Not balancing one's bet sizes in the low stakes

    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      What do you think: can one ignore balancing regarding bet sizes in the low stakes, basing his decision not to do so on the fact that many if not the almost absolute majority on that limit is going to pay too much attention to that, e.i. is going to notice / have reads on that? Regulars included.

      If that is true, up until which limit would you suggest to do so?

      I am not sure but I think that such a strategy may prove to be very very +EV.
  • 29 replies
    • lui69
      lui69
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      Joined: 27.01.2007 Posts: 970
      Dont balance at low stakes ..
      Dont balance against the fish ..
      Dont balance against unknown ..

      Dont balance to balance the balancing ^^
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Is your advice applicable on other aspects of play other than the bet size as well?
    • murichej
      murichej
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      Joined: 28.05.2011 Posts: 54
      Originally posted by lui69
      Dont balance against the fish ..
      why that? fish usually don't recognize the difference between 2.5BB and 4BB
    • lui69
      lui69
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      Joined: 27.01.2007 Posts: 970
      Originally posted by murichej


      why that? fish usually don't recognize the difference between 2.5BB and 4BB
      In this case u are not balancing.
      Balancing is in my opinion pretty much playing the "optimal" game.. Means if u take this hand and use this line with that betsizes on that board and evaluate it u wont get exploitive.. u will do an optimal balanced game.

      But like u say that a fish wont recognize.. U are doing an " exploitive play " against the fish.
      This means he will call much more than he should do and for this case u raise harder your value hands..
      But exploitive plays can be reexploitive by good players.. In this case your bluffs pre and steals preflop will get much more expensive .. Because the fish doesnt recognize that u bluff or have a valuehand ..The good player will notice if u Steal 70 % from late positions....
      Now how often do u raise preflop from late postions with valuehands, and how much do u steal .. There comes the optimal play in use.. Therefor its much better to bet a lil lower preflop....

      Sorry for my bad english but i hope i could argument for my point..

      Balancing with solid hands against a fish is not necessary or needed

      EDIT: a good player should be somewhere in between..

      sinceraly

      2nd EDIT ;) :

      This is the preflop case ..
      I think postflop should be always an "equity odds and outs play" against the fish .. Also u have much implied odds.. Therefor its absolutly noooo use to balance the postflop game with some weird lines and betsizes ..

      If u are ahead just bet the shit out of his midpairs and draws ^^
      E
    • Kyyberi
      Kyyberi
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      Joined: 09.07.2010 Posts: 10,508
      The Greater Truth in poker is that you should balance only when you NEED to balance. Against creational calling stations, don't. You are only wasting EV, as he will never even know what "exploiting" means.
    • lilDave
      lilDave
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      Joined: 24.04.2011 Posts: 264
      I think "balance" is basically the difference between poker for the long term and poker in a vacuum. If you are playing vs a thinking player on a regular basis then he will be looking for exploitable holes in your strategy (as in, he never does this with X, and never bets the turn with Y etc) to counter his attempt to exploit our play we are trying to give him zero situations where he can rule out any type of holding. "Balanced Ranges"

      There is no reason to think you wouldn't run into a player capable of this at lower stakes, it's obviously true to say that the higher stakes you go to the players of this quality you'll run into, therefore meaning a "balanced" strategy should be more at the front of your mind. You need to identify the players on this level and attempt to play as un-exploitably as possible vs them, even at lower stakes, with balanced ranges in every spot possible.

      Vs non-regular opponents or obvious weaker players who most likely aren't going to notice exploitable gaps in your game then for sure you should always play optimal vacuum poker, as in just make whatever play/decision you think will yield the most profit in this specific spot, this way of playing will almost ALWAYS be more profitable, as you aren't making immediate concessions in the hand for future benefit, basically what "balance" is in practice.

      Defo don't think though that weaker players aren't capable of spotting trends in your play though, because they defo are (he always bets big when he has a lush draw etc) but they will often be EXTREMELY biased by the short term, so defo bear that in mind.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      So the biggest problem – what makes you think that opponent x is a thinking player that is closely watching your game for leaks aso.? A player can have solid stats and can play straightforward poker but that does not automatically mean that he is paying attention to all aspects of your game. It would be rather sad to be balancing against all opponents who potentially look like strong attentive players without really asking the question – is opponent x really going to notice this? There is so much money to be won ignoring balancing when it is not needed imo. Take 6max NL10 for example – do you really think that all the people with 24/22/3.0 VP/PFR/AF stats are automatically watching every single step you take? I am not saying they aren't, but is there really no way how to determine the level of our opponent's attentiveness?
    • lilDave
      lilDave
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      Joined: 24.04.2011 Posts: 264
      Its up to you to figure this out, we live and die by our judgments as poker players so if you play vs a player regularly you have to figure it out and go with it from there.

