UPDATE: Thanks so much for all of the advice recently. I've played a few more sessions against this opponent since I started this thread and have gone on a $1,700 upswing at 200NL, $300 buy-in. The main strategic adjustments that I've made have been:
1) Opening tighter, now I only open hands that won't fold to 3bet. These open then fold to 3bet hands were just burning me way too much money, as many people have said in this thread.
2) 4betting much lighter for value. When villain is calling hands like A2o vs. 4bet, I really need to just push my equity advantage and create large pots that I will play with a much stronger range in position.
3) Limping my weak hands that I want to play smaller pots with. This allows me to raise more hands profitably since I can limp hands that aren't strong enough to call vs. 3bet, but are profitable putting less money in preflop.
4) Running better (kidding)
Overall, I really appreciate everybody's advice. I'll post more updates if anything significant happens, but I'm really grateful that RIO is such a helpful and generous community with information. I had no idea I'd get so many thoughtful and intelligent responses from everybody in such a short period of time, and am very grateful. Based on playing this unconventional heads-up match, I've had these two main takeaways that could help you playing vs. fish/unconventional strategies:
1) Be willing to make huge adjustments from your GTO strategy and stay open-minded. I was reluctant at first to make huge strategic adjustments and get outside my comfort zone. However, I needed to stop approaching this match like I would approach a match against a strong opponent. Instead I needed to really think about exploits instead of trying to imitate a solver. It can be hard to make way different plays than you are accustomed to making, but being flexible and willing to make outside-the-box +EV plays is a key driver of a high win-rate.
2) Be willing to embrace variance in +EV spots. Part of my struggles early in the match came from an unwillingness to make moves like 4betting KTs to 26BB for value. My normal game is 6max 200NL online, so it felt uncomfortable to be playing $100 preflop pots over and over again with deep stacks and "weaker" hands like KTs than I would usually have deep after 4betting. However, variance is something that should be thought about outside of the game rather than in the game. You want to think about variance in terms of whether you are bankrolled to play a certain game given your std dev and expected win-rate. Variance calculators are very helpful for this. Once you have accepted that you are bankrolled for a game with a certain variance and large swings, then you need to go into the game not worrying about getting stacked or losing large amounts of money. Instead, you should purely be thinking about executing the most +EV strategies once you have opened a table or sat down in a live game.
June 22, 2019 | 3:07 a.m.
Benefits of facing the overfolding pool: This pool gives you very frequent +EV hands because you can profitably bluff in any hand. You also can exploit the pool by value-betting less thinly and thus not value-cutting yourself as much as when you play a GTO villain.
Facing overcalling pool: At first I thought that this pool is worse to play against because you can only exploit by value-betting thinner, so you wouldn’t be able to exploit in situations where you don’t have good SDV. However, you can also exploit opponents by giving up with bluffs all of the time, and not making -EV bluffs since villain will overcall. Your exploits in this pool also lead to you winning bigger pots because when you value-bet thinly as an exploit you win bigger pots than when you bluff exploitatively since the villain doesn’t put more money into the pot when they just fold.
Overall there are benefits to both situations and I’m not sure if your exploits against the overcalling pool or against the overfolding pool would generate more EV. In practice, I’ve actually played online games where villains consistently overfold, and recently I’ve been playing private games where the pool way overcalls. Based on this experience it seems more profitable/easier to play against the overfolding pool but I’m not completely sure.
June 22, 2019 | 2:53 a.m.
I like this idea of limping for your reason that we aren't giving up much preflop fold equity. This point made me think on a more basic level about why we raise preflop on the button HU instead of limping. The reasons are twofold: 1) to grow the pot with strong hands that we will be playing in position, 2) to deny our opponent's range equity by making him fold. Against this villain that is 3betting so often and folding so infrequently, my 2.5x open raise isn't accomplishing reason 2.
June 15, 2019 | 9:57 p.m.
Very smart points here belrio42 . I've done some work in equilab to look at the equity that a lot of my hands have against a 75% uncapped range. Since I open to $5 and he 3bets to $15, then I need 40% equity based on pot odds, but also I'm in position and have a skill edge so I might only need 33-35%.
I also agree that I really need to think outside the box and open up my 4bet range. It feels weird to 4bet a hand like K7s for "value", but K7s has 52% equity vs. his top 64% range. Thus, I just want to be growing the pot for situations where I will have an equity advantage and being position.
June 15, 2019 | 9:54 p.m.
Yeah, I agree and this is the direction I've been going in. I've expanded my linear 4betting range to what I posted above, but need to expand it even more. You're right that it's just not worth it to open hands where I'm going to an additional 1.5BB 75% of the time by raising and then folding to the 3bet
June 15, 2019 | 9:50 p.m.
