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StrategyWeekly No Limit

Deception (2) - Application

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Deception - Application

from MiiWiin

Last week we dealt with the topic of "Deception". Apart from analysing what deception really is and why we should use it more frequently, we looked at situations in which it is sensible to abstain from using deception.

Today we want to deal with the application in practice. When do we use it intentionally or not? Just like mentioned in the first part, we will discuss exceptional examples about when we should use deception dependently on your opponents next week.

"Deception" somehow sounds foreign, but nearly everyone uses it without knowing it. A few standard examples:

 

1. PREFLOP-PLAY

We obviously try to disguise our hand preflop. A fundamental idea of every beginner comes into play here: "Why should I raise if I have two aces? Every worse hand will fold..."

This is correct if you assume that you only raise strong hands. You will become readable if you do this and your opponents will fold frequently because they only put you on a very strong range. We want to get the most money with our aces though.

Obviously it would be wrong to limp with your aces, although this is a kind of deception as well. There are, in fact, quite a few players on the lower limits who only limp and never raise. It actually is impossible to put them on some kind of a range. Admittedly you won't go broke against those players with great pleasure. You never know if they have a weird two pair with 53o or if they show you two aces on the river... Basically everything is possible here.

To go without saying this isn't our game. We know that we should play aggressively and if possible put the worse players under pressure. What did we learn from the last part? "We earn money from the mistakes of our opponents!" So we should offer them plenty of opportunity to make mistakes.

Accordingly we don't even think about limping aces. We act in the complete opposite way: We raise pocket pairs, suited connectors, suited ace and depending on the position and opponents, even wider ranges!

Why do we do this? We focus on our two options to win unimproved: We could take the pot preflop or postflop after our continuation bet (see point 2). As a matter of fact, we could get a very strong hand with an alleged weak hand or a draw on the flop, which nobody would expect from us.

Exactly this is deception. Many players expect strong hands from players who raise because they are only holding small pocketpairs or suited connectors themselves with which they only limp. If we hit a set with our small pocket pair, we will often be paid out because our hand is disguised well. You rarely put an UTG-raiser on 22, even though this does fall under the open-raising-range (at least in a shorthanded-game) of a good player.

We profit from deception because others don't really put us on suited connectors or similar drawing hands due to our aggressive style of play.

The second point of deception is obviously clear. We don't have any problem with getting some action out of our aces or kings. We raise preflop with such a large range that our opponents cannot know whether we are holding aces, a small pocket pair or a suited connector.

This fulfils the main point of deception: Our opponents cannot put us on a certain hand preflop! They don't have sufficient information about our ranges and we can therefore safely assume after David Sklanskys central theorem of poker (see part 1) that nobody can play against us as well as if he would know our cards. He will be forced to make mistakes.

 

2. CONTINUATION-BET

The eternal fight about the definition of a continuation-bet: Is it a bluffbet or a normal valuebet? Do you only call it a continuation-bet if you haven't hit anything? Does the continuation-bet become a valuebet if you have hit something? You can define it in which ever way you want, but it is clear that by betting on the flop we disguise our hand even more because we obviously use this bet disproportionately more often than just if we have hit something.

Our amateur comes into play again considering the central theorem of poker as well.

Too many times people try to bluff out all opponents from a multiway-pot or an ugly board with very weak hands. You sometimes feel obliged to make a continuation-bet. After all you are the preflop-agressor and have a right to take the pot. This is wrong though. When you haven't hit anything you should be aware that your opponents have to fold enough times in order for the continuation-bet to become profitable.

However, once in a while the continuation-bet is not made, normally in the case when you have hit the flop well. The player should be thinking: "Nice, after I have been winning very few pots through my continuation-bet, I can finally bet with the best hand and try to extract as much value as possible! Nobody will put me on a strong hand".

This would be logical and surely the best alternative most of the time, however, it is not self-evident that an average player thinks this way.

You sometimes see the craziest moves in these situations: Check-raise flop, check flop and check turn, minraise, to keep the opponents in the hand. Freecards are given away without an end, potbuilding is ignored completely and in the end you mostly have a small pot or someone who has outdrawn you.

Nevertheless, this is not the main problem. Surely, you can question whether these moves extract more value than strictly betting with your strong hand.

