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OFF-TOPIC snowbank analyzes biophase poker hand

snowbank

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Kenric posted a poker hand in his blog. I posted a comment and he thought I should post it here. Here you go:

Kenric's post about the hand:

"Second, my friend who is the professional poker player stayed with me during the week. I have to admit that having him sit next to me and coach me on how to play definitely inspires confidence.
I will give you one example which I had to sit down and figure out later.
Dealt to Kenric [Kh Qd]
Kenric: raises $0.60 to $0.80
3 folds
Villian: calls $0.60
*** FLOP *** [9d 7s Qh]
Villian: checks
Kenric: bets $1.00
Villian: raises $1.40 to $2.40
Kenric: calls $1.40

(I hope I remember this right, Bill please chime in if I butcher this analysis) AQ would check raise, maybe 99 or 77, but most likely those hands would just call. No other hand that would beat me should be here now. AA,KK would/should have reraised PF. Q7, Q9, 97 shouldn’t be here.
*** TURN *** [9d 7s Qh] [7h]
Villian: bets $3.25
Kenric: calls $3.25

With the turn bet, he ruled out 77 because quads would not bet here. He said that the villian was representing he had 99 with that bet.
*** RIVER *** [9d 7s Qh 7h] [8h]
Villian: bets $7.90
Kenric: calls $7.90

Villian made a nice size bet which I had to call.
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Villian: shows [Kc 6c] (Pair of Sevens)
Kenric: shows [Kh Qd] (Two Pairs, Queens and Sevens)
Kenric collected $27.40 from pot

Of course, I still don’t really understand this too well. But it took him about 1 second to read my opponent’s possible hands. I don’t think most people understand the type of detailed thought that goes into a split second decision of an online poker player."



my response:

"Ya, you had it pretty much right. AQ will usually call, but will sometimes check raise at these stakes. 99 and 77 are in the check-raising range. It’s a rainbow flop(3 different suits), so there’s no flush draw that would play it like this, and at these stakes semi-bluffing draws is not very common, so he’s basically repping 77 or 99 here. When the turn brings a 7, and he bets, it’s not necessarily that he wouldn’t bet quads, but that the chance that he actually has quads here is slim to none because he’d need the only 2 cards in the deck to make that happen, and we know he didn’t check-raise the flop with just one seven because he’d want to continue on cheaply with the hand because his 7 might be good, he wouldn’t want to bloat the pot. So on the turn, his hand is usually going to be 99, or a bluff. When he follows through on the river, his range doesn’t really change. He may have AQ, he may have 99, or he is bluffing. Also, one thing I don’t think I mentioned when you were playing the hand is that if he did have a Q here he may not fire on the river because a 7 is out there.(many players at the lower stakes won’t break down you’re range, to understand that a 7 is not in it once you call his check-raise on the flop), so you won’t see a Q very often from him, and a bluff is as likely if not more likely than 99, and you already have money in the pot. Many players at these stakes won’t realize that there’s nothing different about the texture of the board to make his bluff successful on the river when it wasn’t on the flop and turn. In other words, there’s no scare cards to scare you into a fold based on the fact that there were no flop flush draws, and he won’t realize this and often players like this will feel like they can bluff their way out of trouble, which is their only option unless they want to just give up, which they may not like in this hand."

i'll try and make a post soon about poker strategy to help people who might be starting out.
 

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JScott

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I don't play these stakes, so I'm not sure how these players tend to play, but I think Kenric played this hand way too passively...

Pre-flop play was fine, though a bit loose for my tastes. Most important key to success in no-limit hold'em is to never play a hand that will put you in the position where you will have to make hard decisions after the flop. KQo is one of the best examples of these types of hands -- after a K-high or Q-high flop, this hand can be very difficult to play, especially against tough opponents. So, I usually fold this hand in middle-position, as opposed to raising. Raising is definitely better than a call here though.

Post-flop the bet is perfect. But, the check raise is a great example of why you shouldn't be playing these types of hands in a no-limit game -- while you're likely best right now, there are too many possible hands that dominate you (leave you with three or fewer outs), and it will be tough to play from here on out against good players.

