joomorrow's avatar


14 points

I'm not really asking about whether or not I should bet or should check a marginal made hand, but which hand between 2 marginal made hands is better to bet/check. Even if both of these hands are better played as a checking (or betting) hand, there must be one which should be bet more frequently. If you increase (or decrease) your betting frequency to exploit your opponent, then that hand will tend to be the one you add into your betting range before the other one.

Let's rephrase my question differently. Can you think of a board + 2 marginal made hands with similar strength, where you would prefer betting the one with additional draw than the one without? And vice versa, can you think of one where you would prefer betting the one without draws? What are the main factors that changed between these 2 cases (board texture, type of draws, opponents...) to make you switch the decision like that? Just give me one example that way, and I think it would be much more helpful and clear for me than discussing too much about pure theory.

July 25, 2016 | 2:17 p.m.

I also don't think that "betting vulnerable hands" and stuffs like that has a lot to do with "playing in a balance way vs exploitative way". For example in a A22 spot, I think it's clear that in most cases, betting with 77 is a better default strategy than betting with KK, whether you are trying to play inexploitably or not.

July 24, 2016 | 6:50 p.m.

I agree with you that playing in an inexploitable way is overrated. I even wrote an article titled "The obsession with being inexploitable" in my blog recently, to criticize players who care too much about being inexploitable (e.g. always shoving with Nash-equilibrium range even when they are up against a nit, when they should have raise-folded instead).

I have always played in an exploitative way all my life, so you don't need to worry for me about playing too defensively. However, understanding about balanced and inexploitable play is also very important, first to have a way to fall back on when you are in a tough spot, and secondly so that you can recognize and identify weaknesses from other players more quickly / easily / correctly.

Discussing strategy in an exploitative way is useless unless you are given a context, because depending on each opponent, the correct and optimal play may be vastly different. My questions are about in a standard spot versus a standard opponent, and I don't see anything wrong with building a default strategy. You can always deviate from this strategy when you see fit, it's not like you have to follow it to the letter.

July 24, 2016 | 6:45 p.m.

LOL There is nothing wrong with the words "vulnerable" and "afraid". And it also has nothing to do with "playing a well balanced strategy" or "using exploitative options". Matt Janda discussed how the vulnerability of a hand (versus villain's folding range) is an important criteria to decide whether you should bet that hand, in his book "Applications of NLHE". And I doubt you could call that book is about "defensive paradigm".

July 24, 2016 | 5:58 p.m.

What are you talking about? Everyone has a few "quick and dirty rules" to simplify the decision process simply because they can't possibly remember every single way how a range interacts with a board.

And having reads and what not has nothing to do with what we're discussing here.

July 23, 2016 | 2:10 p.m.

I disagree a little bit. In poker, it's the destination that is important, not the journey. The destination is: "How can I make quick and good decisions at a poker table". Doing detailed analysis of board texture and hand range, is only 1 way to reach that destination. Remember simple, "quick and dirty" rules is another way. Compared to the 1st way, these rules may be slightly less correct in certain exceptional cases, but it has a much better advantage in that, it is much simpler to remember and apply in real world practical situations.

That's why it's good and all to do the analysis as you suggested. I have done so many times and very familiar with the process. However, I believe that reaching simple observations and conclusions from these analysis is at least as important.

July 22, 2016 | 5:55 a.m.

It's impossible to analyze all ranges on all board textures, and even if you could, it's impossible to remember the raw results.
Studying specific cases away from the table is not very useful unless:
- you encounter the exact same situation
- or you can find some simplified ideas so that you can easily remember and apply to other board textures in the future

For example, even without making a detailed analysis of board texture, I could see that in general it's better to raise with 6c5c on Kc9s2c4c than raising with QcTc, because you are more vulnerable to a 4th club card. This is the kind of simplified observations that is more useful for you than an exact analysis of how a range interacts with a board.

July 21, 2016 | 2:25 p.m.

In that example of Qc7s5d flop, you said you would tend to bet 7c6c and check Jh7h. Can you think of an example when you would prefer to check a marginal made hand with backdraw equity OOP, but would bet a marginal made hand with no draw instead?

July 21, 2016 | 4:58 a.m.

What you said is true but there should still be some kinds of guideline, so that you have something to fall back on when you are in hand and can't do detailed range vs range analysis.
In the 2 examples I gave, assuming 100bb stacks vs a reg, what would be your default line for each of those hands? You are OOP in both cases.

July 20, 2016 | 8:01 p.m.

I'm trying to build a default strategy for my flop betting decisions, and would like to hear your opinions.
Between 3 marginal made hand (decent equity vs villain's entire range) on the flop:
1. Hand type A with low chance of improving
2. Hand type B with backdoor equity
3. Hand type C with immediate draw

Which hand is a better candidate to bet?
Reasons to bet these hands: For value (vs weaker hands/draws) and for protection vs villain's folding range (over cards...)
Reasons not to bet hand A: Although we have decent equity vs villain's entire range, we have bad equity retention vs villain's calling range. On a bigger pot on the turn, we would have to check fold many turn cards OOP, or check back IP then fold to a river bet often.
Reasons not to bet hand B: We are less vulnerable vs various turn cards so we can afford to give a free card more often.
Reasons not to bet hand C: We are also less afraid of seeing a turn card

1) We raise from SB and BB defends. Flop: Qc7s5d. Hand type A: Jh7h, Hand type B: 7c6c (backdoor straight and backdoor flush outs so we can continue on any clubs including over cards, any 7, 6, 4, 8)
2) We raise from CO and BTN calls. Flop: 976r. Hand type A: A7o, Hand type C: 87s (immediate outs for an OESD)

July 20, 2016 | 10:41 a.m.

Thanks, great answer. I need to study with a GTO solver a lot more often now.
In the mean time, I suppose I will try to open up my defending range mostly vs late position stealers than worry myself with early position raisers.

July 10, 2016 | 8:52 a.m.

How wide are we supposed to defend vs open raise from other positions than BTN? We still get good odds, but villain's range is stronger and we don't need to defend as often to prevent him from profiting with any 2 cards because there will be more people to defend.

I have seen many pros defend very wide (with the likes of K5o, 83s...) vs a raise from CO, HJ, LJ... But in Mathew Janda's Applications of NLHE, he suggests an unexploitable range relatively tight to defend (~8% vs LJ and HJ and ~14% vs CO). So if we defend with the likes of K5o, 83s... does that mean we no longer are unexploitable and rely a lot on our postflop skills?

July 5, 2016 | 8:45 a.m.

Disagree with not shoving/4-bet call with TT in the last hand. You are OOP with 34bb, and TT is not exactly a good hand to "see the flop then evaluate" cause ~65% of the time there will be at least an over card. You will be forced to play passively and check call to bluff catch most of the time. TT is too strong there and I think the stack sizes were perfect to 4-bet shove/4-bet call.

July 2, 2016 | 10:41 a.m.

I actually prefer slow-paced, in-depth analysis. The live commentary is usually too shallow and more appropriate for beginners. When you truly understand deeply every spots, you will be able to make your decisions fast anyway.

July 2, 2016 | 6:14 a.m.

I don't think my question is that "unspecific". It's similar to asking how to judge your win rate in NLHE, where we all agree that ~2bb/100 online or ~5bb/h live is some good/realistic benchmark for a solid winning player.

Playing vs the bot is not useless, unlike in PLO/NLHE... where most of your decisions are opponent-dependent. In OFC, only a few of them are.

OFC has not been solved afaik. I've used openfacesolutions for ages and they only provide solutions for the last few streets. Some other bots are just terrible, especially the First Five.

Typical completion is NOT easy to check. I have found some answers online but most of them are personal anecdotes. If you can better sources, feel free to post them here.

June 29, 2016 | 9:37 a.m.

You guys non believers are all online players right? You don't play live much? Playing live is very different from playing online: live reads and playing exploitative style are so much more important than building a balance unexploitable style. When you play online, you frequently come across unknown players, with very few read, that's why using unexploitable strategy is necessary and recommended. Of course those moves by the super LAG that I mentioned were not done on a regularly basis (like you online guys do routinely with certain hands like a "system"), but still with a much higher frequency than a TAG player is used to. The point is to get involved with a fish in as many situations as possible, then outplay him postflop. If you are good enough, you should be able to overcome the position/hand strength disadvantage, because we are playing super deep. Of course using this strategy against a good pro or with a shallow stack will be suicidal.

