Chip value, not percentage increase is what counts.
There's a lot of posts going on about laying down Aces... I by no means am for laying down aces to an all in except for 2 (and a half)situations. Situation 1 a supersatellite or qualifier when you're going to make the money and the payout is the same.
Situation 2 where you've just made the final table and everyone shoves all in... by folding you virtually GUARENTEE that you'll get 2nd or 3rd or 4th if there's split pots or the people that win have less chips and there's sidepots. This is MOST obvious if you only have like enough for one big blind,or hardly enough chips to have a shot at winning anyways
Situation 2 and a half is if there's under 18 players left, you have 35% of all chips or more you're in the money and there's someone that either has you outchipped or cripples you and he moves in on you. AND you're dominating the table, everyones folding and yielding to you, and there's no reason to get involved. You have a REAL shot at winning the whole thing, especially if this guys a maniac. It's a questionable decision either way, but if you fold you're getting top 5 90% of the time... due to the payout up top, and that you could still easily win without playing the hand, it's possibly a fold, not sure if I'd be able to make it or not because it's one that you'd question, over and over again.
anyways, the reason I'm posting it is because he compares some table going all in everyone at the tale and you having pocket aces and why it's a call... It's not that I question the call at all... but the comparrison of "not being able to multiply your chips by a factor of 8" is a little iffy since he only uses all ins as example... I have a little responseone thing I failed to address:
In article XXXXX@news.xxx.net>,
XXXX@XXXX.com> wrote:Ah, the mystical attachment to 50%.
>Probably because you went all in again with less than
>50% chance of winning and got bounced out anyway (of the money
Let's say you will magically be offered a series of heads-up 54/46
matchups, such as QQ vs. AKs, and you get the good end of the stick
each time. Three times you can double up your entire stack with
the best of it -- even MORE than a 50% chance!
46% of the time you are busted after the first.
71% of the time you are busted after the second.
86% of the time you are busted after the third.
So this "amazing" opportunity leaves you with 8x your stack 14% of
the time and busted the rest.
Whereas calling with AA left you with 10x of your stack 31% of the
time and busted the rest.
How's that 50% sound now?
But wait, you're better than that. You'll always get your money in
with 60/40 edges, such as AKo vs. QTs.
40% of the time you are busted after the first.
64% of the time you are busted after the second.
78% of the time you are busted after the third.
So you get 8x your stack 22% of the time. Still not looking so hot
compared to a 31% chance at 10x.
You're even BETTER though. You always get in as a 2-1 favorite,
such as KK vs. ATs.
33% of the time you are busted after the first.
56% of the time you are busted after the second.
70% of the time you are busted after the third.
Finally we're close to the AA situation in terms of probability
of survival, though recall that we had 10x stack improvement with AA
and you only get 8x with the "three double-ups" approach.
Is any of this clear yet?
The only way around calling with AA after nine people move in is if
you think you are so good, you never have to go all-in, and that if by
some awful twist of fate you do end up all-in, you will always have
the most dominating situation imaginable (e.g. always pair over pair.)
That is much like the brand of delusion hellmuth lives with, and it's
the reason he is the person I mentioned who might fold AA there.
But hellmuth is the most extreme case of this alive, and I'm fairly
sure even he couldn't live with himself if he folded.
It's not even close.-- Paul Phillips | Love is a wild snowmobile ride across a frozen lake that Future Perfect | hits a patch of glare ice and flips, pinning you beneath Empiricist | it. At night, the ice weasels come. -- Matt Groening ha! spill, pupil |----------* http://www.improving.org/paulp/ *----------
The calling with aces after all those all ins are obvious, not to mention that 31% of the time you are alive you get to see all those situations QQ vs AK, or whatever...
However, I think it should be noted that there are a lot of players out there (like say Scotty Nguyen) who are hardly EVER all in and manage to accumulate chips just the same, perhaps more steadily and slowly, but by the time they are, they have amassed a lot more chips so there all ins are MUCH more significant chipwize
Just for fun and arguments sake lets say a player like Daniel Negreanu chops away and play lots of pots, instead accumulated 3 times their stack while not even getting involved in an all in, they may play an occasional pot with aces, but by the time they get ALL there money in, they have a HUGE edge.... even so, by this time you have to account for there increase in chips
Situation 1 he goes all in with aces goes from 10,000 to 80,000
he THEN accumulates 30,000 without getting a large portion of his chips in... this puts him at 110,000 with a 31% chance of survival.
