5 Betting - The Theory

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In the introductory video from NeverBluffing, we are taken through his thoughts on 5 - betting in terms of fold equity required, as well as 3 & 4 - betting, in addition to identifying and exploiting new trends in 2012 as far as calling ranges go. We are shown Equity calculations of 5 - bet shoves and how combining all this information is advantageous. Finally, we will be presented with some hand examples for discussion. Enjoy the video!


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Comments (58)

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  • EuanM


    Let's give NeverBluffing a warm welcome with some questions & feedback about his introductory video!

    Enjoy !
  • smokinnurse


    what about rake?
  • Bobbs


    Nice video!
    15:00 when your are talking about the absolute minimum equity;
    there are hands that have even less equity than a random hand, e.g. 94o has only 19,2% etc.

    25:00 you could use the handrange feature under tools in equilab to calculate all hands that have 29%+ equity vs his range.
  • benni0307


    super video ;)

  • NeverBluffing30


    Hey guys,

    Here's the link to the spreadsheet:


    Columns F & G are auto-calculating (no need to input anything there) for every row/hand, at least for the first 100+ hands. If you actually get past that point in the document, then either:
    A) you're really on your way as a poker player, or
    B) your gf is gonna start yelling at you in a few minutes and you should probably take a break to spend a little quality time with her

    Sometimes the formulas don't automatically convert in Excel. If anyone has problems that, just let me know and I can give you the formulas.
  • NeverBluffing30


    smokinnurse --

    It's good you brought that up. At these stakes, rake is going to reduce the final EV results by about $2 in this case, or one-fifth of a bb. It could impact the closest decisions, but it's certainly a much more important consideration at lower stakes.

    Party midstakes games have a max rake of $3, so to incorporate that, you could basically just subtract $3 from the Current Pot Size We Steal column, since that amount of rake has already been generated.
  • NeverBluffing30



    15:00 -- You're right, although we're not usually restealing much less debating a shove with such hands, so I chose to ignore that part of our range since they're not really even in our range. In the example you mention, we'd then need >60% f.e. to turn a profit on shoving.

    25:00 -- Yes, definitely a great tool, especially for the drill where we're estimating the bottom of our shoving range, and then actually finding it. The handrange calculator will essentially tell us which hands are +EV to shove, but it won't tell which hands are hugely +EV (clear shoves) vs. which are barely +EV to almost breakeven.
  • Flushdraw1511


    Great Video, ty
  • Duziks


    47min question area stupid because I do not know anything about opponent
  • NeverBluffing30


    Duziks -- Sorry, I should have been more clear about the type of villain we're up against. In these hand examples, we're making the following assumption about each villain: they're a typical/solid reg, with the same 4bet/calling range and Fold to 5Bet frequency) I outlined earlier in the video. They're neither wider nor tighter than that.

    The only variables we're changing in the decision-making process are:
    a) their BTN steal size (which affects our 3-bet size, which affects their 4-bet size, which affects our "price" on a 5-bet shove)
    b) effective stack size

    Later on in the series, we'll do some more examples where we give specific reads on specific villains, rather than using a hypothetical typical villain like we do here. The purpose of these examples was to practice using & modifying the baseline 5-bet shoving range we established earlier. You're right that later on there might be villains against whom that baseline 5-betting range might be wider or narrower.
  • Becks777


    Nice vid. Looking forward to next ones.
  • Robmaster555


    Nice video. Do you prefer to have no 4-bet calling range oop? I think the AQ hand is more profitable to just call the 4-bet because of the domination and some perfect semibluff spots postflop.
  • Diddy81


    Hey NeverBluffing30,

    how do you run a Database-analysis of your competitors-field?

    Do you go through all regs or do you have a special program, which give you the ranges?

    Btw. awesome video.
  • NeverBluffing30


    Rob -- In general, vs. a decent-sized 4-bet and 100bb stacks, I don't really have a range for calling 4bets oop. Special circumstances would be:
    -deeper stacks
    -a min-4bet or very tiny 4-bet (a standard 4-bet size makes it so that you generally shouldn't have a calling range, but a really good villain may start to make smaller and smaller 4-bets until the point where you should start to have some calling range.
    -the above comes up more often if we're facing a button minraise (instead of 2.5x or 3x), and we make our 3-bet smallish 6.5-7bb instead of 7.5-8bb
    -vs. a villain with an easily exploitable leak (maybe we have a read that his button 4-betting range is almost always air and he'll always cbet, in which case we get more value by calling w/ hands like AA oop and checking flop; or he has some postflop leak)