As for the check-raise on the flop, a good player would bet out AQ here, and wouldn't check raise. The reason being that a good player would want to get enough information on the flop (before getting too committed to the hand) where he could lay down if he thinks you have a big hand (AA, KK, AQ, etc). Unless Kenric tends to continuation bet too often (in which case a check raise is a good play here), the check raise is going to generate less information than a bet. Additionally, the check raise is too small, offering better than 2:1 odds, so it's unlikely going to get Kenric to fold any reasonable hand.

Perhaps 99 or 77 is possible for this game, but good players will normally bet out with those hands as opposed to check raising, as they'd want to build a pot if their opponent has any hand, and realizing that if their opponent doesn't have a hand, there's no harm in a bet here. In fact, one of the biggest differences between bad and good players is the willingness to play monster hands very strongly in order to try to build a big pot.

So, at this point, I have to assume Kenric is in the lead, and I would certainly put in a reraise on the flop. This sends the message to the "villain" that I'm not going away, and if he can put in the fourth raise here, I can confidently lay my hand down. If villain were a good player, he can lay down against this reraise; so a call indicates relative strength.

The only way you actually see a turn card is if villain calls the 3-bet on the flop, which indicates strength. If that's the case, do you have the best hand? Hard to tell, which again is why this isn't a hand you should have seen the flop with.

Anyway, let's say that Kenric played the flop the way he did, and villain bets out 3/4 of the pot on the turn like he did. Unfortunately, the only information Kenric got on the flop was that villain was representing strength, and the turn bet indicates the same. The turn card only helps Kenric if villain holds a lone 9, as villain would have two pair counterfeited if he hit it on the river. Additionally, Kenric has to assume that not only will he have to call a bet on the turn, but also a bet on the river, and will probably be getting only about 6:5 pot odds on the combined bets -- not nearly enough to see this marginal hand through to the end. So, if in this situation, I would certainly lay down on the turn.

By laying down on the turn, there will certainly be times when you lay down the best hand here, but that's all the more reason to: 1) not play marginal hands pre-flop, and 2) play the flop more aggressively to get information while the pot is small.

Anyway, let's assume Kenric makes the call on the turn, and villain bets on the river as he did. Kenric is getting about 21:8 (or about 2.5:1) pot odds on the call, which means Kenric only has to win about 30% of the time to make this a correct call. While you could certainly argue that he's unlikely to win 30% of the time in this spot against good players, I don't think it's a bad call, as folding sends a message that you are too willing to call down to the river and lay down to a big bet on the end (especially when there were no solid draws on the board).

That's my analysis...it assumes good to very good opponents which may not be the case here, so take it for what it's worth...
 
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snowbank

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jscott,

not sure if you noticed but this is a 5 handed game. folding KQ pre-flop would be a monumental mistake. as far the rest of the hand, your logic seems to be severely flawed.(not meaning that to sound mean, not sure how else to write it) you would never be 3 betting the flop here because its a wa/wb situation.(way ahead way behind) this means that if you are beat, you're opponent folds. if you are ahead, your opponent calls. therefore, you lose close to 100% of the time your opponent puts more money in if you 3 bet, and you win additional money when you have the best hand close to 0% of the time. so basically if you were to 3 bet the flop here after he check raises you, basically you guarantee yourself to win the least amount of money, or lost the most amount of money.
 

biophase

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Jscott,

I think that there are different philosophies going on here.

Your analysis is how I probably would have played the hand two weeks ago. Given that I had TPGK on the flop in a raised pot, I used to think that I want to take down the hand right there. So a reraise on the flop would have certainly done so.

I had my thinking the wrong way all the time. When I had the best hand I bet hard or raised which folded worse hands. When I had the worse hand I would just check when I should have been betting or raising.

I've learned that I've been playing these all wrong. You want to keep your opponent in the hand when you have the best hand on a non-drawy board and you'd want to make your opponent fold when you have the worse hand.

So given that I think I have the best hand here why would I reraise and have the person fold? Wouldn't that have been a better play with AK, AJ, 22-66?
 