I am a winning and experienced player (currently ranked in top 10 of Asian Poker Tour Player of the Year). Sure, I am not at the level of the RIO pros yet, maybe worse than many of you guys, but I do know to distinguish between a brainless aggro fish, and someone smart who makes unorthodox moves to exploit their opponents to the max. I can give names of very respectable winning players in the live circuit who employ this super LAG style frequently. But I am not here to discuss whether this style is good or not. I know with first hand experience that this style works in the early stage to exploit fishes in the live setting much better than playing TAG. If you know someone with a similar style so that I can study, great, thank you very much. If you are unfamiliar with this style, I don't need to hear your rant about how this is just a fishy strategy.

May 2, 2016 | 2:43 a.m.

Thats just aggro fish mate : )

Unfortunately, their consistent results suggest something different.

Learning a solid style is good and all, but completely dismiss other weird styles just limits yourself. I guess the old pros all called Stu Ungar an aggro fish when he first appeared. Then all the post-Moneymaker online players are also aggro fishes for that time. Defending blind, raise folding with < 12bb stack were ridiculed not too long ago, now it's very common. Don't let your creativity be clouded by what is considered "standard play". A play is only bad if it can be proven wrong mathematically.

May 1, 2016 | 4:04 p.m.

It's like saying watching heads up videos and adapt your strategy to 6 max. It helps, but there are way too many differences, both subtle and significant. There will be plenty of situations that you never encounter in 6max, and your range has to be altered significantly. It's only the same in case you are not in the first 3 seats, and that everyone in the first 3 seats fold, which doesn't happen very often in a live full ring setting.

April 30, 2016 | 4:06 p.m.

Luck? I don't think so. As I said, the keyword here is consistency. High variance doesn't mean it's luck. Fish? Again, just because a style is different from the suggested solid TAG style (which is well suited for beginners, therefore popular) doesn't mean it's bad. The fact that there are many players with this style who repeatedly make very deep runs in major tournaments means there's more to this style than what you seem to imply. It's easy to dismiss a player as "just lucky" when we don't thoroughly understand his strategy, but there's always something to learn from winning players.

Perhaps this style only works in very deep stack situation (100-300bb+), against weaker opponents (which are numerous in the early stage of a tournament). Fine, so if we can master this, we can quickly build up the chip stack far quicker than a player playing a standard TAG style can ever hope for, then switch gear to a more solid style later once the stacks get shallower and the field gets tougher.

April 29, 2016 | 5:52 p.m.

I guess I need to learn the LAG style of 2016 then. I mean, I watched some videos by John Daly and Akira for example in MTT, and I see that they employ a similar preflop range as I do, a typical TAG style in the early stage of a tournament. However in the live setting, I've seen some very good players who successfully and consistently triple or quadruple their starting stack in a very short time by playing an ultra loose style (like raising with K5s in EP, calling a raise with 94s, calling a 4-bet with KTo...). They must know how to extract the maximum value from the few time they hit their hands, and expertly bluff and apply pressure with the other plenty times where they totally whiff. That is what I want to learn.

April 28, 2016 | 7:17 p.m.

Post | joomorrow posted in Chatter: LAG style pros in RIO?

I am a solid TAG player, currently interested to learn to play the LAG style, which seems to be more profitable if you are a better player than your opponents. Which pros from RIO should I watch who play this style? (the looser the pro, the better). I'm interested in both cash game NLHE and MTT NLHE. I have the Essential subscription so I prefer Essential-pros, but don't mind Elite-only pros, as I intend to subscribe to Elite content in the near future. Thanks for your suggestions.

April 27, 2016 | 6:34 p.m.

Thanks for your reply. The loose blind defense you described here is something new to me, and I've seen a lot of great players doing recently, so this interests me a lot. I'm just not comfortable enough to VPIP with trashy hands. I guess coming from a cash game background, I'm so used to defend very little from the blinds, as these are losing positions, so I'd appreciate to see them more in action, to get a feel about how to do it.
I'm watching your other videos where you show HH of some tournaments, but I have not seen much blind defense, except with decent hands like K7s, 98o. The few times I've seen you defend with rags like Q5o, you just check fold the turn after flopping a pair of 5 with 3 over cards (which IMO would happen a lot).

April 27, 2016 | 6:24 p.m.

I think 1 more reason for checking with big (A/K/Q) flush is that, we can go for a check raise. There are more worse hands (worse flushes) that can call us. This is particularly true if we hit our flush on the river, check raising (usually all in) with a low flush is a bit too risky.
And we want to have flush in both our leading and checking range when it hits, so leading small flush and check (raise/call) big flush is a good way to balance.

