The most likely leak?

    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,084
      Hi guys!

      I'm playing small stakes FL shorthanded. I have noticed that I tend to do worse than I probably should in the games that ought to be the most profitable games for me. I want to find out the reason.

      Background: My style is basically tight and aggressive. The games I run relatively bad in are loose-passive games, especially with 2+ calling stations at the table.

      I'm quite sure that I value bet sufficiently lightly, give due respect aggression from my opponents, and bluff and semibluff less freuently than against other players.

      Given nothing else, what would you say I should look for in my own play? As I'm writing this I come to think about isolation raises. I make them, but since they seldom result in a fold (against the players I have in mind), Should I cut down on them or generally delay them to the turn?

      /Johan = :f_confused:
  • 9 replies
    • Waiboy
      Waiboy
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.09.2008 Posts: 4,877
      http://www.pokerstrategy.com/video/18962/

      A good place to start. :)

      Remember that playing these types of games you'll get more bad beats but generally win bigger pots. Patience is particularly important.
    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,084
      Yes, that video is a good place to look. Here is one more point that is not in the video, nor is it my own point; it's from David Sklansky's "Limit Hold'em for Advanced Players". It goes like this:

      In a very loose game in multiway pots with several loose passive players, do not raise primarily to protect a (possibly second) best hand on the flop (with position). Do this on the turn instead (if the board still favors this play) or fold (if a bad card comes and someone bets).

      The rationale would be that one doesn't really give free cards since one might be behind anyway plus they'd call (making a small mistake or no mistake) anyway. If they hit and bet, one can fold and have thus saved small bet. If they miss and/or we hit, we bet, they call (making a definite mistake since the pot is relatively small).

      Sklansky devotes a whole section to this. Some number crunching is probably required to back this reasoning up or disposing of it.

      Any comments?

      /Johan = :f_confused:
    • cjheigl
      cjheigl
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 09.04.2006 Posts: 24,495
      Way back in the poker timescale (2006?) this was intensely discussed in the german forum. Basically the question is: is it more profitable to win a smaller pot more often or to win a bigger pot less often? The rationale is that in a big pot you can't throw out weak draws on the flop but you might be able to give the draw bad odds on the turn. In a big pot it is worth a lot if you can raise your possibilty of winning that pot, very often it is worth more than to win an additional bet or two.

      Sklansky gives an example with a gutshot, which would get the odds on the turn if you raise on the flop, because then there is nobody who bets the turn who you could raise. If you just call the flop, the opponent most likely would bet on the turn, you raise, and the gutshot has bad odds.

      One problem is, that there might be even weaker draws which stay in the pot if you don't raise the flop, but could fold if you do (backdoor draws, 2-outers). So there is still equity to be gained on the flop with a raise even if a gutshot might not fold. This jeopardises the assumption of winning more often without a flop raise somewhat, while it is certain that you will win a smaller pot.

      Also if you raise on the flop there is the possibility of a reraise which could change the expectation greatly in favor of an immediate raise. If you can win 6 bets more instead of just one or two the advantage of winning a bigger pot is not so small even in big pots. If you just call you miss this opportunity. Lastly, you have to be pretty sure that you get the opportunity to raise the turn. If your opponent is likely to bet a draw on the flop this is in question.

      The delay to the turn is a good move if you have only a small equity advantage on the flop, but a good card might give you a big advantage on the turn. When you have near average equity on the flop and nobody is likely to fold you can't gain much on a raise.

      So the conditions have to be near perfect that it works as intended.
    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,084
      Thanks for the reply cjheigl. (Get a real name man :D ). What you write definately requires some thinking on my part. Right now i need to sleep.

      EDIT: Do you have a link to a decent thread on the subject? (German is fine.)

