SH: Blind defense with medium strength Ax + broadways?

    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      I am playing NL10 SH on William Hill and quite often find aggressive TAGs on my right. How do I defend my blinds OOP with hands such as KJ+ AT+ aso.?
      They are too strong to fold, opponents will not call with worse if I 3bet and I rarely have enough information on their postflop game to call and make moves postflop (to call and check/fold without a hit 100% is not profitable).

      I understand that 3betting them should be ok if I can easily fold top pairs postflop.

      I often find myself in the following situation: I know that the only way how not to isolate myself against a stronger range is to call so I do. On the flop I often do not hit and I feel that check/folding is weak. I often throw in a check/raise without really knowing how my TAG opponent on the right usually reacts to such play. I often get called, which is when I also seem to be inclined to bet again on the turn if it is an overcard. That way I loose a lot of money. The point is – blind defense with these hands, and passive blind defense in particular, is a problem area for me.

      How do I defend my blinds with these hands?

      Where can I find good information about how to defend blinds? That one article here on PS BSS section is informative but does not really address the issues that I have here completely.
  • 26 replies
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      Hi Avatars,

      It's completely opponent dependent.

      How much does he steal from BU?
      How often does he fold to 3bets?
      How often does he call IP?
      How often does he 4bet?
      How often does he go to showdown?
      How aggressive is he postflop?

      I am not saying you need relevant stats sample for all of this, but you should have an idea about your opponent's tendencies at your regular limit.

      Usually, at NL10 I'd be inclined to 3bet those hands for value unless I have a reason not to.

      If you are BB and BU raises, SB folds, I would also be inclined to call a bit more than 3bet, depending on what I know about opponent because there's no risk I get 3way OOP or squeezed behind when I have a hand that will play well enough as a 3bet.

      Apart from that, 3bet pots is a huge unknown for most micro stakes players and they make big mistakes in them. If you can play 3bet pots well you will crush them and you will WANT to 3bet many many hands to increase your edge. In order words, you will need a reason to call instead of 3betting a hand you want to play.

      Regards,
      Manu.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      I am talking about TAGs in particular. Maybe I did not stress it enough. NL10 on WH is rather reg-infested for most parts of the day.

      And the problem about them is that in general, I cannot 3Bet such hands for value at all because they are too often dominated once I get called.

      And the problems when calling:

      I rarely have enough information on their postflop game to call and make moves postflop (to call and check/fold without a hit 100% is not profitable). I often find myself in the following situation: I know that the only way how not to isolate myself against a stronger range is to call so I do. On the flop I often do not hit and I feel that check/folding is weak. I often throw in a check/raise without really knowing how my TAG opponent on the right usually reacts to such play. I often get called, which is when I also seem to be inclined to bet again on the turn if it is an overcard. That way I loose a lot of money.
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      If they fold over 67% of the time it's going to instantly be profitable to 3bet to 3x if you don't enounter resisstance from BB if you are SB. That means it's superior to folding even if you don't put any more money in the pot unless you flop quads.

      Next thing to point out, there's no such thing as just TAG. Each player has a different response to aggression. TAG only means he plays some certain VPIP/PFR and isn't a calling station postflop. If someone is a TAG it doesn't give you any info on how he responds to 3bets. It simply means he hand selects preflop and doesn't limp them in. That's about it!

      Each TAG has different BU steal, different call 3bet, different fold to 3bet, different 4bet, different postflop tendencies.

      The reason to 3bet or not is way bigger than value or bluff when comparing some hand ranges. It's more important what happens postflop. Small example:
      - you 3bet 2 low cards in the blinds vs BU open.
      - BU calls with AKo and folds when he doesn't hit TP or better.
      - you cbet 100% of flops.
      - you make profit even though you always have a weaker hand to start with.

      The game has preflop, flop, turn and river. It's the same thing as with setmining. You give up an equity edge preflop to gain more profit postflop in certain spots.

      The information you need you talk about in that quote is hand reading skill which comes with experience and lots and lots and I mean LOTS of reviewing.

      What I also see wrong is you never talk about a plan for playing back considering board texture and equity! Watching good videos where people explain ranges well helped me a lot to become a better hand reader and play better postflop in any situation.

      I think making a huge rant about how everything is down to hand reading and ranges is besides the point here. If you want more help you can post some positional stats and some hands with the most troubling opponents and I'll be happy to go more into it. :)

      At this time, the best answer is still "It depends!". If you post your stats and some particular situations I'll explain what exactly each particular situation depends on and why.

      If you want, post one hand you 3bet pre got called and we can break it down together. Then you'll see if preflop dominance is as important as you stressed it in your first post. :)

      Cheers.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      The biggest problem for me, apart from the fact that my hand reading probably is not too great, is that I often have to defend my blinds against TAGs on whom I have somewhere around 20–50 hands most of the time. Even if I was a great hand reader, such sample sizes are too small to completely grasp how villain acts postflop in different scenarios. The biggest problem being his range for calling 3Bets IP, and his range for calling check/raises on the flop as the PFA. This information is, in my opinion, very important when choosing whether to cBet or check/raise postflop, or even whether to 3Bet or call preflop. Because I do not possess this information, I am somehow playing in the dark against these opponents.

      Another big problem for me: how do I get this information / how do I learn how to read hands? Even if I do get to play quite a number of hands against an opponent, I often still am left clueless about what his playing tendencies are like. I am basically forced to take action myself and "see how he reacts" against certain plays. That is also what I usually try to do but I so often end up just being spewy. How else do I get to know how my opponent's play if not by putting them in specific situations?
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      It's impossible to teach these things by just writing some words in a post imo. You need practice, practice and practice. There's no way around lots of reviewing! Just go through hands in your session and assign your opponent ranges and try and think what he could do with that range based on your next action.

      That would be your so called "standard". If anyone does differently it's time to make notes. If most players do something different, then your standard is wrong or the style of play simply changed.

      I'm sorry to disappoint you but I have no idea how to explain hand reading and getting information in a simple forum post. :( All I can recommend is active thinking and continuous learning.

      Regards,
      Manu.
    • ClimaxingWalrus
      ClimaxingWalrus
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.10.2010 Posts: 132
      Originally posted by Avatars91
      The biggest problem for me, apart from the fact that my hand reading probably is not too great, is that I often have to defend my blinds against TAGs on whom I have somewhere around 20–50 hands most of the time. Even if I was a great hand reader, such sample sizes are too small to completely grasp how villain acts postflop in different scenarios. The biggest problem being his range for calling 3Bets IP, and his range for calling check/raises on the flop as the PFA. This information is, in my opinion, very important when choosing whether to cBet or check/raise postflop, or even whether to 3Bet or call preflop. Because I do not possess this information, I am somehow playing in the dark against these opponents.

      Another big problem for me: how do I get this information / how do I learn how to read hands? Even if I do get to play quite a number of hands against an opponent, I often still am left clueless about what his playing tendencies are like. I am basically forced to take action myself and "see how he reacts" against certain plays. That is also what I usually try to do but I so often end up just being spewy. How else do I get to know how my opponent's play if not by putting them in specific situations?
      A HUD is not a substitute for paying attention. Instead of waiting to get 1k hands on somebody and waiting for your HUD to tell you how to play, do some work yourself. Watch their hands that go to showdown, did they check back 2nd pair on Q8xr? If they did then every time they cbet their 35% btn opening range they have top pair or air (way more air than top pair) so c/r them relentlessly. Pocket pairs like 77 on that board or any gutshot is great to c/r there because it makes villain fold the majority of his his cbet range, when they do continue they usually have tp or better so its important NOT to fire the turn vs this type of player and that`s also why its good to c/r these hands and only continue when we hit a set or straight (they have a super strong range that will pay us off). And when they start to not believe ur c/r then you can start c/r top pair hands like KQ for vaule there.

      If someone is cbetting all their pairs otf then you're going to want to c/r more hands that have overs + backdoors like KQs on J7x and fire turns when you pick up equity + fire rivers.

      Could go on with more but don`t feel like writing a long ass article here :)
    • ClimaxingWalrus
      ClimaxingWalrus
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.10.2010 Posts: 132
      I suggested to c/r 77 there because its hard to bluff catch as there are tons of over cards that will come should he choose to barrel and you let him realize his 15% equity or w/e if he cbets the flop and checks back the turn, not to mention you have the best hand the majority of the time. I would bluffcatch with 99+ there not c/r.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Thank you, guys, I really, really appreciate your thoughts and they are of great help!

      Just some other questions:
      How do I learn to create a good "Standard"? That is what I probably am struggling with most of the time, because each and every opponent is indeed different and I lack the experience to find a good general "Standard" to apply to the type of opponents that I am playing on a constant basis. I suppose that there are different standards that are to be applied as soon as I am able to classify an unknown as either a thinking TAG, a calling station, or a maniac. The question left – how do I learn to develop my standard approach e.i. the way I will be playing against a certain category of opponents that I have yet not acquired any reads on?