Situation 2 he doesn't get this opportunity, but he chops away all the way up to 40,000, THEN gets his Kings against AQs or overpair vs a flushdraw and is about 70/30 to double up... putting him at 80,000 with a 70% chance of survival. Which is better? a 31% chance to get to 110,000 or a 70% chance to get to 80,000? I have to say the second one.
But lets just say situation one continues and he has 110,000 and again gets it in with the best of it 60/40 and goes to 220,000 and then accumulates 50,000, while situation 2 accumulates 50,000 more to 130,000 then gets it in as a 60/40 favorite...
Situation 1= player has 270,000 just over 15% of the time
Situation 2= player has 260,000 about 36% of the time....
Do you catch my drift?
If you can accumulate chips, double ups are increasingly important as the tournament goes on... Giving up on one 60/40 double up early because the 40% of the time that you get knocked out you'll end up missing out on an opportunity to accumulate chips up and up and take a 60/40 that means much more as it's later, when you have more chips, and it's at a point
If you are a better player, it's not necessarily that you get your money in BETTER, it's that you accumulate chips by chopping away, betting 2.5X the big blind, betting half the pot... Getting a larger pot, but still not risking elimination. By the time you DO, you have amassed enough chips that it's much more valuable, blinds and antes are higher, pot size is larger, and it means a LOT more than it would early. And usually the players that play small pot poker are able to chop away, and they get played back at, or someone trys to trap them and slow plays too long and they're good enough not to bite, and they might even hit, and when they do they'll get PAID OFF BIG! Lets say a Negreanu style of player has K8s and opponent has AA. If the opponent reraises Negreanus probably folding. So the opponent tries to set a trap... Flop comes 294 with 1 spade... "Negreanu" bets opponent just calls because it's not a dangerous board at all, turn comes Q of spades opponent checks ready to check-raise, but "Negreanu" recognized that opponent wouldn't call out of postion there without a hand, so he checks PLUS he gets a freecard, even if his opponent is weak he might bluff into a made hand... Now the river comes an ace of spades. Opponent gets nervous that he won't get paid off if he checks so he fires out a fairly small bet. Daniel Recognizes that his opponents strong, and that he won't be able to get away from it, so he reraises HUGE OVERBETTING the pot. His opponent has seen this guy in virtually EVERY hand, and he really just doesn't give him credit for catching a back door draw, so he either moves in, or calls a huge bet, maybe even calls ALL his money. This is the type of thing that happens. They keep the pot small and try to chop away, but if they hit a big draw, they bust an opponent who's virtually drawing dead who can't get away from his hand. The pros might not fall for it, but there's enough amatures in these HUGE fields. Now He goes back to chopping away, not risking a large amount of his stack at any time.
You cite the fact that you'll never get a chance to amass 8 times the amount of chips in front of you putting it all at risk... THAT"S NOT WHAT"S IMPORTANT... the overall VALUE of the chips is what's important....
This is a common mistake people make all the time when it comes to opportunity costs and economics, If a $20 CD was 50% off, or a $1000 computer was 10% off, and you could only have the time to get one, or it was a rebate and you could only do one, which would be more valuable to do? Assuming you were buying both? The computer of course... saving $100 is MUCH better than saving $10... 10 times better.
I'm not saying I wouldn't take the aces all in, I definitely would, and THEN if I got to accumulate more chips and happened to go against someone with more chips my double up would mean that much more... The BEST part about that is, the 31% of the time you win, your chances of winning the tournament go way up, your ability to survive goes way up... You basically get to find out very early in the tournament what kind of shot you're going to have, if not you go home, and can tell quite a story, and start playing the cash games... and save a LOT of time.
So what am I saying? Your example fails to recognize that the great players accumulate a lot of chips BEFORE they have to get it all in. The bigger the field, and the easier it is to accumulate chips WITHOUT having to go all in, the more value the double up later on.
I just watch all the guys that end up doing very well, and even the ones that got extremely lucky, usually did there "getting lucky" part LATE not early... how many times have we seen people take risks and become the chipleader day 1 only for it to mean NOTHING later? Heck we've seen HUGE stacks get UNLUCKY late or get too aggressive and give away everything, but they risked a lot more 1st to get where they were, 2nd after they accumulated chips they didn't slow down and they gave there chips away in a couple hands. And what about all those players that end up SHORT stacked at the final table when the blinds are HUGE? Joeseph Hachem and Steve Dannemen were BOTH pretty short stacked.
