players mistake you need to be isolating (raising) there limps with a fairly wide range. It is onto you in the CO with 44. its not good enough to play so fold. Also players that limp/call and then fold lots of flops to c-bets are good candidates to isolate very wide.05c-. However. It is also good to watch there play and get an idea if they limp/call or limp/fold a lot. It will also add another level of complexity to your game that is unnecessary. Pockets if there are limpers in front You want to raise any pocket pairs as standard if they are full stacked. Limpers Having said that about limping. These are very general rules for how I beat micro stakes and as you get better with these you will gain a feel for hands and situations and be able to change these ranges depending on opponents. For instance if you limp 22-55 UTG then you will have to start limping other hands. and always gaining the positive expectation of putting yourself in a position to steal the blinds. For instance: In a . be weary of players who limp/call a lot and rarely fold to c-bets. still make the raise.4c because the implied odds are cut short due to his 8 .10 stack.

its onto you. This changes drastically in mid limits because people’s 3betting ranges are much wider but I feel this can be used almost perfectly against micro / small stakes players.10c game you make it 0. E.05-. However. Calling raises and re-raises with pocket pairs This is a very general rule which applies to all of small stakes but won’t work in mid stakes and beyond. a solid player with 20vpip raises to $1.small stack and he is going to be much more willing to just stick it in with any draw / pair on the flop which will lead you to some tough decisions and often folding the best hand.g 4 In a .00 from the button. The higher the vpip the more you can call profitably pre looking to hit a set because generally this means they are poor players who will stack of lightly. E.40c from UTG+1 with 33. and you are also slightly deeper so you have better implied odds.20 from the button. if you are facing a large raise or reraise you want to call off less of your stack out of position than in position. Whereas if someone with 55vpip raises I would have no problems calling 10% off with 22 because you will often win unimproved and generally they will continue with any piece of the board so its going to be very easy to play a big pot with them. This is all very important as pocket pairs are where most of your money comes from when you play tight aggressive 6max.05-.10c game you make it 0. You are $10 deep here I’d be inclined to fold because they are probably re-raising you wide enough that you would need a setup flop to stack them and this will happen too infrequently. You are $14 deep here I’d be inclined to call because you are in position so it will be easier to put money in.10c game you make it 0.40c from UTG with 33.05c-. E.00 from the button. a solid player with 20vpip raises to $1.05-.10c game someone open limps UTG with an $11 stack (you cover). E. If someone with a 20 vpip raises I wouldn’t want to call more than 5% of my stack off because they are good enough to not pay you off all the time. a very tight player with 15vpip raises to $1.g 1 In a . If someone raises and you have a pocket pair.10c game you make it 0. call if it is 5-10% of your stack.40c from UTG with 33. Hope you see the point of calling raises for set value. its onto you. its onto you. Reasons for this are you will flop a set about 1 in 10 times and if you assume you will win their stack you have the implied odds. in a . It is onto you in the CO with 44. You want to look at poker ace hud stats though in making the decision. 9 . You are also out of position.g 2 In a .20 from the big blind. you do want to make it 50c to go always with any pocket.g 3 In a . You are $5 deep here I’d be inclined to fold because you don’t have the proper implied odds. a very tight player with 15vpip raises to $1.40c from UTG+1 with 33. You are $10 deep here I’d be inclined to call because even thought it is tight his range is a big pocket pair enough of the time that you can be confident the majority of the time you hit a set you will be good. Also.05-. There’s lots of literature on this in the sticky section of 2p2. its onto you.

A brief note on 3betting When I played micro stakes entering a raised pot I pretty much never flat call a raise out of position ever! So if I have KQ in the blinds or AJ in the blinds and some raises I am either folding or raising. Out of position I recommend when your reraise should be 4 times and in position you can get away with raising 3 times because its going to be easier to play the hand. I would consider a large raise % to be anything >17 and a high aggression factor anything > 3. I generally try to keep my continuation bets the same size. Board texture comes a lot into this but there are lots of great threads about this which I will try to link to some other time. The fishier the opponent the less you want to c-bet completely missed hands.5. If some1 raises 2% of flops you prob just want to call with TT and play for set value and fold KQ because their range is so strong but if someone raises 18% of hands you should be reraising KQ and TT often against them because you are ahead of their range. Bare in mind that poker ace statistics like agro factors are only useful when u have 100+ hands but vpip is generally a good indicator from 30-40 hands on. This can give you a lot of information on their hand but only take into this account if they seem to be a good player (because only good players widen their range in position). If you think they could have a wide range then 3-bet more liberally. thus 66% of the time your opponent will have missed and be unable to continue. 3-betting “light” is a very hard style to play against and most people on microstakes think that when some1 reraises they have AA/KK so your c-bets don’t have to be as big because they are going to get A LOT of respect. If someone has a large raise % or is very aggressive then if it’s a tight call from implied odds perspective then you might want to dump it because they could be reraising you light with AQ/AJ type hands and you would need the perfect flop to stack them (A3x if u hold 33) whereas if they hardly raise their range is drastically cut down and contains big pockets a lot of the time so you don’t need that “perfect flop”. 10 . This is to do with the overall concept that your opponent will only hit the flop 1 in 3 times. between 2/3rd and ¾ pot depending on stack sizes. If you feel the hand isn’t good enough for a reraise then dump it! Something very important which I forgot to mention is when someone raises look at what position they are raising from and if there are limpers in front. The higher it is. If they have a full 100bb then I will raise 3-4times their raise. Continuation bets Heads up when you’ve raised preflop you want to be c-betting 60-70% of flops. The smaller their stack size the less you can bet is what I find. Anything less than 2/3 rd pot most of the time gets no respect. When you are considering entering a raised pot you should look at their preflop raise stat. the wider the range of hands you can reraise with is.Important concept: Something else to consider is their raise and aggression statistic. However I don’t recommend 3-betting too light at these stakes because there is no real need and when you are starting your poker career its best to keep it simple. Into multiple opponents you can get away with betting ½ pot occasionally but I don’t really recommend it.

When I’ve missed a flop or hit a flop I always like to continuation bet to disguise my hands well and build a pot (when I have something). Boards like: KQ7 with two spades have hit a lot of the range but are still good to c-bet against tighter opponents because if u bet 2/3rd pot as a c-bet you need to win it a little less than 50% of the time for it to be profitable which it should be. Especially on lower stakes games your edge comes from people playing dominated / bad hands and not being able to fold them when they hit or paying too much for their draws so value bet your hands to hell! But for a quick example on board texture: Boards like: K26 rainbow are GREAT to c-bet any hand because its really hard for the opponent to have hit this board with a lot of his hands. Boards like: KJT with two diamonds are not good to be continuation betting 22 because so much of the range has hit this board you prob just spewing money away. The best way to get money in the pot when you have a strong hand is to bet it out. Also when you bet into multiple opponents you get more respect (generally). not the whole table! 11 . Obv by multiple opponents I mean 2ish. Into multiple opponents you want to be c-betting less on boards like the KQ7 but its still good to c-bet great textured boards like K26. Boards like Q88 with a pair are usually good to be c-betting too.

metagame. table image and all that jazz. I suggest tight and aggressive. Try not to over-estimate implied odds or suited connectors as it will cost you in the long run! In future I will write articles on: • 3betting and playing against 3betting • Double barreling • Check raising continuation bets (both for value and as bluffs) Keep in mind this is all written quickly and off the top of my head. Don’t get out of line and avoid marginal situations.Summary Things that I have just touched on and need A LOT more depth are c-bets. Good luck. Wield position like a hammer because it really is the most important concept in NLHE. This is just a start. 3betting. Practice and thinking about this game / posting hands / asking questions is the real fun and learning process. 12 . There may be mistakes in here but using a system like this and lots of experience I was able to cruise through micro stakes.

but here's what I have thus far written of an ebook on the topic of beating uNL-MSNL online 6max. Psychology A. Cbetting B. History 7. Since then not much has changed (=P) still pretty lazy and rarely get around to making truly great strat posts. BB 3. Health B. Flop A. River A. Double Barreling B. Unraised pots 4. Floating D. c/ring C. I got up to floating=/) 1. Unraised pots 5. I tried to write an ebook a little more than a month ago but about half way through I realized how much I hate writing and how lazy I was so I finished about half of it. Unraised pots 6. BTN E. Multitabling Preface 13 . Mentality A. Floating D. Turn A. UTG B. c/ring C. betsizing B. SB F.My 5k post (fees) Hey guys. Raising F. c/ring C. Session Length F. Timing C. Downswings D. MP C. but this post will be an exception. I started out here at 2p2 sometime last Feb at uNL as a pretty terrible strategy poster. Triple barreling B. Maybe if this thread gets positive feedback I'll finish it. Raising F. Upswings E. Enjoy=D (sry if it doesn't read well I haven't had anyone proofread it) Table of Contents: (this is what the book would look like if I wrote the whole thing. Preface 2. Raising F. Floating D. CO D. Preflop: A. Game analysis C.

Do not make the mistake that every 20/17 multitabling tag is tight AND good. as they will make mistakes for you. preflop. though other situations will be discussed. 23/20. At the same time you want players with short stacks to your left. On the flip side if the game is tighter you should loosen up your starting range (incorporating hands such as 65s UTG as discussed previously) to exploit the your opponents tendency to fold. bluffing less often (including semibluffs) and value betting thinly with 1 pair type hands. • Position and hands played. Feel free to play with a regular that you have as a loser or marginal winner in your database. as short stackers that have position on you are +EV for you. 30/20. Loose players will search for an excuse to call. Again this isn’t essential but its something to think about when switching/selecting seats. Generally you want players with full stacks to the right of you. You should also play less starting hands. anything above 40 VPIP is gravy. you profit. For example I prefer a table with a: 40/10. as you will find more fold equity. Its going to be easier to play against several bad/mediocre opponents that 1 very bad opponent and 4 good ones. but this will rarely ever happen. Agiasnt these types of players you want to lean towards a looser pre-flop strategy and a solid postflop strategy. All hands will be assumed to be 6 handed. as well as changing games. but 30 is too many hands as well. This means that if the game is loose (meaning there are a lot of bad players. Your superior strategy will make it profitable to sit in a game with these players and exploit them. 25/14. Table selection When Table selecting you want to look for the following things: • Players that play too many hands. 20/18. Your hand ranges in general should adjust and be contrary to the way the game is playing. The focus of this book will be the progression of a hand or. • As a general guideline it is better to play at a table with a bunch of loose passive/weak tight type players than a table with someone who players 80% of their hands and 4 other solid TAGs. as your opponents make mistakes. turn. 20/12. river. 18/15. • Losing/breakeven regulars. Poker is simple. In these instances you should semibluff and bluff more . and too tight short stackers to your left. generally players with VPIP’s higher than 28. just don’t search them out or make a habit of it unless they are really bad. You want to have position on players that you cover. its just something to think about. as it is +EV. Avoid winners. As described in the second feature for good game selection you want loose players to your right and tight players to your left. 20/18. Agaisnt Loose/bad players you generally want to play straight forward tight solid poker. 14 .This book will cover small stakes online 6 max ring games. Your strategy should involve you playing 4 tables or less and really focusing on your opponents and developing very strong reads. Agaisnt Tight/good players you generally want to mix up your play and play a trickier or deceptive style. In a perfect world you would play with 3 full stacks with VPIPs over 40 to your right. flop. 17/12 than a table with a 70/30. so feel free to sit. for example a player that plays 32/5/1 is a weak bad player) you should be playing a tighter more solid game. forcing them is not necessary. whereas a tight player will look for an excuse to fold. Also players that play something like 25/10 (meaning they are limping/calling WAY too much preflop) will do as well • Stack sizes.

These hands widen you range against likely better players and make you a more difficult and tricky opponent. AQs. QJs. the small blind (SB) and big blind (BB). For instance say you are UTG and there are two or three players with say 40BB stack sizes (or less). AKs) (s meaning suited) AJo+ (meaning AJo. assuming full stacks and a mix of tags/lag fish (players that play too many hands without purpose)/and loose passive (fish that check call and are easy to extract value from): Range: 22+ (all pairs) A10s+ (meaning A10s. AQo. Your UTG range can adjust based on the game quality you are in. Under the Gun (UTG) Being under the gun means that you have three players to act that hold position on you. however it is uncommon to encounter one of these players anywhere below 3/6NL. AJs. Middle Position (MP) 15 . because against these players you again are simply looking for a top pair type hand to get it in against (These 40bb stack players will generally be very bad and play poorly postflop getting it in with a wide range that doesn’t include many top pair type hands) Though it should be made clear in the higher MSNL and HSNL (medium and high stakes games) there are players who play a very tight and solid short stack game that are more difficult to play against.Preflop: This chapter is going to demonstrate preflop strategy and will focus on raising ranges. These hands have a lot of potential and will less often put you into situations where you have weak 1 pair hands out of position. Stack Sizes: You should also adjust your raising range based on stack sizes. It also means you have two players to act that are out of position relative to you. Lets take a look at a standard preflop UTG range. QJo. A9s. AKo) (o meaning offsuit) 98s+ (meaning 98s. calling ranges and 3betting preflop (3B) aka preflop reraise. etc) KQo KQs KJs+ (KJs and AQs[which was already covered]) (meaning suited 1 gappers)` This will account for 13% of hands and is a conservative but very solid and profitable preflop raising range. J10s. Tight Games: Include hands such as 65s+ or A5s. cut off (CO) and the button (BTN). Always try to make poker easy to play. because you can make 1 pair type hands and extract value from players calling with weaker top pair hands or second pair hands. The reason we typically avoid these type of hands in tight games is because we will frequently show up with second best 1 pair hands out of position (OOP) and will put us in tough spots and to lots of decisions. Adjusting: Loose games: Add hands like KJo or A10o. Your UTG raising range should be the tightest of the four non-blind positions. In this scenario you should avoid hands like 22-66 and 98s. middle position (MP). 109s. and instead substitute in hands like KJo. A10o.

First lets assign our 3bet range: Value: AKo/s AQo/s(situational) 16 . and light 3bet 20%. two players to act behind you (CO and BTN) who have position on you. isolate that limper. Tight Games: These games you can open up more from this position. In the event that these players are in the blinds or you game selected well and you aren’t at a table with opponents that go after you. however all the same principals apply. Use your image/table history to determine the optimal raising opportunity. Again lets exam a standard preflop MP range. sure go for it. Just like UTG this range can be manipulated based on the game quality. because this is where their raising range is likely the tightest (ignoring when they are in the blinds). Adjusting: Loose games: You generally want to avoid things like A9o. For example maybe you only raise these hands roughly half the time you are dealt them. You need to be very cautious when 3betting an UTG opener. For the most part in a looser game you want to keep things closer to the vest.Being in Middle Position means that you will have one player to act in front of you (UTG) whom you have position on. and two players to act behind you (SB and BB) that you have position on. whether it be limp folding. A5s Q10s Isolating: Pending a very weak player. you need to keep in mind that peoples limping range UTG is as tight as it will get for them (even though it could be wide). It is ok to try and add a hand like J9s to your range here for the purpose of isolating a weak player (by weak I mean folding too much. so just simply raise less hands in this position. Light 3bets are certainly profitable. 3betting: In general you should be 3betting far more in position that OOP. Middle position is very similar to UTG. playing 40% or more of his hands. You have to be careful about isolating in this position because there are two players with position on you that understand you can isolate these players with a wide range. just do it less frequently. you will incorporate a few more hands. 65s+ A8s. include. The only person you can 3bet in MP is UTG. however the ratio of light 3bet to value 3bet should be weighted heavily towards value. Just like UTG you can still profitably raise 98s and 109s. Lets say for numbers sake we value 3bet an UTG opener 80% of the time. or to cbets/double barrels) however if you have one or two tight aggressive opponents behind you that will exploit your extended range you should err on the side of folding to avoid marginal situations. as its potential is very small. assuming full stacks and a mix of tags/lag fish (players that play too many hands without purpose)/and loose passive (fish that check call and are easy to extract value from): 22+ (all pairs) A9s+ A10o+ 98s+ KQo/KJo/KQs/ KJs/K10s This accounts for about 15% of total hands.

As stacks get shorter this scenario you should avoid hands like 22-66 and 98s. QJo. Anyway back to examining when to 3bet. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t 3bet them.AJs(situational) KQs (situational) AA KK QQ JJ(situational) 1010(situational) When I say situational I mean that it is possible that 3betting with these hands is marginal to the point where you are not clearly ahead of their range. You generally want to 3bet an UTG opener with 56-109s or Axs because with the SC’s you will generally avoid second best hands and have tremendous flop potential. This means for every 4 times you 3bet an UTG opener with something like AK or AA. A9s. however it is uncommon to 17 . 80 value. Avoid all other hands as they will form second `best hands often and get you in marginal spots.KQo The equity of these hands against this range are: AQ (all combinations) 48% AJs 41% JJ 54% 1010 50% KQs 38% Whereas: AA 85% KK 72% QQ 63% AK 56% Light 3bet hands: 56s-QJs Axs (x should = 5 most often.but 4-10 are all fine as well) 22-77 KQo AJo It will generally be more profitable to call with small pairs preflop (as I will outline in post flop chapters) however they can certainly make their way into a light 3bet category every once and a while. Stack Sizes: Just like UTG you should also adjust your raising range based on stack sizes. it just means you shouldn’t do it every time and that you should be more inclined to do it in position. A player that plays 14/12 and raises UTG probably raises the top 8% of hands.KQs. you want to 3bet him once with 56s.AJs+.AJo+. because against these players you again are simply looking for a top pair type hand to get it in against (These 40bb stack players will generally be very bad and play poorly postflop getting it in with a wide range that doesn’t include many top pair type hands) Though it should be made clear in the higher MSNL and HSNL (medium and high stakes games) there are players who play a very tight and solid short stack game that are more difficult to play against. We said we wanted to use an 80/20 ratio. and instead substitute in hands like KJo. 20 bluffs. as you will be able to flop gutshot+FD+over type hands. A10o. and the Axs hands will block combinations of AA and AK (which will help avoid him 4betting you) and also have tremendous flop potential. The top 8% of hands looks like the following: 88+.

This player is on the passive side and folds to cbets 50% of the time. Loose games: Believe it or not but playing from the CO in loose games is more tricky than tight when it comes to isolating. and with K4s in LP). as it is suited. but first we have to examine situations where we should and should not isolate a player.] Let’s examine another situation: 18 . Beginning to understand why it’s so important and profitable? Lets focus on adjusting. If you successfully steal someone’s blind you have earned 1. The blinds are two half stacks playing 30-35% of their hands. as will be shown in our hand selection. however implied odds come from deep stacks. and 3betting players to keep the pressure on. There is a much bigger transition in our range from MP to CO.1BB per hand. Cut Off This is where poker will become more interesting. Lets imagine the following scenario: You are in the CO with K9s. Lets get to our range: 22+ (all pairs) A5s+ A9o+ 65s+ J10o+ Q10o+ K10o/K9s 108s+ (suited one gapers) Q9s+ (suited two gapers) Roughly 23% of total hands. The cut off is one of your most profitable positions. and likely less when his range is strong (which it is due to him being UTG). The button is of very little concern. In a tight game you can raise anything and most decisions will be easy. though you have seen him do it. not short ones. They play way too many hands and don’t care about position. In a loose game you run the risk of playing a lot of pots with marginal hands and (despite being IP) losing money. The cut off is the first position considered late position and is a spot where you will more often than not. or two big blinds) you will notice that you earn . If you beat a game for 5 PTBB (poker tracker big bets. We also know that he folds to 50% of cbets. What’s your play? Fold ->[Although the player UTG is bad and limps a wide range we can be sure he’s at the top of his limping range UTG and is aware of the significance of position. The second biggest concern of the hand is the shorties in the blinds. but we know he’ll reraise us with AQ+ and 1010+ and on rare occasion with a bluff. be in position. so this is something to consider. Without flopping sometime strong it will be hard to play against these players as they will regularly be out of line. You have a hand with some potential.encounter one of these players anywhere below 3/6NL. The idea here is to steal blinds and isolate limpers. second only to the button. This position is where you will start isolating weak players that limp. UTG who plays 38/10 limps (you’ve seen this player limp UTG with KQo. That means that stealing blinds earns you 15 times the average profit per hand. As you become better post flop you will have the capacity to raise more and more hands from position to isolate limpers. This compounded with dealing with a player limp-calling UTG is problematic because it is very possible you will be three way to the flop. The button is a mediocre TAG playing 18/15 and doesn’t have a penchant for 3betting light IP.5BB’s (big blinds).

FWIW I’d rather raise 65s in the first scenario. it can be widened and 19 . The button is a tight player. Raise ->[ You definitely want to raise to isolate the player in MP who is definitely weak tight. combined with a hand with major potential is a very profitable situation. so we definitely don’t mind if he comes in. through detailed explanation and examples. with a fold to cbet of 66%. etc. The TAG who 3bets too much is kind of problematic. as opposed to k9s with much less potential postflop. You are in the CO with A9o. The blinds have one good winning TAG who 3bets too much OOP and one donk who plays big pots with marginal hands too often. This player folds to cbet 70%+ of the time. also we’d rather have 65s in a multiway pot. and you cover. maybe playing as many as 35% of hands. though its close between raising and folding. MP limps. he has between 75 and 100BB’s and plays 4050/5-15. instead of 65s.You are in the CO with 65s.] If a player calls too much after the flop you want to lean towards raising something like K9s. and visca versa] Button: Button is the most fun and interesting position to be in. The button is a 20/10 weaktight player. You will play loosest on the button. His fold to cbet is on the low end as far as weak tight goes. it really is all about the game you are in. General against these guys you can milk them with strong pairs/draws. MP limps. Lets focus on a scenario where it would be preferable to isolate with K9s/K10o/A9o. This range is very tentative. if need be. We will have position on this guy with amazing implied odds. but that was only because we we’re afraid that UTG would also come along with a hand that might dominate us. We don’t want the button to come along. 3bet. Your button raising range can be very wide or very tight. but if he does we still can represent something cbetting the flop. but you have full stacks and position. and has between 140 and 180BB’s. but less OOP. It may seem somewhat counter intuitive and as if I was contradicting myself. The other great feature of this hand is the weak player in the blinds who we cover. It is very possible to raise 50% of your hands on the button. There are more opertunities to raise. if they are in fact profitable at all. so should your isolating range. but focus on each facet of the hand and how one hand can be a more profitable raise than the other. Lets get into the range: 22+ A8o+ K9o Q9o+ (offsuit 2 gapper) J9o+(offsuit 1 gapper) 98o+ 54s+ 64s+ 96s+ 106s+ K8s A2s+ This entire book is going to try to teach you how to make decisions by yourself. he has a full stack and plays 25/12. [As his fold to cbet increase. In the first scenario we didn’t raise K9s due to short stacks. isolate and cold call than any other position. unless you are 100bb+ with that player. profitably. but this is a situation where once and a while we can call and bluff some flops. and the blinds are also on the somewhat tight side. so it supports raising a Kx hand that can make strong pairs. and we also have major flop potential if the flop comes our way.

you can raise the entire range plus more with marginal hands because you will have position and an unlikely holding that has tremendous potential and will often be a disguised hand. earlier analysis should provide examples of how certain hands are easier to play/more profitable than others in certain situations.tightened by as much as 15% based on your table. avoid 64s type hands. etc) If you prefer some hands and dislike others that’s fine. The idea here is that players will just willingly give up 90% of their hands. probably 90BB+ in this situation (effective stacks). Looser games: The button is so complicated that I want to give you some very straightforward guidelines and let you come to your own conclusions as to whether or not a button raise is profitable. just the bottom of the range (64s-86s. Stack sizes: Like most things as stack sizes grow so does opening range and your strategy. Take this into account.” In the event I am deep (200BB+) this equation changes and I would Instead rather play with a loose/passive type because I know that all my twopair+ type hands can really get paid off by these guys. it lets us select when we want to play big pots with opponents. Anything you would raise from MP you can open or even isolate OTB. as they are the bread and butter of the bottom of your range. this means that on the button you can profitably raise just about any two suited cards. it’s okay to make it 5bbs+1 for each limper. In loose games where there are a lot of limp-calls you want to avoid things like 64s or 98o. raise maybe a tight CO range and raise it bigger. I am far more inclined to isolate a weak tight player with a marginal hand. suited connectors. As stack sizes shrink. than a loose/passive player. these less than anything). maybe cut out 2% of hands or so. these types of hands are hit or miss. you are OTB with 57s. 54s-76s. I just said “. Most TAGs (tight-aggressive player) will be very tight OOP. The blinds are a nit and a 29/14 that folds BB to steal often (this is a statistic you should be using) You can for sure profitably raise your 75s. than a loose/passive player. I think for the most part tight players are going to limp strictly small pairs. You should focus on trying to raise when a loose player limps and there are tight players to act behind you (all of these situations are talking about marginal hands. and embrace K8s or A9o. any ace. your core range should always be raised). A2-4s. Tighter Games: These are far more interesting. 106s-Q9s. I am far more inclined to isolate a weak tight player with a marginal hand. In the event that people are loose by will limp-fold with a decent frequency you can use almost the entire range. and I can also cbet/extract with 1 or no pair type hands. A8A9o. they will c/f the flop or try and play a big hand with these. which makes it easy on us b/c if we are weak we can give up our hand with ease. Same thing if you want to open into Looser blinds. So lets say a 40/20/1 limps in MP. and KQ type hands from early position. In the event that the BB plays 40% of his hands and the SB 20 . The most important factor when opening the button is the blinds tightness. he has about 110BB’s and you cover. In the event people are limp-calling or there are frequently multi-way flops (3 or more players) you need to really cut it down. in these games people will tend not to notice or care. and medium offsuit cards (though. If for the most part you can isolate the one donk who is limp-calling lean towards a K9s or a J9o. and even if they do make it to the flop we will have position. The other hands will put you to decisions in loose games. As the game gets tighter and there’s less limping or people limp-fold or play weakly you can really open up.

then figure out how to exploit it (a simple example of this is someone who 3bets 80%+ of hands. There are three instances where I do not cbet against these players: A. This was discussed in an earlier street. any opponent with a high fold to cbet (70% or higher). cbetting 98s on 552 is generally something you want to avoid doing. If a player is good and willing to 4b bluff or c/r a flop with a draw or complete air. anything with texture like this. so for every 3 value 3bets. Here you probably want your ratio to be 3:2. in these spots I’ll check very strong hands like 99 on 922 flop or something of this nature. you can cbet basically your entire range profitably. 98s on 552. almost regardless of other players in the hand. 3betting: Here your range is also the widest. Understand that these situations are fictional.e. thus exploiting him and making you money. FWIW if someone folds 90% of cbets I’ll isolate them VERY loose. ratio.e. just focus on every factor. avoid 65s and lean towards AJo. you should raise this hand less a 20/18 tag. but until an opponent shows a willingness to combat our strategy. (FWIW never check 99 on something like 974cc. The second thing (but most important thing) is the % of hands this player raises. principal. Cbetting Continuation betting is one of the most important elements of your strategy. you just have to analyze his play and come to conclusions about how he plays. or 22 on 1098) B. however players that raise way too much. He makes you want to raise this hand less often. it allows you to win a wealth of small pots and makes you difficult to play against if executed correctly. This equation changes against more adept opponents that will really play back at you and go after you preflop or after the flop. but the general idea is that the more raises this player makes the more we can 3bet. these players will frequently see the flop with you and you want to show up with a strong pair type hand. except against these players. each one unique. for example the loose player in the BB. which worries me. continue to exploit his weak play and keep the pressure on. (i. say a 38/26. When 3betting you must first consider position. The third part of the equation is history. avoid bluffing so much and lean towards more value 3bets. Another situation I would check would be something like AK or AA 21 . If a player keeps folding to 3bets or c/f’s every missed flop continue to pound on him. It also makes you harder to play against and helps your made hands get paid off by weak holdings) Flop Play: A. but let’s say the limp folds to 90% of cbets. They are short and my hand has very little potential. and then come up with a solution (to raise or fold). The first scenario is the easiest to understand and grasp. here you c/r this player with air to exploit him cbetting so often with marginal holdings. Consider all these things when making your decision. and the position we 3bet this player the most. i. unless the blinds are two loose shorties or something of this nature. that makes you more inclined to raise. idea or strategy in this book can be manipulated to exploit your opponent. Almost any range. real poker at a table online is completely different from table to table. Let’s focus on situations to profitably cbet: 1. You want to 3bet on the button far more than any position (go after people in position. you throw in two bluffs. not OOP). When cbetting you want to have some hope for your hand. even if they do go bluff crazy when you check flops). the CO is when our opponents range is the widest. I have a note that says when I do not cbet they go bluff crazy.

I will probably c/c this board. or a draw”. where by checking you can get value from like 77 (on this board) on later streets. Now lets focus on loose/bad players that are calling way too many cbets (calling way too much in general). however anything more than two I wouldn’t get fancy. for the most part these loose/bad players will not be stacking off with marginal 1pair in this particularly type of situation) you will be able to profitably double or triple barrel. K22. and pending a read c/c or c/f turn (your default is fold until he proves that he will put you on AK in this types of situations and try to take you off of it) 22 . Also if you have the opportunity to bet something like $99 or $199 on the river or something I suggest it. Don’t be surprised if he takes a while to call the turn. I don’t mind cbetting AJ here because him having a better hand is rarely. he would at least have to think momentarily about his action. however is calling range is MUCH wider) put the pressure on. Pending some read that this player will never ever fold TP (which is uncommon for the games you’ll play in. There are situations I don’t mind a c/c or a vbet with like A10+ or something. the simple answer is to tighten your range (which widens/tightens based on stacksizes. C. some loose guy calls OOP. Before I go forward I want to interject and mention that: You generally want to be cbetting almost every single Ace or King high board. K94 (rainbow. Anyway when thinking about theory/strategy of approaching these call-too-many cbet type players. Even against two opponents I would cbet the vast major of Ace and King high boards (pending stack sizes and notes). Lets assume they fold to cbet 50% or less of the time. By instantly calling (btw this is something you should focus on avoiding. this bet size will terrify them. For the most part I’m not going to indulge in any complicated triple barrel spots. but that doesn’t mean I check when I do hit. whether to raise or just smooth call. a lot of information can be drawn on timing) he’s basically telling you “My range here is some A7 type hand. so say the board is like 1099. and A4. or A2 on AK6. it will be him genuinely weak trying to figure out whether to call or fold. so for instance say we raise in EP (early position) and cbet a AQ4 (two flush or rainbow) and get instantly called by a player playing somewhere between 30-45% of his hands and folds to very few cbets (as described earlier). FD=flush draw) so you have some equity. Anyway the point is put the pressure on. if they are going to snap call your flop bet and have a range that is for the most part on the weak side (in this instance the strong hands he could have are AQ. Other WA/WB situations include like 1010 on Q77. If this is the case I probably fire a river barrel. Also say I’m like BvB with AK on 332 (I’m SB) against one of these guys. In this situation I would most love to have a gutshot or FD myself (against these players I’ll put a lot of pressure on with FD’s. This can never be a big hand (or very rarely) because if he does have AQ or 44 (and in some instances A4). This is somewhat contrary to what I’ve been describing about how to play against these types of players (being very close to the vest). Against these players you have to be more cautious and give things up more easily. as players will view your range weighted towards these types of hands (and coincidently they will not have these types of hands very often) and will give you extraordinary amount of credit. 2. and if he has some under pair his equity sucks. bet all flops with any FD). if hes a particularly weak player this will rarely be him trying to disguise his very strong hand inducing a triple. don’t forget) and simply c/f the flop.on K52. One of my favorite indicators for a good double/triple barrel spots is the SNAP flop call. but on occasion you are missing value by not double or triple barreling these types of players. 44. I have QQ on K52r (Or any second pair type hand where you are in a WA (way ahead)/WB (way behind) situation.

if he had any king it doesn’t really make sense because we didn’t have enough history for me to get it in with anything worse than a strong king. fwiw if something like a K or A peels on the 23 . He definitely love to go after me and my cbets. peachy c/r’d the flop. and krantz shoved. which states that a 3bet on a dry board is always a bluff. and in this situations it kind of is. The flop came K74r. There is danger here. This is a very suspicious line from him. we would rather exploit them. but we want to exploit everyone we play. this is a great situation to check it back. I remember playing against a player at FTP 200 who played something like 21/18 and played me tough/tricky. Ok. against your better/more thinking opponents simply cbetting will not be enough. which makes your hand have less value intrinsically (Initiative simply means that you were the last person to bet/raise). just less frequently). The flop came K85r. If the turn is something like a King or 5 I will probably check it again because nothing about this board has really changed and it will still be difficult to extract. but instead their range is weighted to small pairs and suited connectors (FWIW a pair has a 1 in 9 chance of flopping a set). simple right=D). Anyway In this situation my opponent is likely bluffing because his range contains very few made hands. semibluffs. I’ll probably just vbet the river.3. I cbet $8 (4 BB’s). so this isn’t really a possibility. now lets get to the fun stuff. however we think we’re bluffing with the best hand) I 3bet to $76 and he folded quickly. he raised to $32. I would probably play QQ the same way. In position it becomes more interesting. so out of position just cbet your range. The flop is AK5r and he checks. just look at their fold to cbet. These will generally be your toughest opponents (even if they are bad TAGs). I remember recently watching a hand with Krantz and Peachykeen where peachy raised UTG and Krantz called in MP. Also keep diligent notes about how they react to cbets so that you can adjust accordingly. (FWIW its ok to c/f like AK on 765 or something. these are the types of players where we like to mix up our play and throw in curve balls from time to time. but fundamentally against tough opponents is bad because its exploitable if they figure out what your doing. against these guys you want to be more cautious about cbetting marginally. so our analysis was very likely correct as we ran into the majority of his range in this spot (bluffs). second pairs and bluffs). if its low give up more and if its high go after them more. or if he has something really weird like KQ or 77 I have the equity/the best hand (however this is a small factor in my thought process). so we’ve talked about weak-tight and loose-passive type of players and what our cbet tendencies should be. TAGs. For the most part your opponents here will not). So the simple answer Is that it is profitable to 3b/fold in this situation given the information (this is the yeti-theorem . Anyway I raised 98s from the SB and he called in the BB. now I did like the fact that I had 98 because if he does have 67 I have the best hand and a blocker. and we will occasionally be c/r’d off the best hand and we will miss value from something like KQ or 88(if its suited I will on occasion still check it back. which for the purpose of most MSNL games and lower is OK. Out of position you generally want to just bet your entire range (made hands. Anyway I discourage calling because then you are in a very marginal OOP spot and you don’t have the initiative in the hand. and fish are simply more exploitable and more profitable). Agaisnt these guys I’ll cbet just about every ace and king high flop. IP I mix it up a lot and check tons of flops back. Anyway this is a great spot to check it back and maybe fire the turn. because their preflop calling range is rarely going to contain TP. You probably won’t have a ton of history with TAGs (when it comes to cbetting and stuff) because your game selection should for the most part allow you to avoid these guys (you aren’t trying to avoid them. and the only made hand he reps is 55 and far less often 88. It’s going to be very unlikely that he will ever call will a worse hand. unless its like they flatted AJ or KQ or something. There is clearly a lot more here than meets the eye and a ton of history. What I mean when I say I want to polarize my range is that say I raise A2cc OTB and the BB (TAG) calls. but nothing about this makes sense or is any sort of standard. Peachy had AK and Krantz had KQ. you will never run into a situation at anywhere below $1000 where this is even remotely necessary. or I might just check it down depending if my opponent does or does not have the capacity to call with worse. particularly when I’m marginal (this is called polarizing your range. The flop was rainbow so he can’t be semi-bluffing anything but a 76.

fold to 3bet. whoever called preflop comes along. Be more and more inclined to make these sort of bluff c/r’s against players that cbet a lot. The risk you run is the overcaller having a set on this board. Say we flatcall with something like 33 from a CO open. we obviously don’t want to put our money in with ace high 24 . so lets assume we are just vaguely familiar with how he plays and we have his stats. You have a reason to believe that the villain is bad and spewy and will always put in way too much money with a TP or overpair type hand.turn or river you should be more inclined to bet because its unlikely he’s checking trips and its very likely he thinks you don’t have trips either. especially if you play your hand fast. as you build history you could c/r something like TP on this board for value) we want to simply c/c our entire range (of course not bluffs. Lets look at c/r situations: (For these situations lets assume we’re up against a LP TAG opener who plays somewhere between 23/18 and 20/15. Also you should see an increase in success of these types of plays in multiway pots. but this is very uncommon amongst even good players at these stakes. For the most part when we check raise it will mean that we have defended our blinds. You have a history of check-raising dry boards against a decent-good opponent and he has reason to believe you are doing it with air frequently. The flop comes 732r. the PFR cbet. with strong hands because you are polarizing your range between air/sets and it will be difficult to get paid. Since we probably will peel (check/call) a hand like A10 or 88 (pending history. an overcard. so he might make a marginal call down. it’s probably a good idea to fire away a c/r with something like QJss on this board because you have backdoor straight draws. so we c/r with a monster to balance our range. potentially a backdoor flush draw. Against very tough player you will occasionally be river c/r’d with a range of trips/bluffs. Anyway the point is when you flop a monster on a dry board start by check-calling. Assume same type of villain. and go from there. 2. put him to the test and make him adjust or just get run over. as their cbet % decreases so should your c/r frequency. and two overcards. however this will generally be unlikely and in the event that he does we should have a little bit of equity. 1. For the most part you have probably already cultivated an aggressive image by 3-betting your opponents. B. you should c/r this spot. History also plays a roll. so now lets suppose you slow it down and coldcall preflop. if he gave up the first time. You want to avoid check-raising these spots. and a gutshot. This is not a good spot to check raise unless one of the following two conditions are met: A. Both of this scenario’s require us to have some sort of read or note on an opponent. really anything greater than 70% and you can for sure do it fairly often. you have assumably backdoor flush outs. Check-Raising: Let’s now focus on the flop check-raise. you check. this is a great check-raise spot because we have backdoor draws or a gutshot. (FWIW it’s a c/r. it is a good idea to go after your opponents without history in these spots because they will have to be very spewy to continue with most of their cbetting range and worst case scenario you develop an image that you like to c/r bluff which we can later exploit by c/ring with big hands). and it appears as though you have to have a huge hand because you just c/r’d a particularly dry board into two players. If he has seen you do it and is inclined to not give credit then change gears and just c/f and let him have it. This was mentioned in example one but now lets say we have QJss or 76ss on 1053r (one spade). The flop comes 1053r. do it again. Not to mention a ton of FE. and because our opponent will also have a tough time having a hand strong enough to continue with on this flop. So say for example you have been really going after a guy preflop and decide not to squeeze so you overcall something like A5s.

When someone cbets and you are in position you can raise. Float: 1. if he check/calls who knows.KTs+. whereas 109dd should be played for a c/c on 742dd [unless your opponent folds to c/rs more than most. you should c/r to 18bb’s with everything. as you will likely be getting money in behind/flipping most of the time.KTo+. The flop comes 1084r (with or without a spade).JTo There are a lot of 1pair or no pair hands in there. call or fold. I would likely make it 40bb’s to entice him to come along with something like JJ or QQ. but I would probably just give up unless you are sure he has some under pair.and a gutshot) As far as bet sizes go. but on boards with draws and texture we should opt to play our hands quickly. 3. This means all of our floats will be done in position. Also by raising certain situations we give away the opportunity of a free card to make our hand.98s. Now lets imagine we flop a made hand on a drawy board. Anyway lets suppose MP or CO opens and we call IP with QJss. our opponents will be far more incline to play their 1 pair/big draw type hands fast to maximize fold equity. in which case bet the turn and river (FWIW you should do this with made hands like A10 as well to valuetown him). In this situation we instead want to play our hand quickly and c/r (as discussed previously. just keep it somewhere within this range and you should be fine.A8s+. So lets say we call his cbet and the turn is a brick.J9s+. lets say your opponent cbets 8bb’s into 10bb’s. it’s way too tricky and complicated. in which case exploit this by c/ring draws and stone bluffs. for the first scenario lets assume your opponent cbets 6bb’s into 8bb’s. its just –ev. Lets see what his range looks like at best in relation to this board: 22+. In the second scenario. big hands should be slowplayed on dry boards). leaning towards folding. 9.Q9s+. or do so with a marginal hand. whatever. you should c/r to 30bb’s with your entire range (this is to keep it consistent and avoid giving away something on bet sizing). and there is likely a more optimal way to play your draw (FWIW big draws should likely be played for a c/r. and at this point I would probably just put in a medium sized raise. In 25 . or to hopefully reshove a worse made h and. unless you’ve really been going after him and you suspect he is sick of you]). Now we execute our float and bet 60-75% of pot. say we have 87 or 55 on 965dd. Our opponent is a normal TAG and cbets. a deuce or 6 or 4. but keep in mind that depending upon the opponent you should likely weight your range towards made hand. Lets first focus on floating with over cards. so say he cbets 15bb’s into 22 or so on the turn. These boards should on occasion also be c/r’d with draws. for example 98dd on 762dd. and since they have none and we are way ahead we want to get the money in now. rather than draws.QTo +. These are rough numbers. He will generally be c/ring or c/fing this spot. he checks. We want to balance each range and raising certain situations simply isn’t a good idea because our opponents will realize we raise bluff too often and we are basically giving him a free pass to 3bet bluff us. What we do by floating is calling with a marginal type of hands with the intention of winning the hand on later streets. If we never floated people could just simply cbet every flop and give up because he knew he wasn’t good on the turn and would make us very easy to play against. so if this is the top of his range we can certainly peel. someone calls. he probably has like 109 or 99 or something. which he will likely do with a big part of his range. If he bets again it is probably because he has a strong hand. Lets say on average he opens 20% of hands from these positions (combined.87s.ATo+. Ok now lets suppose we hit our gin card. and probably c/c most big hands. This is also a fairly conservative estimate. more from CO and less from MP). First of all we will never float OOP. Again if he checks we have no option but to bet and hope he c/r’s for us to shove over.T8s+.

you can still float this board. definitely raise this situation. FWIW raising isn’t a bad play. if he thinks you are peeling the flop light (this requires a read. If he’s super aggressive. Now lets say we have 109s in this situation and the board is A72r or K85r. 26 . In this spot if he bets again you should just call. FWIW this hand with these flops is another good spot to bluffraise IP. and if he bets into you again just call if you pickup a draw. Lets now suppose we hit something like the A or K of spades. so let’s say for example the flop comes 10d8c3d. but raising is probably a good default. I should mention that despite this board is rainbow you can also float something with like a flush draw. you generally want to mix it up. but never 3 UI without a read. float 35%. you will likely have to fold unless the player is unusually out of line (to a triple barrel. in the event that he is doubling representing this card we still can take the pot away on the river if he checks. either way if checked to on the turn bet it 100% of the time (that’s why you floated right?). fold 50%. if I had to assign a frequency I would say raise 15%. Now lets suppose we hit a Q or J.the event that I know my opponent is spewy or will make loose triple barrels calling is best. Let’s now suppose he checks. and without a read as to his double barreling tendencies calling is likely best because if god forbid we do hit we can definitely get paid off on the river. I don’t think either is preferential. It is more tricky and should be played around with a little. if not flush draw as well. however it is high variance. 2. If you make middle pair and he bets again it depends on him. though if he gives you a pass like betting half pot on the river. since we know our opponents will cbet a ton of A and K high boards we should certainly throw in floats. just like when we were going to bet the turn if we missed we bet with made hands. Fold if c/r’d pending a phenomenal read. look it up and figure out what he’s doing). don’t do this blindly) then you can peel another street. try not to get crazy with this because it is a bit higher variance but it’s certainly a good play if you can become comfortable representing the flush on later streets. and however realize that on later streets you need to bluff-represent the flush to make this profitable. and he bets. in these situations we have at least a back door straight draw. just call again and figure out what to on the river UI. and if he has this one pair hand its probable that he will want to go with it after making TPTK. some players will check call something like 10x or 99 on this board (which is bad) and we should certainly be looking to value town these guys.

Villain(100BB) calls from the BB and both see a HU flop of 9 3 6 Villain tells us he has black Kings (he's not lying) and then raises all-in and Hero calls.g. there are ~200BB at stake so Hero wins 18400BB the 92 times his AA holds up .edits are in italics (matrix128) Expected Value . if we actually ran the hand above 100 times you might win all 100 times - 27 .is commonly referrred to as EV.and loses 1600BB the 8 times he loses the hand. While it's true that any two cards preflop can win any given individual hand and that luck is a large part of this game if you hold any aspirations whatsoever to beat Poker overany significant amount of time/hands you must learn to make +EV plays and not make -EV plays. It's important to note that EV and actual results can vary massivley over any short term period. Board: 9c 3d 6h Dead: equity (%) win (%) tie (%) Hand 1: 08.6162 % 91. from here on in positive Expected Value is +EV and negative Expected Value is -EV.. here is a simple example Hero(100BB) has A A and raises preflop to 4xBB from the CO.3838 % 08.00% { AcAs } we can see here that if this hand goes to showdown (as it is going to) that Hero will win on average ~92% of the time.00% { KcKs } Hand 2: 91.Basic theory – expected value (matrix) edited to fix glaring typo in 2nd example and to clear up AA v KK example .38% 00. This play is +EV and has an EV of 168BB *every* time you make it. so if we run this hand 100 times Hero ought to expect win 92 times and lose 8 times. Total net win of 168BB/hand. Villain tables K K (disregarding how good the play is in this hand) what is the EV of calling knowing we are against specifically K K ?) If we punch those numbers into Pokerstove we get this output. EV is simply what you expect to make on average with any particular play. Poker is a game in which skill will beat luck every time assuming that you play for long enough. e.62% 00.

If you added up all the "Sklansky Bucks" (theoretical EV money) you made in the long run and compared this amount to your actual winrate .9.10/$0.8) River: 9 ($53.15 BB: $27. Hero calls.8. Hero calls.Main pot: $53.Button folds. Button calls. BB raises to $3.and the more hands you play the closer these two numbers will get to each other.80 Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with 2 2 UTG calls.Main pot: $53. What hand does BB have here? is my hand strong enough to call his allin? and how do we work out the EV of this play?? 28 . BB raises all-in $24. BB checks. Poker Stars No Limit Holdem Ring game Blinds: $0. Hero raises to $8. Flop: J 2 5 ($'s the flop action I am interested in here.95 Button: $23. 2 folds.65 CO: $28.95 Hero: $25.after playing an infinite amount of hands these two numers will be identical .85 UTG+1: $24. 4 players) Hero bets $1. in our simple example above we knew villains exact hand before calling so we don't have to put him on a range (which affects the EV of our play) in practice we never know what particular hand we are against when we make our decisions. 1 player + 1 all-in .8. Turn: 9 ($53. Lets look at a more complicated example. Button calls. The closer your total number of hands gets to infinity the closer your actual results will get to this theoretical figure.8) Results: Final pot: $53. In real life we don't know what sepcific hand we are facing at the point in time where we make a decision.25 6 players Stack sizes: UTG: $27.does this mean the EV has changed? or you might be unlucky and lose 25 times in 100 does this mean the play is now less EV? . So in theory every time you make a -EV play and get chips in when you are an underdog you a "losing money" regardless of the actual results of the hand .and conversely everytime you get chips in when you are a favourite in a hand you are winning money. Everytime you make this play you "earn" 168BB and the more times you repeat this the closer your actual real results will get to the "perfect average" of winning 92% of the time. UTG folds. This is a real hand from my EV remains 168BB per hand. Once you have played enough hands (an infinite amount) your total actual results will equal the sum of all of the total EV of the plays you have made. 1 player + 1 all-in .8 .

7155 % 78. So that you don't go broke in the short term making +EV plays that you lose in the short term because the real results vary from the Expected results. and what cards come on the Turn or on the River don't matter either (as the decision is already made by then) if I make this play everytime it is +EV and in the long run I expect to win ~170BB everytime I make this play. The actual results don't matter. AJs.J2.but that he isn't playing any other hand apart from the ones in this range in this fashion. AhKh. and against some of them I am an underdog.72% 00. as long as my range is accurate. I play using the general rule that I should never fold a flopped set for ~100BB. 55.. Ax .28% 00.a lot of people misunderstand what variance is and try to avoid it. So I happily call his all-in. 29 .J5. whether BB shows me JJ for top set or A 8 for a busted flush draw I still "gain" ~70BB everytime I make the play.2845 % 21. The reason being that no matter the flop if we can get all the money in on the flop we are almost always a favourite to win the hand at the showdown vs our opponents range of hands.52.00% { 2d2s } Hand 2: 21. J5s. Do You See Why? Ultimately it is EV that will decide what your true winrate is. I have no way of knowing what hand he has and certainly don't have time at the table to put the numbers into Pokerstove so we just make an educated guess.KJ. Variance is neither good or bad . AJo.if we re-run this hand 1000 times say sometimes he has AA and we are a huge favourite..The answer is to put BB on a range of hands . Closely tied in with EV is variance . or he might be bluffing. sometimes he has 55 and we are a huge underdog. AJ. 52s. J2s. If you don't you are losing money in the long run. But have I made a +EV play and will this earn me money in the long run??? Lets put his range and my hand into pokerstove and see. But you shouldn't. Board: Jc 2h 5h Dead: equity (%) win (%) tie (%) Hand 1: 78. J5o. Also we are not saying htat he will always play every hand in this range exactly this way .00% { JJ+. The very very best players at poker don't care about variance and try to make every single +EV play that they can (this is the main reason why they are such big winners) Variance is simply how much your actual results can vary from the statistical EV results in the short term.and the bigger bankroll you have to absorb variance the more you ought to be willing to risk on a marginal +EV play. Ts7s. It's the reason that a 20x buyin roll is recommended. In this particular case his range is wide because there was no preflop raise. you can't beat it. Whenever you determine at the table that a play is +EV you should make it EVERY time. 52o } (T7ss is included in this range to represent a bluff) and the numbers say that on this wide range of hands my play is +EV and that calling his all-in here means that vs that range I expect to win ~79% of the time. Against most of these hands I am a favourite. or get around it in the long run eventually your total real results will match your expected results. J2o. As this play costs me 100BB to make I make a profit everytime here of 70BB. he might also have JJ-KK.

though in the short term real results will vary lots and you stand a great chance of losing this particular bet if you can afford it (have a large enough bankroll) you should bet as much as you can on this 51% shot. 51% of 200BB is more than 51% of 20BB . Review all the hands in the session and for each hand you play work out a range of hands for each villain. As a final thought here is an exercise you can try when you next get a big losing session. so despite losing now in the short term you can be happy that in the long run you're still winning 30 . run the numbers into pokerstove and see how much you made in EV. I do this sometimes and often find out that I had a +EV session that in real results lost me lots of real money. If most of the losiung sessions you have are +EV you are paying well and eventually real results will catch up with your EV results and you will be a long term winner. the more money you stake on this play the more you stand to win in the long run.Lets say you determine that a play is +EV and you'll win 51% of the time.

I agree with this. thus poker skill is a combination of the ability to make best decisions within the context of “hand range calculus” and the ability to read your opponents’ ranges better than they read yours. where I spent most of my time since joining 2p2. for example). and agree that in even the simplest cases (short-stack push/fold calculations. and z% of the time. component-by-component analysis to be practical. That said. The FTOP formalizes how to maximize your return in the special case of complete information. “Hand range calculus”. you should bet when your expected return from the bet is larger than the cost of the bet. because I think that one good approach to getting better is to spend time away from the table focused on these component variables one at a time. Core Ideas There are three core ideas with which I assume everyone is familiar – the concepts of pot equity and Expected Value (EV).” Pot equity and EV are functions of basic probability and govern every action in a poker game. and in MSNL. and attempts to define best actions in terms of maximizing expectation versus the range of possible hands your opponent could have. This essay is my attempt to categorize and analyze those components. Introduction Recently I have put some thought into strategies for studying poker. from thinking about the structure of that giant math problem and how it could be solved if it were solvable. I guess). I think we are accustomed to thinking about these factors in the context of whatever particular hand we are playing or analyzing. in particular NLHE. So even if a poker hand is one giant math problem. you win. Because in every case. it’s an unsolvable problem. and c x%. I call it a framework for poker study. b. every time you make a bet that maximizes expectation versus your opponent’s actual hand. there is a significant margin for error in the final result which is due to necessarily imprecise assumptions about an opponent’s ranges. the FTOP is still the final theoretical measure of what is profitable or unprofitable action. however. It is frequently said that there are too many variables involved in the play of a hand for anything resembling a formulaic. It's long (> 2500 words for a 2500th post. complete with game theoretic opponents who do a. in light of the range of hands it is likely he thinks you have. I'm posting it in MTT. the pot contains some amount of money. which is the form most analyses take on these forums. Every bet you make is an investment. I think a lot can be learned from thinking about poker hands in terms of their component variables. Situational Factors We all know that the proper play of a hand and the correct read on an opponent’s range depends on a lot of situational factors. in order to be better prepared to think through all of the relevant information when faced with decisions at the table. we work with incomplete information.A FRAMEWORK FOR POKER STUDY (learnedfromtv) Below is an essay I've written for my Carpal Tunnel post. In practice. so you have a claim of some part of the pot. where I have spent more time lately. you win. and what I will call “hand range calculus. Your hand has some % chance of winning the pot. Sklansky’s Fundamental Theorem of Poker. both you and your opponent have a specific hand. acknowledges that poker is actually a game of incomplete information. every time your opponent fails to maximize his expectation given your actual hand. y%. where 31 .

thousands. Not only does someone in position have fewer people left to act and more information on that particular round. maybe. sets. betting frequencies. So CO and Button preflop raising ranges are much wider. it might be a draw instead. All of these factors are interrelated. by what hands. and bet sizing because I find it interesting. like J88. How many flop textures are there? Dozens. independent of any other knowledge. Position The most familiar.many relatively small factors accumulate to a read and a decision. What percentage of the time does one of the two players have an ace? How often can one of them beat AK? How often does someone bet this flop with less than an ace? If you are called the raise and are in position. Imagine a heads up raised pot with a dry ace-high flop. they and their out-of-position opponents have the knowledge that the player with position on this round will have position on future rounds. pot size in relation to stack size (there are two others I’m not going to cover but that I want to mention – table image. hundreds even. You’ve probably played hundreds of hands that fit this description. as it is already built into every thought any of us has about the game. the kind with straight draws (T85 or 974). Onward. still sets. etc. etc. now maximize EV versus an opponent’s range and know his range better than he knows yours. but now if you get action that looks like a set. combo draws. this essay wouldn’t be very useful. on this simple board where the only hands people “should” have to continue are TPTK-TPGK. and the rare two pair. how often should he get called. and bet sizing. Now there are only 5 cards that could have hit the board. but by isolating them I hope to get a better sense of the role each plays in the core goal we're all seeking . Board Texture This one is more interesting. most analyzed. pocket pairs. Raiser is going to rep the K a lot. betting patterns. Axy rainbow. Pocket pairs are stronger. and might make clearer what I’m getting at with the “isolating situational factors” idea. what percentage of the time should you expect an honest opponent to bet into you? How much more frequently than honest does he have to bet before you can exploit him by representing the ace? There’s a whole game theory problem right here. Hand ranges automatically widen with better position. A 20/12 is 7/5 UTG and 40/25 on the button. allowing for bluffing as long as it isn’t done too frequently? How frequently is that? Paired board. but have it less often than he has the A on the A-high flop. How often should an “honest” raiser bet the flop. but questions like “how often should the preflop raiser bet the ace”. board texture. table image because it is obviously so important. if you check the flop first to act in a three way pot. there are always sets. or whatever. this will be long enough as is). and in-position bettors on the postflop streets usually have wider ranges. the Button is more likely to bet than the guy in the middle. Same questions how often should this flop be bet. The factors I want to talk about are position. instead of 9. or JJ8. What does a bet mean on this flop? How different is that from what a bet means on an A-high flop? How often does someone betting this flop have no pair? Compare a raiser betting this flop to the A-high flop – how often should he bet. If position was all I had to talk about. the monsters are in plain sight. The framework for study that I suggest in this essay (and which I am following myself) is to separate the most important situational factors and analyze them individually. Now there are lots of draws. Maybe another time. I don’t think much more needs to be said about this. and easiest to understand situational factor is position. raised? Raised pot again. how easy or hard is it to push someone off a mediocre hand? Etc. and they all blend into each other. What about a medium two-tone flop. and “how fast should JJ play on a T85 two tone board” are things that are partly determined simply by 32 .

He does this with 20% of his hands and he never raises. Limpy McLimper limps in front of you. OOP bets. check-raise. in a game-theoretic. Or. and no frequency mumbo-jumbo changes that. the majority of profit comes from creating large pots with big hands. But contrast: Same 100xBB stacks. You reraise with the same two cards. perfectly-playing opponent sense. and you know 100% that your opponent was drawing. here I’m referring to the frequency with which individuals bet. Or. and raise. Or bet/raise/call.the kinds and number of hands that can like a given flop. this can be very difficult. especially among decent players. it could feel like there are a ton of ways to build a pot. raiser folds. check/check. check/check. but patterns repeat themselves in multiway pots also. call. There are big meta-theory questions here. bet/call. Pots grow exponentially. so maybe in theory we should bet the flop 75% of the time we raise. the patterns that occur most frequently are also the patterns that match the most frequently occurring situations (weak to moderately strong hands building and contesting a small to medium-sized pot). bet the turn 25% of the times we’re called and 50% of the time the flop checks through. all with appropriate bluffs mixed in. raiser in position. and bet the river 10% of the time the turn is called and 20% of the time the turn checks through. the board often changes from flop to turn and turn to river. One. he calls (he 33 . Especially against good players. Or bet/call. But since some of the time you should bet the flop with that obvious draw and some of the time your opponent is calling without it. fold. which is easiest to get away with if done quietly. If the draw hits. the same patterns repeat themselves over and over. raiser bets. Raiser checks. you should follow up when it hits on the turn (whether you have it or not). How strong a hand do you need to play for 100BB? For 50? For 25? Too broad a question? Dependent on too many other factors? Yes. Some patterns are more common than others. In practice. of course. bet/call. raiser folds. caller bets. Pot Size/Stack Size Dynamic 100xBB stacks. then some of the time. Betting Patterns Because NLHE is a game where you can bet any amount at any time. call. What I suggest is that thinking about these patterns and the frequency with which they occur is instructive. checked to raiser. like what % of the time should a preflop raiser bet the flop (or optimal frequencies for any action sequence). checked to the raiser. sort of. It’s easiest to categorize headsup pots this way. In fact. He calls and you see a flop with 9 BB in the pot. but I think analyzing these questions in general can help us understand how to do that. You have two cards and raise. we set these frequencies to exploit specific opponents. check/bet/fold. Think about how often a hand plays out like this: preflop raise. These are the things you start thinking about when you think about action frequencies. Two. He does this with 20% of his hands and he never limps. then check the turn? How often do I call three barrels? How often do I follow up my turn bet with a river bet? Clearly. then bet the turn? Do I ever check-raise the flop. turn goes check/check. but I am more talking about things like “what % of the time do I (or this opponent. Etc. Betting Frequencies Under “betting patterns” I was talking about an observer’s view of all participants in a hand. bet/call. or that opponent) bet the turn after having bet the flop and being called? What % do I bet three streets in a row? What % do I bet two streets then check/fold? What % of the time do I check-raise the flop. raiser folds. Or. raiser OOP. Raisy McRaiser raises in front of you. Raiser bets. bet/fold. call. you should check/fold. Are there optimal frequencies for all of these? Maybe. for two reasons.

Obviously. let them fold too much. how easily you 34 . how likely the other caller is to be trapped with a marginal hand. in MTT’s.calls raises as often as Limpy). how often the raiser will follow up on the turn with a marginal hand. and have some general idea of what kind of hands should be willing to play for how much. people’s ranges for postflop actions necessarily should change toward being more aggressive. you call in the BB with 55. Clearly. and so on. pot/stack dynamic is always present because of increasing blinds and variance in the size of opponent’s stacks. There may be times to fold a set in a reraised pot and times to felt middle pair in a limped pot. a significant shift in pot size/stack size ratio happens when antes are introduced. All I am arguing in this essay is you will be better prepared to make the best decisions if you have thought independently about how different board textures play. raise if bet into. I find the 30-40xBB range particularly interesting. and reraised pots. what various bet sizes mean. simple example. against Raisy. you have to adjust with them in reraised pots. because it is a time when raisers with one pair have a hard time folding. raised pots. The flop contains a 5. how sure you are that you're ahead (or behind). that general idea has to be adjusted based on all of the other situational factors. like table image. about how ranges and betting frequencies change in vs out of position. but callers with speculative hands still have odds to call and try to outflop (also because allin reraises are too overaggressive in this stage and easily exploitable). in MTT's. about how to play versus different betting frequencies. But do too much of this. If your opponents don’t make this adjustment. If they do make this adjustment. etc. you should be able to look at the pot size. this dynamic shows up more in the differences between limped pots. then play aggressively. All this theory in practice A short. exploit them – reraise a lot. 27 BB in the pot. etc. but it plays its role too. But on every flop. Sure. how often he’ll give up the lead if you show flop aggression. Now how strong do you have to be to play for it all? What size pot should you play. Clearly there isn’t. This generates a cat-and-mouse game where you have to accompany the raising hands you do plan to go broke with hands you don’t plan to go broke with in order to deny implied odds to speculative hands. There is more to fight for. you’re usually a fish. look at the stack sizes. Button calls. on average. With more to fight for. where stacks are usually 100x and there aren't antes. and you become vulnerable to preflop reraises.. with one pair? With a big draw? The only difference is that the pot is a bigger percentage of the stack. probably not. there are plenty of other factors that I didn’t discuss. about the amount of strength different betting patterns represent. so ranges change and more aggressive play is rewarded. -what the stack sizes are and how likely your opponents are to have a hand that is willing to play a large pot. In cash games. Before you say “lead” or “check.” you have to consider -the range the raiser raises from that position -how likely the particular flop is to have hit that range (AQ5? T85? 522?) -what betting pattern is most likely to create a large pot without tipping anyone off that you want a large pot -how likely the raiser is bet the flop if checked to. The point is not that there is a formula for proper size pot with xx on flop abc in terms of preflop pot size “AA is worth 3x preflop pot size”. Also. Someone raises UTG+1. Go broke with AA against Limpy.

but this is what I’m thinking about right now. I hope this is useful/thought-provoking to some of you. how likely you are to end up paying off a second best hand if someone catches you. I don’t pretend this covers everything it could cover. or even close. and that some of the many of you who are better than me will take the time to comment. how vulnerable your hand is to the type of hands that are willing to play with you. 35 .can improve.

I never made a "Poob" and I'm coming up on my Carpal Tunnel so I figured I better get this in first. my win rate would be a lot better if not for some stretches where I was way off my "A" game. Anybody who's struggling with their game .you get in the groove and can keep it up. you get used to that and before long you find you're playing your C game all the time. do that. strategy is probably not your problem. you can make their mistakes into good plays. being on your "A" game is like a habit . you've turned the fish into a better player than you. For example : Fish UTG raises A 6 to 2 BB You reraise K K to 12 BB folds to Fish who calls Flop 6 6 7 Fish checks You bet pot Fish pushes all in You call!!!! 36 . that's not true. Poker is not easy. Not "spewing" . What Matters : 1. Maybe we can tilt a bit and try to play through it. not making fancy moves. downswings. 3. taking breaks. play hands. it's folding decent hands to tiny bets. not being super-aggressive like you think you should be. If you don't. any monkey can get the basics). The fact is. Being on your "A" game. I've struggled with questioning my game. trying to get lucky on the flop. and you need to adjust properly.I gaurantee that "spewing" in one way or another is a big part of it. most of the things you need to be a winner are NOT strategy.not value betting top pair on the river against a calling station is a form of spew. but assuming you've got the basics (and trust me. Yes. Beating the rake is hard and you probably can't do it on your C game.just throwing away money. Playing vanilla good poker and eliminating major "spew" will make a huge impact on your win rate. The first thing is to remember that the goal : being a profitable player.What matters. Furthermore. If you really review your sessions you'll find hands where you just threw away a lot of money. 2. etc. folding monster hands because you imagine he has the nuts. so I know what it's like to be a breakeven/losing player and where win rate really comes from. You punish them by usually having better hands and charging them to see flops. Note that "spew" can be subtle . Don't make the fish's mistakes correct. Most fishies have very high VPIP's. Secondly. One of the traps I think we all fall into is thinking that the fish are so bad. Whatever it takes for you to be a winner. we can be on our B or C game and still be profitable. read the forum. You should be playing most of your hands against terrible players if you're using good game & seat selection. You turn them into experts if you pay them off when they hit. When you bluff a calling station. Once you start playing your C game. I've almost reached 100k hands at about 8 PTBB/100. you had an almost gauranteed big bet you could've made and you didn't. get practice. These terrible players will do odd things. work on your game. It's better to just take a break when you're not on your A game and try to only play in that state. This isn't just bluffing. What doesn't (cbloom) Well. I thought I'd drop some thoughts on what really matters in being a winning player. not doing what you're "supposed to".

Maybe you complete T7o in the SB. These sort of "tough" decisions are fun to analyze because they're very close and complicated. Yes. and that will hurt your win rate a lot!! This is sort of like a reverse implied odds situation. Maybe there is in fact one move that's better than others. Don't complete hands in the SB because you think you should if you're not comfortable playing them postflop. Little details about your play. you might lose a huge pot because you made the wrong decision in this particular case. these could be slightly +EV or slightly -EV. in which case you can try to trap them. maybe you don't. 2. that means the EV of the choices is nearly the same! Yes. You will run into lots and lots of marginal situations. Maybe you're 15% vpip. What Doesn't : 1. maybe you don't. (synopsis for the doesn't matter! If it's truly a tough decision. It's almost never bad to just be a wuss in these spots unless you do that too much. You'll see these some times when you post a hand and good/respected posters disagree about the best move. fix your big leaks and play solid) 37 . maybe you're 30% vpip. On the other hand. they have almost zero effect on whether you're a big winner. Marginal situations.dr crowd : stop worrying about trivial details that don't affect your win rate much. but the fact is. maybe folding T9o in the SB is a small leak. but if you're thinking about the range of hands it was actually EV neutral.Oh no! you made the fishes -EV style of chasing flops into a profitable style. but that's not really a problem unless someone starts trying to do it. but it's a very small EV difference. it's very easy to make a big mistake in a marginal situation. Again. but it's a tiny tiny leak and not worth worrying about. If you're playing a hand and you hit a really really tough spot and you just can't figure out what's the best move . but the fact is they have almost zero effect on your win rate. Maybe you reraise a lot preflop. 3. What you should not do is play in a way you're not comfortable with. A lot of people are scared of being "weak" or "easy to run over". You could fold almost every one of them and it wouldn't hurt your win rate that much. "Tough" Decisions.

http://www. That is why if you open up pokertracker and a large enough sample size. One example of why you need to raise. I can check behind for a free card. Open limping is just gross. A10o and better. This comes from a player that played primarily (only) 6max 200NL. Take down the blinds and move on to next hand. If he calls my raise. they are playing a raised pot out of position and you have the advantage. It is a no brainer to why position is so important in NL. 400NL. It is up to YOU to decide whether or not people get to enter a pot cheaply or not. When you are on the button and CO. There is quite a lack of information on how to properly play 6 max TAG and I am mostly appalled at how the lower stakes players are completely missing out on the fundamentals. every single suited connector. That includes KJo. he folds to my raise. And hell. Continuation betting with nothing often takes the pot down. For all you poker tracker statiticians out there. and a HUGE variety of high cards. Would I have stacked him in an unraised pot? Most likely not. Open raise. QJo. every single Axs. Don't do it with suited connectors or whatnot. I have decided to give something back to community that I have received so much from. positional preflop play and image. consider yourself the gatekeeper. If he doesn’t have an A. 3) Flopping sets / monsters in unraised pots is basically a crap pot. Hands that a true TAG will raise with if folded to them on the button / CO is: 22 -> Another positional hand. First thing I want to mention is position and the button. This post will merely cover the basics of 6 max. I would also like to make a note here that you should almost never open limp. Being last to act simply gives you a world of advantage over your opponents. or draw. Raise rather than limp. DO NOT OPEN LIMP.pokerhand. The reason you MUST do this is because: 1) you steal the blinds if they all fold 2) if they call you. One of the hardest things I had to learn was the fundamentals of 6 max and how to play like a proper TAG for medium stakes. and 600NL (when the games were fishy). you will see that the button and CO is the most profitable position to play in. meaning every single pocket pair. 4) People are more likely to go broke on raised pots than unraised pots. Hell. True tags understand this concept and abuse the [censored] out of the button. 38 . they will bluff you more and ship more money your way. and not quite on advanced play. Open limping in 6 max is a very very big sin.pokerhand. even any Axo if folded to them. I play 22/18 and consider myself TAG.6 Max fundamentals for SSNL players (Tien) Some 6max Fundamentals Now that I have decided to walk away from poker and pursue other ambitions. This play is better than calling his flop bet. why let them play out of position hands for cheap? Abuse the [censored] out of the button and CO.

Example: UTG limps, folds to you on the CO, you have 22. What do you do? Answer: RAISE. How much to raise, 4-5x BB is good. Example 2: UTG limps, MP limps, you hold 22 on the button. What do you do? Answer: RAISE THAT [censored] UP If they call, you will take it down often enough with a continuation bet to make it profitable. And BTW, continuation bet 75-90% of the time. They will most likely fold a hand that didn’t hit. So now that you understand basic fundamental button and CO play. It is time to figure out how to play UTG and MP. UTG: You want to play real damn tight, fold suited connectors, fold high cards, fold Axs hands. But continue to raise pocket pairs in ANY POSITION. Pocket pairs have the ability to flop such powerful monsters that you just can’t fold them in any position. Raising pocket pairs is so mandatory. Assume 100BB stacks. You raise 44 in MP and get reraised. You call and flop comes 346, 2410, 410J, 345. You are stacking KK AA 100% of the time. Don’t limp either. It is so transparent when a weaktight (who thinks he is a TAG) limps UTG, and calls you raise. He has small pocket pair or suited connector 99% of the time. Continue to raise AJo and better. Folding QKo and KJo, as well as QJo is not bad play at all. These hands are pretty garbage out of position. MP: You can still fold the QKo, KJo, or QJo, but start loosening up your standards. Start mixing up raising or folding those Axs hands, suited connectors. Blinds: You want to play real tight in the blinds. Calling too many raises out of position is just a death trap. You don’t want to build big pots with marginal holdings in the blinds. Fold suited connectors, Axs, call with pocket pairs obviously. But just because you are playing tight in the blinds doesn’t mean you are a big sissy either. Facing a button raise or an MP raise, if you hold hands like AK, AQ, JJ, 1010, RERAISE. It’s much much better to reraise these hands in the blinds that many SSNL players normally just call with. Reraising these hands start to become advanced play so be careful. New players trying these things out often lose stacks because they are out of position and are bad post flop players. Example: You are in BB or SB with AK, AQ, JJ. UTG limps, MP limp, button limps. What do you do? Answer: RAISE THAT [censored] UP. Raise it up to 6-7 even 8x bb depending on players. Take down the pot without even seeing a flop is better than checking and playing a multiway un raised pot.


Raising all these hands allows you to play raised pots against players that have no idea of positional or image. You will stack them more often than not. And don’t sissy up on continuation bets. Bet 75-90% of the time no matter board texture. Only if 2 people call you and u completely missed the flop can you decide to check and give up on the pot. Example: You have A8s on the button, UTG limps, you raise 5x BB and get called by BB and UTG. Flop comes 48Q rainbow. BET 100% of the time if checked to you. That covers the BASICS of positional preflop play. Combo Draws Another thing which I think is standard to most people but may not, is combo draws. Hands where you have say 13-15 outs on the flop should be taken to the felt. Here is an example of properly playing a combo draw. Same goes with open ended straight and flush draws. Play these hands strong and very fast. There is a ton of fold equity as well as getting money in being a 50/50 if they do decide to take their hand to the felt with you. Best case scenario for the hand I played above is that everyone folds. Making them fold in spots like this is what makes playing combo draws this way profitable. You don’t profit by them calling a 50/50 shot. You profit making them fold. I wanted to talk more about 2nd barrels, increasing range of reraising hands preflop, and pot control, but that is a bit more advanced than the basics and maybe I’ll write something later on. In conclusion. Don’t make dramatically changes to your game. Start implementing one concept at a time. Don’t start raising 6-7% more hands just because I told you. Start one different hand at a time and slowly make changes. I hope this helps the struggling low stakes player out there. If you keep these strategies and tactics in mind, it will definitely improve your play.


Tien's Article on Mentality, Image, and changing gears (Tien)
Ok, This is a follow up article to the last one I wrote: I finally got around to writing this and will probably be the last one I write before I disappear from the online poker world altogether. Although I think this article should have been written before the first one, since I will talk a lot about mentality which I feel is the most important thing a player needs to develop first. I will mix up image in here somewhere too. First though I would like to rant about a couple of things first before I really start. Starting players hoping that they will make something out of this game really need to ask themselves a question. How badly do you really want it? What it takes to continuously go from level to level in poker is an insane desire to continuously challenge yourself and improve. You won’t go anywhere thinking how you play right now is sufficient for whatever stakes. IMPROVE YOURSELF. There is a huge growing army of 12 tabling hudbots continuously grinding away. Some of them are improving, some of them are not. If you belong in the category of players who don’t improve than you will be left in the dust. The games ARE getting tougher for those who are NOT continuously improving. 1.5 years ago, I don’t think I even heard of multitabling TAGs playing at 25/22 at Mid stakes with insane relentless post flop aggression. Now, if you visit the mid stakes forums, it’s the norm. Ok, so the first thing you need to change is your mentality. And by surfing these forums, I can guess there are thousands of winning players who need a total mentality re-haul. You may ask, but Tien, they are winning, what’s wrong with them? My Answer: They still complain, whine and bitch about irrelevant things. They still get angry and emotional when a doofus fish sucks them out when they are a 85% favourite. They get frustrated and cry out to people who don’t even care saying how badly they are taking it. It doesn’t make any [censored] sense whatsoever to complain about getting sucked out. And if you are running bad, guess what, I DON’T [censored] CARE. Poker player who needs a total mentality re-haul: “OMG MY AA JUST LOST TO 44 ALLIN PREFLOP 134993024 TIMES TODAY, IM DOWN 15 BUYINS, OMG I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE” My answer: “I don’t care” Poker player who doesn’t need mentality re-haul, this time he is thinking to himself whenever the following happens: Loses AA vs KK allin pre 3423432 times. “Whatever I don’t give a [censored]” Loses a bunch of coinflips on monster draws. “Whatever I don’t give a [censored]” Loses a whole bunch of buyins. “It’s about time these weaksauce [censored] win something from me”


You need to be cool and remain calm. Your reaction to winning a 200 BB pot should be the same as the reaction to losing a 200BB pot. Next time you complain to someone. Remember that deep down what they are really thinking is “I don’t care”. Complaining serves no purpose whatsoever and should be completely and 100% erased from your character. Getting sucked out and going on downswings is the nature of the beast. It can’t happen any other way. How does complaining or whining help you improve? It doesn’t. It makes you a worse player. You can’t win if you don’t get sucked out. You can’t improve if you never go on downswings. You can’t succeed if you never fail. Mentality change goes beyond complaining / whining / bitching. If you want to change yourself from a weak tight player to an aggressive player (Notice TAG and LAG both have the words aggressive in it) you need to change your mentality first. No matter how hard you try to change something, if you don’t program it into your head, YOU WILL NOT CHANGE. You need to start to think aggressive every time you sit down in your sessions. Think about opportunities to raise and re-raise and win pots. You need to have that image of a player who is constantly raising and re-raising and instilling FEAR into the other players. Don’t make sissy as hell bets and raises either. Every time you bet or raise, bet and raise like you mean it. 2/3, to ¾ pot size bets to build big pots to stack people or make them fold. Again, for the mid stakes players nowadays, this is the NORM. For a lot of you starting players out there, there is an entirely new concept that you NEED TO LEARN AND IMPLEMENT. I don’t want to get so much into post flop because that subject is really complex, but I’ll give a couple of examples. 1) You raise 10Js on the button and some weaktight fish who limps before calls. Board comes 48K rainbow and he donk bets into you meakly. Raise the [censored] out of him! 2) You raise A5s in middle position and flop comes 3s4sQx. You lead out and bet and get miniraised or raised. RERAISE. You have 12 outs here and plenty of fold equity, ALLLIN. 3) You have 98s and raise in the button and some guy calls. Flop comes 7810 rainbow. He leads into you. RAISE THAT [censored] UP. Results in these hands don’t matter nor should you care if you lose being 40% dog or whatever. You played these using concepts of fold equity properly. These are just a couple of examples of what kind of an aggressive mentality you need to have. Don’t take these examples in stone every single time, but the mentality behind these examples is what you need. Once you change your mentality into the one proper for poker, many many postflop decisions will become easy to you. I guarantee that. On towards Image. So what image do you really need? As mentioned before you need an image of a player that the table is afraid to play against. And at small stakes NL, there are a bunch of weak tight players waiting to be afraid of you. So go out there and instill fear into them! Play


solid positional aggressive poker. Look for spots to raise and re-raise in position holding draws, marginal hands, etc etc. Achieving that image cannot be done unless you yourself believe inside you possess that image. What you think about yourself inside reflects a lot on how people think about you. Again, this goes back to your mentality. This type of image will also get you a lot of action too. You are in there building pots and people will give you action in return. You don’t care about that because if you play solid positional poker, you will have the advantage. People will also give you their respect and fold to your bluffs or semi-bluffs. Don’t show down a losing hand. But once your image has been shot to [censored]. You’ve been caught bluffing or people see you have been playing a lot of big pots lately and are starting to play back at you. It is time to tighten up a bit. You can slow down on the cont bets if you feel these guys will look you up with any 2 cards. You can also raise less in MP and UTG with marginal hands. Once you feel you have been playing tight enough and showing a lot of aggression but also showing down big hands, you can then again loosen up and become more aggressive with marginal hands / bluffs. That is changing gears. Reacting to your table dynamics and how you think people are observing you. In conclusion, this article again covers the BASICS of what I have been talking about. Continue to go out there, post hands, discuss hands, observe hands. That’s what it takes to improve. And when you are done a session or whatever. Review your hands, post them, analyze, observe etc etc etc. Lots of players are doing that right now, and they are improving. Bah, I can review this a couple of times and make a better article but I’m really too lazy. The most important point in this article is your mentality. I can’t stress that enough. An aggressive mentality towards poker will continue to open countless opportunities, doors and $$ in the world of poker. Some important reads: Cat=0&Number=5615820&an=0&page=0&vc=1;o=&vc=1


doesn't make that person a "loser. The difference between a winner and a loser is that the latter thinks they do not deserve it. He is so close. Stop thinking in terms of winning as good and losing as bad." so to speak(the very beginning). I also believe that of the very small number of professional poker players who have been successful for more than a few years. it just seems impossible for me to believe that someone else can understand). I should say that there are no failures and everyone is a success. All of those negative ideas must be eliminated from your mind. Success and failure are just ideas created by society to improperly judge others against ourselves. The trick is recognizing these negative ideas. Our labels for winners and losers simply identify individuals who play the same game a different way. I rarely respond to posts. What he says about winners and losers though. These are words that mean such different things to each individual that to use them to label your accomplishments. The wording he uses in the text lets me know where he is at on the "path. and everyone has the same potential. most of them are actually quite lucky. some just direct their energies in different directions.twoplustwo. I believe that there are many pros who will fail once they begin to experience average luck. is to let yourself be affected by negative variance. and so the downward spiral begins." Here is the link http://forumserver. it isn't good for my long term financial Just because one person doesn't achieve the same goal that I strive for.Almost there with Success and Failure (Gigabet) This post is in response to Irieguys Post "The Difference Between Success and Failure. or rather. I really believe that everyone has the "psychological fortitude" to manage the vicissitudes of the game. then you therefore must be a loser. If you are not in the positive for the day." Everyone is the same. A choice to change the way you think about results. since there are so many and so commonplace in our society. The two concepts should be 44 . using these words. It is simply a choice.php? Cat=&Number=1822484&page=1&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=14&fpart=1 When I read Irieguys post I wasn't planning on responding. Quote: Everybody will eventually run worse than they thought was possible. There are no successful people. There are no winners or losers. As I started reading the responses I soon felt obligated to respond. and frankly. or just ideas created by the masses. or you will not perform to your potential. is setting yourself up for a long ardurous journey. This statement is truer than anyone can know(even though I think most of you do know. that most won't finish. or lackthereof. but travelling in the wrong direction. it is a large task indeed to sort them out as real. because most of the time I am the dissenter. The sooner you can get that into your head and really believe it. will keep you from attaining a more complete game. to think that. the sooner you will start to have a real understanding of the game. Quote: I am beginning to realize that most people don't have the psychological fortitude or spiritual perspective to manage the vicissitudes of this game. Let me start with the words success and failure.

grouped in your mind exactly the same. The problem comes to life when a person starts their downswing. OK. but eventually it builds and seeps through at one time or another. actually talk to your mind and announce their arrival. but the long term results will be well worth it. They stop because they fear things that aren't even real.SO HOW DOES ALL THIS REALLY RELATE TO POKER? The game that most of us play is really very simple. Quote: I think you can learn how to avoid this trap of psychological betrayal. but you cannot eliminate what you do not recognize. you can read their hand. You get 2 cards. Best 5 card hand wins. and you do a little betting here and there. Turning your noise filter up will work for a time. which we classify as "losing. and everything that has been blocked comes pouring out at once.. Anyone can read a persons 45 . As your mind comes to realize how trivial and meaningless these thoughts are. and then identify the reasons behind them." We get along very well. 5 cards come up. That is what we are trying to achieve when we label a person as a failure. Once you train yourself to be completely judgement free. why do so many people have so much trouble ending up ahead of where they started? The real game is about people. for hours on end. Identifying every negative thought as it creeps into your mind is a start. are the same people that do not give up. I have come to realize that it is much better to acknowledge the negative or angry thoughts as they arrive. It involves turning your noise filter all the way up. ask my brother(ship_it_tome) how upset I get when he is at my house. the game becomes a cakewalk. but I get very irate with him when he utters those deadly words. failure became a real entity we had to deal with. I think I'm beginning to learn it myself. either concretely or intuitively. no matter how bad things seem to be running. Eventually they become the "professionals" in whatever walk of life they choose. playing. You have to find your own way to deal with these thoughts that have been brainwashed into your mind for your whole life. we are attaching shame to A meaningless act. Throughout my life I have been around alot of people that most would classify as "failures" and not one of them seemed any different than myself. which creates the very worst tilt imaginable. as I am sure you all have muttered them at one time or another. not the cards in your hand. that doesn't mean just noticing their presence. Believe me. When God "blessed" man with shame. I have been there many times. struggling.. and finally says "I can't win. it takes practice to monitor your thoughts. It takes alot of time and effort to do this. and once you know what they have in their hand. With a game this simple. I try very hard not to allow any negativity in my life. The problem is. you will become a more complete player." they begin to suspect that they may "fail" and rather than become susceptible to the shame that comes with "failure" they decide to quit. it will eventually stop creating them in the first place. You have to be able to eliminate all of these ideas. when they approach. we have all of these predisposed ideas of who a person is based on ideas that have been placed in our heads by our society.. The people who come to realize these negative labels aren't real. If you know a person well enough.

Go through the hand again and see if you can figure out why he willingly showed down a losing hand(something that should rarely be done. Use your bets to pull information from your opponent. they are just the cards coming out randomly. evening themselves out over time. and then when you know what he has. 6000 hands a day on average. every single hand.. a beginning player will commonly bet small when on a draw. If you think he is on second pair. Practice trusting yourself. ie. but don't let that stop you. Gigabet 46 . Bad beats are no longer bad beats. Try and eight table while doing this exercise. and see what he had. Post flop is where the real game is at. This is what it takes.) I call this an exercise.hand based on his actions and seeing common tendencies. with no predisposed judgements of the other players. then you can ignore the "sng" formula and really start to play. What is really important is learning the thousands of languages that different people speak through their actions at the table. just watching and learning. watch him play. and it is fun to play. for every table that you are playing at. Every time there is a showdown. Believe me. Put yourself in his spot. and than bet pot the next? They are certainly experienced enough to know not to bet the same pattern for the same types of hands. even if it means your tournament is over if you are wrong. not just the ones you are involved in. but this should be done on every single hand that is played out at any of your tables for the rest of your poker career. you will be wrong enough in the beginning to doubt yourself. So how can you figure out what they have? Well. it isn't some spiritual science. and bet big when he has a made hand. open up the hand history file. for every player at the table. trust your judgement 100%. get to know him. and I can honestly say that this is something that I do on nearly every hand. it is listening and learning without prejudice. Try and figure out what he is thinking. what kind of hand would you have if you were betting like that? Now do this for every hand for every player that is in the hand. but will not fold unless you bet your whole stack. What about more experienced players? What does it mean when they bet 2/3s of the pot one time. Imagine. which is unlikely since players like us can rarely beat bottom pair). he has to be thinking something. then bet your whole stack(unless of course you have a better hand than second pair. This is how you become a real player. There is a strong possibility that I am the most active player in the world. and the losing hand is mucked. Put effort into every single hand that is played out at your table.

Taking shots is obv ok. I am pretty sure there is no other 50nl reg that plays as overrolled as I do. He calls it "connecting". Running bad at higher limits. but they are emotionally -ev at those levels because they can't become "numb" to the instant results. 47 . you should. Ive also been running at 2bb/100 at nl100 over the last 20k. I have written before on my uber nitty strategy of bankroll management. I just say you should be numb. but if you havent read it. but after review. The next 100k will go better. which is also a poor result. the downswings emotionally effect me too much and prone me to tilt. But if you are playing where you belong (this in my opinion has nothing to do with your bankroll). I feel better about it. The point of this post is to understand that you should be emotionally "numb" to the limits you choose to play. when I am having good months or I feel like I am really keen on my game. I know at the beginning of my poker career when I was in school I could care less about the money at first. You will shove b/c you know you have the right equity. or are just on life-tilt in general. It won't matter if your on a 15 buyin downswing or you've played 20k hands at breakeven. much more so than I already am. You should play at levels you can emotionally beat. Over 100k hands you can expect 2 or 3 of these type of downswings. Often bad enough to bring us close to busto and crush our confidence in poker. not just beat +EV. 10 buyin downswing happen people. But it is hard to deal with when you think you have/take ownership to $15k sitting in a poker account and then 3 weeks later there isn't anything there because your busto. Learn from others mistakes! This post was inspired by my last 100k hands which were my worse ever at nl50. Being emotionally -ev can often overcome even the greatest edge in cards for the shorterm. Tilt during this time becomes way worse then normal. If you are playing at levels where you are "numb". It is really hard when you first begin poker to understand the concept of "variance". not big ones. Lots of players can beat levels way above the one they are playing. I think it is possible to avoid these moments in your poker career. I have a lot of "unnecessary variance" in my game. There have been times during my poker career during my worse downers where I considered the fact that I had just run good over hundreds of thousands of hands and was not indeed a winner. times where I wasn't sure if I could beat nl10. Most of us have been there. So I will always have multiple 5 buyin downswings per month and a really good month won't include a 10 downer. I play nl100 nl200 and even nl400 from time to time. A really bad month will probably have a downswing much larger than this. then you will be emotionally numb to these swings. I would still probably be the most overrolled reg there. and not be scared to pull the trigger just because you've missed 9 of your last 10 combo draws. and they find themselves in the utter state of busto. but take small shots. You will understand your moves are +EV and you have been playing good just running poorly.Thoughts on Running bad for UNL guys (ssdex) I browse through posts really often in the brew and in general where I see people who have 10 buyin downswings and are ready to quit poker. I'm to lazy to link ama's pooh bah post. much less nl100. here is my 2 cents. The reason I prefer to play lower and overrolled has a lot to do with the emotional side of poker. If you don't have a lifestyle that relies on poker for $ then I think you can emotionally move up much faster. even if I moved up to 100nl. but when I find myself venting over beats and not being "numb" towards the results I come back to my haven which is nl50 at stars. Just because you have 30-40 buyins for a level doesn't mean you should feel obligated to play it. I ran 4bb/100. which is kind of cancerous and had several very bad downswings (1 20 and 1 25 buyin downsing). So.

. great pooh bah post ama. I am in no hurry to move up permanently.. I'll move up when i'm "numb" at those levels again. connect! 48 ... hope this post is helpful.maybe like the 400k before that... i'm just not there yet.. and i'm ok with that now.. Happy reading and good luck at the tables.. in his words.

He was helping me out with the HU match as I had never played HU NL outside of SNGs. Don’t bluff raise the flop just because you haven’t done that lately.5% of his session. this lesson can be applied to everything. After he finished up his sesh. others were terrible wrong. Good advice. You must reason out every move you make. In the car he was telling me how soft the heads up games on Prima were. we went out to take care of some things. turned out to be his famous million-dollar-day. there is one piece that is so important I’ll never forget it… I got to durrrr’s house around midnight when he was playing some 200/400 PLO. I’ll take half your action. He told me: Always have a good reason for everything you do Don’t 3bet for the sole reason you haven’t done so in a while.Do things for a reason (ofishstix) It has been a little over four years since I started playing poker and about three years since I’ve done so online. This is when I learned that limping the button is fine. and 5/10 HU. Good luck. It’s much harder to make a poor decision when you think through it first. Now owing him 2k. Though I broke even that day. In terms of advice. in fact. 5/10 full ring. and they never stop reloading. Doing so will make you play more actively/not in autopilot mode. If you’re going to get called anyway. You will constantly be analyzing your play and improving. That day. I’ve learned and forgotten a bunch of ideas and concepts. Though I don’t remember the exact hand. I still ended up being down 4k because I lost one 200bb and two 400bb coin flips. Some things my friends and I learned/reasoned out were right. I decided to take a nap and . I remember the lesson it prompted. find a fish. In this time. why would you want to bloat the pot with marginal hands like 45s? Limp and outplay your opponent postflop. Sit at 5/10. the lesson helped me make plenty over the last 10 months. In addition to poker. I woke up a few hours later and durrrr was up 400k which covered my debt. ofishstix 49 . but not exactly epiphany-type stuff. Despite the great advice. tilty. He was already up 600k on the day and was about to cal it a night. you’re consciously reasoning through your options. though. durrrr asked me why I did that and I told him that I hadn’t 3bet in a while so I thought it would be a good time. It will help prevent you from making terrible. and spewy plays because you’re not just acting on a whim. “They’re all sports betters who like gambling.” I three tabled 3/6 6 max. I hadn’t 3bet preflop in a while so I decided to do it with something marginal like J9o.

both the angry newb and the passive newb must first transform themselves into the interested newb. (for example open pushing with roughly 10BBs).. So. instead they just try to use them. The majority of players stall here because again they do not make the effort to understand the thinking and reasoning that dictates these rules. "if you want to play for first call. the angry newb. Step 1: The Newb The newb has just stumbled onto this site. They have made the first leap. 50 . They have grasped that the "rules" are just a shorthand way to deal with frequent situations. often without rhyme or reason. however. or just fold it.Evolving (MTG) The quality of posts in this forum has been incredibly bad recenty. Thye know poker basics like simple preflop hand selection and basic pot odds. and examine the ways we can all get better.. and the interested newb. There is the passive newb. He (or in much rarer cases she) posts a situation so that the better posters on the forum can tell him what to do in the given situation. but generally they remain break even players at best. and that they stem from the math. Step 2: The Confuzlleds Generally speaking this stage occurs when a newb sticks with it. However." Most confuzzled players games consist of trying to apply rules they read about to situations they are confronted with. raise." or. not how to play only the hand he posted. and unlike the passive newb he is seeking to understand how to make decisions." The confuzzled understand basic strategy but get confused and puzzled by anything but the most simple of situations. and often incorrectly. "I'm in the CO with 15BBs and an MP player raises. The passive newb posts a hand to be told what to do. Thus they end up making posts like "KK and 8 BBs. They begin reading and posting and get bombarded with concepts they are not prepared to deal with. "if you want to gamble then call" or. Then there is the interested newb who is much rarer than the other 2. if you want to make the money then folding is ok. You often see phrases like. push. should I stop n go. Specifically they begin assigning hand ranges. that is.. but becomes involved in debate in an attempt to understand the advice he receives. a small number of confuzzleds strive to understand the "rules" (they understand that "rules" should be in quotes) and the leads them to progress. In order to progress further. Players games have improved from when they were newbs. Generally they enter into the forum asking a pretty simple question like "UTG with 6BBs and AKo. and figuring out how their hand fares against those ranges. Step 3: Leapers If a poster progresses this far they are on their way.. The angry newb posts so that he can crow about how his decision is right and berate those who disagree with him (even though it is clear to most that the angry newb is clearly a worse player than the ones he berates)." The newb comes in 3 distinct brands. The interested newb posts the same type of threads. inspired by this I thought I'd examine the stages a poster goes through. should I just call so I can get away if an A flops. This stage usually finds posters responding to many many posts (usually authoratatively and usually correctly) because while they are helping answer the question the poster is asking they are also helping themselves become more comfortable assigning ranges and doing complicated EV calculations. The rest of poker is still a mystery. If a poster makes it to this point they are more than likely a winning player which makes it oh so tempting to stall and not continue on to." or "Restealing with QQ. Unlike the angry newb he doesnt assume he is right. they have found math.

A poster who reaches this level is clearly a very good tournament player (although might still be a very middle of the road cash game player) and its easy for them to think they have nothing left to learn. There are always ways to get better. my advice to everybody is stop being lazy. the math has become 2nd nature (even the most complicated of it). Its a shame that so many posters here have their games stuck in neutral because its brought the forum to a grinding halt. No matter how good we are there's always a way to get better. quit being comfortable with where you are and start trying to improve your game. By focusing on how to play the hand as a whole these posters learn how to make better postflop decisions and often it leads to them leaving the forum in favor of cash games as for the first time they may be equipped for it. more than anything else this category stands as a reminder to us all that there is a level to which we can improve. They think about how to play their hand in relation to all the other hands they play. Often when responding to basic questions these posters leave out explicit calculations because it has become so second nature that they can intuit the correct action without having to do the math out (this can occasionally make them a little hard to distinguish from the cunfuzzled). Still. 51 . They are focused on playing poker instead of just an individual hand.Step 4: Poker Players If you make it here. So. Often they have no time for the simple decisions. which sucks for the rest of the forum. Step 5: Meta The elite. and persuing those avenues is interesting and rewarding. You main focus is no longer individual decisions but rather lines (the series of decisions you make in a hand looked at collectively). or decision.

midstakes are (hopefully) only a gateway for you. and/or its simply hard for them to do certain things differently as it has all become routine. and some interesting points were brought up from which I learned quite a bit. I don't think people realize how crazy the dynamic at a game like the 10/20 6max on party can be. and really not that big of a deal to them at this point in time as far as the games they are playing in go) and still be winning players or even be doing very well. and also have much bigger leaks themselves. They will reraise their big hands. You likely have a +EV situation right there preflop. you overrepresent your hand and force them to make a hand. This generalization encompasses a lot of solid midstakes players. and your reraising range obviously increases. and it is whom I am directing this post towards. with clunkier hands like KQ/AJ you will often be folding the best hand when you miss (which will be most of the time). When you are on the SB facing a button raise or even button facing a CO raise. even disregarding your actual hand. calling may be +EV in some of those situations but many don't even consider the +EV situation a reraise would set up for them and how much greater that EV would be than that of calling (the same thing often applies in many spots as far as raising vs overlimping. getting you ready for the next level. they don't even consider their third option. the 30/20 in the 10/20 Party game is preying on the solid grinder's leaks. simply because the vast majority of their opponents are not exploiting their leaks. With more deceptive hands your actual implied odds to call the LP preflop raise are generally very poor. By reraising you gain momentum.Opening Up Your Eyes and Your Game (AJFenix) Recently I have had some interesting discussions with a few regulars. They have gotten to midstakes playing a particular way. As these solid players move up. I will touch on this game dynamic within the next few parts. These same players are content to just call preflop with certain hands. they encounter more players that are capable of exploiting their leaks and that also possess fewer themselves. and after all. 1) Reraising Preflop Many midstakes players have a very tight reraising range. both decreasing the implied odds of your opponents calling and trying to crack your big hand. and even though they may have somewhat adjusted to the different dynamic of this game. Your hand carries reverse implied odds. as LP's raising ranges tend to be very wide. what do you accomplish cold calling a raise with the majority of your hands? Sure. and increasing your action on your big hands as observant players will realize that you are capable of reraising light. or getting forced off of your more marginal hands (which will often be the best hand) by 52 . they still make far more money on these hands than they should be making. which is to reraise. you will often be unsure of your hand if you are facing a lot of pressure in certain spots. The higher up in stakes you go. and even when you do get a favorable top pair flop. and even though their range is so slim. whatever that mode may be. and I figured it might benefit players on here if I shared a little of what I learned and observed. Just as the solid grinder is preying on the fish to pay off his big hand. they are still unwilling to open their game up whether they recognize it or not. These players may have pretty big leaks in their game (that may very well be unknown to them. You are also going to be missing the majority of the time. and even though their decision to call may be +EV. and if you get called you will often have another +EV situation postflop. the more observant players you encounter. As far as calling. A lot of players seem to be stuck in a mode. where both may be +EV but raising may be a much better option). given how well defined their hands tend to be in certain spots. In certain spots calling may even be your worst option.

and one is an amazing 47/29. fireworks do fly when they are at the table together. and of course their profits do as well. and have absolutely no problem reraising/rereraising light. but far less than they should. but future implications are there as well. If you would be giving up the pot by checking. I am not advocating players to fire the second barrel without considering all of the important factors. If you run into a player that is playing back at you light. One other thing that they are very good at doing is spotting and setting up profitable situations preflop. Their variance shoots up. even though everyone is fully expecting you to bet at almost any flop with any hand you came in raising with. And believe me. To be even more specific. you may chock it up as donk-on-donk violence. I believe 4 of the top 5 have close to 30/20 stats. They are awesome post-flop players. and you simply give up on the turn the majority of the time when you get called on the flop and you don't have anything. he is going to be much less inclined to contest pots against you with weak holdings. If you are raising a fairly wide range of hands. someone might actually put 2 and 2 together (!!!) and realize//exploit the fact that you don't have anything on the flop a good amount of the time you are betting. When your opponent realizes that he has to expect a turn bet from you a high percent of the time and you aren't just giving up whenever he calls you and you don't have a very good hand. I am simply pointing out that this is a very common spot in which players are passing up on clearly profitable situations and are really hurting themselves in the long run. Far fewer people fully appreciate the value of his big brother. Not only is the situation itself +EV. Their preflop game is so much different than what the average midstakes player is used to that it can really be amazing. Going back to the discussion of higher stakes games. but the number of +EV situations they are involved in does too. The reraising ranges of some of these top players are astounding.aggressive players. the second barrel. and betting at a lot of flops. and you are further bettering your overall situation. though. That being said. but you realize that firing the turn will probably get him to fold often enough to be +EV disregarding any outs you may or may not have. either. there really isn't a decision to be made as far as what your play should be. Just about all of the biggest winners in the 10/20 game on Party have a very "opened up" game. 2) Firing the Second Barrel Everyone knows and loves the continuation bet. you are begging him to keep running you over and you are throwing money away if you yourself are coming in light and then playing bad postflop. They can become much stronger players by utilizing these situations. These players are squeezing each other left and right. This also leads to forcing your opponents into making mistakes. and also leads to you getting more overall information in various subsequent situations and reading hands better. Now your continuation bets are going to be getting more respect from this player. The continuation bet is a transparent play that tends to work often enough on its own merit. the top high stakes players are generally firing that second barrel at a drastically higher rate than the solid regulars at 53 . when the hand may have just went down between the 2 biggest winners in that game. You will see full stacks go in with relative garbage. You have to ask yourself what you are really accomplishing by calling with some these hands. Everything leads to you making more money. They make use of him from time to time. In both cases you also lack initiative. Over and over and over and over. and firing again will be lightning money on fire in many spots (as their hand will already be well defined as unfavorable for you after their flop call in a particular spot and/or the situation is not a profitable one for other reasons). and their analysis of situations is dead-on the majority of the time. And they aren't the only ones you will see this kind of action from. If you didn't know any better.

If you like the rollercoaster thats up to you and its your choice. as are long breakeven stretches. but most people do have a "regular" limit for them where they put in the bulk of their hands. and they think that if they drop 5 buyins at 5/10NL it will prove to them that they are not ready for that level. That isn't to say they are just brainlessly firing away. Some people are perfectly fine with giving themselves a small cushion. which the turn brings very often. This is obvious and everyone thinks they realize this. I also want to add that I am 54 . and be willing to play multiple levels as your bankroll allows whenever you spot a good game. I really doubt I could foresee it happening.mid stakes. and adjusting according to what you are willing to accept. the biggest winner in one particular game was apparently recorded as to having TWO 25 buyin downswings last month alone. The second barrel is really just the tip of the iceberg. What it comes down to is realizing what goes into variance and what it is capable of. although some spots are so clear that it really doesn't require much thought. though. A 2p2 regular who is a consistent winner at 5/10NL moves up to 10/20 with 30-40 buyins. Some posters have said that your "move up" shouldn't be a big event. they can lose far more than that and still have evidence of absolutely nothing if they do not analyze their situation properly. some people do not give themselves enough cushion because they do not realize that a big downswing near the beginning of their move up is very well within the realm of possibility. 3) Giving Yourself a Bigger Cushion I have observed the bankroll discussions on this forum and have a few comments on the subject. but people don't fully grasp it. Swings become exponentially more violent as you move up and your winrate drops. Swings are inevitable over the long run. Poker is very good at painting an illusion because of how deceptive and subtle variance in poker can be. as its really going to be necessary if they want to continue moving up in stakes and doing well in the higher games. but they are expected/inevitable. then you may want to consider giving yourself a bigger cushion. Others give themselves a small cushion without knowing what can possibly happen. That can seriously be devastating to that person. But if your goal is a nice steady ride up the money hill with a few bumps that aren't going to wreck your ride in more ways than one. They simply play very well postflop. To give a point of reference. and hopefully those players that aren't trying to ride a rollercoaster both emotionally and bankroll-wise have a slightly better grasp of the capabilities of variance. As I have been pointing out. 4) Conclusion Hopefully this post helps people realize whats in store for them at the higher limits. and there isn't any hesitation. You should gradually move up. Now 10 buyin downswings are not only a possibility. helps some people become more willing to open their game up and attempt changing their thinking a little and getting better. More than one very good player has been known to run at almost breakeven for 100k hands. and gets crunched for 10 buyins. If you asked me a couple months ago whether I could have a 10 buyin downswing playing my normal game without any real tilt in there. and have no problem hopping up and down in limits at a crazy pace on the whim of their latest upswing or downswing. You can't really argue with that. and how many small things go into running bad and running good that you do not pay attention to. The players who were moving up from 100NL to 200NL and from 200NL to 400NL very quickly as soon as they attained 25 buyins for the next level probably have never experienced a decent sized downswing. and playing very well postflop indicates that they are good at spotting +EV situations. When they make the next level their "regular" game.

nowhere near the skill/experience level of some of the players discussed here at this point in time. 55 . I am simply relaying my thoughts and observations.

" Select OK and look at the numbers. 1. it should be a function of your level of looseness. If you multiply this number by 100. from every position on the table. this is not the way to approach it. This should be an exceedingly profitable thing to do when you try it. but if my Button VPIP is at least 50% larger than my UTG VPIP. but these strike me as some things you can check on that are frequent flaws in the small-stakes player's game. but only if you are sufficiently aggressive. but it doesn't belong in the software forum.." Now under "Vol. open up your ring game statistics and go to the "position stats" page. Put $ In Pot. and how the attempt turned out for you. it's to teach people how they can use the Poker Tracker data to find flaws in their game. 4. Not a week goes by that someone doesn't ask if they are playing the game right. If you're trying to steal the blinds less than 20% of the time. and other people may disagree with me strongly. How's my stealing? To check on your performance when trying a blind steal." again. they're all subject to interpretation. you're leaving lots of money on the table. 3. You can be a consistently winning player at SSNL with a VPIP of 12%. it should be at least double your "PTBB/100" average winrate. You should see that VPIP steadily dropping the farther you get from the button. If it's much less than that and you have a decent sample size.) Now click on "Filters. go to the General Info. Defending the blinds. See. Are you positionally aware? Positional awareness means that you understand Ed Miller's comment when he said: Quote: Total all the dollars you've ever bet playing poker. Under "Totals" see the "BB/Hand" statistic. These are all just my opinion. Click on "Turn Filter Off. To test this. tab. The best way to play is usually player-specific.How to use Poker Tracker (Pokey) This is a how-to post.. In that post. The large majority of those dollars should have been bet from late position. you have a hole in your game when it comes to blind stealing. While it's true that Poker Tracker can help find problems." and under "Chance to Steal Blinds" click "Chance to Steal & Raised. (Personally." If you get a number smaller than 0. Put $ In Pot" click on "Put 56 . Only a small percentage of your total handle should have been bet from up front. they include a dozen numbers from Poker Tracker and hope that the old-timers on SSNL can fix all their holes. This shows every time you've tried to steal the blinds.5. My general guideline is that you should raise at least half the hands you play. divide the "PF Raise %" by the "Vol. go to the Position Stats and look down the list of VPIP from Button to UTG. I'd love to see my button VPIP at double my UTG VPIP. but I'm very aggressive in these situations. I'm going to try to give you a rough guide for the things you can do to check on your game." and then click on "Filters. Where it says "Att. 2.. and you can be a consistently winning player at SSNL with a VPIP of 30%. aggression is a relative term. For each position other than the small blind. Under "Blind Status" click on "Either Blind. I like mine to be over 30%. if it's not. Do you have sufficient preflop aggression? To answer this question. That shows your per-hand winrate on blind steals. you're not aggressive enough out of that position. I'm happy with the situation. To Steal Blinds" I'd like to see that number at LEAST 20%.. you need to work on your strategy.

but a flop was dealt. This shows you how you’ve done when you were heads-up preflop. you’re selecting good times to play/limp multiway pots. go back to “Filters…” and under “Pre-flop Raise” select “No Raise. Good explanations: the raise was very small. Pocket pairs. you need to rethink your suited connector strategy. it could be an indicator that you have trouble when you are not the aggressor preflop. Suited connectors." again and go under "Steal Attempted Against Your Blind" and click on "Steal Attempted. Under “Hands With Between…Players Seeing The Flop” change the range from “0 to 10 players” to “2 to 2 players. Some people have this number higher still. See how you’ve done in these situations. unraised pot. I don’t really have a good suggestion as to how high your VPIP or PFR should be. That's all you can really hope for. If you click on "Filters.” This will show you how you’ve done when you didn’t raise preflop. 5. if you’re not playing them almost all the time. If you have enough hands. it may indicate bad play. villain is passive post-flop. 6. that means you're making back some of your blinds when you try to defend against a steal.. Change “Hands With Between…Players Seeing The Flop” to “3 to 10 players. look at the hands where you won to see if you played too timidly. villain is incredibly aggressive preflop. However. you'd lose less money by always folding rather than doing what you're doing. I’d expect every one of these lines to be positive. villain and I are both extremely deep-stacked. Your Total VPIP with these should be EXTREMELY high. Click on “Turn Filter Off. In the “Filters…” change “Vol.” This shows you how you do in multiway pots. Again. if you can’t come up with a really good reason why you thought it better to cold-call. if not 1/2. Of the times you cold-called." After you click "OK" you'll now see how you did when you chose to defend against a blind steal. 7. Pocket pairs make extremely powerful hands that are extremely well-hidden. Clear the filter and go back under filters. but some people play them religiously. but not when you were the preflop raiser). the magic number is for your "BB/Hand" to be bigger than -0.” Is it still positive? If so. Under “Filters…” change “Type of Hole Cards” to “Suited Connectors. Also. especially at short-handed tables. unless you play at highly unusual tables. my suited 57 .375. A "BB/Hand" of about -0.” When you hit OK. If you have any glaringly negative numbers. especially AA-88. If your "BB/Hand" is larger than that. Review the hand histories. you should be able to come up with a specific explanation for why you did so in each and every one of them. I had position on villain. then you typically win back some of your blind money when you put money into the pot from the blinds. Put $ In Pot” to “Cold-Called. If things look OK. especially without padding in the pot. Also. and I don’t have a problem with that. Look over individual hands where you lose lots of money and see if you played too timidly early in the hand. Under “Filters…” change the “Type of Hole Cards” to “Pairs.” This will show you how you generally play and perform with pocket pairs." This shows you if you're bleeding money out of the blinds. you’re probably not playing your suited connectors well. your BB/hand should be positive. if it’s not.” I’m much less likely to play suited connectors than pocket pairs. or if you went too far unimproved in the face of resistance. or as a steal move. but the hand was heads-up on the flop (this includes pure limping and when someone ELSE raised preflop.” then click on “Filters…” again. Heads-up play. go back and select “No Raise” under “Pre-flop Raise. If either of these numbers is lower than -0.375 would indicate that you were no better off putting money into the pot than if you had folded. you’re leaving money on the table.Money In. you should have almost no entries to view. or if you routinely forced weaker hands out when you should have been milking them for profits. Remember: these hands play best in a multiway. rather than raise or fold. and you’re playing them well postflop. 8.” Hit “OK” and see what comes up. As a result. If things look good.375.. I’d be surprised to see this number below 85%. your Total PFR% with these hands should be rather high least 1/3 of your VPIP. and reasonably significantly so. Multiway pots. Is this number positive? If not.

1% would be fine. only if you have a good reason why you CANNOT raise or fold should you call. Then. Your default play here should be to fold weak suited connectors and reraise strong ones. Select the “More Detail…” button above the “Filters…” button. circumstances need to be very specific for a check-raise to be appropriate. others check-raise infrequently. I’m saying you shouldn’t AUTOMATICALLY do so. 11. I check-raise on the flop when OOP against a preflop raiser.” Your total aggression factor should be at LEAST 2. If you don’t bet.connectors are particularly strong. Clear the filter and then go back into it. If you add Bet and Raise. 9. Postflop aggression. if in your searching you find hands that indicate you may have a flaw in your poker reasoning. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever cold-call with suited connectors. Continuation betting should be your default play. Check your winrate and make sure it’s positive. Tell us the problem you are worried you might have. There is a section marked “First Action on Flop After A Pre-flop Raise. Unsuited connectors. calling should be an infrequent occurrence in your play. 58 . post them up (one at a time. and why you think this hand might indicate the problem. you’re probably giving up too soon on your good hands. You should always be looking to see if you can raise or fold. you need a good reason NOT to raise the flop. If you raised preflop. All of this is just an introduction to the kinds of self-analysis you can/should do with Poker Tracker statistics. 10. Filter for cold-calling and see if you had good reasons for doing so. Scroll down. or on the turn when OOP against a flop bettor/raiser who was clearly not on a draw (uncoordinated flop). etc. The goal of the check-raise is to remind your opponents that just because you checked does NOT mean that you don’t have a hand. I personally like to check-raise at least once in awhile. The pot is already decent-sized. rather. and there’s no reason to give some donk a free look at a turn card that could sink you. Notice how much more in-depth it is than just glancing at a few VPIP numbers. Change “Type of Hole Cards” to “Off-Suited Connectors. and that will cost you money in the long run. As always. and straightforward play would probably be more profitable for you. you don’t give them a chance to fold. 0. Check-raising. No-limit is not a game where you can call frequently and turn a profit. As a result. Typically. the only person who can truly do a “check-up” on your playing style and ability is YOU. If you are check raising much more than 2% of the time. keeping in mind that the reasons need to be even stronger than for suited connectors. Scroll down a bit farther to “Aggression Factor. Typically.” This shows your likelihood of continuation betting. you’re being entirely too tricky for a SSNL table. there are several cold-callers in front of me. open the discussion up to see if 2+2ers agree or disagree. the total should be at least 40%. which gives you a large aggression factor.5% would be acceptable. If it’s not.” Your VPIP for these hands should be noticeably smaller than your VPIP for suited connectors. Clear the filter. Remember: people who cold-call a preflop bet are often in fit-or-fold mode. of course). However. Some people never check-raise.

most of the tables are gonna be filled with them. passive and nitty opponents that will be easier to run over. even if they are kind of tight. but personally. At 50NL for instance. I’d definitely recommend considering what kind of tables you chose to sit down at. Clearly this kind of table is also beatable if you adapt. if in one hand BTN pick up KK while BB has AA (they’ll probably get it all-in preflop or on the flop). I definitely prefer the loose passive kind of opponent. and then in the next time to deep-stacked players both flop a set. is gonna be crucial for your expected win. the higher you get up in stakes. it could simply be a result of variance. the fish who were putting all that money in the pots might already have been stacked by one of the more solid players at the table! Several times have I waited for a seat at the juiciest game. As a result of other people using the same strategy. there aren’t usually any free seats at the table with the highest average pot. and I have had mixed experiences with it. For instance. at the tables where the pots are big. then those pots. I’d like 59 . Personally I have used this game selection strategy a lot. because pretty much no matter what kind of micro stakes table you are at. this is usually the case. if you are a loose aggressive player who get a lot of your profitable situations from fold equity. But even there you would like to find the very juiciest tables. Game selection gets more important the higher in stakes you get. the fewer will the true fish be. every table will have at least a couple of TAGs on it. Let’s say you have a 6-handed 50NL game with $10 as the average pot size. Problems with this strategy: 1. you’d perhaps prefer tight. Most of the time there are even a couple of people on the waiting list already. by your side. Big pot size doesn’t necessarily mean bad players. what is your favorite kind of fish? Different people might have a different answer to this question. The POT SIZE strategy A lot of people start their session by putting themselves on the waiting list for the games with the currently highest average pot sizes.SOME THOUGHTS ON GAME SELECTION (fiksdal) Game selection is something every serious poker player should have in his mind when he starts a session. and thus the average pot size is gonna be huge no matter how skilled the players are. only to eventually sit down on it to find a bunch of 17/13 tight aggressive players sitting around folding preflop. There are of course a lot of fish on 50NL too. For serious uNL players. So it’s probably gonna take something like 10-15 minutes from when you register to when you actually get a seat. is that they aren’t gonna pay off your big hands. but they are rarer. However. is something you aren’t gonna be doing. with perhaps even 2 or more 70/8/1-ish types. bluffing several streets with air/a marginal hand. but it is not where the highest possible winrate can be achieved. the players seem willing to usually put a lot of money in the pot. Different kinds of players prefer different types of opponents. This is a pretty low number. you probably like to have the loose/passive kind of fish. This is where game selection gets even more important. who calls down a lot. By that time. The reasoning behind this tactic is obvious. But is this given? Not necessarily. Obviously what kind of table you are at and which opponents you are facing. but even at 10NL. First of all. This is good for us. Ask yourself. 2. and the logic assumption about the players at it. and build big pots with them. good players know how to value bet their strong hands. If you are a tight aggressive player who usually have the goods when you play big pots. So how do you find the typical loose/passive fish that go to showdown a lot? At 10NL for instance. For instance. Also. who will usually have good cards when we decide to play those big pots.

CO calls 1bb.5bb. BB calls 8bb. Hero checks. Turn: 4 (3. SB folds. 6 players) UTG folds. BTN folds.5bb.5bb. taking the pot away from us. 3 players) BB checks. and he saw us showing weakness by checking behind on the turn. It is however an extremely common play by loose/passive fish. 3 players) BB checks.5bb. Now only on the preflop round have we seen an example of bad players who you’d love to sit with. He just wants to see that showdown. Turn: K (24. The advantages of facing these kinds of opponents are obvious.5bb. However. BB calls 3bb. SB folds. 2 players) Now this is a spot where a lot of villains will usually put out a bluff. If at least one of these players was a TAG. call preflop raises all the time and rarely use aggression himself but rather call.5]: 9 7 Preflop: (1. out of fear of CO going away if he raises. BB checks. 2 players) BB checks. He missed his OESDFD (something that makes most players frustrated). which is of course a felony on this board and these stacks. BTN calls 1bb. For instance. MP folds. decides to keep slow-playing. let’s look at another hand where both the involved players are fish with similar stats to the villain in the other hand: CO: 130bbs: 8 8 BTN: 130bbs: 9 9 Preflop: (1. Hero bets 8bb. call. Flop: 6 8 A (8.him to play a lot of hands. but still they don’t create big pots. We get the ability to decide when the money goes in against them. maybe even a 3bet. River: 7 (24. BB folds. BTN however.) Such small pots make a surprisingly big difference in your final result. CO notices the pot being tiny. and we get to check behind and take down that 24bb pot. and they aren’t even the aggressive type who bluffs us off the best hand from time to time. CO bets 2bb. BTN checks (lol) Now both players decided to slow-play their flopped sets. the 70/6/0.5bb. may very well be filled with that kind of loose passive fish. Flop: 9 8 2 (3. Example hand: Hero (CO): 100bb: T T Fish (BB): 70bb [70/6/0. Their passive nature has just prevented them to build a lot of big pots. MP folds. call. A table with a small average pot size. Hero raises to 4bb. and is (correctly) trying to get some money into it. 6 players) UTG folds. 2 players) BB checks. CO checks. 60 . there would have been at least a raise preflop in this hand. So most of the time they are gonna put out that bluff. BTN calls 2bb.5bb. after all he has a pair (and we all know how these players overvalue their hands).5 player doesn’t bet that river. So he checks.

If this hand had been going on between two TAGs.5bb. This is why the tables with the low average pot sizes might not always be that bad at all. CO sees the card completing the draws. So a high average pot size doesn’t always mean bad players. and sit down at them. 61 .River: 7 (7.5bb. and the average stats of my table are amazingly often along the lines of 50/10/1 when I use this strategy. I encourage you all to use this table selection technique the next time you start a session. Players at it could be very willing to put money in the pot with medium hands. Someone who will build big pots: YOU. What kind of players do you think is gonna sit down with me? Do you think the other decent TAGs who play multiple tables are gonna sit down and play heads up with another regular? Very unlikely. there is a strategy I have been using more and more lately. BTN calls 4bb. However. They usually buy-in for like 20-50bb (a very good sign). All they need is someone to make bets that they can call. uNL. he will be able to control pot sizes against them. and start limping all over the place. but such hands go down between passive fish all the time. Then the fish double up through each other and I get to play with them 100bbs deep. the final pot size would by all likeliness have been 260bbs. aggressive player sits down at a table full of these opponents. When I start a session I open a couple of empty tables. They usually call down too much. Most of the time the people that come to me are total fish. How do you find the tables with this kind of opponents? Personally. An incredibly small pot considering the monsters the players had. and if the aggressive player picks up a bunch of hands that qualify to value bet multiple streets with. and a low one doesn’t always mean good ones. It usually doesn’t take long before I have 5 sweet loose/passive fish sitting with me. if a good. pots involving the calling stations and him could get rather large. In a scared fashion he puts out a small value/blocking bet. BTN who is also afraid of the draws. 2 players) CO bets 4bb. just calls! The final pot size is 15.

The marginal EV you gain playing the hand isn't worth the risk if you'll get stacked a bunch when you hit top pair. and most importantly started to manage my bankroll responsibly. Sign up for a session review (I highly recommend this). Do something. those who are truly passionate about what they're doing are the most successful. they aren't kidding. by all means play as high as you can afford. as other posters have made note of. blindless home game and donating my paychecks online. The more you challenge yourself to critically think about the game. These people were/are passionate about what they were/are doing.Poker is a game.How to Put It All Together and be a Winning Player (MikeyPatriot) My poker career has been a long journey. you're probably playing far too high. When people say you should post hands. 10 or 12 PTBB/100 hands.Post hands. It's comparable to a musician playing scales over and over or a basketball player taking jump shot after jump shot. 2) Bankroll management . I got the itch to play again. If you don't mind going bust and reloading. Bill Gates didn't become successful by writing software in his free time. Like I said before. Like most professions though. 1) Passion . I certainly don't. If you are playing at a level you are uncomfortable at. Michael Jordan didn't get to his level by shooting free throws on the weekends. 3) Marginal situations . started lurking 2+2/SSNL. It may not be optimal (and I may get flamed for suggesting it). I'm trying to learn all the time. I'm not going to try and tell you I know it all. But it does mean you should constantly be looking for ways to improve and never accept complacency . After a 9 month hiatus from the game for personal reasons (moving/not having a home game/dating someone I spent a majority of my time with). Once you get the basics down. When I first started reading here. evaluate your play in PT. Even when I became a consistently marginally winning player (3-4/100). but it can't be said enough. but don't want to call. it will be very hard to be successful. Fold QJo on the button if everyone has limped to you and you don't want to raise. you will save yourself money and frustration by keeping yourself out of them. Reply in other hands. the advanced stuff starts to come to you piece by piece. This doesn't mean you have to play 8 hours a day or be thinking about poker 24/7 away from the table. I should start by saying this: it isn't easy. Slowly. 4) Participate on the board! . you're potentially risking your whole stack. You can beat it with a good understanding of the fundamentals. This can definitely add a BB to your winrate. 62 . However. but surely (and switching to six max) I started to see my winrate improve.especially when you first start out. Since then. I've made an effort to improve at all times rather than assume I know how to play because I've read Super/System. read SSNL. etc. the easier decisions will come to you at the table. Doing these things help build the fundamentals which make everything else such a breeze.I'm sure this sounds like a broken record to those of you who read this forum with any regularity. I read any book I couldn't get my hands on. I started out playing in an unorganized. the more able you will be to handle marginal situations. they aren't that important! If you have a hard time in marginal situations. But these are some things I've noticed in my playing experiences that I think are important to my success.The more experience you acquire. I understood where these people were coming from. but when you enter a pot. You COULD beat the game that bad. If you're scared of getting it all in and being sucked out. I figured the big winners were liars or luckboxes. I couldn't believe that some people were beating the game for 8.

Sure. Keep learning and don't be afraid to make mistakes! Also.5) Stay humble . politics. Playing ATo from UTG is trouble for most everyone. poker. AIM me at MikeyPatriot. life. we want to play as many hands against the fish as much as we can.I don't know how many times I started my own downswing by getting to cocky. These are the things that have led me to becoming a winning player. etc. 63 . Finding Two Plus Two kickstarted all of it. Don't let an upswing twist your head into thinking otherwise. but (and this goes with point 3) that doesn't mean we should be putting ourselves into super marginal positions. Just the fact that you are here is a great start. if anyone would like to discuss hands.

I don't post often in MHNL because at that level. Sit to the left of the loose player. I normally play 5/10 NL and higher. Naturally. Axs. If you bet the full pot every time. Bottom Line . AJ. and he checks the flop. You should be looking to sit to the direct left of the very loose players. he is bad. KT..etc. K9s. but way more. KQ. I will try to post one solid piece of advice for SS play each week. some of the advanced concepts and thought processes are better left unsaid since some people still don't understand them. even if does call once in a while. if he does start raising and playing back at you. QT.. It's not even close. 1 very loose player. This is very bad. AK.5BB + 1 per limper (pot size raise). A donkey. Furthermore. AQ.. AT. If I forget.Advice from a MHNL'er (whitelime’s) (PART I) Hi. However. KJ. Additionally. but a general rule is 3. QJ. Attack them relentlessly. J9s. Mix up the bet amount so no one can read your hand. This is if you have someone who is VERY loose in calling raises to your left. If you have a 6 handed table with 3 average players. Your range of hands for raising the weak limper with position on him should include AT LEAST the following and probably more if you play halfway decent postflop: AA-77. you will have a hand once in a while so he'll have to be calling/raising not just 50% of the time. Many other posters hold back their thought processes to a certain degree as well. 9Ts. Our 2+2'er limps behind. If you get HU with the fish. If the flop is A55 rainbow. lets say VPIP over 50 limps. Your bet amount should vary between 1/2 the pot and the full pot. Bet your monsters and bet your crap. I've actually heard it debated whether you would rather sit to the left of a very loose player or the TAG so to avoid him having position on you. the more frequently you should be isolating. I have gained some knowledge from 2+2 and would like to repay by helping out some Small Stakes players. You should pound on them. you won't be able to isolate that effectively. someone send me a PM. use some common sense. and one very 64 . However. you will show an automatic profit. JT. the closer you are to the button. so you should be able to outplay him. Since most HE hands miss more than 50% of flops. you should be betting almost 100% of the time. a half pot bet probably makes the same hands fold as a pot bet. Think about it from a game theory perspective.Start Isolating.. If this is the case. unless the fish can adjust to your strategy. The amount you raise can vary. 1) Isolate against the fish VERY FREQUENTLY I see this mistake made very often. There is one situation where you should not isolate. Let me put an end to this debate. Q9s. he will have to fold LESS than 50% or you show an automatic profit..

I call the following "The Idiot's Monster" Call Preflop with a drawing hand (pocket pair. This is because it takes a ridiculous number of table hours against a particular opponent to deduce that he will NEVER slowplay AA/KK. Value bet the river. First I'll discuss the simpler preflop play. Many other posters hold back their thought processes to a certain degree as well. Enjoy! (PART II) Hi. If he is willing to call a pot size reraise preflop. However. Every time you smooth call a raise preflop with AA or KK There is one common condition smooth calling preflop is correct. This. If you still like to slowplay your AA/KK. but preflop play as well. but will fold to a reraise preflop. The reasons for this should be obvious. Against most thinking players. However. Factor in that he will often incorrectly put money in the pot postflop as a big underdog and slowplaying becomes very incorrect. I'm not saying to get rid of this line completely. or forced to make an incorrect call preflop. Preflop slowplaying is bad. however. I will try to post one solid piece of advice for SS play each week. Note that just being recklessly aggressive postflop is not enough to warrant a smooth call. suited connector) Call raiser's flop bet when you hit your monster. you will not take their stack this way against an overpair. but postflop slowplaying is usually much worse. pick your spots. I normally play 5/10 NL and higher. If I forget. 65 . is the most overrated reason at almost any limit. 2) VERY VERY rarely is slowplaying correct This goes not only for postflop play.solid TAG and you have to sandwhich yourself between the TAG and the loose player. he has very slim implied odds regardless of his holding. If you smooth call a loose raiser and see a Q44 flop. make sure you do it against an opponent whose PFR is small enough to the point where you know the range of hands you are trapping. someone send me a PM. I'll try to think of another important concept for next week. This is against a player who is recklessly aggressive postflop. you'll only end up trapping yourself when he shows you a 45 which you could've either pushed out preflop. Raise the turn small (whether it's minraise or raise f/ $200 to $500). I would estimate your BB/100 will be DRAMATICALLY higher sitting to the left of the loose player with the TAG to your left. however. I have gained some knowledge from 2+2 and would like to repay by helping out some Small Stakes players. There is a second minor reason to slowplay preflop and this is for deception purposes. I don't post often in MHNL because at that level. some of the advanced concepts and thought processes are better left unsaid since some people still don't understand them.

He probably isn't folding unless. Any heart. It allows your opponent to play a small pot in a hand where he is either way ahead or way behind. T. The correct play in this situation is not only to bet the turn. Check-raising and leading out are both acceptable options.. When you flop a set and sense that your opponent has an overpair. SB posts a blind of $5. You want the maximum amount going in on every street. you should be wary of the fact that any time you check 66 . 4) Your opponent doesn't bet! In the previous 77 example. Check-calling is pretty bad. pound him. 3) a scare card hits. Because the overwhelming majority of players online slowplay their very strong hands. Go for it all.6. SB calls $175. get 95%+'s opponent's stacks all-in with Kx. Hero raises to $35.against some loose calling station whose entire thought process is "he bets more so he has a better hand". This assures that you disguise your quads. SB calls $70. use this line (raising the flop is still superior) and value bet him into submission.12) CO ($992) Button ($704. Don't plan on taking half his stack. BB calls $25.35) SB ($769. Hero ??? So many players will check the turn. 6 (3 players) SB checks. He will never fold his TPGK. Betting it also disguises your hand and most probably stacks Villain if he holds Kx. I'm going to use a simple example to illustrate this point. You don't want streets checked when you have a very strong hand. Flop: ($105) K. You heard right. Checking the turn is 100% wrong. BB folds. Here is another example from a hand that I played recently: Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em. Hero bets $175. Turn: ($245) 6 (2 players) SB checks. However. River: ($595) A (2 players) SB checks. SB (poster) calls $30. I stated that check-raising and leading are both good options. The reason check-raising is equally good is because your opponent will often make a continuation bet when he misses which you would not gain if you lead. 3 folds. This one should be obvious. You check call the flop. most thinking players will never see what hit them when you fastplay yours. Reasons slowplaying is bad: 1) Fastplaying is deceptive.. Hero bets $70. $ BB (6 max. 5.75) Preflop: Hero is UTG with 6. The flop comes T74 with a heart flush draw. and prevent a scare card (Ace) from killing your action on the river. However.3 could result in your opponent not willing to go to the felt with his overpair. slowplaying is not (against thinking players). J. 6. You have 77 OOP against a preflop raiser. BB checks. 6 handed) converter BB ($949) Hero ($1342) MP ($286. 2) Fastplaying builds pots. This example illustrates how much can go wrong when you try to slowplay. but to bet all-in. I forgot that an A could hit the river and potentially kill my action. Think about how many turn cards could potentially kill your action.

think about how important game selection is. they are my opinions. this may average out to around 9-12BB's.intending to trap. the bottom line is. For my third post next week. the decision is whether to slowplay or not. Within a few days you can easily recognize the regular. chances are there might be 4 or 5 tables out of 100 that you are unable to sustain a positive winrate. Whether I state them as absolutes or not. When you aren't playing. the easiest way to do it is to use PokerTracker and an add-on which superimposes everyone's stats onto the table. Sorry it took me so long to get this one out. 2) Identifying Fish If you are to exercise good game selection. If we take a conservative estimate and say he lasts 70 hands. Sure there are times when you should be slowplaying. he is a fish. I've been busy lately. Think about the times where you sat down with a fish on your table playing 70-100% of his hands. there is a big difference between winning 2BB/100 on a certain table as opposed to 15BB/100. In this case. winning players.. Be warned that you shouldn't automatically assume that because a certain player's VPIP is over 30.. At small stakes. wrong and right. that's a ridiculous 9-12BB/HR raise on your winrate. Depending on how much he bought in for. but it is more of a profitability discussion. First. your game selection sucks. The important thing is that you have the thought process to recognize when those situations arise and why slowplaying is more profitable than fastplaying in those situations. on average you will take x% of that player's stack. Anyone opposed to this? Enjoy. if you are a good player. However. (PART III) Hi. I don't think there are many doubters to the fact that game selection is important so I won't spend much more time on it. the important thing you should be taking in from this is the thought process involved in making decisions. I have an idea. Rather. If you follow most of the following advice. Since most of you are probably multitablers. sometimes you won't. and the regular. losing players. If your game selection consists solely of putting yourself on the waitlists of the tables with the biggest avg pots/highest% to the flop. obviously you have to know what a good game is. However. How quickly on average does he go broke? 30 hands? 50 hands? 70 hands? If you are on his table. However. but a bunch of you bombarded me w/ PM's so here goes: The first two posts focused specifically on poker strategy while this one will deal with profitability. x will be around 30%. Here are a few specific ways to improve your profitability (roughly in order of importance) 1) Game Selection: This is by far the most important thing you can do to improve your winrate. There is a wide range of styles with which people can play 67 . you should leave your computer on and datamine. your opponent may check also. let's move on to how you go about picking good games. Disclaimer: Don't take what I write as black and white. sometimes you'll be the one taking his stack.. rather than a pure strategy discussion.

. Standard stack sizes. you can be pretty sure that he is a losing player. 4) Learn to play short-handed This is probably one of the biggest fears of a lot of small stakes full ring players. You aren't going to win much off him. Or write "fires three barrels with overcards". This isn't because I improved my postflop play that quickly but rather because there are more fish on the 6 MAX tables. Believe it or not. and ways for you to exploit that. Now you know not to bluff him. However. Now you know to just check-call him down to the river. TAKE NOTES. Maybe he reads your hand well and can get away quickly. I was scared to death of SH play. 3) Play more hands with the fish and less with the sharks This should be obvious. Or write "doesn't extract proper value from strong hands". When you see someone check-call the KQ4 flop OOP w/ A7o. Now you know that you should just check-call him down with your top pair type hand. Instead. Here is another example. this is incorrect for a number of reasons. a solid player's opening range is going to be such that every time you flop your set. no draws. but it is amazing how many players play on complete auto-pilot and disregard for who they are playing the hand against. First of all. like most things. I know when I first started out. However. I'd have to play postflop and not just win exclusively on the strength of solid starting hands. don't write "donkey" as your note. write "calling station". The next way to identify the fish is to observe how they play particular hands. However. but what good is that if you are unsure of how to exploit it. Solid player raises 4-5x from middle position.. For example. You have 55 in the SB. A lot of players will call and take a flop to try and flop a set. Remember. I can honestly say that after 2 or 3 days of playing 6 MAX. my winrate was significantly higher than what i was earning at full ring. there are 50/20's who are winning players at 5/10NL and 10/20NL. Very bad player minraises UTG. Once you are able to identify the fish. Standard starting stacks. he will not necessarily have a strong enough hand to pay you off. and I am now playing more hands against each fish. how else can you increase the number of hands you play against him. Now. It's important that you note specifics of how the weak player plays. there's no guarantee that he will even go broke with an overpair or top pair. that you have to plan on getting 50 big blinds worth of his stack in the middle just to BREAK EVEN on your small pocket pair. Say he raises KQ and the flop comes J75. The bottom line is that speculative hands fluctuate in value depending on the player you are playing them against. you need to learn how to take advantage of them. You should be seeing a flop here every single time. Next. you are playing the numbers game. 68 . Maybe a scare card hits on the turn to kill your action. Chances are that a player with a VPIP of 50 is much more likely to be a loser than a player with a VPIP of 15. All folds around to you. Sure this tells you he sucks. Other than widening your range of hands you will play against a weak player.profitably. Playing 46s profitably against a very bad player in this situation should be pretty easy if you know what his leaks are and how to properly exploit them. Here's an example. because this player is good. You have 46s on the button. One caller.

Most players don't have the thought process required to deduce the real reason you are reraising so much and will think your a nutjob 69 .I think that every player takes a progression throughout their poker careers from full ring to 6 max. every time you are in a pot against the player you are trying to play as many pots with as possible. The overwhelmingly correct answer is the players who play poorly. Flop comes 982. The bottom line is that because that player is so bad. Who wants to play a 4 handed pot out of position with hands like that? Furthermore. Not only are you now able to isolate against that player at will. One caller. You can't open JTo anymore because the loose player will call. If a seat to the direct left of a loose. Let's say you are to his direct right. weak player opens up. Even if once in a while you have to play a hand out of position against a tough player. maybe you should consider reraising him 20 times the blind. CHANGE YOUR SEAT. You are going to have to significantly tighten up your preflop raising. Turn is a 2. the game will still be profitable. Check. Very next hand you are dealt AA. The reasons for this are fairly obvious. or the players who play poorly. However. The fewer the number of players. Now what happens if you aren't able to move to the left of the weaker player. this usually involves how you've been playing for the past 40-50 hands. The point of this example is that your table image can greatly influence certain decisions. sometimes if you don't have a piece you might give up. One of the reasons it's so difficult to comment on HU NL hands is because a lot of that depends on the previous hands that you've played with the opponent. you should be playing 4-5 times as many hands against the weaker player. Call. you should definitely look for another table where you can get more favorable seating. Here is an example: Say you've been making a lot of continuation bets after PF raises. 6) Psychology How psychology applies to poker is something a lot of people don't properly understand. In this situation. and this will entice others after him to follow. the more potential the game has for profitability. However. One of the important aspects of any hand is how your opponent perceives you. This is what is going to happen. You should very seriously consider making an abnormal size raise. if possible. You'll have to control your continuation betting because that player is probably a calling station. 5) Seat Selection Issues It is often argued whether it is better to sit to the left of the players who play well. You raise xy. and C/F turns when you miss. Unless you have a long history with the opponent. Let's say an average player opens from the button. He opens from the cutoff. you are out of position. Bet. it might be very profitable for you to fire a second barrel as your opponent probably thinks you only fire 2nd barrels with legit hands. you don't risk getting 4 callers behind you. This is especially the case when you have just sat down at the table. to 3 handed and HU play. given your table image. but now when you raise. If he raises 4 times the blind. Think about it. You reraise AQo from the big blind and he folds.

You are very likely to be put all-in preflop. Enjoy. If you have ideas on what you would like me to discuss. This is all I can think of at the moment but I'll try to add something next week. so if something doesn't make sense. The reason is that he won't give you as much credit for a strong hand since you are reraising him two times in a row.and go broke with a mediocore hand. In this case. lemme know and I'll try to address it. 70 . I'm too tired to proofread this. or get raised on the flop. feel free to PM them to me. Similar situation. A hand like TT or JJ will have trouble dealing with this much pressure. you should almost always just call his preflop raise. however this time you hold a hand like TT or JJ.

First. because I tricked you into telling me that you were. The results as of right now: Less than 25% of the time: 6 (15% of responders) Between 25% and 50% of the time: 11 (27.10) 2 (2 Players) BB bets $5." where you feel like your opponents can see into your soul.55 UTG: $10. They're just as lost as we are.(LegoPoker Hand History Converter) SB: $28. What does weak-tight mean? In a nutshell. You give your opponents too much credit for hands and too much credit for hand-reading.6 Players .00 River: ($16.No Limit Hold'em Cash Game . Unfortunately. You know what? They really can't. I had my sneaky moderator-accomplice make another post. Hero calls $5.35 Preflop: Hero is dealt J T (6 Players) UTG folds. this month I tested uNL and found out that we're still weak-tight as a group.55. Well.5% of responders) After that thread died down.25 Blinds ..30 BTN: $10.00. Hero raises to $1. It should look reasonably similar to you: ---------- 71 .00 Turn: ($6.00 Flop: ($2. BB calls $2. 3 folds. ---------I then asked you how often villain calls the bluff.00. I gave you this thread where hero flops air: ---------Poker Stars . I like to call it "Psychic Villain Syndrome.UNL YOU ARE WEAK TIGHT (Pokey) A little over a year ago I tested SSNL and found out that they were weak-tight.60 BB: $22.. when we give them credit for being paranormally perceptive poker players we shoot ourselves in the foot.80 CO: $48.10) 3 (2 Players) BB checks.00 Hero (MP): $29.10) 9 8 5 (2 Players) BB checks.5% of responders) Between 50% and 75% of the time: 18 (45% of responders) More than 75% of the time: 5 (12. BB calls $1. failing to make +EV moves because we fear that our plays will be obvious (no matter how far from the truth that might be). Hero bets $2. weak-tight means you have MUBS: (M)onsters (U)nder the (B)ed (S)yndrome.00. Hero bets $14.$0.10/$0. Why do I accuse uNL of being weak-tight? Well..

and you told us: Less than 25% of the time: 7 (29. That.80 CO: $48. but at LEAST one of them MUST be. the main consequence is that we make incorrect plays because we give our opponents too much credit. Hero bets $14..55 UTG: $10.10) 2 (2 Players) BB bets $5. and the formula will change as you move up in stakes. What are the consequences of being weak-tight? Well.00 Hero (MP): $29. On the other hand.60 BB: $22.00 Turn: ($6. The turn and turn action are're weak-tight. ---------NOTE WELL: stacks are the same.00. BB calls $1. Only empirical evidence and reads will tell us which answer is correct for a particular villain.2% of responders) Between 25% and 50% of the time: 12 (50% of responders) Between 50% and 75% of the time: 4 (16. The ONLY DIFFERENCE is that instead of air we've got the immortal nuts. IF our villain dumps most of his hands to a river push.00. Hero bets $2.10) 9 8 5 (2 Players) BB checks.6 Players . 3 folds. the other will. I honestly don't know where the truth lies. We bluff too little because we're just SURE that villain is calling.$0. IF our villain will call our bluff-pushes too often for bluff-pushing to be profitable. then the next time you have the 72 .10) 3 (2 Players) BB checks.00 River: ($16. but this will vary from villain to villain.00 Flop: ($2. is the very definition of weak-tight. even though every possible factor in the hand is otherwise identical. My pure and uneducated guess is that at uNL.7% of responders) More than 75% of the time: 1 (4.30 BTN: $10.00. We then asked you how often THIS river bet gets called. If that's the case.. but in the same situation when we've got the nuts we bet small because we KNOW that villain won't call a big bet.. then bluff-pushing will be extremely +EV for us.10/$0. Hero calls $5. The flop and flop action are identical. This makes no logical sense.55. How do we beat this weak-tight curse? Let's assume that we err on the side of overestimating our folding equity. unknown villain calls MUCH more often when we've got nothing than he would when we've got the nuts. it cannot be correct. but it's how we think as a group. my friends. but believing that NEITHER pushing the nuts for value NOR pushing air as a bluff will be +EV cannot be correct -. then pushing with the nuts will be extremely +EV for us.if one doesn't work. I'm not saying that both of these statements are wrong.No Limit Hold'em Cash Game .(LegoPoker Hand History Converter) SB: $28. pushing for value is usually +EV and pushing as a bluff is usually -EV. The river and river action are identical.Poker Stars .35 Preflop: Hero is dealt 7 6 (6 Players) UTG folds. Hero raises to $1. You've mistakenly assumed that an identical. BB calls $2.25 Blinds .2% of responders) Bummer -.

It might over-reduce it. but it's probably a move in the right direction. reduce that amount by a couple BBs. ask yourself "if I had air.nuts on the river. Give it a try for a couple days and see how it works for you. This adjustment will reduce our predicted folding equity when we have the nuts. If your answer is yes then decide how large a bet you could make with air and still have it be +EV. Let's try to get around our psychological stumbling blocks and start making rational decisions instead. I point it out because it's an EXTRAORDINARILY common problem for poker players in general. I don't point this out to insult you or try to make you feel stupid. then push. rather. 73 . at all stages of development. would pushing be +EV?" If your answer is no. and bet that much.

. knew how to c-bet etc but still had some pretty big holes in my game. First we begin with my first ~150k hands which can only be described as mediocre. vaguely aware of position. The results are my last ~100k hands. As you can see I was pretty much the typical "tagfish". got some coaching and did some sweat sessions with friends.Working on your game (kom) I decided to post what is most of my 50nl "career" because I thought it might be useful for some players. I was tight preflop.. spent alot of time reading posts across unl-HSNL. So I signed up for cardrunners. 74 .

I think the things I learned in the second batch of hands are: 1. whatever pot odds" calls on the river when it was obviously -EV. One good tip here is to include your net $won/lost in your HUD. 3. If early in a session I showdown premium hands and establish a tight image then this becomes very successful as I can abuse this image to steal and rob lots of small-medium pots. "meh. Work on identifying profitable places to fire again on the turn (Scare cards against habitual floaters etc) and it will pay dividends. Look to make river folds!! Too many times I used to make alot of very bad. c-bet less and wait for a good spot to use your bad image to get paid off. However. The one thing I will say 75 . Showdown Comparing the 2nd sample to the first you can see that i went to showdown less and won more often when I got there. and even then probably don't talk about it. I never used to adjust my play if my image wasn't so great. but alot of uNl players are not aggressive enough on the turn.Table image Be aware of your image at the table! My default is to c-bet ~100% of the time and look to aggressively take down pots with or without a hand. I find it can be a decent indicator of how you are viewed by the table. ie cbetting. Turn aggression is important. Working on stopping this has brought my showdown numbers into the range which I think is about right for a taggy style. If you have been caught stealing with trash/double-barrelling with air etc.Variance In the brew etc people are always moaning about tiny swings over tiny samples. 4. Alot of players have gotten flop aggression down. then ADJUST!! Tighten up a bit from late position. 2. Man up and play the hands and don't talk about variance until you've played at least 50-100k hands. check raising flush draws etc. Looking at the two stats samples you can see in the 2nd one my turn aggression is significantly higher and I think that has been one of my biggest improvements.

whilst I still have alot to learn I feel I've at least grasped the fundamentals of playing good ABC tag poker. take it is quite obvious that the 2nd graph has far less variance than the first due to the significantly higher ptbb/100. Although even with a >6 winrate I still experienced a ~13 buy in downswing while playing my A game. 76 . You are on the right track and with some small adjustments you can join me in beating the uNL games at a good clip and getting ready to take shots at the higher games. Those of you struggling as breakeven/small winners like I was. In conclusion.

. iii) MAKE A NOTE! . All we ought to really care about is whether we made goot decisions or not and think after a sesh "woot I made some great +EV moves today ++ Sklansky bucks for me" or "man I really sucked calling there and sucking out for 300bb" But if you play a bunch of tables you don't have nearly enough time to review how +/your EV was for the big decisions you made that session. An hour or two later I finish up happy that I ran goot or mad that I lost monies and I go do something else.just focus mostly on the hands where you had to think a little. Sound like you? A lot of mediocre players play like this .I look through the players that are sitting choose what tables I want to play and off I go.for the most part they make the right plays most of the time hey nobodies perfect right. Often times I find myself playing on autopilot .how do you play yours? are you a TAG a LAG a sLAG a nit ? However you play and whoever you play against one often overlooked part of paying goot is reviewing the hands you play afterwards and looking to see what good decisions you made .The Basics: session review & " Deconstruction" (matrix) Poker . Punch the hand into the stove take your time and put the villain on a range and check your equity vs that range. It's *very* hard to get out of the "woot I won x buyins today I rule" or the "Holy sheet I ran so bad I am down $x" mentality when you finish a session. Session 5th Nov . ii) Open poker stove .and move onto the next big hand.I get the poker fired up I open up 3279874574305790428590480 tables .replay the big hands you wanna look at in the replayer and pause the action when you had to make a decision. This takes you 15-20 mins after you're done playing for a 90 min 4table session or up the tracker s/w and filter it to show the big pots you just played. We make less FTOP "mistakes" than the rest of the opposition thats it. If you got all-in pf AAvKK and stuff ignore those . I think this is a one way ticket to breakevensville.they know the basics they know what plays are goot and what are not . How do we make $ playing poker?? We make more with our good hands and lose less with our bad hands than the other players we play against. You should end up with a notepad file that looks like.what bad stuff you did and trying to not repeat the bad stuff again and versa vice. Here are some handy steps that help me after I play a session to get a handle on how well I am playing . i) Open up notepad or use pen/paper or something .Party $50NL 77 .and in what spots I really need to work on and improve..

instead of keeping out of their way get under their skin.pick out a villain I play against often that I have a LOT of hands on and I look at what moves they make . We all maintain large databases of opponents play .he is often semi-bluffing.get into the habit of writing down why you did x in y situation and I find it helps me to think better at the table and overall make less FTOP "mistakes". V had naked fd.but can't continue with whiffed OC's .i) raised a 19/16 MP TAGs "CB" with air on rags flop . iii) .OK play.villain plays v tight from E/MP . Save these then once a week look back through your cliffnotes and see if the same spots come up often .how they lost the big pots they played how often they fold to a re-raise .we ought to use these more. ii) called a b/3b all-in OOP vs TAG on flop w TPGK. Once a week I sit for an hour .. 78 ..what size of raise is need to get value . I write up a huge pile of notes on this villain and either import them directly to the poker s/w or I notepad them and copy/paste them in later when I see them again. figure them out and be better armed next time you play them. etc.and looking for ways to possibly exploit their weaknesses. Some villain giving you trouble at the table? .or to get a fold.folded to shove . Which leads me onto "Deconstruction" Basicaly taking other peoples games apart . Good call .

and right now jman is doing a great well in HSNL in which people are asking him the same question. You learned about pot odds. you picked up a poker book at your local bookstore. and almost that many this year alone.this is my Christmas present. since I haven’t made a serious post in MSNL in a very long time. so by folding a lot and only playing strong hands. the pitfalls to avoid along that path. If you really got more hungry. if you want to surpass the fgators’ of the world. you would have an advantage. you reach the first milestone in your poker career. but it’s not nearly enough to win online. Milestone #1: Poker is not played inside of a box.THE EVOLUTION OF A POKER PLAYER (aejones) Disclaimer and qualifier: I have played well over one million hands of online poker. and what you can expect in the future. For me. After many of you found poker and decided you wanted to get better at it. To this day. and I was able to find the points in time in which I really had epiphanies. or how to squeeze out an extra bet with two pair playing 3-6 limit. you’ve received it a specific way. Through these books. Basic concepts. You realize that other people have cards too! What if you could figure out what they have? A novel 79 . if you’re reading this. (would also appreciate if someone who visit SSNL would link it there. He was one of the few people 3 or 4 years ago that actually went through some thought process fairly publicly. you learned to play tight.most notably) and if SSNL and MSNL people would ask questions related to this thread that others could help them answer. I remembered that was a question that is asked in most “wells. Around this time you start thinking about things other than your cards. thanks) The Evolution of a Poker Player by aejones Poker is discovered differently by many individuals. or even tournaments. It worked. You might have won some money in home games or online.” I was asked more than once in mine. Although there are a variety of ways to go about discovering the game. I’ll have a huge advantage recalling his thought process from hands I read over and over back in the day (without him knowing the information I’m using). you searched Google for poker articles. I’ve just recently started to reflect on my career in poker. I believe that if/when I play with DN. but nevertheless an integral part of your poker career. but fairly important ones nonetheless. no one else was folding seemed fairly simple enough. or read excerpts by Phil Hellmuth or Daniel Negreanu from their websites. where the only person who can beat the rake in that game is Jerry Yang. Clearly. Daniel Negreanu was my most important teacher before I was any good at poker. and might even assist you to winning low stakes NL online. there are specific channels to go about educating yourself on it. I’ve decided that I’ll take the time to answer it comprehensively. Thus. including dreams of wanting to become the next half-witted accountant from Tennessee with a weight problem to make seven figures. you need to learn to think outside of it. The goal of this ‘essay’ is to expedite the education process of all those who read it indirectly. and I benefited greatly from knowing how he thought. Tight was right. These kinds of things will help the average railbird. I’d appreciate it if HSNL people read it and expounded upon it (and the future. This book was in all likelihood terrible (with the exception of Super System). This essay is designed to describe a successful way to go about educating yourself about this game (a ‘method’ that many of you will be able to identify with).

get tight. you are brought into a whole new world of poker. and be open to moving down anytime you hit a bad run. indeed. stunted his growth in poker.a TAGfish. You make this transition over and over again. Milestone #2: Playing the hand in the fanciest manner does not necessarily equate to making the most money. terrible high stakes player. Downswings from playing too fancy and getting your ass handed to you by regulars will lead to low confidence. The human brain is constantly conditioning itself to be results oriented and doubt anything that doesn’t work at the moment. and you should try to cater to the way they play (tight in loose games. I spent the greater part of a year worrying about how loose and aggressive I could play. get tight. If you are fortunate enough to run good at 25-50 and continue to ask questions. get loose. you’ve done alright! Hello fold equity! Anytime I go all in. get loose. I think cts and jman had fairly instant successs at higher stakes. We’ll likely revisit this transition later in our poker careers. It is at this moment that Grimmstar shot off from the standard evolution of a poker player. fold equity. You get aggressive. the period before this next milestone is characterized by a great humbling at the poker tables. which in time you will learn to de-value.anytime you can get it in with more outs than you have fingers on one hand. You realize your image can effect others into making awful plays. running 50 buy ins below expectation in back to back months. study game theory. and then value highly again. or splashing around with bottom pairs and draws when no one is folding second pair on any street for any bet. Suddenly. have this epiphany. and hopefully.I can do anything as long as I balance! You likely overvalue balance. and one that many players have not come into contact with yet. I’ll just be like ‘fold equity. It all causes you to retool your game. Hell. I’m not sure at what point I came to understand that you could play “straightforward” and be extremely successful. we all see how bad people play against Poly Baller. Usually a shot goes wrong or you just start experiencing extreme variance. When you’re tight and losing. When you’re loose and losing. There are other examples about players who left here to success. and eventually settle on something that fits their personality. Everything looks and tastes different than it did before. you blame it on the loose leaks.then you’re clearly smart enough to ‘learn on the fly’ and discover other milestones in your poker career as they come. The man burned nearly a million dollars. I was playing straightforward. fold equity’it’s a chant to the poker gods. you complain about not getting enough action. with a friend having some of my action (probably a quarter). and you get excited about poker.concept. loose in tight games) instead of imposing your impressive will of folding in an already nitty game. This was by far the most difficult concept for me to understand. He moved straight up from this first milestone. People change their ideal style based on what is sexy at the time. This is around the time most of us learn how to play LAG as well.for instance. You realize there are all sorts of player types. and became a terrible. They were lucky enough to move up and run good. but wise enough to learn along the way. get tight. Oftentimes. and checking the size of my dick every time I showed a bluff. Second and third level thinking come into the picture. You learn about Gabe’s girlfriend Shania. true story. and after about 50 hands I was looking at my PAHUD and it said this 80 . you’re looking to fillet a different kind of fish. You learn to play draws super fast. specifically. When you learn the nuances of playing loose and aggressive and the effects of your image on the table. A note about discovering LAG play. perhaps. I guess I could think of a few examples… I remember one time I was taking a shot at 25-50 on about a 50k roll.

spots where you should gain extreme confidence. reg with history. Around here you will learn a very valuable lesson that aggression post flop is not the same as aggression preflop. Eventually. Most of what you guys play is just crappy. lots of c-bets and obvious second barrels. no offense. however. It was the most concise way to say this: At some point in your career you will be humbled. Most of us come from different backgrounds and therefore employ different thought ace peeled the river. river check raises. Some players have absolutely no backdoor aggression. not everyone can play the same. THAT is a hand with history. however. and although they are inevitably related.but that’s okay. (re: upfront vs. so at this point in your poker career you gain a great deal 81 . but their backdoor aggression is pedestrian. Upfront aggression is basically betting with the lead. As soon as I learned how you could play relatively straightforward and just add some tricks up your sleeve (when you image warrants you getting away with it) I instantly became a better player. it’s super standard without real history. You will realize that quantity does not equal quality and that high post counts are more a function of boredom than wisdom. you will have real battles with other regulars. easy to 3-bet pre. many times. or you bluff (or 3-bet bluff) the river for the first time successfully. neither does durrrr! Point being. Guy bet-calls AQ high on the river. backdoor aggression. you’ve likely been humbled many. Milestone #3: The realization that TheWorstPlayer is awful at poker. leading the turn without initiative. Most of you haven’t seen history. while I had been using entirely too much of it for most of my poker career. you will learn that not everyone on 2+2 is good at poker.and he said this guy is the BEST 25-50 player on the internet. is by far the most important in any players career.before the second milestone). but I just realized that it might not be standard lingo on here.” I call horse****. easy to bluff-raise. A lot of you write posts in MSNL that say “Tough battle vs. Most of you are standard 19/17 TAGs and your only ‘battle’ with regs are “zomg. Okay. They’re easy to float.player was like 15/12 preflop… I won’t mention who it was (not a 2+2er) but I asked one of my friends who played high stakes. In general. Some people like to LAG it up pre. but he still called!” In most of these cases. If you reach this stage. and then a flop c-bet is as far as they go aggression-wise. once you learn about stats like WWSF and just general dogfights for flops that you know you both missed. Times when the heavens open up to you and you are being spoken to by the poker gods’ themselves. I remember Ansky and irockhoes played a hand months ago where they got it on 4-bet on the flop with KQ on J high dry. The next milestone. and maybe you don’t agree with someone like Jason Strasser on a hand. There are. Regardless. You realize that you also have a valid opinion. If you all haven’t graduated from the whole “2+2 says I should be super tricky in agro” stage of your careers. Backdoor aggression is basically tricky stuff. I’ve been using these terms with friends of mine for a while now. your first king or queen high call down). that was a bit harsh.turn check raises. THAT is a hand with history. they are not a direct product of each other. etc. one time he called me down with third pair. This is where you try to find your niche. How can he be the best playing 15/12? That baffled me. their upfront aggression is strong. however. hopefully you found this past section very insightful. All great players are not made the same. Perhaps when you make your first sick ace high call down (or in Gabe’s case. obvious aggression.

the better decisions you will make. did not read the assigned chapters the previous night. The fact is that this website. I know you skipped your 8am chemistry class because you were up until 6am getting unstuck. Maybe these guys aren’t that good! You see certain players playing a lot of hours high stakes. this month. we spend all of the time that we used to on athletics and our family sitting in front of a computer and reading a stupid website with ingenious posters like aejones. Most will find MSNL grinding to be satisfying enough. Maybe you start posting in HSNL more regularly. In fact. alternatively. perhaps.he must be good! You see Phil Hellmuth’s bracelets. these forums. but I had ambition. This is the milestone around most people in MSNL struggle. but game select like a 100-200 player. Here is where you will decrease the number of tables you play and increase your reads on the regulars in the game. who are very bad. you’ll start to see it everywhere. I’ve been trying to surpass this milestone for 3 years. increase their exercise regiment. we cry together at ddubious. They do most things as good as a 3-6 player. this can be a strong learning experience. they feel like a fraternity. The fact is that many of us live unhealthy. Many use this milestone to better their social life. it can be confidence-shattering enough to induce people to quit the game. if you get to this stage too quickly. 82 . If you don’t. The more endorphins you can release through exercise or sex or something. get past the 45/12 on your right.of confidence. may never ‘conquer’ this stage. (note: reading this does not mean you’ve passed the third milestone. you have to realize it for yourself) Once you realize everyone sucks. Get past the internet. and did math problems with win rates and tried to figure out how much money you were going to make this week. you need to have a strong self-confidence to survive it. your chances of succeeding in poker will increase exponentially. and this year. regulars. and in order to achieve maximum success you need to play quality hands. there are winning 10-20 and 25-50 players. Only by doing so will you ever improve your poker game. and improve your life. Milestone #4: There’s more to life than poker. A truer statement could have never been written. If you have thick skin and an open mind. most of us who strive to ‘be the best’ were obsessed to some degree. I know you sat in freshman composition class. I know if you ever took the time to learn equity calcs that you sat in the back of algebra and figured out how much fold equity you needed preflop to 4-bet shove Ax in a bvb battle. During nearly this entire maturation process. in fact. We all know that.he must be good! You see Dario Mineri’s Sharkscope. maybe your opinion is well received. The final Milestone is one that I’ve only recently come to discover. This is the moment when you realize that there is a certain burnout point in the game.he must be good! If you can get past those three statements. Seeing is believing. I was humbled by players that were better than me (at the time.we laugh together at reef.most. Mostly. spend more time with their family. I didn’t have experience. not a minimum quantity. and still) by posting in HSNL.

83 . We will repeat this cycle many times until we reach a happy medium. We will second guess this medium. rightfully so. because it will be wrong. The best have found their niche. because again we will be wrong. the best understand their place in the poker universe. many of us will cycle between loose-aggressive and straightforward. doubt ourselves.In summary. rightfully so. We will repeat this process over and over again. We will change styles again.

I think that in this case.BETTING THE TURN vs BETTING THE RIVER (Reguin) This has been under discussion recently in a number of threads. but the majority of the time. but I'd prefer to keep it abstract. the reasons mentioned above. but on such a dry board villain will often go for a CR again on river if he missed it on the turn. However. By this I mean hands that we are happy to bet all 3 streets with. and better to bet your middling made hands on the river than the turn. the deepness of the stacks won't be much of an issue since I am mostly discussing times when villain check/calls us down. Why? Well. Then I'd like to see how Shania fits into all of this. all based on how easy it is for villain to call. The postflop action was that Hero continuation bet on a dry board with one face card and two unconnected low cards and got called by villain. Essentially all I've said here is that it is harder to call 1 bet on the turn than 1 bet on the river (if the turn was checked). It is harder for villain to call the turn than the river with a weakish made hand because villain knows that by calling here. Obviously this is different than the best hand possible. and so I don't consider our EV much different between a turn bet and a river bet if villain wanted to CR us. the nuts. Now lets look at our turn options. and bluffs (obviously by bluffs I mean air that you have decided you would like to bluff with. If we are bluffing. The other factor is that if we have the nuts we are almost always betting the turn. Basically. Now I want to examine Shania here. To keep it simple. the river with two types of hands: middling made hands that you would like to value bet once more with. you would prefer to check the turn and bet the river. it is easier for villain to call the river imo. That involves shania though. everything I discuss assumes Hero is the preflop raiser from the CO after it was folded to him. I want to examine if we should prefer betting on the turn vs. By doing so we lose the ability to multistreet bet. he basically turns his hand faceup as a weakish made hand. once again. in that you want it to be easy for villain to call. we might save some money from bluffing if we checked the turn and villain bet out on the river. What about your middling made hands? Well. So for the above mentioned reasons. I say less likely instead of impossible because if villain decent then he should often go for a CR on river (given the dry board) if he missed it on the turn. is it better to bet the turn or to check it? We do not need to consider the case where villain is going for a CR because if he is. we should lose about the same amount of money overall. luckily. Both have slightly deep 150bb stacks. so we lose nothing. assuming villain keeps checking to us. it is better to bluff on the turn than the river. I know that that is kind of vague. in that we might not want to get our stack in with the nuts 84 . things he doesn't have to worry about if he is just calling a river bet. the opposite of the bluff applies. assume that decision has been made). with this type of hand we don't want to do that anyways. even if this is true. I feel that it is better to bluff the turn than the river. So even when considering being CRed we prefer to bet the river with this type of hand. Not always. Anyways. Actually. We can assume that villain likely has a weakish made hand. and villain called from the BB. This makes him extremely vulnerable to thin value bets on the river as well as to river bluffs. So I will consider only those times where villain is simply check/calling us down with a weak made hand. though. is that by checking the turn we are less likely to be CRed off the best hand. it is harder for us to call a turn CR than a river CR for. we will get into that later. which on such a drawless board means we only have to consider one more thing. of course. so I think bluffing the turn is more effective. and I'd like to write my ideas about this down so that its clearer to me and so I can get some feedback on it. we don't have to worry about another street. An important consideration. I'm not getting into when you should bluff. Villain then checked a blank turn. I only do this so we have room to manoeuvre.

then he can arbitrarily choose what hands will make up this X%. While the arguments of being easier for villain to call on the river than the turn still apply. Lets examine the exploitablility of only betting middling hands on the river and never on the turn. Anyways. because we should not be doing that too often. we have have turned our hand face up as a valuebet once we bet the river. thats the term I'm using. then it becomes correct for him to call down with only the stronger part of his range. Now we have to ask. he would then correctly recognise the turn bet as a nuts or air situation. we have to bluff sometimes for the exact same reason we have to bluff sometimes in spots where we have the nuts. of course that depends on the game/villain. He cannot just randomly choose when to call down because it is not a nut-or-air situation. But he is still calling the theoretically correct X %. is it exploitable. the reason I took the time to write all this down. So mixing up the 'optimal' betting pattern for bluffs and middling hands. What does this accomplish? Well. if you throw in some bluffs. we are betting 'optimally' without balance. obviously. by balancing our game we dictated the villain's actions and forced him to do something. say we bet in an 'optimal' pattern. the value of the ability to mutistreet bet is enormous with this kind of hand and outweighs other considerations. Now I want to examine balancing our game by sometimes checking the turn and bluffing the river. so he has to wait for certain stronger hands. but I think we do need to bluff the river sometimes or else villain will simply play perfect poker. and so I will ignore it. Thus I don't see the point to balancing our game by betting middling made hands on the turn. But the problem. and to what degree? I will examine checking the nuts behind on the turn later. and it is correct for villain to call say X% of the time on the turn. should be betting the turn. If. however. by not mixing up our game on the river. It should be obvious that we prefer to bet the nuts on the turn than to check it. Anyways. is that villains adapt. right? (the top X% of his range) So we aren't gaining any real equity. we mix it up. for example. but does that actually give him an equity edge? If we mix it up and bet some of our own middling hands on the turn. and we are in fact betting a very strong hand on the river after checking the turn. Fine. Now the usually downside to turning your hand faceup 85 . Ok. So if the above assumptions are true. should we balance this out? That is my main question here. we can say that it is optimal to bluff and bet the nuts on the turn. because we almost never have the nuts and aren't bluffing here. In terms of balancing I want to first consider bluffing more on the river instead of the turn (not talking about 3 barreling here). This only happens a fairly small percent of the time though. So the nuts. Then villain knows almost exactly what kind of hand we have when we check the turn and bet the river. instead of the 'optimal' way. I can't tell you what that % is. However. But where is the gained equity? I can't find it. I keep saying 'almost' because there will be those times when the river improves our hand. Thus he can correctly assume that all of his middling made hands are of equal value in that situation. If. and should we choose to bet the river. The real problem with this 'optimal' betting pattern seems to be that our hand is faceup as air/middling hand once we check the turn. like a bluff. it is faceup as a middling hand. This allows a villain who knows what your valuebetting range is to play optimally. all you have to do is adjust your bluffing % (even while keeping a constant valuebetting hand range) in order to make profit off your opponent. Once we got here. and/or betting weakish made hands on the turn for value and then checking behind on the river. What can villan do to us if we bet that way? Well. simple as that. we are valuebetting and don't want villain to play described if we get CRed on the turn. as we would lose too much value. the villain will be forced to make up his X% from the top part of his range. and to valuebet middling hands on the river. If we don't balance this. how do we balance this out? Or perhaps most importantly.

where you turn your hand faceup on eariler streets. Here the downside to turning your hand faceup is much more extreme. because this is how I see it and want to know that I am not making some wrong base assumption that is hurting me without my knowing it. villain has 2 streets to bluff or valuebet you. is it worth it to lose all that value of multistreet betting with the nuts in order to keep your hand a mystery on the river? I think you have to balance this spot much less than you would in other situations on poker. This isn't so much a post intending to educate as it is my looking for comments and criticism on my thoughts. So you have to ask. compare this to a situation when your hand is faceup by check/calling the flop and checking the turn OOP. it is easy for villain to valuebet thinly against you.applies. I also know that there are a lot more Shania issues that I haven't touched. it is much less of a problem if you do it on the river than on the turn. the only option you have in terms of not turning your hand faceup is to check the nuts on the turn sometimes. Anyways. In this spot. And of course. simply because it hurts you much less here. so please feel free to point them out. 86 . However. I won't be able to respond right away as I'll be away most of teh day but I'll check back in later. So while there are obvious downsides to turning your hand faceup. and you are vulnerable to bluffs. and am very interested to hear your thoughts on this. he has only 1. I hope that wasn't too rambling. That's a very big difference. Anyways.

Any chip you take from a short stack hurts him worse than the chip he takes from you. think of this. In such a squeeze. no worries about what to do against scare cards etc on later streets 87 . Any time you get him to fold after he's put a third of his stack in it's a smack in the mouth. at most. So even though you may not have odds to call against a short stacker's raise. This is the thread where you learn not only how to deal with them. Your only recourse is to learn to beat the short stacks. If you take nothing else away from this post. there is no reason you can't do this too. What would normally be small pots become medium sized pots. Short stacks are successful because they have no difficult decisions on later streets. call him anyway and then open push flop with ATC and see what happens. And they're just as devastating when used against a short stack as when used by one. If you do not have the bankroll or the stomach to deal with this you need to find another game. but how to crush them. you ALSO have a 20BB stack. they rely on fold equity and abuse full stacks who are loathe to take a coin-flip or get it in as a dog even when pot odds dictate they should. everyone talks about short stackers but nobody does anything about them. The thing is. And any time you stack him it's a knife in the gut. 2 streets. Even more so because short stacks don't ever get to win 100BB pots to make up for those losses.Crushing Short Stacks (Cry Me A River) I should hit 5K posts sometime in the next couple weeks. Like the weather. These two factors mean you tactics against short stacks may be radically different from your tactics against full stacks. Do this sometimes with big pairs too to put the fear if god in him. Dealing with short stacks is higher variance than dealing with big stacks. Consider this an early PoohBah post. Advantages to Short stacking Fold equity and Gap concept Only have to play preflop and flop. The only real advantage a short stack has over a full stack is the ability to squeeze two full stacks against each other and force full stacks to fold for fear of other full stacks. All the whining in the world is not going to change a structure that is VERY profitable to the poker sites. There are a couple things you need to keep in mind. However this advantage is often only one of perception. So all those moves you hate? Pushing over your preflop raise? Donk-pushing flop? Well you can do those too. then avoid or neutralize those strengths and exploit their weaknesses. The way to beat any enemy is to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. the other full stack is likely to be as afraid of you as you are of him. When you are head's up against a 20BB short stack. So you should usually concentrate on the short stack. Short stacks generally only play.

And even so. The ones who have a clue and put you to tough decisions. you can make their life just as difficult by putting THEM to the tough decisions. Know your shorties Obviously everything is on a continuum. To exploit shorties. Not all short stacks play the same. bad short stackers are the short stackers with reasonable preflop stats. the price of playing poker MUST go up. they can be VERY high variance. Loose. I am going to group short stackers into three basic types. 3) Raise. The Good Short Stackers Good short stackers are the guys you hate. In particular. Bad Short Stackers Tight. Spotting the loose/bad short stackers is generally quite easy just from their stats. These are the guys who don't abuse their fold equity. there are seldom absolutes. particularly short stacks around 20BB should be calling raises almost never. However. raise.Opponents seldom have odds to chase draws Full stacks who hate shorties and play badly against them Disadvantages/mistakes from short stacking No implied odds Low ceiling to the amount won with monsters Need to push with a wide range to be profitable Short stacking is a limited game plan with no depth that tends to rely on mathematics and tight opponents who fold too much High variance From this I have derived three keys to victory against short stacks. They are: 1) Know your shorties. 2) Effective stacks and pot odds. Essentially. however. something like 12/6/2. bad short stackers are the nuts with stats like 40/20/4 who are looking for any excuse to gamble and get their stack in. they will try to set mine or call raises with suited connectors without anything resembling implied odds and then fold flop. There are a few situations where calling preflop raises with a short stack is a good idea and I'll outline a couple here so you can spot them: . Differentiating between the good short stackers and the bad tight short stackers can take a little more time. Know when you have to get it in with the worst of it.If the short stack has a big pair QQ/KK/AA and the player raising preflop is likely to fold 88 . Tight. These guys are generally sitting with short stacks NOT because they know how to play short but because they're either scared money or short rolled. short stacks. You can spot the bad tight short stackers because the make bad plays. These three different types of short stacks require slightly different approaches to play against and exploit. raise. they are still very bad. Fortunately These kinds of short stacks are in the minority. These are the guys who sit in with 20BB and call preflop raises with 44. Bad Short Stackers Loose. However. These guys are basically free money.

You need to adjust your reads according to the situation. bad short stacker actually has the tightest range here.If the preflop raiser is weak-tight and likely to fold flop too much then the short stack can call and push flop with a wide range and make a lot of profit from these bad folds. he may take into consideration whether or not you fold too much to short stack pushes. bad variety his range is very wide. you raise preflop. you are almost certainly folding too much. OR You raise preflop. the short stack usually has 20BB to 30BB. I will use these three ranges to give you an idea of 89 . He's not looking to re-steal. some are pushing KQ or KJ here as well. short stack pushes all-in.. It's important to know which type of short stack you are dealing with since it helps determine their hand ranges and how best to implement the other parts of our plan. In a 3bet/push the short stack may be wise to just call a preflop raise and try to get it in on the flop. So the question is. This is because he's good enough to try and abuse his fold equity. He isn't good enough to take full advantage of his fold equity and he's waiting for a hand that gives him a good chance to double up. If you see a short stack calling raises outside of these parameters then you're likely dealing with a bad short stack. Everybody else folds. or at least a short stack who is not playing optimally. Some will do this with any pair. They are: 1) You raise preflop. Do you call or fold? 2) Short stack limps. So a reasonable range here is JJ+/AQ+. Situation 1) In this situation. However. Something like 88+/AT+ is not unreasonable. short stack calls. So his range here is going to be somewhat dependent on your raising range and position. For the purposes of the math that follows. If you are having a hard time against short stacks. The good short stacker is the toughest to put on a range. Effective stacks and pot odds This is really the meat of the equation. However. you cbet and short stack checkraises all in. button) and/or you're an aggressive raiser his pushing range will be much wider than if you are a nitty player. short stack calls and pushes flop. There are three very common situations you face all the time against short stacks. you cbet flop and short stack pushes all in. keep in mind that their range may be almost as wide as the loose short stacker or as tight as the bad/tight short stacker. If you're in a position where your raising range is wide (i. what do we call with here? This all depends on the range we can put the short stack on. Larger short stacks don't usually push preflop like this and if they do you should probably treat them like full stacks. .e. 3) Short stack limps. we will stick to 88+/AT+ The tight. If the short stack is of the loose. you raise preflop. we are going to assign good short stackers a range here of TT+/AJ+. We need to do that first.

88% equity vs range 44 has 39.39% equity vs range If short stack has a range of JJ+/AQ+ AK has 50.63% equity vs range 99 has 45.8% equity vs range If short stack has a range of TT+/AJ+ AK has 54. call 33+/AJ+.5BB and you need to call 16BB.044% equity vs range 44 has 38.11% equity vs range AQ has 33. So. Scenario 1A) Short stack has 20BB and is not in the blind.772% equity vs range As you can see you're going to be getting it in behind the short stack's range quite a bit. this assumes villain has a stack size of exactly 20BB. The pot is 25. Everyone else folds. You need a hand which has 38.18% equity vs range TT has 43. Against the tightest range. Against the medium range.19% equity vs range AQ has 42.83% equity vs range 55 has 39.745% equity vs range TT has 40.86% equity vs range 44 has 39. However.186 equity vs range AT has 31.07% equity vs range JJ has 42.49% equity vs range AJ has 31. You raise 4BB.25% equity vs range 55 has 39. call 22+/AQ+. call 55+/AK+. the dead money in the pot dictates your calling range.61% equity vs range 88 has 41.525% equity vs range 76s has 32.93% equity vs range 33 has 39.79% equity vs range 99 has 40.where you stand in a variety of scenarios.87% equity vs range 22 has 38.55% equity against short stack's range to make a call break-even. Against the loosest range.28% equity vs range 76s has 32. In addition. If short stack has a range of 88+/AT+ AK has 55.11% equity vs range 99 has 39.32% equity vs range 66 has 39.26% equity vs range AJ has 39.41% equity vs range 33 has 38.54% equity vs range AQ has 47. This often isn't the case. how small a stack does villain need to have to make calling with 22/AQ/76s break-even in those situations above where it is otherwise a fold? 90 . Short Stack pushes.36% equity vs range 22 has 38.75% equity vs range 76s has 33.

As you can see pot odds are such that you need a much tighter calling range. You raise 4BB.33% equity. You need a hand which has 42. due to the larger stack size the fact villain is in the blind doesn't make much difference.5BB and you need to call 16BB.5% equity against short stack's range to make a call break-even. You need a hand which has 39. call JJ+/AK+. call 99+/AQ+. Short Stack pushes. the pot is 20. Short Stack pushes. So at 30BB in or out of the blinds can be ignored unless it affects the short stack's range (i. call 44+/AQ+. Against the tightest range.e.If villain has an 18BB stack. Scenario 1D) Short stack has 30BB and is in the big blind. As you can see. call 55+/AK+. Scenario 1C) Short stack has 20BB and is in the big blind.5BB and you need to call 11BB.. You need a hand which has 42% equity against short stack's range to make a call breakeven.98% equity against short stack's range to make a call break-even.5BB and you need to call 26BB.92% equity.5BB and you need to call 14BB. So the fact that the short stack is in the big blind does mean your pot odds are not as good and you need to tighten up your calling range a little. But not a lot. Everyone else folds. Against the loosest range. Against the loosest range. Everyone else folds. Break-even is 34. Villain's stack actually has to get down around 10-11BB for the equity value to shift enough to make 22/AQ/76s calls in these situations. Against the tightest range. The pot is 34. the pot is 23. Everyone else folds. call TT+/AQ+. Short Stack pushes.5BB and you need to call 26BB. Break-even is 37. You raise 4BB. big blind will have a wider push range against an open raise 91 . Against the medium range. Scenario 1B) Short stack has 30BB and is not in the blind. The pot is 35. You raise 4BB. The pot is 24. call 55+/AJ+. If villain has an 15BB stack. Against the medium range.

So let's examine some standard situations to see how much equity you typically have. but he also wants to exploit his fold equity by making you fold the better hand. short stack limps.384% 08.30% 238 3. You need to call 15BB to win a 26. you know sometimes these guys are pushing with 76s themselves. But here are some things to keep in mind. Situation 2) In this situation. particularly other limpers or other players calling your raise. The good short stack has a hand sometimes. Bad.04% 00.657% 75. Overcards vs pocket pair: Board: 2c 2d 9s equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 24.62% 00.35% 00. The loose short stack can't wait to get his stack in and gamble.38% 00.00 { AcKd } Hand 1: 75. They are unaware of fold equity.14% equity in this pot to make this call.00 { Tc9d } 92 . Obviously there are hundreds of possible scenarios here.5BB pot. the pot is 11. The point is that you're probably making a mistake by folding too much and NOT by calling too much. you raise preflop to 5BB. All the better if he can push you off pots. And this is assuming fairly tight pushes.616% 91. some of the close folds (like AJ or 76s) can quickly become calls. And if there are any mitigating circumstances. On the flop. I can't list all of them. If one of these guys pushes they usually have at least TP or a big draw. short stack calls and pushes flop. though for different reasons. loose short stacks and good short stacks have a huge pushing range here.00 { 6c6d } Pocket pair vs bigger pair Board: 2c 2d 9s equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 08. You need 36.from the button than a raise UTG) The thing to take away from this is that calling these pushes is never far wrong.5BB.00% 83 0.00 { 7c7d } Hand 1: 91.343% 24. I'm going to assume it goes without saying that you are calling the push with TP or better and any good draws.00% 907 0. Bad. They're check/folding any flops that miss them. tight short stacks actually have the tightest range here by far. Villain pushes 15BB.30% 746 3.

286% 25. 98s.Middle pair with overcard vs top pair Board: 2c 9s 5d equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 25.81% 05.854% 45.55% 66125 895.42% 00.00% 2219 0.55% 95434 895. they may call with a wide range if they think you are likely to fold preflop to their push.50 { TT-22.e. J9s. ATs+. ATo+. 98s. So we will try to assign some appropriate flop push ranges: Loose short stacks will call preflop with a very wide range and push anything that hits their hand or if they think flop did not hit you.24% 89201 357. Tc9d. However against loose short stacks and good short stacks their range is usually much wider.146% 43.71% 00.091% 39. 98s. KJs+. 98o } Board: 2c 9s 5d equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 59. This may not always be the case. KJs+.34% 62017 7558.029% 40.29% 00. J9o. ATs+. T9s. Good short stacks have a much narrower calling range preflop. 93 . KJo+.714% 74. ATo+.67% 00. ATs+. T9s. J9s. tight short stacks we can often take them at their word and just fold. Tc9d. from the button). If he's going for a steal. particularly if your raising range is wide (i. Against a loose short stack.00% 751 0.50 { AcKd } Hand 1: 50. J9s.48% 00.50 { TT-22.34% 64436 7558.85% 00. 98o } Board: 2c 2d 9s equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 58. I'm going to eliminate big pairs under the assumption they would have been raised preflop. 98o } Against a good short stacker it comes down to figuring out what he's calling raises with. He should be calling raises very rarely unless he thinks he can push-steal against you on the flop.00 { T9s } These look pretty bleak. but usually it should be.24% 59574 357. T9s. ATo+.. However. KJo+.971% 58.909% 59. J9o. J9o. KJs+.50 { Ac5c } Hand 1: 40. pushing range on this flop and our equity in these hands looks something like: Board: 2c 2d 9s equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 49. If he's not stealing then you can expect him to push TP or better like the bad/tight short stacker and you should be prepared to get out of his way. but only if the short stack has EXACTLY those hands. Tc9d. They know not to try and set mine. KJo+.50 { 7c7d } Hand 1: 41.00 { Ac5c } Hand 1: 74. Against bad.52% 05. his range is going to be similar to the loose short stacker.50 { TT-22.

You need 42. say you cbet 7. You need to call 35BB in a 52BB pot.. You need to call 15BB in a 32BB pot. if the pot on the flop is 9. You need 37. You need 40.5BB. you raise preflop. This situation almost becomes trivial against a 20BB stack. OR You raise preflop.5BB. If short stack starts with 40BB On the flop. As the short stack's stack gets bigger. 94 .5BB.You need to try and track what the good short stacker is doing. Put HIM to the tough decision for all his chips. Villain pushes 35BB. Either take the free card or let him bet and then YOU push over him and let him decide if he has enough equity. the pot is 11. you cbet and short stack checkraises all in. You need to call 35BB to win a 46. If you KNOW he's going to push over you and you don't have a hand that can call him then don't cbet. Short stack then pushes 25BB. short stack calls.5BB. In fact. Short stack then pushes 35BB. If he's playing tight against raises then you have to be prepared to fold marginal hands. you don't HAVE to cbet against the short stack. Against a 30BB stack. if the pot on the flop is 9.5BB.3% equity to call.. Against a 40BB stack. If the pot on the flop is 9. Short stack then pushes his last 15BB. You need 40. Situation 3) Short stack limps. This can work just as well against the short stacker as it does for him. If short stack starts with 30BB On the flop.23% equity to call. You need to call 25BB to win a 36.94% equity to call.. Call his preflop raise and then push flop. you cbet flop and short stack pushes all in. You need to call 25BB in a 42BB pot. the pot is 11. So he can't put you on a hand in these situations and sometimes HE has to fold the best hand. say you cbet 7. keep in mind that you after still have plenty of equity against the short stack's range. Or push over his preflop raise.65% equity to call. If he's calling raises with a fairly wide ranges and trying to steal on flops then you need to call him down lightly. The last thing to consider here is that even head's up.92% equity to call which you will have with a very wide range of hands. The other big thing to keep in mind on flops is turning the tables on the short stacker. you should do this sometimes when you DO have a hand you want to felt. you need better equity to call his flop push. say you cbet 7. Villain pushes 25BB. So while you should be tightening up your calling range slightly.5BB pot.5BB.5BB.5BB. You only need 31.5BB pot.

Finally, when it comes to your preflop raising, keep in mind what, if any short stacks are in the hand (or left to act behind you) and whether they're likely to push on you either preflop or on the flop. If they are, then you may want to consider tightening up your range and not raising hands like 76s. Rather only raise hands that you will be able to get all-in on a wide variety of flops. Or if you do still raise 76s, try to do so in situations where you're likely to have good odds postflop even if the short stack pushes. For example, multi-way with several players calling the raise. In this case, also consider raising a smaller amount that your usual 4BB+1 to juice the pot rather than isolate. Raise, raise, raise Short stacks do not want to call raises unless they're planning to push-steal a lot of flops. The worst thing you can do to a short stacker is raise his limps, raise his blinds and 3bet his raises. Remember, he has no or very bad implied odds. And in raised pots he shouldn't have much fold equity against you. This is the worst possible situation for him to be in. You want to raise a short stack as much as you possibly can. Yes this will lead to high variance situations when he comes over the top, however you usually know when you have the best of it. For example, if a good short stacker overlimps from late position, you know he almost always does not have much of a hand or he would raise. So you need to raise. This forces him to fold 33 or 76s because he doesn't have odds to call and try to outflop you. Unless he's going to try push-steal flop. But his range is already well defined. So you know that on the flop you're going to have good equity to call his push. And if he realizes you're playing him tough this way he doubly can't afford to call because he no longer has the benefit of fold equity on the flop. So he needs to fold to your raise; calling becomes a big mistake. If he open raises, 3bet him liberally. His choice here becomes one of folding or pushing. He knows he has little fold equity against you and he can't afford to put in half his stack and fold flop very often. This becomes a very difficult situation for a short stack particularly if you keep 3betting him and raising his limps. You do not want to let short stacks see too many cheap flops. You also do not want to give them the opportunity to be the aggressor and exploit the gap concept and their fold equity. Raise them. Put them all-in before they put you all in. Leveling Keep in mind that several posters here short stack some time or all the time (also lurkers!). If they are aware that you will have read this post they may start adjusting their ranges against you. For example, if they think you've started folding AQ against their preflop pushes, they may start pushing with a MUCH wider ranger to exploit your propensity to fold. On the other hand, if they see you widening your range against them they may tighten up. Against the bad short stackers you really don't have to worry. But watch out for the good ones making adjustments to your game. Final Words Good short stackers are difficult to play against. OTOH, bad short stackers of both the loose and tight variety are very transparent and often amount to free money, particularly if you are willing to play them tough. If you can learn to play well against the bad short stackers they will more than make up for the good ones. What's more, the good short stackers are not unbeatable either. You just need to start playing them as short stacks NOT as big stacks who sit out the turn and river.


A lot of it is putting yourself in very marginal positions, but, the short stacks make a lot of profit getting people to fold too much. The only way to combat that is to not fold when you have decent equity, ensuring that they share in these tough spots. This can lead to very good things for you from a meta-standpoint if short stack alters his play so as to avoid you and not try to push you off hands very often. Thus taking away all the advantage that comes from short stacking.


My Pooh-Bah post (C/R vs. b/3b) (Dan Bitel)
OK, I know it’s time for me to make my Pooh-Bah post, but my problem is, that I’m not good at these long posts, and I don’t really have a good, original idea what to post about, so I’m going to write a short piece on C/R vs. b/3b with both monsters and combo draws. Firstly though, I want to point out a general fact that is a lot of the time overlooked on this forum. Every1 (including me and a lot of the well respected posters) on this board keep harping on about playing combo draws and monsters the same way. We justify saying that by spouting the words “shania”, “metagame” or “game theory” usually. However, it’s quite obvious, that with the 2 hands we are looking for 2 different things. When we have a monster, we want to get paid off, and when we have a combo draw, we want folding equity. Against a very good opponent (one that is better than us or as good as us), then playing your draws/big hands the same way is the line that achieves optimal +EV. However, against a donk, this is not true. For instance, vs. a calling station that will always stack off with TP, what’s the point getting all in on the flop with 12-15 outs when you know he will call, when instead you could draw with good odds and stack him when you hit, b/c he’s that bad. Similarly, vs. a nit, there’s no point bet/3betting all in with a set on a dry board, b/c you’re letting him fold his overpair. OK, now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you about some of the considerations when deciding whether to b/3b or C/R: Stack Sizes (in relation to the pot): This is really important. There’s nothing worse than C/R a board with a combo draw, only to get called, have a lot of money behind on the turn, and the turn bricks. You’re aim it normally to get AI on the flop with both a combo draw and a monster, so if unsure, it’s best to take the line that that gets you all in with the most ease. Eg. You have $20 behind and the pot is $10, then a C/R is the best option, as it gives your opponent a chance to cbet/bluff and your C/R will easily be all in. If however you have $95 behind and the pot is $17, then a bet/3bet is better. Lead for $17 and then after even a minraise, you’re 3bet all in, is a PSB. The other reason that stack sizes are important, is to figure out the FE you have on a draw. Obviously, the shorter stacked the opponent is, the less FE you’re going to have Dead Money: This again is VERY important and a point overlooked regularly. You want to take the line that traps the most dead money in the pot. E.g. Let’s say that UTG raises, and gets 3 callers, you call in the SB with a suited connector, BB fold. You flop an OESFD. If you lead out, and the PFR raises, then the 3 callers inbetween will all fold. If, however, you check, the PFR bets, then hopefully a few of the players inbetween will call with a draw/weak TP or whatever, and when you then C/R, you trap all of their money in the pot. The opposite of this is also true. I.e. you call the button’s raise in the SB and 3 others also call it, then it’s best to lead out, as you trap the most dead money in the pot that way. Image/Reads: Imagine the PFR is a LAG who cbets a lot, but gives up UI on the turn. Then obviously, a bet/3bet line is inferior to the C/R, as you lose his potential cbet. If however, the PFR is


very agro and can raise semi-weak leads with air/weak made hands, then the bet/3bet line is superior as we trap more of opponent’s money in the pot. As well as our read on our opponent being important, our own image is important. If for instance, we have been seen to C/R big with a monster hand before, then it might be best to C/R big next time with a combo draw, as we’ll have a lot of FE. Also, the tighter our image, the weaker our draw can be that we’re either C/R or bet/3betting as we’ll have more FE. If however, we have a very loose image, then its best to stick to very strong draws, as we will get looked up more often. Lastly, as I’ve already stated above, our read on villain is important as to how many draws we can play fast. If villain is a nit, then we can play a lot of draws fast, if he is a calling station, then very few. The Turn One of the biggest problems with a bet/3bet line, is if our opponent doesn’t oblige, and he just flat calls our lead. Here, reads are VERY important. If you think he is the type to just call on the flop with TP, then there’s little point making a big bet on the turn getting him to fold it, as it’s very likely he won’t. It is instead better to bet an amount that prices you in, or maybe just check/call. If however, you think that you’re opponent is floating you on the flop, then it might be best (albeit very high variance) to C/R the turn. C/R with other hands I see so many posts on this board that say “Well I flopped TP, but with a weak kicker, so I checked. He then bet, which I think could be a cbet, so C/R him to find out where I stand”. IMO this is a terrible (and expensive) reason to C/R. A much better line is to just lead the flop, or if you want to snap off the cbet, then call, and lead a blank turn. While this line is quite transparent at higher levels, it is VERY VERY effective at SSNL. Lastly, I’d like to introduce you to the dbitel rule of check-raising: “By default, never C/R, only C/R if you have a very good reason to do so”


Small PP's - Moving beyond set mining (AZplaya)
In my transition from a full ring nit to a decent(not quite good) 6m player, I have found it necessary to add a bit of versatility to the way I play small PP's(22-66). In full ring, if we call a raise with a hand like 55, we are usually in set or fold mode, unless we hit a flop like 234. However, playing 6m, I have found it necessary to mix up my play with small PP's in order to add to their effectiveness. The following are some examples of plays I have been making that I feel can add BB's/100 if used correctly. There are, IMO, four very important items to analyze when deciding to make a play with a small PP. These are flop texture, type of opponent, your image, and position. Flop texture: Their are 4 types of flops I am looking for when I call a raise with a small PP - Paired boards, monotone flops, ragged flops, and flopping a set. Paired boards - Take a look at the following hand: Party Poker No Limit Holdem Ring game Blinds: $0.50/$1 6 players Converter Stack sizes: UTG: $96.50 UTG+1: $36.75 CO: $119.69 Button: $46.62 Hero: $103 BB: $109.04 Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is SB with 4 4 UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, CO raises to $4, Button folds, Hero calls, BB folds, UTG+1 calls. Flop: Q Q 9 ($13, 3 players) Hero bets $7, 2 folds. Uncalled bets: $7 returned to Hero. Results: Final pot: $13 This is a play I make fairly often with small PP's. A paired flop is a great situation to take a stab at the pot. We all know that a flop misses our opponents about 60% of the time, and on a paired flop, that percentage is far higher. A hand like 88 on a QQ9 flop will have a very tough time continuing when faced with calling a bet. Obviously, unpaired high cards are folding this flop as well. Even an overpair will get nervous when lead into on a flop like this. These are the types of flops that either hit our opponents very hard, or completely miss them. Monotone boards - If I call a raise with 33 from the BB and the flop comes down J95 all 's, I will often lead out into the preflop raiser. Unless the player has a flopped flush(very unlikely) or has a big heart, they will have a hard time calling my bet. This is especially good on a board that is monotone with all low cards, as it is unlikely to have given the preflop raiser a big pair or a set.


as most players think a LAG is bluffing. Your image: IMO. Example. Bluffing them off the best hand is not possible in most situations. The type of opponents we are looking for are players who have a fairly wide pre flop raising range. set. Also. I will often lead out. Therefore. If the flop comes down 269r. continue if they hit the flop. if you play TAG but have had a good run of cards and have been active in alot of pots. These plays become a much more expensive and high variance proposition if you are required to raise a c-bet as opposed to leading into a pre-flop raiser. etc. If your opponent will call down with 99 on a board of KK7. Though the board is far less scary than the above situations. I will do this occasionally because often times my opponent is on whiffed overs. your opponents are more likley to start looking you up. This is also not a good play against calling stations. It is better to wait for monsters and value bet against calling stations. have been playing in very few pots. and will be more inclined to play sherrif. Type of opponent: This play works best against vanilla. Our bets will pack considerably more punch when our opponents have seen us bet our flopped flush. Also. I have been most sucessful with these plays when I have been fairly card dead. it is important to occasionally fire a second barrel in spots like these to avoid becoming to predictable. the above plays won't work. Flopping a set . not to try and take pots away from them. That said.Ragged boards . and fold if they don't. If your opponent only raises QQ+ pre-flop. LAG's will have a difficult time making these moves. A key component to the effectiveness of these moves is that they are fairly uncommon. If you are making these plays quite frequently. Position: This is one of the few situations in poker when I think it is better to be OOP. and have been showing down the goods. then don't try this play.This type of board is less desirable than the above two situations.Obviously our best case scenario when calling a raise with a small PP. I don't usually go beyond the flop with plays like these. don't try this play. these plays are better suited for a TAG image. raise preflop. The way you make money against players who only raise top 5 hands pre flop is to flop a set and stack their overpairs. 100 . don't try these moves. a LP player raises. you will usually be facing a c-bet. and who play very straight-forward post flop. I consider a ragged board to be a rainbow flop of uncooridated cards all less than 10. you can lead into the pre-flop raiser and put them to a difficult decision. I limp UTG with 55. This is not a good play to try against tricky players who like to slowplay or float. I would suggest giving up on the turn unless your hand has improved significantly. If you are OOP. but still deserves discussion. If your observant opponents have seen you slowplaying your big hands. and all fold to me and I call. straightforward players. If you have position. I think they are much easier/lower risk to attempt when OOP. If a player calls your flop bet. Finally: My final bit of advice is to not get carried away with plays like these. and the important thing here is that we lead out with a big hand. We are looking for players who find two good cards. This is also not a good play against players with a very narrow PF raising range.

When you are in position and want the option of a free showdown. but TOGETHER they make betting +EV. So.betting for value should happen less often when your opponent is tight. 5. 4. and it's the kind of question that all uNLers should be asking themselves regularly. When should I bet the turn? As a general rule. 3. he's far more likely to bet it for you. but it's as good as we can get. If you bet into a maniac. He PM'ed me the following: Quote: I believe that my biggest "leak" is in losing value on the turn or river though. While we think of aggro-monkeys as always wanting to get involved in huge pots. Let's look at these one at a time. and when you get called you're less likely to be ahead. but I'm never sure where I should be betting. Could you a handful of examples where a river bet might be appropriate. "Strong enough" is going to be opponent-specific.. 2. let's try and find a roadmap to Valuetown. the reality is that most of them look so aggressive because they're always either betting . . he's likely to release and move on to the next hand. When your hand needs protection. without further ado. 6.betting for value should happen less often when your opponent is aggressive. Could this be any more vague? Probably not. or FOLDING. . The strength required to consider a hand "strong enough" is going to go up as the number of opponents rises. When neither #1 nor #2 applies. but a typical USNL player might miss it? I'm not talking razor-thin value bets. When your hand is strong enough. You can thank z28dreams for this one: it was his suggestion. To better disguise your hand.betting for value should happen less often against multiple opponents than heads-up. This one is obvious -. there are a few good times to bet the turn: 1.. If you check into him. When your opponent is likely enough to fold.Where the !*$# is Valuetown?? (pokey) Sorry for my extended hiatus from the forums.if your opponent is tight he's not going to call without something. at which point you can snap off a bluff or two (or three. or strong hands that end up facing a 3-flush/paired/straight-completing board. I think this is an outstanding question. 1. or four). but common spots that we should always be betting. Rather than just dribbling back into the forums. When your hand is strong enough. top pair weak kicker. I figured I'd come back with another PSA. everybody -. A few things to consider: . Examples might be mid-pocket pairs on low boards (99-TT). 101 .real life came nipping at my heels a few months ago and I wound up giving up poker playing and poker writing for a bit. The past few weeks I've been dipping my feet back in the soup. and I think I'm finally ready to go back to it. simply because the odds of some sneaky lil' monster increases with the number of opponents out there.

(SIDE NOTE: against this type of opponent.betting for value should happen more often when your hand is subtle. because if two stacks go into the middle and you've got TPTK you've usually made a mistake.. .betting for value should happen more often against bad players. One more point: "raising for value" is harder than "betting for value. Generally speaking. You've got A7 on a board of J732 rainbow.. Now if the board were 9872 with two hearts. Charge them for the lesson. With JJ on a Q942 rainbow board. A preflop raise. . you don't want to build a pot against a tough and clever opponent.folding equity is stronger if you've shown strength earlier in the hand.betting for value should happen less often when the board is dry.betting for value should happen more often when your opponents are likely to be drawing. Before you build a pot. You'll often find players who "test" the preflop raiser to see if he'll keep firing on the turn. 2. followed by a turn bet is EXTREMELY SCARY for most players. make sure you WANT a big pot. go ahead and value bet any pair on a two-suited board. Just be sure you can fold if the third card falls. If you check-called your 88 on a board of Q74 with two hearts. since they will either try to bluff the river or check/call your "obvious bluff" on the river. .folding equity is stronger with better players. value betting should happen not only when you are sure your hand is's unlikely that anybody has an ace (the flop was checked through). Typically bad players are calling stations and "good" players are weak-tight. In short. this is going to be opponent-specific and board-specific. and don't understand when they are beaten. and the turn is another 7. Bad players don't understand hand values. Again. Some important points: . . Say you were in the big blind. If you raised 54s UTG and the flop comes 876 rainbow. and that second seven is going to put the fear of trips in your opponents. you want a small pot if you have a weaker hand. Make use of that. and force them to fold on the turn. start shooting -.. . what the hell is your opponent going to call with? Nothing that makes you happy. especially at uNL levels. The preflop raise / flop bet / turn check / river value bet can be a very potent combination if used sparingly and if used against the right type of semithinking opponent. you've got more chances of getting a call from someone fishing for a hand. . While bad players call too often. that's for sure. the flop comes A72. . good players often fold too often. but against a calling station you're WAY ahead of his range.folding equity is stronger when the turn could have logically improved your hand. so you're very likely to get called by weaker hands. A bet here is going to have some solid folding equity -. If you know your opponent is the kind of person who never folds suited cards.betting for value should happen less often when you want a small pot. consider betting when that K hits on the turn.betting for value should happen more often against calling stations.folding equity is stronger when a scare card falls." because raises often shut down your opponents. either causing them to fold and stop spitting money into your pot or causing them to check-call. Not only was it an unlikely card to have improved 102 . but when your hand beats villain's range. a "second barrel" often has ridiculously high folding equity.) . against this sort of opponent.. you checked through. especially against the kind of opponent who doesn't bet draws (you know which ones I mean). adding far less to the pot than if you'd let them keep firing. checking behind on the turn with a good hand is often extremely profitable.nobody is going to see you coming. especially ones who "understand" continuation betting. don't understand when to fold. Make him suffer for being too loose. When your opponent is likely enough to fold. followed by a flop bet.

This is commonly called "semi-bluffing. your opponent doesn't NECESSARILY like his hand right now! If you push. and don't pretend that the KQJT board matches your big blind -. CO bets 20xBB. Flop: A 7 5 in the big blind. However. Be realistic. though: if you were the preflop raiser. SB calls. you walk away with a 48 BB pot with nothing but potential and guts." You don't have a strong enough hand to warrant a bet (usually you're on the draw). but you've got lots of outs to a very likely winner.folding equity is weaker in a multi-way pot. here.anybody.folding equity is stronger when the board matches your "likely holding. . Smooth-calling for flush value is pretty weak." People typically assume the blinds have crappy random low cards and people typically assume that the preflop raiser has AK or a strong pocket pair. CO bets 8xBB. If he folds.. though -. Let's say that your opponent either has an ace (70% of the time). but it's also going to get hands like 88-KK to fold quite often. button calls.just strongly consider checking behind on the river if your opponent calls this turn bet. Don't even try.folding equity is weaker when your opponents are calling statiosn -. Folding is an option. the flop was 765. The pot equity isn't here and the implied odds are pretty poor. Also.) Turn: 9 You check. Button folds.. (Not necessarily your best play. Don't pretend that the board pairing deuces helped your hand when you've got naked overs. pushing is -EV (your folding equity alone doesn't make this a +EV move). the two sources of value make the play +EV.) . Aces will often still call you down. He's never folding the flush. Now. things change around quite a bit. 3. so you can't just smooth-call and hope to get lucky on the river. First off. But together. or junk (10% of the time). When neither #1 nor #2 applies. SB folds. but let's say this is what you do for the example. if you KNEW your opponent would call 100% of the time and be ahead. the COMBINATION of these two bumps the play into +EV territory.enough said. Often. You call. you 9 SB checks. If he calls. a big pocket pair (20% of the time). and that's always a nice situation. and the turn was a 3. and that means you'll win money some of the time. 103 . . You don't have enough folding equity to be +EV (you think your opponent probably has a good hand). because you're out of position and unlikely to get called by a hand that you beat if you manage to hit your flush. Don't rely exclusively on folding equity here unless you've got a good reason to do so. Likewise if you KNEW your opponent would win 100% of the time at showdown. He's never folding the straight. You check. you've still got twelve outs to a very likely winner. You should consider pushing. but TOGETHER they make betting +EV. people aren't going to believe that you've got a're not going to get folds. your push will be a big enough bet to put the fear of jeebus into your opponent. but that's a risk you've got to take sometimes. sometimes villain will fold the best hand (value for you) and sometimes villain will lose the hand when he calls (value for you).folding equity is non-existent if your opponent's hand is strong. pushing is -EV (your hand strength alone doesn't make this a +EV move). CO (TAG) raises to 3xBB. Example: You've got 6 call. He's never folding his set.(this might be a good time to value bet your pocket pair 99+.. .

you can't be semibluffing. here? JT? Do you really think JT is folding here?? Or maybe you think your opponent was calling you with J 7 and just improved his hand to a superdraw. you're still ahead -.You must have outs. For semi-bluffs to work. Your opponent checks. This happens 25% of the time. your opponent folds. the following must all be true: . With outs. This reason to bet is misused more than any other. You raised preflop 4xBB with KK. This happens 75% of the time. so the total EV here is . you win ~50 BBs. If you've got AA and the board is 8754 rainbow. EV from push equity: 1/3*(+120) + 2/3*(-80) = -13. 4. you'll win ~120 BBs about 1/3rd of the time and lose 80 BBs the other 2/3rds of the time. .Here you're risking about 80 BBs on the push -. be more likely to protect your vulnerable hands. your opponent calls.You must have some folding equity.When you are out of position. EV from fold equity: 50 BBs. you bet 6xBB (ooooh. pushing can be TIMID: you know your opponent will for value or check behind with an unusual read. The turn is Q putting two hearts on the board.5 BBs. so getting an opponent to fold when you're OOP is often a good thing. And yes.3 BBs. It is only because of the combination of some folding equity AND some showdown equity that this move is +EV. What hand are you afraid of.75*(-13. 25*(50) = 12. For instance: say you've got black aces and the board is J T 6 5 and your opponent is loose and 104 .if your opponent folds.75*(-80) + 0.5 BBs. "I protected my hand from the draw!" The reality is that "protection" is an excuse for timid play. so the total EV here is 0. you're not protecting anything against anything -.When your opponent likes to bluff. the EV would be 0.25*(50) = -47. here. If you get called. you push for 90 BBs. sucker him in!). Likewise. and rather than trying to extract value while you're WAY ahead. Let's say your opponent folds 25% of the time. here. you can win at showdown if you are called. When your hand needs protection. if you were always called when you pushed.3 BBs. Note: if you always lost when you got to showdown. These last two combine in some pretty spectacularly ugly ways at times. If you've got 99 and the board is now 8 5 4 3 .5 BBs. many hands could destroy you on the river. If your opponent never folds. "Whew!" you say. the EV would be -13. but many.3) = -10 BBs. . Here's when your hand needs protection: . you've got a reason to protect. You don't want to fold the best hand. you go for the safe win. .When you are ahead. EV from pushing is +2. The flop comes A K 7 rainbow. .When the board is extremely draw-heavy.make him pay for his draw! Don't chicken out just because your hand isn't the absolute nuts. Unlikely as this may be.

3. What do you do when the river card is a heart. or A. The blinds check. Luckily. In other words. you DO have the best hand -. Damn near every card in the deck is a scare card for you: villain could complete a straight with any 2. 6.any card in the deck is a potential scare card on the river. you cry. not POTS. or a 7. bluffing. 9. and winning unusually much from weaker hands and draws. you bet 9xBB. 6. To better disguise your hand. or 5 could give villain trips. Here's another good one that uNL'ers often forget. you'll very often get a chance to check behind and see how the cards protect your hand. You get to set your own price for the showdown.literally! -. Against these opponents. 8. so you raise 4xBB preflop. Given your opponent's style. or an overcard. SB and BB call. After all. The turn comes with a black 2 and SB checks. BB folds. when the river card comes. tricky and bluff-happy. calling the preflop and flop bets and check-raising the turn means you can safely let your hand go. these folks are relatively rare. or you'll be obvious enough that you'll induce a ton of turn bluff check-raises that you won't like. look at all the good things that happen: . Q. Feel free to bet the pot. but you have no idea which ones are the magic ones. Also. remember? Make a bet that your opponent can talk himself into calling. because you've got no idea what's going on. What to do? Many uNL'ers will check here. Doing so reduces his implied odds if he hits and charges him a big price for hunting. You've got 88. decreasing the likelihood that villain chooses this hand to get all tricky with a bluff. The flop comes A74 with two hearts. Also. or a 4. getting them to finally believe that you have an ace. losing very little to Ax or overpairs. or another A.You charge the heart draw to see another card. any red card could complete a flush. Even if you are called on the turn. we're trying to win MONEY. You know that your opponent is likely to have somewhere between zero and 15 outs.You might fold out 88-KK. or something that looks totally blank. In a sense.they love to smooth-call flop bets with monsters and then check-raise the turn. 4. Don't go nuts with your protection bets: after all. When you are in position and want the option of a free showdown. Of course.HARD -. especially if you're making this kind of play with very few outs to improve (like a pocket pair). Make sure that your betting strategy is internally consistent and well-disguised -. here. So what do you do? You bet the turn -. . K. hoping to get a cheaper showdown. or a 2. checking behind on the turn can be the better move. However! If you bet the turn. Against the typical opponent. bet your strong hands on the turn but ALSO bet the weaker stuff on the turn sometimes. SB calls.don't automatically slowplay the turn with stronger hands and automatically bet weaker hands on the turn. and SB bets into you? Well.that's what you're protecting. and pot control into one reason. 7. 105 .aggressive. That means that -. any J. . but that makes calling -EV for him.You get more value from a stray 7 (or 4!) that happens to be overly optimistic. Don't try this move on tricky-trappy opponents -. you're going to have to call his river bet out of fear that it's a bluff. this could create some very tough decisions for you on the river. T. You'll hate it. It also makes you look committed. this reason combines protection. particularly if you've got outs to improve (even if it's only a few outs). 5.

bluff rivers more when your table image is tight and strong. the goal is to make your river payoff much larger if you are lucky enough to hit your gin card. if you've been mixing it up left and right. Unfortunately. Third. the idea is that checking the turn would give away too much information about your holdings. The river is 3 and your opponent bets. Many people would consider this a variety of semi-bluffing. At the river. leading out on the turn makes it much sneakier if and when you hit on the river. feel free to check behind and lose a smaller pot rather than a bigger one. 3. and if you were caught betting with air a few times (especially against THIS opponent!). Rather. bad players cannot see beyond their own cards. we should bluff rivers more against good players than against bad players. let's go through them one-by-one. but the intent is very different here: should your opponent choose to fold on the turn you wouldn't be too upset. things are a bit simpler: now. The flop comes KT8 with two hearts -. if your turn bet is a continuation of previous aggression you will have the added benefit of folding equity to make your move more +EV. If a bad player likes his hand. Also. you either have the best hand or you don't. Semibluffs want folds. and therefore rarely getting called by nonmonster hands). your value comes from only three sources: 1. The turn is 4 and your opponent check-calls your bet. However. he's not folding -. getting involved in very few hands. If you don't have the best hand then your only hope of leaving with the cash is to convince your opponent to fold. Secondly. most people either bluff the river WAY too much (spewing cash left and right since their opponents know not to fold) or WAY too little (never betting unless they are fairly sure they are ahead.understand this. If your table image is crap. How do you decide if a river bluff is a good investment? First off. Getting your opponent to call when he has the worst hand. Don't bluff the calling stations -. and the purpose of this bet is not to fold your opponent. ---------When should I bet the river? For river bets. Good players can see that they are beaten. However. and makes it more likely that you get paid off handsomely when your ship does come's an expensive habit. "Value bluffing. Your opponent limp-calls preflop." Once again.Here. but if they are done properly they can be extremely profitable. He's telling a consistent story: "I've 106 .it doesn't much matter what you say about your holding. 1. The most obvious example is when you're OOP with a flush draw -check/calling the turn and leading a river flush card is equivalent to renting billboard space to announce your hand to your opponents. but this bet will not be all-in. If you've been showing down monsters for the past hour. You're air-tight play has earned you mountains of folding equity. betting strongly. Getting your opponent to fold when he has the best hand. your folding equity is floating in the toilet right next to it -. Getting your opponent to fold when he has the best hand. cash in by bluffing more freely at the river. bluff rivers more when your betting tells a logical story that means you've got a good hand. disguise bets want calls. and flashing nothing but the nuts.your opponent checks to you and calls your bet. River bluffs take lots of courage. 2. and save your money for when you get a hand. feel free to throw your weight around a bit on the river.

We've got a dilemma: the bigger our bet.nobody is going to believe you. and avoid bluffing them. baby! If you're lucky enough to catch pocket rockets this hand. So if you raised preflop. possibly a king (on an aceless board) -.. what I mean here is that you can bet bigger if your play will *look* like a tilt play to your opponent. You've got the nuts -.the absolute. river raises or check-raises are often the most profitable play you can make. Some ultra-tight nits cannot ever fold after raising preflop -. . fight against them. Feel free to make these kinds of plays against the hopeless goobers sitting at your table. Use it. This is especially true if this particular opponent has caught us stealing recently." Make sure that your bets make sense.. Our opponent checks and we check behind. If you've got AA on a 107 . don't pretend you were limped preflop and were check-calling all the way with AK. This is a useful number to have in your HUD for this reason alone.Bet bigger when our table image sucks.Bet bigger if your opponent sees too many showdowns. Some general hints: . One of the greatest difficulties in poker is deciding on bet sizing. but the answer is obvious: "because you only make that play with air. Know this. or if we've been unlucky enough to get caught stealing a few times.. Feel free to make large bets -. The river is a 3. I've still got a flush draw . make sure you give him enough odds to talk himself into a crying call. The turn is another 7. you can't get away with sizing your bets based on your hands. Too often.. Finally.Bet smaller if your opponent is'll look desperate and scared. and you'll be paid off because "he's tilting off another stack. Our hand screams of missed overcards.. but still separate enough to warrant mentioning. A weak-tight nit is not going to pay off a pot-sized river bet without a strong hand. it's just not credible. Ah.nobody's going to believe it. bluff rivers more when you've got a read that your opponent knows how to find the "fold" button. The last hand your nut flush lost to a rivered full house? You're on tilt. The flop comes 876 rainbow. our opponent checks and we. I've got a flush draw . "How can you call with that crap??" we scream.Bet bigger if your opponent is bad and/or unobservant.they play so few hands that they are simply incapable of letting go of a hand once they've got one. .. even if your opponent's actual holding is 9 7 . Don't pretend that the river 3 made your straight when the board is now JT653 -. Conversely. This is related to the first point. or if we've not shown down any winners What strong holding is actually consistent with this betting strategy? Our opponent knows we're not doing this with an overpair. . our opponent checks and we bet. now you've got to figure out how to get paid. though. and our opponent will call more often than usual. bet a river scare card: an ace. and checked the turn. But against an idiot you can bet big with a big hand and small with a small hand and suffer no negative consequences. just be sure you behave yourself when a smart player is in the pot. and a savvy opponent is going to call with his T6o and piss us off as he rakes the pot." I put "on tilt" in quotes because I'm assuming you're NOT on tilt (we're beyond emotional play. If we've been playing crappy poker. a speculative hand . a third suited card. right? ) No. bet the flop. we tell an INCONSISTENT story: we raise preflop. I've got a flush!" This is the kind of bet that has TONS of folding equity. the bigger our payoff when we get called but the less likely our opponent is to call us. and he knows we don't have a 7.. He calls.Bet bigger if you're "on tilt.that sort of thing. . he knows we don't have a straight. the art of poker. some maniacally aggressive LAGs will release a hand the moment they face pressure. Getting your opponent to call when he has the worst hand. Against a good opponent or a watchful one. Against these folks. How do we maximize value when we think our hand is best? We pick our bet size carefully.Bet smaller if your opponent couldn't possibly have a big hand. I'll bet my 3PNK is good!" . play it to the bone -.. our table image will look bad. Alternatively. unburnished nuts! Now what? Well.

083*(+2) + 0. hoping to drag down a big'un. The current board is AJ974 with no flushes. Some opponents LOVE to push people off their hands on the river. Here you lose 1xPot. well. stare him in the soul -." That small river bet can induce a maniac to come over the top with a bluff raise. Really." Of all the ideas in this post. making this a winning strategy. is not +EV as a value bet.5th-level thinker" to represent a player who thinks about your hand but always puts you on AK.and identify his exact hand holding ." because they don't exist at uNL (or SSNL. part value bet"? Well. let's say this is the kind of opponent you have: loose enough that you can't predict his holdings all that well. At the river. Best case. you'll know their range. . someone coined the phrase "1. too: your opponent can't identify your exact holding. because your opponent isn't holding a hand. because it's a really.7% of the time. you've got second pair. REALLY important concept: your opponent isn't holding a hand.3% of the time. for that matter). either. 1/2-pot river.Bet smaller if your opponent likes to raise or check-raise weakness. value bluffing is probably the least understood.look him in the eye. the combination of these two scenarios leads to the interesting (though unusual) situation of the value bluff. He calls with a worse hand 1/3*(25%) = 8. but is +EV as a combination of the two.villain only folds 1/3rd of the time.083xPot. if that's the case. It was a joke. Your net is 0. Make a small bet and be happy that you got paid off at all. Let's say that your opponent is an ultra-loose but not completely stupid player..417*(+1) + 0. It's the river equivalent of a semi-bluff: a bet that is not +EV as a bluff. smart enough to try to put you on a hand. Now. 3/4ths-pot flop. He's not a "good LAG. So. there's a 1/3rd chance he'll fold a better hand than yours and also a 1/3rd chance he'll call with a worse hand than yours. I'll repeat that. If you bet the pot. Of course.board of AAQ72. "Value bluffing. Your opponent's range is quite wide.. You have QJo and you attempted a steal. 1/2-pot turn. you simply can't get away with betting much under normal circumstances." A while back. It's what good players say to freak out their opponents. Note that this strategy doesn't work as a bluff -. This is especially true if the "obvious draw" misses on the river. putting you on an overly narrow hand range and sticking to it despite any evidence to the contrary. he's holding a range. Anybody who says he can size up an opponent -. He calls with a better hand 2/3*(75%) = 50% of the time. do whatever it takes to induce a bluff. Here you win 2xPot. he's a "semi-thinking LAG. you won't know their exact holding. Rather. The truth is that unless an opponent is woefully straightforward in playing style. but beginning hand readers will often do something very similar to this. Here you win 1xPot.5*(-1) = +0. How can you possibly have a situation at the river where your bet is "part bluff. but you think there's an 75% chance you're beaten.) 3. this works the other way around. and you're risking the pot on the bluff (you lay 1-to-1 odds on a bet that's 2-to-1 against you 108 . he's holding a range. (Note that many of these hints work the other way around for sizing bluffs. that person is a liar. but amateurish enough to do a really bad job of it. A common betting pattern that might do this at uNL is "raise preflop. How does this work out? He folds 1/3*(75%) + 2/3*(25%) = 41.

1 All-In) Pot Size: $171. -EV as a value bet.70 CO: $85. I take the risk of a check-raise.95 UTG: $46. Full Tilt Poker .$0. I stacked him. he would have easily folded his unimproved 65o.95) A (a pair of Aces) and WON (+$82.(LegoPoker Hand History Converter) 109 . BB calls all-in for $43. ---------Sneaky hands can bet harder. but +EV as a combination of the two.35 Villain is horrible: 66/11 preflop. Pokey calls $5.90 ($3 Rake) BB had 6 5 Pokey had A (Queen Jack high) and LOST (-$85. and he quickly calls off the rest of his stack with a cruddy draw. 4 average aggression. He's bleeding money in every direction and he won't last long. River: ($171.00. but you're only getting twice your money when you win (you're getting 2-to-1 odds on a 3-to-1 longshot). Preflop: Pokey is dealt A A (6 Players) 4 folds.winning). Pokey raises to $4.50 MP: $34. BB raises to $10.$0.6 Players .00 Three-betting is SUCH a strong move that I don't want to scare him off yet. If I'd waited until the river to try and take his money.50/$1 Blinds . BB calls $3. Full Tilt Poker .00. Here are some Valuetown examples from my $100NL play. Turn: ($28) 3 (2 Players) Pokey checks.00. He doesn't disappoint me. In other words.05 returned to Pokey Given his aggression factor.villain's hand beats yours 75% of the time.No Limit Hold'em Cash Game . Note also that this strategy doesn't work as a value bet -.95) By getting the money in while villain still had a draw.90) Q (2 Players . Note that he didn't even have the proper odds to call my raise. BB bets $28. Pokey raises to $79. Villain's sloppy hand-reading combined with villain's unidentifiable hand makes this a fuzzy enough betting area to be +EV.50/$1 Blinds .00. Get the money in while they still have potential.00 BB: $85.No Limit Hold'em Cash Game . Potential is great for a good player but extremely expensive for a bad one.00.(LegoPoker Hand History Converter) Pokey (SB): $100. the bet is -EV as a bluff.6 Players .25 BTN: $45.00 Flop: ($8) J 8 4 (2 Players) Pokey bets $5.95 Uncalled bet of $7.

Eight high) and WON (+$100.00. SB calls $29. Pokey bets $4.50 CO: $45.00.00) This hand shows a good multi-street strategy that intends to make it very easy for villain to put all his money in the middle. SB raises to $8. Preflop: Pokey is dealt 6 5 (6 Players) UTG calls $1. but smooth-calling the turn leaves too much behind to have a reasonable way of getting it all in on the river.I make a raise that villain can easily call.95 CO: $28.00. CO calls $1. redux.00 Bingo! I hit my hand. Eights and Twos) and LOST (-$100.00. and definitely on implied odds since I'm in position.00 Pokey (BB): $100.50/$1 Blinds .00 ($3 Rake) SB had 8 2 (two pair. I make the obligatory all-in bet and villain makes the obligatory crying call. SB calls $0.10 MP: $58. A turn push is quite aggressive.00) Pokey had 6 5 (a straight. Pokey bets all-in for $41. villain feels obligated to pay off the 1/3rd-pot bet (all-in) on the river with only two pair.4 postflop.90 BB: $42. I bet strong and get a minraise. I can nearly call on pot odds. but that leaves villain with a crying call on nearly any river.SB: $142. Flop: ($5) 2 8 4 (5 Players) SB checks.00. BTN calls $1. Pokey checks Plenty of padding from limpers. Turn: ($21) 7 (2 Players) SB bets $21.00.00. Pot Size: $203.50. SB calls $41. Pokey calls $4. The smallish turn raise followed by the tiny river bet are both easy for villain to convince himself to call. Full Tilt Poker . MP folds. ---------Sneaky hands can bet harder. Villain bets hard and I have the absolute nuts -. that's a hand. Pokey raises to $50.00.65 Pokey (UTG): $98.No Limit Hold'em Cash Game .05 110 .(LegoPoker Hand History Converter) SB: $68. throwing in a more-than-pot-sized raise.50 Villain here runs 47/15 preflop and 2. Note that even though straights and flushes have hit the board. 3 folds. and I stack him with my straight.00 UTG: $35.00 No way does an aggressive opponent check through with a runner-runner flush. River: ($121) 3 (2 Players) SB checks.00 Double-gutter. I might as well see a free flop with my speculative hand.05 BTN: $38.5 Players .$0.

00.10 CO: $134.00. BTN folds. SB calls all-in for $43. River: ($42) 8 (2 Players) SB bets $6.BTN: $72. Full Tilt Poker . I'm happy.90) Lessons here: let villains draw if they're drawing dead (or nearly so). Pokey calls $1. this seems +EV to me.90 Uncalled bet of $0.00. If villain shows interest and you know you've got him dead-to-rights. Pokey bets $12.00 BB: $100. Pot Size: $141. BB folds GREAT flop. or make some weak-assed minraise.00 Deuces never loses.90) 2 (a full house. Preflop: Pokey is dealt 2 2 (5 Players) Pokey calls $1. Since I was going to lose the bluffs anyways.00 I'm not afraid of the draw anymore. woo! Flop: ($8) 4 Q 2 (4 Players) SB checks.00. I decide to bet for value and to try to build a pot (hoping for callers) and it works.00. go for the freakin' jugular.10 returned to Pokey Thank goodness for position: we river the third heart and villain makes a pansy-sized bet. Pokey raises to $50.50/$1 Blinds . running 29/9 preflop and with a 2.00 Villain is mediocre-to-bad. SB calls $12.00.$0. Either way. so rather than try to price him out.3 average aggression postflop. Villain comes along for the ride. CO calls $1. Pokey bets $5. I offer a 2/3rdspot bet.(LegoPoker Hand History Converter) Pokey (SB): $99.00.00 UTG: $109.10 BTN: $155. Villain pays me off with his heart flush. Queen high) and LOST (-$68.80 ($3 Rake) SB had Q J Pokey had 2 (a flush. Given that the preflop raiser just checked.00.00. Twos full of Fours) and WON (+$69. Either he's got a Q and he's drawing nearly dead or he's got hearts and he's drawing totally dead. ---------Protecting your hand. Rather than smooth-call my near-nuts. BB checks. Sneaky hands have the potential to win bigger pots than obvious hands. Turn: ($18) 4 (2 Players) SB checks. SB calls $5.00. but that I get called by the flushes.00 111 .No Limit Hold'em Cash Game . SB raises to $2. CO folds.10 MP: $67. I push. knowing that I lose the three-pair hands and bluffs.6 Players . CO calls $1. BB calls $1.

BTN calls $5. MP calls $1.00.00. I don't want to deal with a river decision.00... BTN calls $33. SB: $106. To my great surprise. With this many scare cards. so I figured that with BOTH of them in the hand I had room to get trappy.00 BTN: $461. not to mention a 2.00. CO bets $12.00 Super-premium hand.00. With a relatively blank board. ---------Protecting your hand.(LegoPoker Hand History Converter) Over a short sample.00 I bet my overpair expecting villain to fold. Pot Size: $155. I guess they trusted me more than they trusted each other. 7. 112 .50) 2 9 7 (2 Players) Pokey bets $15. BOTH villains fold for the relatively small additional bet.00. SB folds. BTN calls $1. so I charge 'em to see. CO calls $1. and I don't want to be looking over my shoulder if the river comes with a diamond or spade. Full Tilt Poker .25 MP: $157. and protecting your hand. villain is running 40/17 with a postflop aggression of almost 11. I just put all my money in the middle after the bet.Both CO and Button are extremely loose and extremely aggro. BTN calls $6..00. redux. CO folds. hoping for a bet.50/$1 Blinds .05 CO: $100. CO calls $5. 2 folds Uncalled bet of $48.00 Flop: ($15. Turn: ($56) 9 (3 Players) Pokey checks.00.6 Players .00 I wasn't c-betting into these two very often. Pokey calls $12.00.00. Pokey calls $15. and they oblige. snapping off multiple bluffs. or 9.15 Preflop: Pokey is dealt J J (6 Players) UTG folds.00. knowing your opponents. I smooth-call. BTN calls $1. instead he minraises.00. MP folds. 3. CO bets $33. intending to check-raise a safe turn. Pokey raises to $7. 4.00. BTN raises to $30.45 Pokey (BB): $169.00.00 ($3 Rake) Read this hand as an example of showing weakness to induce bets.$0.00. Pokey raises all-in to $81. Flop: ($20) 2 4 7 (3 Players) Pokey checks.No Limit Hold'em Cash Game . I check. 2 folds. MP folds. BTN calls $12. I smooth-call to see a turn. Pokey raises to $6. Preflop: Pokey is dealt A A (6 Players) UTG calls $1.00 returned to Pokey This board just became *way* too drawy to allow any cheap cards.25 UTG: $102.

Turn: ($75.50) 3 (2 Players) Pokey checks, BTN bets $45.00, Pokey raises all-in to $132.25, BTN folds Uncalled bet of $87.25 returned to Pokey The good news is that I still have an overpair. The bad news is that the board is ridiculously drawy now. I check, knowing that this opponent simply cannot resist the opportunity to push me off my hand. After he makes his bet, however, I am unwilling to see a river card -- with well over half the deck as scare cards, I can't trust myself to make the right decision there. Instead, I put it all in the middle, expecting an improper call from any solid draw or strong 9, and a fold from everything else. Villain folds, and I snap off a large turn bluff, picking up a big pot uncontested. Pot Size: $165.50 ($3 Rake) On a less wet board I might have gone for a smaller check-raise to gain value; as it stands, I need to protect my hand from an increasingly unpleasant board. This is the kind of opponent who puts monsters under my bed; knowing that, I bet all-in to prevent an extremely expensive FTOP mistake on the river. ---------Protecting your hand, part III. Full Tilt Poker - No Limit Hold'em Cash Game - $0.50/$1 Blinds - 6 Players - (LegoPoker Hand History Converter) SB: $148.05 BB: $101.80 Pokey (UTG): $145.40 MP: $78.10 CO: $207.80 BTN: $238.60 Villain in this hand has good stats, if a bit on the nitty side: 19/13 preflop with a 2.5 average aggression postflop. We don't tangle much, but sometimes it's inevitable. Preflop: Pokey is dealt A A (6 Players) Pokey raises to $4.00, MP folds, CO calls $4.00, 2 folds, BB calls $3.00 Obvious. Flop: ($12.50) K 2 Q (3 Players) BB checks, Pokey bets $9.00, CO folds, BB calls $9.00 Value bet hoping for a call from a good K. Turn: ($30.50) 2 (2 Players) BB bets $22.00, Pokey raises all-in to $132.40, BB calls all-in for $66.80 Uncalled bet of $0.00 returned to Pokey A very important turn: that 2 just counterfeited KQ and almost surely didn't help villain in any case (good news). There are now two flush draws on the board (bad news). Villain has bet into me, indicating something strongish (bad news). My hand is quite strong despite that (good news). If villain is drawing he's only got one more card for a suckout (good news). I make a pot-sized reraise to end this farce: villain is likely to fold here, but if he calls he'll still be behind most of the time.


River: ($208.10) 8

(2 Players - 2 All-In)

Pot Size: $208.10 ($3 Rake) BB had T K (a flush, King high) and WON (+$103.30) Pokey had A A (two pair, Aces and Twos) and LOST (-$101.80) Villain calls and sucks out on the river, but when the money went in he was far behind. I lost the hand, but I won the Sklansky bucks: my play was superior to his. After all, when the money went in the pot I had a slightly greater than 77% chance of winning the whole thing. Bad luck but good play -- hey, that's just poker. ---------Even if you're ahead, sometimes it's -EV to bet. Full Tilt Poker - No Limit Hold'em Cash Game - $0.50/$1 Blinds - 6 Players - (LegoPoker Hand History Converter) SB: $100.85 BB: $47.20 Pokey (UTG): $149.65 MP: $106.50 CO: $42.35 BTN: $83.50 SB is a maniac: 87/50 preflop, 1.6 average aggro postflop. Preflop: Pokey is dealt A J (6 Players) Pokey raises to $4.00, 3 folds, SB calls $3.50, BB folds Flop: ($9) J A 4 (2 Players) SB checks, Pokey bets $6.00, SB calls $6.00 Pure value bet, hoping villain plays back. He doesn't. Turn: ($21) 2 (2 Players) SB checks, Pokey bets $10.00, SB calls $10.00 Weak bet to induce a raise. He doesn't. This is worrisome: when an aggressive player slows down, it's time to get frightened. River: ($41) T (2 Players) SB bets $20.00, Pokey calls $20.00 The inevitable scare card hits and villain bets it. Villain wins at showdown about 36% of the time, so the odds are strong that this is just a bluff. That means my hand is best more than 50% of the time. Despite this, I cannot profitably raise -- villain will almost never fold a better hand and almost never call with a worse hand, so even though I am ahead more than half the time, if I bet it will be -EV, winning me the same amount of money most of the time and losing me more on those unusual occasions when I'm behind. Pot Size: $81.00 ($3 Rake) SB had 4 T (two pair, Tens and Fours) and LOST (-$40.00)


Pokey had A


(two pair, Aces and Jacks) and WON (+$38.00)

Moral of the story: aggression is good as a general rule, but being overly and blindly aggressive is -EV. Only bet when there's profit in it. ---------Checking to induce a bluff from an aggressive opponent. Opponent is 42.4/10.6/1.6, steals 16% of the time and LOVES to float flops. Full Tilt Poker - No Limit Hold'em Cash Game - $0.50/$1 Blinds - 5 Players - (LegoPoker Hand History Converter) SB: $114.60 Pokey (BB): $183.55 UTG: $329.40 CO: $100.85 BTN: $160.20 Preflop: Pokey is dealt A Q (5 Players) 2 folds, BTN raises to $3.50, SB folds, Pokey raises to $15.00, BTN calls $11.50 With a premium hand I mix it up by reraising instead of calling, trying to get the upper hand. Flop: ($30.50) A T 5 (2 Players) Pokey bets $25.00, BTN calls $25.00 Standard continuation bet, combined with a standard float from villain. Turn: ($80.50) 9 (2 Players) Pokey checks, BTN bets all-in for $120.20, Pokey calls $120.20 I "show weakness" and villain fires all-in. I was surprised to see just how strong his hand actually was. River: ($320.90) 3 (2 Players - 1 All-In)

Pot Size: $320.90 ($3 Rake) BTN had A J (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-$160.20) Pokey had A Q (a pair of Aces) and WON (+$157.70) This hand shows another example of NOT betting to maximize pot size. It also shows the importance of knowing what story your betting line is telling -- in this case, I spoke of weakness to induce a bluff, so I had to call the resulting bet. ---------Not telling a consistent story. Full Tilt Poker - No Limit Hold'em Cash Game - $0.50/$1 Blinds - 5 Players - (LegoPoker Hand History Converter) SB: $191.95


Pokey (BB): $144.45 UTG: $444.30 CO: $43.40 BTN: $87.40 I've been struggling on the table, and I've recently lost some big hands. Villain is superbad: 68/9 preflop, went to showdown 37% of the time and won there 39% of the time. He's sloppy and lucky, and he's got money I want. Preflop: Pokey is dealt A A (5 Players) UTG calls $1.00, CO calls $1.00, 2 folds, Pokey raises to $5.00, UTG calls $4.00, CO folds Time to use my lousy table image. Flop: ($11.50) 8 9 5 (2 Players) Pokey bets $8.00, UTG calls $8.00 I hope he pays off my c-bet; he does. Turn: ($27.50) T (2 Players) Pokey bets $23.00, UTG calls $23.00 Nothing has changed; I make a big bet to try and get some money in the pot. Villain calls. River: ($73.50) A (2 Players) Pokey bets all-in for $108.45, UTG calls $108.45 River time. Keep in mind that villian is *BAD* -- he's looking for a reason to call, not a reason to fold. So I give him one. My river bet is too big, and that looks very fishy. Villain KNOWS I don't have a flush because there's no way I could play a flush draw this way (in actuality, I definitely could, but like I said: villain is bad). Villain decides I must be making a desperation bluff with air, and talks himself into a heroic call. Pot Size: $290.40 ($3 Rake) UTG had J T (a pair of Tens) and LOST (-$144.45) Pokey had A A (three of a kind, Aces) and WON (+$142.95) I told an inconsistent story and villain got levelled into paying off an extra buyin on the river. ---------Know they enemy. Full Tilt Poker - No Limit Hold'em Cash Game - $0.50/$1 Blinds - 6 Players - (LegoPoker Hand History Converter) Pokey (SB): $148.05 BB: $104.15 UTG: $39.00 MP: $259.05 CO: $77.25 BTN: $31.75 Villain hasn't been around long, but he's terrible AND he's on tilt. He just lost a big pot


and someone at the table is taunting him for it (not me, of course). Villain runs 45/3 preflop and 2 average aggression. He's a target. Preflop: Pokey is dealt 7 Q (6 Players) UTG folds, MP calls $1.00, CO calls $1.00, BTN folds, Pokey calls $0.50, BB checks Speculative hand, low price, lots of padding. I complete. Flop: ($4) 9 3 Q (4 Players) Pokey bets $2.00, BB folds, MP calls $2.00, CO calls $2.00 Flop gives me a mediocre hand. I bet weakly to try and pick up the pot and get two callers. Hmmmm. Turn: ($10) J (3 Players) Pokey bets $6.00, MP calls $6.00, CO calls $6.00 Now I've got a flush draw thrown into the mix. I make another weak bet and get two callers again. I'm liking my pot odds and implied odds. River: ($28) A (3 Players) Pokey bets all-in for $139.05, MP folds, CO calls all-in for $68.25 Uncalled bet of $0.00 returned to Pokey If my hand wasn't good before, it's DEFINITELY good now. Given that villains have been calling all along, I'm hoping someone just backed into two pair with their Ax hand. No stronger flush makes any sense, and my hand is wickedly-well disguised. Rather than try and get both to pay off a small bet, I go for the gusto and shove. MP escapes but CO pays off my massive overbet. Pot Size: $164.50 ($3 Rake) CO had Q T (a pair of Queens) and LOST (-$77.25) Pokey had 7 Q (a flush, Ace high) and WON (+$84.25) Again, I tell an inconsistent story, again I overbet to disguise my hand, again villain calls because of emotional reasons, and again my sneaky hand collects me a huge pot. Now, I'm not saying that overbets are always the best choice, but if you OCCASIONALLY mix them into your lineup -- particularly when your betting is highly inconsistent -- you can get a big payout from the right enemy.


and it is likely costing you money. though. and you are both new to the table. it will benefit you to carefully watch their play as often as you can. you’ll run into players who like to raise less often than Clear Channel likes to raise salaries in a union negotiation. Watch how he handles position in future hands. and you’ll usually finish ahead of her. If you notice a big pot that happened a hand or two ago while you were devoting your attention elsewhere. You have no read on this player. as many strong players do. Villain comes over the top for a PSR. Let’s say you raise A K UTG and get one caller. do your best to pay attention to similar situations even when you are not in the hand. she’ll enjoy the position more. Again. It will be much easier to develop reads and handle your positional disadvantage as a session goes on. But you will quickly be playing for your stack to find out if he flopped a set on you. you are playing too many hands out of position. and circumstances.Playing OOP (epdaws) Playing Out of Position -. and it takes forever to reload. The bulk should come from LP. you’ll always get what you want. Think of position like many of us thought of hooking up back in college. Occasionally. Some of the best reads you can develop will come from studying these hands. Most importantly. Having said this. Anyway. He might certainly be wielding his position like a weapon. If you do." But I’m only doing this against a maniac. but that doesn’t mean you can’t get what you want.Introduction We are operating under the assumption that everyone knows the following: You ought to be playing many more hands from LP than from EP. not a tough TAG or a good LAG who 118 . It’s the tougher players who will challenge you. Flop comes A 8 3 and you lead for 3/4 pot. in which the highest EV line is to muck a reasonably strong hand when you are out of position. Players who like to multi-table often make the mistake of only paying attention to hands in which they are involved. Sit out for a few hands at your other tables. you must also be comfortable trusting your reads and your feel for flop textures. use that information to make detailed notes. this does not go for every opponent. If you are dealing with aggressive postflop players who have a positional advantage over you. Party Poker in particular is very generous about revealing a player’s hand at showdown. Take a look at your winnings and total hand investments. moving on… Reads are Essential: Study Hands You Don't Play To be comfortable playing out of position. There are ways to make this easier on you. I guess this analogy stops at busting: you’ll always bust. playing big pots OOP early in a session is generally a bad idea because you haven’t had the time to develop reads and a feel for the rhythm of the table. You want to end up on top of the hot girl at the party. but you will eventually be able to ascertain the times in which they are simply trying to intimidate you based on position. pull up the hand history if you can. But before we get there… There will be hands. sometimes the best advice is the simple "leave and wait for a better seat. If there is a balance. you have to let her get on top. Make a note of his play. and mucking your hand now is not a bankroll killer by any means.

a play he had used on me on my second orbit of the session. capable of making good laydowns. I thought it was possible I was behind to a JT suited. or a semi-bluff into the equation a lot more often. and I fold. this is quite a nebulous number and concept. I want to beat those players at their own game. and making my best guess. AJ kind of hand. there is at least a 25% chance that any aggression he shows against me in a heads-up pot is based solely on his positional advantage. Recalling my long-ago days of 25NL. I had the following notes on a player who is 21/12/3 in 500 hands: "Strong player. The 25% Rule I tend to make an assumption about players that I am not sure is perfectly accurate. and I opened for $4. but it has seemed to help me. but it brings a bluff. but I try to keep it in mind when I make a reasonably strong hand against a solid opponent who has position on me. Seems to understand position and has pushed me out of several pots after I raised preflop. He raised to $18. because by re-raising. I am telling him that I have a monster pair. Again. In other words. but I the concept has worked for me. a float. If he beats that. Likes to raise flop Cbets. I would guess it’s much lower. I don’t use the number without a lot of hands or a solid read on a player. he can not call a re-raise with much of his range. aggressive player thinks he can float and bully me. I could have been behind a set or two pair. only occasionally an overpair. Worth watching some more. and more likely to float or fold. It’s pretty darn straightforward. I decided it was. Is 25% a huge number? It is not. and I made it $58. Here is an example from a hand that happened last weekend. similar to Harrington’s 10% chance of a bluff concept: If I have a strong enough sample size against an opponent I respect. or float and raise turn. checking out hands. as I felt this opponent was perhaps less likely to raise my flop Cbet. I would also assert that this number is going to rise based on the stakes you play. along with changing the table dynamic that had previously convinced him I could be run over. TP or air than a big hand like a set or overpair.knows what position is. I wanted badly to call him and force him to show me a set. but he seemed to be raising with TP just as often. Eventually I won’t mind if a strong. overall. He would certainly make this play with a set. much more likely that he had an unimproved pair. because at SSNL. and I led for $6. . he pushes. and often enough an unimproved PP. I don't expect everyone to agree with the range. with effective stacks $175. We were both reasonably deep. He called on the Button. How did I come to that number? I spent a lot of time combing through the PT database. I immediately made a note of the hand. and we were Flop came J 5 4 . but he might very well have been playing it up. But my reraise knocks out his drawing hands and folds out many hands that beat me. I also considered my own tendencies and my proclivity to use position like a hammer on a stubborn nail. but I have backed down each time." I was in MP with A Q heads up to the flop. and he has position on me. most players tend to play their cards based on the strength of their hand. Keep in mind that had I attempted this play early on. We’re trying to improve our play against the strongest opponents and 119 . I would have had to do it with no information about this player and I would have been simply hoping I was not up against a set. It is this. I’ll adjust and there are multiple lines I can take to win pots from him. He seemed to think for a while and folded.

I’m coming over the top. but I didn't have much history with him. He seemed solid. Does it get expensive sometimes? Yes. However. I’ve come to find out that it can mean something else. I was dealt A K and made my standard raise. Turn was a total brick. and the flop comes K 8 3 or even T 8 3 . instead I let him draw cheaply and I fell for the trap on the river. If I get raised again on the turn. I will make note of it. A Default Line for Handling AA or KK vs. I still tend to think that the majority. but thankfully most opponents at SSNL won’t just call there with a set. I’ll call and lead the turn for 2/3 pot. and he checked. There are also times when I will muck AA or KK on the flop to one raise. cause that makes it very difficult for me on the turn. Foxwoods Fiend. shared some of his thoughts on handling this spot and I’ve built them into my default line. I’m gone.prepare our game for higher stakes. One of 2p2’s best posters. But you’ll be surprised how often you can take the pot and when you get pushed. I’m making it 35. Even seemingly solid players – and I’ve seen plenty of 2p2ers do this – min-raise their set on the flop because they want to build a pot and get value. and if I get min-raised. I’ve run into opponents who will min-raise a Cbet with top pair or an unimproved PP. the 2 . So here’s how I handle it: Every time I see a player min-raise a flop Cbet. I called but feared a set immediately. Their best play with a set is to call. 120 . If that player shows his hand down. and he min-raised to $12. If I’m raised with normal or deep stacks. of flop min-raises indicate a set. or at least the plurality. I led for $6. It’s amazing how effective it can be against us. I checked. and I’ve run into plenty of players who use it to float or shut down their opponent. They’ll push. Many players know that a min-raise is regarded with dread because of what it represents. The min-raise froze me on the flop. River was the T . Resistance Playing AA or KK against resistance when you are OOP can be dreadfully difficult – harder than a group of teen boys at a Scarlett Johannson photo shoot. he bet $30. Having a note on what a min-raise means is one of the most helpful pieces of info you can have in this game at this level. one caller. If they push I fold and make a note that I believe they’ll min-raise sets. I was convinced he would only min-raise for value with a set. If they fold. I note that they’ll try to take away the pot with a min-bet and will back down to further aggression. I think folding to every raise when OOP is giving away too much value. But let’s say I raise A K in EP and get one caller. He showed 9 8 for a straight. it’s helpful to know how opponents play their monsters. This is assuming the flop is at least somewhat innocuous. but of course that’s dependent on the read and opponent. Flop came A 7 6 . but they don’t want to lose their opponent. My opponent’s action is then going to tell me a lot. Handling Min-Raises: They Don't Always Mean Sets Here’s a hand that I butchered like an overweight cow on Hamburger Day that indicates the power of raising in position. and I called. maligned as the minraise is. It’s a bounty of information. perfect. and a call/fold will be reads-based. I’ll make my Cbet. If I get called I have to check the river. I checked. If I lead for 6 and get raised to 12.

121 .Conclusions Being OOP bites like a vindictive girlfriend who finds out you’ve been cheating. Not generally much fun. Lots of teeth. But don’t roll over dead just because you have to act first. It just takes some adjustments to get your opponents off balance. Trust your reads. unless you’re into that kind of thing. So do yourself a favor and play the bulk of your hands in position. Use check/raises occasionally. and then they’ll be dreading playing any pots with you at all.

know when to go TAG. stupid football) Note: This applies to 6max far more than FR. into a pf raiser?? No! Rarely. I want them. I want them in my stack. any K. I am more frightened if I lead and am smoothcalled.. as it stands. How much higher is up to you--and up to your read of a villain.. Sure... I am wearing a cast on one hand. playing passively against a maniac is right sometimes. You will be amazed how many times you are shown J 8 here. I'd check often vs. Knowing when to/when not to c-bet will help your winrate a lot. Villain c/r for 32bb. Many people advocate folding here. So. important caveat--> when you are raised on the turn. If people start calling pf raises en masse. but everytime I see a flop and there are chips in the pot. raising gives me the ability to take down the pot when we both have nothing on the flop. I hope this was somewhat of a brief outline.. With no image and playing a TAG game. It applies somewhat to being in MP-LP in FR. I lead for the pot ( 9 bb).. its time to stop raising 56s UTG and look for value from your big pairs. and I'd like some money in there to win. I open from the CO with A T . first let's deal with pf. I don't know about you guys. Plus.. Lets say I've been hammering on a villain all game. I'm not convinced it helps that much in a world where villains think about their own cards and not yours. period. The flop comes down T 8 3 Villain checks. Another reason I'm consantly raising and stabbing is that it helps me get paid off when I hit the flop hard. but I want to be that guy people play passively against. Lastly. 2 opponents if it was K87 two-tone and I held AQ. This depends on two factors very heavily-Board Texture and Number of Villains. even considering the previous statement. villains will play back eventually. and value on the river. caveat. It makes life easier for me. It's not as long as Pokey's. because I decide when the money goes in and when it doesn't. and most suited Q's. I raise a lot pf (in 6max about 25% of my hands... You'll still get the action. I do this because I am aiming to win the pot. Playing LAG gets a table worked up. I know a lot of you are interested in loosening up your game. Villain calls in the BB. but then again. or reraising you. However. 122 . maybe more haha). Pokey can't count to 1600. Aggression wins money. or when I first sit down.and this means knowing your villain. your top pair is still not good.LOOSE AGGRESSIVE PLAY (BalugaWhale) (forgive spelling mistakes. I try to avoid situations like the one above without a read. I might c-bet into 3 weak opponents if the flop was 842r. you can value your average hands higher. I call the c/r and play poker on the next two streets. However. wrong. I don't care if there are 20bb's in pf or 2bb. But. folding may be the correct play here... What hand would villain play like this? Very few that beat you from the average villain!! Do you think your average SSNL player c/r a set/2pair on the flop.Know when not to c-bet. It's important to know what to do-. thinking pot control on the turn. The point is this: when people are willing to play back at you with less. if ever. Playing tight pf is rarely. it may not. and now you always have the cards. stealing blinds with any A.

people start floating you.. Remember. Its not hard to notice.As you raise more pf and c-bet the flop constantly. Put money in the pot. 2) Know when to c-bet and when not to. use it against the right opponents. One more quick thing to highlight. It is a powerful weapon.Only an idiot bluffs a man he knows will call him!! Disclaimer. 3) Be strong when you connect..your opponents are likely to play back with less than you're used to. 4) Read the table so you know when to slow down and tighten up. So don't take any of this too seriously. often the answer for me is double barrel bluffing.the word is still out as to whether or not I'm good at poker. scoop it to your side. 123 . pf and the flop..So heres a brief outline 1) Attack..

This is a very hard concept for many players to grasp.. so they limp in. I reraise to $30... When called.. on to Open Limping: I feel this is one of the biggest leaks in a players game. you immediately take control of the pot until either everyone folds. When they miss. Open limping will cost you money in the long run. I figure that I cost myself $100 by limping that hand. Turn x. just evaluate the flop and determine if your opponent hit his hand. This is just one example. An example or two: (assume full stacks for both examples at 50nl) You are UTG with 9 7 and raise to $2... MP2 thinks and finally calls but I can tell he knows what I have. you should make a c-bet. Back to me. they feel that they got a chance to get away cheap while still playing a flop. open limping is when you are the first one to enter a pot and just limp in. in this very hand. This was a regular game that I played in about 3 days a week. Flop is AAJ. Awesome.. My friend had KK...You Should Open Limp. calls or raises you.75 124 . and many more like it. (I know this is bigger stacks than many uNL players are used to. there are many many more like it. My friend (who also happens to be MP2) raises to $10 Button calls. I will limp behind someone if I know I can stack them when I hit big. this is bad for business. I left A LOT of chips on the table that should have been shipped to me by getting it all in PF. I limped in for $2. but we all know that this is about as micro as it gets live) It folds to me and I have AA. i flopped quads.. Open limping is a pure chip spew. Many do not want to raise SCs UTG. Either way. you dont have to hit your hand. but yet they want to see a flop.. (RichC. If you raise. river x. IMO. What do I mean by this? I'll give you an example from a 1/2 NL Live game from a while back. It was checked to the river when i finally bet $20 and he called and said "Show me your aces" So.00 One caller and the blinds fold (not taking out the rake) pot is $4..) . Hero is in MP1 with about $150 behind.. Button folds.. to clarify.NOT!!! First. so yes. so you are therefore losing value. It tends to leave money on the table when you hit big.. Limping behind someone is a different strategey all together. Back to my intial point.... had I just made a standard raise to maybe $8 in this case. But. I more than likely get to reraise all-in.

you ask. ~Rich and raise to $2. Both examples are hands very similar to hands I have played. but I hope I have provided you with some decent examples of why you shouldnt be open limping. Middle pair for you. you are UTG with 7 4 One call and the blinds fold. felt like every hand actually. Sorry slight brag at the end there. Also. Now. 2 folds and then the other two both call. I had them covered. your hand isnt the nuts and you make it pricey for an over pair to draw out against you that 5% of the time that they do. but IMO. my KK>QQ>JJ and your hero wins about $800. but refer back to my first example and how I left a lot of money on the table and you will find it is still better to raise and then reraise them to get it all in PF.00 125 . think about if you had just limped in with those hands. I'll leave you with this example from the same 1/2 NL Live game. I just say to hell with and push. We all flip. When someone is constantly raising and reraising you. one of the biggest live pots I have ever seen (and won for that matter) came up.00 This is a fairly standard value bet and you will usually take down the pot. then open limping a big hand is fine IMO. I had been playing a fairly aggressive game and had been getting reraised all night long. I had managed to build up to about $400 despite have gotten played back at all damn night when this hand. no one in their right mind can put you on 74s and will believe that you missed this flop and a good aggressive opponent will try to take this away from you with A high or and over pair like 99. One more caller. Flop is 744 You just flopped a monster. odds are that you are leaving chips in your opponents stack that rightfully belong to you. arent there ever times that you should be open limping? So glad you asked. Now. lead out for $3. Lead out for $3 again. Wrong. I also won a tournament about 7 hours later. folds back to me and I am just sick but I'm not good enough to fold KK PF. one spade. Our natural tendency is to check raise or check call here. these type of situations occur more in tournaments than in cash games. Hand 2: Again. Why would you bet this monster you ask? Easy.Flop is 7Q6r. YES there are. I am UTG and raise to $10 with KK 2 callers and then the expected reraise to $90. You dont have to play the LAGtard game that I do to never open limp. TAGs should not be open limping either.

the combo draws range from 45%-65%). even though I've never seen any mathematical description of the kind of odds you need to call these raises. compare this with sets. you can't say that you also need about 7:1 odds to call with a suited connector.153% 15 outer (OESD + flush draw): 1. Combining these big draws with good made hands. where your equity is generally 90+%. Flush: 0. Your average equity on the flop with these made hands and combo draws against an overpair is 66% (the made hands go from 75%-99%.147% 12 outer (Gutshot + flush draw): 2.09% Quads: 0.dr math for the bottom for those of you that want to peruse it. Let's separate this into two categories: combo draws and regular draws.35% Full house: 0. REGULAR DRAWS 126 . and You (goofyballer) A recent thread about using the 5/10 rule to call preflop raises with PPs and suited connectors got me thinking about the kind of implied odds required to call preflop raises with SCs. and that's where things get complicated. either you are a favorite against an overpair.Suited Connectors.450% 13 outer (Pair + straight draw): 1. or getting AI on the flop is +EV when you take some fold equity (and thus taking down dead money) into account. I also encourage math-head-types to check my math to make sure I didn't mess anything up. stolen off some page I googled: Odds of flopping.9% (1 in 14 times.01% Straight: 1. or 1 in 8 (very close to how often you will flop a set with an overpair).84% Two pair: 2% Trips: 1. most of the time you will be flopping draws instead of big hands with SCs. you'll have a relatively "big hand" on the flop 12.664% -----------------------Total: 6. There are two kinds of hands you can flop with SCs: Good made hands (most of which can be made by calling with ATC...5% of the time.. which of course we don't do) and draws. made hands.31% ------Total: 5. 13:1) These draws are all hands that can be played profitably after the flop. 17:1) However. people tend to arbitrarily use things like the 5/10 rule..424% 14 outer (Pair + flush draw): 1.6% (1 in 18 times. I'll list the conclusions first. Implied Odds. 20 outer (OESD + FD + pair): 0. since a set is a near-invincible hand and you still have to improve with these draws. and leave the tl. COMBO DRAWS Odds of flopping. First.077% 17 outer (Gutshot + FD + pair): 0. I'm going to attempt to solve that problem (but I still need some help!). However.

you have a 5. Summary . what follows is how I calculated everything. OESD + flush draw (15 outs): You need a flop of 87x. with two clubs each. there are four flops that give you a straight (789.31%. 8c 7c 6/5x: 2/50 * 1/49 * 5/48 * 3 = . Gutshot + flush draw + pair (17 outs): You need a flop of 98(6/5). you'll have your standard old OESD or FD which requires playing some poker. 13:1) chance of flopping a strong (12+ outs) combo draw . 6. 6.5:1) These are your standard draws. with 65s.6% (1 in 18.07653%. (6/5)32 with two clubs. 17:1 chance) of flopping a good made hand .153%. So.e. These draws improve to a flush or straight on the river about 1 time in 3. 7(6/5)4. in addition. 234).5..0255% Multiply by 3 to get odds for all three flops = 0. 127 .2% (1 in 7. Not very high. However.. The odds of hitting each of those flops are 12/50 * 8/49 * 4/48. 9c 8c 6/5x: 2/50 * 1/49 * 5/48 * 3 = . only half of the time will these hands be immediately profitable (i. 74x.0% ----------------Total: 13.dr math Made hands: I calculated the odds of flopping a straight myself. 8(6/5)4. Combo draws All examples assume you have 6c5c. 478. you can catch ultradeceptive flops of 973 with two clubs or 842 with two clubs.5 times.Odds of flopping. and you get 1. (6/5)43. when you flop a hand with which you can continue. 97(6/5). you will flop a hand you can continue with on the flop 25% of the time (1 in 4). skip the rest of the post.5:1) chance of flopping a standard OESD or FD Adding these all together. 7(6/5) have a ~13% chance (1 in 7. have a ~7% (1 in 14. multiply that by 4 flops. 347. a question from me to all you math-heads: How do you combine these preflop odds with the odds of hitting your hand postflop to figure out the implied odds required to call with SCs preflop? If you don't like numbers. for example. it will most frequently be one of these. OESD + flush draw + pair (20 outs ZOMG): You need a flop of 87(6/5). (6/5)42. 9 outer (flush draw): 5. +EV to shove it in).00255% Multiply by 6 to get odds for all six flops = 0.2% 8 outer (straight draw): 8. the other half. or 43x with two clubs.

74x. Odds of flopping 87x (where x does not pair your hand and does not complete a straight): 8/50 * 4/49 * 34/48 * 3 = 02.153 to get 1.153% (17 outs) + 1. 84x.33% Multiply by 2 for the odds of 973/842: 0. there's 87x.0918% Total odds of flopping 15-outer: 1.664% (12 outs) = 6.442% for the times it makes an OESFD (which we already counted) = 2. Same calculation as OESD + flush draw.332% 973: 9c 7c 3x = 2/50 * 1/49 * 3/48 * 3 = 0. possible flops are 87(6/5).45% Pair + straight draw (13 outs): using 65s.915% = 1 in 14 times (13:1) Regular draws OESD (8 outs): There are five flops you can catch an OESD with: using 65s as an example.664% So.444% per flop * 6 flops = 2. 97x.153% Total = 0. total odds of flopping a combo draw = 0.147% (13 outs) + 2.147% Gutshot + flush draw (12 outs): You need a flop of 98x. 73x.0459% *2 for 842 = 0. (6/5)43 8/50 * 4/49 * 5/48 * 3 = 0. and 842.224% Since we already counted pair + FD + OESD.07653% (20 outs) + 0.498% Multiply by 3 for the odds of 87x/74x/43x: 7. 42x. 7(6/5)4.424% Pair + flush draw (14 outs): Two clubs and one of your hole cards: 6/50 * 11/49 * 10/48 * 3 = 1.494% Odds of flopping 973: 12/50 * 8/49 * 4/48 = 0.65% Subtract 0.45% (14 outs) + 1.07653 to get 1. 973. 43x. subtract 0. 32x (where each flop has two clubs).153% 7x 8c xc = 3/50 * 1/49 * 10/48 * 6 = 0.138% 7c 8x xc = 1/50 * 3/49 * 10/48 * 6 = 0. subtract 0.444% Total for all 3 flops = 1.424% (15 outs) + 1.558% 128 .408% Multiply by 3 for all three flops = 1.07653 and 0. 0.94% Subtract 0.0153% *3 for 9c 7x 3c/9x 7c 3c = 0.0918 since we already counted double gutshot + FD: = 0. where x does not complete a flush or straight and does not pair your hand: 87x: 7c 8c x = 2/50 * 1/49 * 27/48 * 3 = 0.68% Since we already counted pair + FD + OESD and pair + FD + gutshot.Odds of flopping 87x with two clubs.

86 + 2. 6.677 + 1. So.Total odds of flopping non-combo OESD = 8.45 / 12.556% = equity of 6s5s on 9s8s6x board against AcAd) + .5 * 97.424 / 12.78 + 0.175% (flush) = 13.077 / 12.5 * 50.17 + 2 / 12.26% Subtract 1.5 * 47.661 since we already counted the times where the flush draw gives you an OESD.5 * 96.5 * 74.899 + 1.414 + 0.664 / 12.26 + 1.5 * 57.5 = %age of time you flop oesfd+pair.71 + 1.5:1).5 * 87.5 * 91.05% (OESD) + 5.5 * 65. your total chances of flopping a standard 8 or 9 out draw are 8.5 * 56.153 / 12.147 / 12.424 and 2.225% (1 in 7.175% non-combo flush draws.84 / 12.05% Flush draw (9 outs): Two clubs + a blank that does not complete a flush or pair your hand: 11/50 * 10/49 * 33/48 * 3 = 9.5.5 * 45.01 / 12.09 / 12. I calculated the average equity of made hands/combo draws against overpairs by taking the weighted average of each: 0.5 * 99.077 / 12.35 / 12.55 + 1.556 (0.717 129 .31 / 12. 65. and you get 5.78 + 0.

And with 3-betting frequencies increasing so much as stakes rise.5 units. I think many of us realize that we can’t call these bets if we are going to play weakly after the flop (only continue with a set or on really favorable boards) but the question of when to continue or bluff with marginal hands is tricky. we also want to know the EV of calling given certain scenarios. and so thought I would try to "give back" by sharing some calculations and thoughts that I have been working on. So we have 22. 130 . like TT+ AK+ because intuitively I am pretty sure you don’t want to challenge this player post-flop with marginal holdings). the BB bumps to 11 units. Since most 100 and 200NL opponents are nits when it comes to 3-betting preflop. Is raising crazy here? Well how often did he actually hit that flop hard? Let’s look at results for three preflop ranges with updated probabilities based on the flop cards. this seems like one of the issues that SSNL players need to figure out in order to move up. You Missed. especially about examining a lot of the math underlying various situations. Obviously. Hopefully I will have some dedication and be around the forum relatively frequently for a while. So let’s look at a situation (Stacks=100 units) in which you raise the button 3.Reraised Blind Battles and Bluffing with Marginal Hands (sam h) Hi. These equities can be then compared to folding. I have gotten a lot from lurking around here and in MSNL the last month or so. I did not include a simulation for a total nit. but this post is so long just with bluffing that I will save that and maybe do it later if this post seems interesting to enough other posters. these situations are only applicable selectively. which is obviously 0 EV. I am a lapsed limit player trying to get back into poker and trying to get serious about learning NL. Two simple observations to start: (a) Your opponent’s preflop range changes things dramatically but (b) generally speaking opponents will frequently have very little on a board like this. (These ranges and labels may not be accurate for many games but it captures to some degree three different ideal-typical players as far as 3-betting.5 units in the pot going to the flop. There was a recent post where players were wondering about calling 3-bets after raising in position. the SB folds. and you call. but How Often Did Your Opponent? So let’s imagine the flop comes down T73r and your opponent makes a standard continuation bet of 16 units (into 22. The rest of this post is going to look at the equity of bluffing on a relatively dry flop while manipulating three variables: (a) your hand – AK or 55 for simplicity’s sake (b) your opponents preflop 3-betting range and (c) your opponents range for calling a bluff if you raise. The flop comes down pretty dry. leaving you with a marginal holding. But those spots are still important against the more agro preflop players. and the opponont of course c-bets.5).

here is your EV in units under those circumstances. Pushing Has to be Crazy. The only difference between the SLAG and the TAG preflop is a willingness to three-bet with AJ or KQs. Against this type of player. While AK is a hand that we would always be continuing to the flop with in these situations. his calling range and thus your fold equity (FE). have adopted fairly laggy preflop styles but are not calling a push light here in the BB as a default play and have trouble figuring out when that’s necessary. I think that a lot of “good” SSNL players. This should expand your preflop calling range if you’re really going to capitalize on these opportunities.5 units. Right? Let’s assume that you have AdKh and push and look at each of the preflop raising profiles based on whether they would call this push with only a very strong hand (first column in table above) or also a medium strength hand (second column in table above). you can profit immensely by running them over on the right dry flops. which amounts to (1-x)(38. have let their preflop aggression outpace their ability to counter post-flop aggression. (Note that now that we have AdKh.5) + (x)(111. where x is the probability he calls and y is the probability you win against his range when called. So let’s look at the equity of a couple different bluffs – first a push for 89 units and then a small raise to 45 units.5y + 89(1-y)). But what if you raise? The EV of raising is going to depend on how much you are risking. including myself. Your equity for each situation is going to be the sum of your FE and PE.” Let’s pretend we’re the BB for a second. and the only difference between the strong and medium calling ranges of these players is a willingness to stack off with 99 or 88. Wow! As long as the player is loose enough preflop but needs TPTK or better to stack off. So perhaps a fairly powerful general conclusion can be drawn from this specific circumstance: Take Home Point #1 – Some of the most “surprisingly exploitable” players at SSNL are those who. In some sense. Another interesting conclusion from this is how dramatically the EV of plays changes based on seemingly small adjustments to ranges. But if you push here. pushing is just printing money when compared to folding. an obvious implication/generalization is that other high-card hands become more playable if we can identify which flops to profitably bluff raise. in trying to improve and imitate the styles of known high-limit winners.I think the gut reaction of many players is to fold your whiffed overcards here for sure on the T73r flop and sometimes also your small pairs. the difference in EV between being up against a SLAG/strong range versus a TAG/medium range is 23 units! This may say something interesting about the notion of “changing gears. A pot sized raise be a total risk of 70. Using pokerstove to get your PE if called by his range. we have to discount the chance that he has an ace or a king in his hand so the probability of calling in each situation is slightly different although not very different than the probabilities in the table above). which is awkward. and your pot equity (PE) against his calling range. changing gears is about establishing an image 131 .

Basically. Let’s consider a situation where you raise to 40 units and your opponent will still fold all the hands he folded to a push but will push all the hands he previously called. But is pushing necessarily the best idea? Small raises are often derided but may be pretty effective in SSNL games. What if. but as long as we are relatively sure that he won’t call a push with 99 or 88 then it is hard for us to make a big mistake. then a must-capitalize +EV opportunity can quickly become a big –EV mistake. so bluff raising dry flops looks like something that needs to be added to the arsenal in some situations. These calcs assume AK. Moving to an iterated situation or one in which you are trying to mix strategies against a range obviously involves a lot more than the simple model presented here. you have a small pair like 55? Is raising still better than folding? Things are not quite as rosy if you hold an underpair. with AK we may not have a great grasp of the villain’s 3-betting range. consider not the strength of your hand currently but its equity against your opponents calling range. but that’s the simulation). For instance. your opponent may be less likely to fold to this raise with a medium strength hand (and will not always push over. Take Home Point #2: If your opponent is a thinking one and has likely become suspicious of your bluffing in these situations. having AK versus 55 only matters in so far as it slightly changes the probabilities of his holdings.for your opponent of the “state of the world” being a given cell of the table above and then adjusting your play to make a different cell the de facto reality. Take Home Point #3: If you are going to attempt to run the opponent over. with you then folding to that push.) Behold the power of the donk raise! Of course. then pushing may still be profitable. but I think the table above does show how profitable it can be in some situations for the BB to shift gears and trap. since your equity against his calling range decreases dramatically – the draw value of AKo is much preferable to having a pair. With 55. If you know with high probability your opponents’ 3-betting and push-calling ranges. Are Small Raises Really Donk-Like? Ok. What About Underpairs? So lets get back to the main discussion. But notice how much it hurts if your assumptions are wrong. instead of overcards like AKo. But I do think many SSNL players at least will fold hands like 88 or 99 here 132 . What does your equity look like now? (Since you are folding to the push if it comes. pushing into the nittier preflop three betters is going to be a big mistake even if they are never calling light. Because if a SLAG/strong changes gears to a TAG/medium. then you need to track any changes in his 3-betting tendencies and be careful. overcards can constitute a semi-semi-bluff.

133 . so it shouldn’t affect the strength of his hand that much. 755. Ks. so that got way too long. Flops with As. But we would assume that opponents are going to call raises lighter if there is a flush draw. The major caveat I would add (other than the very real possibility that my math is wrong) is that naturally our overall strategy involves mixing our range and so looking at just one isolated situation should be taken with a grain of salt. I don’t see why 962.for 24 more units. feeling that calling commits them to the pot and being unsure what to do on the turn if they call and don’t improve. since they won’t have many more jacks than tens. If you can find a player that will still fold medium strength hands to a small raise or is loose enough with preflop three-bets. against the looser preflop 3-betters. Therefore. Take Home Point #4 – Don’t discount the power of the small bluff raise. the T73r flop is pretty generalizable to other flops with three relatively low cards. but that the opponent is significantly more likely to be calling with a range that includes medium-strength hands. flops with flush draws that are low may also play differently. and Qs are a different beast. Also. Ok. Hope this provides some fodder for discussion. etc would be much different. then the donk raise in this spot is almost always better than folding no matter what you have. If you are up against that type of player. since raising the FD in our position is so typical. Even J high flops are pretty similar for players with the tighter ranges. it probably makes sense to think of a T73ss flop to play roughly similar to the T73r one examined here. the small raise is a winning play no matter what unless they are willing to expand their repushing range even more. Also notice that. T83. The small raise also obviously has the advantage of lower variance. The chances of your opponent having the draw are actually very slim. What About Other Flops? For the ranges examined here. then a small raise on dry flops can be devastating. no flush draw. and few straight draws.

they call preflop b/c they think they have implied odds and they try and get a good flop with their 78s or their 22. and due to pot/stack size ratio. or even the 22/17 TAGs. it make you look like a maniac.3-betting light (Dan Bitel) What is 3-betting light? Firstly. So. You know how when you raise preflop and cbet the flop normally. after all. right? BUT. So an example is if UTG raises to 4BB and I then in UTG+1 reraise to 12BB. Why do we 3-bet light? Theres a few reasons here. so they will think nothing of it. 78s etc etc. I guess. but this is really a bit of BS. 66. that would be a 3bet. All sorts of trash. next. in rr pots. it REALLY REALLY affects the way villains view you. OK. NOT more. They start to call you down a lot lighter (so obv you have to readjust your frequencies) Now onto the cbet=$$$ point. And bad players don't fold TP+ anyway. you get looked up by bottom pair. Not to mention that people are still too scared to play their sets mega fast a lot of the time anyway. Its a term used here to describe preflop (although can also describe post flop). you have AK. When you showdown 79s after 3betting preflop. things work differently. Although a 70/50 player will raise too lightly. with what hands and in what position? I can't stress how important reads are when 3-betting light. But they c/f the flop all the time unless they flop a set or 2pair or whatever. Now I'm sorry. Good players realise exactly what you were doing. I'm sure every1 says that pushing a combo draw is so good because now you can play your sets the same way and get looked up light. we can get AI very easily by not betting all that much. And it is basically just a reraise. BUT when you 3bet light. The typed you want to go for are the 30/20 types. You firstly need to know how light some1 is raising. if the guy who raised is a 11/3 preflop type. Who to 3-bet light. The main 2 though are for image/shania/metagame and b/c cbets = $$$$$$. Theres not point 3betting light. we have to establish what a 3-bet is. like AQ. what is the "light" part about? Well. Something like QQ+ and sometimes AK and that's about it. gutshots etc. BUT they still have no idea how to respond. 3-betting light means that you do it with some weaker hands as well. or even a 60/5 preflop type. most players when they start to play poker to a decentish level tend to only reraise (3-bet) very strong hands preflop. he'll also be 134 . The reasons for this is that normally you either have air as you're 3-betting light and so we dont have to take it down as often if we bet less. Every1 puts you on AA all of a sudden. OR we have a very good hand. Important note on cbeting in reraised pots: DO NOT BET AS MUCH AS YOU WOULD DO IN A NORMAL POT! Your cbets in reraised pots should be between 1/2 pot and 2/3 pot.

calling raises to light and not folding to cbets. just pots them. and I's sure they'll help you out __________________________________________________ Here is where we are supposed to put example hands. so he's not a good person to 3bet light. If they 4bet light and c/r bluff a lot of flops with a good frequency.90 UTG+1: $142 CO: $218. And if you need some help on hands in rr pots. 3bet these guys. Maybe drop down a level if you're a bit scared. Also. 2 players) 135 . I really recomment that you just have a go and practice makes perfect. try to get a read on what their calling ranges of 3bets are and how they play postflop after calling. SB calls. dont 3bet lighgt these guys.10 SB: $147 Hero: $484. so theres littly point me posting those. 2 folds. You need to understand pot control and your image well. But the beuaty of 3betting light is that we make most our money when every1 folds preflop or when they fold to a cbet on the flop. you can check behind some flops for pot control etc. Remeber that people raise way looser on the button that UTG etc. Also. feel free to post hands you won or lost: This guy is a 23/16 TAG. Flop: 5 T 8 ($87. 2 folds. and had finally tilted him: Full Tilt Poker No Limit Holdem Ring game Blinds: $1/$2 6 players Converter Stack sizes: UTG: $214. like AQ. KQs etc. But all. who I had been 3betting light the whole time. Instead I will post a few hands that I won BECAUSE I 3bet light. 33 etc.55 Button: $343. Anything Else? One of the keys to 3-betting light is playing well is rr pots. or PM a few to some1 you respect.30 Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is BB with T J UTG calls. This needs reads. but is SOOO important. Hero raises to $38. The hands you should be 3betting with are ones that CAN win you a big pot. Also. SB calls. This is mainly common sence. hands that have good showdown value. So 78s. Button raises to $9. Position is also quite important. when you have position. If they call a lot preflop and play fit or fold postflop.

I can still flop better than him and if he doesnt hit the flop (he only hits 1 in 3 times) he's folding to my cbet. Hero is all-in $93.70 Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is BB with A A 2 folds. he's screwed.7 returned to Hero. 3 players) SB checks. Flop: T 4 7 ($36. Results: Final pot: $399. If I have a big hand.7.7 Hero showed Ad As SB mucks Jh Tc 136 . I think even a 2p2er. Hero bets $65. 1 player + 1 all-in . SB calls all-in $90. Sure I have AA here. Uncalled bets: $3. Turn: 6 ($86.Main pot: $305) River: K ($305. Turn: 2 ($305. 3 players) SB checks. River: 2 ($216. SB calls. SB raises to $6. if I have a badish hand. 1 player + 1 all-in . This one is also vs a 22/16 type TAG. Hero bets $25. SB calls.Main pot: $305) Results: Final pot: $305 SB showed 9d 8d Hero showed Th Jh Note quite how bad his preflop call is. SB calls all-in $109. This is a classic example of some1 playing badly in rr pots. I doubt he would play his hand the same way: Full Tilt Poker No Limit Holdem Ring game Blinds: $1/$2 5 players Converter Stack sizes: UTG: $42 CO: $254. Hero bets $109.90 Button: $59.10 SB: $198 Hero: $201. SB calls. 3 players) SB checks. Hero raises to $18.SB checks. but if I wasn't rr 56s and 22 all day.

especially preflop -. Even out of position. Two reasons (no order): 1. at 200 NL. 2. the play is generally to 4bet for value. there’s a significant increase in preflop aggression from the 1/2 games to the 2/4 games. it can make sense to mix in some speculative calls with the knowledge that A) you’ll hit sometimes and B) you can check-raise a bunch of flops profitably to throw the villain off guard. There are times when it makes sense to just call a 3bet with hands like AA and KK. and a curiosity I’ve noticed I have about preflop play since I started datamining and dabbling with 400 NL -. At the very least. The situation follows: A) the villain knows you’re a TAG (or a LAG) and are opening with a pretty wide range. In reality. B) as a result. you want to 4bet for value with AA and KK. 2) Open up your calling range. Rather. especially if he has position on you. This is often a reasonable approach. etc. B) to counter this. I’ve found that some TAGs 3bet very light/frequently. However. you might disagree. and I’ve been guilty of doing so myself.a level known for a distinct spike in aggression. 3) Throw in some light 4bets. but for the purpose of this article I’ll advocate an aggressive preflop strategy and assume that A) many villains 3bet light. really. If you read this post and think you got something out of it. we also play to have fun and to improve. This can be useful. If you have played 400 NL. some brief AIM conversations with this guy. Too many of us play poker with our egos. most TAGs 3bet light. especially if you’re in position. AK.Preflop 4betting (Theory) (tannenj) This post was inspired by this thread.a few weeks ago. You have a few options: 1) Leave the table. Say you’re sitting with a 26/22 LAGTAG and he’s 3betting the crap out of your open raises. this article assumes that villains 3bet light. If A) you think you have the best hand and B) the villain has 3bet and you think it’s likely that he’ll call or shove over the top of your 4bet with a worse hand. and my experience at the level is relatively limited. it’s helpful to have the light 4bet in your arsenal.especially if there are one or two weak players sitting. QQ. and it’s a key component of this article. it can be pretty tough to make money. so it often makes sense to stay at the table -. At 400 NL. This is what I’ve been setting up for. 137 . and at times. he’s 3betting with a wide range. and C) being 4bet with the bulk of the hands with which he’s 3betting is going to put the villain in some very tough spots. end all on preflop 4betting. I hope this post provides some food for thought about why to 4bet and helps some of SSNL with regard to how to think about villains’ ranges and how they should affect preflop decisions. you might like my Pooh-Bah Post. As a bluff: As I touched on. however. We play to make money. This is a personal observation. If something like that could exist. For value: Not much explanation necessary. and C) to balance light 4betting. especially if A) they suspect you’re raising light from late position or B) they have position on you. Why 4bet? It’s fairly simple. most villains don’t 3bet very light. poker wouldn’t be the fascinating game that has captivated the majority of this forum. and if the light 3bettor is competent postflop. The following discussion isn’t meant to be a be all.

138 . I hope the following calculations illustrate some of the reasoning behind small preflop 4bets: What follow are some assumptions I made for the purpose of my PokerStoving. 4betting light is major +EV. Much more often.but really. it’s just a name I’m giving him to differentiate his 5betting range. much of the importance of the move is rooted in metagame. The issue is that poker is a game of math. Unfortunately.just go with the assumptions.” you’re right. With that said. if you think they seem “random. how they should affect these players’ 5betting ranges. they’re just four ranges that start out tight and gradually increase in scope. you shouldn’t be doing light 4betting against bad players). because A) at this point. Adding a broader range of ranges (ugh) to this analysis definitely has some merit.If a villain is 3betting light. the other two combinations of TT. really): for value. 2) players won’t call your preflop 4bet. and more often than not. 6) LAG will 5bet all in with the above hands plus AJs. when betting and raising for value. half the combinations of ATs. It’s very bad for your raises to be constantly 3bet. you’re hoping the other guy folds. Show me some math: When I decided to write this article. though. and half the combinations of TT (and fold all other hands). For the purpose of this article. I came up with these ranges in the span of a few minutes. JJ. but at least for the first session or two). 5) Aggressive TAG will 5bet all in with the above hands plus AQs. and QQ (and fold all other hands). AKo. The first one is easy. and as a bluff. 4) Conservative TAG will 5bet all in with the above two hands plus AKs. “Whatever. there are two reasons for the preflop 4bet (or any bet or raise. a villain will be less likely to 3bet after he notices that you’re willing to 4bet his 3bets. Obviously. and half the combinations of 87s (and fold all other hands). As I explained. the number of ranges with which the following calculations can be performed is essentially infinite. half the combinations of 88. it’s theory. ‘Nit’ doesn’t mean he doesn’t 3bet light. Against some villains. you give up expected value. however.”). things get fuzzy. This is a theory article. he’ll shove. 99. these things will rarely be exactly the case. The more expected value you give up. and hopefully someone will do this if it’s decided that the initial investigation is worthwhile. even if some of them seem contrived. When things get fuzzy. why are you 4betting his 3bets light?” The response is. 1) effective stacks are always 100 big blinds. and B) obviously. they’ll 5bet all in. the lower will be your win rate. you can’t know what hand he has (unless you’re Phil Hellmuth and have world class “reading ability”). I suppose there will be times when he’ll call (especially if he’s bad -. -. When you make a mistake. For the purpose of this article. There’s this stuff called pot odds. the purpose I had in mind was to explore the small 4bet. Easy stuff. and in general. if they continue with the hand. When you 4bet light. And when he shoves. There’s little rhyme or reason to them. At the risk of stating the (very) obvious. it’s tough to run into trouble. “If this guy is a nit. it becomes more likely that you’ll make a mistake. 4bet bluffing preflop is trickier. don’t worry about 3bets. he won’t always fold. your 4bets should have a ton of fold equity (perhaps not after the villain realizes what’s happening. etc. 3) Nit will 5bet all in with AA and KK and fold everything else (note: you might be thinking. it dictates your decisions in this game if your goal is to play soundly. you’re being laid major odds.

Conservative TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. or 2. Since you’re priced in to call all in after making a pot 4bet with 65s against the range of Conservative TAG. Nit makes a pot 3bet 139 .92% 00. Note that none of these 4bets are for value. each one is a bluff. let’s look at some scenarios in which you 4bet pot. you’ve decided to turn your hand into a bluff. a value raise. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 31. Two folds to Nit on the button. You’re UTG with TT. AKs. 100/3. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 22.20% 18321336 168354. you’ll be priced in with the same hand after the same action against both Aggressive TAG and LAG as well. The good news is that your 65s has more equity against their ranges. You make a pot 4bet to $75. Conservative TAG 5bets all in. Turning TT into a bluff by 4betting isn’t necessarily a poor play. Nit makes a pot 3bet to $24. Nit 5bets all in. The best hand you hold in the following scenarios is TT. You need 31.20% 63532548 168354. You can fold the hand without making a mistake. You open to $7. These guys have wider 5bet shoving ranges.First. but it’s important to realize what’s occurring. Two folds to Nit on the button. or 2.22:1.22 = 31.22% 159831996 515570. You open to $7. but calling is correct because folding would be a slight mathematical error.06% equity or more to call.00 { QQ+. however. The bad news is that they’ll 5bet shove on your 65s more often.856% 68.5%. and you have it almost exactly.06.30% 00. You open to $7. you’ll get stacked more than twice as often as you’ll suck out. $125 to win a pot of $278. it is not. Pot Odds: Same as above. so when you 4bet with this hand.63% 00. You’re priced in to call with only about 31% equity.496% 22.00 { 65s } Hand 1: 77.504% 77.29% 00. Pot Odds: You have to call $125 to win a pot of $278.22:1. so folding against them becomes a significantly bigger mistake.00 { 65s } Hand 1: 68. and you only have about 22. You’re UTG with 65s. You’re getting 278:125.00 { KK+ } Are you priced in to call? No. You’re getting 278:125. Even TT is a dog against the widest of the villains’ 5betting ranges. and your hand is still a pretty big dog against the group of hands with which they’ll be pushing. You make a pot 4bet to $75. TT does have solid equity against the range of LAG.144% 30. You need a little over 31% equity to call. You need a little over 31% equity to call. AKo } Are you priced in to call? Yes. Two folds to Conservative TAG on the button. You’re UTG with 65s.22% 72010208 515570.

20% 23252328 242334. your TT is a slight dog (about 45. You make a pot 4bet to $75.39% 00. Conservative TAG 5bets all in.20% 126502032 693396. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 36. 36. TT is generally a much better hand than 65s.06% equity or more to call. 140 .00 { TT } Hand 1: 63.06% equity or more to call.00 { QQ+. You need 31. so you can pitch it without making a mathematical error.943% 80.4% is enough equity that you should be calling.34% 20613120 628650.5/55. You’re UTG with KQo.86% 00. You’re getting 278:125.00 { KK+ } Are you priced in to call? No.15% 00.413% 36.21% 00. you’ll also have to call against the remaining two fictional players. Like in the first scenario. Nit makes a pot 3bet to $24.06% equity or more to $24. Two folds to Nit on the button.486% 11.17% 00.20% 99548892 242334. You’re UTG with TT.057% 18. You need more than 31% equity to call and only have about 19%. Nit 5bets all in.00 { TT } Hand 1: 80. You make a pot 4bet to $75. You open to $7. You open to $7. or 2. AKo } Are you priced in to call? Yes.5). You make a pot 4bet to $75. since you’re priced in against this guy. Two folds to Conservative TAG on the button. Pot Odds: Still $125 to win a pot of $278. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 19.34% 163058412 628650. Nit 5bets all in. You’re UTG with KQo. It’s notable that even against LAG.514% 88.00 { KK+ } Are you priced in to call? No.20% 221421192 693396. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 11. but Nit’s range is so narrow that TT actually performs worse than 65s against the hands Nit could be holding.75% 00. AKs.22:1. You open to $7.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 88. Two folds to Conservative TAG on the button. Pot Odds: You need 31. Conservative TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24.587% 63. Pot Odds: You need 31.

35% 750276744 3937734. AKo } Are you priced in to call? No.67% 00. This range is wide enough that you have to call. You need a bit more than 31% equity to call. Now. You’re UTG with KQo. In addition. Two folds to Aggressive TAG on the button. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 32. You open to $7. 8c8s. Aggressive TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. in the following hands. and when you do call. AQs+. Such a 4bet risks less money while still denying villains the odds to set mine against you and to call with speculative hands. you’re a big dog. 8d8s. let’s look at some similar scenarios. Pot Odds: You need 31. Conservative TAG 5bets all in.43% 194732364 3147627.00 { QQ+. it makes calling a 5bet shove less attractive from a pot odds perspective. you make a small 4bet to 2.26% 00.76% 00.00 { 99+. Your hands will remain the same.43% 538687710 3147627.06% equity or more to call. AJs+.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 73. LAG makes a pot 3bet to $24.06% equity or more to call. as will the villains’ ranges.Conservative TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. and you’re only getting about 21%. You make a pot 4bet to $75. AKo } Are you priced in to call? Yes.25 times the villain’s 3bet ($54) instead of 4betting pot. AsTs.751% 26.82% 00. 8h8s.00 { JJ+. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 20.49% 99910656 2423022.249% 72.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 67. Aggressive TAG 5bets all in.49% 388386852 2423022. ThTs.06% equity or more to call.33% 00. TcTs.027% 31. You open to $7. However. you’re still not getting enough equity against the range you’re facing. You make a pot 4bet to $75.62% 00.751% 20. You make a pot 4bet to $75. AKs. so 141 . TdTs.973% 67. Two folds to LAG on the button. LAG 5bets all in. AhTh. AKo } Are you priced in to call? No.35% 351420780 3937734. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 26.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 79. Pot Odds: You need 31.249% 78. You’re UTG with KQo. Pot Odds: You need 31.

If I were to assume that the villains’ 5betting ranges change when you decrease the size of your won’t be mathematically obligated to call shoves as often after making a light 4bet.92% 00. Nit makes a pot 3bet to $24.144% 30. You make a small 4bet to $54. Two folds to Conservative TAG on the button. You make a small 4bet to $54. and you only have about 22. Conservative TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. You’re UTG with 65s. You’re getting 257:146. You’re getting 257:146. You open to $7. You’re UTG with 65s. or 1. You can fold the hand without making a mistake. you can fold to the shove without making a mistake. AKs.504% 77. You’re getting 257:146. $146 to win a pot of $257. “Fair enough. IT IS NOT THE CASE. For the purpose of this article. Pot Odds: Same as above.20% 18321336 168354.5%.00 { KK+ } Are you priced in to call? No.” IN REALITY.76:1. assume that a small 4bet has the same fold equity as a big 4bet.20% 63532548 168354. Nit 5bets all in.23 Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 22. Conservative TAG 5bets all in. You need 36.856% 68.30% 00. You open to $7. you were mathematically forced to call off your stack after the 4bet bluff with this hand. Pot Odds: Same as above. You make a small 4bet to $54.22% 72010208 515570.22% 159831996 515570.63% 00.29% 00.00 { 65s } Hand 1: 68. You open to $7. Aggressive TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. When you make the small 4bet. 142 . Pot Odds: You have to call $146 to win a pot of $257. AKo } Are you priced in to call? No. but a small 4bet doesn’t have the same fold equity as a 4bet to pot. Conservative TAG 5bets all in.76:1. $146 to win a pot of $257. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 31. Two folds to Nit on the button. or 1. Note that when you 4bet pot. Two folds to Aggressive TAG on the button.496% 22. Important note: you might be thinking. or 1. You need a little over 36% equity to call.23% equity or more to call. and you only have a bit more than 31%. though.00 { QQ+. You need a little over 36% equity to call.76:1. THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE THE CASE! For the purpose of this article.76 = 36. You’re UTG with 65s.00 { 65s } Hand 1: 77. the examples would become extremely lengthy and complicated. 100/2.

143 .00 { 99+.23% equity or more to call. or 1.33% 00. You’re UTG with 65s.75% 00. Pot Odds: Same as above. You open to $7. You’re UTG with TT.057% 18. 8h7h. Conservative TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. You open to $7.22% 95998006 721187. Two folds to Nit on the button. TdTs. AQs+. 8d8s.76:1.06% 00. 8c8s.82% 00. Pot Odds: You’re getting1. AJs+. ThTs. You still don’t have enough equity to call. 8h8s.23% equity or more to call. You make a small 4bet to $54. In fact. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 29.955% 69.73% 00.00 { 65s } Hand 1: 70.31% 322728794 1400403. Two folds to LAG on the button.22% 224472772 721187. You’re UTG with TT. AhTh.31% 133367872 1400403.00 { JJ+. AKo } Are you priced in to call? No. LAG makes a pot 3bet to $24.23% equity or more to call. LAG 5bets all in.You need 36. Nit 5bets all in.20% 23252328 242334.23% equity or more to call. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 30. your equity has dropped slightly despite the fact that the range you’re facing has widened. $146 to win a pot of $257. you can fold 65s to the shove after 4betting. You open to $7.632% 70. Nit makes a pot 3bet to $24.20% 99548892 242334. Two folds to Conservative TAG on the button.76:1 and need 36.943% 80. 8s7s.368% 29. You make a small 4bet to $54. You need 36. Pot Odds: You’re getting 1. You weren’t priced in to call against this guy even after making a pot 4bet.00 { 65s } Hand 1: 69.86% 00. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 19. TcTs. AKo } Are you priced in to call? No. AsTs. Conservative TAG 5bets all in. You make a small 4bet to $54.76:1 and need 36.00 { TT } Hand 1: 80. Even against LAG’s range.00 { KK+ } Are you priced in to call? No. You’re getting 257:146.045% 29. so clearly you’re not priced in now that your pot odds have become less favorable.

Equity: 144 . Nit 5bets all in.413% 36. You make a small 4bet to $54.34% 163058412 628650. AKo } Are you priced in to call? Yes. However. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 20. Math dictates that with TT. AKo } Are you priced in to call? No.20% 126502032 693396.00 { QQ+. You need more than three times the equity you have before calling becomes the right play.20% 221421192 693396.Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 36.76:1 and need 36. Conservative TAG 5bets all in. You’re UTG with KQo. barely.00 { TT } Hand 1: 63. AKs. You open to $7. You make a small 4bet to $54.17% 00. Conservative TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. You open to $7.76:1 and need 36. the decision wasn’t a close one. Pot Odds: You’re getting 1.15% 00. and it’s still not close.751% 20. folding would only be a very minor mistake because the small 4bet leads to much less favorable pot odds on a call. Note that TT also became a call against this guy when you were 4betting pot. Two folds to Conservative TAG on the button. Nit makes a pot 3bet to $24.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 79. Two folds to Nit on the button. You open to $7.21% 00. the four villains’ 5bets should be dealt with the same way despite the difference in 4bet size (since you’re priced in against Conservative TAG.76:1 and need 36.249% 78. You make a small 4bet to $54.34% 20613120 628650. Aggressive TAG 5bets all in.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 88.23% equity or more to call. Two folds to Aggressive TAG on the button. you’ll be priced in against Aggressive TAG and LAG too). Pot Odds: You’re getting 1.49% 388386852 2423022.00 { KK+ } Are you priced in to call? No way. AKs.76% 00. Pot Odds: You’re getting 1. but that then.514% 88. You’re UTG with KQo.587% 63.39% 00.00 { QQ+.26% 00. Aggressive TAG makes a pot 3bet to $24.23% equity or more to call.49% 99910656 2423022.486% 11. You’re UTG with KQo. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 11.23% equity or more to call.

However. AKo } Are you priced in to call? Nope. though.36% 360688620 3972930.23% equity or more to call. you were able to fold to Nit’s shove. Equity: equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 32. When you 4bet pot with pocket tens.865% 32. but you had to call against the other three. TcTs.the player with the next narrowest range -the decision to call in this spot was extremely close). Being mathematically forced to call off most of your stack is bad when you know you are a significant dog in the pot.43% 194732364 3147627. you were priced in zero times out of four.equity win tie pots won pots tied Hand 0: 26. AJs+. but you were priced in to call against the other three players. LAG makes a pot 3bet to $24. you were able to fold to a shove from Nit. you were able to correctly fold against all four players. the smaller 4bet provided you with increased leverage.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 73. 8c8s. 8h7h. with 65s and KQo.76:1 and need 36. meanwhile.00 { KQo } Hand 1: 67. 8h8s. However.00 { 99+. When you made a small 4bet. AKo } Are you priced in to call? No.249% 72. but you were priced in to call against LAG. When you 4bet pot with KQo. ThTs. Being able to 4bet bluff with the knowledge that you can fold to a 5bet all in is a nice luxury. With this hand. you were able to fold against all four players’ shoves without making a mathematical mistake.751% 26.135% 66. You make a small 4bet to $54. Decreasing the size of a 4bet makes this process 145 . decreasing the size of your 4bet made it possible to correctly fold to 5bet shoves in spots where you would’ve had to call if your 4bet were bigger. you were priced in to call three times out of four when making a 4bet to pot.33% 00. Two folds to LAG on the button. When you 4bet bluffed small with 65s. AQs+. when holding the other two hands. decreasing the size of your 4bet changed nothing with regard to the correctness of calling a 5bet shove against the given ranges.00 { JJ+. Pot Odds: You’re getting 1. You open to $7.2. 26. the small suited connector. When holding TT.43% 538687710 3147627.8 < 36. The same was the case when you decreased the size of your 4bet with the tens: folding was correct against Nit. Analysis When you 4bet pot with 65s.36% 740938512 3972930. TdTs. LAG 5bets all in. you were able to fold to shoves from the first three players. Even against this guy you can fold and avoid getting all in preflop as a 67/33 dog.78% 00.51% 00.82% 00. but you had to call against the other three (though against Conservative TAG -. when you made your 4bet bluff smaller with this hand. The results were especially drastic with 65s. You’re UTG with KQo. 8d8s. 8s7s.

in my opinion. 146 . you adjust. So. If I had some way of knowing that light 3betters react the same way to small 4bets as to pot 4bets. I’ll probably begin to replace pot 4bets with a combination of small 4bets and 4bet shoves. But yes. How much fold equity (if any)? Tough to say. 4betting small with premium hands is a good adjustment and is important for balance. if you’re pulling this crap often with junk. Won’t villains adjust to my small 4bets? Probably not. Note that it’s important to make both small 4bets and 4bet pushes with both hands that are marginal and hands that are powerful. does it never make sense to 4bet pot? It never makes sense to 4bet pot according to the assumptions in this article. according to this article. perhaps at the expense of some fold equity. If they adjust. especially at 200 NL. it’s impossible to prove that fold equity is the same regardless of 4betting size. With the information I have. However. I’d eliminate the pot 4bet from my arsenal because if this were the case. smart villains should notice eventually and begin to shove over your 4bets with a wider range.possible. 4betting pot would be inferior to both 4betting small and to 4bet shoving.

and 82.” any ace.3% chance with three players left to act. and 86. then you 147 . I’ve attempted to steal the blinds a whopping 38.10 PTBB/hand: that’s 110 PTBB/100. and 55. AK: 94. I’ve stolen blinds from my eight-year-old cousin and from an 85-year-old great-grandmother. heartless. and despite that. I’ve maintained a healthy win rate of 1. habitual blind thief. I'd be a Pooh-Bah now. AQ. think again – blind stealing can be an extremely valuable part of your poker arsenal. if somebody hadn't changed my title. . AK.“Super Premium Hand. but I’ve decided to address an important and often-misunderstood topic in small-stakes no-limit poker: blind stealing. “irrational exuberance” on my part. . what’s the method. In the last 17. Note what this means: the “looser” your remaining opponents. I’ll admit it: I’m a ruthless.” AA-JJ. That means that for the frequent blind thief. Despite the fact that I’ve only attempted a blind steal one time every five orbits. Blind steals rely heavily on folding equity.” any pair. I steal blinds when I play no-limit hold’em. AK. those steal attempts have generated over 30% of my total profits at the no-limit poker tables. The odds none of the remaining players have “good” hands are as follows: . Pokey’s Rules for Blind Theft: 1.” AA-TT. KQ: 87.9% chance with three players left to act. helpless. any suited. I’m reasonably good at it. and 77.“Very Good Hand.“Above Average Hand.8% chance with two players left to act. any two broadway: 67. or perhaps just an “image move” to help get paid off on your big hands.” all Great Hands plus 88. I steal blinds when I’m playing my 16/9 full-ring TAG game and I steal blinds when I’m playing my 35/20 6-max LAG game. Furthermore. any two broadway: 29. The good news is that the odds of your remaining opponents having a decent hand are slim – there are only two or three players left to act.500 hands. To those of you who consider blind stealing an insignificant part of the no-limit poker game. what’s the approach? The answer is that it’s quite easy. you’re hoping NOT to get to a showdown.8% chance with two players left to act. Like I said: done right. and I always will. . Over those 313 blind-steal attempts. I’m forced to make a SECOND Pooh-bah post.3% chance with three players left to act. .4% chance with two players left to act. and they have random hands.31% of the time – that works out to be 313 steal attempts out of 817 opportunities. . blind stealing is a VERY important contributor to your overall win rate. the harder it will be to successfully steal the blinds preflop.6% chance with three players left to act.“Great Hand. AJ: 84. AQ: 90. Know yourself and know your target. The more frequently you try to steal the blinds. I’ve always stolen blinds. I haven’t had quite as much time to think about it the second time around.1% chance with two players left to act. any pair.5% chance with two players left to act. the weaker the average hand you’ll have when you attempt a steal. let’s turn to the issue at hand: how do you steal the blinds successfully? What’s the formula. Due to some…er.6% chance with two players left to act. So. now that I’ve got your attention.Blind stealing (Pokey) Well.“Premium Hand. If your blind steals are a standard 4xBB. it’s wildly successful.3% chance with three players left to act. and 91. I stole blinds when I played tournaments. I stole blinds when I played limit hold’em. and 16% chance with three players left to act. hopeless.” AA-99.“Good Hand.

we’ve got a few things going for us: namely. how often our opponent will improve and we’ll improve more. if your opponent folds. my steal rate of 38.will wager 4xBB to win 1.If our opponent is playing “Very Good Hands. . and any suited connector down to 87s. . to successfully steal blinds.If our opponent is playing “Great Hands.3%.If our opponent is playing “Premium Hands. For people who steal infrequently (say. you will be stealing with reasonably solid hands yourself: collectively.7% of the time. This will be the case when we are relentless with our steal attempts and our opponents are conservative with their calls. so if you immediately win 3 times out of 11 you will show an immediate preflop profit. aggression. meaning that your hand on the flop will beat unimproved pocket deuces 47. this is not a tragedy – it’s an opportunity. and if not.7% of the time. As complicated as this all sounds. However. what are the odds that by the flop our opponent’s hand is at least strong enough to beat unimproved pocket deuces? . you should be stealing with literally any two cards from either BB or CO. So against players who will only play “very good hands” versus a steal attempt. Consider that even if our opponent is playing as incredibly tight. . 2.” his hand on the flop will beat unimproved pocket deuces 59. Of course. we’re typically behind.” his hand on the flop will beat unimproved pocket deuces 40. how often we’ll improve but our opponent will improve more. Aggression.” If that’s your steal range. we need to apply that steady aggression. and doing so will show an instant profit even before the flop.If our opponent is playing “Above Average Hands. So.5xBB. As an example. The odds that your hand is worth pursuing is therefore significant enough to warrant a full pot-sized continuation bet from you. so you need to remain aware of both your table image and your opponent’s play style. the hand range your opponent will consider worthy of a preflop call will expand as you attempt steals more frequently.” his hand on the flop will beat unimproved pocket deuces 49% of the time. Most opponents crumble quickly against steady aggression. The flop is going to improve our hand about one time in three. how often our opponent will improve and still fold. your flop bets should be sizeable.If our opponent is playing “Good Hands. but we’re balancing competing issues: how often our opponent will improve. any king. I don’t recommend stealing “only” 20% of the time. I recommend stealing much more often than that. Given that you are only attempting a steal 20% of the time. When you get called preflop.4% of possible holdings. great.” his hand on the flop will beat unimproved pocket deuces 64% of the time.6% of the time. any ace.If our opponent is only playing “Super Premium Hands. some of his hand range will include unpaired preflop hands like AK. how often we will have a strong hand.1% of the time. Now we get into the art of blind stealing: how large should our flop bet be? We want to make sure our flop bet is at the same size whether we’ve flopped well or not. it’s actually not bad at all. However. aggression. that we have played the hand aggressively so far and that we will have position on this and every remaining street in the hand. Let’s assume that when we’re called. any two broadway cards. even if you never win a hand when you don’t win preflop.” his hand on the flop will beat unimproved pocket deuces 56. if our opponents are likely to fold 72. Since 3 out of 11 is 27. . 20% of the time or less). we need to do so CAREFULLY so as to make sure that our attempts are profitable. you have a valuable hand often enough to make this a highly profitable hand for you. etc. any pair. the chances that on the flop you have 148 . we win immediately. .” his hand on the flop will beat unimproved pocket deuces 73% of the time.4% of the time. and any two broadway cards make up 20. While this sounds like a recipe for bankruptcy. all suited aces.3% corresponds roughly to stealing with “any pair.

64)*(-5. we lose 5. lowering the value of your flop bets.Premium Hands: 90. The answer is not to bet less often on the flop.5 PTBBs). rather. 51% of the time they fold on the flop. Much like bears in the woods.45 PTBB. Skipping ahead to the loosest players: . and that safely makes all of these calculations +EV. At this stage of the hand.059*0.75 PTBBs). EV = 0. thus.49)*(-5. Note well two points.674*(+0.705*0. However.51)*( least a pair will be noticeably lower (something like 42.51 PTBB.705*0.75) + (0. After the flop.8%). Notice what this means: if your opponent plays very tightly against your preflop raise. the odds that he has a decent hand on the flop go up.75) + (0. your opponents are more afraid of you than you are of 149 . we lose every time.17 PTBB. however: first. 27% of the time they fold on the flop. the odds that he CALLS your preflop bet go DOWN.5) = +0.599)*(+2. the opponent holding 22 on a board of AKQ is assumed to call our continuation bet.059*0. EV = 0. EV = 0. we’ve already had two chances to win the pot: one if our opponent folds to the preflop bet and one if our opponent folds to the flop bet.5% of the time they fold preflop.5) = +0. EV = 0.092*0.75) + (0.75 PTBBs. raising the value of your PREFLOP bets. there is too much “art” in the play to be easily categorized in a summary like this.75) + (0.5 PTBB on the flop.092*0. and when they fold.75) + (0. Also.36)*(+2.326*0.Super Premium Hands: 94.75) + (0.08 PTBB.73)*(-5. Once again.9% of the time they fold on the flop.295*(+0. Consider the value of a steal attempt from the big blind against the various opponents.27)*(+2. a 2/3-pot sized bet only needs to win 40% of the time to be immediately profitable. we win 2. this demonstrates a bizarre truism: the less likely your opponent is to fold.Good Hands: 67. the less profitable your blind-stealing will prove to be in terms of folding equity. assuming they will (a) fold preflop if their hand is outside of the specified range (winning 0.75) + (0.8% of the time they fold preflop. While a pot-sized bet needs to win 50% of the time to be immediately profitable. this assumes that our opponent is calling EVERY time he has a hand that is at least as strong as a pair of deuces.5) = -0.4% of the time they fold preflop. I do want to point out a few simple points that might make help you in your blind-stealing adventures: 1.326*0. and (b) only call the flop with a hand that can beat 22 (when they fold. This should prove FAR from true. our EV calculations have thus far assumed that whenever we have not won with the flop bet. easy and simple rules must be thrown out the window. especially against the loosest of our opponents. From here on in.401)*(-5.1% of the time they fold preflop. . . 36% of the time they fold on the flop. 59. A safe bet is that we will win at LEAST 1/3 of the time when our flop bet is called. the answer is to bet a smaller quantity on the flop. This assumes our betting is 2 PTBB preflop and 3.941*(+0.75) + (0. If we consider only the tightest and loosest opponents. we see this: .908*(+0.Above Average Hands: 29.5) = +0.

Fast play of big hands is CRUCIAL to the success of this strategy. Not only did that turn card 4c improve my hand by giving me nine more outs. There is no shame in folding your blind steal attempt. SB had AA when he fought back. If your opponent gets aggressive. if you are risking your stack on a blind steal. if you are stealing with total garbage (86s or some such) and someone reraises. the turn straight card. If a scare card hits on the turn and your opponent checks to you again. since my opponent won’t see my straight or flush coming). Not only does it boost the shania of all your weak junk by elevating your folding equity. making him think that I just turned trips. and I hope this gave you some additional insight into the ins and outs of blind stealing. Hit him again. If the flop comes A83r and your opponent bets the pot. and without hesitation. feel free to take it. and will call all-in with QQ unimproved. GET OUT. more likely. we need to tighten up considerably. Take free cards if they are beneficial to you. but you’ll also get even more respect the next time you play fast on a board of A55…only this time you’ll have 98s…. your folding equity remains solid. but it also gets paid off much more frequently than it would if you were only nut-peddling. TRUST him. Blind stealing is decidedly a “small pot game” strategy. your opponent won’t believe you. fold your 98s in the CO this time. This is another place where knowing your enemy helps. This is your hand – you’ve raised preflop and bet the flop. After you’ve folded preflop three or four times in a row. feel OBLIGATED to do so. Your entire strategy here is a bluff that depends entirely on your playing your monsters and your junk identically. but it also scared the doody out of my opponent. One strength of this strategy is that you’ll often have good draws on the flop. and he does NOT have a pair of balls. Why not take advantage of the fear? Instead of playing for my 2-to-1 draw. Don’t get discouraged if your steals fail. 4. You are not a slave to your cards. Don’t bother seeing what the flop brings – there’s no profit in it. Know your image! While players don’t adjust very well or very far or very effectively. but give your opponents a tiny chance to catch their breaths between steals. If you’ve got a good draw. or check-raises big. There’s always the temptation when you have AA preflop and catch A55 on the flop to suddenly change gears. here. I thank the both of you. Just because you got reraised preflop the last time you tried to steal doesn’t mean that they’ve got your number. Use that ruthlessly. Don’t! With any luck. and keep hitting him. and your opponent will usually offer you a free card on the turn. I can bet immediately and win the pot a significant chunk of the time. Don’t. Given that your opponent has exhibited NO aggression at this point. In fact. We’re often worried that because our opponent played back at us the last time we tried to steal. Give it a shot – you may find it more lucrative than you ever imagined it could be. Don’t ALWAYS take it. I cannot emphasize this enough. feel free to fold your KQo. To those of you who read this entire thread. 5. Similarly.them. 6. they DO adjust. Now he’s got 92o. you can go back to stealing and bullying. the turn flush card. the turn king. understand your table image. Not only will you stack him. or the turn blank if you think your opponent is running scared. though – I’ve often fired another barrel with a hand like Tc9c when the board looked like QcJd4s4c. DO NOT SLOWPLAY. the turn pair. understand that your opponents are getting pissed off at you. 3. and STILL win 1/3 of the time at showdown (usually for even more money. and understand that your folding equity falls every additional time you win a pot without showing your cards. Our opponents don’t adjust NEARLY as much as we think they do. You’re SCARY. you’ve screwed up big-time. 150 . fire that second (third?) barrel! Don’t be afraid to bet the turn ace. 2. Fold immediately. If you’ve picked up the pot with preflop bets and flop bets the last four hands in a row.

Geez. I've made some lengthy posts in the past. 151 . but this one was longer than Ghandi. Sorry about that.

. so it's less likely the blinds will see it as that and play back at you. now that a hell of a lot of $$$$!!!! The reason for this is in a way. you should do it with your normal blind stealing range.freakdaddy. So by raising. Kxs. so you can steal the blinds more. I'm sure that for most of you it's bigger than 60 PTBB/100.. either you're at a table of mega mega unobservant fish and you just keep raking in the money from their limps. you don't HAVE to do this to play optimal poker. Next. Unlike blind stealing. unsuited connectors. its a VERY good thing. OK. which as we've already discussed is $$$$$$. they're losing 4BB every 5 hands. I know that a lot of good players/respected posters do this already and some don't like it at all. so lets say you're on the button and MP limps to you. No. yourblind steal doen't even look like a blind steal. You have K 2 . Thats over 100PTBB/100. even from CO. NLTH is a badly structured game in the way that when you play without antes. this means that on the BB . Now considering that a good TAG player will normally only play about 20% of their hands. Well. It kinda baffles me realy!! What kind of hand can they have? 3) What do you opponents limp with? This is a very important consideration. what you have to realise is quite how +EV blind stealing is. These hands miss the flop very often. so SC. So even if you do get called. 2) It's scary the amount of times that I've seen people limp/fold preflop. Or maybe you're sitting at a table of just mega unobservant fish.Taking stealing the blinds to next level (Dan Bitel) Secondly. what I'm about to write is not for every1.. Well. that they normally wouldn't put in.5BB. they have to post their blind without even seeing their hand. 6) Our oppponents are plays sub-optimally by open limping. of limpers: normally 1 or 2. low PP etc etc. We've got a poor hand after all.. 2) They will be raising more and will be out of their comfort zone. What do I think you should do? RAISE THAT [censored]!!! Reasons: 1) now. IMO. they won't continue after your flop cbet very often. what hands should you be doing this with? After how many limpers? After what sort of limpers. either trash/SC/PP. This means they will usually make even bigger mistakes than usual as they try to adjust Next. we are punishing that mistake. Axs. OK. Check you BB/100 when blind stealing in PT. Normally. but sometimes more if conditions allow 152 . and they realise what you're doing and they stop limping. lets think about what will happen after we make this play a few times. It means 1) they will be folding more. we now win 2. the blinds are at such a disadvantage. what should you normally do? Well folding certainly doesn't look too bad. suited 1 gappers. 4) When we take it down preflop. we'll catch you yet 5) We'll get paid off more on our big hands. is this a good thing or a bad thing? I think in a way.

raising them all and then from all other positions just play pairs/big aces/KQ is a simpleish but very profitable strategy 153 . eihter preflop or 2 cbets. playing a huge range of hands from the button after 0 or 1 (and even 2 limpers). IMO. you'll find that you open up your game tooo much and start raising poor hands OOP too and get into trouble. Lastly. so you need to make sure your reasing skills are goot.The type of limpers: the ones that like to fold. 2) watch out for LRR 3) You'll be put in a lot more marginal situations post-flop. the problems with this: 1) If you do this too often.

just like an ill conceived New Year's resolution. and that it's just a game. When it comes to poker related behaviours. and displayed strong tendencies of any combination of various personality disorders that you can think of. and is every prone to tilt would react in the following situations: Your favorite football team throws an interception in the last minute of a close game that is returned for a game winning score by the opposing team. If a person that has problems with tilt control were to go to a psychologist. its simply a matter of anger levels and how conditioned an individual is to managing their anger. If you are not very prone to tilt. If you missed an easy layup at the buzzer of a high school state championship basketball game. The fact of the matter is that these tendencies are very common among all poker players. first we should understand the problem. logic isn't much help in the now. and your mother approached you and told you that it was okay. whether they're tilt monkies or not. Logic does not override peoples' hard-coded responses and urges. addiction prone. this can be very hard to do. Having a mantra. and the 154 . First let me say that there are big differences between recognizing a problem. Conflicting responses and urges can override them. egomaniacal. or a cliche. or a picture on the ready for when you're thinking irrationally just isn't going to cut it. It will lose its effect.TILT and PSYCHOLOGY The psychology of TILT (DaycareInferno) I have been giving a lot of thought today to what factors separate highly tilt-prone players from those players that struggle with tilt less often. most of these attempts that I have seen are somewhat misguided. you must work hard to condition yourself while you are thinking rationally. So. because a lot of friends of mine are severely inhibited by tilt. because there are so many unique factors in play. This is my attempt. and not just look at the end effect. what is it then that separates players with regards to tilt? Well. because they lack a certain fundamental understanding of human behaviour. In order to use rational thinking to help manage your problems. though? That same psychologist is going to draw similar conclusions about a high percentage of poker players that aren't as tilt prone. I often feel bad. to help people with this particular problem. An old lady in front of you in line at the grocery store insists on sifting through change for 5 minutes in order to pay an exact amount. Guess what. would you jump up and yell "Yay! Let's all go to McDonald's!"? Probably not. for the most part. These are the moments that bring to light the levels of anger within a person. would you say "Golly. think about how someone that you know well. and I wish that I could at least help them start down the right road towards managing this problem. also. Ok. understanding a problem. both by amateurs and seasoned professionals. While there have been many attempts. that psychologist would probably come to the conclusion that he/she was compulsive. but for the most part. You get cut off in traffic. If your old man told you that you should stop smoking cigarettes because they are bad for you. think about how you would react in the following situations." and never pick up another cigarette again? Probably not. Things just don't work that way. Fear can override them. and managing a problem. If you are very prone to tilt. I guess you're right. pops. so how do we go about managing the problem? Well.

not just for the sake of your poker career. Something else that should be added to that. as opposed to sitting on your couch and eating potato chips. just like with anything else. get on google. but it won't help you much in poker.people that lose it in any of these situations. you shouldn't go off the deep end just yet. but its something you would like to work on. There is no one that doesn't get mad. these type of solutions aren't really any more effective than a rabbit's foot. though. Your approach might keep you from getting punched at Aldi's. If your problem isn't severe. If you're serious about looking into effective ways of managing your anger. and tend to lose it at the poker table as well. in life. though. like the guy from "Falling Down". there are plenty of free resources available that can provide you with a foundation for that work. you're going to have a real uphill battle with poker. and maybe it is. is that although a marginal ammount of self control will suffice in those situations. If you're the type that just boils on the inside. You might be reading this and thinking "Oh my god! That's so me!". that does not mean that people that spend a lot of time around imaginary card tables are the most qualified to help you with that problem. its not going to do you much good when you're involved in something as intense as a game of poker. Try to keep in mind that while the end result of your problem may surface on an imaginary card table. or in poker. Don't think that you're going to be okay. but its everyone to a certain extent. just like lifting weights for a day isn't going to make you any stronger physically. Final Thought: Watch more Kung Fu 155 . I'll warn you ahead of time. As nice as it would be to be able to condition your behavior by taping some fortune cookie [censored] onto the side of your monitor. If your anger is causing you major problems in your life. If you're the guy that screams at your television when your team loses. instead of looking for a quick fix. I can tell you right now that it will do you no good if you do not continue to work. Most online resources for these types of things really aren't very well geared towards younger age groups. and be prepared to actually spend some time and effort on it. What can you do? Well. nonetheless. Its not that hard to improvise a little bit and put your research into a context that makes more sense for you. and so a lot of them will probably come off as fairly cheesy. that anger is still there. though. is by the consequences of your actions. then it would greatly benefit you to seek professional help. you'll come to find out that in the long run. The easiest way to assess the severity of your problem. start researching. tend to lose it in all of these situations. just because you're not the type to lash out in those sorts of situations.

The fact is simple. what is tilt first off? I would define it as a state of mind a player enters that causes them to deviate from ANY play they would make normally with sound reasoning. However they dont realize it. and alot of times I see people doing things that i know they know they shouldn't be doing. Lets face it. and if followed. Alleviation 3. Recognition 2.A. 1. and as much as the 12 tabling hudbots want to believe. Im here to help the latter. we are all humans and prone to such emotions. I sweat people a ton. Im not proud of this lol.A. your game will develop 10-fold. people will not KNOW they are actively tilting. (Pjo336) know there have been many posts on tilt and cures etc.TILT and R. and fix it. and then there are players who "know" this and basically ignore it.A. There are players who know this. you WILL NOT WIN if you continue to let tilt run thru your game. I think its fairly safe to say. 1. Adjustment Each portion is important.A. the fact that alot of the time. but as a once chronic tilter.A. i am pretty well versed in tilt. emotion will kill you in this game. i thought i would throw in my thoughts and ideas on what I have learned on the topic. Recognition This is perhaps the hardest thing about tilt. to a play of pure emotion.A. The process I developed in terms of tilt is called R. 156 . R. (hope i didnt lose anyone) So how can you come to realize it? Well.

This will not only improve the quality of you emotional state. quit tilting. If it seems to be bothering you especially today YOU MAY JUST BE ON TILT. Not all of us can handle 2 hour sessions at 12 tables. Recognition is the hardest part of this process. Most of us have the advantage here in the micros of knowing there will ALWAYS be fish to feed us sharks. 2. Do SOMETHING to get your blood flowing a few times a week. about poker or not. It adds 5 minutes to your time. "I never win flips" [censored] you dont. STOP. Nothing makes a cold hand streak stick out more than tilt.e. You would be surprised how much taking 10 seconds to breath and focus on something else would really help. Dont do this. a tournament). take a five minute break. whether it was a beat. get a soda. DO NOT CONTINUE PLAYING. but also adds to your ptbb/100. Write it down and remember it. Take a break. Sufficient Br. but I promise you. on the phone or aim. but if you are for for any reason in a spot where you need to continue (i. ill help you out! Personally I light up a scented candle and reflect on finding my center.Adjustment Finding what caused your tilt can help. stop!. Shorter sessions !!! I used to sit and play till i reached 1500 hands. Alleviation This step is of course coming down off of tilt. pump some iron. When you get rattled. life isnt all about poker. because everyone is different. This is emotion getting involved and is deviating you from playing optimally "Come on gimme a hand" Patience child. Shorten it up. 3. hell [censored] someone ferociously. but even health state. you play less optimally and become part of the "force it" crowd. By 1100 i was usually going batshit insane. Eventually youll have a solid list of "What to avoid" while playing. annoying as hell. but worry more about his stats and reads. flop an oesd and check call half your stack. Hell im on this site way too much. A year. I tilted off a very sizeable roll in about a 157 . #2-Short Term: I recommend trying to avoid this. wash your face with warm water or draw a warm bath and play in it. Its science. There are 2 different forms of alleviation. go thru the session and find what caused it. Even talk to someone. there are a few quick things you can do to calm yourself. Nothing is harder than the first time you leave a 60/4 monkey sitting on your right with 5 buy ins. but people fall into a trap of getting MORE into the game when they are urked. Pretty simple: Have a smoke if you smoke. Lessen it up. w/e. THE GAME WILL ALWAYS BE THERE. Less tables. You start playing against the 60/4 with 89 offsuit. WHY? Leave the table until you are settled. pm me. A month. Endorphins and what not people. put on a soothing song. Excercise.Common tilt thoughts: "This [censored] has min raised my cbet far too many times" Yes. This is more important than you will know. a player. BUT YOUR "A" GAME WILL NOT. then play another 500. but its more or less finding what you can do to avoid ANYTHING that will hurt you.Long term: This of course means one thing. Play 500. This ones pretty obvious as well. and lets not forget. whether its 5 hours or 5 days later. Hell I cant handle 8 without tilting. or your gf bitching at you. even by 1 and im sure youd be surprised at the somewhat calmer pace calming you. An hour. The fact is. STFU noob. Dropping 2 bis then noticing you still have 32 bis left is much easier to handle then realizing you were never really rolled for this level in the first place. Take a walk. it gets easier. #1. Next time you have found yourself tilting.

Everything about tilt and its elements are pretty individual. Don't force anything! If your not in the mood to play today. tl:dr 158 . (I recommend Take Me to the River by Peter Alson as a non-strat poker book). its up to you to find how it all pertains to your play and your emotions.9% of my posts are worthless. whether poker related or not. you are screwed. there's always tomorrow. dealing with tilt is just like sex. You can watch 100 people do it. Guess what guys. and I have come back stronger than ever. If you lose either. the secret to success is passion and patience. I took a 4 month hiatus from poker.week of nonstop tilting. Well I hope this rambling helped someone out so I can say only 99. It WILL help your game 100%. but this does not make YOU a professional. Try filling in on a piece of paper one day how you recognize your tilt. ill start. so in reality. and how you can adjust to avoid needing alleviation. how you alleviate it. Stop playing for a day and pick up a book. Id love to hear thoughts on the topic. I PROMISE! And remember.

If you've played poker for any amount of time you've experienced it. and your poor mouse doesn't even know what it's in for.reraise. Instacall. fold. You lead.why are all the checks being pushed to the monkey??? The table-monkey flips over his K9 for the runner-runner straight. Steaming. And then it comes . You yell. You get restless and frustrated by not receiving one playable get AJs in the cutoff. you XXXXing donkey XXXXX" is typed out into the chat box with such anger that the desk shakes with every keystroke. who now has taken you for 200BBs. Gets to our friend. "XXXX you. You push . You don't even remember the flop. WTF? No way. You tilted. couldn't have helped the monkey. You scream. and cheer. Fuming. pal. You want back the money you rightfully earned and Senior Donk took from you with his insane luck.still steaming. Turn card: 7 Ha. and also briefly talk about ways to cope with and prevent tilting in general. You rebuy.My Take On Tilt (beavens) Tilt. It is like the 4th of July in your head. All you see is the AA flipped over and another 100BBs being shipped over to Senior Donk. River card: 6 SHIP IT! But wait . You flop top set with KK on a board of K58 rainbow. You already picture yourself stacking those chips (or virtual chips) in a huge pyramid. turn or river. 159 . You happily 3bet all-in and raise your fist triumphantly in the air as your push gets called. RAISE! Fold. Table-Monkey . Pissed off at how this moron could go all-in with TPBK and a backdoor straight draw. What happened??? One event sparked a total change in momentum of your entire session. Not this time. get raised by an obvious table-monkey. Your mouse winces each time you click Fold Fold Fold. Revenge is the only thing on your mind right. I wanted to make this (obscenely long) post about the two different kinds of tilt: Loser's Tilt and Winner's Tilt.

Common reactions. My practical suggestion for preventing tilt is being properly bankrolled. You are an overwhelming favorite in a hand. dbtiels. are anger and disgust . This brings me to preventing tilt from happening in the first place. This happens when an event takes place like listed above. You may think. reviewing their plays for the session. The second form of tilt (that I didn't even THINK of until it was brought to my attention) is Winner's Tilt. read a book. As SSNL players. go outside. Now that we've looked at the two different forms of tilt.I can afford to make this call. We do this by: opening up your preflop standards too much. So if you don't hit (don't worry. The sooner you can learn to roll with the punches. taking a break from poker altogether for a little while is the only way. If you provide yourself a nice cushion to soften out the variance. the bad beats won't matter and that you'll come out on top more times than not. or reading their poker books help. AJs.Loser's Tilt. In almost all cases. then hopefully you will not flip out when you drop few buy-ins to bad beats. I'm running hot anyways. etc. and in doing so. . your stack starts to dwindle. Then winner's tilt comes into play but the scary thing about winner's tilt is that you don't even realize it! You find yourself playing marginal hands and pushing even the thinnest of edges because in your mind you're thinking. is the most obvious one we've all dealt with . play some video games. Everyone goes through the swings. You feel a need to win that money back as soon as possible. but not to somehow rationalize making -EV decisions. and the villain catches a miracle card(s). and becoming way too aggressive. Getting a deep stack should allow you some opening up of your game. Watch some TV. Picture this You are on a heater and playing well. I've personally found that when I've got a nice BR for the level I'm playing on. I think we've all been in those situations are know them pretty well. You laugh at the meager plebs and look down on them from your mountain of chips. by making these poor decisions and losing these "small" pots you’re basically burning money.First. You're getting hands and they are hitting hard.which I personally would hate. you set yourself up for more future losses. let's look at way to cope/deal with tilt and ways to prevent tilting in the first place. Your goal should be to be able to shrug off bad beats because you know that the short run is just the battle. right??? No. obviously. quarks. right? All is good. For a lot of people. Otherwise we'd be sitting at tables full of 4_2's. It's a numbers game! You get your money in as the favorite and overall you WILL make money. it involves doing something OTHER than playing poker. hang with friends. right?". posting/reading on 2p2. the better off your game will be. "Hey. Next thing you know you're up 150BBs and life is g00t. "How can you tilt when you're winning??". But it doesn't faze you! You're still having a winning session. we thrive on these people sucking out on us. so I would love if some of the Psych regs could come in and shed some light on how to get in the proper mindset for poker. This part is more psychological. etc . as it is the nature of the beast.just get your mind off the game. I believe it depends on the person as to what calms them down the best.both of which pave the path of you misplaying a future hand. There are infinite ways to cope or deal with tilt. not the war. 160 . not keeping position/stats/reads in mind during a hand. I'm up big . For others. raising/calling raises with marginal hands. you were behind the whole time anyways). The main goal in dealing with tilt is realizing that in the long run.

I hope this wasn't TOO long and it provided something helpful. Well. 161 . If you don't get anything from this tilting has dropped dramatically. I hope that no one follows my lead and blows their entire BR in one night by tilting your face off and jumping into a game that you are severely underrolled for.

The problem is we know it. and the 45-1 shots. When we lose it’s usually because someone got lucky. We should all strive to be good friends.” I find myself in the middle of such a time now. are very closely related IMO. You may have heard the interview with Chip Reese this week. We work at getting better with every post we make. The less of your self worth you derive from poker the better player you will be. Everyone plays better when they are winning and everyone plays worse when they are losing. In this interview Chip mentioned that he felt like playing to long when they are losing was one of the biggest mistakes he sees his opponents make. you are setting yourself up for one hell of a emotional rollercoaster ride. When we win we pat ourselves on the back and feel good about the time we have put into improving our game. We see our opponent’s mistakes and do our best to manipulate them. 162 . The other two factors. and SSNL (lmw) As a famous STT poster once said. . We all need something outside of poker that we can be proud of and enjoy. We study hands. Variance. If any of you listen to The Circuit. As there are only two of these three factors we can control. and learn from others mistakes and we are better poker players for it. so we ignore the warning signs of tilt in the hopes of stacking a bad opponent. There has been several posts written on the subject by far superior players than myself. share ideas. Not matter how big our edge is. students. all have to hit sometime. “ there will come a time when you will run worse than you ever thought possible. It also can lead to us playing longer than we should when we are losing. and Ego all play huge roles in the length and destructiveness of our downswings. Sometimes they all hit in a short amount of time. parents. or whatever. There is nothing you can do about it. If you are a professional player. We know we are better. we would be much better off playing for 6 hours when we are playing well and controlling the table than when we are stuck and trying to get even. Tilt. As 2+2ers. IMO ego is the main reason players get stuck. Knowing we have an edge against our opponents makes losing to them all the more painful. find other hobbies that you enjoy. You successfully manipulated your opponent into making a huge mistake and that is all you can hope for. I am not posting this to bore the forum with tales of one outers or runner runner disasters. Learn to be happy when you get your money in with way the best of it and lose. I hope if you’ve read this far. tilt and ego. We get impatient and try and force the issue when what we really need to be doing is waiting for the right spot. Ego. Tilt. It is important that we separate our self worth from the results of our poker sessions. Before we can become truly great players we must learn to be able to quit behind and play longer when we are winning. we will never be able to win everyday.Variance. but to hopefully allow some of the newer players a chance to learn from my downswing. Find something stable that brings you happiness. The bottom line is the 4-1 shots. I don’t intend to spend much time on variance. He also said that it was one of the hardest things for him to over come early in his career. the 10-1 shots. If you are a causal player keep other aspects of your life at a higher priority than poker. If you let poker determine you happiness. I believe that most of us feel like we are one of the better players at the table when we sit down. so that they may be able to cope with there own inevitable downswing better. I don’t really have any more to say on the subject now. If we normally play 2 hours a day but sometimes play 6 hours. we make up a small percentage of the SSNL player pool who considers themselves serious students of the game of poker.

163 .that you have found some food for thought in this post. Hopefully when I return the pendulum will swing the other way. I got a lot out of writing it. I’m going to take a break from poker for a couple of days. I can only hope you got something out of reading it. but if not. take my girlfriend out. I have to if I ever want to be a true professional. hopefully I’ll be able to take it in stride. read a book. and help an old lady cross the street.

Fire away. Bet out. Flop comes 9JKs. Heads up. as I moved up through the ranks. or sometimes bluff raise you. start firing the turn and river more often. Poker players may play in different moods on different days. but will sometimes call you down thin. proceed with caution. This is your average tag. or fire the turn 100% if he is OOP. When he raises or calls. poker is rarely an unknown in an unknown situation. you can bet your draws as well. The only thing I will say about a specific situation in this paragraph is a quick synopsis of a monotone flop. and you have 65h. Note that this player has NOT started playing back at you. etc. or hate you because you just rocked them on some other table. Just be sure to balance by betting out here. bet out. I like to call it. The normal player. if he is playing differently today. bet it. or Qs9x. If I have some gutshot. You do. that means betting out AA on an A63 rainbow. and dynamics becomes weighted more. or average player who generally calls or raises with a hand. after all. and sometimes firing out two barrels if you think you’ll be called by something like a ten. this is a good guy to represent scare cards on the turn with. this will set you up for a check/raise on the flop with a real hand or bluff. these quick examples are merely defaults. if you have a shot of winning the hand. let’s assume you are OOP and get called. I resort to the bet if I can win strategy outlined in the opening paragraph. For this player. I will attempt to discuss the intricacies of continuation betting. Once you observe your opponent and he seems to be in synch with his normal game play. you can give up.EVERYTHING ABOUT CONTINUATION BET Continuation betting – PART I (MYNAMEIZGREG) In this article. *NOTE* Do not depend on these stats as the be all end all. Yes. stats become less important. Of course. this guy is going 164 . there are a few numbers considered when continuation betting. “Find a flop for me not to continuation bet. Heads up vs the weak-tight-OMFG-he-must-have-flopped-the-nuts-to-bet-atthat-flop. However. For organization purposes. So. You will have to start firing out at a few turns here. I will discuss the types of players that fall into various categories based on their stats. Without getting more into further streets. or getting a piece. This is the guy who folds to continuation bets 70-80%+ of the time. Those numbers are: call continuation bet %. Honestly. Until you know he has adjusted his game by calling thin/semibluff or bluff raising the flop. they work well. and 4+ players. But. Sometimes. you will have reliable stats. 3way. Of course. Now. If he starts to call you thin (b/c you check through the turn and river and he shows down MP on the flop). disregard the stats and go with how he is playing today. There are a few stats I care about. try to get to showdown and figure out what the hell this guy is doing. Ok. or want to have a dick measuring contest with you because their girlfriend just broke up with them because they lost that contest with her.” As a default. you’re going to have to concede some pots to him on the flop by check/folding. This is the guys who calls around 50% of the time or greater. Of course. you’ve just sat at a table vs a table of unknowns. so eventually he doesn’t always bet this flop when checked to. I will split continuation betting into categories of: heads up on the flop. and fold continuation bet %. or backdoor draw. have 3 outs to the nuts. over a bunch of hands. Essentially. so I guess we need a strategy for those situations too…. and bet your made hands as well. and yes that means betting KJc on an AhTh3s board. raise continuation bet %. But alas. The annoying ass “LOL I have two cards I call” player. Now. let’s hit it up. You hold 65s on a 8c9c2s? Monster backdoor draws.

as that flop hit a lot of hands and your image isn’t that great. This is the 2p2er who wants to stroke his ego. you have the option of checking behind. This is the idiot who has a 33% calling/folding/raising ratio when faced with a continuation bet. It might be a good time to check/fold. The a) station is easily dealt with by value betting him to death. a strong hand. two pair. OOP. The big thing not to forget is the importance of mixing up your play. This would be QT on a TK3r flop. and how your hand and position affects what you do. but also check behind on the flop with them. or KTs on a AK8 flop. your image. When players see you are capable to have a wide range of hands even doing any action (betting. and you can represent having a busted draw there too. However. Start to double barrel these guys. Note that checking behind with marginal hands will be balanced by the times you check behind with air. The strategy against these people depends on what subset they are. or seems generally tilty will also fit into this win some money from you at the beginning. while you will turn their aggression into a mistake. and the table dynamics (ie 15 pages). when your draws hits. However. or a set. So. but if you decide it is +EV to do so. these are the guys that might take one off with 88 on a 29Q board. Remember. and there actions will define their hands more easily. and marginal hands. until you figure out what exactly he is doing. Additionally. The normal player will also fit into this category after you’ve pounded him with continuation bets the last 30 minutes. once you make that note that he called your two street bluff with 63 on a 68JK board. because we’re gonna be firing at them all day long. whether you have air or a monster (I for one am not really a fan of showing bluffs. note that the normal player who just lots a few big pots. Don’t check to these guys if you have a hand. that your aggression is going to cause them to make mistakes. they are less likely to play back at you. Basically. so you are losing a LOT of value by check/calling to see if he bets his busted draw when you are sitting there with aces on a Q high board. However. the game is essentially over. 165 . and your image is of betting into every single flop. or a monster (slowplaying). HE’LL talk himself into a call. if you just showed down a bluff or something happened when it looked like you were full of [censored]. they are going to have to call down with middle pair for their stack. He is the calling station. Check/raise with good and bad hands. you still should be betting these hands much of the time because check/calling doesn’t really get you a lot of information. because it is pretty specific to the opponent. Betting the flop and check/raising the turn is a sick move against these guys. Next time we will talk about multiway pots. You are somewhat forced to call the turn if your opponents fires. and evaluate the river depending on the specific situation. I guess feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer. You might be ahead but you might not be. Also. Check/call and lead the turn. or with a hand like 9T. because your opponent will give you less credit. That means three streets with TPTK or TPGK. that in a nutshell is continuation betting heads up. This is the lag who wants to outplay you. But. go for it). I will not get into the specifics of when to bet monsters or not. if they want to outplay you. calling or raising). or checking. The more difficult version of these players is the b) floaty type. The tool for combating these guys is to let them outplay you. Continuation bet monsters and air. The last thing to take into consideration is your image. allowing you to play closer to perfectly. Of course. Remember. and is generally a weak play. You tricky [censored]. The board is really drawy. however. Marginal hands are tricky to play. this is a great time to pound the flop if you hit. while in position. considering not betting the next flop.

We still hold AKo in the CO and he is still in the BB. Lets assume our villain in this example plays a semi TAG game at 18/6/1. or 22. We would always come out for a C-Bet in this spot when checked to. This way we save money when we actually are behind. In a heads up pot any random hand will miss the flop 2/3 of the time. If any further action is pursued then we can readjust our read and make the appropriate play.C-BETTING (The Machine) One thing when I first started playing poker that I noticed I did not have a good grasp on was betting. If we feel that 1/2-3/4 PSB is the right amount then that is the amount we should bet. We only need to bet an amount that we feel is enough to "get the job done". no less. This board has become draw heavy as there are POSSIBLE flush draws and straight draws on board. All continuation bets should be no less then 1/2 PSB to no more then full pot. (For simplicity's sake im negating the fact that villains possible QJ are also live outs against our AK here). #1 reason is to protect what is most likely the best hand at this point. (this example will come into play more in a later example) Well I just read all this crap about why I should bet and this part was supposed to be about how much I should bet. Most of this post may be trivial to most but it may be helpful to some. so we came in for our 4xBB + 1 for one limper and we were called by the BB only. #2 reason is more of a semi bluff in which we are representing a hand which is stronger then ours really is. It is very unlikely that this flop has helped our vilain unless he has 99. For the time being I would like to keep our post flop to heads up play.5. Well its standard to PFR 4xBB + 1 for each limper. 166 . or even just a good reminder to most Why continuation bet??? Well that answer is easy. If he is willing to call a PSB on the flop with an OESD then we need to make a PSB. it is unlikely that he holds 53 for an openender and there are no flush draws out. 44. Our bet sizing does not need to be full pot here. We likely are still ahead of his holdings so here we are betting for protection and value. If we say the flop is 10 9 4 now we have a different situation to face. no more. Well I felt that getting that part out of the way was very relevant to how much we should bet. In our AK example our job is to get villain to fold. particularly continuation betting. In the CO we hold AKo. So if we continuation bet at all of the pots we raise we should win at least 2/3 of them just because the other person hasnt made a hand. How much should my continuation bet be??? That question depends on a few different factors. Now our villains 18% has become much larger in possible holdings that can outdraw us. Now lets take the same villain and change our flop around. let alone made a hand strong enough to call us down with. I will try to go through a few different examples to describe my meaning. If our villain is drawing to a flush or straight we want him to pay the most he possibly will while doing it unprofitably. By making a PSB villain loses the most when he does not outdraw us and he was willing to put more money in post flop because how the flop had helped him. The flop comes 9 4 2 . his 18% range is much wider then these 3 hands and we are ahead of almost all of them. On a flop like this it is very drawless against this villain.

We do not want to be C-betting in a few different spots. A continuation bet is a small bluff and from time to time they will get picked off. C-betting becomes espically important with SC's when we flop our draws. Villain will most likely check his weak ace to us for fear of being outkicked/FPS with top pair. #1 We do not want to be C-betting OOP in multiway pots. If we have notes on a villain that says plays any ace from any position in raised or unraised pots then our KQ which we raised from MP should be wary when this villain calls and an ace flops.Well I followed your advice but every continuation bet I make gets check raised or called and we check down This is ok. This is actually the beauty in a continuation bet (to be discussed later)." This quote in our context I'm not only applying to a semi bluffing hand such as a FD or OESD. It is then your decision to step back and play poker with AK on the 942r board. #2 We hold a hand such as AA and the flop is KQJ. Why semibluff the donks with an OESD or FD with when you know they’ll call with their TP and better kicker? IMO an A on the flop means that FE can quickly approach 0. Well it seems my C-bets keep getting called and i havent been improving. If villain holds a weak Ace and we flop a flush draw and lead for a 1/2-3/4 PSB on a A 10 2 and are called(say we are playing 25NL) The pot was 2$ on the flop and now between 4-5$ on the turn. The semi-bluff in this situation can be –EV IMO. #3 A good quote from jjb108 "This is an important point to remember…the average donk plays Axo. When up against a calling station we do not need to C-bet bluff because he will be calling us down. Opponent dependent and note dependent I will sometimes not C-bet against this villain. Aside from this aspect my main reason to keep C-betting (which I fail to do sometimes 167 . Is there a time when I shouldn't be C-Betting YES. We still have a villain left to act behind us and we have no idea where they stand with this flop because they have no acted yet. We have now bought ourselves a free card on the turn should we need it to complete a draw we may have flopped. Say we raise 67 4xBB from the button and are called by BB. Against this opponent we need to C-bet when we actually make a hand and have him pay us off with many worse hands. Go with your feel. I play a semi LAG stayle and love raising SC's so what to do on the flop when I miss? A continuation bet is also a stone cold bluff as much as it can be a semi bluff or a bet for value against a worse hand. Sometiems your villain will hit a flop and check raise you. Should I stop C-betting for a few hands? The answer here may be yes for some reasons such as an incorrect perception of a player. We represented that we had a big hand preflop when we raised so most of the time (again opponent dependent) if I am raising SC's preflop I will be betting them on the flop. if we have our previous semi TAG villain it is very likely that this flop has helped him in a big way and we need to get our hand to show down as cheaply as possible so we would not want to continuation bet here.

This here is a double edged sword also. Against the same Semi TAG villain from the previous examples. THIS IS THE BEST PART!! This way in the future our C-bets when we have nothing but air will be getting much more respect because of the hands that we have been leading out with! There are so many different reasons for C-betting given certain hands. with AA on a 942r board we are betting for value since its alomst certain we have the best hand. By this time he has me pegged as a bluffer. the whole table sees that we are leading out with powerful hands and not trying to slowplay them. The same is true when we actually flop a big hand. When done correctly you can C-bet your way from one level to the next. and I hope you all do!!! 168 . Villain 3 times in a row picked off my AKo C-bet on a Q72r flop. There are obviously circumstances where it would be wrong to C-bet that I have not mentioned here but anyone who would like to add some or add some other ideas about C-betting that I did not touch upon please feel free.when Im running bad) is to set up for later hands. When we come in for a raise with a PP and flop a set and lead out when checked to it is very likely that said villain will be paying us off from the perception we have given him about us. Reason 1: When we were betting before with AK high it may become very suspicious to some villains if we decide to check behind on a flop where we were checked to when we flop a monster hand. With AK on the same board we are betting for protection since our hand is most likely the best but could easily be outdrawn. We need to keep portraying the image we have set up with them and bet into the pot. We need to look at our villain. We need to keep C-betting to set our self up for later hands. The pot gets big and hopefully said villain who thinks we are donkey of the year pays us off with a nice big 100BB's Reason 2: If we are unknown to villain and we C-bet with a flopped set or TPTK and get to showdown. as well as flop texture and size up the appropriate bet.

and folds the other half of the time. and ¾ of the pot the remaining ~15% of the time. are important components in achieving better than break even numbers with your continuation bets. The net result will look as follows simluate 100x: 20% of the time don't bet/30% of the time bet 3/4 pot/50% bet the full pot Your opponent calls -N/A. So let’s take a rough example of this and say that your opponent calls half of the time. bet the full size of the pot ~50% of the time. when you miss the flop. This article is going to look at how to maximize your continuation bets by examining pre-flop situations. if you don’t bet at all ~20% of the time. For example. then you need to be successful 41% of the time. flop textures. designed to win the pot if the pre-flop raiser missed the flop. and balance. win only 35% of your continuation bets and still be profitable with them. and vary between them depending upon the flop texture and the types of opponents you face./You lose 120 BB /You lose 300 169 . Unfortunately most opponents that are paying attention at all will soon catch on to your varying bet size. When continuation bets are used successfully. and opponent player types. they are an important money making weapon of the solid poker player. (¾ of the pot)If the pot is 12BB and you make a continuation bet of 8BB. and win the pot over 50% of the time. they can become a marginal. The proper use of pre-flop raises. while tilting the odds in your favor. If you do this effectively enough. while remaining intimidating at the same time. You will however have to adjust these percentages depending upon your own style of play (See “The type of player you are” at the end of the article). typically by beginners who over use the concept. (Full pot size)If the pot is 12BB and you make a continuation bet of 12BB. as long as you make your continuation bet sizes small enough to provide for a higher failure rate. and build an effective pot when you do connect.CONTINUATION BET ARTICLE (FreakDaddy) Continuation bets are exactly what the name implies. At small stakes No-limit Holdem the most optimal play is to vary your continuation bet sizes between ¾ of the pot and the full size of the pot. or continue to build a pot when ahead. then you need to be successful 51% of the time. Let’s also assume that you NEVER improve after continuation betting. In a perfect world you could bet ¼ of the pot when you miss. you can vary your bet sizes to provide you with slightly better odds when you do miss. The primary goal of solid continuation bet play should be to win your missed flops with continuation bets 50% of the time or more. So the best way to combat this is to use two very similar bet sizes for your continuation bluff bets. betting sizes. When continuation bets are used incorrectly. This will create a randomizing effect that will be very difficult for your opponents to pick up. Then you could bet the full pot size when you connect with the flop and get called over 50% of the time. betting sizes. and ¾ of the pot the remaining ~30% of the time. For example. Let’s also say that the pot size is 12BB and we simulate this 100 times. They are a continuation of pre-flop aggression. You can however. which is a fairly rough and approximate representation of small stakes No-limit Holdem. and at the same time maximize your profits. if you bet the full size of the pot ~85% of the time when you connect. you are keeping your opponents guessing. you want to choose the minimum size you think will win you the pot with the least amount of risk. When determining the appropriate continuation bet size when you miss. or even money losing play. you are again keeping your opponents guessing. here are the 3 common continuation bet sizes: (½ the pot) If the Pot is 12BB and you make a continuation bet of only 6BB then you need to be successful only 34% of the time. in order to make your continuation bets as successful as possible. Also.

if you encounter any 170 . He will almost never continue if the flop doesn’t hit him. If you’ve been playing a solid around game. but don’t get out of line if you suspect that the rock has hit a good flop. He doesn’t enter many pots. but also give them respect of they show too much resistance. These common player types are as follows: The Mouse – The mouse plays a fairly weak/tight style of play. try and lure him in by beating weak and inviting him to come along. So the next time you do connect with a big hand on the flop and bet. You’ll have to look hard to notice the mouse because you’d almost swear he doesn’t exist.V. They differ only slightly in that they will sometimes call with their pocket pairs if they suspect you are betting into them with air. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 12 / PFR =<3 / AGR =< . Apply pressure to them as much as possible. This is the second best player type to continuation bet against. or he doesn’t have a strong hand while facing aggression. If your opponent doesn’t hold a pocket pair. you should actually become ambivalent as to whether your continuation bet is called or not. and will sometimes call raises with non-premium hands. your opponents have to guess. When we do connect. Keep in mind also that 70% of flops are missed by our opponents. but not enough that we’re worried that non-descript boards hit him hard. so if you continue to apply pressure. go ahead and take a stab at the pot.5 / WTSD =< 15 The Rock – The Rock is very similar to the mouse in that they play very few pots. and sometimes our opponent will fold on the turn. Test them. or they’re playing multiple tables at the same time. you will typically win the pot. but that we vary our bets in order to provide us the best possible odds considering the given flop and hole cards that we hold. He likes to try and sneak into flops cheap.Your opponent folds -N/A. we should be able to net enough because we’ve kept our opponents off balance and guessing. For if it is called and you missed./You win 180 BB /You win 300 Your opponent bets. Jackals like to have fun and be involved in a lot of pots. fold unless you have a strong hand. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 12 / PFR =<3 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 16 The Jackal – This player plays a few too many hands. you’ll win it uncontested more often against the mouse than any other player type. go ahead and continuation bet into him at a high rate. When you do connect. This is one of the primary reasons that continuation bets are so effective. they may not be able to continue if you apply the correct amount of pressure. or does he really have a hand? While it is true that a lot of online opponents don’t pay particular attention because they’re watching T. or have a very small pocket pair. and we’ve mixed in our continuation bets effectively. Good Players to Continuation Bet Against There are some types of players that are better to continuation bet against than others. You want to identify these players and use the continuation bet against them as often as possible. you’re still achieving the same goal. We’re not concerned necessarily that they are always paying attention. And that’s just when we don’t connect with the flop. an effective balancing strategy doesn’t care. One of the primary keys to effective continuation betting is BALANCE. and when he does he is almost always holding a premium hand. When you achieve effective balance. and they hold a marginal hand. If the mouse does bet into you.You /check/fold = 0 N/A N/A NET RESULT YOU WIN : 60 BB Let’s also remember that sometimes we will improve. Again. Yet they are nearly as timid as the mouse. but they will typically give tight/aggressive opponents the benefit of the doubt more often than other players. When you miss the flop. is he just continuation betting again.

Here are a few of those player types: The Maniac – A true maniac needs no introduction. or raising. If you do continuation bet. They usually won’t continue on the flop unless they have top pair or better. These players typically understand the basics. They will raise when they have a solid hand. then you should definitely slam on the breaks. and they do little in terms of applying pressure. Apply pressure and test them as often as possible. When you do happen to come across a big hand with the gambler it’s best to bet your hand strong. and then be prepared to fire the second bullet. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 65 / PFR =<12 / AGR =< 10 / WTSD =< 24 The Gambler – The gambler is fairly similar to the maniac. 171 . The other is usually a bit more of an aggressive opponent that typically will call because they don’t believe your flop bet. He’s usually either raising. raising quite often before the flop. and play a little bit of a rope a dope strategy. He will however gamble and take shots at gut-shot draws. and overplay his second pair. or they’re informing the table about how a hand should have been played. It will take awhile to spot these guys. but will readily fold to a second bet. The first is the fairly passive player that just likes to call and hope he pairs his king or ace on the turn. unlike the maniac. pay attention to players who call too many flop bets. You can usually spot them because they’re typically making comments about how (bad) others play. Make sure you have a very good read on this opponent before you commit too many chips to the pot with missed over cards. They’ll typically call your flop bet in hopes that you’ll give up on the turn. Either way. He’ll be involved in a lot of pots. Both the maniac and the gambler will be easy to spot. yet they will fold to further aggression on the turn. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 20 / PFR =<5 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 22 The Look-up Artist – These opponents are great for your chip stack. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 40 / PFR =<5 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 22 Players NOT to Continuation Bet Against While there are several types of players you want to continuation bet. you’ll just have to apply much more discretion. Against these opponents you just have to wait for premium hands. The maniac knows little about calling. as they’ll be involved in a lot of pots. Thus the most optimal play is to bet into him and hope to be raised. but not much more beyond that. If he just calls. make sure you have some good outs. Even check-raises on the turn don’t faze the maniac very often. That doesn’t mean you should just them run you over of course.resistance then step on the breaks. You can wait for better spots against these guys. will check behind sometimes. but fold to turn bets. Don’t attempt fire a second bullet until you get more comfortable with flop textures and turn play. except he won’t be raising as many pots. he will often take that chance. If however he has any chance to outdraw you. This doesn’t mean that you won’t ever continuation bet against them. or in the off chance their ace high may be the best hand. raising. unless of course yours is very good. and going too far with mediocre hands. and when they do get ready to release your hand. I’d recommend not continuation betting against the maniac for he’s likely to call or raise you with any two. and he won’t be quite as aggressive. but the gambler. there are others that you don’t want to continuation bet against as often. Don’t be too afraid of chasing them off though. You could employ a similar rop-a-dope strategy of checking your hands to him and letting him do the betting for you. but when you do it’s best to bet into them. These opponents typically come in two different player types that you have to be aware of. The main distinction between the gambler and the maniac is that the gambler will fold a little more often when he knows he’s beat. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 26 / PFR =<4 / AGR =< 1 / WTSD =< 20 The School Teacher – These opponents play a fairly straight forward ABC style of poker that is quite predictable. and you’ll have little difficulty spotting him at the table.

A lot of raising by one particular player begins to build a tension at the table that someone eventually attempts to snap. then you suddenly pick up AK again and raise. so don’t do it on a bluff. based on your current “table image”. and you may loose most of your chips trying to push them off of a hand. and the types of hands that you’ve showdown. don’t go crazy if you miss the flop. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just been playing your normal game or not. EX: You may be a somewhat conservative player who raises around 5% of his starting hands. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 50 / PFR =<10 / AGR =<7 / WTSD =< 24 The Calling Station – Hopefully this should be an obvious one. you don’t want to bet into someone who will with any two. They hardly ever raise. 172 . and bet them all the way to the river. then make sure to say thank you. You may even just check and give up the pot. flush draw or one outer they can find.25 / WTSD =< 24 The Type of Player You Are How often you continuation bet is also very dependent upon your own personal playing style. and if they do. don’t just blindly adjust your continuation bet frequency based upon your playing style that YOU actually play. or any small piece of the flop. Take into account the number of times you’ve been involved in recent pots.You can continuation bet against the gambler a little more often then the maniac. Always be aware of your current play and how others may perceive you. If you miss the flop. and not showing any cards. how often you’ve raised. but let’s say you’ve just had a recent run of great cards. I would highly recommend almost never continuation betting your missed flops into calling stations. I hope you turbo toss your hands into the muck. The calling station is of course easy to spot. but you must also be aware of how you think the table perceives your style of play. If you’ve been raising a whole lot. but make sure the flop is fairly draw-less if you do. then your continuation bluff bets will likely get more respect. it only matters how others “think” you are playing. Not only must you be aware of the types of opponents you are facing. They’ll be the person at the table calling and chasing every gut-shot. the number times you’ve gone to showdown. Typical Stats: VP$IP =< 50 / PFR =<1 / AGR =<. as you’ll likely night chase them loose. Calling stations don’t bluff. If you play a fairly conservative style. then let’s say a gambler type person who raises before the flop a lot. Just wait for good hands that connect. The calling station will gladly call any bet you put in front of him. Below is a small table with suggested adjustments to make with your continuation bets. Also. and don’t raise that much before the flop. Make sure that it fits how you’ve been currently playing at a given table.

it makes for easy decisions. and good players will tend to balance it out more by check-raising monsters. let's (for the moment) assume 100 BB stacks. you should be thinking of how to extract the most value from it vs. Made Hands Every time you have a made hand. or betting will make your opponents turn/river decisions easy 5) Your position 6) Whether or not the pot is re-raised 1) The value of your hand First. and I can recall that in many of them.WHY AM-I C-BETTING AGAIN ? (biblio-san) TL. and good players can be tricky). right? But on this forum. for 173 . players get a lot more tricky (note that this is a separate attribute than "good": bad players can be tricky. as you rise in stakes. Raise. in position. C-bet. First. and a potsize of approximately 7-10BB. To be honest. Maybe you just got lucky. I think there are a few factors to think about when you are deciding whether to C-bet your hand in a heads-up pot. the fact that many Cbets with made hands win the pot convinces many players that their bet was. Part of it is that. Epdaws. or complete air. indeed. until we get to a big hand/big pot situation. With strong hands. scoop pot or fold to C/R. Bad players might check-raise with hands that they really shouldn't check/raise with. But the range of hands players will play aggressively changes as you move up. Debitel. the correct move. AK on an A97 flop. worse hands. move on. in which case decisions are also usually easy. and your move that is wrong 90% of the time just won the pot because this is one of those other 10% holdings. Maybe you could have won a bigger pot. conventional wisdom is that the pre-flop aggressor should always C-bet in a heads-up pot. 1) The value of your hand 2) Whether or not you opened in a steal position 3) Whether or not being check-raised will present you with a difficult decision 4) Whether or not betting presents your opponent with an easy decision. In some cases you may decide that this isn't very feasible (always trying to showdown 22 unimproved on any board is probably not a great idea). semi-bluffs. After all." I was definately one of those posters. and with a wider variety of hands. or middle pair. I couple of things have changed my mind about C-betting. They check-raise more. There have been a lot of "When should I c-bet?" threads. others I am shamefully forgetting). I think there are a couple of reasons this is popular. a draw (weak or strong). let's consider whether you have a made hand. DR. I'd greatly appreciate if we can get some discussion on these topics going. the standard answer was "Heads-up? Always. we should by now know that it's rarely that simple. the best way to get value from it is to bet it. Second. Orange. they won the pot. and a lot of these concepts are stolen directly from Green Plastic videos and other good posters on these boards (True. I almost think each of these 6 points could deserve its own thread In SSNL. and big overpairs. To reduce the complexity of the decision trees involved. or TPNK. like underpairs. 3-ways? Sometimes.

or open-ended-straight-flush draws. or is very weak. if your opponent folds to this bet. you should be aware of the possibility of making your opponent sometimes fold a better draw by firing two (or sometimes three!) barrels. then you should be more inclined to check because it is often the best made hand and is not vulnerable to the flush draw for obvious reasons). yes. Examples of weak non-nut draws that you should be inclined to bet are: bare overcards (these are sometimes the best hand. Sets on just about any flop. With non-nut draws. because if your draw is very weak. but important points are that the if your draw is not to the nuts. or have some reason to believe that a delayed bluff will be more successful. and if your draw is not to the nuts. and open-ended straight draws on two-tone flops (again. With medium strength hands. But. you are essentially on a 6-out draw). If you have KK on the same flop (yes. you won't get a lot of action except from the nut flush or full houses. Whether or not you bet a medium-strength hand should depend on the board texture and your opponent's tendencies with the range of hands that you are ahead of. in genaral. and there are also many turn cards that you will not want to see. especially if you have position. any diamond draw). the value of winning the pot outright becomes much greater than simply hitting your draw. can make you more inclined to bet. gutshot straight draws (if you can pick up the pot a good percentage of the time. and I will not repeat all of it. An additional problem is that many of those "worse hands" will not just call your flop bet but will raise (see point 3). However. With these holdings. you have the same problem. For's one of the reasons raising a wide variety of hands pre-flop is profitable at all. Obviously. it was almost always a hand that you were a 2 or 3:1 favorite over. there are some worse hands that might call a flop bet (67. like the nut flush draw with two overcards. the best way to get value from these hands is to check the flop. Many times. You would also. you should be more inclined to bet. If you have AK on an A72 rainbow flop. of course. there are some strong hands that you should really check (at least some of the time). potting the flop is a pretty good way to make just about any one-pair hand without an Ace fold. this is a strong hand). but if you are called. unless players are very loose). but especially A-high and drawy flops. 2) Did you open in steal position? Players will give you less credit for a hand. 88 on a 459 board with two diamonds. Draws There's a very good section on playing draws in Miller and Sklansky's NLHTaP. you might lose a lot of money if you hit (or gain very little from worse hands). you probably won't get a lot of action). which. you won't hit it very often. low flush draws on paired boards (if you hit. Complete Air Unless you are giving up on the pot entirely. this makes up for winning big pots the rare times you hit. or pair+flushdraw combos (although if your "pair" is the Ace. This might mean they are more likely to call you lightly (so you can get more value from moderate-hands) or it may mean that they are more likely to c/r lightly (making it hard to gain value from weak/moderate hands by 174 . because you just don't hit very often). especially if those tendencies are identical to when he holds hands that you are behind. depending on your opponent. I think you should just about always C-bet with complete air -. if you hit on a flush card.example. be inclined to bet very strong draws. the best way to get value is never very obvious.

Again. There are certain made hands (33-55 being the prime examples) that benefit greatly from a flop like this. but other made hands (like 99-KK and weak Aces) that really don't want to make things that easy for Villain.betting). and if they do. and the value of simply winning the pot goes way up in comparison to the value of extracting another bet from worse hands. depending on how the player plays with his hand range. For one. 5) Are you in position? All things considered. or "value betting" a weaker hand thanks to the weakness you showed on the flop). They'll probably just fold anything less than an Ace here. but the A7 hand and especially the KK hand suck vs. you really don't want to be put in positions where your hand is probably the best hand. Note that in many cases. most Aces. the naked flush draw. whether you welcome a C/r. and in both cases he will very likely call a big raise. I'm much more inclined to bet out of position than in position with my made hands. you can safely value bet. By the way. the turn action changes things greatly. as they are way ahead of villain's non-Ace holdings. your hand is still often best (because your opponent will be bluffing a good % of the time. If you hold A 7 board and get check-raised. that's not so hot. It's much harder to extract value from medium strength hands (and easier to be bluffed off of them). Also. 6) Is this a re-raised pot? 175 . This is because the villain will sometimes be semi-bluffing. In general. resist the temptation to slowplay if you hit your 2-outer on the turn. but you will have to fold because you might be crushed. should influence your decisions on whether to C-bet. if you check a hand like KK on the above flop. and his perception of your hand range. but notice how very often your equity vs. and will sometimes be betting an Ace. and he is pretty unlikely to put you on a set given the flop action. this is making things too easy for them. especially if you have position (almost regardless of what made hand you hold). 3) How much does getting check-raised suck? If you have 3 3 on an A 3 6 a little jig in front of your monitor. you are probably doing on the same board. So if it is checked to you on the turn. Unless you are holding complete air or a set. 4) Are you making it easy for Joe Tag or Mac Donkey to play this hand? Let's go back to the A72 rainbow flop. How about K K ? Notice that all those hands have very strong equity vs. players very rarely try to c/r twice. in a heads-up pot. and you can usually fold to a c/r without feeling the least bit bad about it. most draws has gone way up. your opponents range for calling you preflop is wider when you steal from the CO and Button. they generally don't c/r bluff the turn with naked draws (most players would bluff by betting after the turn was checked through). You're making it pretty easy for both players to play this flop if you pot it. If it is bet to you on the turn. etc.

or QQ on an A72 flop. or if you have a set. If you have a monster. but not so hot if you hold KK on a QJx flop. And often in re-raised pots. or AA on 743 flop. which is fine if you hold air. the pot is big enough to get the money in on 3 streets. your bets are only going to be called by a very narrow range of hands. 176 .You shouldn't always bet in a re-raised pot.

On the other hand. Disadvantages: Against good/observant villains you lose action on your big hands. etc. When you have a strong hand. villains who call preflop raises to play fit or fold. This write-up is simply an attempt to get people thinking as to why they’re betting a precise amount and the implications related with the size of their bets in different situations. Methodology #2: Vary your bet sizing based on the texture of the board The general idea being to vary your bet sizing based on the texture of the board(duh) – bigger bets on more coordinated boards and smaller bets on less coordinated or dry boards. you’re losing a ton of value when you make a small bet when your opponent would have called a much larger bet. Note that this article will not cover the “ifs” and “when’s” to continuation bet. It’s also worth noting that I don’t consider any one strategy to be any more or less favorable than any other. and the largest amount you think your opponents will call when you have a strong hand. Methodology #1: Sizing your bets based on the strength of your hand Seems straightforward enough. A solid villain will correctly fold his marginal holding facing your pot sized bet. if you always bet too much. hands that the board ‘hits’ are much greater on coordinated boards than on dry boards. risking a large amount just seems silly when you can bet smaller and achieve the same result. So you bet as the smallest amount your opponents will let you get away with when you’re bluffing. but what about post flop? Do we always bet the pot? Min bet? Shove? On one hand. Theoretically. Mistakes that maximize our expectation. or float with the intention of taking the pot away it away on a later street. The obvious drawback to using this tactic is that you become very exploitable to observant opponents. 177 . So how much do we bet? What factors should we consider before sizing our bets? In this article I plan on discussing some of the more common methodologies regarding sizing your continuation bets and some of the advantages and disadvantages that accompany the various tactics. you’re allowing your opponents to play perfectly against you. and when you have a weak hand. as they’ll soon realize that your bet sizing represents the exact strength of your hand. Lack of balance. By telegraphing the strength of your hand with the size of your bet. types of villains or flops to cbet. villains who don’t show aggression against weak bets without a hand. this approach would be almost flawless and poker would be much easier if our bets somehow didn’t represent the actual strength of our hand. or what conditions make a bet +EV or –EV. you want to minimize your losses and play a small pot. we want our bet sizes to encourage our opponents to make mistakes against us. Obviously. and will interpret your smaller bets as weakness and raise you off your hand. Rather. Since the texture of the flop impacts the shape of the hand distributions. On the flip side. On the one hand. you want to maximize your winnings and play a big pot. and have pots stolen from you when you show weakness with small(er) bets. I’ll leave that for another time. you’re offering your opponent correct pot odds to continue with drawing hands and suck out on you. Big mistakes.Some thoughts on continuation bet sizing (Panthro) Most 2+2’ers are familiar with the 4xBB + BB/limper preflop betsizing methodology. and you’ll wonder why you always get raised when you have nothing and always get folds when you flop the nuts. when you always bet too little. that is. Works best against: Weaker villains. I’d like to focus explicitly on bet sizing strategies and the rationales behind why we may find it optimal to utilize a specific approach over another. you’re going to lose the most when your opponent calls with a hand that’s better than yours.

we’re anticipating getting a lot of money in the middle before the river when many drawing hands in our opponents range become worthless. and we’d much prefer our opponents to play passively against us. BB folds Flop: ($9) 8 4 9 (2 Players) SB checks. you effectively disguise your hand to your opponents. Y (6 Players) 4 folds. a somewhat coordinated board. SB calls $3. On draw heavy boards that hit a wide range of hands. Hero bets $7 Example 3: a very drawy board Hero (BTN): $100 SB: $100 Preflop: Hero is dealt X. Disadvantages: Small increase in losses with weaker hands/bluffs from balancing bet sizing with stronger hands and vice-versa. and some bet sizes we may decide to fire into each pot. Hero raises to $4. SB calls $3.5. BB folds Flop: ($9) A 2 8 (2 Players) SB checks.we make our bets larger on drawy boards and smaller on dry boards Since dry boards miss most hands. Hero raises to $4. After all. we can make larger bets (~2/3rds to the full size of the pot) to deny drawing hands proper odds to continue that a smaller bet may not have. we can bet a smaller amount (~½ to 2/3rds of the pot) that will often achieve the same result as a larger bet with less risk. the semi-bluff can difficult to defend against with marginal one pair type hands. Lets look at 3 examples: a dry board. Methodology #3: Adjusting your bet sizing based on the depth of the stacks 178 . Hero bets $8 Works best against: all villains. SB calls $3. and a very coordinated board. Y (6 Players) 4 folds. It is also worth mentioning that by using a bet size methodology that advocates using consistent bet sizes relative to the texture of the board and not your hole cards. This strategy is very advantageous against the type of villain who will raise smaller continuation bets with drawing hands sensing weakness. Hero raises to $4. BB folds Flop: ($9) 9 Q J (2 Players) SB checks. Hero bets $5. Example 1: a dry board Hero (BTN): $100 SB: $100 Preflop: Hero is dealt X.50 Example 2: a middling drawy board Hero (BTN): $100 SB: $100 Preflop: Hero is dealt X.5. Y (6 Players) 4 folds. but is more liable to flat call a larger bet sensing strength. when we make large bets on drawy boards with strong hands.5. Also.

SB calls. it does make a lot of sense why we would prefer to bet a smaller percentage of the pot when the pot is large. a concept critical to success in NLHE. we want to get as much money as possible in the middle to maximize our winnings. so betting 100% of the pot on all three streets should get our stack all in by the river. stack sizes can help us extrapolate an optimal percentage of the pot to bet. When we adjust our bet sizing based on the effective stack sizes. if we assume 100BB effective stacks. especially for a LAG who is playing a high number of marginal holdings. I should point out that ponicaraux made a cool write-up entitled Get it in where he mentions similar concepts. SB calls $3. the pot is $9 and the effective stack sizes are $117 (13 times the size of the pot). we can reduce our opponents implied odds to call bets on early streets with inferior hands in hopes of drawing to a better hand.5. Against weaker/passive players. always betting the pot seems optimal because you build bigger pots when you’re the aggressor. Works best against: all villains. as building big pots against aggressive opponents who will check-raise with air and draws and try to push you off your hand can get expensive. The whole idea of geometric growth (credit “The Mathematics of Poker”) is essentially betting a consistent percentage of the pot on each street to get our effective stack ‘all in’ comfortably by the river. A really really basic example: Hero (BTN): $121 SB: $200 Preflop: Hero is dealt X. playing big 179 . By making the same sized bets relative to the size of the pot. Not always optimal/feasible with deeper stacks. The drawback of this approach is that consistently building large pots results in very high variance.relative to the size of the pot Without divulging into too much theory. Hero bets $27. you will often find yourself facing difficult situations with medium strength hands. Hero bets $81 and is all-in Lastly. and you can set yourself up for larger bets on later streets with strong hands. Weak-tight players will give up easier against you knowing they’ll be facing large pot sized bets on every street. Since the pots are bigger. Also. you again completely disguise your hand to your opponents. Hero bets $9. Y (6 Players) 4 folds. SB calls. Turn: ($27) 3 (2 Players) SB checks. and a larger percentage of the pot when the pot is small. Hero raises to $4. Methodology #4: Always bet the pot Many UB/FT’ers religiously use the “bet pot” button to size their bets. Disadvantages: Small increase in losses with weaker hands/bluffs from balancing bet sizing with stronger hands. Flop: ($9) 8 5 J (2 Players) SB checks. Also. River: ($81) Q (2 Players) SB checks. BB folds In this example. It should seem obvious that when we flop a monster. One of the most important aspects of stack sizes in NLHE is how they affect implied odds. both from a practical and mathematical standpoint.

Disadvantages: Bigger bets may lose action when a smaller bet would not have. You can extract a large amount of chips before the river when missed draws become worthless and induce river bluffs from villains who have missed their draws and find themselves pot committed. villains who like to make hero calls and pick off bluffs. Methodology #7: Adjust your bet sizing on the objective you’re trying to achieve -. Most of the same disadvantages associated with the aforementioned bet pot methodology are apparent in this theorem. it can be very difficult/impossible for opponents to deduce the strength of your hand if you’re always making the same size bet whether you’ve hit the flop or not. where x is some fixed predefined number I’ll refer to this as the multitabelers theorem because many 2+2’ers use a bet pot script to handle their bet sizing. Methodology #6: Overbetting the pot Making a large overbet doesn’t have to work all that often for it to be a profitable play. Lastly. Balancing overbetting strong made hands with weaker hands/bluffs can be difficult and/or suboptimal. I’ve had some success using this strategy after losing a large pot when my opponents perceive me to be on tilt. villains who don’t like to fold. Works best against: all villains. As with the previous methodology. Disadvantages: Small increase in losses with weaker hands/bluffs from balancing bet sizing with stronger hands and vice-versa. as every pot you play in as the aggressor will be of the same size (number of opponents is relevant here). They usually have it set up to bet some arbitrary percentage based on the current size of the pot (often in the neighborhood of 60% to 100% depending on preference). you can take a stab at more pots while risking a smaller amount of chips. but the actions you may want your opponents to take 180 . chasers. Small increase in losses with weaker hands/bluffs from balancing bet sizing with stronger hands. With a smaller continuation bet size than the ‘bet pot’ advocacy. Using this strategy extracts maximum value from ‘calling stations’ who won’t fold with any piece of the board. Methodology #5: Always bet x% of the Ray Zee. soah and a few other HSNL/MSNL 2+2’ers The idea being to adjust your bets to manipulate your opponents into playing not only the pot size of your choosing. or in blind battles where opponents always think an aggressive player is FOS and trying to buy the pot. Some opponents will interpret your overbet as weakness or a bluff and call down with a marginal hand. Works best against: Weak players.pots regardless of hand strength reduces your ability to utilize pot control. Works best against: all villains Disadvantages: Higher variance. and the so called ‘chasers’ who won’t fold any kind of draw on any street. calling stations. by always betting pot you’re risking a lot to win a little when you’re bluffing.

a 18/14 thinking TAG who uses a highly varied bet sizing methodology.50) 5 K T (2 Players) 181 . The disadvantage of any complex bet sizing methodology is that our opponents may or may not construe the information we had hoped to associate with our bet sizes as we have intended. Hand 1: Hero (UTG): $100 BTN: $100 Preflop: Hero is dealt T . T (6 Players) Hero raises to $4. As an example. or at the very least force them into a difficult decision as to whether or not they should continue with the hand. In response our opponent may instead decide to take action Y because they interpret our bet of size A much differently than a bet of size B. let’s look at a really simple example where we might be able to manipulate our opponents into taking specific actions against us by varying our bet sizes.50) 8 3 A (2 Players) Hero bets $5. maybe. On to the next meeting… Hand 2: (same villain) Hero (UTG): $100 BTN: $100 Preflop: Hero is dealt A . 2 folds Flop: ($9. With a dry Ace high flop. Q (6 Players) Hero raises to $4. Or bet larger to force your opponents to fold. In our short history. Say for example. Sometimes you want to bet smaller when OOP to price yourself into seeing cheap cards. despite the fact that we anticipated this opponent to be much less likely to take action Y over action X if we made a bet of value A instead of value B. Could the button have interpreted our ~½ pot sized bet as weakness? Would a 2/3rds or near pot sized bet be more sufficient in representing a strong hand? Would the button be less likely to make a play facing a larger bet? In the actual hand hero folded. it is something to keep in mind. enough theory mumbo jumbo. we decide to make slightly over half pot size continuation bet expecting the button to fold all worst hands and call or raise all better hands. we make a bet of size A because we want our opponent to take action X. BTN raises $20 Easy fold right? Well.50… A (2 Players) We’ll play the role of hero. BTN calls $4. 2 folds Flop: ($9.50) 8 3 Hero bets $5. J Q . and bet the pot when you don’t want action or want to discourage opponents from making plays or calling down lightly. or to induce a raise. and maybe he wasn’t. the on collected the pot and exposed his hole cards. or to pick up the pot with minimal risk. BTN calls $4. 2 folds. 2 folds. Maybe the button was planning on making a play regardless of our bet size. Flop: ($9.50. Still with me? OK. Nevertheless. we view the button as an aggressive villain who is capable of making a move. So what have learned from this hand? The actions taken by this particular villain may or may not have been prejudiced by the size of our bet. We open UTG open get called by the 20/10 button. we might choose to make smaller ½ pot bets when you want action or want to induce a raise.against you.

We now have a stronger suspicion that this villain may perceive our smaller continuation bets as weakness and larger continuation bets as strength. that with this simple illustration we’ve only begun to scratch the surface in realizing how powerful a highly varied bet sizing methodology can be. our static strategy won’t work forever on this particular villain. BTN raises $20. However. we may face difficult decisions on later streets as opponents reactions may or may not be influenced by the size of our bets.Hero bets $8… In this hand. BTN bets $38. BTN calls $4. 2 folds. Hero raises all-in.50.50… 2 (2 Players) Using previous history and our read on villain. betting an amount that maximizes our expectation which is the size of our opponent’s possible mistake times the chance he will make that mistake (Sklansky. we can now make the same small continuation bet we made back in hand 1 in an attempt to induce either a call from a weak hand or a bluff raise. so we’ll need to make continuous adjustments. BTN calls all-in. Flop: ($9. Miller. p57). Now obviously.50) 5 K T Hero bets $8. Button mucks K T and hero collects the pot. in a game with no absolutes. NLHETAP. 182 .50. 7 (6 Players) Hero raises to $4. so we adjust by making a larger bet with a hand that we don’t necessarily want action with.50) 7 J Hero bets $5. we still plan on experimenting with our newly gained information in an effort to size our bets to incite specific responses against this opponent in the future. Hand 3: (same villain) Hero (UTG): $100 BTN: $100 Preflop: Hero is dealt 7 .50) K (2 Players) Hero checks.50) 7 J 2 (2 Players) Hero bets $5. and we intend to exploit our read by manipulating our opponent into making a mistake. Maybe the button decided to fold in this hand given he recently made a play against us. Hero calls $14. Now again. Flop: ($9. Works bets against: villains who we have a very good read on. but rather. 2 folds Flop: ($9. and yet still be able to manipulate them into doing what you want them to do. Disadvantages: By varying our bet sizes based on a specific set of objectives. Turn: ($49. Do note. we have a read that this villain may have interpreted our smaller continuation bet as weakness. Requires constant adaptation. or make a smaller bet when we’re bluffing. (2 Players) The button folds and hero collects the pot. this may or may not be the case. We’re not necessarily always trying to deceive our opponents with our bet sizes. Ship it. or maybe he had a timing tell and felt we were stronger in this hand than in the previous one. The next time we flop a strong hand we might make a larger bet. The idea is to adjust better than your opponent does. BTN folds.

There are some things I haven’t covered that are worth noting. 183 . Feel free to add any thoughts/criticisms. your image. etc. such as adjusting bet sizing based on your opponents estimated hand ranges. history. adjusting your bet sizing based on position. number of opponents.

BB calls. Our ranges are wider and therefore harder to read. It can be an effective play used in many different manners. When double barreling: -We mix our ranges so that when we bet the turn after raising PF/betting the flop. etc). we either dictate the action and set ourselves odds in which we would not have received (when double barreling draws) and enable ourselves another chance at winning the pot other than improving. Flop: T 2 9 BB checks. he folds. Just thought I'd write a little something. This is pretty much the standard double barrel line. where the aggression is much higher and more frequent than those games that we play. The first and very standard one: You open xx in the CO. bluff raising the double barrel because you know the opponent would double on this board nearly everytime. this is still a nice play. It is a very common play in MSNL+. the double barrel is effective. But for now. The purposes can be very manyfrom pure bluffing against a suspected float or semi-bluffing with a nice draw. Your raise A K to 4xbb. On Double Barreling: This is a concept not widely used in uNL or even SSNL. all else fold. You bet. all else fold. calling much wider. BB calls Turn: A/K/paint BB checks. We bet because the paint changed the board and therefore hand values. -Along with that. A villain should be much stronger if your betting (and repping) that paint card (and should fear a river bet if he calls). our hand is NOT always the nuts/strong hand. Firing two barrels. having AK on that such board and betting the turn). and one that CAN be used for value too (ie. he calls 184 . this common knowledge can be exploited (ie. we gain more action to when we DO actually have a hand. As you move in limits. What is Double Barreling? Double Barreling is exactly that. -When applied correctly to certain players. You get a TAG caller on the button.DOUBLE BARRELING (orange) Hey guys. You bet. (10bb)Flop: T 6 6 You bet 6bb. This is a very standard double barreling line used against all opponents. Some examples of double barreling: (Assume all situations are 100BBs/6max).

Notes: This is a common line used most against TAGgy regulars. why is he betting? He must be strong" #3: You raise A 7 . these are just a few. bet sizing/etc). we can generally narrow TAG's hand range to a pp or some float. Button calls. There are many more instances in which double barreling is effective. your hand range is widened . As stated earlier. He is an unknown player.(probably the best selection for those in uNL).(22bb)2 You bet 15bb. He calls. one that your opponent may not have given you. (10bbs)Flop: 4 T K You bet 8bb. As of PF/flop action. (26bb)Turn: 2 You bet 17bb There are a few reasons why double barreling on these boards is nice. This play is often used against more competent players as donkeys will continue to call with 77 and other marginal hands. Another instance in which it might be nice to double with a draw is when you pick up a draw on the turn. one thing I forgot. Mixing your strong hands with draws is an essential skill that evolves into 5th level thinking in the HSNL games (ie. he calls Turn: 8 You should bet Again. Try exchanging A 7 with AK/a set/QJ and you still may very well be double barreling. you can c/f. Think for yourself on some other spots and share them. You open 6 7 someone calls. If he's determined and willing to go far with this hand. Betting the turn makes river play GENERALLY pretty easy. If your opponent is one that will fold to aggression. forgot to add this little snipit (edit). all else fold. The TAG should be thinking "he knows that the turn changed nothing. Sorry. You set your own price for a draw.many times. You also enable yourself another chance to win the pot other than improving (as stated earlier. you can triple barrel at times. it goes along with the semibluffing thing. and also the definition of a semi-bluff). and he folds. we generally fold out better hands against a very predictable range. In CR. Flop: T 2 4 You bet. GP states that K high boards are excellent ones to double barrel on. 185 . simply because you are representing a ton of strength. you would be double barreling with AK and the like in this spot. By double barreling.

hero flops the nuts and wants to get all the money in. that villain has donk-certified calling hand against you.50 in our stacks.  How much are they worth So. everyone else folds. What are the lines? If there's only one bet per street. and we're asking villain to put in a little more than 1/2-pot on the river. hero raises in position pre-flop I play a lot of hands that are effectively like this. Let's say. and I think about it sometimes during the hands. Cliff's notes: bet more] In another thread yesterday. but be less likely to call an overbet.  Against the 3/4. Let's see how he stacks up (ha!!!) against the two lines. if there's money left to bet on the river. Let's think about two standard lines: One villain. $55 in our stack when we see the river. I've thought about this before. like TPTK. I think the standard 2+2 lines are pot-it-all-the-waybaby and 3/4-on-the-flop-2/3-on-the-turn.2/3 line. stacks $95). let's say it's $100NL. One bet per street. but only call the river overbet 50% of the time. 4_2_it said Quote: When you flop a monster the first thing you should do is look at stack sizes and figure out what size bets on each street gets everything in the middle. normal stacks. and then got busy. We'll analyze things 186 . 2/3-pot has us betting $7.  pot-pot gives us $30 in the pot and $85 in our stack on the turn and $90 in the pot. let's say he'll always call the flop. 6-max and this happens: Preflop: UTG limps. when we flop a monster. It's still probably too long-winded for many people to actually read it. we want to think about lines that will get as much of our stack in the middle as possible. I wrote this up on the fly. but not enough. 2 players. UTG calls. seeing the turn with $25 in the pot and $87. The two hands that made me think about this were hands where Hero had Ace-rag suited and flopped the nut flush. so please give me some feedback. Ideally. Flop: ($10. there's a *huge* difference between those two lines.GET IT IN (poincaraux) [Note: I started writing this up. The bigger the pot is. the easier it is for the villain to make a crying call.50 on the flop. betting $17 on the turn and ending up at the river with $70 in our stack and $60 in the pot. To make the numbers easy. call the turn 80% of the time. 3/4-pot. we want the pot to be bigger than our stack. The basic idea is that. and hadn't really thought so explicitly about this stuff before. Hero raises to $4. but I thought the EV calculations in the middle were pretty enlightening. for instance. He'll probably call reasonable-sized bets.

in situations like this. 1/2 isn't good enough. With big hands. or because I don't want villains drawing to it. you can get 13x the pre-flop money in. when the villain decides he'll call a 1/2-pot bet on the river. so betting just a little more early on can make a big difference later on. let's say he'll always call the flop. 1/2." 187 . Just so that you don't have to work it out on the fly. if it's going to go pot-pot-pot. Then our EV is 1.5*(30 + 55) = $62. That's 1/3 more money than we were making with the smaller bets.5) + 0. It turns out that he only has to call 46% of the time on the turn for the lines to have the same EV. $30. $45. What if he's a more typical calling-station kind of guy and calls more like 70% of the time on the turn? Then our EV is $80. That is. the bets will be $10. because it makes it that much easier to get more value on the later streets. In practice. $30 and we'll get $54 in. Then again. As stacks get deeper. A lot of that transfers pretty easily when you start thinking about b3b.5x the pre-flop money in. We want to set things up so that. so you can get about 5x the pre-flop money in that way. pot-pot-pot bets will be bets of $10. you can see that the villain will have to be a *lot* more likely to fold to the pot-pot line before we start using the 3/4. cr. Pots grow exponentially. Then. I usually try to squeeze out as much value as I possibly can on the early streets. So. if there's $10 in the pot on the flop. it's likely that we can get more than one bet in per street. we can run into a lot of situations where the villain has a good draw. those extra bets are usually on the flop. With shorter stacks. like 50% of the time. Similarly. So. In that situation.0*(10 + 7. so you can get 8. Why am I focusing on smaller bets on the river? Well. though? Let's say he folds the turn a lot. If it's going to go 3/4. I want most of the money in before then so that he can make a crying call.5. Intuitively. What's our EV if he'll fold the turn more often. you won't be able to make sizeable bets on all streets.8*(17 + 0. the bets will be $7. etc.  For the pot-pot line. he'll always call the river if he gets there because there's so much money in the pot. The key is to think "if I bet this much. The key is thinking ahead on the early streets. this means that I'm much more likely to go pot-pot on scary boards.5*(70)) = $59. If it's going to go pot-pot-1/2pot. 2/3. $17. you should be betting quite a bit when you have a great hand. unless you think that villain is savvy enough to make some real adjustments based on the various lines you take. it's quite possible that. More than one bet per street When we flop a monster.5. our EV is 1.from the flop on. $30 and $90. this concept gets more important.0*(10 + 10) + 0. that 1/2-pot bet is a lot of money. if we have full stacks and want to get it in. and we'll get $85 in. 3/4. and we'll get about $130 of your stack in. the pot will be that much on the next street and the stack sizes will be blah blah. either because I have the scary hand. he'll have an OK hand with a draw that missed on the river.2/3 line. 2/3.

Hero raises to $2. T (2 players) BB bets $1. SB posts a blind of $0.10) J BB checks. In this specific case. BB calls $1. that sounds like the hand from the post I referred to earlier: Quote: UTG ($26. Hero bets to $10.81) MP ($30. And we see the river with $30 in the pot and $23 in our stack.97. hero ends up with $30 in his stack and $20 in the pot. it will look like Flop: ($2.10) 7 (2 players) BB bets $3. (We'll often want to bet less on the river.03.. even if villain goes into check-call mode. 3 folds.75) Hero ($38. it's important to raise early on to set things up to get the stacks in later on.10. and it goes bet-raise on the flop.10) 7 (2 players) BB checks. let's see how this would have played out with bigger bets: If hero makes about a pot-sized raise on the flop. River: ($20. 2 . so a push from the hero got a stubborn call.10) 9 .75. So. and villain was pretty likely to think he was getting pushed around. Turn: ($6. Q .62) SB ($41. making it pretty hard to get the rest in. If it goes pot-call. Q . when you're playing against someone who has a 2x stack. though. pot-call after that.10) Preflop: Hero is Button with A .If there's $10 in the pot. Turn: ($10.10) 9 . 1 fold.49) BB ($47. you might get $20 in on the flop. Hero raises to $4. getting $220 of your stack in. Hero raises to $7. Hero raises to $1. Just for fun. Flop: ($2. there was some history. BB calls $0.HERO? (2 players) So. 188 . BB calls $3. Hmmn . T (2 players) BB bets $1. BB calls $3. Now. BB calls $10.50) CO ($9. though). you'll put in $50 on the turn and $150 on the river.

30. strong players are MUCH less common than weak players. and you’ll have position after the flop comes. obviously. but A) sometimes you’ll get aces on the button. say. Stronger players might realize you’re positionally aware. and if conditions are right. they’ll think you’re a fish and give you action the next time you raise aces UTG. My attempt to steal blinds percentage: 31. any two cards. 3. Use PT stats: If you’re on the button. Pokey covered all the details (and more) in his thread. but still worthy of a mention in my opinion): When weak players see you show down 75o after raising preflop from the button. B) if they suspect you’re playing a bunch of junk from late position and decide to tangle with you without hands. anything connected. you’re gonna have to raise some absolute junk. and the 189 . the better. 2. use the statistics “Folds BB to steal” and “Folds SB to steal” to evaluate the preflop tendencies of the players in the blinds. If you want to steal the blinds 25. in theory. If. but that’s an issue that probably deserves its own thread. because PT only registers a blind steal attempt if there are no limpers to you). and from CO to BTN. The gist of it is that stealing blinds = $$$. neither of you will have hands. Why Do It? In order of importance: 1. you have to be willing to raise 25. BTN: 30/27.PLAYING JUNK FROM LATE POSITION (tannenj) My current VPIP/PFR stats: UTG: 11/11. To steal the blinds: There’s little reason for me to elaborate much on this. 35 percent of the hands you’re dealt from this position (actually. then it will be profitable to play X+Y% (Y>0) of the hands you’re dealt on the button. you’ll see that your PTBB/100 skyrockets when you attempt to steal the blinds. but this doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t steal if I expect to be called. Table image/metagame (this is less important than the above two reasons. if you check PokerTracker. this is not a new concept for SSNL. CO: 22/20. 30. This is one of many reasons to upgrade if you’re using GameTime Plus. I’ll often raise with anything suited. From late position. Position is a HUGE advantage. guess what? In general. the more these players are relinquishing their blinds. I’m sure many good players can provide numbers higher than these. the SB is a nit who folds his blind to steals every time. Note how sharply the numbers jump from MP to CO. and C) at SSNL. Winning players generally make most of their money from late position (cutoff and button). If you want to raise 30 percent of your hands from the button. It is notable that you can only get these statistics in your hud if you have Poker Ace Hud. the percentages are even higher. MP: 11/11. In general. I’m on the button. 35 percent of the time that you’re on the button. When To Do It? 1. The last five numbers used to be even higher when I was playing a higher variance style. Position makes it profitable to play many more hands: If. it’s profitable to play X% of hands UTG at a 6max game.