      I also decided to try and post a hand here that I also posted in the hand evaluation forum: NL10:SH:ATs blind defense with a somewhat active image. The questions that I have –

      1. What is it that I should probably know about this opponent already, given the fact that I have played 600 hands against him? At the moment of play I had not paid attention to his play at all. Or at least I had not been able to draw any conclusions.

      2. What should my thought process be like? How would you approach this situation? How should I "read this hand"?

      IPoker Network $10.00 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players - View hand 1737909
      DeucesCracked Poker Videos Hand History Converter

      SB: $9.65 - VPIP: 23, PFR: 19, 3B: 11, AF: 0.0, Hands: 26
      Hero (BB): $11.95 - VPIP: 22, PFR: 19, 3B: 8, AF: 4.8, Hands: 70604
      UTG: $3.00 - VPIP: 17, PFR: 15, 3B: 8, AF: 2.2, Hands: 352
      CO: $10.26 - VPIP: 20, PFR: 14, 3B: 4, AF: 5.0, Hands: 49
      BTN: $10.00 - VPIP: 20, PFR: 17, 3B: 7, Foldto3B: 67(12) AF: 6.0, StealFrmBU: 52, CbetFlop: 67, CbetTurn: 63, WTS:24, Hands: 592

      Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is BB with A :heart: T :heart:
      2 folds, BTN raises to $0.30, 1 fold, Hero calls $0.20

      Flop: ($0.65) 2 :heart: 8 :diamond: 4 :diamond: (2 players)
      Hero checks, BTN bets $0.50, Hero raises to $1.70, BTN calls $1.20

      Turn: ($4.05) 9 :spade: (2 players)
      Hero bets $2.02, BTN calls $2.02

      River: ($8.09) Q :club: (2 players)
      Hero bets $7.93, BTN calls $5.98 all in
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      There's no other way to do it than active thinking imo. Each player is different and the so called "standard" is just what works against most opponents you face so it has the best chances to work against an unknown new player.

      Once you have a couple of hands with someone you should find spots to deviate from the standard. You can see people doing this in videos and you can also learn this in sweat sessions with some other PokerStrategy members since each thinks differently.

      LE: Just saw your edit, will return with an answer soon.

      Q1:

      3bet ranges: polarized, depolarized, how much of each spectruum if polarized (AK+, QQ+ and junk, AQ+, TT+ and some junk, etc.) and how does that junk look like.

      Reaction to 3bets: calling (esp OOP), 4bet a lot, fold a lot? Useful to construct your 3betting range vs him.

      Postflop stuff:
      - cbetting: cbets depolarized or polarized (depolarized: any piece/pair; polarized: TP+ and air, TPTK+ and air, etc. same with 3betting, find out how polarized it really is), cbets and gives up turns with air or bluffcatches turns/rivers after check on turn, etc.
      - reaction to cbets: folding a lot, calling a lot then folding turn, goes to showdown no matter what, chases draws and bluffs them/doesn't bluff them; raises cbets a lot => what range, what's his nuts/air ratio in these spots, does he raise draws to get it in, etc.
      - aggression frequency: high but with many thin vbets, low so nuts only, high with many bluffs, etc.

      Q2 (hand):

      - You flat ATs vs a tight BU that plays OK vs 3bets so you prefer going post way ahead of his range. You have BD NFD on flop and 2 overs and villain cbets. His cbet is not out of whack so he does check some of his range but more likely than not he missed that board. You try and bluff him off his equity (there's no way he folds a lot of better hands but he folds decent hands). He calls flop and you assign him a weak range and proceed with barreling on blanks.
      - Imo, it's spewy postflop. The flop c/r is not ideal either because you don't have many low cards in your range there so you usually rep set or some sort of FD. In other words, the board is not more scarry for him than it is to you even when you raise. When he calls you should only proceed on good cards: heart, diamond, ace or ten. Anything else is usually spewy and not good without a read he peels light vs c/r and gives up easily later.
    • ClimaxingWalrus
      ClimaxingWalrus
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.10.2010 Posts: 132
      Good post Emanuel!
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      Originally posted by ClimaxingWalrus
      Good post Emanuel!
      Thanks!

      I've noticed Avatars91 has been posting quite here lately so I'm trying to help as much as I can. I'm pleasantly surprised at his activity tbh.

      Noticed your post which definitely makes sense. The mid pair c/r flop thing is also based on how villain constructs his cbetting range. I think you know that since you said you could go on a long article like rant. :)
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      3bet ranges: polarized, depolarized, how much of each spectruum if polarized (AK+, QQ+ and junk, AQ+, TT+ and some junk, etc.) and how does that junk look like. Reaction to 3bets: calling (esp OOP), 4bet a lot, fold a lot? Useful to construct your 3betting range vs him. Postflop stuff: - cbetting: cbets depolarized or polarized (depolarized: any piece/pair; polarized: TP+ and air, TPTK+ and air, etc. same with 3betting, find out how polarized it really is), cbets and gives up turns with air or bluffcatches turns/rivers after check on turn, etc. - reaction to cbets: folding a lot, calling a lot then folding turn, goes to showdown no matter what, chases draws and bluffs them/doesn't bluff them; raises cbets a lot => what range, what's his nuts/air ratio in these spots, does he raise draws to get it in, etc. - aggression frequency: high but with many thin vbets, low so nuts only, high with many bluffs, etc.


      1. Is it possible to always get all this information in the course of 600 hands?
      2. Is it possible to get and note down all this information on every single player while playing 3-4 tables SH? What is your approach, e.i., do you focus on specific opponents only or do you just note down as much as you can without selecting any opponents in particular?

      The flop c/r is not ideal either because you don't have many low cards in your range there so you usually rep set or some sort of FD.


      What kind of a board is good for a check/raise in terms of representing a hand? I usually do not check/raise TP hands so a board such as K93r is not ideal either.

      I've noticed Avatars91 has been posting quite here lately so I'm trying to help as much as I can. I'm pleasantly surprised at his activity tbh.


      Your help, as well as the help of your colleagues, is much appreciated! It is an honor to learn from you.
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      Originally posted by Avatars91
      3bet ranges: polarized, depolarized, how much of each spectruum if polarized (AK+, QQ+ and junk, AQ+, TT+ and some junk, etc.) and how does that junk look like. Reaction to 3bets: calling (esp OOP), 4bet a lot, fold a lot? Useful to construct your 3betting range vs him. Postflop stuff: - cbetting: cbets depolarized or polarized (depolarized: any piece/pair; polarized: TP+ and air, TPTK+ and air, etc. same with 3betting, find out how polarized it really is), cbets and gives up turns with air or bluffcatches turns/rivers after check on turn, etc. - reaction to cbets: folding a lot, calling a lot then folding turn, goes to showdown no matter what, chases draws and bluffs them/doesn't bluff them; raises cbets a lot => what range, what's his nuts/air ratio in these spots, does he raise draws to get it in, etc. - aggression frequency: high but with many thin vbets, low so nuts only, high with many bluffs, etc.


      1. Is it possible to always get all this information in the course of 600 hands?

      You should have most of this info, especially about preflop in less than 100 hands imo. If you don't it means you don't pay enough attention.

      2. Is it possible to get and note down all this information on every single player while playing 3-4 tables SH? What is your approach, e.i., do you focus on specific opponents only or do you just note down as much as you can without selecting any opponents in particular?

      Yes, I could do it while 6 tabling normal SH tables. Now I play Zoom and make most notes in HEM when reviewing but I don't use notes that much since I've seen my read of each situation is usually right (means I don't have to note doing something differently than what I normally do there).

      The flop c/r is not ideal either because you don't have many low cards in your range there so you usually rep set or some sort of FD.


      What kind of a board is good for a check/raise in terms of representing a hand? I usually do not check/raise TP hands so a board such as K93r is not ideal either.

      Boards that your opponent thinks you could hit. The Q83 with 77 example (or something close to this) by ClimaxingWalrus (awesome nick :f_biggrin: )
      is something to consider. Next would be nut gutshots, boards like KJx with some BD NFD, monotone flops (since people cbet them to often because they don't get played back at). It's all relative to what your perceived range looks like but always try to have some nut potential by the river when bluffing, even if it's just a gutshot or a medium pair that will be the nuts if you hit the set. The weaker his cbetting range the wider you can c/r bluff. For your value range you need some info on reactions vs raises (calls often or folds and when). For a total station it always looks like a bluff so you would be wrong bluffing any board! :D


      I've noticed Avatars91 has been posting quite here lately so I'm trying to help as much as I can. I'm pleasantly surprised at his activity tbh.


      Your help, as well as the help of your colleagues, is much appreciated! It is an honor to learn from you.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Yes, I could do it while 6 tabling normal SH tables. Now I play Zoom and make most notes in HEM when reviewing but I don't use notes that much since I've seen my read of each situation is usually right (means I don't have to note doing something differently than what I normally do there).


