Lee Nelson: "Let's Play Poker"

    • prg09
      Joined: 19.09.2009 Posts: 98
      has anyone here read Lee Nelson's book "Let's Play Poker"? i would be interested to hear your thoughts about it.
      Specifically, i have two questions about it.

      1. Lee Nelson: "If a raise would be one-third of your chips or more, push all-in instead." In the bronze level article "How to play before the flop" @ pokerstrategy.com, u can find the following: "If you have to put more than half of your chips at stake for a raise, you go all-in right away." So why is the difference? Which rule to follow?

      2. The other thing i wanted to ask about is the following:
      In chapter "How How To Beat $1 SNG’s" he writes:
      "Level 4 and Higher (5 or More Players Remaining)
      If you raise (but not all-in) and someone re-raises, your decision should be based on pot odds:
      If you’re getting 2.5-to-1 or better, call with anything.
      If you’re getting 2-to-1 or better, call with Category 5 or better.
      If you’re getting 1.5-to-1 or better, call with Category 4 or better.
      If you’re getting worse than 1.5-to-1, call with Category 3 or better.
      You may need to do a bit of creative math in these situations. If the raise is most, but not all, of one of your stacks, you should figure the pot odds as if it’s all-in, since you’ll be pot-committed."

      Can u please explain these pot odds based rules? Do u agree w/ them?


      Ps. The blind levels are those of Pokerstars.com
      I forgot to list his hand rankings...So here they are:

      Category 1: AA, KK
      Category 2: QQ, AKs, AK, JJ
      Category 3: AQs, AQ, TT, 99
      Category 4: AJs, KQs, 88, 77
      Category 5: AJ, ATs, AT, KQ, KJs, 66, 55
      Category 6: A9s-A2s, KJ, KTs, QJs, QTs, JTs, 44, 33, 22
      Category 7: A9-A2, KT, QJ, QT, JT, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 65s, 54s
      Category 8: K9s, K9, K8s, Q9s, Q8s, J9s, T8s, T9, 97s, 98, 86s, 87, 75s, 76, 64s
  • 5 replies
    • ghaleon
      Joined: 17.10.2007 Posts: 5,940
      Here some of my thoughts, haven't read that book though.

      1. Main point in these rules is that if raise is over certain part of your stack you are pot committed. So basically with not going allin you are giving cheaper flop for opponent and you cant fold easily even if flop doesn't improve your hand. But these are situation dependent.

      Lets say that you have AK in SB with 20bb stack. BU with similar stack open raise to 3BB. Now you have premium hand and somewhat short stack. If you raise to 8bb, opponent calls ---> 17BB pot and you have no position. Only 12BB left so you are pot committed. In this spot it's better to shove straight away in preflop. With big pocket pair it might be better to lure your opponent into big pot with smaller raise as playing out of position is not such a big deal with hand like that.

      2. "If you raise (but not all-in) and someone re-raises, your decision should be based on pot odds:" I find this to be quite amazing phrase... Your decision should be based at least on pot odds, table image (your and opponents), positions and tournament situation (bubble etc).

      There are situations where folding AQ is only good decision when facing re-raise. Those are ok baseline, but as said earlier there are other factors to count in.
    • gedwashere91
      Joined: 20.07.2009 Posts: 2,387
      Strict rules like these "Categories" and the Push/Fold charts provided by PokerStrategy are very useful for beginners but are very limited in scope. There are a lot of situations, particularly nearing the bubble, where chip dynamics influence the game to the extent that things like AKs become a snap fold.
      It is EXTREMELY important to learn to play correct ICM poker without relying on crutches like these discreet "categories" or the push/fold charts.
    • prg09
      Joined: 19.09.2009 Posts: 98
      Hi ghaleon,
      thank you for kind answer.
      Concerning your first answer. Maybe i was not clear enough in forming my first question. So i try it again.
      I understand that if our raise is bigger than a certain portion of our stack, we become pot committed, and it is better to go AI right away.. However, pokerstrategy.com and Lee Nelson seem to differ in what raise size means that one becomes pot committed. Lee N. says u go AI if raise would be 1/3 of your stack, pokerstrategy.com says go AI if raise would be 1/2 of your stack. So i wanted to hear your opinion about these two different ratios: go AI if raise is 1/3 of your stack or if raise is 1/2 of your stack? Also it would be nice to hear some reasons why one would choose one option over the other.

    • ghaleon
      Joined: 17.10.2007 Posts: 5,940
      Heh I might have misunderstood this earlier. In case 1 it was probably about open raise situation... My example was about re-raise. So when we are with low stack winning blinds is big plus to our stack. So by showing allin we maximize fold equity. For push & fold phase 1/3 rule is way better. It's actually ok to open shove at least up to 12bb stack. Even more in certain situations.

      Anyway good thing about shoving straight away is that opponent has no possibility to try any resteals or make "cheap" calls. Better players notice that if you raise 1/3 of your stack you are probably pot committed and will not make any resteal attempts. Weaker players in other hand might not notice that and will shove/call with T9o. By not hitting anything on flop or calling opponent shove with e.g. AJ you are not in such a good shape. Itäs "practical flip" :)

      So general rule of shoving with less than 10bb stack is good imo. Reason was that with normal raise you are already pot committed and by showing you don't give opponents opportunity to see flop relatively cheap or 3bet shove.

      Was this PS article about tournaments or cash games? I find that rule quite weird for tournaments.
    • prg09
      Joined: 19.09.2009 Posts: 98
      One more thing, this Lee Nelson book is free so if u are interested, here is the link to it: