# Calling down from a balanced point of view

• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011
Hey guys,

Recently I have been thinking on how calling down works and there are some things that I dont understand clearly.

Say there is a steal situation we get a raise from whatever position in the big blind and we face a cbet on the flop and we hold a bluffcatcher.

Let this be a 1/2 game, so the blinds are 0,5/1\$.

If I think in one street the pot is 4.5\$ and with the cbet the opponent risks 1 into it, so whe need to fold 1/(4.5+1) = 18% of our range to make him indifferent to bluffing.

However, its a rare case that someone bluffs the flop and doesnt bluff the turn and the river, most regs are usually barrel monkeys and bet through all three streets.
In this case he risks 5 bucks to win 7.5, his risk-reward ratio is thereby 1.5 and we have to fold 1/(1+1.5) = 40% of our range. With that we would be overfolding the flop, which wouldnt matter if our opponent continues to play like this.
But if he is a thinking player he may get a level over us, because he knows he has a barrel monkey image we are overfolding the flop and agains the range we continue with he does not have nuff fold equity and can start checking back turns.

Interestingly this kinda leveling indicates that this isnt a Nash equilibrium cause otherwise there wouldnt be any leveling at all.

So to find the state of equilibrium we have to assume that our opponent bets down with an optimal frequency and calculate our odds for calling down according to that.

But - and this is the bottom line - for this he needs to know what he is going to value bet on the turn and the river, and the problem is that turn and river cards might change the whole situation drastically.

He may say okay, for calling down the big blind has to risk \$5 to win 9.5, therefor I need to have 1/ (1.9+1) = 34% bluffs in my betdown range, however he cant determine his betdown range right on the flop cause what he can vbet along some turns and rivers might not vbet on others. For example mediocre over/top pairs and turn and the river is like rag rag, or it brings a king and an ace.

So if ranges and equities are so plastic on the flop how can you still look forward to the upcoming streets ? Or you cant ?
• 14 replies
• Bronze
Joined: 29.05.2009
Wtf. This is a total ramble for me, ununderstandable and useless. Even if you get answers to your questions, how to you put them into practice in a poker hand?

Give me a concrete hand example and I will tell you how it is
• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011
lol ok

so you are in the BB , CO raises eveyone else folds, you call and the flop is 3:s8:hT, CO cbets.

Question(s):

How does your calldown range look like (the range that you call with showdown intention) ?

Is it more simple now ?
• Bronze
Joined: 22.09.2010
In terms of your folding range on individual streets the best you can do to make your opponent indifferent to bluffing is to fold by 1-street alpha. Future streets don't really play into it that much.

What you're describing with his risk/reward ratio is "if my opponent were to shove all in at this point for this much what would I have to call him with?". That works ok when attacking becasue of the leverage concept but on defense you pretty much just have to take it one street at a time and guage his ranges.

However, you make a good point that many regs are over-zealous barrel-monkeys and thus can have ranges that are skewed one way or another.

That is really where the balance-point leads to good exploitation.

Knowing someone over-barrells isn't really enough, although you can test the waters occasionally and see which what hands they're willing to bet/call down with as, if they react by over-folding their weaker value hands you have an adaptation you can readily make to your default ranges.

I would probably under-fold this flop just simple for equity reasons, although I can see folding Q-High's with BDFD and no other redeeming features.

Combonator Output combonator.com

Board: 3 8 T

Entire range: 645

Grouped: 645 combos 100.0%
Ungrouped: 0 combos 0.0%

Raise: Value: 201 combos 31.2% (31.2% total)
Raise: Bluff: 77 combos 11.9% (11.9% total)
Call: 302 combos 46.8% (46.8% total)
Fold: 65 combos 10.1% (10.1% total)

Group 1: Pair of eights or better

88+, 33, ATs, A8s, ATo, A8o, KTs, K8s, KTo, K8o, QTs, Q8s, QTo,
Q8o, JTs, J8s, JTo, J8o, T6s+, T7o+, 98s, 98o, 85s+, 87o

Group 2: Jack-high or worse with gutshot or better, jack-high or worse with 3-flush or better and BDSD (no gaps) or better, jack-high or worse with 3-flush or better and BDSD (1 gap) or better