      Would you suggest playing at fewer tables (I already am playing at 3-4) until I get the hang of noticing this information as quickly as possible?

      Boards that your opponent thinks you could hit. The Q83 with 77 example (or something close to this)


      Will my opponent really be more inclined to fold on this board rather than the one in my example? The reason that makes me doubt it is that on these limits regs usually don't check/raise TP type of hands so I am not too sure I can represent a queen too well since I usually just call with my TP there. The fact that there is a queen actually makes me more scared because there are many Qx hands in his range whereas in my example I think that villain misses much more often.

      Or am I overestimating my NL10 opponents?
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      Yes, drop down on tables and look for that info after sessions as well. You will get the hang of it with practice.

      You have more Qx in your range than him. Apart from that, most players auto cbet a hand like 8x there and have no idea what to do vs raise. Apart from that, he cbets any overcards and you don't have that much playability + equity so you make him fold a hand with about 30% equity and having position. That's a good result and you also build image.

      They won't read too much what your range is imo. They won't note if you never c/r Qx or not. If you c/r and you see him calling light ADJUST! C/r lots of Qx and value town him. You won't be right 100% of the time right from the start, you will make mistakes, accept that. The important thing is to adjust! Always and always adjust! Don't level yourself into spewing, just rely and solid information your opponents give you even without showdowns.

      Weak lines like cbet and give up, c/r flop and c/c turn, fold river; check back flop and give up vs lead, etc. are the ones to look even without showdown and put pressure!
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Yes, drop down on tables and look for that info after sessions as well. You will get the hang of it with practice.

      Weak lines like cbet and give up, c/r flop and c/c turn, fold river; check back flop and give up vs lead, etc. are the ones to look even without showdown and put pressure!


      A question about note-taking on this sort of information:

      How much of all this information should I physically write down in a note during a session and how much should I just take a mental picture of?

      The reason I am asking is that some weak lines such as cBet flop and give up, check/raise flop and give up aso. are very common and are not necessarily weak unless they occur very frequently. When, how and what kind of notes would you advise me to take in this case? Do I simply take a note that e.g. "villain cBets flop and gives up on turn very often OOP" once I see that he does it frequently? How often is frequently? I hope you understand the problem I am facing.
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      Originally posted by Avatars91
      Yes, drop down on tables and look for that info after sessions as well. You will get the hang of it with practice.

      Weak lines like cbet and give up, c/r flop and c/c turn, fold river; check back flop and give up vs lead, etc. are the ones to look even without showdown and put pressure!


      A question about note-taking on this sort of information:

      How much of all this information should I physically write down in a note during a session and how much should I just take a mental picture of?

      The reason I am asking is that some weak lines such as cBet flop and give up, check/raise flop and give up aso. are very common and are not necessarily weak unless they occur very frequently. When, how and what kind of notes would you advise me to take in this case? Do I simply take a note that e.g. "villain cBets flop and gives up on turn very often OOP" once I see that he does it frequently? How often is frequently? I hope you understand the problem I am facing.
      It depends how good your memory is. Some don't need to take many physical notes while some are completely lost without them.

      Once I see someone take a weak line ONCE I put pressure in that spot until I get a reason not to. If he does it once I'm pretty sure he is not balanced and happened to run into bottom of his range but he will play all his weak hands that way. Of course, when it comes to opponent showing aggression with a weak range it's tougher because aggression will also mean good hands a lot while betting once and checking will rarely be a decent hand.
    • Avatars91
      Avatars91
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.12.2009 Posts: 2,689
      Once I see someone take a weak line ONCE I put pressure in that spot until I get a reason not to.


      E.g. CO: cBetting 80% of all flops with an opening range of 25–30. You are BU and you see him cBet the flop and check/fold turn against you. Do you immediately start calling him with a wider range preflop and start floating him? Or is this line not weak enough for such a drastic adjustment if seen only one time?

      Could you give a better example if this one is no good?
    • EmanuelC16
      EmanuelC16
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.01.2010 Posts: 13,897
      That's a very good example! :)

      However I would completely ignore the cbet stat since I've seen him cbet weak hands. There's no strong hand that cbets and check/folds turn. This example you gave is good especially when considering floating vs raising flop.

      If he gives up on turns, you can float a lot. If he had barreled you should be inclined to raise flop as a bluff instead of going to the turn with a weak range.

      That said, you should call strong draws because of implied odds when he barrels with bluffs and commits himself with hands like a set when you turn your OESD/flush draw.
    • 1
    • 2