      /Johan = :f_confused:
    • cjheigl
      cjheigl
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 09.04.2006 Posts: 24,495
      Sorry, I can't find the thread it was first discussed. I can only give a link to a hand analysis where I analysed this situation and a discussion about the SSH line came up:

      http://de.pokerstrategy.com/forum/thread.php?threadid=124494
      (german forum)
    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,084
      This subject is clearly too complicated to discuss at a quantitative level without doing the actual math. At the same time, the added or lost value is probably very small in the long run.

      Yet in practice I have a huge problem with this as the pots won or lost are big. One or two of these per day can make the difference.

      Sounds like I'm contradicting myself here.

      Another related problem is three-handed pots where the bad play of another player causes losses, not only for himself, but also to us. It typically occurs when the bad player calls or slowplays in some fashion when he should jam, and thereby allows a third (good) player, and perhaps a fourth, to draw correctly to win the pot in the end.

      Hmmm... This is actually pretty much the original discussion, except that we are now in a different seat and the winning player actually would have folded to flop aggression ?( Ah, well, back to the drawing board.

      EDIT: Thanks for the link b t w. Now, should I brush up on my german or should I wait for the next release of Google Translate?

      /Johan = :f_confused:
    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,084
      Playing against bad players is not an easy task.

      I am pretty sure now about what my problem playing with loose/passive and loose/aggressive players really is. I don't need a poker coach primarily, or a hand analyst, I need a psychiatrist. At least I need mental coaching, I need sombody holding my hand at the tables or a powerful sedative.

      Well, a video on the topic of handling multiple loose opponents would be nice too. There are no such up to the gold level from what I have seen. The ones that are supposed to target this (instructional and micro stakes session reviews) are quite streamlined. We have one or two fish or perhaps a maniac in the pot, we make a read, and the read is correct, and we make the correct move most often. Nor will anyone ever supply a video for review where 100 BB is lost in an hour, regardless of how well it was played.

      Playing against multiple loose players is technically probably one of the most difficult situations in FL hold'em. I mean it. The deepest issues usually arising in high stakes FL is playing rock-scissors-paper against your (single) opponent in the pot, whose hand range is known to 95%. He is not taking a shot at the pot with T6 off UTG along with four other players, and he is not playing irrationally every hand. Besides, not every single hand boils down to deep deep leveling and hand reading. Please note that I don't say high stakes FL is easier than playing multiple maniacs, but technically, it might be. You will not find yourself caught in the middle, for instance, every hand at a table of TAGS.

      The mental aspects of this topic shouldn't be ignored. As you migh immagine (since I am writing this), I've had my worst FL session ever. I have played at least 500k FL hands over the years. I write this to clear my thoughts before the next session.

      A typical hand: I 3-bet a 60/50 player with AJs on button. Flop comes 776. He checkraises me. He never does this with a good hand, he waits until turn, but always, I suspect, when he thinks that I missed the flop. So, I 3-bet, mostly for a cheaper river card. He might have a small pair. So far, fine. He caps - I call. Oops, not good. Then the J on turn, he checks, I bet, he check-raises, I call. River is a deuce. He bets, I call. Sure enough, he has 22. I think I played the hand questionably, but he decidedly played it abysmally badly from the flop cap and on.

      But I am not looking to tell you a bunch of bad beat storis. The point is that when similar situations occur time after time after time, my mind starts detoriorating. Even if I have played reasonably well so far, I will start losing even more quickly. Things come out of synch. I start rebluffing in bad spots, can't fold top pair in big pots, fold top pair (best hand) in medium pots, try to put a calling station "in the middle", not realizing I'm putting myself in the middle, etcetera, etcetera.

      Am I the only one experiencing this? The players I refer to as bad really lose, they are not good LAGS, but the don't lose to me.

      There are several more topics in the Sklansky book (see first post) including ditching 99 preflop against multiple maniacs and limping on the button first in when the fold equity is 0.0%. I think the concepts are relevant, at least the are worth discussion before disposing of. One thing is for sure. I could not do worse resultwise.