J9s, J7s, J6s (3), J5s (3), J4s (3), J9o, J7o, 97s-96s, 97o, 76s,
75s (3), 65s (3), 64s (3), 54s (3)

Group 3: Ace-high or better, added KJs+, K9s, KJo+, K9o, QJs, Q9s, QJo, Q9o, queen-high or better with 3-flush or better

77-44, 22, AJs+, A9s, A7s-A2s, AJo+, A9o, A7o-A2o, KJs+, K9s, K7s
(3), K6s (3), K5s (3), K4s (3), K3s, K2s (3), KJo+, K9o, QJs,
Q9s, Q7s (3), Q6s (3), Q5s (3), Q4s (3), Q3s, Q2s (3), QJo, Q9o

Group 4: Any hand

Kc7c, Kc6c, Kc5c, Kc4c, Kc2c, K7o-K5o, Qc7c, Qc6c, Qc5c, Qc4c,
Qc2c, Q7o, Jc6c, Jc5c, Jc4c, 7c5c, 6c5c, 6c4c, 5c4c

In order to make up for this under-fold we will have to overfold turn/river a little to compensate but that shouldn't be too difficult once you take into account missed BD draws etc.
• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011
Hey Boomer,

thanks for your comment. So basically you say there is no such thing as a calldown range from a balanced perspective, and you cant project later street actions to your range on the flop ? You just have to peel one and see what happens ? You havent explained why can you still do this when your "attacking" so in CO-s position ? What do you mean by leverage concept exaclty? I guess that comes flop NL where stack sizes play a role but in FL they dont.

If you are in the CO how can you say : "okay, Im gonna bet down this bluff no matter what cards may come".Cause you know you determine yourself bluffing a certain amount on later streets with this move on the flop, but if you know that this is gonna be a bluff, you must have some information about how much you will vbet after the flop cause vbets and bluffs go hand in hand. So the same time you choose to 3barrel bluff some combos on the flop, you choose 3barrel vbetting some as well.

And also it isnt clear for me if CO can plan for 2-3 streets, why cant BB say as well, okay I cant call two streets with for ex Q2-Q7s, it has no SD value, rather RIO than IO, my odds arent great and unless a K,Q,J comes - so more than around 60% of the time - I have to fold it anyway. So why not to dump the hand right on the flop rather then paying more for just folding it later ?
• Bronze
Joined: 22.09.2010
Originally posted by kavboj84
Hey Boomer,

thanks for your comment. So basically you say there is no such thing as a calldown range from a balanced perspective, and you cant project later street actions to your range on the flop ? You just have to peel one and see what happens ? You havent explained why can you still do this when your "attacking" so in CO-s position ? What do you mean by leverage concept exaclty? I guess that comes flop NL where stack sizes play a role but in FL they dont.
There would be a calling range if the bet was all-in but it isn't and there is future action so for calling ranges the best we can do is make sure our opponent doesn't exploit us by default with a bet/raise he is making

The concept of leverage applies when attacking becasue you know what action you're going to take the vast majority of the the time, and it does apply in LHE as well as Big Bet Games. (i.e. in LHE x/r then checking is very rare, usually a x/r leads to a 3-barell or at least a 2 barrell and a check) so we can often plan for multiple streets.

It is possible to plan for multiple streets on defense but it's very hard. Usually this comes into play when you are forced, usually for equity reasons, to under-fold on a certain street. You then have to compensate for this by over-folding one of the next 2 streets. under these circumstances you can use mutli-street ideas.

Originally posted by kavboj84If you are in the CO how can you say : "okay, Im gonna bet down this bluff no matter what cards may come".Cause you know you determine yourself bluffing a certain amount on later streets with this move on the flop, but if you know that this is gonna be a bluff, you must have some information about how much you will vbet after the flop cause vbets and bluffs go hand in hand. So the same time you choose to 3barrel bluff some combos on the flop, you choose 3barrel vbetting some as well.

And also it isnt clear for me if CO can plan for 2-3 streets, why cant BB say as well, okay I cant call two streets with for ex Q2-Q7s, it has no SD value, rather RIO than IO, my odds arent great and unless a K,Q,J comes - so more than around 60% of the time - I have to fold it anyway. So why not to dump the hand right on the flop rather then paying more for just folding it later ?
These really narrow peels are one of the more debateable areas of poker. The reason we makes a lot of these peels include:

1) If we over-fold the flop bet exploits us perfectly
2) These hands can continue on the turn in many cases. (i.e. Q-high with a BDFD can continue on about 1/3rd to 1/2 of the deck dependsing on turn cards/BDFD's and they are prime candidates to potentially turn into bluffs as well on the turn)
3) We do have to have a turn (and river) folding range and these hand fall easily into it when they miss allowing us to not fold hands with real value.
4) It costs us 1SB to peel (not quite- equity but whatev) but it costs our opponent 1BB to take another shot at the pot so it's not just us that has to pay the price if we peel.

I know where you're coming from though because, especailly HUHU, I've gone "I know I have to peel K-high here but I'm folding it so often on the turn, this sucks".
• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011
Thanks for the explanation Boomer,Ive finally understood what you mean by leverage in FL.

However I feel still uncomfortable peeling so wide, perhaps cause Im used to the strategy articles 38% rule of calling down.According to that in this situation you should fold even up to A6, and I dont get it how calling it down turns into a at least 0EV move regarding your whole game. I get it that your play makes your opponents play indifferent on the flop, but whats it worth if you lose more so on the turn and the river. Cause after whats in the old articles considering the costs vs a betdown range peeling that wide would be a -EV move.

A reason I see merit peeling wider a bit is because I'd like to xr the turn or reverse float quite often and for that I need to have some bluffs in my range, but not with hands like K2s, Q2s,or A2o, maybe A2 can be a call tho cause it has good equity, but it might turn also into a narrowish peel on later streets.

Also I think it doesnt really matter if your opponent folds a better hand when you turn these hands into a bluff , cause he will most likely fold a similar hand, so weak Q/K/A x and I think theres not much difference between an A high and an ace high with a better kicker regarding this, basically in this case both players would have practically no SD value and you just trying to protect yourself from being bluffed out. And also if you hit something with these there is a chance that with these hands you just end up being dominated and paying off hands with a better kicker too frequently.

What about adding the bottom of your x/r range to your calling range(like 85,86,87), so that it is more protected, plus you can bring more bluff hands to the turn, and get rid of those trashy broadways ?
• Bronze
Joined: 22.09.2010
However I feel still uncomfortable peeling so wide, perhaps cause Im used to the strategy articles 38% rule of calling down.According to that in this situation you should fold even up to A6, and I dont get it how calling it down turns into a at least 0EV move regarding your whole game. I get it that your play makes your opponents play indifferent on the flop, but whats it worth if you lose more so on the turn and the river. Cause after whats in the old articles considering the costs vs a betdown range peeling that wide would be a -EV move.

I think that 38% rule is incredibly nitty and it really only applies if your opponent is going to 3-barrell on 100% of turn and rivers becasue then you're simply doing an all-in calculation

You have to call 2.5 bets into a total pot of 7 = 35.7% equity

So even in the WORST situation, that of your opponent ALWAYS 3-barrelling, the max equity you'd need is 36%

Additionally the ranges it was probably calculated on were WAY too tight. Vs a Hijack open peeling A6o there may be a little bit debateable but that's becasue a hijack range crushes you there and your calling range in the first place would be narrower to the point A6o is probably close to the bottom 20% of your range

A reason I see merit peeling wider a bit is because I'd like to xr the turn or reverse float quite often and for that I need to have some bluffs in my range, but not with hands like K2s, Q2s,or A2o, maybe A2 can be a call tho cause it has good equity, but it might turn also into a narrowish peel on later streets.

What you are looking to do is avoid "auto-profit" situations, where your opponent can bet any 2 cards vs you and will make money becasue of it. The 100% c-bet has been the default tactic for so long becasue it is actually an auto-exploit vs a massive %-age of the population in the games. It's also close enough to balanced that in the vast majority of cases it's not worth deviating from that strategy.

With your example of A2s, K2s etc were move a little bit into the realms of GTO rather than Balance but the layers do mingle in a little way:

For example:

If you chose to bluff all flush draws either on flop (standard) or on the turn (picked up/delayed) your opponent should be aware that in your call/call range you have no flush draws so when a flush draw completes there is no need to fear it.

The A-high/K-high backdoor style peels serve 2 purpsed on that front.

1) They probably have the highest equity of your backdoor draws (they make top pair as well as FDs and have limited SD value)
2) They provide a calling range from your BD draws which protects your range somewhat and means you have the mixture of hands you need in your range.

Also I think it doesnt really matter if your opponent folds a better hand when you turn these hands into a bluff , cause he will most likely fold a similar hand, so weak Q/K/A x and I think theres not much difference between an A high and an ace high with a better kicker regarding this, basically in this case both players would have practically no SD value and you just trying to protect yourself from being bluffed out. And also if you hit something with these there is a chance that with these hands you just end up being dominated and paying off hands with a better kicker too frequently.

Also on your "opponent will fold a similar hand". If your opponent is playing well he shouldn't be betting these hands...if he is then you just blow his head off with bluffs as an exploitative move. "Protect myself" is one of the worst reasons for C-betting right up there with "I have equity" and "I just want to end the hand" becasue this is Fixed Limit Holdem, if someone has a good draw you can't get him to fold it by betting and in fact if you're going to get 1 bet you're better off inducing when he has no equty (i.e. river) than you are betting into him when he does have significant equity and can potentially blow you off your weak hand. You either have value or you don't and if you don't you have to weigh up where you are in your range to guide you on x/c or x/f.

As a default what you're looking for is to bluff with the hands that gain the most from it. Yes the FTOP really doesn't work in real world situations but in "obvious" areas it still holds true.

What about adding the bottom of your x/r range to your calling range(like 85,86,87), so that it is more protected, plus you can bring more bluff hands to the turn, and get rid of those trashy broadways ?

This is often a good move on board where your bluffing frequency is going to be very high to the point where you may be over-bluffing although there I'd still prefer to delay the hands that are higher in my bluffing range (i.e. I'd prefer to delay Q T on a 9 8 x board than 6 7 :spade again due to the fact that the Q-high hand has more equity in impoving to top pair etc than a standard hand and doesn't gain as much from your opponent folding (it's an equity favourite vs many hands on the flop so it's hardly a bluff)

Very good questions and comments though it's great to have
• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011
Well the more deeply I pore over this, the more messy it becomes. For example:

In the given situation,for 3 barrel bluffing, CO has to risk 5 bets to win 7.5 and he offers 5:9.5 for the BB to calldown.

Okay, lets provide that BB calls down regarding to street by street alpha, that will look like this:

- α(F)= 0,18181818181818181818181818181818
- α(T)= 0,23529411764705882352941176470588
- α(R)= 0,16

and the range BB continues with is:

0,81818181818181818181818181818182*0,76470588235294117647058823529412*0,84 = 0,52556149732620320855614973262032

so his WTS is 52.5%.

But if we consider that for 3barrel bluffing CO has to bet 5 (all bets in SB from now on) into 7.5 his WTS will be 60%. (7.5/5=1.5 , 1/(1.5+1) =0,4)

Both are pretty high BTW...

Also for CO to 3barrel bluff vs BB-s calldown he needs to have 34.5% bluffs in his range, if we calculate his alpha for three streets in advance. Im not gonna calculate the street by street alpha for CO-s bluffs, cause Im completely sure that it differs from the one above.

Now this would result in either overbluffing compared to street by street flop bluff ratio, or under vbetting the turn and the river to be able to bluff the given ratio.

The point is:

When we calculate the alphas street by street, those bets that hero himself has already put in the pot from his stack are also considered as won sum (for ex on the turn CO puts 2 into 6,5, but basically from that 6,5 1 SB is his flop bet) while when we calculate it in three streets ahead, those bets are grouped into the costs of bluffing.

And as I thought it over, a street by street calculation doesnt give us a clear picture. The main reason for this is that your stack does not grow from the bets you put in previously so they shouldnt be considered as winnings. You cant win from yourself. The only one you can win from is your opponent Therefore only those bets should count as winnings that come from his stack.

Yes you can consider your previous bets as 'lost bets' of an unsuccessful bluff, because your thought was that the game would end there cause you were betting for immediate fold equity, but then you dont look at the game as a whole.

Like if I would model poker in some form that would be a decision tree, and these cases when the game ends on the flop would be only a few short branches on that tree, while when you plan something like 3barrel bluffs or calling down, which are now a lines, and these cover waay more paths.

So in short, I still dont get why arent we thinking in lines rather than in one street.
• Bronze
Joined: 13.11.2009
Ok, let's make it clear.

We don't think in lines, because we have to make the opponent indifferent on every street. E.g. in a betdown vs calldown line you can't say that the opponent risks 2.5 into x, therefore we can fold y% on any street, since if e.g. we fold y% on the flop, and plan to fold 0 on the turn and river, our opponent can change his strategy to be more profitable by never bluffing the turn (since you'll never fold). Therefore you have to be contain a certain part of your range as "later-folds" (that will often change by that street).

From another point of view: game theory (or even exploitation) doesn't know the term lines. Lines are nothing else, but a certain set of actions through multiple streets. A free SD raise is nothing else than a raise on the turn and a check on the river. Now we theoratically cannot assume that these lines will ever take place, or will take place more often than any other lines (like say a check flop, bet/call turn, raise/cap river - that is a pretty rare "line" to see, still a line). Now of course the frequency of certain lines are higher (both in practice, and in game theory) than others, but that doesn't mean we can treat them as higher-chance events, since it will make us exploitable. Again, if we fold everything vs a possible betdown on the flop, our opponent is not inclined to betdown the same range as he would've planned, but a more value-heavy range, that will make us fold again on the turn, etc.

Lines are nothing more than shortcuts to our brain to remember the most common lines (like cfrt, betdown, calldown or raise for a free card, etc.) with their purpose and the "required circumstances", so we wouldn't have to think through every decision basically, but have standards or well-learnt stuff to cling to. But as every shortcut, it has its drawbacks, it limits you in thinking, etc.

On the WTSD-stuff: that's actually a pretty solid number, tho you have to calculate the range asymmetry between CO and BB that occurs in this case, as well as the general tendency of most people not being bluffy enough. The "standard" value of 38-43% being good at WTSD is purely an empirical fact, most winning players have those numbers, but that evidentally doesn't mean that those numbers are good in a purely theoratical sense. Given how small the bets are compared to the pot, 52% doesn't seem all that high (and just take a look at some HU players' WTSD, it will be around this number - since there is little range asymmetry in HU games.

And once again, for clarity's sake: calculating multistreet alpha doesn't exactly work the way we use it! The way we do it is an oversimplification of an otherwise pretty lengthy formula, that takes quite a bit to solve manually (and therefore in non-frequent situations it would take a lot of time to get the proper numbers). The numbers you get with our way are pretty close to home, and given that most of your hands have equity, and against most of your hands Villain has equity, it's not a pure bluff vs unbeatable value situation, therefore one arbitrary number can't and won't do it for us. I'm not actually sure about the whole math of the situation, but that's as far as I got, and so far it seems to be enough, for me at least.

And finally, to the point of what's winning and what's not - that actually is a pretty basic question. In every poker hand, in every school of thinking there is one key sentence: you can look forward, but you never look back. The money you already put in the pot, is in the pot, not in your stack, therefore if you lose the pot, you don't lose the already put-in money (you lose it in the perspective of the whole hand, but not in the perspective of your decision), and that's the same with game theory. In any given situation you have to be able to arrive to a strategy given the potsize and your range. You don't need to know, how many bets you put in previously.
• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011
For the moment, Im gonna reply for your last paragraph only to make it as simple as I can.

I think you completely misunderstood what I wrote. I do not look backwards neither froward at all, because I examine the game as a whole, taking all possibilities into account , from the beginning til the end,and try to choose those options that give you the highest EV and exclude the rest. Our reference point where from we look at the game is different, hence our opinions differ.

Let me show you this with an example.

Lest say you start with 24 SB, you open from the CO with a range you open for implied fold equity and want to make your opponent fold on the flop. Your opponent will be the BB and I assume he does not fold pre anything. You allow me to do that because you say that regarding the profitability of your flop bluff it does not matter, since your viewpoint originates from the flop and does not look backward.

So you bluff the flop by 4.5 : 1 and your opponent folds 20% of the time. Your ev:

► 0.2*4.5 = + 0.9

► 0.8*-1 = -0.8

the result : +0.9-0.8=+0.1

If you iterate this move for 12 hands, virtually your stack should be 1.2 larger(by virtually I mean disregarding variance).

Now from a different angle:

from the start of the hand, you put in 3 to win 1,5 (4,5 is the whole pot and your cost is 3 which needs to be subtracted). Your opponent folds 20% (on the flop) so:

► 0.2*1.5 = + 0.3

► 08*-3= - 2.4

the result 0.3-2.4 =-2.1

After 12 iterations your stack will be virtually lost.

You make here a mistake by thinking in one street. Yes it is a plus EV move on the flop, but only there, locally, but certainly not globally,because while you get to that point where you can bluff with +0.1EV you lose the 21x of it.
• Bronze
Joined: 13.11.2009
Yep, you proved by this that in this example you shouldn't open preflop expecting to take away the pot on the flop (aka as a pure bluff), however, if you got to the flop with a bluff, you have to bluff it, cause from that point it is profitable.

However, I still can't see how it's relevant to anything. Poker is being taught in a way to think ahead in streets (even balanced thinking takes these scenarios into account, from a different perspective of course), and I'm not sure where you think it's not used properly.
• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011
Well the whole thread is about one street vs multi street thinking/calculations so I think it should be obvious how this example connects to the discussion.

But as to your first post and what Boomer mentioned you cant justify peeling some hands with "I have to fold something on the turn anyway", because you dont necessarily have to. You might fold it, but only if the turn card makes the hand useless . Cause if you pay to see the turn with a hand you have to do something to make at least as much dough with it that covers the cost of peeling, thats the absolute minimum.
Otherwise if you just call and then fold with them, your move is -EV. Such ideas are born dead IMO, and you have to trim such 'dead end' branches off from your arsenal (and this doesnt imply you fold 0% on the turn as you thought in the first place).
• Bronze
Joined: 22.09.2010
Originally posted by kavboj84
Well the whole thread is about one street vs multi street thinking/calculations so I think it should be obvious how this example connects to the discussion.

But as to your first post and what Boomer mentioned you cant justify peeling some hands with "I have to fold something on the turn anyway", because you dont necessarily have to. You might fold it, but only if the turn card makes the hand useless . Cause if you pay to see the turn with a hand you have to do something to make at least as much dough with it that covers the cost of peeling, thats the absolute minimum.
Otherwise if you just call and then fold with them, your move is -EV. Such ideas are born dead IMO, and you have to trim such 'dead end' branches off from your arsenal (and this doesnt imply you fold 0% on the turn as you thought in the first place).
That's why the hands we peel with are usually either

1) Hands that can make a good or top pair on the turn
2) Hands that will pick up draws which can become part of our bluffing range.

Similarly to the reason we have preflop ranges and don't just raise any 2 cards.

Now one thing we you have to take in mind are a couple of things:

You EV calculation gives us 0 Fold equity preflop (i.e. BB call 100% range) so it doesn't take into account fold equity at all and if we were to use that calcuation it would only be to gauage what our bluffing ratio should be should we know pre-flop and flop were the only 2 streets.

You can't just overfold a street saying "I'd have to fold it on a later street" because what you're doing there is giving your opponent a 100% crystal clear autoprofit situation. This is precisely the situation we hope to avoid.

Preflop he has a range, he doesn't know if he's bluffing or not, he's raising hands that he feels he can play profitably, which given if you're in the BB you're OOP with a weaker range than him he's probably right.
• Bronze
Joined: 16.06.2011

The below hand is one I played recently and Ive done an analysis on it with my own ranges, and this topic came across my mind, and I'd like to see how would you play as well.

So MP2 rasies and the CO 3bets, everyone else folds, the flop is :

7:dK:c3

CO 3bets, MP2 xr-es, the turn is :

8

MP2 bets,CO calls, and the river is :

K

How would you play against yourself ?

► What is your MP2 opening and CO v MP2 3beting range ?

► Which hands would you xr on the flop as MP2 ?

► Do you fold anything on the flop as CO ?

► As CO do you have a raising range on the flop, or only on the turn and how does it look like ?

► If you get a raise from CO which hands would you fold/call/bet3bet ?

► What is your range you bet the river with as MP2 ?

► Which hands do you call the river with as CO ?

► Finally, as MP2 do you have a check range on any street after the flop ? What happens to it if you change the turn eight or the river king to an ace, a queen or a diamond ?