We have learnt that there is a much more important problem: Our deception!

What does it look like to your opponents if you contibet every flop and fold to any further action but check with stronger hands to try to slowplay? We become very readable, if we decide to always act this way, because we will give away the strength of our hand on the flop. Just like you would give away the strength of your hand using the basic principle of folding weak hands and only betting strong hands. No matter how we act here, both alternatives are bad because in the long run, both give away the strength of our hand to our opponents. If our opponents know our hands or respectively our ranges, they could make fewer mistakes!

However, due to the fact that we either contibet with complete air, with draws or a strong made hand, after having looked at the board, the potsize and our opponents (number and type), we become less readable. Our fold equity rises on the one hand because our opponents know that we bet strong hands as well. On the other hand they will pay us off with weaker hands because they know that we would bet the flop with weaker hands as well.

We have achieved exactly what we wanted: You cannot estimate our hand; our opponents are forced to slip up again.

 

3. BET- AND RAISESIZES

In point two it was briefly mentioned that some players tend to try to lure their opponents with minraises. Unfortunately this is a big mistake most of the time.

There are many thoughts about minraises - we don't want to discuss this here any further. Minraises do have some advantages and I don't want to curse them here. They can be a useful weapon in no-limit if used in the right spots.

We refer to our basic deception-problem: Do we contibet smaller if we have hit the flop really well? Do we raise more if we are unimproved to try to maximise fold equity? Do we try to bet smaller with stronger hands to keep the opponents in the pot?

The "normal" problems obviously apply here as well. Is a slowplay even advisable. Don't you protect your strong hands enough if you try to keep your opponents in the hand through small bets or respectively raises. Actually there are very few reasons to chose smaller bets or raises.

Our main focus is to disguise our hand! I want to show you three examples about this.

 

3 EXAMPLES

1.) PartyPoker $25 NL Hold'em (6 handed) HandRecorder v0.9b

Stacks & Stats
MP ($25)
CO ($25)
UTG ($25)
BB ($25)
SB ($25) (23/4/1.3/28/1100)[VPIP/PFR/AF/WTS/Hands]; Folded-SB-to-Steal: 45%; Fold-to-continuation-bet: 69%
Hero ($25)

Preflop: Hero is Button with 6 , 7
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, SB calls $1.00, 1 fold

Flop: ($2.25) 4, 5, Q (2 players)
SB bets $0.50, Hero...???

 

2.) PartyPoker $25 NL Hold'em (6 handed) HandRecorder v0.9b

Stacks & Stats
MP ($25)
CO ($25)
UTG ($25)
BB ($25)
SB ($25) (23/4/1.3/28/1100) [VPIP/PFR/AF/WTS/Hands] ; Folded-SB-to-Steal: 45%; Fold-to-continuation-bet: 69%
Hero ($25)

Preflop: Hero is Button with 6 , 7
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, SB calls $1.00, 1 fold

Flop: ($2.25) A, K, 8 (2 players)
SB bets $0.50, Hero...???

 

3.) PartyPoker $25 NL Hold'em (6 handed) HandRecorder v0.9b

Stacks & Stats
MP ($25)
CO ($25)
UTG ($25)
BB ($25)
SB ($25) (23/4/1.3/28/1100)[VPIP/PFR/AF/WTS/Hands] ; Folded-SB-to-Steal: 45%; Fold-to-continuation-bet: 69%
Hero ($25)

Preflop: Hero is Button with 6 , 7
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, SB calls $1.00, 1 fold

Flop: ($2.25) 6, 6, 7 (2 players)
SB bets $0.50, Hero...???

Now you should think about how to react in these situations. If you have answered the question of whether to raise or not, the question of the size of the raise is crucial.

Lets look at whether we should raise at all. Our opponent calls a lot preflop, but rarely raises. He infrequently folds his small blind so that we can put him on a very large range. Nevertheless he can fold postflop. He folds 2/3 of his hands directly after the continuation-bet. We should be able to give ourselves enough foldequity. This question rather applies to example 2 as we have hit something in example 1 and 3. The board is drawless, an AKx-board is not the worst board for a continuation-bet. We want to contibet in all three cases.

There are three cases how to hit the flop. We either pick up a draw, more or less good, or respectively give ourselves quite a few outs (example 1), or we totally hit the flop and want to extract value (example 3). Unfortunately situations like the one in example 2 happen too often - we have missed the flop completely but can't fold to a donkbet in a heads-up.

The two main points start to differ now: On the one hand we want to extract value, pay attention to protection at the same time, and try not to chase our opponents out of the hand. On the other hand we want to pay attention to deception.

For the purpose of deception it would be best if you always raise the same amount. We would basically want to raise the most in example 1 because we want to increase the fold equity and anticipatory give ourselves good odds to possibly call a push.

Example 2 follows after example 1 where we are completely unimproved and only want to put in a "probebet". We want to invest as little as possible but still create enough fold equity.

However, in the third example only two actions are taken into account most of the time: Minraise or call. We don't want to chase Villain out of the hand. Putting in a raise here as we would in example 1 hurts most players. It should be clear to everyone by now that this would be the best solution from a deception point of view.

We should try to disguise our hand here as well and try to play pretty much the same with all three possible hands. If we do this, how should even the most attentive Villain know whether we are holding a draw a made hand or a bluff on such a board? He can't know it! Therefore the way is now paved for our opponents to make mistakes.

This example makes room for a lot more questions like: Can't you vary the size of the raise a little bit? What do I do if there are only fish at the table who don't care about how I play different hands? The question of when it is advisable to abstain from using deception in order to play completely dependent on your opponents or the situation arises. We will deal with this problem in detail next week - certainly with more examples! Furthermore we will look at postflop-situations, which wouldn't arise in standard-play.

 

» SUMMARY

Today we looked at basic applications for the game with deception. Especially in the phases in which we are involved the most, namely in the postflop- as well as the flop phase, we should show the least amount of information possible about our hand.

In the preflop phase this is already covered by the starting-hands-chart (SHC). If you are playing without the SHC you should have taken the basics in. We want to try to play similarly with the different kinds of hands on the flop as well to disguise our hand and to force our opponents to make mistakes.

From the turn and river onwards it becomes a lot more difficult because we play there much less than preflop or after the flop, however, just like mentioned in the first part - the pot is sometimes so large, that deception has to take the back seat and valueplay as well as protection have the highest priority.

As mentioned, this topic together with the question of in which special situations deception really takes the back seat, will be discussed in the next part.

 

Comments (11)

#1 mouse89, 14 Oct 08 15:48

k

#2 MCTachyon, 17 Mar 09 22:05

well written

#3 usun, 11 May 09 02:30

good

#4 SANDLOT, 19 May 09 05:24

GREAT STUFF

#5 oFISHnCHIPSo, 10 Jul 09 09:53

"We profit from deception because others don't really put us on suited connectors or similar drawing hands due to our aggressive style of play.<br /> <br /> The second point of deception is obviously clear. We don't have any problem with getting some action out or our aces or kings. We raise preflop with such a large range that our opponents cannot know whether we are holding aces, a small pocket pair or a suited connector."<br /> <br /> errrrm... this annoys me, I don't know exactly why. Both paragraphs make sense, but next to each other they completely contradict each other. :)

#6 oFISHnCHIPSo, 10 Jul 09 09:57

"However, due to the fact that we either contibet with complete air, with draws or a strong made hand, after having looked at the board, the potsize and our opponents (number and type), we become less readable. Our fold equity rises on the one hand because our opponents know that we bet strong hands as well. On the other hand they will pay us off with weaker hands because they know that we would bet the flop with weaker hands as well."<br /> <br /> Oh good, that's better :)

#7 G13Mola, 27 Jul 09 20:01

nice

#8 samusAran, 28 Sep 09 19:12

what about the tournament play, when you get to the pretty high level, when the blinds get pretty big and you cannot get yourself involved in too many games? is the number of the players on the table and the position on the table what we should take in to consideration when raising or something else?

#9 bkkconnexxion, 21 Oct 09 23:47

Good stuff i like it

#10 craigyfish, 27 Mar 10 22:01

cheers i think that improved my game even more now<br /> thanks alot!

#11 Harnas31, 11 Sep 11 02:40

:)