Obviously if I have the aces I call, and If I fold the aces, I won't Magically get hands that I wouldn't if I called and won.... However, if I had a choice between getting aces the first hand with the entire table going all in and being card dead afterwards, or getting a series of hands with time between to continue to accumulate chips, and you ignore the time spent, and opportunity costs (being able to play in another tourney if you go out) I'll take the second option anyday.
However, If I could choose to have aces and have everyone all in on the BUBBLE... or have KK QQ JJ and AA headsup all in early and middle stages... I'm taking the aces on the bubble EVERYTIME.
My post about taking coinflips
I recently made a post on the twoplustwo forums about taking a coinflip later rather than sooner.
Hi guys, I've read these forums before, but I finally decided to sign up and make a post. I've heard many people talk about the debate over whether it's correct or not to take a coinflip early in order to get a stack that you can use towards accumulating chips. My thoughts on it are that a double up early isn't very useful at all, and is a very poor risk/reward to take.
Doyle Brunson was asked about this topic and he said he doesn't believe in it (doubling up early) because he says "really what difference does it make" . I have to say he's right here. You know Phil Helmuth wouldn't take it early. Daniel Negreanu wouldn't early either. Well there's many reasons on why this is... You could argue "well your chips compound, one double up leads to another, etc." But if you're playing a style that requires multiple double ups, and that's how you move up in money, you're not playing optimal anyways. Look if you get it all in with aces, and are still short stack everytime, you are expected to be knocked out half the time with 4-5 all ins. While this "double up early" bit might work out ok in smaller fields, in the big fields you simply can't expect to survive if you are risking it all, especially early. What about Scotty Nguyen, who's always consistant, who finished 11th in the main event... he NEVER likes to get it all in.
How do these players do it? They start out playing a tight game, but when they get involved, they play small pots. Throw in Ivey in that list of names for small pot players. But THEN they get to the bubble and that's where a lot of pros if they can just survive to, they can go from a short stack to a big stack very quickly and have a chance at going deep. A coinflip on the bubble isn't bad at all. What's the difference? Well first of all taking it all in early and then "coasting" into the money is simply NOT worth your effort, you all know how top heavy they pay out these tournaments. You might get an extra 2000 from doubling up early, but by then the blinds are like 250/500... and with the ante that's less than 4 rotations of chips. On the otherhand, a double up on the bubble not only means a lot more chips (assuming you can accumulate chips) from the double up as you'll have a bigger stack and the blinds will be bigger... But a double up on the bubble also means knocking out or crippling someone who is your only competition at the moment to steal the blinds. You knock down or out someone who's raising every pot near the bubble, and now you have control of the table. I might even take a risk with a small -EV in order to gain the opportunity to steal the blinds, figuring out the table is so much more ++EV if I can take that guy down before he amasses too much chips. Also, after the bubble chip position and your Q becomes so much more important. Usually after the bubble, all the short stacks and even others go all in a lot more after they make the money... Some people after making the money THEN decide to go all out and try to get a chance to go after the money that's all up in the top 3-5 places.
Well you're either going to need to have enough chips to call these players off to take your small edges without risking a large amount of your stack, or you're going to need enough chips to sit back and wait for a hand, or at least until everyone that's in all in mode knocks each other out so you can start stealing again. Blinds get big and it becomes easier to get back in it if you blind down a little bit, I like to gear down just a little bit, try to pick it up, and then I'll be much more cautious, and I'll do more trapping. When the blinds are this big, you aren't risking that much by letting your opponent see a cheap flop if you just say flat call a raise with aces. Trapping becomes Key.
Now don't get me wrong you can't just sit back and blind down to half your stack and double back to where you were either, but if you are a good enough player to survive the "donkfest" early, then gradually increase your stack after that by just chipping away at small pots, your double ups will mean SOOOoooo much more later on.
If you are good enough to accumulate pots risk free, by putting yourself in a situation where you're getting knocked out 50 or even 40% of the time early, you're missing on 40% of the future EV that you'll get from accumulating those risk free pots. The early that is, the more future EV you're giving up.
Additionally, lets compare.... just say for example that in tourney 1 you take a coinflip early, you end up getting it all in and doubling up 4 other times. So that extra 2000 you got became 16000 and you end up making the final table.