      I think saying that ignoring balance is a great opportunity to make money isn't 100% true, it's defo true taking optimal vacuum lines (the line that will make most money THIS time specifically) will pretty much always be the most profitable way to play short term, but the thing with ranges is they built over time in tune with your overall game strategy, so you need to be thinking about them constantly if you want to progress as a player imo.

      Basically I think I'm just saying that always considering your range is a very good habit to get into and will make playing higher stakes a lot easier.

      Interesting topic though!
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Of course, I am not saying that ignoring balancing is the way to go. I was just wondering how to draw the line when deciding whether or not it is worth to go for the vacuum optimal play or balancing.

      May I expand this topic a little bit more?

      Say we are playing against a multitabling regular who does not seem to be making too big mistakes – is it a good idea to go for the vacuum play (e.i. not balance) until we actually get busted (they see our cards, we fold etc.), then take a note that our opponent has seen us playing like that and go from there? Just a random idea on how to play against thinking regulars..
    • CallumN
      CallumN
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      Joined: 04.01.2012 Posts: 1,141
      I think you can do this at any stake. Its all player dependant.

      There is a regfish I play at 400nl+ who I cbet halfpot vs with air, and 3/4 with a value hand.

      He still folds a whole bunch to my half pots and pays of my 3/4 pots with very marginal hands.

      You only need to balance when people start adjusting. This also means they have to see you go to showdown with both parts of your range.

      This takes a long time to happen normally, on top of that, they actually have to be paying attention!
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      There is a regfish I play at 400nl+ who I cbet halfpot vs with air, and 3/4 with a value hand. He still folds a whole bunch to my half pots and pays of my 3/4 pots with very marginal hands.


      Does the fact that other opponents see and possibly notice this affect your play against this particular player / other players at the table?

      You only need to balance when people start adjusting. This also means they have to see you go to showdown with both parts of your range.


      Could you please give some examples of how we should play before we see our opponent adjusting as well as how to play once we see that our opponent is adjusting?
    • CallumN
      CallumN
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      Joined: 04.01.2012 Posts: 1,141
      Lets say that he knows you half pot the river with KQ type hands on QTxhhx7h.

      He then sees that you are betting 4/5 pot on similar boards with flushes.

      If he is good, he is going to realise that our river half pots are strong, and our 4/5 bets are nutted.

      Now we start half potting strong hands on the river, expecting him to turn all his hands that dont beat tpgk into a bluff on the river. So we expect him to start jamming over our river half pots as a bluff and we can snap call and ship the nickles :)
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      The biggest question is – when and how can we tell that he has such a read on us?
    • CallumN
      CallumN
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      Joined: 04.01.2012 Posts: 1,141
      its a bit tough, but when you see that certain bluff lines are getting picked off all the time or value lines arent getting called, it may be time to try some different bet sizing
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      So basically – adjust when feeling exploited?
    • CallumN
      CallumN
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      Joined: 04.01.2012 Posts: 1,141
      pretty much, its something you have to go by feel i think
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Does this mean that I can basically play in a completely unbalanced way (in all aspects, not just bet-sizing) against everyone until someone starts exploiting me, which is when I adjust my play against that particular opponent only?
    • CallumN
      CallumN
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      Joined: 04.01.2012 Posts: 1,141
      bingo.

      Only start balancing when you have a reason to imo.

      I guess this applies for like nl2-nl100 where the average player doesnt pay huge amounts of attention.

      Until I have extensive history with a regular I generally play super unbalanced. I only worry about it when i think they have started to adjust.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
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      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Is the reason why this would perhaps no longer be the best approach beyond NL100 that we can safely guess that the average opponent on that limit is more or less attentive and therefore quite capable of quickly exploiting us, thus causing too much losses in comparison to profit during the time period when we have yet not noticed that we are being exploited?

      The reason I am asking is because at first glance I fail to see why this approach would not be effective on any limit. We play in a way that we assume to be the most +EV at the moment (e.i. short-term) -> our opponent's adjust -> we notice that and we adjust -> then they adjust -> etc.. My point being that with this approach we are the ones who initially force our opponents to adjust e.i. we are the ones who put them under pressure first. Provided we can quickly readjust to their reaction we should have an advantage in the balancing / exploitation war because we have initiative. It's sort of like playing with the white pieces against black in chess.

      This might be completely wrong though -> I am not an NL100 player :)
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