JScott

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not sure if you noticed but this is a 5 handed game. folding KQ pre-flop would be a monumental mistake.
Didn't notice that, and assumed it was a full game. If that's the case, certainly the raise was correct...

you would never be 3 betting the flop here because its a wa/wb situation.(way ahead way behind) this means that if you are beat, you're opponent folds. if you are ahead, your opponent calls. therefore, you lose close to 100% of the time your opponent puts more money in if you 3 bet, and you win additional money when you have the best hand close to 0% of the time. so basically if you were to 3 bet the flop here after he check raises you, basically you guarantee yourself to win the least amount of money, or lost the most amount of money.
The goal of the three bet is to get information. The bulk of the money won or lost on this hand will be won or lost on the later streets, and by not gaining information early, you give away a huge amount of EV later in the hand. You can't expect to win big pots with TPTK, so making a lot of money in this hand is not the goal...the goal is to not lose a lot of money with this marginal hand. Putting in another $3 on the flop potentially saves you $10 later in the hand. Certainly in this case you would have lost out on making that $10, but 90% of the situations like this, you're giving away money, and the goal is to give away as little as possible in these marginal situations.

Again, just my opinion...
 

JScott

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Given that I had TPGK on the flop in a raised pot, I used to think that I want to take down the hand right there. So a reraise on the flop would have certainly done so.

I had my thinking the wrong way all the time. When I had the best hand I bet hard or raised which folded worse hands. When I had the worse hand I would just check when I should have been betting or raising.

I've learned that I've been playing these all wrong. You want to keep your opponent in the hand when you have the best hand on a non-drawy board and you'd want to make your opponent fold when you have the worse hand.
Yes, that strategy is sound. The problem with applying it here is that you're far from certain that you have the best hand. You don't have TPTK; you have TPSK (top pair, second kicker). And while it may seem like the same thing, it's very different. Here are the reasons why:

- With TPTK, you're never dominated. With TPSK, it's very possible that you are dominated and drawing to three outs. This is a horrible, horrible place to be in a poker hand;

- With TPTK, you don't have to worry about an Ace hitting the board. With TPSK, you do -- for two reasons: 1) Obviously, you don't like it because it's likely to make your opponent a better hand (if he held A9, for example), and 2) More importantly, because a good opponent will always use the Ace as a scare card and represent that he's holding one to try to take the pot away from you.

- With TPTK, you make most of your money by trapping your opponent with a second best hand (often TPSK). If you have TPSK and are ahead, your opponent must have third kicker at best. While it's likely your opponent will pay off a couple big bets with second kicker (as Kenric did), it's unlikely he'll pay off big with third kicker. So, you lose the advantage of TPTK vs. TPSK.

These are the reasons why KQo specifically is a very hard hand to play, and very hard to make money on.

So given that I think I have the best hand here why would I reraise and have the person fold? Wouldn't that have been a better play with AK, AJ, 22-66?
I think this is the crux of our disagreement -- it's not clear to me that you have the best hand here. If you had AQ instead of KQ, I think this play is just fine (and against certain opponents, I even think a value raise may be appropriate later in the hand as well, given this board). But, KQ is not TPTK, so not only are you way behind to TPTK, but if your opponent has second best, you're splitting the pot, and if he has third best, you're not going to make a lot of money.

The only hand your opponent could have in this situation where you make the money you made is a bluff. And he's not going to fire three times with a bluff often enough to make this play profitable.

I definitely like the "call down" strategy against aggressive opponents, but I prefer to use it sparingly, and prefer to use it when I have a hand that clearly is in danger of not being best (as opposed to this situation where it's not clear at all). For example, here's an example of where I like this play:

http://www.jason.netrino.com/weblog/2006/03/28/hand-of-the-week-2/

Again though, it's poker, so there's a lot of subjective decision making. With imperfect info, you can't always let the math decide...
 

PokerRich

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Just a couple quick thoughts:

1) I disagree with just about everything in JScott's first post. I know you said you don't play these stakes and that is probably where the issue is imho.
2) When discussing poker hands it is critical to have any type of read or info on the villain.
3) I didn't see a river shove mentioned in the discussion. QJ and QT are very much in villains range and at this level you get crazy calls with weaker hands. I think this is very close to a shove for value although without any more info on villain I certainly can't fault a call. You could argue either way and it's close but I tend to be a hyper LAG so I would shove. As Snowbank mentioned, if you thought you were ahead on the flop and turn the river doesn't change the result (JT gets there but I don't see villain playing this line with JT).

Edit to #3. Keep in mind the stakes here. If you were playing 5-10 NL, the villain's range would be far more polarized. He would either have a bluff hand or a dominating hand so there would be no value in shoving. At these stakes, people make mistakes and build marginal hands into big pots which is where you find the value in shoving here.
 
