Freebie: Studying Poker: Heads-up Small Blind Play - Part 1

  • Sit and Go
  • SNG
  • Heads-up
(58 Votes) 15045


Byron continues his "Studying Poker" series with a theory-type presentation style video, on Small Blind Play in Heads-up Sit & Goes. Stay tuned for more top-notch theory from Byron. Showcasing the latest production from ByronJacobs, looking at Sit & Go Small Blind play, observing from the point of view of the short-stack, we see the habits ideally formed to ensure our quality of play is uncompromised when facing a shove or fold situation.


Blind Defense Blindbattle push or fold series shorty Theory Video

Comments (21)

oldest first
  • ByronJacobs


    Hi Sweetpaul, In general from the SB around 12bb you want to have a raise/call range and a raise/fold range which are about equal in size, otherwise you are too vulnerable to wide shoving. I usually play something like 77+, A8+, A7s+, K9+, K5s+ plus broadways as the r/c range and have similar size r/f with stuff like 76o, J5o, K2o etc. The weak suited hands, e.g. 75s, T6s probably plays better as shoves as they are +EV to shove. You can also have a limp range (stuff like J7, K4) as long as the villain doesn't attack it too much. If he does, then you adjust by limp-trapping some strong hands.
  • SweetPaul


    I have one small quetion for you Byron. Which hand you recomend to use for do miniraise from sb? I understand that we cannot choose the hands which play wrong postflop as 22,33, A2 etc. So should we choose only the hands with which we can call 3B shov of our opponent or choose any random hand which can play frequently likely postflop?
  • SweetPaul


    when I watch some video I always think about practic implication of author theory in my working poker day for make more money. In this video you show me how make little bit more money from sb against a reg who play pure Nash strategy on 12bb deep. I know one reg who play pur Nash strategy vs random player. He adjouste but after certain number of matches and never durring same day (because he multitabling). So I'm sure with this topic I will win some extra monay from him untill he will understand what I do. nice vid. thnx.
  • Gukzzz


    Dont get it, you start with 12bb, 1/2bb is in the pot at start of the hand so 11.5bb<11.91bb NASH WINS.
  • roopopper


    Great vid, really interesting thankyou :-)
  • mktpppr


    great video, thx and Byron Jacobs, everyone agrees in long posts above, just using different ways of saying same thing (lol @12)
  • SvenBe


    he guys, we are experiencing issues with youtube-videos & are aware and look for a solution asap!
  • wakeupmrwest


    This Video is not available anymore,is there any possibility to upload it again?
    Thank you
  • dydukas


    Great video.
  • LoKKK


    looks to me like like a massive nerd vid, why do pokerstrategy try an scare away so many peeps
  • YohanN7


    Hmmm, there probably are pure Nash equilibria above that X I was talking about above, since Limit Holde'm is solvable in this sense, but they just don't have the appearance of Push/Fold. Thats what I'm really saying. (And they are still not perfect, just unexploitable.)

  • YohanN7


    #7 The Nash strategy is unexploitable, but it is not perfect in the sense that it exploits players playing any other strategy than Nash, especially when the stacks are above some size X.

    It's probably correct to say that Nash strategy is the perfect strategy if and only if the opponent plays Nash.

    If the opponent deviates from Nash, then the Nash strategy doesn't take full advantage possible if the stacks are greater than some X. This effect is amplified as the stacks become bigger.

    The Nash equilibrium is proven to exist for stacks smaller than X blinds. I have my doubts that Nash equilibria even exist (in the precise sense) when we are talking about 12BB (precisely because calling/minraising is possible). Nash eqiuilibria clearly does not exist for, say, 25BB.

    I may remember things incorrectly, but the pure equilibria exist for stacks smaller than something like only 6 BB. Tables for bigger stacks are just very good approximations to a very good strategy against random players. The tables are calculated GIVEN that calls/minraises are nono.

    Actual exact tables are impossible to produce due to the fact that they begin to depend on your opponent style. So, yes, there is certainly even room for improvement - even against somebody plaing according to the tables (which aren't truly Nash because of the limp/minraise effect)

    Question: What is X for which pure Nash equilibria exist when stacks < X? An answer, preferably with a link, is highly appreciated.

    Besides, there is nothing that says that EV = 0 in any of the blinds. That would be extremely unlikely if you think about it. The EV net sum over the two blinds, of course is exacly 0, regarldless of stacks.

  • ByronJacobs


    #4 Sorry - I've just realised I've made a mistake in comment #4 (and possibly confused people) by referring to something that appears in the second video. The basic small blind min-raise strategy yielding an EV of 12.00BB (and thus improving over 11.91BB of Nash) is a feature of the SECOND video and is nothing to do with this first video, where I haven't analysed a min-raise strategy at all.
  • ByronJacobs


    #7 Sorry - maybe I didn't express myself clearly. I am discussing the Nash strategy ONLY from the SMALL BLIND. Of course Nash is =EV over a series of hands but it's -EV from the small blind (on one hand) above an 8BB stack depth.

    The point of the calculation is not so much to point this out as to create a baseline expectation (in terms of EV) so we can examine the EV of other lines of play. If we don't know the exact EV of playing Nash (specifically from the small blind - on one hand), then discussing alternative lines is just guesswork. The calculation also sets up a model which will be developed in parts 2 and 3.
  • erkyl


    @6: I think the misunderstanding comes from you. Nash only said: "there is an ev=0 point, and if you play the strategy that leads to this point, someone playing another strategy will have a -ev play". That's it. From that people calculated tables more or less accurated, and if you want a more accurate than the one you're using, include 53s in your pushing range for 12.9-3.8 and 2.4 BB deep, and if you want to reduce the delta minus ev you'll still be facing with this table, include this hand only some percentage of the time.

    For me, your calculation is a non sens: you calculate ranges to get the ev=0 point, draw tables with that, and then you make a very approximative ev calculation to said that this point is not exactly 0 ev but slightly -ev. For me, I have the feeling that you tries to say that playing nash 12BB deep against someone playing nash is -EV. So do you think that both player are playing a -ev game (as the other play play like us, so he has to be -ev too)??? And that maybe the cards or a poker god are stealing the global ev lost? Obviously, the hand after your push, your opponent playing nash like you will be in SB facing the same delta ev as you've faced the hand before, so anyway the global ev will be exactly 0 if you got the same tables (while I'll agree, it's not a reason to take a -ev spot if you can avoid it).

    To get to your point, all you had to say was: "playing Nash against someone playing nash will never give you an edge, you'll both be break even. As playing nash is unexploitable, you can't play PoF to get an edge against that kind of player. Let's see how to play min raise / limp strategy to get an edge against those players. That method will be especialy +ev if the player doesn't adapt his game to your."

    I think that this would have been simpler, bring you to the same point and avoid this 8 minute long calculation with no point that you've made your video with.
  • ByronJacobs


    #3, #5 There may be a misunderstanding here. Just because Nash is equilibrium does not mean that if you start on the SB with "X"BB and play Nash your expectation will be "X"BB at the end of the hand. This should be obvious if you consider 100BB stacks, when you will be -EV from the SB since you fold almost every time. In fact the precise figures for playing Nash at various effective stack sizes (fairly easy to calculate) are as follows:

    6BB -> 6.03BB
    8BB -> 7.99BB
    10BB -> 9.95BB
    12BB -> 11.91BB
    14BB -> 13.88BB
    16BB -> 15.75BB

    Clearly as the stack size increases Nash becomes weaker with 8BB being the equilibrium point. This creates room to improve over Nash at effective stack sizes above 8BB. I chose 12BB for the video because at 10BB the gains - although clear - are quite marginal. At 12BB it is very clear that there is sufficient room to improve quite substantially over Nash and also to further outplay opponents who don't adapt. How this works will be seen in parts 2 and 3.
  • Snaky81


    Another possible explanation : card removal effect. If SB push, then the probability that BB has a hand in the calling range is less than 33% (basically because SB has more A/K/Q in his range than a 2/3/4, so it's harder for BB to have a good hand).

    Basically since playing nash is an equilibrium, playing Nash against someone that use Nash calling range is EV0, so if we want to have an edge, we can't stick to a push or fold strategy ... pretty obvious.

    I'm hoping than the other parts will have more interesting content, this one sounds like a (too) long introduction.
  • ByronJacobs


    #3 I don't think so. There's only a tiny bit of rounding off and usually I'm using 3 decimal places. The cells in the "total" column are formatted to display just two decimal places to keep it neater. It's possible that the result of 12.00BB for the basic min-raise strategy may actually be 11.99 or 12.01 but I doubt it's any further out.
  • jimmybass


    Interesting, but did Byron ever consider that the rounding off of percentages may cause the discrepancy?
  • YohanN7


    Six stars. If anything, min-raising and limping introduces at least a little bit of poker into the intellectual wasteland of Sit&Go's.

    Looking forward to parts II & III.

  • EuanM


    Enjoy the latest video with Byron, where he makes a review of a session played in the Heads-up Sit & Go format, to showcase to us, techniques he uses to gather information on his opponent and adapt our approach to them through that - approaches to how we interpret others actions and study poker are explored using the opponent as the subject.

    Don't forget to leave your thoughts & Feedback, and a special thanks to Byron for the awesome video!