      /Johan = :f_confused:
    • Boomer2k10
      Boomer2k10
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.09.2010 Posts: 2,551
      Actually you're incorrect about the "would never submit a session where he gets creamed" becasue I would

      However I do et your point that pllayin vs Loose Passive and Loose Aggresive players can be extremely frustrating as even if we're playing against good players who we, in theory, have a smaller edge on, we can follow their line of logic and, more often than not, at least have an understanding of what they do.

      Loose Bad players require a different mindset in a way but to be honest a lot of it comes down to thinking about your range, same as it does if you're playing vs someone you have no read on.

      If a maniac catches you at the bottom of your range or sucks out on you a ton that's just unfortunate, you can't do anything about it, and a lot of guys who I've played the game with often have the same thoughts:

      "If you're not losing money with a 2nd best hand you're playing it wrong"

      "LAGs get paid"

      etc

      All these thoughts are based around the fact that Loose Aggressive play is essentially a voluntary increase in variance.

      If we were analysing a 28/21 TAG and a 33/26 LAGTAG they would have very similar views about the game except the LAGTAG would be more willing to be aggressive in neutral EV spots either because he feels he has an edge in these spots, or that he can simply tilt or run over his opponents.

      Obviously the Loose Bad or Maniacal player goes too far and play hugely -EV spots but he still has the weapons of tilt and variance to use against and occasionally those weapons are going to work.

      In your hand example I don't personally get why you 3-bet the flop unless you were trying to induce a bluff cap or a bluff raise on the turn as why would you want a cheap river if he's always going to bluff off an extra 1/2 a bet?

      That's one other thing that I feel a lot of players have as a weakness is that they can't bear to not have initiative even if it's a much more profitable line to leave initiative to the other player. Poker isn't about who's got the biggest balls or who's always betting, it's about who plays the hand more optimally for the situation.

      You're right that not every hand boils down to deep hand reading because you can't but it's actually much easier. His range is super wide so therefore you can extend yours somewhat. You can fight back a little lighter, you can call down a few more hands, you can even check-raise him on the turn with hands like 2nd pair, there are a ton of options that you have available to you.

      But the number 1 thing against players like this is DON'T TILT!. If you tilt vs these guys you're going to lose big, even bigger than if you simply run bad.

      Running bad is part of the game, I doubt you'll find any player playing even remotely decent stakes who hasn't had a 500BB downswing in his career. Well maybe 1-2 but they're the gross exception.
    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,084
      Your help is appreciated. I tend to sort of defend my play here below, but I'm not infinitely stubborn. I just want to understand this clearly.

      About volontarily leaving initiative: This is a spot where I have improved considerably, actually mostly by picking up lines from your Donk Bet Theme Videos.

      That hand however: I was at that point already beginning to tilt a bit so I wasn't thinking clearly. Probably I thought (it's beginning to fade) "If I raise now (on the flop), he'll most likely call, then check turn, I'll check a blank turn behind and I have showdown value." Had that worked it would have been the cheapest way to showdown. Three small bets on the flop and perhaps one on the river. In reality this didn't happen of course.

      I was outplayed and done over that hand, thats for sure, but I can't figure out if he value-raised me on the turn or if he was bluffing.

      You have a point here. Can I at the same time say "He is bluffing. Raise for value/induce more bluffs" and "I want to get to the showdown as cheaply as possible if unimproved." Perhaps not. But I can say "Perhaps he is bluffing, perhaps he has a weak made hand" and figure a reraise to be acceptable in either case. I did not look for a high variance, small ev type of gigantic pot. I wasn't in the right mood for that. Either holding (bluff or weak made hand) should slow down resulting in a small pot, or should it (next paragraph)?.

      Are you also telling me that I practically asked him to re-re-bluff and continue maximal aggression on turn? Alternative formulation: "The freecard reraise doesn't exist!" I can understand that it is highly questionable on the theory that I turn my cards face up when I check on turn. But are you telling me that I turn my hand face up on the flop already by reraising? Do I really induce more bluffs by reraising againt this type of player? Reality tells me that I did (or was he betting for value?).

      /Johan = :f_confused: