August 31, 2009

calling 3bets using player types

In my previous post I talked about the 3bet and how much value is being lost in my view by its (over) application. I argued that keeping pots small and extracting value is more +EV than 100% 3bet/fold strategy. But what to do when tight people 3bet you, and you have to decide what to do. Well, I tend not to pay so much attention to stats, and much more to the type of player I am up against, our history, and my cards in relation to my position. A speculative hand such as sc or low pp is only good for me if I have position and I think my opponent will overplay his hand, as many do in 3bet pots. and I VERY rarely call a 3bet with 22-66.

So here is a hand to sum up. Villain is a mixture between an ubernit and a spewtard, who has only ever 3bet with a premium hand, but will go to showdown with it 100% of time. He is the perfect dude to therefore play a speculative hand in position with a view to busting his fat arse (he's got a huge stack). I have already called his 3bet once, and lost a few bb trying to make him fold by repping a flush, and regarding levelling, I know he knows he's not to believe me when I flat call from stealing position. I know I am way behind here therefore, and I know he thinks he's ahead. So this Villain is 18/16 with a 6.4% 3bet and, importantly, a huge WTSD%.

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 4 Players

Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details

Hero (CO): $115.55 (115.6 bb)
BTN: $178.30 (178.3 bb)
SB: $332.45 (332.5 bb)
BB: $187.50 (187.5 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is CO with 9 of hearts T of hearts
Hero raises to $3.50, BTN folds, SB raises to $11.50, BB folds, Hero calls $8. I am in the habit of occasionally calling in position, only if I think villain has a preflop monster. T9s is no good against something like AQ or 66 as villain will rarely be prepared to play for stacks post flop, but great against AA-QQ.

Flop: ($24) 5 of diamonds 8 of hearts 7 of hearts (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $15, SB raises to $35, Hero raises to $104.05 and is all-in, SB calls $69.05
here I am happy in the knowledge that my opponent almost certainly has the overpair or possibly an unlikely AK. I am 56% versus his 44% range and I am definitely playing for stacks, as I understand I have no fold equity. I wouldn't have called without the intention of playing for stacks in a marginal spot otherwise. the only hand I am worried about is JJ, which is 51% against my 49%, as I have lost a few outs, and the AKhh which still leaves me with good equity. Note I have discounted sets from his range as I think he is set mining with these (which is a poor play in his situation, but I still think he plays that way). Even with a set, I am still 42% .

Turn: ($232.10) 5 of hearts (2 players, 1 is all-in)
River: ($232.10) Q of diamonds (2 players, 1 is all-in)

Results: $232.10 pot ($2.00 rake)
Final Board: 5 of diamonds 8 of hearts 7 of hearts 5 of hearts Q of diamonds
Hero showed 9 of hearts T of hearts (a flush, Ten high) and won $230.10 ($114.55 net)
SB showed J of diamonds J of clubs (two pairs, Jacks and Fives) and lost (-$115.55 net)

Please note my winnings here are not 232 bb. I need to subtract the 30bb I spent on an earlier hand finding out about this particular player. Why would I play for stacks with no fold equity in a flip situation ?(actually I am marginally ahead, but forget about that for now) Well, because of this dudes desire to commit when in a hand, I would continue to search him out, to continue to aim for the huge implied odds he offers, in order to recoup the "purchase cost" of my 30bb. I would also aim to avoid coinflip spots with no fold equity against him in the future, and therefore, for example, mix up by just flat calling with a hand like AA, or set mining maybe.

Final thing to note is I understand a lot players may not agree with this line. In a previous post, Lorin Yelle provided some input in why he believes I could make a mistake, as well as over valuing implied odds, so please read that for further analysis, keeping in mind that is a full ring situation, whereas this is 6max, where flipping is more common obviously. There is no need to play these type of hands at 1006max in 3bet pots, but with good reads, there is money to be made.

Hope this isn't too spewy a line.

OK so its back to playing poker in September.

August 29, 2009

3bet obsession is a losing strategy

I have been playing ring games seriously for nearly 10months now. I started at 5nl and really did do the whole bank roll thing, and now I am seriously overrolled for 100nl as per the standard "rules" posted by those in the know. So I am no authority on the game as yet, but I have been through the grind.

I have notice a spot where there is such big money that is there for the taking, that I would advise all newish micros like me to concentrate on the 3bet pot. The whole 3bet thing has just gotten silly amongst a fairly large proportion of micro players, from 50nl upwards. Below 50nl I really would play fit or fold in any 3bet situation, fitting only with premiums. But at 50nl upwards, otherwise good players display a massive leak in their games by a stupid obsession with 3betting and 100% contbet follow through without thinking through the most profitable line. If you can get your head round this, you can be come a VERY profitable player, with a minimum amount of post flop skill in my view.

When 3betting, you need to think about why you are doing it, and this is where their leaks start. If its a bluff, think why, and what to do if called. If its for value, think why, and what to do by the turn. If its because you don't believe your opponent, well....that ain't enough. There's loads more to say about this, but I know I am a winning player with a (comparatively) low 3bet %, and I am happy for that. The simple fact is, if I believe I am ahead of my opponent, and I think he will keep betting into me post flop, but fold if I 3bet, then I am simply calling. OOP there are a few more things to think about, but you are losing a ton of value by auto 3betting premiums 100% of the time and balancing with 3bet bluffs 20-30% of time. A ton.

Now don't convince yourself that this is metagame and all that baloney. If you have 5k hands on your villain, and a load of history then maybe. But at the micros, with players moving up or down and, depending on your site, a huge player pool, there is no metagame. Furthermore, there are just to many players who will never fold with any piece of any flop, so forget metagame.

There just seems to be this fear amongst many thinking players at these micros to play a bit of real poker. I have argued this in previous posts about short stacking, as a strategy too. Now, if you are happy with a high 3bet (with the intention of getting your opponent to fold) strategy, (and I am CONVINCED you want them to fold, despite what you might argue) and you are winning, than that is fine by me. But I don't believe this playing type will be able to go above 200nl without getting completely slaughtered. And unless you wanna be a multi tabling or shstacking robot, that's where any pro or semi pro ambition has to be at. The hard truth is, you need to learn to play post flop, and building big pots pre against random opponents is not, therefore, where its at.

August 27, 2009

The Ubernit

As I have been away for most of the month, I have not been able to play much poker, so no brag (or cry-baby) graph this month as too little volume. I may in fact stop posting monthly graphs as I am not sure if they help or hinder. We’ll see. Thought I might have some more fun with my thoughts on player types instead. So…..

Mr Ubernit

Hey, we’ve all done it, so no denials.

Stared down at AA from UTG after ages of folding, licked our lips as we consider our sexy graph after this hand, raise the appropriate amount, and wait for those fish to come on board. Actually the only one who calls is that pesky LAG from the button. Well, who cares, its time to teach that guy a lesson, and me and my bullets are here to do just that.

Flop is all low cards. Grrrreat. Continuation bet time. Great again, he calls. Turn another low card, bet again. What? He min raises. That git is trying to bluff me. Well not this time buddy you say, as you hit the All-in button. The rest is a blur, as all you remember is seeing the mountain of chips shipping in the other direction. WHAT A BAD BEAT……..

This is usually one’s early hard lessons in cash games deep stacked (so that’s why they short stack…NB I will be adding the SerialShortstacker to my player types soon, although I am a bit scared of the wrath I might get from that particular community when I do, yikes) and after a few times we learn to lose less than the maximum and start to get better. The skill in these pots is losing the minimum, cos you will always lose a fair chunk of your stack.

The ubernit cannot learn this lesson, and loses stack after stack with his premiums, and never gets paid off with his sets. He runs at somewhere around 11/4 at full ring and at 14/8 at 6max. when the ubernit raises, he turns his cards face up (AA-JJ, AK and maybe AQ if late pos) I have seen some even limp JJ treating it as a set mine or check call on low cards. TT downwards is open limp. When the ubernit calls a raise he has JJ and below, or poss AK-AQ. The ubernit wont 3bet QQ from the blinds at FR,and only 3bets JJ+ at 6max from blinds, never bluffing. When the ubernit calls on any board he has either an overpair or a set. If an ubernit hits a straight or flush, it’s always by accident.

Ubernits never ever use the chat boxes.

Ubernits usually come from some weird city or country that noone has ever heard of, and have really unimaginative screen names like Karl66 or Wjke.

Ubernits always play with a full stack, and insta rebuy when busted.(which is often)

Watch as all but the superdonks insta fold when the ubernit raises any flop or turn.

The implied odds that we so romanticise about exist in abundance against the ubernit, and calling with any pp or suited connector is where its at against them, because if you hit you are getting their stack. I even call sometimes with something like a3o, knowing if I hit A3x with them on AK-AQ they are giving me their stack, and they are snap check folding with KK. If I don’t hit the 2 pair, even on an A rag flop, it’s me who is insta folding.
One word of warning, never ever EVER try to bluff the ubernit. I speak from bitter experience.

I have many many nice examples of this player type in action if anyone wants me to post them.

My fav type of player by far.

August 18, 2009

The ChatDonk

Following on from the other player types in earlier posts (the aggrodonk and the spewtard) one player type that doesn't get a mention much is the Chatdonk. I guess this type disappears as you move up the stakes ladder but at the micros they hang around, filling the chat boxes with complete nonsense.

Chatdonks have 2 clear characteristics, the first is that they are unaware of the complexities of NL cash (that is...they are very predictable players who think they are the nuts because they have read Harrington, as opposed to out and out pure fish, and I certainly think I still am getting to grips with this with relates to my own play) but the second is they THINK they are the dogs bollocks (that is.....very unpredictable sharks just waiting to get properly rolled for 1000nl if the rest of us idiots would just stop cracking their aces with 75s)

Chat donks go crazy with their typing when the following things happen....

a) they win a big pot (and everyone else at the table starts to yawn). Here they become uber nice guys and go into the ins and outs of the hand and seem all together ecstatic with life.
b) they lose a pot due to "bad" play by another player. Here they drone on and on about the donks and how you can never beat them, and how could you call and.......blah blah blah.

chatdonks berate others for bad play, not getting the fact that it's this very aspect of poker (bad play by one's opponents) that gives us our profit. No doubt chatdonks think that if everyone played optimally then they would magically become winning players.

Chatdonks make the complete recreational fish think twice before continuing to rebuy when busted. Or hit and run if they double up. By being continually berated the fish starts to actually think more, and will decide to quit while he's ahead, taking the dead money from the table. Its for this final ultimate crime that makes chatdonks complete and utter donks.

Because chatonks are so ABC Harrington, who tend to fear monsters under the bed (covering up their inadequacies by talking nonsense the whole time) a simple check-raise, or double-float-all-in-whentheycheckriver, will often take away the pot from them, regardless of their holding. Sets or above is what they will require to call you.

Their favourite player is Phil Hellmuth.

Finally, ChatDonks usually have a really annoying screen name.......

August 16, 2009

Dealing with bad beats

I really like to catch up with lots of poker blogs, and I love knowing there is a hidden community out there like me, struggling with this beautiful game. Especially just now as I am out of the country and not playing poker.

One thing that tends to make me switch off from some blogs is the bad beat seekers. I fail to see the point in droning on about the cooler hands. If you get it all in pre with AA v KK and get busted, the only reason to discuss that might be if it happened, like, 4 times in one session and how you might deal with that phsycologicaly.

Its just a fact of life that KK cracks AA around 20% of the time. It's as uninteresting as talking about suffering set over set as it is talking about it when you have the over set, or when your aces actually hold up. No one cares, because it has happened to all of us, and it will happen again and again and there is nothing we can do about it. Whining about it whether to others or yourself when you go to bed (or whatever) will start to induce tilt, and put you on a one way ticket to the bad beat jackpot heaven, where you can unchill out with your other high blood pressured bad beat seekers.

What we want to see and read is situations with variables (and set v set, or AA v KK in 3 bet pot has virtually no variables, as the money is going in no matter what). We are talking meta game preflop 4betting, and turn and river play for example. Some players opt for 1 way and others for another, either can be right, and either can change depending on players and histories. Here is where the beauty, the Zen, lies.

In conclusion it's absolutely clear to me, and something I have rarely seen highlighted, that the better you are the more badbeats you will have inflicted on you, and the less sukouts you will inflict on others. Its the only downside of near optimal play.

Finally I would like to thank Matthew Pitt (Yorkshire Pud) for his review of my blog here.

August 08, 2009

Playing Spewtards

Here is some more musings on my little mini series of player types at the 6max micros.

The main difference between the aggro donks and the spewtards is the all-in button.

Whereas the aggros are capable of finally make a laydown after the 4 or 5bet missile comes in, the spewtards, on the contrary, feel they are so committed by then, that its cross fingers and hope hope hope.

Spewtards think they can push anyone of TP by CRAI with, well.......nothing. Aside from never thinking about the opposite player, and whether he has adjusted to the spewtard's glaring tendencies, they usually pick spots where said opponent is sitting on the near nuts, set, straight etc, probably the hand they are trying to rep. Tags will also call their oop all-in turn shoves (the spewtard will have cr'd the low flop, which the TAG will have called) with just overpairs, cos.....well....... it's a spewtard after all.

Be quick with your note taking on the Spewtard, because they don't hang around when they get busted. Some immediately go to another table where they can CR shove with renewed vigour until they get looked up again.

The spewtard can be identified with LAG preflop stats and a high CR% on flop and turn. They also tend to proliferate at sites where the all in button sits conveniently close to the bet slider. (I owe thanks to full tilt for the many double ups as a result of their software being suited to the spewtard tendencies)

When I am running card dead, and just sitting there folding and folding, spewtards can make an otherwise boring session into an extremely entertaining and funny hour or so, seeing them getting busted time after time.

I will post a typical hand history that illustrates the Spewtard next post.

100k hands at 50nl

Having played this number of hands I am gonna move back up to 100nl and play 6max there this month.

100k hands may not seem a lot to some, buts its a big deal to me, and I think you can see from the graph how my play improved as I became more comfortable with the level.

I am fully prepared to lose a bit at 100nl 6max, but here's to the next 100k hands there.

August 04, 2009

Playing Aggro Donks Part 2

This is part 2 on my thoughts on the overagrro donks who think they are so baller at 50nl 6max. See my previous post for aggro donks part 1.

Another thing the Aggro donk can't help himself over is the battle of the blinds. If he is in the bb and sb limps, he loves to raise regardless of his holdings, cos that's what they do in the CR videos. He doesn't think back to what happened before, or whether it's a typical thing from his opponent, he does it because "that's what aggressive players do, and aggression pays".

When I have one of these types on my left, from the sb I may limp, (it's usually the only time I ever do) with, say a pp or Ahigh or good SC, and either repop him big preflop or cr the flop. watch them time down and fold, hollywooding their big laydown.

I keep the chat box switched on, because some aggro donks love to express how good they are at poker (not), by slagging off another player. If they get beaten, the other play got lucky, etc etc. They like to needle players Mike Matusow style, completely lacking in any class or dignity.

Checking some of the typical aggro donks data, quite often they are moving down from a higher level, (prob after having been crushed there) and have a low opinion of the lowly opposition at said limits.

August 01, 2009

July results

Here's the graph for my play in July. It was all at 50nl 6max, and I had a great time. I experimented with different aspects of my game. I played highball v the aggrodonks (see previous post) and tried out some limping along v the superdonks (as opposed to isolating) with somehands (pp and conectors) to see how it works.

I do think I could have had a slightly higher winrate, but for my trying out different plays.

Variance was against me for some of the month, and please note the 10bi loss at the 1st session of the month, which put the pressure on me from the off.

With rakeback and a FT bonus, it was decent enough for me for 50nl. Next month its time to try out 100nl 6max.