Thanks for the tips here Antonio Miranda . I'm going to try out the strategy of using a bigger open size with a stronger range. One concern with a big OR size is that a stronger player's skill edge is decreased as the SPR gets lower, but it's still worth trying out. However, against such a loose opponent, it could make sense to raise big and grow the pot with my strong range, especially since I suspect that his VPIP range is fairly inelastic to my BTN raise size. I'll play a few sessions with these new strategies and post again about how things go!
June 15, 2019 | 9:48 p.m.
I like these suggestions. Antonio Miranda I agree that a limping range doesn't need to be balanced in the same way you would balance it with strong hands/good board coverage vs. a strong player. However, I think that especially heads-up, I would want to have some strong hands that I can limp-reraise. If I never have a strong hand in my BTN limp range then my heads-up opponent will pickup on that and 3bet over limp a ton.
June 15, 2019 | 9:46 p.m.
The problem with defending hands that won't flop well like T3s, 97o, etc is that he's very sticky postflop so without being to bluff very effectively, I'm worried these hands won't be profitable calls pre.
June 13, 2019 | 8:21 p.m.
Thanks for the advice. I've tried limping but he 3bets just as much, raising to 5BB. You're right that I really need to open up the 4betting range and get into lots of big pots with a huge range advantage
June 13, 2019 | 7:54 p.m.
BTN RFI Range
BTN continue vs. 3Bet Range
June 13, 2019 | 7:45 p.m.
I have a fish that I've been playing heads-up in a private unraked game on one of the poker apps at 200NL. He only has a live background and lacks a grasp of most poker fundamentals. However, he's been giving me some trouble with his very aggro and non-traditional style of play. I've played about 300k hands of 6max NL online and been a winner up to 200NL with a lot of solver work, but have never studied heads-up.
Anyways, we play 200NL with a 150BB buy-in. The fish uses a BB preflop strategy against my 2.5x open of 3bet 75%/call 15%/fold 10%. He 3bets to 7.5BB always, and only folds to 4bet ~15% of the time. He'll 3bet random trash like K4o, 96o, etc and still call almost every 4bet. Postflop, he plays very sticky and passive, very rarely folding to flop bets and almost never check/raising.
When I limp or 2x the button, he raises to 5BB with a similar frequency.
My question is, what should my preflop strategy be on the button? Right now I'm opening 85% of hands on the button and am continuing with 43% of all hands vs. 3bet. I've built my ranges to meet minimum defense frequency vs. his 3bets, but the problem is I still feel like a lot of the bottom opening hands might not be profitable for me to raise on the button b/c I'm raise/folding preflop with such a high frequency. I definitely have a postflop edge, but when these raise/fold hands are losing me 2.5BB 70% of the time that I play them, I might be better off only only raising hands that will continue against 3bet.
I've also made the adjustment of almost never 4bet bluffing, and widening my 4bet range for value greatly since he's calling so wide. However, I still want to leave some strong hands in the call 3bet range.
Do people have any other advice on how I should construct my preflop button strategy? I'll post the ranges that I'm using right now below, and would appreciate any advice.
June 13, 2019 | 7:41 p.m.
I generally play 6-max online, but have an opportunity to play a very soft Heads-Up game. I have no experience with heads-up, could somebody share charts with me for preflop strategy? I don't own a preflop solver and would really appreciate if somebody could share basic HU preflop charts from the solvers so I have a good baseline strategy. Thanks
May 29, 2019 | 8:41 p.m.
It would be awesome to see a video or series of videos reviewing some hands from the Trueteller vs. LLinusLLove 40kNL HU battles. There is a playlist of these hands here:
It would be amazing to see a HU expert like Sauce or KRab review some of the big pots.
May 16, 2019 | 12:30 a.m.
I only play 6-max but came across this hand played at 200/400 deep between LLinusLLove and Trueteller. Could somebody who understands HU better explain LLinus' line here? I don't understand the flop or turn donk bets, and the river jam seems thin to me so deep, but I'm sure Llinus has good reasoning
May 16, 2019 | 12:28 a.m.
Saw this hand in the Pokerstars replayer at 200NL and it didn't make sense to me.
200NL Zoom Pokerstars, $441 effective stacks
HJ (EluSiveMark) opens $5.18
BTN (danielkyosev) 3bets to $20
HJ 4bets to $61
Flop ($125) Kc Jd 7h
Turn ($125) Kc Jd 7h [Qd}
BTN bets $52
River ($229) Kc Jd 7h Qd [As]
HJ bets $209
BTN raises to $329
BTN shows T7s and wins with a straight
HJ shows AA
Obviously the preflop play from BTN is terrible, but I don't understand the river donk bet/call from EluSiveMark. Is the idea here that he has more Tx/AA/KK based on preflop play so he wants to donk on the rivered Ace? Also why does he choose this sizing of 90% pot leaving so little behind? Would EluSiveMark's bluffs be 98s/2p hands here on the river?
April 19, 2019 | 10:34 p.m.
200NL Anonymous tables
155 BB effective
Hero is BTN with Ac Qs
CO opens 3BB
Hero 3bets to 9BB
Flop (27 BB) 6d 3s 2s
Hero bets 9 BB
Turn (45 BB) 6d 3s 2s [4s]
Hero bets 32 BB
River (109 BB) 6d 3s 2s 4s [5h]
Hero shoves 105BB
I shoved here to get the BB player off the chop. I thought the Qs was a good blocker to a lot of his flushes like AQ, KQ, QJ, all of which he could cold call the 3bet with preflop. I also thought that I could discount some of villain's flushes since they should probably donk-jam this river with a flush. Is this play too aggressive or does it make sense?
EV (check back) = 109/2 * p (villain doesn't have flush)
EV (shove) = 109 * p (villain doesn't have flush) * p (villain folds without flush) + 109/2 * p (villain doesn't have flush) * p(villain calls without flush) - 105 * p (villain has flush)
March 16, 2019 | 10:21 p.m.
NL 200 Anonymous table, 150 BB effective
Hero (HJ) has [Qc Qh]
LJ (250 BB) raises 3BB
Hero (150 BB) 3bets to 10BB
LJ (150 BB) raises to 32.5BB
Flop (98 BB) Jd Th 5d
LJ bets 29 BB
Turn (185 BB) Jd Th 5d [Jc]
BTN jams 90 BB
I ended up folding because I think BTN is underbluffing in this spot. His preflop range is hard to know, but I estimate it's mostly AA-99, AQs, AK at varying frequencies. BTN's range becomes so strong after overcalling the flop that I think it's very likely BTN is underbluffing. The only possible bluffs he can have are AdKd, AdQd but he can have 3 combos of TT, 1 combo of JJ, and 6 combos of AA for value, as well as some trips if he's calling very loose preflop. I'm don't have the equity to call vs. this estimated range so I folded.
Feb. 24, 2019 | 2:09 a.m.
Tough River spot. Hard to find bluffs for villain here, should I call or fold river?
50NL, 260 BB effective
Hero is LJ with [Ad Jc]
Hero (LJ) opens 2.5 BB
Flop (8 BB) Ac Jd 4s
Hero bets 4 BB
Turn (16 BB) Ac Jd 4s [Qc]
Hero bets 12 BB
BTN raises to 32BB
River (80 BB) Ac Jd 4s Qc [Qd]
BTN bets 51 BB
Nov. 10, 2018 | 4 a.m.
HJ (125 BB) raises to 3.5BB
CO (44 BB) calls
folds to Hero (150BB) in BB with [Ah Qh]
Hero raises to 15.5BB
Flop (35 BB) Qs 8c 3c
Hero bets 15 BB
Turn (65 BB) Qs 8c 3c [6c]
HJ bets 29 BB
River (123 BB) Qs 8c 3c 6c [Jh]
HJ jams 65 BB
Nov. 4, 2018 | 7 p.m.
I've been working on my game by studying a lot of hands in solvers recently. In a few hands I've noticed situations where the solver recommends that the preflop raiser has a very low frequency flop cbet (10% or less), despite having an EV advantage on the given board. This result was surprising to me. I understand that flop cbet percentage isn't strictly a function of how high your EV is, but I wouldn't expect such a low cbet with an EV advantage. I'll give an example: 3Bet pot BTN vs. CO As Ts 9d. Here, the solver result I got was that BTN has an EV advantage of 11.6 vs. 9.9, however BTN should check 91% on this flop. Can somebody help explain this to me? I'll post the preflop ranges that I'm using below:
I gave BTN the option to bet 1/3 or 3/4 pot on the flop.
Nov. 1, 2018 | 9:23 p.m.
Thanks for the response. I'd never thought about blocking villain's x/r bluffing range before when bluffing IP on the river. Pretty interesting concept, since we don't usually think of villain's bluffs as a portion of their "continues" that we want to block.
Aug. 14, 2018 | 6:30 p.m.
1. At 17:45 you say that in ICM spots that force players to play tight, an adjustment should be for players to use small bet sizes. I'm trying to understand the math behind this adjustment.
Is the idea here that a) the negative EV of losing X chips is greater than the EV of gaining X chips, so players should fold when given marginally +chipEV calls, thus b) to make villain indifferent, you have to bet a size that makes their call sufficiently +chipEV, rather than how we want to make a call 0 chipEV in a cash game?
2. At 39:25 you say that the best bluffs are lower cards and give the example that on the board of [6s 7d Qc As 2s], 3s 3x is a better river bluff than Kh Jh. Does this effect of wanting low cards hold independently of having a spade in your hand? It seems like Kh Jh would be a better bluff than 3h 3d because KJ block some strong Qx and Ax combos.
As always this was an excellent video, thank you for taking the time to make it.