April 27, 2016 | 6:11 p.m.

Regarding this 55 hand, how far were you in the tournament at that stage? I think you have to factor in the bubble factor as well, and judging from your stack, I assume it's already the middle stage of the tournament when the bubble factor is usually ~1.2-1.4, in which case you need not 41% equity to call but more like 45-48%, so 55 is a fold even versus an aggressive resteal range.

April 27, 2016 | 3:35 p.m.

Can you make a video showing how you play those weak hands (K2o, T4s...) postflop to realize the most of their equity? I feel that these hands flop so badly (usually just weak pair at best, and totally miss the board too frequently). This means you will have to check fold a lot. Also, when you do hit some sort of small equity (gutshot, over, back door, weak pairs...), how do you proceed? Do you check raise a lot? Do you balance it by check raising hands like TPWK, MPGK... as well? Do you donk bet? Or float OOP?

Another video could be how to adjust your defending range vs certain types of common opponents (aggressive opponents who barrel a lot, calling stations against which you can't check raise bluff often, etc...).


April 27, 2016 | 12:39 p.m.

Post | joomorrow posted in MTT: Question about ICM

I know about the theory behind ICM, but I have some troubles putting it into practice. Bear with me when I clarify my question by the example below:
Suppose you are at a final table of a MTT, 9 players left with payout as followed:
$175, $85, $56, $43, $33, $25, $20, $15, $11 (I take the numbers from the Card Player Poker Tour 2014 Main Event)
The stacks are (in bb)
51, 40, 36, 25, 22, 20, 18, 15, 12 (just some random numbers that are typical to a MTT final table, no one too short)
Using the ICM calculator, I see that the $equity of players #5 (22bb) and #6 (20bb) are $47.5 and $44.95
Say they get it all in. If #6 loses, his $equity becomes $0. If he wins (40bb stack), his $equity becomes $67.66.
So he risks $44.95 to win $22.7, therefore he needs ~66% equity to make it profitable for him to get it all in here.

The thing is, if he opens to 2bb from the BTN and the BB with 22bb resteals with a range as wide as 30% hands, he would still have to fold AKs and TT, because those hands do not have 66% equity vs a range of 30% hands. Heck, even if he somehow sees that the BB resteals with 23o, he still has to fold AKo.
My calculation or my understanding of ICM is obviously wrong, but I don't know where. Or is it really correct to fold TT/AK... to any resteal late in a tournament?

April 4, 2016 | 7:17 p.m.

What do you mean "stack off when only called"? Do u mean if villains call our 4-bet, we should check fold super wet flop? I agree as well, but this kind of defeats the purpose of our 4-bet (which was designed to commit ourselves to almost any flops and can't be bluffed). Now we have to analyze the board texture and do a ton of range analysis to see how hard villains have hit the flop (hard to do vs 3 opponents). And I prefer to avoid making tough decisions.

March 14, 2016 | 8:13 a.m.

Post | joomorrow posted in PLO: 4-bet AAxx multiway preflop?

In Bugs' "PLO from scratches", the author demonstrated mathematically that it's a EV+ move to 4-bet with any AA heads up, ~100bb stack, and got it in on any flops. What if you know the table is very loose, and your 4-bet will likely get called by multiple players (assuming no one holds AAxx)? Is it still a good idea to 4-bet then get it in?

March 13, 2016 | 7 p.m.

Comment | joomorrow commented on See video date?

This is just a work around that is not very practical. Some videos may not have any comments (although I suppose we could conclude it's a recent video then), or the 1st comment may come a while after it's posted, and the date shown there is relative date (e.g. "2 years ago") and not an absolute date. In any case, I see no reasons at all not to show the date of a video more clearly and straightforwardly.

March 10, 2016 | 4:06 a.m.

Post | joomorrow posted in Chatter: See video date?

I'm a new member to the site. Would like to know how can I see the exact date when a video was posted? Browsing the video list, I can only see the day and month, like "Jan 2nd". This is impractical especially for older videos (can't know if it's the August of 2015 or 2012, to see how up-to-date/relevant the videos are). There is no date in the "View description" either.

If it's not possible to see the date, I think this would be a rather important (and easy to implement) feature to be added soon. Thanks.

March 9, 2016 | 7:34 p.m.

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