# Protection

• Bronze
Joined: 15.06.2009
This is a long question.

The concept of protection is not "defined" officially as far as I know. This makes it quite difficult to discuss since people may have slightly different ideas about what it actually is in precise terms. The article http://www.pokerstrategy.com/strategy/fixed-limit/44/1/ is mostly concerned with when bets for protection should be made.

In a hand evaluation, Dawnfall gives a very useful wording at least. The protection bets fall into two categories; either we root for the opponent to fold when they are given sufficient odd, or we are rooting for them to call given insufficient odds.

We are trying to induce the Sklansky type of "mistakes", those of the Fundamental Theorem of Poker". I mean the type of mistakes that one wouldn't make if one coud see the opponents cards.

So, if we could see the opponents cards, then the absolute majority of bets could be classified as bets for value or protection of either kind. Transparent cards are rare, but something useful and exact can probably be defined in terms of ranges. (This is surely true for the concept of a value bet.)

Here is the question:Is there an existing way of classifying bets more precisely, (preferably exactly) than just saying that value bets and protection bets "go into each other"?

EDIT: A correct definition must assess the probability of the opponents folding or calling with certain parts of their ranges. This is obvious. At a somewhat simpler level, what I'm looking for is a set of rules of thumb - if you see what I mean.

MORE EDIT: Protection does not exist on the river by any sensible definition. It's exact definition on the flop (whatever it is) seems much more difficult than on the turn. Naturally, the number of opponents and their respective types is crucial.

A practical example: Say that I make a 3-bet on the flop is of what I believe is protective nature vs 2 opponents. Suppose that my assesment is wrong, and that I'm not good enough to lay my hand down on later streets because I get sucked in by the pot odds (that I myself create for later streets). Best of all would perhaps be to avoid the protection 3-bet in the first place. In micro limit these things occur often for me unfortunately.

/Johan =
• 5 replies
• Bronze
Joined: 13.11.2009
Hey there,

Also about the FTOP stuff that once was an argument between us: http://pokerfuse.com/features/editorial-opinion/flops-ranges-and-the-luck-in-duplicate-poker/ - that was my point all along, but it's stated much more clear here.

Cheers,
• Bronze
Joined: 15.06.2009
Your blog is excellent. That blog puts the question and parts of anwer to it in plain english: Q:What the **** is protection? A: ******* rare!

While english is expressive enough in certain situations, more precision is asked for in my first post. We should have good rules of thumb. To get good rules of thumb we need a mathematical statement of when protection is good or bad (as a motivation).

That mathematical statement would be an EV-maximizing formula which is based on our best perception of the opponents ranges and behavior. EV-maximization is always achieved by averaging our (exact) hand versus each idividual combination of opponents possible hands in the range, flops, turn cards, and river cards. Estimated probability of opponent actions factor in as well. (Throw in metagaming here if you like.)

These individual combinations which we go over in our heads are to be handled as if we saw our opponents hands!!! Statistical averaging based on percieved ranges come in after calculation of every individual combination. (You'll never get away from FTOP Madi It's fundamental, true, but of course, not complete. Also, it can be applied correctly or incorrectly.)

An intermediate step would be to create hand groups. Hands that villain correctly folds to a bet, hands that he incorrectly folds, his complete air hands, etc. After this, the relative number of the hands in the groups is important, not his actual holding. (Now we can forget about FTOP. )

I'd like a couple of good rules of thumb to get directly to this intermediate step. Even a robot wouldn't be able to make a complete calculation in real time.

/Johan =
• Bronze
Joined: 13.11.2009
I'm not sure I understand completely what you want to get, but I'm pretty sure it has a level of pointlessness in there. If you wanna throw around with protection-formulas, you could say that if Villain folds x of the time y amount of equity in a z bb pot, the gain that comes from this part of his range is x*y*z, that you can factor into your total EV versus his total range. However more often you want to use it relative to other options, where your starting point is that a pure protection bet is profitable, if your pot odds for betting is lower than the odds of your opponent's chance to improve (that does mean by FTOP terms he makes a bad fold).

The only problem with it that it's mostly useless, or really indecisive in situations, if you get down to real problems. Given the limit structure, you rarely have a case of your opponent folding a huge chunk of his range that has huge equity against your hand. If your opponent folds 30% of the time a 6 outer on the turn, that's just a 3.6% equity improvement for you, therefore you'd need a huge pot so that would be a big factor for you (or a really borderline decision, but that will be so borderline, that the error rate in your assumptions would play a much bigger role in the results, then the protection stuff).

Also, if you really want to take protection into account, you would have to take a look at how much IO/RIO you make fold by the player, and also how often you prevent your opponent from bluffing you (and maybe even how often you prevent yourself to make a more profitable bluff on later streets, etc.). But these are stuff, that you won't ever work with neither at the tables nor while analyzing situations.

Also, sorry that the purpose of my blogpost made months ago wasn't to answer your question exhaustively, still, I believe there is some interesting stuff in there. E.g. there are more important stuff to think about.

PS: I don't agree that you need rule of thumbs, I think they're more hurtful than useful.
• Bronze
Joined: 15.06.2009
Thats a rule of thumb too. Just ignore protection. I don't have a very big problem with that conclusion, but others might. At least you will see and hear the term "protection" used in murky or blatantly incorrect contexts.

But why exactly is it pointless to try to achieve even a definition of the term? You seem to include fold equity only, and others include the value of incorrect calls.

Should we use the term "protection" when we raise knowing that one player in the will call with a 3-outer or should we not? I'm not asking wether to raise, but wether we should call that hypothetical raise "protection".

You say, in effect, that really taking protection into account is very marginal and way too difficult to attempt even in an analysis. Now I'll be a little bit mean and unfair here and quote you out of context. You have labelled it a huge gain if we can "make" one player fold a six-outer on the flop by being tricky preflop. [The question in that context was capping pre-flop in BB with TT vs 2.].

I'am asking equally much for rules of thumb when NOT to apply the protection reasoning (whatever that might include). Example: Flopped low end of a low straight vs 4 players. There is a 3-flush on the board. Do we go bonkers on the flop and value cap? Or do we take it cool on the flop to be able to set up "protection bets" vs low flush draws on the turn if it looks good? Just in the same way some would not cap monsters preflop mostly to be able to generate folding equity on the flop.

I don't think such questions are not worth asking.

/Johan =
• Bronze
Joined: 13.11.2009
Originally posted by YohanN7
Thats a rule of thumb too. Just ignore protection. I don't have a very big problem with that conclusion, but others might. At least you will see and hear the term "protection" used in murky or blatantly incorrect contexts.

But why exactly is it pointless to try to achieve even a definition of the term? You seem to include fold equity only, and others include the value of incorrect calls.

Should we use the term "protection" when we raise knowing that one player in the will call with a 3-outer or should we not? I'm not asking wether to raise, but wether we should call that hypothetical raise "protection".

You say, in effect, that really taking protection into account is very marginal and way too difficult to attempt even in an analysis. Now I'll be a little bit mean and unfair here and quote you out of context. You have labelled it a huge gain if we can "make" one player fold a six-outer on the flop by being tricky preflop. [The question in that context was capping pre-flop in BB with TT vs 2.].

I'am asking equally much for rules of thumb when NOT to apply the protection reasoning (whatever that might include). Example: Flopped low end of a low straight vs 4 players. There is a 3-flush on the board. Do we go bonkers on the flop and value cap? Or do we take it cool on the flop to be able to set up "protection bets" vs low flush draws on the turn if it looks good? Just in the same way some would not cap monsters preflop mostly to be able to generate folding equity on the flop.

I don't think such questions are not worth asking.

/Johan =
And the quote you quoted was wrong, as it turned out later in the thread. However, you have to see that on this occasion, that was a flop question, where we could have huge reverse implied odds. But yeah, after the discussion in that topic, it turned out I was overvaluing the protection aspect for sure.

Also, the meaning of the term protection was clearly told in the blogpost that 'didn't answer your question fully'.

Protection means that you can make your opponent fold a certain amount of equity.. Make someone fold

And also if you could see the whole point of the post, it was about people misusing it very often, especially in LHE, given that it's kind of a fancy NLHE-term that is used (correctly) a lot there. So to answer your question: making a hand with equity fold is protection, making a 3-outer call you is value. (Given the definition of a valuebet: worse hands call you. - a 3 outer is a worse hand, and it is calling.)

In your example IF you believe a low FD might fold to 2 bets on the flop, or to a turn bet, protection plays a role there for sure, and not even a small one - but obviously you cherry-picked the best example for that. But even if half of his range is low FDs, they have 18% equity (and some IO for sure) you make him fold 9% equity, that is still not a whole lot

Maybe I'm a bit overreacting this whole protection stuff, maybe I'm just angry, because in my early carrier I got this "protection" shit a lot without seeing the actual purpose of it (that turned out to be irrelevant bullshit covering up that they don't get certain concepts, just like a lot of other fancy terms being used), and therefore I just hate protection from the guts, that's absolutely possible.

So in conclusion what I definitely can say is that protection is an over and misused term and concept, that usually just covers up something that an individual can't or doesn't want to solve or understand. You'll hear that term misused more than 80% of the times.

For the actual math I've never used more than the formula I mentioned before, we make him fold x of the time, y percent equity from a z BB pot: x*y*z. (And also you can estimate the IO/RIO you make him fold, but more in depth would be a waste of time IMO, but I'd be happy if you prove me wrong, like in the last thread. Honestly, I learnt an awful lot from that.)