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snowbank

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The goal of the three bet is to get information. The bulk of the money won or lost on this hand will be won or lost on the later streets, and by not gaining information early, you give away a huge amount of EV later in the hand. You can't expect to win big pots with TPTK, so making a lot of money in this hand is not the goal...the goal is to not lose a lot of money with this marginal hand. Putting in another $3 on the flop potentially saves you $10 later in the hand. Certainly in this case you would have lost out on making that $10, but 90% of the situations like this, you're giving away money, and the goal is to give away as little as possible in these marginal situations.

Again, just my opinion...
You sound like you're thinking for along the lines of a tournament player, trying to protect your stack. In a cash game situation, your goal is to maximize your ev.(expected value) Even in most tournament situations this play would be very bad though. This is a really simple wa/wb(way ahead, or way behind) situation. "Raising for information" makes no sense. If you raise, and get re-raised, you've said you're going to fold. So you're going to invest more money, to fold if he has you beat, rather than playing WITH POSITION on him letting him bluff off chips to you. You are either wa/wb, because he's already check raised you. If you re-raise, what you are doing is folding out his hands that YOU DO BEAT. So he's only continuing with hands that BEAT YOU. This is a really basic situation because of that. There's a million situations in poker where you can have different opinions based on how you want to play, but this really isn't one of them. This is a flaw that is very, very costly to a lot of players. It's a leak where they either win the least amount of money possible, or lose the most.
 

phlgirl

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Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts on this topic, Snowbank. +++

I am looking forward to your 'poker strategy' post. I play online now & then and seem to do surprisingly well in home games (against people who play quite a bit - which tends to drive them nuts) but I have never really had a 'strategy'. Have a trip to Vegas coming up in a few weeks.... would love to have a real plan! :)
 

PokerRich

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Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts on this topic, Snowbank. +++

I am looking forward to your 'poker strategy' post. I play online now & then and seem to do surprisingly well in home games (against people who play quite a bit - which tends to drive them nuts) but I have never really had a 'strategy'. Have a trip to Vegas coming up in a few weeks.... would love to have a real plan! :)
The 1-2 NL tables in Vegas are legal mints. Play a tight solid game and you will walk away with a nice profit most of the time. The softest tables I played were at the hotel that FTP puts people up for the WSOP. I can't remember for the life of me the name of the hotel but maybe Snowbank can help. Craziest poker thing I was ever involved in happened there, a real drunk guy cut his arm open without knowing it and bled all over the table. We had to switch tables and the drunk got hostile when they told him he couldn't play anymore. Took 4 security to detain him while they tried not to get blood on themselves. It was disgusting. I will ask my wife tomorrow what the name of the hotel was.

I will post an email I sent to my poker students back when I was still coaching. It is not a great "how-to" for low-limit poker but it gives you some things to think about. I keep meaning to go back and fix the horrible writing but you will just have to ignore it for now:


Basic Poker Concepts by PokerRich

NLHE is an ever changing game and every table you sit at is going to be different. I have been very hesitant to put anything in writing because I want to stress that your style has to be fluid. If you are looking at a hand chart or thinking about what the book says to do in a particular situation you are limiting your game. A book will never tell you to reraise an UTG limper and a MP caller with 79s but sometimes that is the right play. Sometimes folding AQo in that exact situation is the right play.

Even though NLHE requires a fluid style, there are some general concepts to follow.

1) Position. Every professional NL player stresses position and I think it is critical to being successful. Look at your PT position stats if you don’t believe me. There are two major position points to consider.

- Position against opponents. If there is a tricky LAG on your left, leave the table. You are playing at a disadvantage and there is a better table available.
- Position in the hand. Being last to act in a hand is a huge advantage. You can watch all the action develop in front of you and can control it. You can make big pots or keep them small. 78s is easy to play from the button, not so easy out of the SB.

How do you relate this to actual play? Tighten up your raising from UTG and UTG+1. Don’t call out of the blinds with marginal hands. A10o is a good example for both situations. Do you want action in either spot? What types of hands are you going to be up against? A10o is garbage unless you are in position and controlling the action.

2) Avoid marginal situations. Thinking about A10o leads right into avoiding marginal situations. If you are being put to the test frequently in low-limit NL cash games you are doing something wrong. Either you are practicing bad table selection or more likely, you have some leaks in your game. Your opponent should be the one who feels pressured. There are several causes for marginal situations. Bad position, marginal cards, and/ or passive play all lead to marginal situations.