Now in tourney 2 you take the same exact course of action, except you FOLD the coinflip situation early, so you have 3 all ins. Now if all other actions are the same, lets just say for tourney 2 you have 160,000 at the final table for tourney 1 you have 176,000. But the blinds are 5000 and 10000 now. So which do you take? You pay a buy in and go to the final table with 160,000, or flip a weighted coin for the price of the buy in, heads you lose the buy in, tails you're at the final table with 176,000. If that's not clear enough, you can take a coinflip NOW with your 160,000, and you'll have 335,000(after blinds, not including the ante) with the SAME EXACT chances of survival as you did in tourney 1... AND even if you LOSE the coinflip now, you still cashed, and the blinds probably.
You may notice a patten with a lot of the players that do well in tournaments. They catch their rushes, and win big hands late. Even Chris Moneymaker had a talk about how he "played scared" the first couple days and he thought the pros had aces every hand. Steve Danneman(sp) and Joe Hachem were pretty low in chips towards the end. I think if I remember right Raymer won quite a few coinflips late. You'll see Helmuth play tighter than anyone LATE in the tourney.. (However doesn't seem to kick it into high gear when it gets 5 handed and less as you'll see against Matusow and Corkins at the TOC he wasn't able to adapt from his tight ways)
You'll even see Matusow slow down and although he's known to blow up, if he makes it deep he has a REAL shot at winning because he knows when to switch gears and slow down, and kick it into high gear short handed.
I think I heard that B Micon says the same thing about how late you'll be shoving all in with KQ and hands like these... It's one of the paradoxes in poker, it's only when you're to the point in a tourney where you're playing for the MOST money, that you have to put all your chips at risk, when you have to rely on luck when you have to take the most risks and play the least poker and really just find the range of hands that your opponent will call with, determine averaged distributions of hands, how much M you have and how much your opponent has... It really becomes an all in or fold math problem.
The bottom line is, don't risk it all on a coinflip early, while it's true you might want to widen your hand range and
And while it's true that if it allows you to play cash games that you're going to have a bigger edge, you may have an argument on "opportunity costs" and why it's better to go big or go out so you can play in the cash game, or not waste your time on an unknown...
There may be a certain point where you notice that you're being outplayed, and at that point you may want to wait for cards and shove in to minimize the edge the other players have on you, but if you really want to MAXIMIZE the edge you have over the donkeys early, see some flops, chop away with small bets, maybe hit your dream flop and get your opponents chips. Control the pot size, build up the pot big when you have it, keep it as small as you an when you don't.
Daniel Negreanu teaches power holdem strategy part 3
Risk Management Part 2 Take your risks LATER not SOONER
In part one I finished by saying that I don't think you should risk a 20% chance of being knocked out to get 2000 chips early. Of course that's debatable, and different styles mean different risks for you to take. But I really feel that the best poker players in the world know that it's foolish to take risks early. Now I will agree, if you're a player like Greg Raymer, and you're bullying everyone and playing big pots and pushing, and trying to get it all in with every coinflip that you have the slightest edge, then yes, go right ahead; but I believe that the style is less successful in the long run. Don't get me wrong, he went on a remarkable run at the main event winning the first and going VERY deep the following year with 6000 entries... But as you'll notice, he took one bad beat and got crippled, and got all his money in with Kings and busted. That's NOT badluck... He won all sorts of races before, and had all his money on the line or close to it quite a few times to get the dominating chip stack. His expected chance of busting out on at least ONE of those hands was pretty high.
Now take a guy like Phil Helmuth or Phil Ivey, or Scotty Nguyen... I'd put Michael Mizarachi and Gus Hansen in that category as well, but they sometimes take hands too far and take bigger risks and play bigger pots most of the time. These guys might not win every year, but they are consistently dominant. I'd also like to put Mike Matusow in that category as he's adapted his game and plays great small ball poker, but there are points when he does take big risks too. He wins big and often, but he also goes all in to attack weakness, he at times pushes all in when a small bet would be just as effective. He's trying to get paid off for his big hands, and he gets his money in when he hits two pair against aces. He plays small ball, but he also shoves it all in when he know he'll get called and sometimes he's a 80% favorite.
So ok, you know that small ball is a great strategy, you know that power holdem is the way to go, but that still doesn't explain why you wouldn't want to double up when you're an 80% favorite. I didn't say that you wouldn't want to do that, I said you don't NEED to do that early, and I'm going to give you the argument of why I don't think you should.
