matlittle's avatar


3077 points

One thing I am interested to ask about is when to size up preflop. I am seeing it more and more these days that a reg will make a 3x or 3.5x open when there is a rec that has position on them. The logic being that you want to open tighter with a rec to your left, you want to charge more, and want to get heads up with the rec more often. Which sizing do you think works best, and would you change it much depending on the VPIP of the rec?

I think Callum also mentioned that we might be interested in sizing up when the rec is in the blinds too. Here I am a little less clear as to what is best. We are probably interested in opening a bit wider in this scenario, which might push us towards a smaller open. We are still charging the rec more with the bigger sizing though, which would push us towards a bigger open. Is there a big difference in the incentives to size up/down if the rec is in the SB rather than the BB (or vice versa). Does being on the BTN compared to UTG change things? Would be keen to hear some thoughts about this!

June 23, 2024 | 12:23 a.m.

Think the format works well, would be keen to see more of these! If you guys are playing the same games regularly, then I think a 'most interesting hands of the month' video could make for good content too.

June 23, 2024 | 12:22 a.m.

I ran the same board for 6 max, BTN vs BB SRP, and this alternate scenario illustrates your point I believe. 98 appears to be the equivalent hand for this scenario, so I used that instead of 86:

BTN's bluff preference is 98hh > 98o with a h > other 98
Most suits of 98 are indifferent and get mixed into the bluffing range, because the BB will fold more hands like A9 with 9h:

If we nodelock BB to call as much A9 with 9h as it calls with other suits (as we would expect 99% of players to do), then BTN more strongly prefers bluffing with 9h to other combos:

So essentially in real games the heart blockers are more valuable than non-heart blockers because people aren't as good as solvers.

June 13, 2024 | 3:35 p.m.

I am a little confused by the 86 hand analysis though. GTOWizard does not make other combos of 86 equal value to the 86hh on the turn. 86hh is higher value as a bet (and a check) than other combos because it unblock more of the snap folds you mentioned in video. 86hh also is the only combo that it can make indifferent between bluffing and checking. It's probably important to mention that BB is calling A8 pure on the turn, perhaps this is why 86hh is strictly better than other 86 in this scenario?

June 13, 2024 | 3:02 p.m.

Completely agree with your logic on the TT hand. I had always thought the TT was 4bet mainly for board coverage on middling boards where the caller of the 4bet usually has some kind of nut and/or equity advantage. On boards like T98t, the preflop caller should open jam over 50% of the time. At mid-stakes it doesn't feel like TT gets sufficiently extra action on these board types to warrant 4betting it IP. As mid-stakes regs get better over time due to access to solvers etc, it feels a little closer than it used to be though, but still probably higher EV as a call.

I also thought there was a frequency aspect to it - 4betting frequently enough to make your opponent's marginal hands indifferent to 3betting, in order to prevent them expanding their 3betting range. Again though, at mid-stakes I don't feel like anyone is using a player's/population's lower than optimal 4bet frequency to adjust their 3betting range. And if they were, presumably hands like JJ, QQ, AKo could be 4bet more often instead of the TT (along with accompanying bluffs) to counter this.

June 13, 2024 | 2:35 p.m.

When you talk about player type, is this mainly a read on weaker mid-stakes regs? Presumably this is the player type most likely to make this kind of river mistake. And the poor flop cbet sizing led you to believe this player fell into this category?

June 11, 2024 | 3:41 p.m.

BTW, Antonis is SB, not BB. Did you misread? That may make some sense as per your results, as the polarised 3b range from the BB is less wanting to nuke money in ASAP, as it hits the board is a less black and white manner like the SB does.

Sorry there was a typo in my comment, I should have written SB not BB. The ranges I used were SB vs UTG for a 6 max game.

Try to be less rigid/reliant on the solver to determine your strategies. If the solver is clearly suggesting something, however the EV's are close with another strategic option, then consider both.

Whilst I agree with this advice in general, in this exact spot my sim has a 0% cbet frequency if I tell it to use the 150% cbet size. If I then force it to bet overpairs for 150% they are getting between 6 to 9 BB in EV loss by betting 150% as opposed to checking or betting a block sizing. The only explanation I can find is that we have very different preflop ranges for the IP player. If I give IP a way weaker range then it gets closer (albeit still a range check in my sim if 150% is forced).

June 11, 2024 | 2:47 p.m.

Who is to say that IP will always bet fold? They are capped, so they will have to call down some 2 pair hands here, or they will just be way over folding. Against someone capable of pulling the trigger on a big XR bluff shove here like Patrik that's not a great idea. AJ exactly blocks AA and JJ, 2 hands Patrik could XR jam with.

Which line produces the highest EV will come down to a few factors:
How often will IP call/raise vs bet
How often IP bets when checked to
How often IP bet-calls
The size of each bet/raise

Easiest way to find out the answer IMO is to nodelock the river to how you think a human will play and then the solver will tell you the answer. Original sim without nodelocking has KQ as indifferent/mostly checking.

