SSS and some thoughts on PokerStrategy

    • awishformore
      awishformore
      Bronze
      Joined: 16.06.2007 Posts: 922
      Well, I started here some days ago, and played the SSS rigidly 100% by the strategy guide. It didn't work too well, although I was making money. But the main problem is it became way too boring. How am I supposed to learn something if I just follow some rules and don't think by myself?

      Now, I went up to .10/.25 tables, and I started with a short stack. I wait for the right cards to increase my stack, and as soon as I had it doubled, I started playing more by psychology, board knowledge and my own rules. That doesn't mean I turn maniac. I still play quite tight. And it seems to work much better. I make more money playing one table .10/.25 than I earn when playing .05/.10 by strict SSS.

      Now, I'm wondering...it keeps telling me everywhere I will be a winning player if I play by the strategy guide. But doesn't the strategy guide neglect the most important factor for NL poker? Psychology? Reading your opponent and playing them, too?

      Your strategy guides were great to refine my own style so far, but is it really a bad idea to play my own style? Should I really just play 100% by PokerStrategy rules? Doesn't every good poker player have his own style? I think it's somehow odd to turn players into machines by making them play 100% the same.

      I came here to ask this since I saw a PokerStrategy player at a table, yelling at some other player that made a nice call and stole his 5$. He called him fish, noob, and so on. And said he was a winning player for years through PokerStrategy. But the other player simply outplayed him. By psychology and mind reading. While he was stupidly following his guide. And now, whenever I spot someone with 5$ on those tables folding a lot, and raising by exactly what your guide recommends at some points, I know I can easily outplay him. Isn't it very bad for the PokerStrategy players/beginners to be so easily readable?

      P.S. I just realized this might be the wrong section for NL, so if any moderator could kindly move this to the right place, I'd appreciate. Sorry .
  • 21 replies
    • ciRith
      ciRith
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.03.2005 Posts: 18,556
      I don't like the SSS as well (just very boring even 12 tabling) but as much as I understand it it can't be beaten by the big stacks (maths or so) and thats the reason why we recommend players to start with it.

      In the beginning (I asume you aren't completly new to the game) the player has enough to do to just deal with his own hands. If we would show him all aspects of the game it would be way to much for him.
      The main reason to start with SSS is your BRM. 50$ aren't enough to play full stack because the players would be broke very fast (10 buying at 5NL is like nothing)

      If you start making money with it the silver section has a strategy for the full stack play which is way more fun but as said previously it requires a bit more skill to play.
      With SSS the psychologic part isn't that important because you are often allin at the flop or fold it. There is no room to make multiply street moves or so.

      If that is to boring for you maybe you can try FL and as soon as you are silver and your BR is big enough you can switch to NL again.

      Btw if a player starts yelling other players he is often on tilt or very bad (because his "flames" scare the real fish away which only want to have a nice time)
      The only good thing is that you found us due to his bd behaviour. :D

      Don't hesitate if you have more questions. :)
    • awishformore
      awishformore
      Bronze
      Joined: 16.06.2007 Posts: 922
      No, I already signed up here a VERY long time ago. It looks nothing like it used to now. And the whole system was changed too :D . I just got started really playing online now.

      Well...FL is really boring for me, too ;) .

      I played 3 or 4 .10/.25 tables now (no multi tabling), entering with 5$ and leaving as soon as I reach 15$ or more. I went up from my 55$ to over 100$ now, so as soon as I get the 100$ for my 100 points, I will have the bankroll suggested to play that limit anyways :) .

      Well thanks for your answer anyways, I was just wondering. SSS certainly is a good start for someone that didn't play poker yet and wants to start out making profit from the start. But it's just not my stuff I guess ;) .

      Looking forward to the advanced guides :P .
    • itbmotw
      itbmotw
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.03.2007 Posts: 2,426
      With the SSS you can get the 100 PP very fast and then you get the Silver Content, so you can learn and play BSS on the NL5 tables. This should be more interesting for you and NL5 is very fishy.
      The most time I play NL25 SSS, but some times I play NL5 BSS, most for getting more action.
    • awishformore
      awishformore
      Bronze
      Joined: 16.06.2007 Posts: 922
      I already have 235 PP, I'm just waiting for PS to update ;)

      To illustrate my last point here an example:

      I just played a table with 4 SSS players. One of them never played anything. But then he raises to 5 BB, when there is one player who called. That is exactly what is described in SSS here (4BB + 1 per player). I just called him with 47o because I knew he was playing SSS. Flop was KJ8. I checked. He bet half the pot, which revealed that he had hit nothing.. I raised three times, he folds. Easy money, thanks to PokerStrategy SSS guide? This is kinda contraproductive, isn't it?
    • Pacer357
      Pacer357
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.04.2007 Posts: 1,807
      The problem with that is that he will bet half the pot even when he hits something something and then you will throw away 5sb + your reraise on a total crap hand. I have never seen an sss article that says that you only should bet half the pot when you don´t hit.
    • undercover82
      undercover82
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.12.2006 Posts: 813
      How exactly is it smart to call with 74o against someone who has a really tight range? Most of the time the shortstack WILL go all-in. It is a shortstack's dream to get called by such crap hands. Of course it will work a few times but it is not profitable in any way. (Not to mention you will look like an absolute fish if you get to showdown with that hand).
    • howard182
      howard182
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      Joined: 30.10.2006 Posts: 416
      With the half-pot cbet tell, it's insanely profitable (if you're closing the action preflop and the short stack is never calling after his obligatory half-pot cbet). If the short stack's actually playing poker (no, I don't mean not playing the SSS, I mean considering decisions (esp. post flop) from a solid psychological and mathematical perspective rather than mindlessly working from a rule book), it is of course suicidal. Best just not to do it unless you have a very strong read that you are in fact playing against a badly programmed robot rather than the much less predictable badly programmed humans.
    • awishformore
      awishformore
      Bronze
      Joined: 16.06.2007 Posts: 922
      @Pacer: the point isn't that he didn't hit anything. The point is that he will fold to a re-raise after a half pot bet even if he hit middle or low pair. As often as the guide tells you to follow it 100%, it simply will make him do it. Plus most short stack players play 6+ tables and don't have the time to read the board, so they can't risk catching bluffs.

      @howard: on my limit, they all play the SSS like a robot :>. That's my whole point. And I like to think my reading is quite strong. Time will tell.

      @undercover: I tend to disagree there. I was BB, and I made 11BB instead of losing one. In my book, that makes it profitable even if it often doesn't work? And I would never play that hand further than the flop is I wasn't sure he'd fold to a raise. Maybe you got something wrong there.

      Well, we'll see in the long run whether I'm just lucky or got a good opponent read, I'll let you know in some months ;) .

      I don't mean to sound like I know everything better, but I think it's really easy to abuse the SSS players on the lower limits, that play 100% by the book. It's so obvious what they have and what they hit, how could you manage NOT to make profit from it?
    • Kaitz20
      Kaitz20
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.02.2007 Posts: 27,343
      SSS players starting hand range is very good. AJ+, 99+, KQ. If he raise UTG you shouldn´t even call/raise AQ, because you are behind. So you are trying to bluf SSS player out of the pot:) , that can be done if you know that he/she will fold, I mostly make 1/2 bets and you have no idea if I have over pair, top pair or nothing with KJ8 flop, Good SSS player would go all-in here with QQ, AK, KQ, AJ, KK, JJ, AA and maybe even AQ. He folds TT/99, so 8/10 times your bluf won´t work here:) There are also good and bad SSS players, some don´t like to wait good starting hands and limp/raise with garbage. Generally I don´t recommend playing against SSS players, they don´t afraid anything and going all-in mostly in any flops.

      (of course if you have reads that people always bet half pot when they have nothing and pot if they hit something, then you could try bluf them out, but you can´t call 74o, better hand is 44, at least then it is coinflip against AJ, AQ, AK, KQ)
    • howard182
      howard182
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.10.2006 Posts: 416
      No, seriously, with that read you can call any two small cards. I don't remember what the old guide said counted as hitting the board, but it was probably top pair or better, nut flush draw, OESD, overpair or a combination of.

      Let's see what was on the advanced SSS chart...

      Early position raising range was AA-TT, AK. AA (3/16 of his range) he'll probably never fold, if he ever folds KK on the flop it will be the ~21% of the time an A falls (assuming that none of the aces are in our hand) and a K doesn't... minus a little for flush and straight possibilities. By the same reasoning, QQ cbets/folds (a bit less than) 38% of the time, JJ 52%, TT 62%. AK continues mainly when it flops an A or K, the straight possibilities are far too complicated but I guess I'll do the flushes for AKs. AKo (3/16) folds 66% of the time ignoring straights, flushes and draws to, AKs (1/16) 58% ignoring straights. Okay, I think all those are more or less right...

      Putting that all together correctly weighted we get 48% cbet/fold on flop, but let's call that 45%, together with the rounding down I've been doing on all the figures that probably accounts for other possibilities if it doesn't overcompensate, so the EV of calling a 4 bb raise with two small cards and raising any half-pot (4 or 5 bb) cbet under the assumptions previously made is:

      .55 * -4 bb + .45 * (8 bb - .05 * 8 bb) = 0.82 bb

      ...right, hope I didn't make any mistakes. (The 0.05 thing is rake.) EDIT: I just realised that I forgot the case where the short stack can continue under the strategy but you make a better hand. This possibility alone isn't enough to make the play even with fairly good drawing hands like small pairs and suited connectors, but it does make it somewhat reasonable against a real short stack if you know that he's almost as predictable as our model short stack.

      The restriction that we're closing the action actually makes this a bit better as we're either the big blind or have already put money in the pot. Obviously if these conditions were met for a SSS MP raise it's better still.

      And just to be clear, it's not the preflop range that's exploitable, it's the "I didn't hit anything so please take the pot and this bet too" half-pot cbet. And I still think that actually doing this, especially if you're not guaranteed to be heads up with the short stack and especially if your basis for thinking that he's a SSS robot is that he makes 4bb + 1 per limper raises, is a bad idea. The actual profitable opportunities won't arise often, you'll probably lose more than you gain when you do this and it turns out that you were against a thinking human after all or just a non-SSS robot.

      The bottom line is that you'll have many more and more profitable opportunities to exploit deep stacked fish. The short stacks will profit from plays around the table that target deep stacks, but there's nothing you can do about that.
    • 911gg
      911gg
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.04.2007 Posts: 1
      I've been playing SSS now for two days, and been puzzled about this bluff bet also. I mean, if oponnent knows about this strategy he will of course raise with anything and win the pot. And also if he isn't familiar with strategy it is still a chance that he will just call because he's on draw or something and will bluff us out of the pot on the turn when we show weakness.

      So my question is: is this bluff bet actually profitable over the long run against random opponents (some know about strategy and some don't)? I guess I'll just avoid it and either check/fold or bet potsize when pot is somewhat favourable (for example JJ on K93 board)
    • Kaitz20
      Kaitz20
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      Joined: 02.02.2007 Posts: 27,343
      Contibet is profitable if you know what kind of hands the other player might call. If they limp and call UTG then it ś mostly small pocket pairs and on K93 board you are going all-in with your jacks.

      If the player was on BB or SB, even then you can´t fold your jacks, because he might re-raise with A9. Problem is when I raise with AK, AQ, AJ or KQ and don´t hit anything. With AK flop comes 257 or TJ8 then it´s maybe better take the free card and maybe you hit your A or K. on the turn.

      It mostly depends on the player (when you are using pockertracker or pokerhud then you see what kind of hands they are calling and you are prepared for that, you also can every time make notes: called small pocket pair or KT).