    But generally, no, I'm either folding or 5-betting. You gain soooo much by taking the pot down pre. Oftentimes if you're shoving KK, you're almost indifferent to getting called by a range of TT+/AK/AQs vs. them folding......i.e. the EV you get by taking down the pot now is roughly equivalent to the EV you gain by getting called by a range you're a little ways ahead of.
  • NeverBluffing30


    In HEM, I used to use their "Vision" app (HEM 1). In HEM 2, some of this is already incorporated into the "Opponents" tab. This is the fastest way to do it, and it's maybe 90% reliable.

    But the most reliable method I've found is just doing the grunt work and going hand-by-hand:
    filter your database for the specific situation you want to analyze. (In this case, you resteal & then 5-bet vs. a button open). Then just go through hand-by-hand (only the hands vs. regulars) and input the data into a spreadsheet. Did they fold? If they called, what hand did they show down? Important variables I include as column headers in the spreadsheet are: bet sizes (their open size, their 4-bet size), stack depth, villain's VPIP, BTN steal %, fold vs. 5bet stat, 4bet %, BTN 4bet Range, relevant history if any.

    This way when you finish, you can crosscheck to see if any of the variables are significant (i.e. we'd assume someone with a higher BTN 4bet Range would be folding more often and/or will have a wider & weaker 4bet/call range (AQo/99-88).

    You might not get enough data/instances from your own hands, in which case you can change the Hero alias to a group of regulars in the games you play and look at their hands for the same filter.
  • grrgrrbla


    very, very good video!! great structure, content and explanation, only talking about your style to structure and teach: you are one of the best!

    could you elaborate a bit more on when stacksize changes your decision from 5xbetting to calling 4xbets: which stacksize would be the inflection point? how would you balance your 5xbettingrange for 200bb+ (which hands would you 5xb/call which hands would you 3xb/call and which hands would you 5xb/fo against different types of opponents, especially regs?
  • RandomGenerator


    you have a very interesting HUD. how many tables are you able to play with it?
  • kaazooh


    28:00 A9s is not profitable because you block to much of his K9o bluff4bet-combos^^
  • pimpas


    Why there's nothing about KQs and QJs? These are also hands which got quite a lot equity vs opponenent calling range vs our 5-bet.
  • NeverBluffing30


    pimpas -- I include KQs/KJS (KJs+) in our baseline 5-betting range in the later part of the video. QJs is very close and could be in there. Unfortunately for the purposes of the video I didn't have time to run every legitimate 5-betting hand in the spreadsheet.

    You're right that these hands have solid equity (~33%) vs. a typical calling range. These hands are fairly similar to the Axs. I included some Axs (only the better ones) and some suited broadways in our baseline 5-betting range.

    If you're confident that in your games, when a Reg is 4-bet bluffing he's almost always doing it with an Ax, then the KQs/KJs/QJs will have much better blockers than Axs. The A blocks combos in villain's 4-bet value range AND his bluffing range, but the K/Q/J only block combos in their value range. (you'll have slightly more FE with KQs than with A5s). If this is the case, then you could certainly make a case for shoving more of the good suited broadways more often and fewer of the Axs.
  • NeverBluffing30


    kaazooh -- nice catch. makes sense.
  • NeverBluffing30


    This HUD is from HEM 1 and is a little old. For the most part I have the same stats in my current HUD in HM2 but it doesn't have the abbreviations so it's not a problem in terms of obstructing anything important on the tables.

    I play anywhere from 4 to 12 tables (usually on a 30" monitor).
  • NeverBluffing30


    grrgrrbla -- That's something I hope to touch on later in the series. What I'll say at this point is that, if we're looking for just a simple rule of thumb that can be applied at the tables, there may be an inflection point when your call size is somewhere around 6-8% of the effective stack size. (At least 15x the stack size is easy to remember) To be more specific, you could use your "max implied odds" which is basically the effective stack size + how much you've already put in; but for simplification just using effective stack size is close enough).

    Of course there are other important considerations (villain, his range, what he will do with that range later on, image, dynamic, immediate odds on a call now, etc.), but this at least gives a little framework.