For example:

Non-marginal situation: You are on the button with A10o. You have been running the table. It’s folded to you and you raise pot. Only the SB calls. SB is a solid but imaginative player. Flop is A72 rainbow. SB checks and you bet 75% of pot and he calls. What could he have? You don’t run well against his range. Turn is a 3 and SB checks. This couldn’t have helped his hand but you think your bet will only be called if you are behind so you check. The river pairs the 2 and your opponent makes a 50% pot bet. You quickly call as you are getting good odds and he tables A9s - you scoop the pot.

By controlling the pot in position you were able to avoid a marginal situation.

Marginal situation: same hands and same type of opponent except now you are in the SB and opponent is on the button. Button raises and you call with your marginal hand out of position. Flop is A72, you check and button pots it. You call thinking your hand is good and trying to trap. Turn 3, you check and your opponent bets ¾ of the pot. Now you are in a big pot and if you call you could face another big bet on the river. This is a solid and unimaginative player, he has to have AK or AQ. You fold.

There is an excellent article on pocketfives.com by Green Plastic called “What is your edge?†If you haven’t read it, you should as it goes more in depth on this point. Basically Taylor says you need to have an advantage to play a hand. It can either be positional, better cards or being a better player, but you have to have at least one advantage.

A couple of concepts to help avoid marginal situations.
- Don’t play weak Aces and weak broadway hands. You know where you are with 44 but you won’t know where you are at with K10o. This changes if you are on the button or cutoff with no action in front of you but play slowly after the flop and don’t call a reraise with these types of hands.
- Be the aggressor, especially in position. If there is a weak-tight limper UTG and you have J9s that you are going to play, raise it. You give yourself the chance to win the pot right there or to win it with a continuation bet on the flop if called. If you just limp in you will have no idea where you are at.
- Don’t zealously defend your blinds. This is not a MTT where blind defense is important. Don’t call with any 2 because you have odds. If you have a hand that can flop a monster and you are getting priced in, then play it, otherwise just fold.

3) Be the intimidating, tricky player at the table. Be the one opponents fear and hate.

There are three main levels of players. The first level is the low limit player who plays their own cards. “I have top pair and that’s a big hand.â€

The second level of player is the one who is playing their own cards but playing them in relationship to their opponent’s hand. “I will call with second pair because I think my opponent just has AK.â€

The third level is the player who is just playing their opponent. “That’s a scared feeler bet, I am going to blast him off the hand.†They do not need good cards to win a hand. They frustrate their opponent and when they finally play a big pot to showdown they have the nuts. This is the intimidating tricky player you want to be.

How do you get there? Concentrate on your game and don’t be mechanical. How often do you sit down at a table and just play level one and two? When you do your game is not improving. By playing on level three and thinking through every hand your game will improve exponentially. Are you going to make mistakes? YES. That is OK. That is how you get better. Early on in your level 3 play, move down a limit or two so the money doesn’t matter if you stack off trying to bluff a calling station. Learn your lesson and don’t do it again.

Every time you are to act, think things through on level 3. If you flopped a set, how are you going to get your opponents stack? Maybe a small bet will induce a big bet out of him if he’s aggressive. Maybe an overbet will induce a calling station to call with top any piece of the flop. If you missed your hand, how can you get your opponent to lay down his hand? Think every action through and remember you always have two or three options every time you have cards in front of you.


Critique your game after every session, both the good and the bad. Replay the hands you got stacked on. Did you get all your money in with top set v. a flush draw? Well played then. Did you overplay top pair, top kicker against a nit’s set? Where should you have gotten away from it? Use PT for this type of analysis.

As I mentioned at the beginning, you have to have a fluid style to adapt to different playing conditions. Generally at the lower limits, you have more calling stations. This means being a real LAG is not always optimal. TAG play is closer to optimal. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of opportunities to be tricky. However, you need to be more selective on where you run plays. If you are focusing on level 3 play, you will find these opportunities.
 

JScott

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In a cash game situation, your goal is to maximize your ev.(expected value)
Okay, since you brought up the EV discussion, let's look at the EV here...hopefully math will help clear things up... :)

Once you call that raise on the flop and commit to calling down the rest of the hand, you have committed to calling $12.55 ($1.40 + $3.25 + $7.90) to see the rest of the hand. If you win, you'll win a $16.15 pot (not including your $12.55).

So, the pot is laying you 16.15:12.55 (or about 4:3) to play the hand in this fashion.

This means that for this play to be +EV, you need to win at least 3 out of 7 times, or about 43% of the time.

Do you think that in this situation you have the best hand 43% of the time?

Personally, I play $20/40 NLH (not online), and at most, I can imagine a typical opponent in that game bluffing in this spot (and betting a weaker hand than TPSK is considered a bluff here) about 15-20% of the time (especially since you signaled strength pre-flop and the board was completely uncoordinated). So, in the long run, in the game I play, making this play provides a huge -EV.

If I calculate the EV for playing the way I would have played it (and assuming I assigned hand percentages as they likely would be in the game I play), I also get a -EV result, but a much smaller -EV.

Again, maybe the opponents are just completely different at these different stakes, but I still find it hard to believe that your opponents would be bluffing more than 43% of the time in this situation...at any stakes...
 

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PokerRich

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Okay, since you brought up the EV discussion, let's look at the EV here...hopefully math will help clear things up... :)

Once you call that raise on the flop and commit to calling down the rest of the hand, you have committed to calling $12.55 ($1.40 + $3.25 + $7.90) to see the rest of the hand. If you win, you'll win a $16.15 pot (not including your $12.55).

So, the pot is laying you 16.15:12.55 (or about 4:3) to play the hand in this fashion.

This means that for this play to be +EV, you need to win at least 3 out of 7 times, or about 43% of the time.

Do you think that in this situation you have the best hand 43% of the time?

Personally, I play $20/40 NLH (not online), and at most, I can imagine a typical opponent in that game bluffing in this spot (and betting a weaker hand than TPSK is considered a bluff here) about 15-20% of the time (especially since you signaled strength pre-flop and the board was completely uncoordinated). So, in the long run, in the game I play, making this play provides a huge -EV.

If I calculate the EV for playing the way I would have played it (and assuming I assigned hand percentages as they likely would be in the game I play), I also get a -EV result, but a much smaller -EV.

Again, maybe the opponents are just completely different at these different stakes, but I still find it hard to believe that your opponents would be bluffing more than 43% of the time in this situation...at any stakes...
I can barely stand the swings at 3-6 and 5-10 NL, you must have quite the stomach for 20-40. You're absolutely right that the opponents are completely different animals. Online games are way more aggressive and spewy than live. I will assume your math is right - In this spot at a low-stakes game, you will be shown QJ, Q5s, 44, A6, A9, K5 etc. I would be more concerned about opponent having Q9, or 7x than AQ or 99 type hands. I am sure playing against competent and thinking players this type of play is tough to comprehend but it is common... more than 43%. Now, all that being said, if we have some type of read against the opponent that he is tight or very passive than analysis competely changes. Against random internet low-limit donk I take my chances (and probably shove the river for value).
 
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snowbank

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Okay, since you brought up the EV discussion, let's look at the EV here...hopefully math will help clear things up... :)

Once you call that raise on the flop and commit to calling down the rest of the hand, you have committed to calling $12.55 ($1.40 + $3.25 + $7.90) to see the rest of the hand. If you win, you'll win a $16.15 pot (not including your $12.55).

So, the pot is laying you 16.15:12.55 (or about 4:3) to play the hand in this fashion.

This means that for this play to be +EV, you need to win at least 3 out of 7 times, or about 43% of the time.

Do you think that in this situation you have the best hand 43% of the time?

Personally, I play $20/40 NLH (not online), and at most, I can imagine a typical opponent in that game bluffing in this spot (and betting a weaker hand than TPSK is considered a bluff here) about 15-20% of the time (especially since you signaled strength pre-flop and the board was completely uncoordinated). So, in the long run, in the game I play, making this play provides a huge -EV.

If I calculate the EV for playing the way I would have played it (and assuming I assigned hand percentages as they likely would be in the game I play), I also get a -EV result, but a much smaller -EV.

Again, maybe the opponents are just completely different at these different stakes, but I still find it hard to believe that your opponents would be bluffing more than 43% of the time in this situation...at any stakes...
JScott,

Math really isn't needed in this hand because it's a really simple wa/wb flop situation. It just comes down to fundamentals on this one.

