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proximity
01-26-2015, 11:21 PM
didn't want to ruin dilane's excellent online poker thread by bringing up the name roy cooke, but I did feel certain themes from the thread tied in with mr cooke's January 21 card player article optimizing value.

http://www.cardplayer.com/cardplayer-poker-magazines/66294-card-player-poker-tour-season-iii-28-2/articles/22224-optimizing-value

in particular:

(1) dilanesp's statement that "playing exclusively live tends to cause people to believe some very wrong things about poker."

(2) thaskalos's query about the relative ease of 2/5 games in the west.

(3) live tells.

from my own proximity poker tour thread last year I showed better results in limit than no limit. although I must respect the results of 90 no limit games I think I experienced more than my share of bad luck in no limit. also being a devoted reader of the bart hanson articles in card player i'm cognizant of value betting the river but still overall I feel that I do a better job of value betting in the limit games.

in this column, mr cooke is firing out the 1-2 nl equivalent of $84 on the river and in many games I play in I wouldn't expect a hand as weak as 88 to call this bet.

in fact the other day in a nl game i had a short stacked bluff attempt picked off by 88 on a similar board by a player that i feel is probably below average for the 1-2 level but who indicated after the hand that (even) he would've dropped on the flop (let alone calling $56 turn and $84 river bets) if i was deeper.

still i wonder if my own experience of coming up in some of the tougher no limit games at the racino, while callousing me, maybe also led me to "believe some very wrong things about poker???"

note that roy's game was in vegas and i'd be interested in hearing how track collector or some other mid atlantic players would've approached this hand.

finally about the tell. when roy was about to bet the other player reached for chips in a way that roy almost 100% read as a defensive "don't do it... let me show down the hand cheap..."

i do see this in the limit games sometimes and power through anyhow but i'm throwing out $6 there, not $84 with top pair, king kicker.

anyhow, just some thoughts about the article and my own fishy play. :)

dilanesp
01-28-2015, 02:27 PM
i haven't gotten a chance to read Cooke's article yet.

But in terms of "he won't call 42bb on the river", my understanding is that an important second-order NL strategy is figuring out how players approach bet sizing.

It's not a first order strategy because it's far less important than getting your pre-flop play right, estimating your equity correctly and knowing when you should call, raise, or fold with draws, and putting your opponents on ranges when you face a bet or raise with a made hand, etc.

But as I recall, there's basically a 3-ply division among NL players:

1. Players who don't pay attention to bet sizing at all, and will just call if they have a hand that they think might be good.

2. Players who pay attention to the absolute size of bets, and will react differently to different size bets, but who do not understand anything about bets in relation to the size of the pot.

3. Players who understand bet sizing in relation to the size of the pot, and who will calculate their pot odds and call if they think the odds justify it.

If you know which of the three categories your opponent falls in, this is a basic read that can help you a lot in deciding how to size your bets. Against (1)'s (calling stations), you should just put as much money into the pot as you think you reasonably can. You can even overbet the pot in certain situations (e.g., you have AK on an A9772 board and you believe you are being called down by a weaker ace-- you can bet $300 into a $220 pot on the river and get called).

Against (2)'s, you should manipulate the absolute size of your bet to get the player to do what you want. That often means making your bluffs more expensive and your value bets cheaper, and it also often means you can't get away with what would otherwise be a proper bet size on the river. For instance, in that $220 pot above, you might normally bet $150 with your AK, but if your opponent is a (2) who considers $150 an impossibly big bet, you might only bet $75 or something.

Against (3)'s, you should bet standard amounts in relation to the pot (for instance, 2/3's of it) and your bet sizing should not convey information about your hand. On the A9772 board, you should bet $150 into the $220 pot whether you are value-betting AK or bluffing T8, giving her 2 1/2 to 1 on her call either way. If you make an unbalanced play against a (3) (for instance, making a small "blocking bet" with a weak made hand), you have to balance it with some other hands in your range so that the bet size does not convey information.

thaskalos
01-28-2015, 03:01 PM
i haven't gotten a chance to read Cooke's article yet.

But in terms of "he won't call 42bb on the river", my understanding is that an important second-order NL strategy is figuring out how players approach bet sizing.

It's not a first order strategy because it's far less important than getting your pre-flop play right, estimating your equity correctly and knowing when you should call, raise, or fold with draws, and putting your opponents on ranges when you face a bet or raise with a made hand, etc.

But as I recall, there's basically a 3-ply division among NL players:

1. Players who don't pay attention to bet sizing at all, and will just call if they have a hand that they think might be good.

2. Players who pay attention to the absolute size of bets, and will react differently to different size bets, but who do not understand anything about bets in relation to the size of the pot.

3. Players who understand bet sizing in relation to the size of the pot, and who will calculate their pot odds and call if they think the odds justify it.

If you know which of the three categories your opponent falls in, this is a basic read that can help you a lot in deciding how to size your bets. Against (1)'s (calling stations), you should just put as much money into the pot as you think you reasonably can. You can even overbet the pot in certain situations (e.g., you have AK on an A9772 board and you believe you are being called down by a weaker ace-- you can bet $300 into a $220 pot on the river and get called).

Against (2)'s, you should manipulate the absolute size of your bet to get the player to do what you want. That often means making your bluffs more expensive and your value bets cheaper, and it also often means you can't get away with what would otherwise be a proper bet size on the river. For instance, in that $220 pot above, you might normally bet $150 with your AK, but if your opponent is a (2) who considers $150 an impossibly big bet, you might only bet $75 or something.

Against (3)'s, you should bet standard amounts in relation to the pot (for instance, 2/3's of it) and your bet sizing should not convey information about your hand. On the A9772 board, you should bet $150 into the $220 pot whether you are value-betting AK or bluffing T8, giving her 2 1/2 to 1 on her call either way. If you make an unbalanced play against a (3) (for instance, making a small "blocking bet" with a weak made hand), you have to balance it with some other hands in your range so that the bet size does not convey information.

No-limit is a troubling game for even the most experienced players...because determinations like these are not easy to make. There is a large pool of no-limit players out there, and we never play with the same players long enough to accurately decipher their betting characteristics. Another fact that I don't see mentioned here is that the better no-limit players will seldom allow you to see their hole cards...so it will be hard for you to "put them on a hand". The better player applies aggression...and will seldom allow a hand to go to the showdown stage.

Contrary to what most LIMIT players think, the big bets in no-limit are not reserved for the river...because the sharp player knows that the lesser player is more likely to make an expensive mistake when there is still "hope" in the hand.