I nodelocked the following:
IP calls any 2 pair+ vs the 150% pot (the bet Patrik made), plus 50% of AK/AQ
IP bets any 2 pair+ on the river, plus 50% of AK/AQ
IP calls the XR jam with the original solver range of 50% of sets, plus most of AJ, small amount of AK.

Under these assumptions, KQ is 10BB higher as check than bet. Of course, these are all highly debatable assumptions. The biggest deviation I think people will make here from equilibrium is that they will bet IP for value way thinner than the solver. AK, AQ are meant to just check here, but I think people will bet them mostly, which is the biggest swing towards wanting to check the KQ.

June 10, 2024 | 3:08 p.m.

Nice river call with the 88. Is this a common theme on the middling/low boards in 3bet pots, that people don't value bet thin enough and bet too many bluffs on the river?

Is it unique to 3bet pots vs BTN, or would it apply to other 3bet pots too, e.g. BB vs EP?

June 9, 2024 | 1:08 p.m.

For the river in this hand, I think check-raising is the play. His hand unblocks the betting range (mainly 2 pair hands), whilst blocking some of the check backs. He can check-shove with his check-raising range given that IP is capped and he is uncapped. IP will likely bet river too thin for value too which adds to the EV of check-raise. Also Patrik's image of being a bit of a sicko increases the likelihood of him being called given that we know he is capable of ripping in a massive XR bluff here.

June 7, 2024 | 5:57 p.m.

Not sure if you could see the end of my comment as it seemed to get cut off. In my river nodelock I had BB bluffing river with anything worse than A high, along with 50% of AQ. Result was that TT was a +EV call despite the BB having added KX combos from slow-playing the flop too often. The propensity for most players to bluff AQ here leads BB to be WAY over bluffing.

June 7, 2024 | 2:23 p.m.

I think truthfully, I wasn't sure exactly what I was value-betting against here

BB should still have plenty of combos to get value/protection from - AA, KJs, KQs, KTs, QTs, QJs, JTs, JJ, AQ, ATs, diamonds. Not at full frequency, but these hands are still the bulk of OOP's range. BB has you beat ~7% of the time, but the vast majority of the other hands in their range has outs vs QQ and most of those hands will call another bet.

June 7, 2024 | 2:18 p.m.

For this board you suggested that you would bet 150% pot even though it sounds outrageous. That did sound outrageous to me so I ran some sims on GTOWizard:

EV for BB, 228BB effective (as played):
33% sizing: 10.32BB EV
66% sizing (Patrick's choice): 10.27BB EV
150% sizing: 10.22BB EV and range check for BB

If they started the hand 100BB deep, 33% is the highest EV bet size here too.

A 3BP 100BB deep vs CO or BTN would be a good spot for a big bet on this board, but against other positions or 200BB+ effective it's just not feasible IMO.

June 7, 2024 | 12:38 a.m.

I guess the scenario I struggle with most is having something like red QQ and getting a turn that completes draws, like a spade.

Another scenario I struggle with here when trying to play this strategy is having a gutshot, checking range, then facing a big bet. Calling with bad pot odds and a strong likelihood of facing a high frequency turn barrel seems pretty rough. Check-raising and getting called frequently with a somewhat low equity draw seems pretty rough too especially when we will have to check-fold turn pretty often.

June 6, 2024 | 2:02 p.m.

Thanks for the idea of modelling it as a heads up SRP. It's hard to model this exact scenario given that Daniel is OOP in the hand and also shouldn't really cbet here. I tried a few scenarios like the ones you suggested and in general the pot sizing is usually a good sizing.

June 6, 2024 | 1:53 a.m.

I liked the flop check-raise here. Like you pointed out, a wide player on the BTN will usually stab way too frequently here. When this mistake is node-locked, OOP will check range and then check-raise often.

The problem I have executing this strategy though is playing turns and rivers OOP with marginal hands in a bloated pot. This happens fairly frequently too given that this player type is unlikely to fold the flop to the check-raise that often. Do you have any advice on how to navigate such turn/river spots?

June 5, 2024 | 6:06 p.m.

I think part of your logic for the pot sized bet was the perceived lack of K flushes in Doyle/Hultman's ranges.

I agree about players fast playing KXss on the flop way too often so that definitely removes some flushes. However I disagree that we shouldn't expect much offsuit KsXo in Doyle/Hultman's ranges.

If Hultman is calling BTN with QJo, then he's likely calling a high frequency of KQo, KJo, KTo.

Doyle called the BB with an offsuit dominated hand that plays poorly in a 3way 200bb deep hand, so he is unlikely to fold dominated offsuit KX like KTo. (The fact he is likely calling very wide in BB would of course dilute his percentage of K flushes though of course.)

June 5, 2024 | 4:45 p.m.

On this turn, you were advocating for a pot sized bet from Daniel based on the fact that he is very polarised. I completely agree that he is very polarised, but I thought that because it was 3-way and there is a 1 card (almost) nut flush out there which is commonly held amongst all 3 players, that pot would be too punitive a sizing for Daniel's bluffs, forcing him to size down with his betting range. I know there are other spots in poker where you are highly polarised but don't bet large, I was curious as to whether this is one of those spots too? I don't have a multiway solver so I can't really prove/disprove this idea.

June 5, 2024 | 4:32 p.m.

More strategy is better!

June 2, 2024 | 12:57 p.m.

Fun is definitely important for us poker players on and off the tables. What advice would you have for someone who sometimes opts to do too many fun things and not enough work or boring but important tasks? What are the best ways to maintain a good balance?

May 30, 2024 | 4:44 p.m.

Really enjoyed the analysis on this video, it has definitely changed how I see these spots. Seems like the general trend is that people call the flop too wide and bluff river way too wide. That incentivises us to trap turn more and bluff catch river much thinner as you described in most of the hands we saw.

Are there any boards where you don't think this dynamic is true?

Is this mainly a trend for 4bet pots that involves the blinds vs BTN, or do you think it would be true for other spots too?

May 30, 2024 | 4:22 p.m.

For this turn spot, I think you failed to consider how many rivers ruin your ability to value bet. Trapping would make a lot more sense if the board wasn't so dynamic and so many of your opponents hands had outs against you. All of BB's range is drawing to at least a gutshot. A, J and diamond rivers all decrease your ability to value bet your hand, which is a large chunk of the deck (18 out of 46 rivers).

May 30, 2024 | 2:48 p.m.

The '<' seemed to ruin my post, pic is here:

May 30, 2024 | 2:05 p.m.

I node-locked these as flop calls for BB, then node-locked BB to bluff river with anything < A high, along with half of AQ and a few low pairs (similar to what you suggested in the video which I think is a fair representation of how most people play). TT comes out as a very +EV call, despite the added value combos for BB.

May 30, 2024 | 2:04 p.m.

Great call here with the TT and the analysis was very good - completely agree that people will be way over bluffing here given how thin the value region is for BB. The equilibrium here is that BB checks the river pure with AQ, QTcc, T9cc, T8cc, and half of the flopped straight draws. There's no way anyone is doing that.

Important to note that the equilibrium also has BB XRing the flop with a bunch of KX with any kicker, which most people are not doing, so most players will get the the river with more KX than the solver suggests. I node-locked these as flop calls for BB, then node-locked BB to bluff river with anything

May 30, 2024 | 2:01 p.m.

This board in fact has a very high cbet frequency for SB. You are right that some A high monotone boards force SB to check often, but when there is another broadway card on the flop, lots of flushes are blocked by the board and so SB maintains its equity and nut advantage more. AKXm is the most extreme of these, given that A and K are the most important cards for blocking CO's flushes.

A53m however would be a range check for SB, so there is a large distinction between A high monotone boards. You see this in other spots too, such as 4bet pots.

May 30, 2024 | 1:13 p.m.

Like you, I was not expecting to see a bet here, credit to Demondoink for finding it. Would you expect that most regs would range check here, and then if you faced a check in game you would play as if your opponent had range checked?

May 30, 2024 | 1:01 p.m.

Interesting that the A6 doesn't raise here but most other 2 pair hands do. Looks like 96 doesn't raise either. Presumably then the 6 doesn't block any KdX whereas the other hands that bluff raise block some KdX?

May 24, 2024 | 4:33 p.m.

I thought the size down was due to the top pair changing and being better for the IP player.

BB is not all that interested in betting top pair on the turn given that the sizing is going to be large and with a polar range, so 2 pair+ hands will be the drivers of the betting region, not top pair. The reason K or A is bad for BB is because it brings about the highest frequency of 2 pairs and sets for BTN on the turn. BTN wasn't cbetting range on flop, so will have AA and KK more than JJ, TT etc. Over-cards will complete offsuit 2 pairs for BTN that BB has at reduced frequency. The main consequence is that it reduces the frequency of turn bets from BB. You are right that it can cause BB to size down slightly too and is indeed important for this exact scenario and indeed is more important still on the A turn.

The 2-tone turn heuristic I mentioned is a factor too - if you look at the turn card aggregate report matrix you posted you will see that over-betting is less common on the diamond turns compared to their respective heart or club turns. It's not so easy to see from the diagram, but if you run a sim with one turn sizing and compare EVs in a number of different scenarios, you will see that the two-tone (diamond) turns can result in BB sizing down by one bet sizing. For this exact scenario my GTOWizard sim has Kd as 75% preferred to anything bigger, whereas Kh is indifferent between 75% and 110% (e). So it is a minor effect and of course way less important than the size of the card.

May 22, 2024 | 5:19 p.m.

For this type of board, you were wanting to use the overbet sizing due to the polarity of the spot, but PIO told you that 75% was better. A concept (which I stole from a great Nuno Alvarez video on the topic) is that on these 2-tone turns we generally go down a size given that a huge number of rivers bring in a flush that devalues our current (turn) value range. Given that we are OOP and unable to control the size of the pot on the river we opt for the smaller sizing, not wanting to commit as many chips to the pot on such a dynamic board. I believe there are other boards that are similar, such as flush draw + lots of common straight draws available.

In general, the more dynamic a board, the more likely we are to size down slightly in these spots when OOP.

May 19, 2024 | 11:35 p.m.

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