If you want to break it down by numbers, you need to remember to include all the math.:smxF:

He's going to be bluffing greater than 43% here based on ranges and bet sizing, but just for you, I'll use your numbers and still be able to prove mathematically that 3 betting the flop is a huge leak.

I'll use 42% as the amount of time he's bluffing, since you wanted to use 43%, so I'll fudge the numbers even more that way for you. I'll use 58% as the times he's not bluffing and we will be beat.

So, the way that you'd like to play it, you 3 bet the flop because you want to take it down. You've also said you are folding to his raise, because you just want to know if you're beat, or if you're ahead.(this is where your fundamental error occurs) So after he raises to $2.40, let's say you make it $7 to try and take it down right there.

Once villain check raises the flop there's .8 + .8 + 1 + 2.4 in the pot= $5
We will win this using your number, only 42% of the time. The other 58% of the time we'll say he raises, and you fold.(VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: I could say that he calls sometimes, and it would have you losing even more money with the way you wanted to play it since a 3 bet folds out all Q's we have outkicked and if he puts in more money pretty much anytime you call you're behind, but I'm going to use everything in your favor in this example to prove how big of a fundamental mistake this is.) So when you raise and he re-raises, and you fold, it cost's you $6 more to make that raise(since you had $1 invested before his small $2.40 raise)

Simple math: ev= .42 x 5 + .58 x (-6)
total ev= (3.32)

So you can expect to lose $3.32 playing it this way.


Let's look at the way Kenric played it:

$5 in the pot, and it costs 1.40 + 3.25 + 7.90 to win the existing 5 + 3.25 + 7.90, so 42% of the time Kenric is going to win $16.15.

58% of the time Kenric is going to lose 1.40 + 3.25 + 7.90= 12.55

.42 x 16.15 + .58 X (12.55) = (.496)

So using your numbers Kenric's going to lose 49 cents. Heck, we'll round up to 50 cents.

So with your numbers:

the way you wanted to play it: negative $3.32


the way Kenric wanted to play it: negative: $0.50


And this is using numbers fudged in your favor! It will work even more in Kenric's favor is we use numbers closer to what the actual ranges would be, and including if villain just calls you're 3 bet while having you crushed, which I left out just to prove the hand mathematically using your figures.

If we use numbers closer to what the actual ranges are, Kenric will be in the positive, and like I mentioned early in the post, you can only expect to lose more.

I think something that may help you, is not thinking so much about trying to figure out math, and just use reasoning with hands. This is a simple wa/wb hand, no math was needed, but hopefully this helps clear things up for you.
 

JScott

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I'll use 42% as the amount of time he's bluffing, since you wanted to use 43%, so I'll fudge the numbers even more that way for you. I'll use 58% as the times he's not bluffing and we will be beat.

...

So with your numbers:

the way you wanted to play it: negative $3.32


the way Kenric wanted to play it: negative: $0.50


And this is using numbers fudged in your favor!

Actually, no...you're not quite getting the point of the EV calculation.

There are two ways to look at this:

1) Was Kenric's play +EV?

The 43% wasn't the break-even point between his way of playing and mine -- it was the necessary bluffing frequency needed for Kenric's play to be +EV. Independent of how I play the hand, Kenric needs the bluffing frequency of the villain in this situation to be at least 43% for this to be a +EV situation.

I don't believe he'd be bluffing 43%+ of the time, and therefore Kenric's play is not +EV.

2) Was Kenric's play better than what I suggested?

If you re-read my post, you'll see that I believe that (at least in the game I play), the villain is only raising on a bluff at most 20% of the time.

Based on the 20% number, my play has a -EV of about -$3.80 and Kenric's play has a -EV of about -$6.80. (Feel free to go back and re-do your math with .2 as the bluffing frequency).

So, based on my estimate of bluffing frequency, both of our plays are -EV and Kenric's play will lose about twice as much money as mine will.

Your analysis above tried to mix those two concepts together, but they are completely separate. Feel free to argue with either #1 or #2 above, but don't confuse them and think they are related arguments (in other words, the 43% has nothing to do with the EV calculation of how I play the hand, only the EV calculation of how Kenric does).
 

biophase

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FWIW,

I played the exact same hand last night. I had KQ and flopped Q72. I made a continuation bet, the villian min raised me, I min-reraised (mis-click as I was 5 tabling) and he folded.

