BSS and open-limping small-medium pairs

    • Alieaz
      Alieaz
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2010 Posts: 69
      Dear Strategists,

      I have been using the BSS to good effect on the micros and feel my pre-flop play is ready for more advancement. But before I move on I thought it might be useful to discuss one tactic I found in the beginners starting hands chart for BSS that at least seems to violate the fundamentals of a tight-aggressive game. I'm of course talking about open-limping small-medium pairs from middle position.

      Typically you want to to get these hands to the flop as cheap as possible and multi-way - ideally you would be limping behind other limpers in late position so that when you hit your set you have a better chance of a worse hand paying you off... or you want to raise it from late position first in to steal the blinds or get it heads up or at the most 2 opponents and have a good chance of getting your opponents to fold to a bet on the flop as they will often check to your aggression - and sometimes these hands even hold up at showdown!

      When I read the chart the first time I was a bit confused at this at first but nevertheless went ahead and tried it as written. I found it to be a rather weak-passive strategy that lead to aggressive opponents eventually exploiting you by raising you from position every time you open-limp ahead of them. Sometimes I would have the implied odds... but often I did not. I can't help thinking raising is a better idea as it conceals the strength of my hand and makes me less exploitable. Another advantage is that it builds a pot so that if I do hit my hand my opponents are more likely to be priced in with worse hands. If I never open-limp then that makes it much harder for my opponents to read me.

      In hindsight, I suppose this strategy was only possible due to the fact that we assume that the vast majority of micro players only think about what they have and even then they don't really understand the strength of their own hands. Also, it's less likely we'll come across the same opponent (assuming we play at a big site) too many times over the course of our stint at a given micro stake.

      With these thoughts in mind, what are your thoughts on this tactic?

      I personally don't use it anymore and raise all pairs first in from middle position.

      Kindest regards,

      Alieaz
  • 8 replies
    • Mayana1987
      Mayana1987
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.12.2010 Posts: 47
      Hi Alieaz! It's interesting that you post this, because I was just about to post something similar.

      So, yesterday I was in a coaching and the player (a professional actually, not a beginner) even open-raised PP from UTG.
      Now, I agree with your assessment, but on the other hand I'm wondering: What if you get a three bet? Easy fold? Call? According to the SHC, you're also supposed to call 20 to a raise with PP. Then again, I've heard that the 3-4betting range on the micros is rather tight, so you might run into a pretty strong hand if you call.
      Since I don't use stats at the moment, I find it hard to figure out what to do in these situations.

      But I agree that from MP raising pp is probably better, especially if you have limpers, who will just fold or call to see the flop and fold quickly to a contibet if they don't hit.

      So far my thoughs. greetz. M.
    • Fagin
      Fagin
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.05.2008 Posts: 544
      Originally posted by Alieaz
      it's less likely we'll come across the same opponent (assuming we play at a big site) too many times over the course of our stint at a given micro stake.
      Hi, you might want to be careful with this assumption - I have found a number of players (mostly TAGs and a few Rocks) on whom I have over 4k hands within a 2 month period on NL4 (I play on WH at the moment).

      Alongside this there are (I would expect) a fairly substntial number of PS players using ipoker - I would hope that they can be expected to take note of other players they see regularly!

      Aside from that I personally do not open limp. If I am UTG or it is folded to me I will either raise or fold. If there are one or more limpers in front of me I will frequently limp with small to medium pps.

      GL at the tables
    • valancius
      valancius
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.03.2009 Posts: 65
      http://www.pokerstrategy.com/strategy/bss/1635/1/
    • StoneJ
      StoneJ
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.08.2010 Posts: 153
      I never limp them at the micros because it becomes so difficult to juice the pot if you do hit your set. I think its much better to raise it up. On the micros I think you can find an easy fold if you are 3-bet, unless you have some read on the player or the table dynamics lead you to believe they may be 3-betting light.

      3-betting light is a rarity at the micros. At best you would be in a race with AK most often!
    • Jan217
      Jan217
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2009 Posts: 626
      I would disagree with that, I think its actually worse to call with medium pocket pairs (OP) if you think they are three betting light, since we will just end up folding to a conti bet way too often and it will be really hard to play our hand postflop without a set. If we know they are 3-betting very tight and we get the required odds (1 in 8.5 to hit a set on the flop) then thats a better spot to call to hit a set, especially if someone else cold calls the three-bet. Often people 3bet their premium hands too small at the micros and then stack off willy nilly with any overpair, so this can be pretty profitable I think.
    • Alieaz
      Alieaz
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2010 Posts: 69
      I don't necessarily agree with that assumption either but it is a viewpoint that has been expressed in a number of videos I have watched here. I think its pretty hard to be anonymous to someone when you've taken money off them and the websites exist where people can easily look at your playing record (like PTR)

      This is why Rush is my friend right now...
    • Wriggers
      Wriggers
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.07.2009 Posts: 3,250
      I would tend to agree with you OP. I think open limping pocket pairs from MP is pretty weak. IMO it is always a raise, for many of the reasons you stated. An example being that if you have limped in a lot of the fish at the micros will gladly limp behind with any sort of connectors or suit cards, meaning the only hands that are paying you off postlfop if you hit your set are straight and flush draws, which means you can lose quite a lot of money when Villain flops some obscure straight. Also, to any kind of thinking player, limp/calling preflop if someone raises behind you turns your cards face up. It is very obvious that you have a Pocket pair or sometimes suited connectors.
    • petrasb
      petrasb
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.12.2008 Posts: 7
      I think that even at micros villains tend to somehow easily identify limp/call set mining. So I usally like to keep balance with raising poket pairs. 3betting somehow looks very strong especially for micro regs, so I have this in mind when balancing set plays. I mean 3betlight/fold or taking the cold money preflop. Because post flop your sets will be paid of (micros) usually with overpairs or just dominated with some wicked monster.