      I think that 2/3rd or even 3/4 of the times you should make contibets against one opponent, because they also don´t know if you are raising with AA or AK and smart players would fold their small hand if they didn´t hit the set.
    • degnic
      degnic
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      Joined: 06.02.2007 Posts: 3,953
      Originally posted by howard182
      Putting that all together correctly weighted we get 48% cbet/fold on flop, but let's call that 45%, together with the rounding down I've been doing on all the figures that probably accounts for other possibilities if it doesn't overcompensate, so the EV of calling a 4 bb raise with two small cards and raising any half-pot (4 or 5 bb) cbet under the assumptions previously made is:

      .55 * -4 bb + .45 * (8 bb - .05 * 8 bb) = 0.82 bb

      You should realise that most (if any) SSS player will not fold pocket TT-KK if there is 1 overcard on the flop and you re-raise him, especially if the board is drawy. I would fold JJ if the flop would be something like AK5 and my contibet would get raised, but definetly wouldn't fold it if there is only 1 overcard, since the pot-odds are way too good to lay down the hand.

      on a bigger note, why not calling the BSS raises aswell and raise their contibets. yes, they also make contibets very often and with wider handrange which should be even better for you.
    • howard182
      howard182
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      Joined: 30.10.2006 Posts: 416
      Yes, I realise. This was about a theoretical mindless player who... might exist somewhere. The OP seems to think they're everywhere, but he'll probably learn the truth shortly if he continues doing this.

      The idea wasn't raising continuation bets in general, it was raising continuation bets whose size is a definite tell that the player doesn't want to continue with the hand, which used to be recommended practice in the SSS articles. Hopefully that's changed.
    • undercover82
      undercover82
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      Joined: 09.12.2006 Posts: 813
      Did/do the articles actually say that you should bet halfpot when you dont hit , but a different amount if you hit or already have a made hand (like 2/3rd pot) ? If so it would be kinda bad. I dont remember ever playing like that though.
      I think SSS players are supposed to be betting a certain amount no matter if they hit or not so that their hand is covered. Unless they have to protect against the board
    • howard182
      howard182
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      Joined: 30.10.2006 Posts: 416
      Yes, it did say that at least when I joined. Even I realised how horribly exploitable that was and never did it.
    • awishformore
      awishformore
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      Joined: 16.06.2007 Posts: 922
      It does say pot bet for made hand (top pair or more), and half pot bet if you don't hit. That bet was my whole point, as some people realized. Well, no matter if my call was right in that situation, it at least started quite a constructive discussion. My whole point was that it is really easy to abuse the post-flop betting structure of the SSS guide. Mainly on the lower limits, where, I will say it again, most SSS players DO follow the guide 100%.

      There are a lot of good suggestions here to refine that strategy, to make it less predictable and/or more profitable, maybe some of those could/should be included at the end of the SSS guide for beginners. Something like "when you start feeling comfortable with the game you might want to try doing...".

      Edit: to make it even clearer: I never thought or wanted to say the short-stack strategy is bad. Actually, it works really well. I just wanted to point out a flaw in the guide which could lead to a contra-productive effect for beginners, which certainly isn't that you intended.
    • Nunki
      Nunki
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      Joined: 25.10.2006 Posts: 865
      Yes, I realise. This was about a theoretical mindless player who... might exist somewhere. The OP seems to think they're everywhere, but he'll probably learn the truth shortly if he continues doing this.


      Obvious adjustment: Bet HPSB with made-hands and other amount with bluffs :D
    • DonGuillermo
      DonGuillermo
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.05.2007 Posts: 25
      When i first started playing poker (online), I had no idea about strategy and how to play "good poker". Basically, I was a fish. So i first lost money. Then I decided to learn to play good poker and started reading strategy guides and stuff, which took my game to a better level. I am now playing a solid TAG game, basically playing starting hands described in the SSS and a few more.
      Since my game is profitable and my bankroll going up (from $12 to $300 for the moment), i don't really see the point for me playing the SSS.
      But if I were to learn to play poker all over from zero, or advice someone how to learn the game, I would definitely play (or advice him to) the SSS.
      Why? Because it makes you understand 2 critical concepts in poker : starting hands selection and position.
      BUT poker is a post flop game, and it should be very boring to play SSS for a while, since you only
      - wait for good starting hands
      - push or fold post flop

      IMO, poker really gets interesting when you begin to read your opponent and outplay him, e.g. playing with a big stack.

      For me, that's the point : SSS is a very good starting point to learn the basics. Then, when you understand those concepts, you can play poker for real, and expect to be a winning player.
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