I still believe that a call is the correct play at this level. Had I just called, he may have led out on the turn again.

Also, I'm playing .10/.20 and players bluff alot more than 20%. I would say they bluff about 50% of the time I c-bet. Especially since I play very aggressive they all play back at me with air. Anytime I catch TP against these guys I'm usually calling down unless a draw hits.

To give you an example of the type of play I see, last night I had J10 and the board was 10-J-10-6-A. The guy called my river shove with Q6!
 
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snowbank

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Jscott,

You really don't understand the logic in this hand, which is the main part you are missing. You can throw out any random numbers that you'd like, and you are forgetting to realize that you didn't even include hand ranges, or half of the hand in your 43% example. This is the equivalent of SteveO buying a 100 unit apartment complex and saying, "ya, those 75 units are probably rented, I'm just going to look at these 25 over here and try and prove to someone this is a deal." I can't tell if you really don't understand, or if you are just trying to somehow prove that this fundamental mistake is right.
 
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snowbank

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2) Was Kenric's play better than what I suggested?

If you re-read my post, you'll see that I believe that (at least in the game I play), the villain is only raising on a bluff at most 20% of the time.

Based on the 20% number, my play has a -EV of about -$3.80 and Kenric's play has a -EV of about -$6.80. (Feel free to go back and re-do your math with .2 as the bluffing frequency).
lol, you keep digging yourself deeper. kenric and i have already said he'll be bluffing much more, based on his ranges.

if you use 20%, then you would FOLD, not raise or call:thumbsup: there would be no reason to continue with the hand if he only raised on a bluff 20% of the time.
 

JScott

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You can throw out any random numbers that you'd like, and you are forgetting to realize that you didn't even include hand ranges, or half of the hand in your 43% example.
Wait a sec... This is a quote from you a couple posts back:

In a cash game situation, your goal is to maximize your ev.(expected value)
You threw out the fact that your goal is to maximize EV, so I did some math as you suggested was important. All I did was to calculate the EV based on the information provided in the post and then make the statement:

"The 43% was ... the necessary bluffing frequency needed for Kenric's play to be +EV. Independent of how I play the hand, Kenric needs the bluffing frequency of the villain in this situation to be at least 43% for this to be a +EV situation."

While you might not like the statement above, it is mathematically provable (and I did). You can argue that my assumption of bluffing frequency is incorrect, but you can't argue that Kenric needed his opponent to be bluffing at least 43% of the time for the play to be +EV.

Again, you can certainly argue that this opponents bluffing frequency was greater than 43% (and you could probably convince me). Like I said in my original post, I don't play this game and don't know the players or their styles.

All I did was base my bluffing frequency assumption on the 15 years and 10,000 hours I've been playing this game (and since I've paid taxes on nearly $700K in tournaments and cash games in that time, I must be doing something right :))...
 

JScott

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kenric and i have already said he'll be bluffing much more, based on his ranges.
And I've already said that if that's the case (that the opponent would bluff more than 43% of the time), then Kenric made the right play.

I never denied that this might be the right play...I just said it wouldn't be the right play against the opponents in my game...
 

JScott

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By the way, guys...I didn't mean for any of my comments to come off as rude or obnoxious...hope they weren't taken that way...

Poker is a game of imperfect information, and rarely is there a right or wrong way of playing a hand without knowing all the details (and often even then)...
 

biophase

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I don't think any comments or responses are coming off as rude. It's a good discussion and I'm glad to see it here.

For one thing, I think that this discussion shows how much thinking and math is involved in playing just one street in poker. And it certainly shows that poker is definitely not luck.

I think that if we can agree that people bluff more than 43% of the time at this level than calling is the correct play.

One fundamental difference I've noticed is that the you are giving your opponent the chance to catch two pair by just calling. I used to raise to take down the hand right away. I would always get p!ssed when the opponent would catch on the river, but I think I understand that the mathematical chances of this happening are so low that I should try to call down more often (on non-drawy boards) than to take the pot down early.
 

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snowbank

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And I've already said that if that's the case (that the opponent would bluff more than 43% of the time), then Kenric made the right play.

I never denied that this might be the right play...I just said it wouldn't be the right play against the opponents in my game...
Right, you got it.

3 betting the flop here at 20/40nl would be costing you $760 if you're opponents are bluffing 20% of the time though, so folding would be right in that situation, instead of 3 betting.
 

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