Lewis Harkes's avatar

Lewis Harkes

82 points

A couple points I'd like to add to the (great) discussion here.

I think heuristics gets a bad rap sometimes - these rules of thumb are critically important for quickly building a strong foundation of understanding. Sometimes though, when we deduce what a solver is doing, we're not necessarily "just using faulty heuristics" as much as inferring concepts from the data. For example, when I look at preflop guru's RFI advice for utg in 6max NL 100 (mid), it has a few split strategies that strongly suggest board coverage plays at least some role: RFI 44-22 at 33%; RFI K7s, K6s and K5s at 33%, 0%, 33%, respectively.
I think it's reasonable to say that, everything equal, 44 > 33 > 22; and K7s > K6s > K5s. So it seems like on a single iteration event, the specific hand EV is taking a small hit for the purposes of "board coverage" as well as balance (to Cit's point of "if you always raise 44 and never 22, the perfect GTO-bot will find a way to exploit).

Secondly, an interesting point I think about for blending a new data point (i.e. a candidate hand) into an average (i.e. a range that adds the hand) is: the average impacts the new point and the new point impacts the average, but a much larger weight usually has a much larger impact, unless the smaller weight is an extreme outlier. In other words, to Cit's point on board coverage being a small impact: unless you "get to stack someone with a weirdo hand that wouldn't intuitively be in the range, or play your mediocre hands way more aggressively on normally bad textures" you probably lose more EV playing these hands and losing a little bit the majority of times you add them than you gain the rare times you get paid off. But that doesn't mean there aren't random anomalies here and there...

Sept. 8, 2020 | 4:35 p.m.

true story, decided to run some pio and go through the Carroters videos after posting. Found this one from last November.

check out the 12:25 mark:

it has a very similar spot (albeit HJ likely a bit less nitty). Not a lot of discussion, but the AKo was flatted in sb vs utg open and hj 3b, so it is somewhat viable.

Sept. 7, 2020 | 10:10 p.m.

I agree with other posters that the MP 3b range vs nit is important to understand here (as well as utg Ft3b, 4b%). Also, do you have the positional stats of two villains? I find that at nl25z, there are some real discrepancies by position for regs that can be insightful.
Personally, when utg is RFI 15%, i wouldn't discount JJ+, AK+, AQ from nit's 3b range here, and given the 17/15, it seems doubtful he flats much - is he really folding QQ to a raise here? I'd be curious on what the nit's 3b by position is, if that can nudge a decision one way or another.
If i was deciding here, it'd be close and I'd weigh a lot of these factors, as well as my reads on how good/aggro/tricky MP is.

My preference in order of plays:
4b-fold - if positional stats suggest the 5% is about right and we believe that the nit plays straightforwardly/face-up (i.e. not flatting a 4b with AA in position when we cold 4b and utg folds; flats with a range we're ~50% against, pays off 1 or 2 bets postflop when we're ahead on A or K high boards). Given the positions, that 1.2% 5b (or QQ+, or KK+, AKs) probably adjusts to KK+, in this hand. As Mudkip showed, given he 5betss ~ 14% and calls wide (maybe 40%), i think we can easily 4b-fold given our low equity vs 5bets and strong equity (near 50%) when he flats the 4b.

flat with AKo- We have good-ish equity vs. their ranges and it also has the benefit of defining our hand for us - if utg squeezes we can see how mp reacts and evaluate. When an A flops, it's very unlikely we're beaten (only one combo of AA).

fold - if we think that nit's 3b range is closer to 3% here (JJ+, AK) and he's shoving QQ+ (about 50% of the 3% range after adjusted, but with 70% equity vs us) and flatting most of the rest...

Sept. 7, 2020 | 6:42 p.m.

Can you explain this?
I think assuming a nit won't ever 3bet a top 1.5% hand vs. a 17% opening range is a bit too strong. My thought is that he'd be more likely to bet-fold or bet-call. In general, isn't one of a bad nit's bigger problems being that his range is overly elastic ?