I’ll raise to isolate the fish with almost any two cards. Note that I ordered the three categories in this list in a way that I think proceeds from easiest to hardest to play. Playing junk from late position is easy when you pop it up preflop. and fabricated hands designed to illustrate the written principles. This is obviously unrealistic. big draw): You lucked out with your junk. Use non-statistical reads: Maybe you’re on the button. 2. Poker at its core is about playing big pots with big hands. that he won’t donkbet the is a 65/1/1 fish who A) rarely folds his blind and B) rarely folds postflop. but both of them have a tendency to overvalue top pair. etc. straight. everyone folds. Maybe effective stats are deep. bet is usually the play here. Slowplaying can be a reasonable option once in a while when A) you have the board crippled and your hand is beastly enough to let the villain catch up without having to worry about being outdrawn. you’ll want to slow down sometimes. it’s profitable to raise (and continuation bet. overpairs. and also in a way that I think proceeds from least interesting to most interesting: 1. this is read-dependent. But sometimes you’ll get a caller or two. and neither of the tags in the blinds likes to fold to steals. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not 190 . it makes sense to cut down on the junk you’re playing from the CO. or B) the villain is a thinking player and you want to throw him a curveball for shania’s sake. Bet. boat. and it’s time to get the villain’s monies. so start building the pot. quads. trips. of course) with any two cards. In a case like this. I could spend time coming up with more examples. but this article is theoretical in nature. I’ll assume that there’s one villain per hand. For simplification. You hit the flop hard (two pair. when I came up with the idea for this post. In the past. flush. But in general. but you’ll also want to look at the percentage of time the button calls a preflop raise. you’ll still want to glance at the percentage of time the blinds fold to steals. You have a big hand. I’ve been guilty of not paying enough attention to this statistic. I’ll be much more likely to raise with junk in a spot like this than with 100bb stacks against players in the blinds whom I respect. bet. set. that the villain won’t 3bet preflop. How To Play With Your Junk After The Flop WARNING: NOT EVEN CLOSE TO SAFE FOR WORK But seriously. I intended for this section to be the meat of it. If a scare card hits. royal flush. and that stacks are always 100 BBs. and the players in the blinds tend to defend their blinds by calling preflop. if the player on the button is constantly calling raises preflop and has a reasonable postflop game. but tend to shut down if they miss postflop. If you’re in the CO. What follows is a list of the situations in which you’ll find yourself when you raise from late position with a not-so-great hand and get called. you flopped huge and want to get some money in the pot. the bottom line is that it’s not difficult to find “excuses” to play more hands if you’re a thinking player and will have position throughout the hand. and you get the blinds. of course.

he raised. Hero bets $35. Hero bets $11. Hero bets $78. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: 8 6 ($3. so call and let him think continue to think his AJ is the best hand or fire another barrel with air. Yum. 6 players) UTG folds. BB raises to $29. Hero bets $13. Hero raises to $7. River: 6 ($111. but this is a good spot to try to pick up the blinds. 2 players) BB checks. I tend to continuation bet a bit smaller. but at this point it’s almost always the best hand. metagame. Turn: T ($73. MP folds. so bombs away. CO folds. 2 players) BB checks. Hero raises to $7. SB folds. BB calls $35 Same logic as above. 2 players) BB checks. so there’s no reason to slowplay. BB calls $13 One caller. Flop: 6 J 6 ($15. BB calls $5 Blinds. The board has two diamonds. SB folds. but when you raise preflop with a 6 in your hand and flop trips with it. Hero calls $18 When the board is drawless. CO folds. you’re not folding the hand when the stacks are this size. Flop: 5 A 4 ($15. I like a bet of close to the pot because the board is drawy. 2 players) 191 . I have shoved in these spots before. You’re not afraid of being outdrawn (he has two outs at most). and I didn’t provide a read on the villain. Turn: J ($41. position. You don’t have to do it every time. BB calls $5 Everyone folded to you.MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: 5 4 ($3. 2 players) BB checks. etc. That’s about the best flop you can ask for. though. Our hand is vulnerable. BB folds Bet size is preference. 6 players) UTG folds. really. MP folds. It’s possible that he has something like A6. it’s reasonable to make a smaller bet. Since there’s no need to protect anymore.

An OESFD will always be a big draw. in my opinion. and if a good player doesn’t have a big hand. 2 players) BB checks. to go too far with top pair. it’s more of a “feel” thing than a science. Hero bets $13. and has a tendency to call big bets with draws. which is a favorite over any hand except a set (and even against a set. both betting and checking are reasonable. Read: The villain in the following hand is a level one thinker with no handreading skills. Hero shoves. Hero checks. and our hand no longer has an equity advantage over a pair. boat. If you get raised. This is heavily dependent on reads and flow.” Everyone knows what the terms two pair. We’re not confident that the villain will fold to a bet. a flush draw. is just a draw that you’re willing to felt on the flop. but the phrase “big draw” is somewhat ambiguous.5. He plays at about 25/9/1. It’s possible that the villain has you in bad shape with something like K J . etc. you’re making another big bet. set. especially with the right read -. quads. you’re shoving. of course.but shoving is a bit safer and perfectly reasonable. 6 players) UTG folds. 2 players) BB checks. the better the villain. flush. Turn: Q ($41. Our read indicates that checking is probably better than betting in this spot. the better an option betting becomes. You want to throw out on a continuation bet on the flop because you have an equity advantage over the villain’s range and you want to build the pot. MP folds. Flop: 2 9 8 ($15. BB folds The turn was another diamond and provided air like KQ and AQ with straight draws. straight. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: T 7 ($3. BB calls $5 See above. BB calls $13 You flopped an open-ended straight flush draw. but the villain is 192 . trips. a gutshot and two overcards.BB bets $60. you should think of your hand as an absolute monster. so he there’s a small possibility that he has some outs now. and royal flush mean. This is the case because a good player will generally raise a wet flop like this with a big hand. Sidenote -.” for the purpose of this article.? A “big draw. but how about an open-ended straight draw. Hero raises to $7. If you get called and hit on the turn. SB’s important at this point to clarify what I meant above when I used the phrase “big draw. If you get called and miss on the turn. Betting is good because it disguises your hand. it has about 42% equity). but it’s unwise to worry about that. he won’t call a turn bet. CO folds. etc. I can see just calling anyway -and I’d do it fairly often.

He plays solid. but if he’s not folding and you have a minute chance of improving to a real hand. but sometimes it’s +EV with the right board and the right read). 2 players) BB checks. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: 7 9 ($3. CO folds. BB calls $30 Time to value bet. Hero bets $30. You missed the flop entirely (no pair. Hero raises to $7. You have at least eight outs no matter what the villain is holding and against a hand like AQ. Checking does carry the disadvantage of making it impossible to stack the villain if we hit on the river. but rarely in poker are there flawless plays. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter 193 . It might feel strange to raise preflop with a garbage hand and then not even bet the flop. Against the 65/1/1 type I described at the beginning of the post.only thinking on one level and will probably pay off a river bet if you hit anyway. Read: The villain in the following hand is very aggressive postflop and likes to raise your continuation bets with a wide variety of hands. River: K ($41. BB calls $5 See above. very little drawing potential): Your hand is more or less hopeless at this point. and the only way to win the pot is to bet. BB folds I’m calling this a “big draw” and including it in the first category of hands because against this villain. Read: The villain in the following hand is a straightforward tag. putting more money in the pot might as well be burning it. Hero shoves. 2 players) BB checks.5 or so. Flop: 6 Q 8 ($15. say 17/13/3. and he’ll fold often enough to the shove for it to be a good play. Hero bets $11. and to continue at times on the turn (and I don’t make a habit of three-barreling. SB folds. though. you’re willing to reraise all in with it after he check-raises your continuation bet. BB raises to $40. 6 players) UTG folds. MP folds. but you’ve played a ton of hands with him and never seen him make a move or a “tricky” play postflop. He’s a solid player. 2. The villain’s range is very wide. you’re less than a 2:1 dog. The play in this spot is generally to make a pure bluff on the flop. the best play is often just passing up on a continuation bet and shutting down. and has respect for your play.

a queen. The villain most likely won’t continue to draw against us with these pot odds. BB calls $11 194 . position. which more or less means he has a king. MP folds. 2 players) BB checks. so you make the same bet as you made with the monster hand on the drawy flop above. You want to bet based on the texture of the flop and not on the strength of your hand. 6 players) UTG folds. Flop: A Q 5 ($15. JT. Hero raises to $7. but this is a thinking player’s turn bet. Hero bets $13. 2 players) BB checks. maybe even the weaker kings in his range. suited cards. BB calls $5 I’m raising suited connectors in this spot almost every time. Turn: 2 ($41. and there’s a good chance he’ll fold a queen. Betting here is a solid option. and if you flop big. Flop: K Q 3 ($15. or diamonds. CO folds. BB calls $5 Blinds. 6 players) UTG folds. CO folds. Hero bets $35. Hero bets $11. which is fairly high. but that’s hardly a good draw. implied odds. SB folds. MP folds. He calls. Hero raises to $7.Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: 7 6 ($3. which is a good thing in this spot. Read: The villain in the following hand has folded to 7 of 11 continuation bets thus far. but aside from that seems like a donk and Poker Ace Hud shows that he has gone to showdown 28 percent of the time. The club provides our hand with a runner flush draw. etc. and B) most of his range will fold to a turn bet. You know the big blind has a tendency to pay off. BB folds The turn is a brick. Not a play I’d make every time. SB folds. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: J 8 ($3. Raising will steal the blinds pretty often. because A) the villain is straightforward enough that we can assign him a fairly tight range. you might get rewarded with a stack. 2 players) BB checks. BB calls $13 Bad flop.

River: 2 ($37. He has folded to continuation bets only two times out of 15 and gone to showdown 53 percent of the hands he’s played. but raising is good anyway because it’s +EV to isolate this dude with pretty much any two cards. The only reason to consider betting now is if you think queen-high is good enough for value. Flop: 2 K 4 ($15.He’s folded more than half the time to continuation bets. consistency is a good thing. even against this villain. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: Q T ($3. CO folds. 2 players) BB checks. the runner flush draw we flopped was eliminated by the turn card. Hero checks The continuation bet didn’t work. SB folds. so there’s little reason to bet. Hero bets $12. If you’d flopped top pair (either the queen or the T) you’d be betting this flop with a plan to get three streets of value. 2 players) BB checks. Hero checks See flop analysis. As Taylor Caby would say. 2 players) BB bets $24. and raising is just asking for it. so theoretically even a full pot cbet should show a profit. River: T ($15. Read: The villain in the following hand is the 65/1/1 megafish described earlier. just pitch the hand. MP folds. 2 players) BB checks. Hero raises to $7. and we don’t even have an ace. and our read is that this villain likes to go to showdown. You bet a little over two thirds of the pot because the flop is pretty dry and again. Hero folds J-high is good almost never in this spot. Turn: 3 ($15. so we can’t semibluff either. BB calls $12 195 . Now is a good time to give up. Turn: 5 ($37. BB calls $5 You know the big blind is probably calling preflop. 6 players) UTG folds. especially with position. Hero checks He’s not folding. We still don’t have a pair. but even that’s illogical because you won’t get three streets of value out of even the biggest fish with a high card hand. 2 players) BB checks.

This category is interesting because it’s the only one of the three in which there are usually two reasonable ways to play the flop and the turn: A) Check behind. Turn: 3 ($41. your hand might be good but can’t stand to play a big pot. but you’re losing major value if you check behind against this guy. It’s not a certainty that your hand is best. you’re generally not betting for value.depending on your read of the villain and your feel for the situation. A check behind with a mediocre draw like a gutshot and overcards is somewhat tricky. but that doesn’t mean the continuation bet was for value. middle pair. a mediocre draw): I left this for last because I think it’s the most discussable situation.Time to take this noob to valuetown. 6 players) UTG folds. etc. the villain calls. BB calls $5 This hand is some serious junk. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: J 4 ($3. ten outs. It doesn’t make much sense to bet your jack for value at this point. Unfortunately. but with the knowledge that your hand has some outs if you get called. If you flop middle pair and elect to continuation bet. 2 players) 196 . A check behind with a hand like middle pair is a “value check” -. SB folds. because it’s going to be pretty tough to bet all three streets with this hand unimproved and see a showdown. even a hand as good as an open-ended straight draw or a flush draw. You got a piece of the flop (bottom keeps the pot small. Hero bets $13. Hero raises to $7. three outs to two pair). Bets in spots like these are semibluffs. induces bluffs. you are betting and hoping the villain folds. A “mediocre draw” is any draw that you’re not willing to felt on the flop -. B) Bet. You bet $13 because the board is drawy. low top pair. You might have the best hand at this point. CO folds. If you have a draw that you’re planning to fold to a raise on the flop. at least you’ve inflated the pot for your five outer (two outs to trips. and ensures that you won’t get raised off your hand and that it gets a chance to improve to trips or two pair. 3. this can mean overcards. a gutshot and an overcard. but it is reasonable to open with it once in a while from the button. MP folds. If you have a weak pair. BB calls $13 You flop middle pair and elect to semibluff with it. but if that doesn’t occur. Flop: J 3 Q ($15. 2 players) BB checks. but it’s a reasonable option at times because it guarantees that you won’t get raised off a hand that has something like six outs. Your goal is to take down the pot.

BB checks, Hero checks You decide not to continue the semibluff this time. If the villain can read hands, he’ll know that you don’t have a good made hand now, but in this hand the villain is unknown. If the river bricks and the villain makes a reasonable bet, you have little choice but to fold. River: Q ($41, 2 players) BB bets $30, Hero folds The villain could be betting missed spades or air, but it’s probably more likely that he has a queen or a better jack than we have. I’ll try to pick villains off in these spots in the right situation, but the standard play after semibluffing, checking through a blank turn, and missing on the river is folding if the villain makes a river bet. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: J 4 ($3, 6 players) UTG folds, MP folds, CO folds, Hero raises to $7, SB folds, BB calls $5 You have the same hand and elect to raise it again; you’re going to play the flop differently this time, though. Flop: J 3 Q ($15, 2 players) BB checks, Hero checks Oh my, a very similar flop. Last time, you tried semibluffing with your flopped middle pair, which was perfectly reasonable. This time, you’re going to check behind and try to see a cheap showdown. I tend to be more likely to try this with dryer flops. I changed this flop slightly from the last hand -- this flop was rainbow, the last one was two-tone -but I’m capable of semibluffing on a dry flop and checking behind on a wet flop, etc. It’s also better to check behind with a pair of jacks or queens than with a pair of fours or fives, of course, because overcards are scare cards when your hand is just one pair. Turn: 3 ($15, 2 players) BB checks, Hero checks This is a good turn card. There’s still not much of a reason to bet, because you’re not getting more than one street of value out of this hand. If the river doesn’t scare us and the villain checks again, it’s time to think about betting. If the villain bets the river, you have little choice but to call since you induced a bluff. River: Q ($15, 2 players) BB bets $9, Hero calls $9. There’s a chance the villain has you beat, but I’m not folding after the way we played the hand. There’s no reason to raise the river (save for very high level thinking against a


villain with whom you have a lot of history), so calling is the only option in this spot. Read: Villain is nitty and bad. He runs at 9/5/4; when he calls a raise preflop, it usually means he has a pocket pair. If he flops an overpair, he’s generally felting it. He likes to check-raise continuation bets big with small overpairs, unaware that against good players, this turns his hands into bluffs. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: 4 5 ($3, 6 players) UTG folds, MP folds, CO folds, Hero raises to $7, SB folds, BB calls $5 Your hand sucks, but the BB is the perfect player to blind steal against because he’ll usually fold his hand, and if he doesn’t, you have implied odds out the wazoo. Flop: 6 7 2 ($15, 2 players) BB checks, Hero checks You flop an open-ended straight draw on a rainbow board, but the villain’s range consists mostly of overpairs and sets. Given the provided read, the villain will check-raise if you continuation bet. PokerStove says your hand only has a 29.26 percent chance to win against the range of JJ-66 and 22, so if you get check-raised big by the villain, you can’t shove and you won’t have the odds to continue with the hand. You decide to check behind and ensure that you get to see a free card, knowing that there’s a good chance of stacking the villain you peel off a 3 or an 8. In addition, if you miss on the turn and the villain bets, you can call the bet knowing that you generally have the implied odds to continue. Turn: 9 ($15, 2 players) BB bets $12, Hero calls $12 The turn doesn’t complete your draw, but it’s a low enough card that the villain can still have an overpair with JJ or TT (I’m assuming he would’ve reraised preflop with QQ+), and he could have a set with 99, 77, 66, or 22. Calling is a slam dunk against this villain. River: 9 ($39, 2 players) BB bets $44, Hero folds You have close to the nut low, and judging by the villain’s tendencies and his overbet, there’s a good chance he just filled up. It’s possible the he just has an overpair, but our read is that he won’t fold that to a shove anyway, and in this case he might even be right to felt it if you pushed because a river push would make your line strange as hell. Just fold this time and stack him when you have a real hand. Read: Villain is loose preflop and likes to call raises out of position with hands like QJ, KT, etc. He’ll fold to a continuation bet if he misses the flop, though; thus far, Poker Ace Hud indicates that he’s folded to 13 of 16 continuation bets.


$1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: 4 5 ($3, 6 players) UTG folds, MP folds, CO folds, Hero raises to $7, SB folds, BB calls $5 Against a BB like this, you can probably raise profitably and then continuation bet with any two cards. This analysis ignores the SB, of course, but for the purpose of this article, the SB doesn’t exist. Flop: 6 7 2 ($15, 2 players) BB checks, Hero bets $13, BB folds The flop is the same as in the last hand, but the villain is different. Whereas a checkraise loomed against the last villain and implied odds were plentiful if you checked behind, this villain will probably fold to a continuation bet (and a hand like KT or QJ is about even money against our draw at this point), and it’s tough to say how much money we’ll make if we check behind and make our hand. If the villain makes a big raise, we probably won’t continue, but that’s an unlikely scenario. Against this villain, the play is to continuation bet and try to take the pot down. Read: Villain is a 44/18/5 lagfish who loves to attack weakness. He folds fairly often to shows of strength -- in fact, he has folded to five of seven continuation bets so far -- but you have seen him fire three barrels with air when he thinks he can steal pots. $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game 6 Players LegoPoker Hand Converter Stack Sizes SB: $Whatever BB: $200 UTG: $Not MP: $Very CO: $Relevant Hero (BTN): $200 Preflop: J 9 ($3, 6 players) UTG folds, MP folds, CO folds, Hero raises to $7, SB folds, BB calls $5 From the button, this hand is an auto-raise for me. Flop: J 8 3 ($15, 2 players) BB checks, Hero checks You flop top pair and check behind. The flop has two spades and any Q, K or A is a bad card for you, but given your read, checking behind is the play. If the villain fires the turn,


you’re calling 100 percent of the time regardless of the turn card. The river is trickier if he bets again, but it’s important to keep your read in mind. Turn: 4 ($15, 2 players) BB bets $14, Hero calls $14 The turn was an undercard and didn’t scare you. As expected, the villain bet out. This is an easy call against this villain, and there’s little reason to raise. River: K ($43, 2 players) BB bets $23, Hero calls The king is a bad card because you no longer have top pair. The villain leads for $23 into a pot of $43, giving you 66:23 odds (a little less than 3:1). It’s possible that the villain hit the river, but you reason that your hand will be good more than 25 percent of the time against his range. This is good reasoning against a villain like this one -- if he’d bet the pot on the river, you’d have a harder decision, but with pot odds this generous, the river bet is a pretty easy call.


READS (djoyce003)
I posted this in another thread started by Fallen Hero, but after posting my original thoughts, i've developed a few others that I think are worthy of including, and therefore should be included....thus I'm copying my original and adding to it. Sorry if this causes you to read it twice. First rule of reads - You have to apply any reads you have to the context and history of the hand....does it make sense what the villain is doing? Example from the other day. I pick up queens in the BB. 4 limps to me, including the SB. I raise it 8xbb. Folds to SB (who is TAG). SB goes all in for 50bb's. Does that make sense? Could he have possibly gone for a limp-reraise with AA or KK here with only the BB left to act who is OOP for the rest of the hand? The answer is clearly no. He put me on the squeeze play and assumed I had garbage. I didn't, I called, and I stacked his completely dominated QJ. Whenever an opponent makes a play, does it make sense in the context of the hand. A few really valuable reads to have on villains. Valuable read 1 - villains that overplay TPTK One of my villain's notes is "plays TPTK like the nuts, even with it's TP of 9's. Raised and called all in with A9 on a 7889 threeflush board." I've used that read to stack a particular villain at least 4 times. However, this has to done in the context of the hand. Conversely if you have a read that a loose passive opponent can't fold top pair, and the flop comes 7 high and he'd raised preflop with a relatively narrow raising range, you know he's not going crazy with know he's got an overpair. Valuable read 2 - Plays way too agressively when there is a flush draw on the board. These villains are great to flop big hands against in position because you never even have to bet or raise because you know they don't have the draw either. Example, you have pocket 7's in position. Villain raises, you call. Flop comes XX7 with 2 spades. Villain pots it, you call. Turn - blank, villain pushes, you call and stack his AA that he overplayed due to the draw-heavy board. Valuable Read 3 - total donkey calling station One of the best reads known to man. Do not semi-bluff these guys, do not threebet all in with a coin flip hand because they'll call, and you are only 50/50....try to catch your hand because they will call once you catch it too. They can't fold TP even on a straigthening flushing board. Value bet, value bet, value bet. I called a $20 turn bet against one of these guys into a $10 pot with a flush draw last week on a TJQK board. Rivered the flush, push overbet for $250 and he called with the ace hi straight. Valueable read 4 - minbets draws


. or wait until the turn to raise as that's always more scary and almost always gets a fold. If you start getting action with a big hand on a ragged board or a board like 55K.. Also. A read that an opponent will play ANY draw agressively is however.. Valuable read 7 . It can save you money a lot of the time...think you might be behind to 98 so you flat bet they raise. or sc's or suited aces preflop.. and villain has top 2. Any ragged 2 flush board with him raising makes it easier to include the draw and not a set as his likely holdings. Valuable read 6 . I generally like to call their flop raise...they don't usually minraise all three. Valuable Read 10 . Flop comes 228. makes big c-bets with hands that connected These villains are really easy to float against with nothing. You oblige. Good LAGS typically realize this but still can't fold. it's generally a big hand. you can generally figure they've got the trips with top kicker. even though TT+ kills them. Valueable read 8 ..makes it easier to put him on 9T or 56 and lets you know by his action if he's hit.. Some villains will typically minraise either small pockets. They don't realize your 2 pair beats them. I really have no idea what they are you've got him. Same thing on connected flops like A78. but lots of villains will minraise at least one of these. but then they call a raise anyway.plays ALL draws agressively A read that an opponent plays big draws agressively doesn't really help you much other than including the big draw in his range when he's raising on a draw heavy board. They minbet into you and try to draw cheap.. Start valuebetting. and now the threebets all in with a set. Punish these guys.. you bet and get raised. If he calls he's probably got the draw and that lets you play the river perfectly. this destroys their odds and eliminates tough decisions on your part as very few of them have the guts to go all in at that point. Example from above 982 though. and then disappoint them by donking a PSB on a blank turn.can't read boards and tell when he's counterfeited. Valuable read 5 . which is why they bet small. Turn easily dump your hand (provided you have this read).can't fold right. he'll probably call. or punish with big hands. Against a lot of these villains if you threebet the flop big you are likely to get raised all in and are then faced with a tough decision.. then they go ahead and call your big raise. and now villain checks. you reraise.You've all seen these guys.. This is a great read to have.. or a set on a 852 board or something similar.his bad play is why you are here. Villain doesn't realize he could have potted it and gotten a much bigger raise out of you but hey. which you represent. You bet with Jacks and they call. If a villain makes a weak c-bet into me I'll generally raise if I think he'll fold right on the flop.. Villain leads into you with a minbet on a draw heavy board knowing you'll raise..they know they can't pay full price to draw.minraises small pockets/SC's/suited aces preflop..minbet-threebets monsters These are great too because they let you get away cheap. and they have 89.. the converse "smart enough to know he just got counterfeited" These villains are great. A good way to determine if villains got a monster or not is to flat call his flop raise when OOP and donk into him on the turn. and fold if any draws come home. If he raises you again.makes weak C-bets with whiffed hands. Turn comes a 2..or you can PUNISH them on a 55K board when you've got KK because you KNOW they've got A5... 202 .

punish these donkies. This makes him easy to play against because if he reraises you. Valuable read 13 . but not unbeatable hands. If it's against a multi-tabling tag it's not as reliable as he could be acting on another table. And second you KNOW he's raising so you limp with TT+ and punish him when he does. This read is subject to a villain that is only single-tabling though. sometimes something outside of that normal range can give you a tell.villain ALWAYS raises in the BB if it's a headsup blind battle and the SB completes. slow way down when the draw hits and consider folding. They are thinking that you'll associate their long thought period with weakness. Conversely. Valuable Read 12 . beware. you know your AK is good on an a K hi flop. After enough of these you can start limping and not expect a raise. The other great thing about these guys if that they'll almost always go for a checkraise when they complete their draw. If a villain is capable of bluffing the river with missed draws and things of that nature. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this and it's been the flush. Also beware of the full pot size bet or slight overbet if you checked the turn behind after a draw hit.some villains think their $10 bet into a $50 pot is strong because it's a big bet for $50NL. You must make a PS turn bet... I know I can safely fold and won't try to float because I know he's got a hand. The most common one is the delayed call or bet.Conversely.Does not consider pot size when determining the strength of a bet Some villains associate the size of the bet in relation to the stakes as a strong bet. I found a TAG villain that religously reraises with marginal hands (AJ for example) but NEVER reraises with AA/KK. disappoint them by not letting them get the checkraise in. Marginal but sometimes valuable timing tells Assuming a villain normally acts in a certain period of time. If a villain raised on the flop and then a flush card falls.but if the villain doesn't. because you know you'll get one. etc. screw pot control. I generally insta-fold TP with this read and i'm almost always right. things like that. then calling is 203 . First you know not to complete with hands you want to play OOP to a raise. it's almost a certainty that he hit the flush. For example. Valuable Read 14 . because AA isn't in his reraise range. Valuable read 11 . Not as many will call on the turn. Other Ramblings .Calls pot-size bets on draws on the flop AND turn. Villains typically just don't bet rivers huge without the nuts or near nuts. then either goes for the checkraise when it hits (or donk bets it. This read makes you money in a number of ways.Absent reads I'm typically very reluctant to call large river bets with good. rather than the size of the bet in relation to the pot. The ones that will call large turn bets are truly great buddies for life and worth following around. This almost always signifies a whiffed turn-checkraise that the villain is trying to make up for.. depends on villain) Lots of villains (myself included) will call smallish PSB's on the flop with draws. I've gotten burned by this lately with things like K high flushes facing pushes and losing to the nut flush. This is why it's so critical that you always make your cbets a standard size.Villain reraises light and flatcalls with truly big hands. We as a group typically consider that a weak bet. but in reality it's strength.. and that villain takes an inordinately long period to act after the card hits. if the villain makes a PSB and I have nothing. When you get called by one of these guys on the flop on a draw heavy board.

204 .standard. but I have to have a read to make me do this and it has to be a very good read.

“lead into pfr and bet 3 streets with TPWK”. Practice. At the request of lorez I am discussing hand reading and bet sizing. I will frequently say out loud the hand I think my opponent has.HAND READING / BET SIZING (carnivalhobo) Bet sizing and hand ranges in Small Stakes NL First I’d like to just say how much I’ve learned about poker from this forum and hope to be able to give something back to the group of people and community that has helped me makes money and exercise my brain. make a note. I didn’t write a Pooh-Bah post for several reasons. Similarly these players aren’t going to bluff missed draws as often so if there was a FD on the flop. practice. or making elaborate semi-bluffs. or just in between hands at other tables. PFR This one is pretty clear too. Secondly. This has all been pretty vague. What you can do at the table. and lots of them. When a passive player raises the turn your TPTK is often no good (see: Baluga Theorem). Sometimes you just know when a guy is leading into you with a flopped set and you can make a great fold with an overpair. say lower than 2. I’ve only really been around about 8 months and didn’t play seriously for many of those first months. Whenever you see someone play a hand differently than their PT stats or perception of them as a player would lead you to believe. Work on developing your reads. When you are watching a high stakes game. as I feel they go hand in hand. aren’t often betting out with draws. I am currently playing 200NL with occasional shots at 400. A lot of hand reading is based on what I would call feel. but after gradually spending more time on 2p2 and getting the courage to post here I’ve developed into a poker player (I have the FTP jersey to prove it !). Make notes. and small-medium pocket pairs. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. practice. its not wise to assume that a missed draw is a big part of villain’s range when he pots the river. put people on hands all the time. and is intended as more of a primer for some of the uNL people and maybe some of the limit converts. What basic elements of pt stats should you be looking at when deciding hand ranges for opponents? VPIP This is the most basic. One of the biggest cues I use to read hands online is bet sizing. “bluff raise river with missed draw”. these shouldn’t be included in his hand range later. you have to put faith in your reads. but I’ll try to keep this basic enough for all levels of uNL and up. if your opponent has a vpip under 20 he just isn’t going to have 94 if he limps behind limpers or cold calls a raise. make the call. Some samples: “donkbet with air”. As soon as these decisions start influencing your bankroll you suddenly become much more excited about the proposition of being right about what your opponent has. AF Now this is where it gets more complicated. Most likely he is limping with suited connectors. If you put your opponent on a draw and then he makes a PSB on the river. he isn’t going to have 33 or AT. if a x/6/x player raises from UTG in a 9 handed game. Axs. mostly I am lazy. people with low AF (total post flop). actively attempt to put people on hands. Preflop The small raise from EP: A typical LP player opens in EP for just over the minimum. this creates accountability. This 205 .

and even AK hoping to take it down then. 34s-JTs. AA. suited one gaps. see a flop with a PP these guys cant fold aces ever. I could go on and talk about every type of betting situation and what I think of various betsizes. try a resteal the next time that tag that has a name like BustoYOU tries to steal your blind. Minbets: In general treat these as checks. liberating isn’t it? Flop We are finally here. Now we get more information about our opponent’s hand. No set. at 25nl (I never played 10. If you see someone lead into you with a hand like TPTK or another odd nearly always a monster. For example. then go ahead and re-raise them and you’ll often find yourself winning the pot preflop. I suspect that he will fire a second barrel fairly liberally as his turn AF is 6. Min-raises: This is something I make notes on to narrow a range down. This is precisely why we use the 4xBB +1/limper formula to make preflop raises (a PSR is fine too. and maybe AK. make a good sized raise. If a typical player leads into you on a Q72r flop and you have AQ. at 50nl when most people aren’t yet 3betting without the goods. In general this means a weak made hand or a draw. 3 bets: The lower the level the tighter our opponents are here. Use this to your advantage and see a flop too if your hand is reasonable. and I feel like he can fold due to his low WtSD. As you move up. no bet is the way to go here. control the pot and just call. they aren’t going anywhere. These are “pot sweeteners” just juicing up the size of the pot with a hand they want to play. The turn is a total blank and he fires again. a good range for minraises preflop is 22-99. but be weary and don’t put more bets in postflop “just to make sure”. start 3betting with a wider range yourself. but I’d rather look at some examples of where hand reading comes into play. I decide to call with AQ preflop because I have position and I also suspect that he is raising limpers from LP with a wide range. in some cases significantly. especially as you get to . some will pull this maneuver with KK. or build a big pot so they don’t have to worry about folding. I’ll deal with mainly raised pots in which we are the aggressor. with a 15% WtSD (sample size is 300 hands). If the flop is QsTs8o then consider raising to price out a draw. He had been playing solid aggressive poker. so stack them with every set. and then it kind of breaks down based on individuals. or let a blank roll off and bomb the turn. then make a note. yes 24 aggression. Now here is where the hand reading comes into play. if not a bit small. Would he fire again 206 . the average player’s range widens to something like TT+ AQ+ at some of the more aggressive 200nl 6max games. a simply pfr size helps us narrow down our opponents hand range. but as far as I can tell. If you hold an overpair and a TAG leads into you on a dry flop. if you were planning to check behind. As you move up. so I don’t feel comfortable making generalizations) most villains aren’t 3betting without QQ+. Use the 5/10 rule judiciously. At the uNL levels. and don’t try to 3bet these guys light. something like QQ or JJ where the villain doesn’t want to play postflop. If the flop is draw heavy you can either raise.5/1 and 1/2). Donkbets: This is when a guy calls your pfr OOP and the leads into you on the flop. The more taggy your opponent the more often they will be leading sets and big draws they want to b/3bai with. call and re-evaluate the turn. The 8xbb+raise: This is a scared monster. you should be more aggressive than the average player preflop. then just call. If you were going to make a cbet. On the flop I have 2 overs and a gutshot to the nuts. or if it’s a good hand. Our raises: As you can see. cbet I decide to call with position looking to bluff the turn or make the best hand. as this is the most common spot for a 2p2 TAG to be in. These hands tend to be even weaker than those by people who make larger donkbets including small PPs and naked draws. Use this to your advantage. The villain in the following hand is 16/8/24. some community cards to work with. I think in shorthanded games especially. A2s-A9s. He makes a standard.

over the 100 hands I played at this table I had been quite tight. Hero raises to $7. UTG+1 calls. With this type of image I think his calling range is on the order of JT. Turn: 5 ($106. My image is similar at 22/18/3. TT. on to the hand: I put his preflop range at AT+. KJ+. and some sc’s. I played this hand with him earlier which indicates his range preflop is widened as well as some hint to what his flop check means. Hero calls. Villain is a typical aggTag and plays about 23/20/3. Because of the previous hand. 22+. JJ. I start to discount the chance of him having a set or AK here. 2 players) BB checks. Flop: 3 T J ($50. sometimes QQ+. although it’s certainly a 207 . Against this range I am still drawing live.5/2 with a WtSD of only 5. 2 players) BB checks. Also I suspect he is capable of making a laydown and so a hand like AA will often get mucked if I push. he would likely go for a c/r. 2 players) BB bets $30. playing 16/7. Flop: J 5 7 ($43. but he checks. I would have likely folded to a cbet on this board. Hero calls. with lots of light preflop raising. Results: Final pot: $103 He had K Q and MHIG Now. 2 players) CO bets $75. AT+ KQ. Hero calls. Hero checks. 2 players) CO bets $28. Full Tilt Poker No Limit Holdem Ring game Blinds: $1/$2 Hero: $248 BB: $1070. Hero raises all-in $372 This next hand took place in an aggressive shorthanded game. 3 folds. JT. but most importantly. BB raises to $21. Hero checks. Full Tilt Poker No Limit Holdem Ring game Blinds: $2/$4 Stack sizes: CO: $473 Hero: $420 Pre-flop: (9 players) Hero is Button with Q A UTG folds. Turn: 5 ($43. the portion of his range with which he bets (something like 88+. The reason I can assume this is my image. and some other random aces) I have a lot of FE against. CO raises to $20. QJ.8%. 3 folds. 3 folds. Hero with a huge hand like 3 Jacks? Unlikely. River: 9 ($103. I can’t stand a check raise and would likely check here with most hands (especially a set).25 Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG+1 with 4 4 UTG folds.

90 BB: $835. I decide to make a move on a decent turn card and check behind. He calls and I start to wonder what his hand is. this sets me up for a potsized river push which is the betsizing id use with the nuts or a set here. I go with my plan and make it 122 to go.40 Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG+1 with Q J UTG calls. Hopefully it was helpful. Hero checks. Hero raises to $9. The only hand of those I can see looking me up is AA. 3 folds. BB calls. The turn is another low blank and he makes a bet. 2 players) BB bets $40. After he checks I immediately remove a set from his range. could he actually have AK? He checks it to me on a fairly blank river card. UTG folds. Of this range I think they all fold to a river bet. Hero bets $220 This is getting to be longer than a Pokey post. 208 . Hero calls. and I cant win by checking. AA. BB raises to $27. 2 players) BB checks. Now. AK. Full Tilt Poker No Limit Holdem Ring game Blinds: $1/$2 Stack sizes: Hero: $475. he would never play it that slow (he plays big hands fast like most 2p2 style tags). Turn: 3 ($57. 2 players) BB checks. which means about 3 people are actually going to read it. River: T ($301.possibility. Hero raises to $122. QQ. Flop: 4 2 K ($57. and I think 220 and a push are the same when it comes to folding out other hands. How much would I bet here with a set? I make a roughly 2/3 pot bet and this way I save some money when he has played a big hand sneakily. I think his range is something like JJ. a betsize.

remember to use the relevant range: a player who is 65/10 is looser than the 50% range when he limps but has a rather tight range if he actually raises. A2s+.3%. Any two connectors: 32s-AKs. Total probability: 10. "Maximum suited connectors": JTs-54s. Also realize that some players who are loose and passive will raise with SECOND-best hands like 88- 209 . have deadly-accurate hand reading skills. including pairs. any two broadway." 10% = "pairs 66+.sorry. AK. Total probability: 2.9%. there is no "magic formula" for hand reading. KTo+. Unfortunately. Total probability: 3. AK. suited connectors 54+. any suited broadway. Some of the best poker players in the world ignore many (or all!) of those other "rules" in poker. 32o-AKo. and make mountains of cash for their troubles. AK. After some thought I came up with these Five Commandments of Hand Reading (I had ten. any suited king. Any pocket pair: AA-22. Any suited ace: A2s-AKs. Total probability: 14. but are you really aware of what "30% of all hands dealt" actually looks like? Here are some probabilities of getting a hand in a particular preflop range: Super-premiums: AA. any suited connectors 54s+. any suited connectors 54s+. So you know that your opponent who just limped has a VPIP of 30%. Know thy numbers. Total probability: 14. the basics are describable. QQ. here are some potential example ranges: 5% = "pairs 77+. KQ. AK. any two suited cards. any ace. any suited ace" 25% = "any pair. AA. any ace. KQs. Total probability: 23.6%. AK. any two broadway. any suited broadway. AQ. the first thing you do is you put your opponent on a hand. any ace. any broadway" 40% = "any pair. AQ. Total probability: 14. any king. AQ.AN UNBELIEVABLY LONG GUIDE TO HAND READING (Pokey) So you've got bottom set on a three-flush board and your opponent just check-raised you all-in. Total probability: 5. both T+. However. any suited ace" 20% = "any pair.9%. Other players are exquisitely good at all the fundamentals but stink at hand reading and therefore struggle to consistently beat $50NL. AK. Any two suited: literally. any suited king. Premiums: AA-TT. suited aces. To give you a VERY broad feel for what different percentages translate into. Any two broadway: Two cards.9%. AQs" or "pairs 99+.1%. Any ace: A2o+. any ace. Total probability: 2. 1. AQ. What do you do? Well. after all. KK. while there is a great deal of artistry in hand reading. blame the mod) to get you started. any suited connectors 32s+" 50% = "any pair. what does 30% really MEAN? We know it's loose. Unsuited ace: A2o-AKo.5%. but one of the tablets broke when EMC dropped it -. K5o+" Again. QJo" or "any pair.6%.9%. any two broadway. any ace. KQ.5%. KQo" 30% = "any pair. Hand reading is simultaneously the most important and the most difficult thing that a poker player does. your opponents work very hard to AVOID letting you know the cards in their hands. Total probability: 5. QJs" 15% = "any pair.

there's no flop that definitely missed your enemy. our sample range for this looked something like "any pair. and low aggression -. any two broadway. Together. When we're trying to decide a player's preflop holding. A likely range here is going to be the difference between the two ranges. but NOT the ultra-premiums like QQ+. an aggressive preflop player will have a PFR over half of their VPIP. you discount QQ when a maniac limps. we should use their VPIP and their PFR to come to a conclusion." But we can already refine this range some more: we know that with 20% of those hands. When that same play comes from someone with a postflop aggression of 0. any king. K9o or worse." That's a much easier range to play against. Alternatively. Postflop aggression numbers also reveal much about a player. any two broadway. His mistake is playing too many hands -. Watch these folks at showdown to try and figure out how they play their really big hands. Know thy enemy.JJ. and average aggression) tell us much about a player. and AQ -." So take THOSE hands out of his current range: just like you discount 72o when a nit is in the hand. tight players play tight. any suited ace. The ultramaniac who check/calls two streets also has a monster. Beware of these folks postflop. Be prepared to play with caution when you don't have a monster. and here he didn't. Aggressive players play aggressively and passive players play passively. you gain no information from the check -. K9s or worse. T9s or worse.3. the HUD trinity (VPIP. expect to be ahead and bet consistently with your made hands. Be sure to watch this 210 . any suited connectors 32s+. Say a player has a VPIP of 40% and a PFR of 20% and they limp in front of you. These folks won't enter into a hand unless they've got something worth pursuing. and 54s-JTs. it is aggressive for a player who has a VPIP of 15%. suspect a trap: this is very often a strong hand that's going for a check-raise. especially at uNL stakes. These guys have crap preflop. When you get that same preflop bet and flop check from a player whose average aggression is 1. When a player with an average aggression of 8 raises preflop and then checks to you. Be VERY afraid when a player is playing out of character: the passive postflop player who leads and raises almost always has a monster. and any hand you're willing to play is beating their range. All of this leads us to our second commandment: 2. Alternatively. AK. villain would have raised. They aren't really making a major mistake preflop.exploit this mistake by hammering him preflop while you're way ahead. Preflop aggresssion: a passive preflop player has a PFR under a quarter of their VPIP. however -. A leopard never changes its spots. AJ.and then adjust accordingly. That means that this is a floating scale: while 10% PFR is passive for a player who has a VPIP of 55%. any ace.those they will slowplay to disguise their hands.checking is just what this player does. and the only way you can really take advantage of this characteristic is by stealing their blinds remorselessly (though you'll have to instafold if they catch you stealing and you don't have an honest hand).4. and is waiting to beat your brains out. PFR. but keep the bets small and try for pot control. What sort of holdings do you expect them to have? Well. that's more likely to be a player who missed and is giving up. but you get the general idea). and you can fold without a worry. or "any unsuited ace. our sample range for that looks something like "any pair.high aggression. rather. If we assume that villain raises with his top 20%. raise light and raise strong preflop while your hand dominates your opponent's range. On the other hand. medium aggression. Mentally split players into three groups -. Don't fall for it. KQ. a tight preflop player has a VPIP under 20%. Loose players play loose. Categorize your opponents on three separate measures: Preflop looseness: a loose preflop player has a VPIP over 40% (I made up the number. we know the player is willing to play with 40% of his hands. That's not to say you should be check-calling.

Another very common player is the TA/LA: always aggressive and solidly tight preflop. beware 211 . Don't mistake his typical preflop looseness with a wide range when he raises... let's start with the flop. my TP3K dominates his range. or "float" (smooth-call on the flop with the intent of taking the pot on the turn) with either a pure bluff or a semi-bluff (draw) on these types of boards. relying on folding equity and a better starting hand range to win money. Then they call his raise and are shocked when they find out at showdown that he had rockets.opponent's showdown hands. they're out of the hand. and try to quickly figure out BOTH of these styles. but when they hit it will be with something sneaky-as-hell and solid-solid-solid. So the rule is: postflop is a new game. escaping for 1 BB. or that an aggressive preflop player is aggressive postflop. If you have a tricky opponent who raises his middle 20% and limps the top 10% and bottom 10%. he has roughly the same hand range as when you're raised by a 12/5. but increasingly common at higher levels (and deadly-dangerous when they do it right) is the LP/TA: this player is a total calling station idiot'd really like to know if your assumption about him raising the top 20% of his range is correct or not. tight-aggressive postflop) and LP/LP (calling station pre and post) is only one form of opponent.. check-raise. this idiot is 72/7. "two-suited" (two of one suit and one of another).ANYTHING -. expect people to play a different style postflop from preflop. Less common at uNL. Remember. any damn thing." They stack more TAGs than you and I could ever hope to. betting incredibly hard and relying on unobservant TAGs to call them down lighter because "hey. a new game begins. You'll often see preflop numbers of 75/11 or 68/6 for these folks. once we're on the flop and beyond we need to use average aggression and postflop tightness to decide what a player's holdings are. who goes from nit preflop to aggro-monkey postflop. refining our original range based on their preflop play. however -. However. Postflop aggression: after the flop. and then postflop they play POKER. and none are terribly uncommon. If you are first to act.. the bigger the hand most opponents will need to call.that he's willing to play preflop he cannot bring himself to let it go. or "monochrome" (all three cards in the same suit). if you are raised preflop by a 65/5. Flops have different "textures. but if they hit the hand they're going to hammer every street and try to get all-in by the showdown. but if a loose and passive player is check-calling you can expect him to have . depending on your holdings and your opponent's range. if you are called. They'll be folding a tremendous fraction of the time on the flop. different people respond in different ways to different board textures. They then go into aggro mode. note that many hyperaggressive opponents will be more likely to bet out. you can often steal these pots for a reasonably small (2/3rds-pot) bet. This leads us to the third commandment: 3. if a loose and aggressive player is check-calling you can expect him to have the near-nuts. The more "suited" a flop is. Now. Another common player is the TP/TA. More importantly. He turns into a maniac postflop. Suitedness: flops can come "rainbow" (three different suits). Know thy board. These folks are splashing around in as many pots as they can as cheaply as they can. This can only be discovered by observation. The true TA/TA (tight-aggressive preflop. well. On a draw-heavy board." and those textures can be much more or much less scary. because their image gets them mad phat postflop action. If they miss. Don't fall for it! It's a ruse. People often make the mistake of assuming that a tight preflop player is tight postflop. your range will be significantly wrong. this opponent plays hands so infrequently that when he finds something -. and you'll be in a good deal of trouble with your hand reading. What affects the texture of a board? Well. I will tell you that every combination of preflop and postflop playstyles is possible.. One huge word of warning: people often look at a player's VPIP and conclude that the player is a loose idiot.

Pressing back hard should win you this pot quite often WITHOUT getting to a showdown. you've outgrown calling raises with KJo and A9o (you HAVE outgrown that. If one other player has an ace. Worse yet. No. A straight draw can become an almost unbeatable monster. Two pair is already there. too. the flop comes 7-6-5. and when those aces hit the board your opponents will hang on to their aces like they were made out of solid gold. so the odds that this flop has completely missed your opponent are higher than usual. but they will play aggressively with two pair. A monochrome flop of J-T-9 is MUCH more dangerous than a monochrome flop of J-7-2. the raise makes overcards much more likely than usual. because your weak-but-made hand is often drawing very thin against it. a pair of aces with a J-or-worse kicker is going to be in oodles of trouble unless that kicker connects. you need to beware of two separate possibilities: your opponent might have two pair and your opponent might have an open-ended straight draw. A flop raise or a flop float can prove extremely valuable to you. Then you'll proceed based on the strength of your hand in relation to the range you think is likely for your opponent. Besides.the ones that have made two pair. the player holding JTs just stacked the preflop raiser holding AK. he'll be more likely to pay off a bet on a monochrome flop than he will to pay off a bet when the turn has FOUR spades (assuming he doesn't have one). Playing these easily-dominated hands will prove very expensive for your inattentive opponents. Much like a suited board.that's virtually worthless since it's highly unlikely to happen and also highly unlikely to get paid in any significant way by your opponent while still being the best hand. Heads-up. two pair is the scarier event. If an ace hits the board in a multi-way pot and I don't have AT LEAST AQ. Think about this: say you have AJ on an ace-high board. but realize this general rule: a flop that is high-card heavy is much more likely to have connected with your opposition than a flop that is high-card light. you need to decide if they're likely drawing or if instead they've flopped some powerhouse hand. Often. Your more aggressive opponents will bet BOTH hands strongly.6 times higher than the odds that he flopped the monster. many players will play very passively with a draw. When the board is connected. if your board has three spades and you have one in your hand. The next highest board card is a T. right?) but they haven't. Incidentally. At small stakes games.they're a gold-mine to the savvy poker player because so many people miss them. AK and AQ obviously have you outkicked. TPTK) DO NOT PANIC AND START CALLING! Bet out and protect against the draw that is 4.75 times more likely than the made flush that has you killed. there are four OTHER aces that beat you -. This is a REALLY good flop for attack aggressively: considering your opponent's stats.3% and the odds that he flopped a flush DRAW are 15.8%. so the odds that your opponent is drawing to a flush are now 5. Bet while your hand is best and charge him well to try and outdraw you. Opponents love nothing more than playing aces. but it has to GET there first. what are the odds that his hand beats yours? Well. I'm usually done with the hand. However. Always be aware of straight draws -. I'm saying that this flop is a good one for you because it is unlikely to have improved your opponent in any meaningful way. a connected board can often be used as a powerful bluffing or semibluffing tool. the odds that your opponent has two spades drops to 2. Say your 30/11/3 opponent raises preflop from MP and you call in position with 33.6% and the odds that he has one spade drops to 14.of the flush draw! One small bit of math: let's say that the flop comes with three spades and you have none in your hand. If you've hit a solid hand (say. 212 . When someone plays back at you on a fairly connected board. In this analysis I'm completely ignoring your inside straight draw -. if your opponent actually has a second-best hand.4%. and the unlikely AA has you decimated. High Card Value: your opponents love playing high cards. When the flop comes A-K-Q. The odds that your single opponent flopped a made flush are 3. Sure. Bet and protect! Connectedness: here we're talking about how many cards to a straight the board has. check/calling in the hopes of improving.

Someone willing to play KJo preflop is virtually never going to fold that hand on a J-high flop. However. Why? Because with an unpaired board there are nine separate cards in the unseen deck that could give an opponent a pair. This is a fantastic chance to steal the pot. high card value. Recognize that the odds that your opponent has missed the board are highest on lowcard boards. a paired board is a cause for celebration. Worse yet. most opponents will get the message and fold their aces with weak kickers. to start to put this all together. but a loose opponent may continue with as little as top pair. Statistically speaking. However. check/raise turn. let's move on to the next rule: 4. a "combination draw" (straight and flush). As a general rule. and much lower when the board has high cards." Your aggressive targets will fire off a continuation bet quite often. so if you happen to be in a pot that someone else raised. because the looser opponents will play many kings. realize that most aggressive players know this. Q's and J's are less scary as a player's high card. the flop comes paired and you've got a sneaky monster. but if you bet the flop they will assume you DO have one. with a PAIRED board. One major exception to this rule: if you RAISED preflop. An aggressive opponent can bet "wet" boards with a draw. The odds are that if you somehow create a big pot. don't give up when the flop comes with a high card. On the turn and river. especially if that high card is an ace. and fold even more often than he would fold to a typical continuation bet. suitedness.That means you're behind about as often as you're ahead in this situation. In short. but keep your eyes peeled for such opportunities. A standard continuation bet will win the pot a surprisingly large fraction of the time. or a pair+draw. You should use this against them if it is reasonable for you to do so. and will define the "texture" of the board. because your opponent is not going to believe that you have the goods. Know thy hand history. and you can then "snap off a bluff" and win a bigger pot than you otherwise would. if you limped preflop and the board is AAK. fold and move on to the next hand. similar issues with connectedness. assume you have a pocket pair. that number falls to only FIVE cards. but VERY dangerous as a player's LOW card. if you raised preflop and the board comes 884 a bet in a heads-up pot is virtually MANDATORY: your opponent will realize he's missed. a tight opponent will continue on "wet" (highly coordinated) boards when he has a strong hand or a strong draw. Paired Boards: usually. consider a slowplay like a flop checkraise or even a "check/call flop. proceed with great caution on ace-high boards. it's now almost 50% less likely that an opponent has made a hand good enough to want to continue. this will be opponent-specific. In other words.these folks rarely bet their draws. Here we're discussing how this particular hand has played out: who bet when and how 213 . Obviously. and may even bet these boards on a pure bluff. This is especially true if the board has more than ONE high card. especially suited ones. too. Now. King high boards are pretty dangerous. Paired boards are perfect for continuing preflop aggression. virtually any opponent you could face has a less-than-50% chance of having an ace in this situation. Also. but they're unlikely to fold any hand that beats you. Mind you. and board pairs will continue to pertain. A passive opponent betting into a "wet" board usually has the goods -. you're even MORE likely to be behind. If they play back. you can usually checkfold. and that's even assuming that your opponent "only" has an ace! You throw in the other random two-pair and set hands and your hand will win at showdown less than half the time. even if you have an ace.

very aggressive players love to donkbet on scare cards. Similarly. Of course. or he is bluffing in a situation where he thinks he can scare you off your hand. Another common situation is that a player flops a decent hand -. What does this mean? Well.and then slows way down when the turn brings a K. I believe this event is much rarer than most people think. I would say that until an opponent has an aggression factor of at least 2 you shouldn't worry much about a check-raise semi-bluff. as different people will have different patterns. how strong his hand is remains to be seen. a donkbet should be interpreted as saying "that card helped me. they just precede more check-calls.say top pair on a T-high board -. this will often be a good opportunity to bet with any two cards. the more straightforward this interpretation is. the more likely a check-raise is a bluff." Against a tight and moderately aggressive player this often means "I'm on a draw." The more passive your opponent. Against a medium-aggressive opponent. That does not necessarily mean they are ready to fold. Don't expect that this means he has the nuts: I've seen passive players wake up and bet the fourth heart.because it gave them two pair. People are very quick to put a player on a bluff when he check-raises. people will often take a checkraise line against a frequent c-bettor. Most players are straightforward enough that this will be the case." Check-calls: this play is highly player-specific. even with hands like "bottom pair. some players will go from betting/raising to check/calling all the way to showdown. 214 . and until he has an aggression factor of at least 4 you shouldn't worry much about a check-raise bluff. one obvious interpretation is that he has been bluffing and has now given up on the hand. Be aware of this. Another general rule is that the more aggressive a player is. but the card has improved him. or a pairing of the board.. Donkbets: a "donkbet" is when someone who does NOT have the betting lead makes an unexpected bet. trust check-raises from passive players. A few general issues: Check-raises: when an opponent check-raises. and many aggressive players will take advantage of a turn ace or a third/fourth club. Against a passive calling station this means "I have two cards. People often ask "can I ever escape from pocket aces?" This would be one situation where escaping would be easy." Check-calls are precursors to check-raises on later streets from very aggressive players. that would be a donkbet. As a general rule. or the last card just helped your opponent in some way. On the other hand. if a player calls your flop bet but then leads on the turn. Unexpected checks: a player who has been betting steadily in the hand suddenly starts to check. For instance. or a board pair to try and steal the pot." but a check-raise on a later street usually means "I can beat YOU. So: a check-raise on the flop usually means "I can beat ace-high.much? Start looking for betting patterns. One caveat to this: check-raises on the flop are far more likely to be bluffs or weak hands than check-raises on ANY other street. They are worried about the overpair. At these stages. When a passive player comes alive on a third straight card. What's more. If you don't have a sneaky MONSTER (and I mean MONSTER with a capital *everything*) you should be folding to this raise. and so have stopped betting. no kicker" because they know that their opponent will frequently have pure air. if a player called your preflop raise but then leads into you on the flop." Against a highly aggressive player this often means "I have a monster and I'm going to let you bet yourself to death. from very passive players. This is a cheaper bluff than a check-raise but it works just as often at these levels. you should expect that the card has helped his hand out and he is now value-betting. he was confident enough to risk your checking behind in his quest to get more money in the pot.. he is sending the message that his hand is unusually powerful. I like pie. or a fourth flush card. On the flop. that would also be a donkbet. or some odd-looking random card. Look! Spades are pretty. since your folding equity will be through-the-roof. He knows you are betting and he doesn't care. Completely. These types of bets will usually mean one of three things: either your opponent was monsterously strong and slowplayed an earlier street.

these players have taken the "strong = weak. For some of you." where the opponent has check/called the whole way. ESPECIALLY if he check/calls a scare card. against other opponents it will be -EV with anything short of a powerhouse. and they are now attacking in a last-ditch effort to scoop up the pot. Be aware of this. when an aggressive player stops being aggressive. Bet-check-bet: a strange-looking but rather common three-street line is "bet the flop. They doubt you. How do we start to figure out our image? Only worry about image with second-level thinkers. Against some opponents. "what is my opponent's hand?" Third-level thinking is asking. Again. You won all five hands before showdown. most opponents will at least make some token effort to guess your hand. it will not matter at all." The hand has no showdown value so the villain bets in the hopes that you will fold the best hand. if each of those five went to showdown and you displayed to the table your powerhouse winners. Another common reasoning behind this line is that the flop bet was with nothing. bet the river. In the last five straight hands you've had AA. and will often bet with little or nothing but immediately slowplay the moment they get a hand. KQ (flopped trips). this is your first segue into third-level thinking. When you have a complete idiot who never looks past his own hand while playing the game. this river bet is often what we call a "desperation bluff.this is the time to play squeaky-clean poker as tight as you know how. Since you've shown little or no strength the whole hand through. Alternatively. It all depends on how attentive your particular opponent is. weak = strong" philosophy to heart. and you never show your hands without being forced to do so. Very few of your opponents 215 . you need to be aware of what the board looked like. Beware of the hyperaggressive opponent who unexpectedly checks. "what is my hand?" Second-level thinking is asking. they feel they have strong folding equity (which is true). your folding equity will be HIGHER than usual. None of that matters. Against an aggressive opponent. Against others. Recent history matters more than ancient history. Yes. and they're very quickly going to get sick of your crap and start looking you up. First-level thinking is asking. JT (flopped straight). the turn gave the opponent a'll just be wasting your time and effort. Of course. you had the goods. because people will begin to believe that you don't get involved with a hand unless you've got the goods. watch your opponents and take notes on what their lines mean. All your opponents have seen is you betting and raising every hand. If an obvious draw arrived on the end. This is NOT the time to get cute with QJs or 33 -. However. "what does my opponent think my hand is?" Obviously third-level thinking is irrelevant against a first-level thinker. Our fifth and final commandment ties in to everything we've already discussed: 5. Know thy image. Recognize that your table image is now absolute CRAP. Your cards only affect your image when you SHOW them. so against your better opponents understanding your image will be important. QQ.However. your starting hand selection is tight. Sure. and the river either made the draw or missed. your hands were actually powerhouses. don't worry about image -. However. this will be the very most important commandment. Watch your opponents carefully to see if the turn check usually means they are giving up or if it usually means they are trapping you. check behind on the turn. that's usually a sign that your situation is not as dire as you thought it was. For some reason. "Image" is how the other players at the table perceive YOU. Calling against some opponents will be extremely +EV even with bottom pair. and 55 (flopped set). you would really need to know more about your opponent before you knew if this was a bluff or not.

or bet 1/2 pot. don't do what you did the last time he saw you with the nuts. Most people have a relatively short memory. tighten up and fold for the next two orbits -. bet a DIFFERENT amount -. Your folding equity on a steal will be particularly low against HIM. If you stole a player's big blind three times in the last four orbits. he's going to know that. People will remember these things. or do something that short period of time you will rebuild most or all of your table image and you can then go back to doing your nasty deeds. As a result. then the next time you are in a pot against that opponent and the river comes with a three-flush (not yours). When you want a call. people will think of you as a maniac. but he WILL remember that you bluffed HIM off his hand once an hour and a half ago. if the flush card DID help you. If you bet 3/4ths pot on a river scare card with the nut flush. 216 . Alternatively. A player may not remember that you bluffed Seat 3 off his hand five times in a row. Personal history matters more than table history. People have much longer memories for hands that involved them personally.actually have Poker Tracker. Conversely. but won't be low at all against the other players at the table.push all your chips in. so remember how your last two orbits looked at the table. and he's going to play back at you with any reasonably strong hand. It's the recent history that counts. their image of you will be determined by their own personal observations. When you want a fold. bet 3/4ths pot! Your folding equity will be tremendous. Opponents will usually assume that your lines always mean the same thing. and play back at you with all sorts of crap. If your table image has fallen apart and your bluffs have gotten picked off several times in a row. if you've been at the table for three hours playing a 12/8 game but you've gotten involved in 10 of the last 12 hands. so concentrate most on your actions in the last two orbits. do exactly what you did the last time he saw you with the nuts.

It’s really about playing the opponent you’re up against. 2. We’ll discuss how your reads translate into making the best play in order to maximize the value of your hand and minimize your losses. 3. you can apply this information to sometimes win when you don’t have the best hand. it will help you in understanding how to play against a similar player in the future. Hope you enjoy. Playing good poker is more than just playing your cards and perhaps your opponent’s cards. and when you do this in live play people know that you are aware of that hand and how it was played. When you see someone play 95o from 217 . The reads you make influence the action you should take on your hand. since the others have had such popular responses. We’re going to begin by outlining some of the general things you should look for while playing poker. In some cases this information can also be used to get away from a good but obvious second-best hand. you can win a lot more pots if you pay attention to how your opponent plays the game. Most sites offer an area where you can click on an opponent’s name and type in some notes about that player. In online play. so I thought I'd share another with you. it will inevitably be more profitable to take as many notes as possible for the following reasons: 1. Even if you never play against that particular opponent again. Each type of play will have an abbreviation that you can use which will help if you are multi-tabling and only have a couple of seconds to jot in a note. You can expand these and/or type in the entire meaning of the play when you actually make your own notes during play. don't be shy. push a marginal hand. or make a bold bluff that you wouldn’t normally make against most opponents.Taking Notes & Making Reads Article (I) (FreakDaddy) I haven't posted any articles on here since my Continuation Bet article quite some time ago. It’s best to view taking notes on your opponents as the “work” aspect of playing profitable poker. While it’s possible to play profitable poker without taking notes. As always. you’ll have more information available that can help you make the best decision possible. In this three-part article we’ll focus on what kind of notes to take on your opponents and how to apply these notes in order to make good reads on your opponents. When you pay attention by taking good notes. This always provides a lot of insight into how he thinks about the game. Types of Notes to Take One of the biggest advantages of playing online for the good poker player is the amount of data and notes you can take on an opponent seemingly instantly. List of Abbreviations (Brief Overview) ATC (Play any two cards) – Whenever a hand goes to showdown it’s always good to note what hands your opponent was playing and from where. It will help you in getting an overall read on how your opponent is playing. no one knows if you’re watching TV or intently watching every hand and making pages of notes. When a similar situation or hand arises. What that means is that while the cards are important. if you have any comments or suggestions. It’s not quite as easy to do in live play.

or a hand like A9 out of position to a raise. for example. This just adds more insight for you as to how your opponent understands the game. However. It’s also good to note if they call raises with these hands too. it will be very helpful with your flop play. or J6s from middle position. CRW (Calls raises with weak hands) – This opponent will call large raises. when you see someone do this. Anytime you see someone limp re-raise with KK or AA from EP make a note and know that it’s unlikely he is making a play if he comes back over the top of your raise. LAF (Will lead into pre-flop raiser and fold to a raise) – Some opponents will call raises out of position with the intention of betting the flop to steal the pot. and some do it habitually. If you get a chance to make the distinction between the two. Ax (Will play any ace from anywhere) – A lot of opponents fall in love with the Ace. but they’re still calling large bets. but he folds to a small river bet. with QT out of position. SOOT (Likes to play any two suited cards) – This is similar to FC except there are some players who also like to play any two suited cards from nearly anywhere.middle position. Also. but folds a large percentage of the time 218 . and you can also get away from your pocket kings if this opponent is sticking around on an ace high flop because he’s not folding his weak ace. When see opponents play K4s from early position. Opponents who raise a hand like KQ from late position are good to know. NPR (Will raise a non-premium hand) – Some opponents will raise a non-premium hand from anywhere. you’ll want to note this. It’s also important to note whether he CHECKED his flush on the end or bet it. because you definitely need to see a few showdowns to confirm this for sure. then you’ll want to make some generous raises on the flop when you have a hand. This is very good to know if you’re holding a marginal hand and your opponent is still firing. LA (Look-up artist) . then you have an Ax player. If you see someone playing A3 from early position or A8 to a raise.This is a very profitable opponent to play against. When you see someone calling large flop and turn bets with an obvious flush draw. He could also call a large raise with A4o or even a more speculative hand like J8o. the more solid your read will be. The range which they take this to the extreme will let you know how loose and aggressive they are. and some will do it with air. LRR (Will limp re-raise big hands) – Some opponents limp re-raise every once in awhile. you can label him as ATC. but not as loose and aggressive as someone who raises Q9s from middle position. We love to play against these types of opponents. will bet the turn unimproved. Some opponents will do this with small pocket pairs. if you see an opponent calling large bets and then connecting with his flush. This read will be a bit harder to make. AK (Will bet turned unimproved) – Nearly everyone will bet the flop with any two cards if they raised before the flop. He will typically call nearly any flop bet you make but will fold to further aggression. however. FC (Flush Chaser) – A lot of opponents love to chase flushes. you can be pretty sure he was chasing his flush. and sometimes when you don’t have a hand. or perhaps even a re-raise with KJ or some other dominated hands. This is good to know if there’s a flush draw on board and you have a marginal hand. Some people will call large raises with Q8s thinking that they will bust you if they hit their flush. He tends to like to see how you’ll react after he calls your first bet. Not everyone. you can be pretty sure they’re a suited player. The more you see this from him.

thinking you’re bluffing (even though you have a better kicker than they do). Some will be ATC’s that have some concept of hand strength who think they are good LAG players but really they aren’t. When you are playing against an ATC 1. and that reason is usually because they believe they can bluff you out of the pot. You do. but you need to be aware that if you miss the flop.5/1 NL and above at 6 max. You really don’t need to slowplay against these opponents. because they’ll be involved in a lot of pots. this player tends to be more on the aggressive side. For these reasons you’ll typically run into a lot of people that are of the former two types of ATC’s described. but they also show up in full ring games. Typically. and they may also call you down with any piece of it. however. So you don’t normally want to bluff players in this category unless you see them folding a lot to a second bet (or third). expand them a bit more. These opponents can be more dangerous. Applying your abbreviated reads to situations Now that we have an idea of some of the things to look for. and they’ll usually be fairly aggressive. because they tend to not believe people betting into them. but a lot of times they will still go too far with a top pair hand. make sure you know what type of ATC you are facing. You want to bet into them when you have a strong hand and hope they don’t believe you and make a move in the wrong spot. or bust you with their unusual T4o hand. The commonality to which you see all of these variations will depend on the stakes you are playing. because they know how to read situations well and win a lot of hands even when they have the worst hand. a second bet. If they have some kind of hand strength. You should like playing with them. when taking notes. then they are getting involved in a lot of pots for a reason. He is usually in a lot of pots because he is 219 . Make the appropriate additional note. or why to play certain hands in some situations and not others. ATC 1 (No grasp of hand strength) – The first group of players who play any two cards really has no solid grasp of hand strength. They can also read well when they have a good second-best hand and minimize their losses. These players will be very visible. want to value bet your made hands against them as they will nearly always pay off with weaker hands or dominated hands. We’re going to take the above abbreviated notes. Playing this style requires excellent hand reading and making a lot of difficult decisions. When you are against ATC 2. These players are commonly called “fish” because they’ll put in too much money with weak hands and pay off against dominated hands. These players will play any two cards. and show how they’ll apply in actual hands. ATC 2 (Some grasp of hand strength) – You’ll see a lot of these players primarily in short-handed games. you will sometimes see them at . ATC 3 (Good grasp of hand strength) – These opponents are almost non-existent at small stakes. but they generally won’t invest too much into the pot unless they have a good hand after the flop. they may have hit it. They’ll commonly call raises with a hand such as K6o on the button (note: this is different than CRW – see above) with the intention of either bluffing you out of the pot or nailing a big hand hoping to bust you with your large pocket pair. you will only see ATC 1 & 2 at small and mid stakes. These players will play nearly any two cards. and you need to be aware of the differences between these players. Make your bets big and strong against these opponents. This player can legitimately be called a solid LAG (loose-aggressive) player. position. you know this opponent is just basically “fishy” (bad player). ATC (Any two Cards) Players who literally play any two cards are divided into three types of players. let’s look at how to use this information in a real money game.

A half-size pot bet will invite a possible raise-which is what you want. We know. and you notice that you put down that your opponent was an ATC 2. There’s something about looking down at J8s that looks so much better than J8o to a lot of opponents at small and mid stakes. Give your aggressive opponent a little room to hang himself.impatient and is an “action junkie”. but our opponents don’t seem to 220 . You don’t however.Tc and you make a ¾ size pot bet with your nut flush draw and two overcards. Just continue to bet into this type of opponent. The flop comes: 7c. It was folded to you and you raised 5x the BB from MP1 with AcQc. The action folded to the button who called the raise and the blinds folded. It’s very likely that he may try to represent the flush by raising your bet. If you happen to be unlucky enough to see an ATC 3. You don’t have any other notes beyond that. however. just try to stay out of pots with them unless you have a good hand until you’ve developed your post-flop skill to a high level. Do you slow down? No! You should continue to bet this hand aggressively against this type of opponent. giving you the second nuts.3d. that the suited cards only out perform their off-suit counterpart by 2% (if all the money went in). Your opponent then mini-raises you on the flop. and you call the raise. FC (Flush Chaser) A lot of No-limit Texas Holdem players just love to make flushes. The turn comes the 6c. You look at your notes. EX1 In the above example. you and your opponent both started the hand with 100BB. but don’t get fancy and check. and you’ve only played eight rotations with this opponent. want to bet too aggressively in this particular situation.

Make sure to always exercise caution. But they will also typically call large turn bets with their draws. so you want to maximize your advantage by getting in a nice raise before the flop. don’t know that. Most FC players will still play reasonable cards. and the board on the turn read AcTd4d2h. unless he bets a very small amount. let’s not get confused between the FC player and the SOOT player. such as your opponent checking and calling. which isn’t terrible on the flop. make sure you “pop” the pot pre-flop with a nice raise. and there’s a flush draw. but always make sure not to go too crazy. but look for the telltale signs of a draw. If they are calling large bets on those kinds of boards when they only have as many as nine outs. SOOT players are always fairly loose. and there are flush draw possibilities. and he’s limped in front of you. you should fold. These opponents have so fallen in love with the flush that they’ll play any two suited cards. You may have an initial read of FC. 08% of the time). but good for you. but you suspect this to be the case). and a flush draw completes on the river. When you have position on a SOOT with a good hand. or they chased with just a flush draw that likely had no overcards. Sometimes even overbetting the pot (on flop and turn) is appropriate. which is bad. and you can make a note of it (I suggest putting a question mark next to the read meaning it’s not confirmed yet. Also if you’re involved in a hand with a SOOT. if you have a strong hand. or more accurately. Now. It’s bad for them. but they’ll call large flop bets (pot-size or more) with their flush draws. Don’t be afraid of chasing him away. then you can put an exclamation on their FC note because they are a definite flush chaser. bet the flop and turn harder than normal. SOOT (Like to play and two suited cards) You’ll run into these opponents a lot at small stakes. it may be best to consider folding. If you happen to see someone showdown a J4s from early position. An example of this would be if they held 8d9d. and a flush draw comes in. you can be pretty sure he was chasing. When you see a person checking and calling and then check/folding the river to a bet. If you have a marginal hand. and often from any position. but that doesn’t mean that he’ll play any two suited cards. Again. EX2 Both opponents start with even stacks of 150BB 221 . If you get involved in a hand with a SOOT. If you are lucky enough to get to see a showdown and their cards. then also make a note whether they chased with a flush that had likely overcard outs. if your opponent is checking and calling and a flush draw completes. so they likely won’t be bluffing you. and then later find out that the player is really more of a SOOT. He won’t know that you have this kind of read on them. but there are some at every buy-in level. and he suddenly bets or check-raises. Same thing if you’re out of position and he’s been calling your bets. you can rest assured you’ve found one of these opponents. You want to make him pay as much as possible for trying to hit his improbable hand (a player flops a flush less than . Just because you’re in a hand with a SOOT.mind. he’ll continue on if he has any hope if hitting his flush. but make sure that you make the distinction because it matters. doesn’t mean he absolutely has a draw. bet the hand hard. The FC player likes to chase his flush. don’t pay it off.

Of course if they fire multiple bullets in nearly every pot they’re involved in. AK (Will bet turn unimproved) Nearly all opponents who raise before the flop will follow it up with a continuation bet on the flop. The flop comes as shown: 2c9hQc. The most important thing that you can take away as a read within a short session against an opponent is how 222 . Everyone folds back to the limper who calls the raise. You will save yourself. It’s also unlikely that he checked and called all the way with some weak hand like QJ or worse and now decided to just represent the flush and lead the river. The SOOT calls and the pot is now 33BB. you may consider calling. If this were any other kind of player. The FC calls and the pot is now 83BB. It’s very unlikely that HE’S AWARE that you know he plays a lot of suited cards. you should let it go. When you make a read. a noted SOOT limps into the pot and you pick up AdQh in the Co and raise to 6BB. but it will be rare that you’ll be able to see them showdown a hand often enough to know the rate they do this. The turn comes the 7d. then you can be quite sure they make this play often. write down what the bet size was in proportion to the pot size. You should fold. and also make much more money in the long run. you should make a note of this and most importantly. Since you know however that this opponent plays a lot of suited cards and he was checking and calling the entire way until the flush hit on the river. The turn now comes the 3c and the FC bets 50BB. The SOOT checks to you and you bet 10BB.In the example. Not all opponents however will fire the second bullet with an unimproved hand. When you get a rare chance to see a showdown when someone bets the turn with an unimproved hand. The FC against checks and you bet 25BB. Noting that your important will fire multiple bullets with a non-paired hand is important. trust it and go with it.

and when they bet strong. The action folds to you in the 223 . you want to note the differences in how they bet these two hands. they’re weak. or lead the turn. You don’t want to invest too much with mid pair or an under pair to the board. If you hit the flop hard and have position it’s best to call their flop bet and raise the turn when they bet again. A lot of opponents (especially at small stakes) are not very balanced in how they bet their bluffs versus their made hands. Otherwise you can check and call out of position and check-raise the turn. they’re strong. Some opponents will have a very definitive pattern here. EX3 Both opponents start with even stacks of 120BB In the above example a noted AK raises to 5xBB pre-flop. but how they bet their hands as well (you should do this with all opponents of course. and different ones also on the turn. So don’t only note that this opponent is an AK. For example. You’ll know in this example when your opponent is betting weak. So. if you get to see an AK opponent go to showdown with an unimproved hand. or any other combination of betting patterns. a lot of opponents don’t think to alter their play. as again. If you get to see it more than once. this will likely be a pretty reliable betting tell. but especially true when you see opponents who are firing multiple bullets). you can almost ink is. You might for example. and then get to see them go to showdown with a made hand. if you see someone bet an unimproved hand on the flop for a ½ sized pot bet on the flop. Note everything you see about the differences.he bets his made hands versus his bluffs. see the opposite of this. unless you feel VERY confident in your read. and try and relate their betting pattern to a ratio of the pot size. The best thing to do if you are up against an AK player is to raise the flop if you have some kind of hand modest hand. but they bet a made hand for a full sized pot bet on the flop.

just make sure you are aware of this type of player and know that they will have a wide range of hands that they’ll play in missed flops. CRW (Calls raises with weak hands) Against opponents who will call raises with weak hands. and also don’t believe opponents have the hands they’re representing. Another major advantage you’ll have over this type of opponent is that they’ll commonly go too far with top pair and sometimes middle pair hands. continually try an increase the size of that raise until you can find a size that will fold them out. 56o. but that this type of opponents "double barrells" a lot. It doesn’t need to be a pot sized raise as they may call with top pair. In order to make their play as unprofitable as possible. we hope they do have something and will be willing to go too far with it. There are a lot of CRW players that will limp and call large raises with weak hands like J9o. LAF (Will lead into pre-flop raiser and fold to a raise) These opponents aren’t very easy to spot. Pushing is also an option here.. That means that if you raise with AK and miss. especially if you have position. T7o.CO and you decide to call the raise with AsJs. They are: LAF A – These opponents tend to be somewhat aggressive and like to apply the pressure to their opponents by leading into them and seeing if they can “steal” the pot from them. They are only somewhat aggressive because they will nearly always fold 224 . Generally however there are two types of LAF’s if you are keen enough to spot them. you want to do your best to see how much they’ll call before the flop and maximize your edge by raising as much as they’ll call. You might as well wait in case this is true so that you can pick up the extra bet. etc. When you notice that a player is calling a lot of raises. If they have position on you. you want to raise continually when they’re in a hand with you. Most importantly. You’ll see some players that will call 6xBB-12xBB and occasionally even more with weak hands in the hopes of catching some fluke flop and busting you. When you have a big hand and raise. they’d rather take the initiative being out of position and see if they can take down the pot with a bet. doesn't mean that they have only AK. it’s still OK (if it’s heads up) to take a stab at the pot. but shut down if you’re called. They tend to be somewhat on the more aggressive side generally. Everyone else folds and the flop comes: Ac9hJd. On this particular flop. Against an AK opponent it’s best to wait until the turn since you know they are aggressive and may fire again with nothing. It’s likely that it may have hit your opponent. The key to this hand against this type of opponent though is waiting until the turn to raise. but between the two making a nice raise on the turn is the best play. The turn comes the 6h and your opponent makes a bet of 15BB. Against a lot of opponents it’s usually best to raise the flop so that you can easily get all the money in as soon as possible. The AK player makes a bet of 7BB and you call the bet (pot is now 25BB). Remember that because we're labeling them AK. Then do your best to stay within the range that will keep them in the hand with you. They tend to know that since most opponents will miss the flop a majority of the time. you can pummel them with big bets and win a nice sized pot. If you hit a nice flop. and the flop comes something like: J83. You have to pay special attention (which you should be doing) to the particular dynamics of the hand that’s occurring and note why they might be making the play they’re making. pay particular attention to the hands they showdown and note how much they called with those hands. Now is when you should raise and commit them to the pot. Even top pair and top kicker is good enough to get a good sized pot formed against them.

Remember. Anytime that you see someone put a bet in on the flop and fold to a raise. Just make sure that if you do overdo this concept that you are attempting to set them up for a raise when you have a really big hand hoping that they’ll be ripe to “take a stand” against you and re-raise. and they are still involved in the pot with you. but you do want to apply as much pressure as possible to these opponents. make sure to do your best to formulate a plan to get all the money in the middle. At the same time. 3. Ax (Will play an ace from anywhere) There are many opponents at small and mid stakes that will play A (and any other card) from any position. If you’re in a pot with them and have a high pocket pair. make a quick note of it. LAF P – These opponents tend to be a bit more passive. When you flop an ace with a good kicker. Meaning you know this opponent is over valuing hands that really aren’t that strong. you may not really know for sure if someone is a LAF. Be aware of these opponents and make sure to steer clear of them if there’s an ace on the flop. you’ll know that they’ll pay you off with a weaker kicker. opponents who play weak aces a lot tend to be in love with these hands. you want to test them as see how much they really like their hand and how far they’ll be willing to go with it. you should raise with nearly any two cards. Both of these opponents present a unique opportunity for you to pick up some extra big bets. but an ace flops and they give you a raise unless they have a big hand. There are times however when you will be able to make this read within a session. or call a raise with A6o out of position. They’ll limp A4o from early position. You don’t want to completely overdo this concept. That’s why these types of opponent’s tendencies are much harder to pick up on. 1. there’s still a very good chance you have the best hand. Just because someone does it once or twice doesn’t make them a LAF. so get a lot of value bets in. and it will be quite obvious when that time occurs. These players you want to note for a couple of reasons. So when you have a modest hand. Since they tend to be able to fold their weak hands. They will fold instantly to a raise however fearing the worst of their opponent’s hands. It will give you some insight into how they think about the game. 2. you can be nearly 100% sure you’re beat. if there’s an ace on the flop and you hit a nice hand like two pair or better. and that reason is primarily because they believe that if they flop top pair they’ll have the best hand. This is much more of a long term read that you may have to make against a regular player. In only one session. Ex4 Both opponents start with even stacks of 100BB 225 . They’ll also tend to be “sticky” to these top pair hands if an ace flops. They are playing them for a reason. When these players bet on the flop. but will take stabs at the pot with their mid pocket pairs or middle pair type hands.

226 . you should trust it. your opponent called a flop bet on a very non-descript board. It’s plausible they may call with some sort of straight draw. If it’s a pot sized bet. The flop comes As7d6h. Your opponent checks to you. If your opponent leads into you on the turn. your check on the turn indicated weakness. it’s very likely you were out flopped against an opponent you know will call with any ace in their hand. If you are called. Yet when you have a good read. You have to consider three important things on this kind of hand. The rest of the table folds to the Ax opponent who calls the raise. then definitely fold. Third. So you have to balance all of these things when making a decision about calling a river bet. and now your opponent fires on the river I would heavily lean towards folding. One. If your opponent is very aggressive. If they are overly aggressive and a noted Ax. Second. then it’s best to just fold You want to get to showdown as cheap as possible and calling the turn usually means you’ll have to call a river bet too. a noted Ax limps into the pot and you pick up the KhKd in late middle position and raise 6xBB. You can make a flop bet as small as 5 or 6BB and that will accomplish the task. It is possible that they are calling with some kind of small pair or draw. and your opponent checks the turn then you should definitely check the turn. Either they’ll have the Ace and call or fold. but the Ace is the biggest concern against this type of opponent. they may take that as a sign to steal the pot on the river. you may consider calling. Any other sized bet will really depend on other reads you have on your opponent. If your opponent has checked the turn and you’ve checked as well.In the example. You should make a small stab at the pot (you don’t need to make a big bet).

With any kind of NPR. For example they’ll raise a hand like Q9s with the button after a couple of limpers. This is primarily the reason you should look for situations that you can also raise some non-premium hands so that you can keep your opponents guessing (more on this in other modules). or KJ. or just plain crazy (maniac). The maniac will be noticeable pretty quickly. These opponents will be quite easy to spot and you need to make sure that whenever you have position and a decent hand against them that you are re-raising them. LRR (Will limp re-raise big hands) A good portion of opponents will do this from time to time. These opponents will have little rhyme or reason to what they’re doing. the first thing to do is just make a note that you saw them raise a non-premium hand. I thought I should wait a couple of days before posting this. what position they were in. NPR (fish) – I say this opponent is a fish because they will raise a non-premium hand such as QJ. but of course. they are just raising because they believe this is the correct thing to do. if you see anyone limp re-raise from early position. the alarm bells should be going off for you. so let’s take a look them. There’s not much you can do but know that you may want to raise them if they bet into you on the flop (because they could have any two) or back away if they keep firing on a ragged flop. The thing an aggressive opponent hates most is someone who comes back over the top of them. Nearly all opponents will only do this with big 227 . NPR (Will raise a non-premium hand) An opponent who will raise with a wider range of hands makes it a bit more difficult to put them on a hand. This is one of those reads that you need to just make a note of. There are typically three different types of NPR’s. OR make them pay for their weaker hands. NPR (maniac) – This opponent will just raise any two from anywhere at any given time quite excessively. They aren’t really playing to be overly aggressive and outplay opponents. The second identification stage will be to see if they are smart (a switch). Just make note and be aware that you have an opponent that’s capable of making such a play. In future hands you’ll know that that if you’re in a raised pot against these opponents. and why it’s something you should look to incorporate in your own game. but they believe that this will benefit them when they do have a real hand and can get someone to “stand up” to them with a weaker hand. NPR (switch) – These opponents will occasionally switch up their game and incorporate some non premium hands in profitable situations for them. the flop texture is much wider for how hard it hit them. but you will from time to time. so you’ll really have to analyze the situation and decide if the raise made sense considering the circumstance. That’s what makes this kind of play difficult to play against. and how much the raise was for. A3o or a similar hand out of position because they just don’t understand hand values or that usually only a better hand will call them. You won’t run into these opponents that often at small and mid stakes. The other two will be a bit more subtle. There are some opponents who will do this almost always though. So you’ll either have to be cautious.Taking Notes & Making Reads Article (II) (FreakDaddy) With al the changes to the forum. not so smart (a fish). or occasionally re-raise almost any hand from the blinds. They may also raise some connected cards in early position. Against these opponents you just want to make note what hand they raise.

and larger with your connected hands. They’re an opponent who will call a flop bet (usually in position) in the hopes that you will check the turn for them so they can steal the pot. You’ll have to pay attention to the opponents who are calling a LOT of flop bets. Just make a note. and whether you can represent properly the hand you’re trying to represent. but fold to a turn bet. Then be prepared to fire a second bullet – but make sure that you are always thinking about how the texture of the flop fits your opponent’s hand. then you know you have a difficult and thinking opponent. Once you believe you have discovered a look up artist. and know that they are prone to make this play so that you can make the appropriate play (which is fold unless you have a big hand yourself). then make sure you fire second bullets liberally when you have position. EX5 – Both opponents start with even stacks of 100BB 228 . Some opponents will also mini-raise these big pairs in early position and re-raise. Make sure that if you’ve made these plays more than once against the same opponent that you occasionally mix up your play because they’ll obviously start to become aware of what you’re doing. or sometimes even just call and trap their opponents. or if the flop texture has some probable draws or potentially could get ugly. Primarily big pairs include QQ-AA. LA (Look-up artist) One of my favorite opponents to face is the look up artist. then they are thinking about the game and what you’re doing. A lot of opponents will limp this in early position in hopes that someone will raise so they can re-raise. I’d recommend that if you only have top pair to just check and call and then take the lead on the river again by making at least a 1/3 to ½ sized pot bet. then make sure one time you switch these up. so they take some concerted effort to pinpoint. then come in for a nice pot sized check raise. Obviously if opponents are looking to call a lot of bets (particularly in position) on the flop. but they’ll fold to a second bullet (or they’ll bet when checked to them nearly always). you can make a standard continuation bet. Sometimes though there are some really bad LA’s that will do this out of position with almost any two cards (usually with ace high). This is particularly true of how you are sizing your flop bet. These opponents will not be readily easy to spot.hands. • Secondly if you flop a big hand. That’s why it’s fun to sometimes do this with a weak hand. or a small pocket pair yourself. This is sometimes also referred to as “floating” the flop. but try and make it on the smaller side. make a continuation bet. and you’ll want to make a note of that as well. A majority of LA’s will be making these plays when they have position on you. If you bet on the light side with your missed hand. If you happen to see someone do this without a big hand. If you have two pair or better you can either call their bet on the turn. and then check the turn to them (if they have position). Thinking opponents are aware and may get a read on your play. try and exploit their weakness by doing the following: • If you raise with an unpaired hand before the flop and miss the flop. this time on the slightly larger side. If you notice that an opponent will also call flop bets out of position.

In the above example an early position limper called the big blind and you picked up AhQh and raised to 5xBB. The flop came: Kd5h9d. This kind of characterization creates 4 basic player type models. a noted LA called the raise. Loose / Passive The loose / passive player is typically called a “fish”. so they make the game very easy to play against them. The turn comes the 4c. and combine that with how they play after the flop.CRW 229 . The rest of the table folded including the limper. These opponents play far too many hands without regard for position. and allow you to draw out on them when they are ahead. Combine this with the fact you know your opponent is a noted LA. and play them far too passively after the flop. Your opponent won’t have a strong enough hand to continue most of the time. If you’ve been playing a solid tight-aggressive game. then you’re nearly always beat. This is the most profitable kind of opponent to play against of course. You should now fire a second bullet. and you should attempt firing a second bullet in this spot. Most common attributes of a loose / passive: ATC – FC – SOOT . You made a continuation bet of 7BB and your opponent called the bet (pot now 25BB). General player type models The most general way to describe a person’s playing style is to attribute how they play before the flop. You know that if the loose/passive bets or raises. We’re going to look at these 4 basic models and analyze how and why particular player types exhibit certain playing tendencies that we’ve described throughout the article (on the pervious pages). The player in the Co. then your opponent will have a hard time continuing unless he has a K. because they’ll pay off a lot of second best hands.

Beware that because they are so passive that a lot of times when most opponents would be raising with strong hands they only call. it only makes sense that you’ll want to do your best to play the most pots against them. Value bet marginal hands– Make thin value bets against the loose / passive on the river. This doesn’t mean that if you hold top pair and a marginal kicker to always bet. re-raise and bet when appropriate. Save your bluffs for opponents who have a higher ability to fold. They follow this up by being very aggressive after the flop. loose / passive’s commonly call down with very weak holdings. There’s no need to get tricky with your hand. At small and medium stakes. Your overall implied odds are generally higher against this type of opponent than any other player. Bet and raise – If you have a strong hand. Fold if they raise or bet – Since these opponents are so passive. and it can put you into situations where you’ll be making difficult decisions. Some opponents that you’ll face in this category will range all the way from the total lunatic maniac (who will raise with any two cards and bluff off all his chips with 6 high) to the fairly tricky loose and aggressive player that has some hand reading skills. Don’t however let this slow you down. This doesn’t mean that you can’t occasionally semibluff. Sometimes you’ll run into big hands that you wouldn’t expect seeing. In any form of poker you want to continually apply the pressure to your opponents and force them into difficult decisions. so you need to take advantage of this by betting at every given opportunity. They’ll call with King high and they’ll call with bottom pair without much regard for the action. So look for situations where you have position and a good drawing hand. Implied odds are very high – Since loose / passives tend to overplay very marginal hands. Since these types of opponents are generally the weakest and make the most mistakes after the flop. but keep your bluff to a bare minimum. Don’t get “fancy” – Play your hands in a straight forward manner. but definitely bet a top pair and top kicker or better hands if it appears there’s a decent chance your opponent has some piece of the flop. Loose / Aggressive The loose and aggressive opponent can at times be the most difficult opponent to play against. there are very few really good loose and aggressive opponents. Don’t continue in the hand unless you have a very big hand yourself. make sure to get as much money into the pot as possible by betting or raising. if they show any signs of aggression they tend to have a big hand. Typically you’ll just want to sit back and set some 230 . There’s no need for deception of any fancy plays against these opponents. You’ll have to quickly deduce what kind of opponent you’re up against and make the correct adjustments against them. so just bet your hand for value. How not to play against these opponents: Don’t Bluff – Loose / passive opponents like to call. while making as few difficult decisions as possible for yourself.How to play against these opponents: Raise pre-flop to isolate – Anytime you have position on a loose / passive you want to raise with a somewhat wider range of hands than normal in order to buy yourself position and hopefully see a flop heads up with them. Since they are loose with their starting hand selection before the flop it’s hard to tell if a flop hit their hand or not. It will be completely lost on them. drawing hands such as suited connectors go up high in value.

While the “trickier” player you’ll want to play back at them occasionally by applying the pressure back on them. 231 .traps for the maniac and let them give you their chips.

It does not matter what your range really is at any point against these players. I am going to explain the dynamics of hand ranges. and you want your range to be perceived as narrow when you are bluffing Manipulating Your Perceived Range We can deceive our opponent by acting as they believe we would if we were weak when we are actually strong. and will try to call you down or push you off your hand. There is one caveat. we always care about an opponents actual range. and calling when the % of hands in his range that you beat is greater than the pot odds/equity you are getting. Use this to your advantage. I will begin on Level One: This is when your opponent is only worrying about how strong his own hand is. When your perceived range has widened. it is likely that villain's range will narrow as well. image isn't as prevalent as we 232 . Against a level one thinker. Our opponent believes that because we have checked the turn. After all. 1. poker is about putting your opponent on a hand and acting accordingly. so he will call the river with worse hands than he normally would.HAND RANGES (Mercman572) Plain and simple. Newbs. acting overly strong may cause your opponent to think you are weak. however. their range for calling a raise will be smaller than calling a bet or betting themselves. Keep in mind that often even for bad players." What they really should be asking is "Does he THINK you would play AA that way. it is likely that villain's range will widen too. Table image can also affect how weak or strong an opponent perceives you in a given hand (and thus affect how wide or narrow their betting and calling range will be). he will be more inclined to call with weaker hands. We may widen our range through several different courses of action. you simply determine what hands your opponent considers to be good ones. An example of this is betting when you flop TPTK. Betting paired boards with trips against "Policeman. so you must be willing to dump your stack with garbage. they might not call a raise with less than top pair good kicker. and betting the river after the flop gets checked through. and bet/ call or raise when you beat the majority of those hands ---. ----. You stand to benefit when you bet or raise hands that beat the majority of your opponents holdings at showdown (or will fold out their holdings that will beat you). There are several theorems that can be derived from this concept.1. remember that although a player thinks 2nd pair is good enough to bet with. than you simply bet or call when you have 2nd pair beat." They think you would NEVER bet when you actually have trips. an opponent is trying to put you on a hand. On the next level. It is important to note that different players have different schemas of what constitutes weak and strong play. Sometimes.If they think 2nd pair or better is a "good" hand.2. right? Remember though. you're raising 1/2 the time and betting tons of flops. this is likely to be the game you're playing in. You want your range to be perceived as wide when you are betting for value. it only matters what they THINK your range is . ---." Of course. and by acting as they think we would if we are strong when we are actually weak. Too many times I see someone ask a player questioning his bluff "Would you play AA that way. our hand can't be that good. 2. When your perceived range has narrowed. 3. So your raising range should lessen accordingly. checking the turn. So when you are deciding to raise. The most basic is playing the hand itself weakly. First. Since a player thinks you are betting with weaker hands when you have a wide range.

The former happens rarely. When you've been playing LAG. and can beat the hands he puts us on (caveat: sometimes they only put you on AK and will call down when no A or K flops). or actually have your perceived range crushed. you have to go to showdown alot more. is that opponents will be more likely to fold. That's all for now. It is very difficult to accurately assess what an opponent thinks of you. you assume people see your range as being very wide. We raise preflop. and you get good hands much less frequently than bad ones. When they don't fold. The danger of perceived range (or image). I considered third level thinking. Or range narrows when we have been playing tightly. ----The danger of playing TAG. Or you may think they caught a good hand but are just playing back. on the other hand. We may narrow our perceived range by showing continual aggression. and harder still to think they will react based on how they feel. They call or raise. So you must be exceptionally good to play LAG because you are at the constant risk of calling and raising more than the opponents' range would dictate. and can call with considerably fewer hands than they could on the flop. you're not really sure if they are pushing back because they think your range can't make it to showdown (like when you raise preflop and the flop comes 789 with a flush draw). it may be the case that he sees our range as very narrow. and misconstruing what our opponent thinks of us is a good way to massively leak EV. We bet again on the turn. So by this reasoning. but that would be hard to express and think it's beyond the scope of this single post. Remember this! Sometimes when an opponent keeps calling when we are very strong. bet a 7 high board against a good player. 233 . so it is not a major point of concern. Now they are forced to think we hold either an overpair or AK (which may or may not bet true). Please let me know if you think I have made an errors or have anything to add.sometimes think. 5. 4. so you stand to make fewer errors playing TAG. You may think they are playing back when they just caught a really good hand.

The major factors influencing your opponent's range are his holdings. for example. Think of it this way: Villain is a 70/0/0 loose passive station that you could say "never folds". the way the board comes out. but instead protects you from making a larger mistake later on by forcing your opponent to define his hand. he's mucking a lot more than 70% of his hands. his holdings will always be defined largely by how you are playing your hand. Metagame is all about creating an illusion. discounting the possibility of a misclick you're not going to get called down lightly. However." By definition. although it will generally be much wider than against a good thinking opponent (and not just because they're looser).RANGES (supwithbates) To celebrate two things. This last concept is one that I think isn't stressed enough: how a villain's range of hands is defined by the way that we're playing our hand. you've narrowed the number of hands you beat. you're likely to keep your opponent on a wider range of hands going to the turn---he might even decide to bluff/raise you with air! If he then improves on the turn to a second best hand that will pay you off. you've defined your hand as strong in your effort to build a pot. an information raise has little value in forcing a mistake from your opponent. Such bets frustrate me because they are essentially a bluff. and requires a certain degree of adjustment to deal with it. Reading hands can sometimes be difficult at the microlimits. even if not intended to be one. the concept behind hand reading in poker is putting your opponent on a range of hands given the line he takes. you can put them on a range. they'll call with AJ+ 77+. No matter how bad your opponent is. So now we move on to metagame. Aba20/SBRugby recently wrote an article in card player magazine on the subject that can be found here. if you're playing a normal TAG game and suddenly open shove for 100BBs. check/call. I've decided to share some musings with my fellow uNLers. But even against bad opponents. By playing aggressively. I generally separate this into two different themes: the lines you take on any given hand individually. and his feelings on your possible holdings. Do you lead out. This doesn't mean you can get him to fold second nuts. One example of how to use this concept to your advantage would be when deciding how to play a set on the flop against an aggressive preflop raiser. that never gets called by a worse hand but that has showdown value given the way the hand was played. and the other of which is my becoming a poobah. one of which is my bankroll finally exceeding my postcount. By actually tightening the range of hands your opponent could be holding. but allow yourself to play more perfectly against those hands. As everyone knows. I'm going to define metagame as an amalgamation of your overall playing style and the way that you are viewed by the other players at the table. however. take the same line for 12 hands in a row and you'll find that smarter opponents will be willing to gamble a bit and call with a wider range-instead of just AA and KK. but it does mean that through deceptive play you can increase his range of hands so that his range is wide enough to include a lot of hands that are much worse. If you lead out. if you open shoved into him. Another relevant point is "raising for information. Often you'll see people throw out stupid valuebets with hands like 22 unimproved on the river. However. you eventually will force opponents to adjust by widening the range they play back at you with. and confusing opponents by playing a wide range of hands the same way. For my purposes today. and it's folded to the small blind 234 . you've profited by manipulating your opponent's range. thus saving you money in the longrun. Referring back to the example from before. check/raise? If you were to check/raise. and metagame. Take an example in which you are the Big Blind.

whatever. it makes little sense to be trying to play for stacks because you'll be behind more often than you're ahead. you will generally either force your opponent to give you more walks. "Am I ever ahead here?" The better question to ask is. or to play back at you with a wider range. two pair. the betting impetus. After they lose a hand where they flop top pair top kicker or an overpair or whatever and get played back at and are felted by a better hand. 235 . this creates a very profitable situation because your opponent will call you down lightly thinking that they're ahead of your range. Instead. they start to question. I think that many uNLers are asking themselves the wrong questions when they evaluate a hand. If you start raising a very wide range here." Although the range varies from person to person (and again. you should focus in these situations on keeping your opponent interested with a wide range while still protecting your hand and extracting value. most players have a range of hands that they will be willing to felt. and the disguise afforded by aggressive metagame. depends on how you play your hand and how the board comes out).who limps. "did I play my hand in such a way up until this point that would allow me to be ahead of this opponent now that he's playing back at me. If you're at the bottom of that range of hands. whether it's TPTK+. overpairs. Because you have position throughout the hand. As a closing note.

In this example villain is 16/10/2.1. 1) preflop VPIP/PFR/AF I marked these stats the preflop stats.The thought process during a hand (Nogastira) I'm going to explain how I go trough hands while I'm playing. You can play 236 . 18+ expect these players to be raising on the light side from any position. 35+ is often a bad player. I hope this will be usefull for some people. VPIP: This is the total amount of hands people are playing. I'm going to explain what all these numbers are and how you can use them. These are the 3 numbers you'll see when people are posting hands. playing too many hands 16. things I look out for. things that help me narrow down their handrange and other little things that make me able to play more profitable against certain people. They will be opening suited connectors every now and then from UTG aswell and their CO and button range will be pretty a tight player. then he'll often have a strong hand PFR: This goes hand in hand with the VPIP. if he's in the pot. Your hands go up in value against these players. cause it took me some time to write it all Using your HUD This is what my HUD layout looks like.

raises or floats c-bets. Do notice that this goes hand in hand aswell with VPIP. They'll be checking hopeless hands.. middle pair with a good backdoor draw. play for potcontroll more often and they might also slowplay their big rather low. wont be really bluffing or taking shots at pots 43+ more agressive villains. 20. This number 237 . bets when checked to. 38. People with a high AF might just be playing a raise or fold style and therefor will have a high AF. bluffs and semibluffs since you can't expect them to be putting in money too often. You should probably be leading with your big hands. This is of course a key to solid handreading and making plays! CBETflop: 80+ these people will cbet too often so you should be willing to check/raise them more often with weaker holdings (bottom pair with top kicker. It also depends on the players style. given that he cbet the flop. 60. Probably overused a bit since it doesn't say 'that' much about how agressive a player is.these are tight raisers.these people play straightforward. 2) showdown WTSD / W$SF These stats will tell you how often villain is going to showdown and how often he's picking up pots. Note: you need a large samplesize for these stats to be somewhat accurate! WTSD: Went To ShowDown. For example: someone with 21/17/3 stats is less agressive then someone with 35/32/3 stats.) When they check its often for potcontroll with a hand like KT on a AK2 flop. CBETturn: This is when villain bets the turn when checked can bluff these villains more often. taking shots at pots.. you should be folding hands like KQ against these type of players because they will have you dominated more often AF: The total agression factor. Higher VPIP will resolute into a lower AF. VPIP has a strong effect on this one aswell. 12. .hands like KQ against their raises because you won't be dominated so often. They might have completely missed aswell though when they check. 3bets preflop. they wont see the river too often 30+ calls a bit looser on the river and you should be making thinner valuebets against them W$SF: Won money when Saw Flop This is probably best applied to TAGs and regulars since you need a big sample for it aswell and bad players with a high vpip will automatically have a lower w$sf. The kind of villain that likes to check to induces bluffs on the river will have a higher wtsd because he wont be betting villain out of the hand on the river. . 3) postflop CBETflop/CBETturn/CRflop These stats are usefull for narrowing down handranges postflop. Someone who's playing a lot of hands will probably go to showdown less often.

suited 1 gappers. This of course also depends on how bad they play postflop. then it counts as an Attempt To Steal Blinds. suited connectors (you do have to find yourself in a position where you know you have a skill advantage over your opponent. 3. 40+ is high.requires a very large samplesize. AQ+ (and even fold AQ if his ATSB is really low because they just dont pay attention to their position and playing AQ OOP will get you into trouble against these kind of villains) Here are some general guidlines when you are in the BB and someone does an attempt to steal: if ATSB is 36+: call with pocket pairs. 25. because just playing these hands and play fit-or-fold with them will be throwing away money) if ATSB is 20-: call with pocket pairs. You should also make notes on the type of hands they c/r you with. 238 . suited broadways and you can still 3-bet light with weaker hands (89s/TJs/.is low. Therefor you can call the flop a bit lighter and expect more free showdowns. AJs+. You should be carefull calling the flop out of position and you need to have a plan for the turn before you make the call on the flop. button or cutoff. You should be playing for pot controll more often against them. Here are some general guidlines when you are in the SB and someone does an attempt to steal: if ATSB is 36+: call with pocketpairs.. CRflop: Once more a number that requires a super big sample size. you should be c-betting more often against these players because they won't be bluffing you off with a worse hands. AJ+ Fold bb To Steal: 80+ is a tight blind defender and you should be stealing more often with weaker hands. ATSB: When a player opens for a raise from either the a loose defender and you shouldnt be stealing with trashhands. You can slowplay your big hands against them because they will be putting in more money with bad low. 70. suited aces. His range postflop will most likely be pocketpairs or suited broadways. suited broadways. It has no use to slowplay against them because by betting you give them the chance to build the pot even bigger with a c/r.) if ATSB is 20-: call with pocketpairs. suited broadways. You can valuebet QQ on a K87 board because you dont expect to be raised off with draws or worse hands. 4) stealing/defending ATSB/Fold bb to steal These stats are good to merge down handranges preflop and will of course be usefull post flop aswell. 6+ is high and you need to have a plan when you're cbetting on how you'll react when they do check/raise you. Often bad players will be c/r you with TPWK hands and good players will be c/r you with all kind of draws.

or check to induce bluffs in correct spots. Once you're getting good at that. then at least my pooh-bah post was somewhat good.5) response to c-bet RaiseCB / FoldCB These stats will also help on desciding weather you should cbet or not.are people who play loose on the flop so you should be cbetting much less. Summary These are some general things I use on my HUD to try to find the correct line against the villain. FoldCB: 55. Every dollar counts! I hope it was usefull for someone. When they call or raise your cbet you'll need a big hand or draw to put any more money in the pot. Hands like KQ on a Q82 rainbow flop go up in value when they low and you should get worried when they raise your cbet. Peace out -Noga 239 . Hands you normally check for potcontroll should be bet for value now though. you can start valuebetting very thin. It also helps me to merge down their handrange and sometimes even put them on exact hands. RaiseCB: 13+ is high so when you do cbet you want your range to be stronger. 8. 70+ are tight on the flop and you could profitablly cbet 100% of your range on most flops.

or be common knowledge. I will 4bet with whatever trash I am raising straight away. These are the type of questions I ask myself about a player: a)is he positionally aware b)does he raise lightly in late position c)does he 3bet light out of the blinds d)does he play back at you a lot when he calls my raises e)does he doublebarell a lot after raising preflop f)does he call down light. Regs are the best people to profile because you will be playing with them on a frequent basis. The players I usually profile are regulars. it is very easy to tell. and is invaluable in judging how to play certain opponents. There are a lot of people at low stakes who have 35/19 vpip/PFR or something similar and you are not sure if they are good or not. that there is a lot of interesting information you can gather that isn’t so obvious. I will 3bet bluff a lot 240 . or bluffcatch the river g)does he Cbet alot when you know the answers to these questions. This is useful to use if you are not sure whether you are facing a Lag or a Lagtard. I can also call 3bets and shove in on tonnes of flops if there Cbet % is high. If villains call PFR % is low (6 or lower is my general rule) but their fold to steal % are also fairly low (75 or less) then they are definitely 3betting light. using the combo stated above. and you have some reads about how the villain played certain hands. that I will play with a lot. but in some cases you can make assumptions based on only a couple of hundred hands. KQ for instance. but I hope there are a few bits and bobs that will help people. 3betting KQ (for value) might not be such a good idea if their attempt to steal is much lower (>25) c)this is definitely the most useful one.Profiling opponents using PAH (sh58) Most SSNLers will use pokertracker and poker ace hud. well. you normally have a lot of hands on them (usually datamined). however. both 70+. If there is a villain with less than 5 call PFR and about 70 ish fold to steal% I really attack there 3bets. ideally above 1000. so it is pretty much a waste of time. it is very likely that he is positionally aware. you can often tear apart a proficient TAG who doesn’t realise the information you have The main point in my post is that you can gather general tendancies by combining PAH stats. and they aren’t gonna be around very long anyway. I believe. It is fairly important to have a fairly large amount of hands on a villain before we can note any patterns. because it is incredibly easy to exploit them. and it isn’t normally obvious at a glance what their leaks are. It is very important to know this so you can 3bet a bit lighter OOP. a)if the fold SB/BB to steal are fairly high. b)this is just using the attempt to steal stat. d)if a villain is raising my Cbets more than 13-14% of the time. Against anyone who has a 30+ attempt to steal you can 3bet a lot of hands for value. A lot of this stuff may be known to some players. There is little point doing any detailed analysis of the game of a 70/3/2 who you have 100 hands on. his attempt to steal is 25+. Here I answer the questions purely using HUD stats. and there have been many posts about how best to use them in the past. usually TAG’s.

who will try and take down more pots. Another sign of a villain who might play back at you is a high W$WSF. As you can see. Here the key is went to showdown. The same goes for stealing blinds. you can obviously bluff raise the river occasionally g)here just look at the Cbet F%. such as middle pair. 241 . Fairly low flop AF. I also will start checking behind more vulnerable hands. there fellow good player. So his attempt to steal being 30% really means that when you are in the blinds he is gonna be stealing 40-50% of the time. Like the last point. any higher than 80 and I start bluff raising the flop a lot. There river AF will be less than 2. They will play much more ABC against the bad players. with pretty good hands they will c/c the river a lot to bluffcatch. I will quickly analyse the stats of a random TAG I picked out during my session this afternoon. but with floaters it is best to bet the flop with MP and TPNK. there is a lot of information to be gathered that helps a lot in your battles with the regs. For instance. you can be reasonably confident that this villain will double barell regularly. So some of the stats will be more extreme then they seem. Obviously you want to doublebarell or c/r the turn against these villains. and the TAG is going to be the highest by far. then you can stack off a lot lighter on the flop. This means you may want to raise flops against them with vulnerable holdings that can’t take much heat. especially on draw heavy boards. he is gonna steal a lot more against people who have high fold to steal%. Against a fellow TAG. he is gonna be Cbetting closer to 80 or 90%. as well as a fairly low fold to Cbet % (less than 70). or you can just call down lighter. Against him. a villain may Cbet 70% of the time on average. and a slightly higher turn AF then you would expect. If there is a reasonable player who raises Cbets a lot. f)there are a lot of passive river players out there. the more chance they are playing back at you. he is gonna Cbet every single time. call PFR fairly frequently. e)if someones turn AF is pretty high (higher than 3) and so is their Cbet frequency. If it is as high as 20% or higher.and on some boards. Habitual floaters are also easy to spot. Someone with a really high river aggression factor will be bet/folding a tonne of rivers with marginal holdings. and river AF. An important thing to note is that a lot of their moves will be aimed at you. a high W$WSF is the sign of a double bareller. The higher it is above 40%.against them if they are not maniacs. and their go to showdown is fairly low. A lot of aggro donks have 20% or higher and you really should not fold good hands when they raise this often.

but i wouldn't come after him very light from the blinds.5. i think his Cbet % of 69 is hard to exploit. so i wouldn't start c/r him alot when he has the betting lead. i may try and float him sometimes though. so a fairly solid player. as he is hardly raping us. there are some stats that will be useful when we have the betting lead. with a 28% attempt to steal. his fold to Cbet is fairly low and so is his raise Cbet. as his turn agression isn't that this guy is a 21/15/2. just from these 3 stats you can tell he isn't really that aggro. so i would be very wary if he raised my Cbet. his TAF is also less than 3 so we can't expect fireworks every time we are in a pot with him. i would doublebarell him alot. but he does have a 242 . his opening range is fairly typical from a TAG. his vpip/PFR ratio has a bit of a gap. so he will be calling PFR's or overlimping slightly more than a 21/18 for instance. but i think he might float a decent amount.

I think knowing this stuff will improve your game a lot. feel free to criticise my post. but also a very slightly above average call PFR. and adjust accordingly.very high WTSD% of 31 so i would be careful as he has some stationy tendencies as for 3betting light (the most important thing to know when you play with a TAG). it will save alot of time and effort the next time you play them.. you guy can make up more accurate ranges if you can be bothered.. Basically. you can just work out a lot of things just using common sense. but nothing too out of line. every player should look at all the players they play with fairly regularly and do a quick profile so they can react to the flow of the game better. so the ranges I mentioned are just a rough guide that seems to work for me. and also add some other useful stat combo's. or at least avoid getting 3bet to death when you open on the button. he does have quite low fold stats of 80 and 76. for example. as you may have forgot what you concluded about them. so i think he is 3betting slightly light. 243 . None of this information is worked out mathematically. if they take a few notes with villains tendancies based on the HUD stats. or haven’t worked out yet. i wouldn't be too upset about calling a 3bet w KQ and stacking off on a K hi flop. There are probably tonnes of other things that I either forgot to mention. as you can start making good money off the regs as well as the fish.

so you give it up. Stats are just numbers. so despite of his river af being high. I think for most situations there are other postflop aggression stats that will be a better help. 4. Consider your image. there's no substitution for handreading. This is because he plays crappy hands. Important to consider. Stats should mainly be used in somewhat close situations to tilt the decision in either direction.SOME GOOD TO KNOW PAHUD STUFF (Nick Royale) So I'm testing out coaching and have started by taking a uNL student. he's not bluffing much on the river. It's your job to spot these opponents. Handreading is always the nuts. Ex: If you have a laggy image some opponents will start playing back at you light. Looking blindly at you PA-stats will otherwise fool you. as vpip increases it becomes harder to maintain a high af. PA hud does not take the board or previous betting into consideration. A player with a vpip of 60% combined with an af of 2 is probably very aggressive. It will give a decent overall hint on your opponents postflop aggression though. I consider vpip. To get him started I wrote a compilation over what PA hud-stats I find most usefull and how I put them into practice. crappy hands rarely make big hands and yet he manage to play these hands aggressive. 244 . Constantly keep taking notes. You look at villain's wtsd (went to showdown) and it's 36%. it's up to you to figure out. they do not know why they look the way they do. 3. Aggression Factor (af) – A (bet + raise)/call ratio postflop • • I don't use this stat so much actually. I figured I might as well post it here because it might help some of you guys out. Ex: You're at the turn facing a situation you consider pretty marginal to 2nd barrel. Attempted to steal blind % (atsb) – How often villain raises first in from CO/button • Mainly shows how positional aware the opponent is and helps us figure out how light we should 3-bet him in steal situations. 2. Disclaimer first: DO NOT TURN INTO A PA HUD-BOT 1. pfr and number of hands standard to have in your hud. so I'm going to assume you all know what they are and how to use them. Ex: You realise villain is a habitual slowplayer.

A 4%er usually only raises really strong hands or very. there's a huuuge difference in the range you should felt vs those type of players. because he's more likely to play predictable postflop. Rcb is the very most underestimated stat imo. This is also an opponent we should be more inclined to float preflop ip. 245 . You need to use your own judgement to draw conclusions. I just love to be isolate limpers that has a high ftcb. as his range after calling a c-bet is rather strong. Of course we need to realise there's more players at the table so if the rest of the table is loose we can't isolate much anyway. then a cbt of 50% is pretty low. the best way to play vs stations is to play good hands and valuetown hard. then a cbt of 50% is high. but players having 20%+ is pretty common. If someone has a cb 50%. A 20%+er is very likely to be capable of raising air. 0-15% = white. If the cb stat is low we should realise he most often has a strong hand when he c-bets and thus we should not call as many c-bets. Needless to say. Generally an atsb of 30%+ makes a quite frequent stealer. to collect an extra bet on the turn.How often villain folds to a c-bet Raise c-bet % (rcb) – How often villain raises a c-bet • • • • Ftcb is probably the postflop stat I use the most. Anyone having a fold to c-bet of 65%+ is probably a good target. As always. all are players that are playing incorrect from a game theory perspective. fd/oesd and maybe even marginal tp or gs. meaning we'll make an immediate profit from raising any two cards vs them and c-bet the flop. unless he also has a high wtsd (went to showdown) since it'sa sign he's a station. Ex: If someone has a cb of 90%. don't try to bluff a station obv). Rcb is one of few postflop stats I have color coded. So what's a high c-bet turn frequency? It highly depends on how often villain bets the flop. A high ftcb also means we should be less inclined to 2nd barrel (and vice versa). but do NOT use this as a rule-ofthumb. Fold to c-bet % (ftcb) . Put the numbers into Poker Stove to get an idea of what those ranges includes. A player raising 15% of the c-bets are likely to do so with some draws/air. 15%+ = red. Against a 20%+ I'm usually willing felt any top pair for 100bb. you can get a quite good idea of what hands your opponent steals with. VERY strong draws. Some players have a rcb of 4%. It doesn't matter if the he's playing 70/10 or 12/5. my atsb is around 36-40%. If both the cb and cbt is high we're often better off raising the flop if we want to bluff him (still. This stat is a great help. At the same time we should be more prone to call rather than raise the flop with our strong hands.• • If a frequent stealer is also a calling station we still most often need a quality hands to re-raise anyway.How often villain 2nd barrels • • • • If your opponents has a high cb but a low cbt it's an opponent we could float and plan to take the pot away on the turn. C-bet % (cb) . as it's obviously depending on the board and the strength of my tp. Since atsb is the same as pfr from CO/btn first in.How often villain c-bets C-bet turn % (cbt) .

Note that br has nothing to do with how often villain raises the river. I prefer going by feel when raised on the river. A floater generally calls alot of flops (low ftcb). the definition of a high af. Combining stats: There are tons of information to be achieved by combining different stats. if he often goes to sd. a high turn af and a low wtsd is likely to be a habitual floater. And he rarely goes to sd because he either takes it down on the turn. he rarely calls. as checking isn't a part of the af ratio. on the river). A high river af could be the result of villain being a habitual slowplayer. or he gives up with his weak hand (low wtsd). If a player has a high wtsd you should usually just c-bet and give up. Bet river % (br) – How often villain bets the river • • • • Br is the best stat for knowing when to call with a bluffcatcher and when to check the river to induce a bluff imo. it's easy to mis-interpret the stats and why they look the way they do and end up spewing. Also. not a bet. personally I don't think that's a good idea. he's likely to call you down light. raises effects the river af and raises aren't really relevant when it comes to bluffinducing. If someone has a high wtsd (~32%+) and a high w@sd (~55%+) it's a sign of him running hot and he's not necessairily a callingstation.Went to showdown % (wtsd) – How often villain goes to sd when seeing a flop Won at showdown % (w@sd) – How often villain wins at sd • • • • If a player has a high wtsd you should valuebet a wider range and vice versa. Vs a player with a high wtsd and a low ftcb you should mainly play strong hands and wait until you hit a hand and and take him to valuetown. he tries to take the pot down on the turn with his weak hand (high turn af). A high w@sd means is an indicator that villain only takes relatively strong hands to sd. A floater either gives up or bet/raise. On the flip side. I also use w@sd to determine the accuracy of the wtsd-number. That's because a player can easily get a high af despite checking behind alot. I'm just going to give a couple of examples. if villain has a low wtsd. he's unlikely to call you down. Wtsd is a great stat. thus we should v-bet him with a tighter range. But beware. 246 . maybe not even c-bet. • A player with a low ftcb. thus a good target for a bluff. at least not when used to determine whether or not to induce a bluff. while br won't be affected as much (as a habitual slowplayer is more likely to put in a raise. It's quite straight forward. It's also the stat I use when deciding whether or not to check the turn through to induce a river bluff. Some of you might use river af instead of br.

Passing 1000 hands you're starting to get a good idea of how your opponents play. However there's no fixed amount of hands where you can start to trust your stats. but you need to know they might very well be way off.This doesn't mean the stats are completely useless. He's folding too rarely against blind steals in comparison how often he calls to not be 3-betting light vs blind steals. you can start to trust the stats more. but still there can easily be flaws in the stats. 300 etc. 247 . The sample size issue: You need to consider that most of these stats need a decent sample size to be accurate. After 100 hands most of these stats just gives you a vague hint on how your opponent is playing. As the sample size increases to 200.• A player with a fold blind to steal (fbts) of 75% or less and a call pfr of 5% or less is likely to be 3-betting light from the blinds.

with advice received at this forum. I guess maybe Ill post it in theory later on. in accordance. and even though the vast majority of players (at least at small stakes) would not be able to fold it. and so you fold." And. I think it might be worth it to consider not just how to make your opponent fold the best hand. The "story you tell" with your bluff should be obvious and convincing. While it's probably true.BLUFFING Bluffing assay (ThePortuguee) Here's a sort of essay ive been playing with. even worse for you. as if it is obvious. I have no idea how interesting its going to be to you guys. so that he feels like his decision to fold is a simple. to try to understand why your bluffs. oftentimes. It could be. but also make him happy about it. and this. As if the only decision in that spot is to fold your hand--even though it is often strong. no matter how intelligent. you'll do it every time feeling like a genius. perhaps. When we discuss hands on these forums. but just doing that seems like something of a cop-out. that your opponent has effectively played a nothing hand in such a way taht not only are you folding it. It should be an easy decision. Beyond this. and in order to do so you must obviously convince your opponent that the strength of your hand is superior to his. is what the greatest poker players. you're trying to make your opponent fold a hand that's better than yours. certain things seem obvious to us. but here are my thoughts: I think that understanding bluffing at its base helps to explain the concepts underlying one thing that most poker players know to be true: that bluffing is generally MUCH more effective a higher stakes than lower stakes. Obviously when you bluff. becuase opponent only fourbets there with aces. it doesn't really try to understand what's going on in the opponent's head. When we ask ourselves "why?" I feel as if our standard response is just to accuse small stakes players (and fish in general) of being calling stations. "Fold. I'm interested in the theory of the bluff. I believe. are more likely to be called at smaller stakes than higher ones. though. The ideal bluffing strategy. then. because now you're going to sit there thinking you did the right thing: you just folded to his "value bet. The first observation I make in this regard pertains to what you're trying to accomplish with a bluff. would offer a new perspective on what to cosnider while bluffing. you're instafolding without a second thought." These are pieces of advice that we dispense. apart from being something that's interesting to do in general. though." or "villain never overbets without a set or better in that spot." or "villain obviously hit his draw. do best: whether they do it consciously or intuitively. and will thereby allow you to do so much mroe successfully. the ones who are famous for their bluffs. Now that's brilliant. Now when a player folds a strong hand. money-making play that he can forget about. This might turn out to be a lot of incredibly standard stuff. there are a few things that have to happen 248 . I think that understanding this question of why. the decisions they put you to leave you inevitably believing that you must be behind. seems to be to play a hand in such a way that the ONLY thing you can have in that spot is the winning hand.

Your opponent bets again. he's still likely to have a strong PF hand. I'm representing what?" The answer. etc. you might have raised a lot of those hands. is Tx8x. Now the turn comes a blank. supplementing the intuitive process of displaying generic strength in the face of perceived weakness with rational thought seems like a great way to improve the success rate of bluffs at different points. he shows some generic strength and figures that you'll make up your mind that your hand is too weak to beat what he has-whatever it may be. This element is key. 33. is where we see "great calls. 6x8x. suited cards. For a more LAGGY player the range is much wider. he sort of leaves it to you. Perhaps what we should be doing at any point is keeping in mind all the possible hands we can have in a given situation. Let's say you flat call. the range of hands you can credibly have narrows. Bluffer doesn't know exactly what he's representing. This implies a range of holdings. I think. which is no guarantee. Im particularly talking about step 2. Still. and waht the opponent has. In this way. 99. he can still have an overpair or outs to TPTK or better. as most PF raisers will bet most flops. But if your opponent is a TAG. and can even be successful. bluffer wins pot. here. Even if he missed the flop. and you flat call from position. This amounts to a vague and sort of intuitive progression through steps 2-5. though arguably. At this point in the discussion it probably makes sense to discuss a sample flop. The process seems obvious but I don't think that's how your average player applies the concept. xxhearts. But when you flat call that flop c-bet from your villain. 3) The bluffer plays his hand the way someone with his ALLEGED hand would play it. Th8h. to greatness in the art of the bluff. For a TAG this range is narrower and is dominated by stronger holdings. you dont have a whole lot more information than you did before.successfully: 1) The bluffer has put you on a hand. Say your opponent raises preflop. 5) Prey folds. This might also offer rationale at the table not to pull the trigger and fire an expensive bullet at the wrong time. but he does basically think you have a hand you can fold. While it is difficult. because as the bluffer you're going to make up your mind what you have later. and potentially includes all manner of connected. This might be often effective." because oftentimes a player can think through this display of "generic strength" and make a call realizing that the only thing that makes sense given the line is a bluff-since the line isn't consistent with any of the hands that would be winning. Note that your holding at this point is irrelevent. Let's say 7h 9h 3d. We're actually assuming you have air. I will concede that it is not always a necessary step but I will discuss that in a moment. so let's say your hand adapts to be the antinuts no matte rwhat the board. 4) The bluffer's prey falls for the ploy. 79. This is a drawy 249 . 2) The bluffer has decided on what HIS HAND IS. say the 4c. and that showing strength will convince you of his own hand's strength. but this. and realizes that the bluffer MUST HAVE the hand that beats him. Now you have to be thinking "Okay. Now let's say you miss the flop and your opponent throws out a c-bet. Now this might marginally narrow your opponent's range but not much. 6h8h. I think that oftentimes peopel will read weakness at the poker table and bluff. some opponents will be aware that you're floating. Now we have to figure out what we have. And yes. at least not in a conscious way. 77. think. and assessed its strength. too.

in many cases. like when you c/raise AK unimproved. your opponent is folding a hand that is technically better than yours. or make a big turn bet in position after it's been checked to you twice. but you think/hope that given your line. without ever worrying about it again. Maybe a better time to try to "have" a set is on a board of 952 rainbow. only what they have. A set might flat call but he. The ability to do this convincingly. The reason is simply that most of our opponents aren't bothering to think about what our holdings might be. a heart comes. slightly better high card fold. you could theoretically "change" that holding later on if you think (a) you're actually behind. Your optimal play on this board might be to call and hope a draw gets there. you're representing a set or two pair. When you successfully "bluff" a small stakes player. and hoping you can fold your opponent's range. and given the presence of draws many players can talk themselves into calling. scared. he can fold hands like QQ. you are generally making him fold very weak hands. This is a key distinction. so opponent is probably correct to fire two barrels with an overpair. rathern than the STRENGTH of YOURs. and you're assuming that you can make him check/fold if. is what we need every single time we make a bluff. It amounts to one high card making anohter. you ACTUALLY ARE DRAWING for credibility. then again. They don't care what we have. needs to be worried about possible draws against some opponents and the pot has been inflated quite a bit.board. then he's probably doing it happily. While. Even if you have soething like a speculative pair or weak overpair in the hole. because what it tells us about small stakes HE is that if you assess your opponent's holding to be one of even moderate strength. you must resign 250 . and (b) your line up to that point in the hand is also consistent with a monster. c-bet a missed flop after raising. what can we do? At this point. it might be hard. but that's how a lot of people at any stakes might play a set on such a dry board. Now we can take this idea (which might seem obvious I suppose) and explain why bluffing is generally less successful at lower stakes than higher stakes. But. So he can fold--he can even do it happily. where you flat call a flop bet then make a substantial turn raise. Now all that is a long way of fleshing out the point Ive been tryign to make about keeping track of your range. THEY need to be convinced of the STRENGTH of ours. it just doesnt make sense for you to have anything other than a flush. and that a monster would suddenly pipe up while your actual hand should really be checking or folding. becuase once you call on the turn and push the river. Now that's a standard observation but taken in the context of the constant discussion about whether to bother bluffing Small Stakes players it offers something tangible in the way of an explanation. too. say. whether we're conscious of it or not. though. it's probably time for a set to raise. You dont think he has a set. but the effect is somethign substantively different than bluffing a thinknig opponent off of a good hand. then make a convincing river bet if he checks. they're more concerned with the WEAKNESS Of their own hand. The "bluffs" that are successful at smaller stakes take all this BS into account. because not only do we need to be convinced of the weakness of our opponent's hand. IMO. It's not out of the question that you'd play a draw that way. Now if the heart comes and he check/folds. That's how you'd play a set right? Maybe not all the time. If you raise. If you smooth call.

but I'm trying to flesh out some of the ideas underlying what we all know to be true: that you have to adjust to the quality of player. or else he would have bothered to realize that he (mahatma) MUST have the best of it (even though he actually doesn't). This is a long explanation of a simple concept. corollary to this idea. At higher stakes. The "brilliant" antics of mahatma and others with which many of us are so familiar simply don't have the same place in our game as they do in his. and that. it becomes more likely your opponents are concerned not only with their own cards but with what yours might be in making their decisions. This is when you can start making overpairs fold. becuase you simply MUST have a set given a certain line. you're only going to win at showdown. 251 . and this is what you use to your advantage.yourself to winning the pot only when you have a hand of greater strength--ie. but precisely the opposite: becuase he hasn't really ever thought about mahatma's hand. bluffing at small stakes in big pots is generally less effective. Many of his most intelligent bluffs would simply be instacalled not because the individual is making a brilliant read of mahatma's hand.

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