    You don't necessarily have to be deep. 100bb btn minraises to 2x, you resteal to 7x, he makes a tiny 4bet to 13x (it happens): you owe 6bb (~same as calling a 3bet OOP) to possibly win over 100bb = 6%. I think you can have a calling range here (but keep it fairly narrow).
  • NeverBluffing30


    We can construct a GTO range 200bbs deep vs. a very good (unexploitable) reg 4-betting the button. There may be holes here and I apologize in advance, and I want to be clear this is not a range to use against all regs in game (who are usually NOT going to be using a GTO strategy). You'll want to compare this with how various regs in your games actually play, but at least we'll have a starting point with a range that is somewhat close to GTO and relatively unexploitable.

    Let's say he steals for 2x, we resteal in sb to 8x, he 4bets to 19x. He's risking 17bbs to steal 11bbs. For him to profitably bluff ATC, he needs to take it down 61+% of the time to show a profit. Let's just say 60%. We need to defend an absolute minimum of 40% of our 3-betting range to deny him this opportunity.

    If we're restealing 12% of all hands, then 40% x 12% = ~5% of all hands. We need to defend at least: 99+/AQ+.

    1) I don't think it would be a major leak if you were to just 5-bet everything and never call OOP. But,

    2) Let's say we opt to 5-bet 2/3 of the time and flat 1/3 of the time. We want to deny him the opportunity to essentially freeroll on us the times we call (he'll be seeing a free flop), so we need to defend a little wider than 5%. I won't go into using a call multiplier, but let's just say we need to defend at least 6% of all hands: 77+,AQo+,AJs+

    So we have our defending range. 4% = 5-bets and 2% = calls.

    For simplicity, let's say our 5-bet size is to 50bb (he 4-bet to 19bb). If he were to 6-bet shove, he'd be risking 180bb to steal a pot of 70bb with ATC. He only needs to take it down at 49+% of the time to show a profit with an Axs type bluff (he'll have some equity when he's called).

    So basically, at least 50% of our 5bets should be for value, and up to 50% can be bluffs.

    So we're:
    a) 5-betting for Value with 2%: QQ+, AKs, occassionally AKo or JJ
    b) Flatting the next best 2%: TT-JJ, AQs, AKo (and mix in maybe 1 combo each of AA/KK/AKs to balance and strengthen the ranges a little)
    c) 5-Bet Bluffing with the rest that is not strong enough to call: 77-99, AQo, AJs

    Not looking at this, in game it "feels" to me like QQ and AKs (even KK vs. some villains) are often going to be a little too thin to 5-bet for value. And it also feels like AJo/KQs/KJs/ATs/etc. would make much better bluffing hands (blockers) hand 77-99, so we might want to make some tweaks like that.
  • ruuuic


    Great video. TY
  • hunting123


    Hi neverbluffing30,
    can you please upload the spreadsheet again?or do you have another download link? megaupload is dead.
  • NeverBluffing30


    hunting --

    here you go:
  • Farmarchist


    Hey Neverbluffing, Thanks for this video. The explanations were very clear to me! Thanks.

    But when I was watching I thought about the next thing: When you have AQo shoving there (120bb or something) it is a bluff right? Then why you shove and you do not just 5bet? I think the shove looks weaker because you probably would 5bet AA and not shove to have him calling wider or shoving wider. Isn't that true? Maybe I'm wrong :) I'm just gold and I only play NL25 :)

  • Checkraiser


    Would you kindly upload spreadsheet to another site, as megaupload.com was seized by U.S. Authorities :-(
  • grrgrrbla



    thanks alot for the detailed answer!you cleary are one of the most dedicated and best coaches out there! keep up the good work!!looking forward to your next videos!! i have to digest the information and think about it .
  • giraffe1977


    wow great video one of the best i ever saw here at ps. Easy to understand, very helpfull for me who just started at nl400. Realy looking fwd to the rest of the serie.

    One thing, when 5betting you want to know the FE but i can't find this fold to 5 bet stat in hm2 hud. If it is not there what stats you use to determine the amound of FE needed before making a 5 bet.
  • giraffe1977


    at 26.50 why don't you put AK(s) in his btn 4bet range? when using all in expert. Same goes for the Ax hand, you only select A3 off suit. So why not the A3 suited? Has this something to do with being out of balanced when using both Ax off suit and Ax suited?
  • axelphoney


    I've heard a lot people saying that if you 3bet/shove at least TT+ and AQo+ then a 4 bet bluff becomes useless. Is that anything you would agree with in general? Or could you perhaps (either here or in a later video) come up with mathimatical evidence for or against it? It's obviously dependant on how much the particular villain 3bets overall, but just run some standard 3 bet percentages or something, and see what you can come up with :)
  • axelphoney