Sept. 7, 2020 | 6:11 p.m.

One thing to consider/be careful of is that if we 4b large and utg folds, AA might flat the 4b fairly wide, confusing our decision somewhat...

Sept. 7, 2020 | 5:43 p.m.

Cit, I think the accepted theory agrees with you, Sauce and James - the floor for any GTO play is a 0EV hand. The logic i've seen is: given opponent is playing perfectly, we add a negative EV hand to the range, it just loses $$. I think Janda's book/s and Carroters FTGU series touched on this in as well.

I suppose there could be some hands that have ever so slightly negative EVs on a stand-alone basis but could boost your coverage enough to also nudge up the top of the range ever so slightly (simple example, adding a few extra K2s in a random spot to strengthen nutted range on a 822 flop). Not sure if the math works or where the decision would land if it does, but I'd think any potential hand like this could be pretty much trivial and add extra, unnecessary, complexity from a practical perspective for most stakes?

Slightly off-topic, but I do think that "loss-leaders", or "advertising" are a really interesting idea and probably reasonable to use as an exploit from a meta-game perspective against frequent opponents, especially those opponents that are exploitable and tend to over-adjust. Depending on opponent, some "obviously bad" (but tricky ) hands like 43s might do the trick better than the "respectable" (but easily reverse-dominated) hands like QTo?

Sept. 7, 2020 | 5:34 p.m.

Makes sense, nice exploit.
Thanks for sharing the hand and your thought process, it's great to get an understanding of these tricky hands!

Sept. 4, 2020 | 8:35 p.m.

Awesome advice, and glad it worked out sir!

Another tip that could help smooth things is to take regular withdrawals. Creditors favour smooth income streams over lumpy payments. If there's a discretionary decision involved, a monthly 3k withdrawal over of a one-time 36k payment might tip the scales.

As poker players, we might see it like: "a one time payment could just be a big win in a tournament, but pulling 3K+ a month shows they're a consistent grinder". I know who i'd prefer to lend money to... A non-poker playing landlord would probably see it similarly, if with a less nuanced understanding.

Sept. 4, 2020 | 7:19 p.m.

I also wonder if this is a GTO vs Exploit sort of situation. This line is really interesting to me, and isn't so much in my arsenal at the moment. I'm curious, was there a specific or pool level exploit involved here? I know you've previously mentioned players tend to overfold to flop c/rs - thanks again for that tip, it's been huge!. Is the c/c flop; c/r turn line on dry-ish boards an example of that here?
If so, it would imply villain/pool is generally overfolding turn, leaving mostly strong made hands and draws in his range. Was the idea to shove most bricks targeting the draws when you don't improve on river, or just give up since you've filtered range so much already?

Sept. 4, 2020 | 7:08 p.m.

A bit late in the reply, sorry about that!
Yes, good point about 78, T8 - initially i discounted them as I under-estimated the flop cbet frequency. Adding them starts to get the numbers moving towards a call.

Sept. 4, 2020 | 7:06 p.m.

Yes, I'd echo (and merge) the two previous posts. Knowing ranges, stacks, actual runouts, and tendencies is really important. The position of villain, bet sizes and stack sizes, and any reads on opponent are needed to build a range.
For example, if villain is bu the ranges are very different than if he's utg. If you made a 11x bb 3bet on a 2.5x open, (somewhat standard), it strengthens his range compared to a 7x bb 3bet on the same open size. If you're going to call 2 or 3 streets with an A high flop, you're really saying he's bluffing a lot. But to decide that we need to know the texture of the flop to decide what draws he could have to bet twice and bluffed when they missed compared to what two pair / value hands got there...

But let's assume: you have no reads, with 100bb stacks, and the co made a 2.5 raise and called your 11x bb 3b: i think check-calling puts you in too much trouble, when you call two streets after 3betting preflop, your hand tends to read like what you have here - an Ace that doesn't want to get stacks in or a big pair like JJ-KK, or a draw of some sort. Without anything significant on board, I probably fold to a medium-large size bet on the turn and almost always fold river, depending on runouts, suits etc. It's just too easy for villain to determine the bet sizing and when to push.

I'd say just bet when you have the range and nut advantage - you have a lot more AK/AQ in your range than he does and I think that a good line is to lead on the flop and mix some bets and checks on the turn.

Sept. 2, 2020 | 11:15 p.m.

Weird line !
I guess the value hands that the line reps are QT, K9, KJ, KQ, all of which you block, and some funky overpairs to turn + sets (but discounted bc of weird line). I'd discount most AK bc of turn call. Board isn't super wet though but I suppose A2, A4, 46s, 67, QQ, AJ might show up here too, depending on villain's aggro frequency. Seems relatively close getting 2-1. Maybe look at villain's stats if available and adjust?

  • Disclaimer: I play NL25z, but some regs probably overlap are at NL50 level...

Sept. 2, 2020 | 10:55 p.m.


Seems like one of those good problems to have!
Seriously though, I’m a bit surprised that a full year isn’t sufficient for these landlords, but I kind of get why they’d be suspicious of poker as a living - tough to verify and lots of tall tales, ways to manipulate etc.
My guess is try to treat as any other independent business - you
might need to use tax returns as income verification.

Good luck!

Sept. 2, 2020 | 3 a.m.

Great video Henry! Please keep more of them coming !

I think a lot of the newer players on the site / essential members (like myself) can learn a lot from understanding and applying exploits to their pools in addition to working towards "straight GTO poker" - a lot of us realize how important solvers are, but might find it tough to learn and succeed through a Pio dominant approach. Videos like this help me (us?) better understand the game I'm in as well as my own leaks, which helps improve my game and profits.

I loved that instead of giving intuition for a specific hand, you tied it to the general approach you were targeting for the video. It can be tough to replicate your intuition from a specific spot, but when you give a theme and apply it to examples, it makes it stick better.

I also loved when you "taught us to fish" at ~11:00 with tips on building database reports to start adding/removing starting hands. More of these suggestions on how to improve our profitability through our software either fixing our own leaks or finding metaleaks would be awesome!

Aug. 27, 2020 | 8:14 p.m.

Thank you so much, great advice all around Citanul!
Also i don't know what's sexier - that 5.5bb/100 or the positive red line (with positive green line)... both amazing !
Will screen more for the Fold to Flop Raise, i actually have it up but need to pay more attention.
Good point about merging vs range bets. I was actually doing that for a bit (FTGU inspired) and faced a few 3bs with 2nd pair on middling flops. I guess it felt like a move but sometimes ppl have it. Maybe I was just "fooled by randomness" or something...
Again, thank you very much to everyone kind enough to help me!


Aug. 25, 2020 | 11:30 p.m.

Great advice Citanul! I've been meaning to update my HUD, i'll add these to my popups.
Is your HUD, drive HUD? It looks very clean compared to PT4.

Question: When you c/r oop wider, do you find a lot of 3betting from very agro players? I struggle with this and it discourages my c/r ing somewhat. I guess just polarize the range and call down when expecting to call all streets?

Aug. 23, 2020 | 7:13 p.m.

Wouldn't river call efficiency drop if he makes his WTSD higher by calling more rivers?

I think so too, all else equal. I do feel like trapping with big hands in position works well in the pool, so I would like more of that (keeping river call efficiency high), but I also think that for one reason or another I'm folding too wide on the biggest street. I think that in a lot of lines I'm drifting there with mediocre holdings that can't face 3 bets or a turn overbet and large river bet. You're right, I probably am missing some good bluff catches, so I'll focus more on this and follow your advice - looking for a better mix of bluff catchers on river (reading villain stats, reading board etc.).

Suggestion: Check cbet IP and OOP separately and then see if it's a leak

Great advice, thank you! Probably also worth further branching by 3bp and 2bp? Do you have suggestions on what to look for to determine leaks? I'd think that the uncapped bettor should have some positive expectation on most boards so I'm not sure how to adjust for this...

Thanks again for the advice guys!


Aug. 21, 2020 | 6:29 p.m.

Hey Raoul,

Thanks for the advice!

To answer some of the comments: fold to steal includes sb & bb stats. If anything, I think I'm calling too wide in bb (guided by preflopguru, I'm something like 39/5 in bb so i think i need to re-evaluate and 3b more).
I agree with your cbetting advice, especially on turn. I've been trying to protect checking range (improve GTO but partly for exploit) and i think that's led me to miss some opportunities. Will try it.
Definitely agree i'm folding too wide on river (and not wide enough earlier). Overfolding on river is a bit of an exploit but i also think i'm drifting down the streets with a weaker hand and have struggled with mediocre hands in big pots. I've thought this over and think that tightening pre-flop will help me with the range disadvantage on later streets, so I'm definitely going to focus on tighter preflop and turn, and call wider on river.
Yeah for River Call Efficiency, given i'm going to sometimes trap with monsters, i want it to be over 1 which is break-even (i.e. closer to 1 vs balanced range on the segment that removes my trapping monsters). But, as it gets bigger, it suggests I'm folding too much (so a high river call efficiency will be correlated with a positive blue line but a bad red line).
WTSD is probably a bit on the low side likely bc i'm folding too much on river. In theory, it can also be because someone is winning lots of pots early, but given my WWSF is fairly low, that's likely not the case.

So yeah, I think i'll try to incorporate the advice and:
* Tighten up preflop,
* play more aggressively with more cbets
* fold a bit more on earlier streets, but less on rivers
* also probably flat a bit less (esp in bb) to close that VPIP / PFR gap

Aug. 21, 2020 | 6:21 p.m.

Hi all,

I've been looking over my stats and suspect that at NL25zoom antes, I'm playing a bit too loose weak and probably not winning enough on my big hands (they're probably correlated).

I'm not sure on the best way to show the stats or the best set of stats, so let me know if anything pops out.
My preflop stats are: VPIP / PFR / 3b / Fold to 3b / Raise and 4b / attempt to steal / fold to steal are: 28/20/ 9.4/ 53 / 9.5 / 38.7 / 62.5
Post flop: wtsd / wsd / wwsf / river call efficiency : 29/ 50.5 / 45 / 1.5
Specific actions: cbet flop / cbet turn / fold to flop cbet / fold to turn cbet / fold R bet : 56 / 38 / 44 / 41 / 63

I think my positional game is relatively decent (I'm loosest late, tightest early, win most on button and lose in the bb and sb, although I can probably boost my CO, BU and BB win rates), so I feel like my biggest priorities are probably more general - how to boost the wwsf without hurting the wtsd/wsd too much and how to get paid more when I have good hands and lose less with bad hands. Maybe this is just getting better at poker overall, but if there are any rules of thumb or specific videos/techniques to work on, I'd love to hear them!

Really trying to improve, just kinda stuck on the right direction...

Thanks in advance,


Aug. 20, 2020 | 4:25 p.m.

What stats are available on PB? I know they claim to have been verified but also that they make it tough to track hands for verification.

If the stats we’re available, I’d guess that comparing expected preflop setup hands to observed across the entire pool and then calculating a 2 standard deviation event should suffice. you’d want to only include hands that always gii preflop (kk+, maybe QQ+ from a certain position) otherwise how can you really know?

Another approach could be comparing Overall 4bet percentage to number of times Kk+ show up on 4bet pots?
Postflop seems really tough....

Without actual stats I really couldn’t get how someone could figure it out properly...

Aug. 18, 2020 | 12:52 a.m.

I agree that the internet is littered with bad players claiming “the game is rigged” once they stop running well.
I also think that when strong players like RIT make these claims, in general we should give a bit more credence and discuss it, especially when part of the same community - and it’s not like this is RITs first post. Fwiw, I’ve read a lot of the “OMG online poker is rigged“ / “bots are everywhere“ / “poker is dead” on 2p2, but this feels different imo.
Without players posting these sorts of thoughts or concerns, maybe Mike apostle and Ultimate Bet don’t get uncovered. Maybe PB is rigged, maybe not... let’s figure this out!?

Btw, I love the handle. THAT super bowl was rigged - like Bill Simmons says, wayyy too much holding on the helmet catch.

Aug. 18, 2020 | 12:44 a.m.

Yeah flop bet seems a bit thin in theory - it feels like many times you’re building a pot when behind and/or turning good SDV into a semi bluff, whereas QQ is a good bluff catcher to balance range. But vs these players, I guess it depends on how often they call with like Ahx, oesd, 2 broadways and second pair or check/raise with tp+. Maybe gauge by postflop stats and tendencies?

I’d probably make a small riverbet though - part blocker against weaker Kings and awkward large bluffs and part value bc there are fewer kings but more 9x, TT, etc...

Aug. 18, 2020 | 12:11 a.m.

Agree, I think this has to be a call.
There's only 5 combos of sets (assuming all sets play this way and don't raise smaller or just cold call trying to trap) vs. at least a few overpairs that are trying to shut down action on a very wet board + some draws with less than 50% equity that are trying to chase you off of pot ...

Aug. 17, 2020 | 7:09 p.m.

Sorry this has been happening to you, but congrats on a winning week in spite of it all !

I've heard a lot of the same stuff about PokerBros - on 2p2, as Raoul suggested, but also from some friends who play there. Tbh, i'm mixed on this. On one hand: regarding "rigged" comments, in general i feel like things are pretty tough to prove and a lot of the traditional arguments make a lot of sense - "why would a site lose long term profits chasing a few short term bucks"; "if rigged, why against you" etc, and i think it's been "verified" fwiw.
But on the other hand, as I understand it:
* the app is a bit shady and is relying on a lot of workarounds to avoid laws and taxes etc.
* is catering to rec players in need of a home game due to covid
* is pretty new to the scene
* hides the data and is therefore not transparent - if you could get data, you could "prove" by finding the likelihood within 2 st. deviations, etc...

A great analogy I heard once comparing an academic vs. a street-smart gambler: if you flip a coin 10 times and it comes up heads 10 times, in theory you should be happy to get 2-1 on tails bc you should know that it's heads 50% of the time and "streaks can happen and this is just another streak". A street-smart guy will wonder if it's a weighted coin and probably avoid the bet....

One thing I've found for mental game is that as much as I can think it over and cool off after a ridiculous session, a change of scenery is often needed and helpful. A lot of coolers in one spot and I can get tilty or gunshy (never thin value betting, or trapping bc of fear of running into yet another monster). Maybe it would make sense to go to a different site for a stretch (Ignition, ACR?) especially if there are questions about the authenticity of PB?

Aug. 17, 2020 | 6:42 p.m.

Blinds: $0.10/$0.25 (6 Players) BN: $34.39
SB: $58.62
BB: $26.62
UTG: $37.19
MP: $10.86
CO: $57.50 (Hero)
Preflop ($0.35) Hero is CO with Q 8
2 folds, Hero raises to $0.87, BN calls $0.87, SB folds, BB calls $0.62
In zoom, first hand with bb. Some history with button, nothing significant.
Flop ($2.89) 9 8 Q
BB checks, Hero bets $2.25, BN folds, BB raises to $25.72 and is all in, Hero
So in a spot like this, I'm not sure how to range him. Is it only super-nutted hands or are there draws in here?
I sometimes get into a levelling type of situation where i say "why would he shove with a nutted hand when he can extract value"? (My thought at the time was that QQ and a lot of 99/88 would squeeze here preflop, so it's probably a few sets, JT and some combo-bluffs as value and who knows what type of bluff? )
What would everyone's calling range be here? If he's hyper-polarized, is two-pair really just a bluff-catcher?

July 30, 2020 | 8:43 p.m.

Thanks for the reply Cdub!
Question: are you 3bing the same group of hands you're flatting?

My argument for the flat is more about the rate - if 1/3 of the 3bets didnt' see flop, does that mean 2/3 saw flop? My "rake considerations only" argument is that it would seem like seeing flop in a much bigger pot (say 15bb ) 2/3 of the time would lead to a much bigger rake effect than seeing a flop in smaller pot (say 6bb) all the time?

I totally agree with the other posters that other factors can more than offset the extra rake (if we are even paying it), but first I just want to get as much wisdom as I can about whether we would pay extra rake in 3b vs flat pots - i've heard a lot of comments that "in high rake environment, we want to 3b to avoid rake" and I wanted to investigate....

July 29, 2020 | 6:09 p.m.

Hey DNegs,
Thanks for the great reply! Really appreciate you taking the time to go through the points and discuss them. Maybe I was just freaking out about pf ranges given the availability of "solved ranges", but even still I like your point about it being easier to play with "initiative".

At the moment, I've been flatting somewhat situationally - looking ahead to see general character type and 3b frequency of players left to act and trying to estimate opener's likelihood of paying off...

In multiway pots, any general rules of thumb on how to attack? I'd assume attack scary boards more frequently?

July 27, 2020 | 5:19 p.m.

Yeah I’m using preflop guru too, and it’s based off of solved ranges.

I think that any solves range is going to be so sensitive various assumptions that any possible small increase in efficiency is lost when someone changes an assumption (bigger or smaller sizing, wider range etc). Probably better to get a decent baseline and then understand consequences of different sizing and what the impacts are. Carroters mentioned something like this in the training course....

July 27, 2020 | 1:38 a.m.

Thanks for the comments DNegs, lots of great points!

Regarding the tough games - this was sort of where I thought the strategy would make the most sense. Given how easy it is to download some pre-defined optimized pre-flop strategy, I think there are a fair number of regs playing a near-perfect pre-flop game against 3bets, i.e. 4-betting pretty wide (but presumably a less optimal post-flop game). It's against these sorts of players, I'd be most interested in how a range with more flats (mixed frequencies for mid pairs and suited broadways for example) plays in position .. Great point on how they'd handle oop in 3bet pots, I hadn't fully appreciated how much trouble that gives to oop player. Would you also think that their weaker post-flop game carries over into "oop large SPR flops?", idea being if we flop monsters, we capture more equity from their mistakes...

Regarding bb coming along: i definitely agree it's tougher as more players come into pot. Looking specifically at the hands we play, do we get some extra value by giving the bb a chance to get coolered?

July 26, 2020 | 4:59 p.m.

Thanks This is,
I'm curious - which solvers show this? For example, Preflop guru claims to be based off of solvers and specifically recommends a flatting strategy in some spots for the raked environment and a 3b or fold strategy in a rakeless one. Any thoughts on the disconnect here?

Regarding a better overall strategy - I've heard strong players recommend both with great justifications... But at the moment i'm not interested in this and was just curious on the rake effects (as per point 1). The math i did suggests you might be paying more rake on aggregate when you 3b instead of flatting. Thoughts?

Agree that squeezing happens a bit more if you flat. I'm not sure how much more - what increase would you suggest? I'd think that if it becomes rampant then that in itself could offer a different opportunity vs. some regs while also allowing the ep raiser to further clarify holdings. I don't have a balanced approach to this, but imagine one could be created and that it might not as terrible as people expect?

July 26, 2020 | 4:36 p.m.

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