First of all, look at Scotty Nguyen... Finished 11th at the 2007 WSOP main event... outlasting like 8000+ people. Scotty has said before that he NEVER likes to go all in whether he's calling or moving all in. I did see Scotty Nguyen all in, but he had the nuts. I saw him play a big pot, but he had a big hand. It wouldn't suprize me if Scotty Nguyen made it as far as he did without being all in more than 4 times and in a field of 8000 that's amazing.
Second of all is the earlier the all in the MORE you are risking. I showed you in the last post why you're really only expected to get 2000 chips more, but you're risking being out 20% of the time. But the reason you are risking MORE early, is because ALL the pots you COULD be taking in RISK free if you fold the hand, you don't get to 20% of the time... So if you want the REAL expected value of folding vs calling all in, you have to say okay so if I fold I can probably pick up 10000 chips through the course of the tournament virtually risk free. I live to see another hand, I move on, I steal blinds, I end up picking up the nuts and getting all my money in, etc... Well if you fold, you'll see that situation 100% of the time because you'll live to see another hand... your equity(expected value) is 10,000 chips risk free, plus your equity from the risks you do take. If you call on the other hand, your equity is only 80% of that because 20% of the time you wont get the chance to accumulate all these chips. 80% of 10,000 is 8000... So NOW we find out that you gave yourself 0 edge by calling this all in... NONE... we've already established the fact that you only have one player with more chips, so you don't gain anything there at all. So you're really taking risk to get knocked out when in the long run, you haven't gained ANYTHING...
Alright, I have a feeling yall need some more convincing. That's why I'm here... Well you might say well if you're going to risk it all which you probably will have to do eventually, if you do it now it keeps doubling... Ok well lets say you do get up against people with more chips than you and they're aggressive, and you make the moves on the bubble and in the money to double up a few times so that extra 2000 becomes 4000 which becomes 8000 which at the final table becomes 16000. So now the arguement is, okay, well your expected value IS the same, but the 80% when you DO win the hand, you'll have more chips and more chips and it'll compound. Guess what... that 16000 is STILL NOTHING compared to the blinds. By the time you get to the final table a double up will mean SOOOOOOooooo much more in chip position anyways. Okay, so you have 16000 extra... By the final table, you'll have say 160,000 in chips, blinds will be 5000, 10000. Whoopdeedoo if you took a 20% risk of being knocked out it only equates to less than 2 big blinds?! You have 176,000 instead of 160,000
And because you didn't take any risk that would knock you out earlier, lets say you pick up aces. NOW you can take the 80% chance to double up... It means SOOOOO much more in chip position, and will allow you to steal so many mor blinds... So 160,000 double up brings you to 320,000. OK, now you'll say, yeah but if you took the double up early and you take this you'll have 352,000... You forgot one thing... Your chance of being knocked out is 20% greater if you do that.... Where as if you want to compare apples to apples and why it's so much better to pass up the all ins early, you have to realize that in order for your chances of survival to be exactly equal, you have to give the person who didn't double up early an extra 80% chance... I know, you won't pick up aces if you fold anymore than you would, but I'm saying you either have 2000 more chips early extra by taking an extra 20% chance of ellimination early, or you have 144,000 even considering all the "compound interest" with exactly EQUAL amount of a chance of ellimination... And here's the thing... By the time you finally take that extra chance to equal things out, You'll have already been DEEP into the money! So with equal chances you have 144,000 more by doubling up later... with unequal chances (taking the double up late as well) you have 32,000 more (about 3 BB extra) at MAX, and you get no money an extra 20% of the time, compared to you getting money everytime, and a 20% increase in survival.
You may say "well because of that move you might have a guy covered next time and can afford to take another risk without getting knocked out later" And "you might be able to wait longer for a hand"... That's BS! 2000 more will mean 4X the big blind later, and even if a guy has 10000 and you would have 9000 at that time had you not doubled up, now you only have him covered by 11000 and your 2000 chips means nothing because 99% of the time if you lose you'll be knocked out within the next 10 hands max anyways. Well your chance of surival is 20% greater by folding... that's huge. Now when does chip positioning matter the most? At the END of a tournament. You see, early everyone could double up and double up again, a double up doesn't even mean that big of a move in chip position, and certainly doesn't guarentee you win any more blinds or any more money overall... On the other hand, a double up in the final table usually means you either knocked someone out or close to it, and the chip positioning allows you to bully people and take extra blinds, increasing your position, as other people don't mess with you because they'd rather fold their way up a spot or two in the money first. That double up can allow you to forgo moving all in long enough for people to knock each other out, you move two spots up in cash and buy time to pick up a hand that gives you the win. Where an extra 4X the big blinds really means nothing in the middle of the tournament, it means EVERYTHING now. folding 40 hands extra could mean the difference between making hundreds and making thousands... okay so it gets 5 handed so it's 20 hands extra to see... well most structures the top 3-5 is when the money skyrockets. Which is exactly why ALL the risk you ever take should be as late in the tournament as you can.
Daniel Negreanu teaches his power holdem strategy Pt 2
Avoiding Risk Part 1
Many poker players think that avoiding risk means not entering a pot unless you have a hand. While this does have some merit in 10 person tournaments or maybe even 100 person tournaments, in the 1000+ fields, especially the 5000+ fields, this couldn't be further then the truth. The best way to advance deep into tournaments is to accumulate more chips than you pay for every rotation. Now this used to mean just playing tight, buying time and picking your spots against the tight players. But people play looser, they play more aggressive, and everyone who plays poker knows about stealing blinds. There's all sorts of tactics and counter tactics of defending blinds, re-stealing and all sorts of stuff. Plus other people accumulate chips like crazy, and even if you can steal the blinds long enough to tread water until you catch aces, to win a 5000 person buy in it would take some SERIOUS luck EVEN IF you only went all in with aces. EVERY all in individually is about 80% to win with aces... but you not only have to win a 80% chance... you have to win EVERY SINGLE 80% chance... the odds of winning with aces 3, 4 5 times in a row... are just not that good. Putting yourself at risk, even when the odds are in your favor is a VERY dangerous game, unless you know how to seriously accumulate chips and rise above everyone else, so that when your aces do get cracked, or when KK runs up against AA, you have plenty to work with.
That's what Daniel Negreanu's power holdem strategy is about. Stealing blinds was the old age way to win, stop and go to defend your blinds, widening your calling range, restealing blinds and "squeezing" your opponents a little more recent and still fairly effective.
There are now 2 modern ways that work together in the new age of poker...
Trapping your opponents (this is the counter move for squeeze plays), and small pot poker.
Trapping your opponent means flat calling raises with AA. If you get reraised you can play a big pot. I know I said all that about aces, but this works because for one you're calling a raise and if no one reraises your aggressive opponents going to hand you a lot of his stack, but it usually won't cause you to risk all of it. Someone reraised on the other hand, the original raiser may call, putting a lot of extra chips in the pot. Now you can either flat call and cause the "squeeze" player feel like he has to bluff off his chips to you, hope the original raiser bluffs off his chips, or checks to you and calls down with a marginal hand because of the pot size. OR you can reraise, make both your opponents put more money in the pot, or cause them to fold, and rake in a pretty big pot with no risk. It's pretty likely that if theres 3 people still in right now that after you put in this rereraise that ONE of your opponents will try to isolate headsup so they can increase your chance of winning. So they'll probably push, and the other may fold, or not. Either way, now you get a much larger pot then you normally would, you have an 80% chance of winning, and since you're going to be accumulating chips anyways, you probably will have more chips after the hand then almost everyone if you don't already.
Well if you're going to do this trapping, whether it be to limp with aces at an aggressive table, or even limp in late position with an aggressive blind stealer in the big or small blind, or whether you're just calling a raise with a monster... You're STILL going to want to have a way so that every time you do this you have the guy outchipped.
How do you do this?
By employing Daniel Negreanu's power holdem strategy
Phil Ivey, Phil Helmuth, Daniel Negreanu, and some of the other best poker tournament players in the world employ a similar strategy.
This strategy is raising, mostly with position, with all sorts of hands... But you are raising small amounts... You WANT the blinds to call you, because you can outplay them, you understand pot odds, you understand that with unpaired cards they'll only hit the flop 36% of the time, and from a small blind or big blind they'll have a random hand, probably with a weak kicker that they're uncertain about. You understand when they're strong, when they're weak, you understand the power of position and you understand what a maniac image this gives you... and you also understand that when people play back at you, eventually they're going to play back at you, and you're going to have a hand. But you also understand that you don't need to bet big and commit your opponent to the flop, you don't need to bet big to take the pot down. You also understand that if your opponents are passive you can see the hand to the river, and decide if it's best and bet accordingly. You also understand that if they're passive aggressive (bet if checked to, call if someone bets, occasionally raise if they have a big hand, but not against someone who keeps betting) and you're out of position that you can play more hands because if you're on a draw you can bet small and control the pot, and you can bet small for information on the flop and bet big enough for them to fold their weak hand if you think they will. If they're passive with a monster hand, you can get paid off because you'll hit your 4 outer, and they won't be able to get away from their hand. Others will look at this hand and think you're a maniac, giving you a perfect image.
Granted, you have to adapt to your table and make adjustments... If someone is reraising you every hand, this is when you trap, knock down the aggressors, and then make the same play of calling raises with position, with drawing hands to scare your opponents. You can just call a bet with nothing against an opponent you think is weak, if he checks to you on the turn you can usually bet and take it down. You can bet the flop with a backdoor flushdraw, and then your opponent may call and check expecting you to bet and you check and hit the backdoor flush, and your opponent who was maybe slowplaying a hand might give you all of his chips. If you flat call to bluff on the turn, you might also pick up a backdoor flush draw, and your opponent may think he can push you off of a hand, and he'll commit a lot of chips and you'll reraise a small amount and he'll feel like he has to call because you checked and you'll get paid off. If you have a weak ace and you hit and your opponent calls a bet out of position you want to check... Maybe he has AK, maybe he has a draw, but the best way to get money out of him is to check behind on the turn... Now you know that if he bets out he either missed his draw or he has you beat. Well if you see a possible draw on board you can call and you just got extra chips out of him because you checked, but if not, you can fold or just call a bet to a much smaller pot. On the other hand, he could have ACE KING and you might just hit two pair on the river and get a lot of his chips as well. It's much harder for an opponent to get away from a hand when they hit against a player like you, and it's harder for them not to check and call to you, as you should be fairly passive against an aggressive player. They've probably seen you bet on the turn as well, you might have had it, maybe not... But they see you betting all the time, and expect you to. They think they can trap you, but you're not going to fall for it because you're not the maniac they think you are. It's a controlled mania, it's absolutely great. and of course there's going to come a time in a tournament when an aggressive player bets and you flat call (after doing so before) with aces, and someone trys a squeeze play at the wrong time and you get it all in with aces... There's going to be some opponents that check raise you with nothing, and you're going to hit two pair or a straight. When you play like this you really don't want to slowplay a monster because if you check after betting every other flop, your opponent should be able to figure it out. Since you're playing small pots, it's not that necessary to protect your hand by raising, because you're not going to fall for someone who draws out on you and bets the pot out of nowhere. If he does you can fold... If your hands vulnerable, it's not that strong to begin with... You'll be playing a lot of hands, so you're going to see a monster hand sooner or later. You're also not going to need to take risks protecting against hands when you have a maniac image because people might call and suck out, or call with a big enough draw that they hit... AND because it's such a small pot, you don't gain enough by betting big to protect your hand. Many times people get scared out of a pot that they have the best hand in... Say you have A9 and the flop is 9 high... Well a T a J a Q or a K could hit, but that doesn't mean your opponent has it. He has a 12% chance of hitting on the turn if he has 2 over cards, but A9 with 99 isn't that strong anyways. Keep the pot small and you'll end up winning more than your fair share of them. If your opponent has an ace, or even a lower pair with an ace, it would be a BIG mistake to chase him out because if the ace comes you have him and can extract value. You look like such a lucky player and joker, and maniac, and all the characteristics of a bad player when you play like this... But you're adapting to your table, and you know how they're going to adapt to you. You're folding a lot of big hands when they play back at you, others at the table think you have garbage, the person in the hand is upset he didn't get paid off. A player raised in EP playing the first hand in 40 hands! I had KQ of hearts so I called just HOPING he had aces so if I hit I got his whole stack. The flop came QJT with 2 spades and he leads out and bets. Now the hands I should put my opponent on are the top 1/40 hands or 2.5% of hands especially in early position... but lets just say he wasn't picking up a hand and give him credit for the top 4% of hands. This includes AA KK QQ JJ TT 99, AKs, AQs, AK...
That's it... Now which hands am I a favorite over? Not many... Given that range of hands I actually only have a 28% chance of winning by the river. I know in traditional style of play you can't lay that sort of hand down.... if you don't have the best hand you could have 13 outs! But the pot isn't big because you didn't make it big. Your style is such that people are waiting for you to bluff them when they have a monster. This is usually a hand that I will just call down because I know if I hit I could bust the player... But I mean he either has 2 of my outs, a straight already and I'm drawing dead, or a set so if the board pairs my straight is still no good. OR he has 4 of my outs, and top pair. If you give him credit for possibly holding AQ he could have a pair with a flush draw and a straight draw.... BEST case scenario he has 99. But the point is, I hit my "outs" and they may not even be good. I should have been done with the hand but he bet the pot so quickly I didn't have much time to think, and I thought If I called I'd get some info. Well unfortunately the flush card didn't come He bet about 2/3 of the pot . I called again... The river was a 9. No possible flush, he bet the pot again. I hit my hand and still was thinking about laying it down... I knew he was strong, but I had already called it down so I called hoping he had a set, but it was AK and I lost a big pot. The funny thing is, given the fact that my 9 hit, I was STILL not even a 60% favorite over his range of hands. If not for my Negreanu style of play I KNOW I would've been dead and had all my money in on the flop. As it was I was still able to have some chips left
The more you learn to play this style well, the more you'll realize that you can afford to fold BIG hands. Another example was when I flopped two pair... I was eating the table alive, and there was only one person who had as many chips as I did. I raised with 96 of spades and the flop was 965 with two dimonds. The small blind immediately went all in... he was the only person left at the table who had more chips than me... I saw him go all in with top pair twice already, and was pretty sure I had him drawing to 3 outs. Well I was right but in hindsight I still shouldn't have called. He might have had 2 overcards with a flushdraw, and he might have had a pair of 5s with a flushdraw... I decided that he didn't have 78 because I had seen him slow play a straight. He could have had TT maybe too. Well he showed A9 and hit his ace on the river taking me out. It made me stop and think. How good were my chances of winning the hand... the answer is about 80%... But consider this... Early on I had 3000 in chips from stealing blinds and pots alone.. my opponent had 3100. If I don't call I'm going to probably get about 20% of all my opponents stacks at the table before it breaks... That's about 2500 chips risk free. So I'm either 100% to get 2500, or 80% to get 3000. Well 80% of 3000 is 2400, 100% of 2500 is more. Now the 80% of that 2500 (if I survive, I'm getting 2500 as well) is 2000... So you have to ask yourself, is 2000 chips worth risking a 20% chance of getting knocked out early on?
I say no... and I certainly have some clear arguments for it, but I'll get to that in the next post.
Labels: MTT, pot odds, reward, risk management, small pot poker, surviving big fields
Math formula and poker Part 1
Math is very significant in poker, but it is certainly more relevant in limit. Perhaps there can be some sort of formula to play holdem and win at it in no limit, but to be one of the best, you need the math plus the added edge of being able to read your opponent, or put him on a range of hands. However, given there are ranges of hands you can put your opponent on, and given the fact you know what knid of tendancies your opponents have, you certainly can use mathmatical formulas to at least get some sort of an idea of what to do.
For example, if you have 99, and you decide you're not going to be able to play small ball poker, you're outskilled or whatever, or you're making a move and taking a stand near or on the bubble and your table isn't really letting you see a lot of hands, lets say you're on the big blind with blinds 50/100 and they've just raised it to 300 and you reraise it to 1100, and you have 5400 in chips, and your opponent has 5200. Your opponent just calls. Now the flop comes QJ2 rainbow(all different suits)... what's your chances of being ahead, what does your opponent have, what can you get him to fold. Lets assume that he's either going to move all in when checked to, or fold if you push. Lets say the range of hands is(AA, KK, QQ, insert range of hands). If you knew how often your hand is good here, you could know whether or not it's correct to shove all in, and if it's correct to fold.
Fortunately there's a software called pokerstove (link coming soon), that allows you to figure that out. You can list your specific hand 9c9h, and your opponents range of hands. Then you can list the flop and see your equity (how often you're expected to win by the river). Well you can even determine that your opponent is going to call when he has a pair of queens or jacks... You can say he'll fold anything else, (other than AK which we'll also factor in the mix). If he folds, you're picking up say 2500 and at this point you're risking 4100
This first post is just to get you thinking about how you can use math to make some difficult decisions. In the next series of posts, I hope to uncover some key concepts, show you specifically what to do in this situation, what to do if he had more chips, less chips, different hands, etc.
Labels: big pot poker, pair vs overcards, poker math, poker odds