    Wrote that a little early. Your example with the 13% 3bet guy who only continues with 3.7% of that range, against a 4bet, is obiously one example where a 4bet is much profitable .)
  • NeverBluffing30


    Farmarchist -- You could sorta think of shoving hands like AQ/99-22/Axs/KQs/etc. as semi-bluffs. But when you're facing with a fold or all-in decision, like we typically are when 5-betting 100bbs deep, it's much better to think of it in terms of:
    a) hands that are +EV to shove
    b) hands thare are -EV to shove, and 0EV to fold

    It's really as simple as that. There are spots where 99 for example is +EV to shove. It's very hard to argue you're doing it for value, bcoz you're unlikely to get called by 66 type hands. Very simply 99 is a hand that has enough equity vs. villain's calling range that makes it a +EV shove. Basically when looking at your entire 3-betting range, think of the hands in terms of which have the highest equity and which have the lowest. You'll shove the ones that have enough equity to make it +EV, and you'll fold the others. The only difference really is with a hand like KQ or KJs/QJs, etc. where you have some blockers which increase your fold equity a little bit.
  • NeverBluffing30


    Checkraiser -- Try this link. http://www.mediafire.com/?jv3k2rdxp4x1hhv

    Maybe the mods can replace the first link posted with this new one.
  • NeverBluffing30


    giraffe -- Thanks for the comments. In a given situation vs. a specific villain, to assess whether your fold equity is going to be higher or lower than normal, you could use:

    a) specific reads you have on the villain. Maybe you took a note on him that says he "4bet-folded co vs. sb", or you have a note that he "saw YOU 3bet/5bet A5s". The first note might cause you to think you have slightly higher than normal f.e. vs. him, the 2nd note might cause you to pull back on your 5-betting because he saw you bluff recently.

    b) Stats:
    fold to 5bet, as you mention
    Raise First In % (his opening range), Fold vs. 3bet (how widely is he defending vs. a 3bet), 4-bet %, 4-bet range in that specific position.

    c) Your own stats (what is your image to them):
    ---your Fold to 4-bet (if your fold vs. 4bet stat is 65%, then most regs will view you as an excellent target for 4-bet bluffing. Thus they'll be 4-bet bluffing you more often than normal, which means your 5-bet should have more f.e. than normal. If your fold to 4bet stat is 35%, then HUD users will probably not be 4-bet bluffing all that often.

    ---your 3bet % overall and from this specific position/situation (your SB resteal %)

    ---your overall image: are you LAG or nit
  • NeverBluffing30


    at 26:50, I basically tried to balance his range a little bit. Most regs are not ALWAYS going to 4-bet AK. Usually he'll 4bet, but sometimes he'll just flat. So I had him 4-bet all the AKo (12 combos) and flat AKs (4 combos). It's not a perfect balancing I know, but it's simple enough for video watchers to quickly enter into Equilab.

    Same with AQ. He's usually going to just flat, but sometimes he'll 4-bet. So I had him 4-betting the AQs, and flatting the AQo.
  • NeverBluffing30


    With A3o vs. A3s, yes, I just want to get the number of combos correct. Doesn't really matter whether it's A5o or A3o, or A5o vs. A5s, etc. What matters is the number of combos.
  • NeverBluffing30


    axelphoney -- Yes, this statement is entirely dependent on how widely you're 3-betting. What the person is saying is basically this:
    For a 4-bet bluff to be +EV, you need to take it down at least ~60%+ of the time preflop. So, let's say you're hypothetically 3-betting the top 10% of all hands. Then for a 4-bet bluff to be +EV (or breakeven), villain needs you to fold at least the bottom 6% portion of this range, and shove less than the top 4%.

    TT+/AQo+/AQs+ = 4.7% of hands. So you're 5-bet shoving more than the required 4%, so he CANNOT show a profit by 4-bet bluffing you.

    However, let's say now you were 3-betting or restealing 14% of all hands. Now he needs you to fold ~8.5% of these hands, and 5-bet shove less than 5.5%. If you're shoving only TT+/AQ+, which again is 4.7% of hands, now he CAN show a long-run profit by 4-bet bluffing you. To deny him this opportunity, if you are restealing 14% of all hands, then you need to defend (i.e. 5-bet) at least 5.5% of all hands, or roughly 88+/AQ+.
  • axelphoney


    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I also have to say that I really liked the video. I usually think that pokerstrategy in general don't have that much high quality videos, but this is by far the best video I've seen here. So keep up the good work! ;)
  • Abnoe


    At around 13:30 you calculate heroe's equity when called. You enteder Axs which equilab for some reason translates to Ace of any suit + any spade. This leads to the inclusion of 3 combos of AA, 4 combos of AK, 4 combos of AQ and 4 combos AJ.
    Calculating TT+,AK vs a range of A2s-ATs, which I believe is more applicable to the example, we get an equity of 30.153%. This leads to breakeven FE of 47.6%.

    On a different note: Your spreadsheet is not working with my Office 2010 as the formula seems to be missing.

    Other than that, good video so far.
  • NeverBluffing30


    Abnoe -- You're right about the Axs. Good eye.

    For the spreadsheet, if you're using Excel, try to copy-paste this formula into cell G2:


    Then copy-paste that all the way down from G3-G20.

    Also make sure the cell for "1-FE" has the formula "1-A2" or "1-A3" etc entered in all the way down row F.
  • Scheffe69


    great vid!

    but i have one question:

    you're talking about folding the 3bet instead of shoving beeing 0 ev, doesn't it has -9bb ev folding an average 3bet (immediate profit)?

    which means we can 5bet-shove looser?

    sry, if it hast been asked already, didn't read all the comments..
  • DeMarcohsp


    I don't understand why when our opponent calls the formula is not F2*(C2*(B2+D2+E2)-(1-C2)*D2). When I win I get a return = my eq * total pot size and when I lose (= opp's equity) I lose my bet=5bet shove.
    And the formula is not working for me in Excel, will try it again after I sleep half an hour.
  • DeMarcohsp


    And I would expect villain to bet 4 bet bluffing a higher percent when he minraises the BU in the AQ hand. Is this a good assumption?
  • NeverBluffing30


    Scheffe -- We're looking at EV exclusively from the standpoint of the decision at hand, at the point of the hand we are now in. (not from how holdem manager might calculate the total EV of the entire hand, which includes our 3bet). The 9bb 3bet we've already made is done....those 9bbs are owned by the pot, not us anymore. It's a sunk cost.

    To figure out the most +EV play, we only look at the EV of the current decision, assuming everything that's happened in the hand already is past. From this standpoint, folding is always 0EV.
  • NeverBluffing30



    There are two different (but equal) ways to write the call portion of the fold equity formula:

    1. EV= [Reward] * [Our Equity] - [Risk] * [Villain's Equity]

    2. EV = [Total Final Pot] * [Our Equity] - Our Cost.

    The excel sheet uses the first option. In the past it looks like you have used the 2nd option. But you are mistakenly mixing the two above when you put the "Total Final Pot" from #2 into the Reward for #1. Your Reward is only the current size of the pot + whatever villain will still put in, whereas the Total Final Pot adds the amount you are going to put in as well, as you have done.

    Regarding the AQ hand, it might be a mistake to assume that because a villain is minraising as a steal, that they are bluffing more frequently. In my experience, most regs have a standard button steal size that they pretty much stick to regardless of hand strength (because they don't want to leak information by minraising a weak range and 3x a strong range). So some regs will have a standard where they 3x the button with their entire range, others will 2.5x their entire range, others will 2x their entire range. If you have a specific read that a villain is flexing his steal size and using different sizes with different range strengths, then by all means use that information to exploit him. But in general, most good regs are not going to do this as a standard.
  • DeMarcohsp


    Thanks for the answer, makes sense.
  • Grottesco


    this vid is awesome, simple as that =)
  • Alau


    Great video. thx.
  • chenny8888


    HeyMoronUSuk <--- this is an amazing SN

    nice vid also!
  • W1ckd


    does anyone still have the excel sheet??
  • ribpoker


    20:50 just a very small hint/question:
    I did a worksheet on my own for ev-calcs and "calibrated" it with your numbers. Can't get to your first ev value (22.94) - I keep getting 21.34.
    Found no mistake so is it really me or is there a small bug in your worksheet? All other results equal...


    This video is absolute nuts! Great job!
  • kiromanAAKK


    The spreadsheet link doesn't work ...
    Though, the video is a cult ... TYVM xxx
  • ZZMidway


    Another link to the excel thxxxxxx!!!
  • answit


    Does anyone still have this excelsheet?