Preflop sizing

    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,449
      I haven't played much NL cash-game (6-handed) for a long time, but recently, I have put in a little effort at the two smallest Zoom (and equivalent) limits to see where I stand. The game has certainly changed, especially preflop. I am wondering about sizing. Is there a standard size per position that is provably "the best" for opening and 3-betting?

      After some experimenting, I open 3bb from UTG and HJ. In the CO I open 2.5 bb, and on the button, the minimum. (In the SB, it is 3bb.) I don't think this is too far off, but my 3-betting is different. I 3-bet plenty, maybe too much. But I 3-bet small. It is most often something like 6.5 bb vs a 3x open or 5bb vs a 2bb open - even sometimes OOP.

      Is this reasonable, or have I just been lucky winning nicely over the last some 50k hands? I feel I get plenty of folds, both pre-flop and on the flop, more than the pot-odds I give my opponents would warrant. A 40% stab on the flop IP doesn't have to succeed very often, but it does. (This is where the money has come from because I frequently lose when the stacks go in :D )

      If this is reasonable, how far up the levels can you play this way? It seems like the standard 3-bet is 3x and 3.5-4x OOP. But I like playing many hands with position and initiative :)
  • 6 replies
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,091
      Hi, YohanN7
      The sizings you mention were recommended by Pleno1 (I think) for higher limits (NL 10 + I think).

      On the lower limits I'm not so sure if it is advisable.

      In the olden days (2009) the open-raise recommendation was 4BB everywhere -- the reason being that any less gives the BB favourable pot odds.

      Dropping to 3BB keeps 3Bet pots to a reasonable size.
      2.5 CO and 2 BU encourages the blinds to enter the pot OOP cheaply, which may or may not be a good idea.

      I'm playing NL 2, 4 & 5 zoom and still doing 3 across the board.
      I steal a lot though -- mostly successfully -- and since I'm opening a ton of COs and BUs, I have a higher-than normal Fold to 3Bet %.

      I have played with lowering the BU and CO amounts, but I just get 3Bet way more -- or called and donk shoved on.

      I also see OR raise sized from min raises UTG to 3.5x up to 6x, but I almost never flat these and play very tightly vs such sizes.

      Let us know what you decide and how it works.
      VS
    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,449
      Ty for comments Vorpal. Yes, my style is certainly inspired by a video or two by Pleno1.

      Oh, yes, forgot to mention that; both my fold to 3-bet and fold to 4-bet stats are disastrous (high!), but this still happens so rarely that I don't perceive that as a real problem. Even if I am exploitable, it feels like I am doing the exploitation, especially in Zoom where people have little stats to go on.

      I try to carefully select the flops I c-bet, and the amount to bet. (How much is required to make him fold XY, or how much will he pay with WZ?) This is an important part of being a small-pot-thief :D
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,091
      Hi, YohaN7,
      "small pot thief" -- I love it!

      If one of the blinds defends by calling, not 3Betting, then I will check back flops I totally miss -- "totally miss" means no draw, no pair, no overs.

      Then, if villain checks again, I'll bet/fold almost any turn.

      It is surprising how often the delayed CBet works.
      If you CBet the missed flop, and villain calls, now you have a bigger pot and air bluffs get suddenly more expensive.

      Taking the stab on the turn seems to me better than waiting for the river.
      OTR, villains will call a stab with 2nd or even 3rd pair because they know that there are no more cards to come to improve your hand.

      There is a stat called "river call efficiency" in HM2. I once had a horrible leak calling river bets. Now I'm folding most of 'em.

      Cheers,
      VS
    • Tomaloc
      Tomaloc
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.01.2011 Posts: 6,888
      in an exploitative sense, 3betting and cbetting very wide with small sizings definitely works wonders in 5nl zoom because most people still have no clue on how to play without the initiative.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 9,091
      My default reply to a 1BB CBet is a 1/2 pot bet -- assuming I have some sort of hand, of course.
      If they're serious, you find out fast. Otherwise, you get an additional BB of NSD winnings.

      Cheers,
      VS
    • YohanN7
      YohanN7
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.06.2009 Posts: 4,449
      Thanks guys for the comments. Here's a typical (well, somewhat extreme) hand to illustrate what I'm doing.
      PokerStars - $0.02 NL FAST (6 max) - Holdem - 6 players
      Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

      BTN: 207.5 BB (VPIP: 0.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: -, Hands: 2)
      SB: 137.5 BB (VPIP: 33.33, PFR: 33.33, 3Bet Preflop: 100.00, Hands: 3)
      BB: 278 BB (VPIP: 0.00, PFR: 0.00, 3Bet Preflop: 0.00, Hands: 4)
      UTG: 41.5 BB
      MP: 103 BB
      Hero (CO): 143 BB

      SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB

      Pre Flop: (pot: 1.5 BB) Hero has Q:diamond: 9:diamond:

      UTG raises to 2 BB, fold, Hero raises to 4.5 BB, fold, fold, BB calls 3.5 BB, UTG calls 2.5 BB

      Flop: (14 BB, 3 players) 2:heart: K:club: 6:club:
      BB checks, UTG checks, Hero checks

      Turn: (14 BB, 3 players) A:spade:
      BB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets 5.5 BB, fold, fold

      Hero wins 13.5 BB

      Maybe I had the best hand, but the point is, a pocket pair is not calling here. (Versus one opponent I'd probably c-bet bluff on the flop (targeting A high) and perhaps follow up on a high card turn (targeting A high + pp).), every time with smallish bets.