Lewis Harkes's avatar

Lewis Harkes

63 points

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.

Raoul: my thought was that if two players follow preflop guru's charts using the "simple ranges" (3b or fold), then we're actually paying more rake in 3b pots (vs. flats) in the long run.

This is what led to the long-winded math exercise to try to create a more general version: https://www.runitonce.com/nlhe/rake-aware-is-3betting-really-saving-rake-vs-regs/

Love to get your thoughts...

July 25, 2020 | 11:27 p.m.

my pleasure LaMente! - just Lewis is fine :)

Yeah, that would be my thought too. My assumption would be that someone opening and 3betting that wide is very likely to be defending his ranges similarly, i.e. with 4bets. If you shove, all the times he folds (or calls) with his wheel Axs and T9s etc you scoop ~$19 and it really boosts your equity and offsets the AA and KK that it feels we always run into in this spot.

July 25, 2020 | 11:22 p.m.

Comment | Lewis Harkes commented on Bluffing hands?

Thanks Zinom!
Good call on the flush comparison (same question as to Citandul, do you have any suggestions on ways to best internalize this knowledge?).

How would you go about building your bluffing range?

July 25, 2020 | 5:57 p.m.

Comment | Lewis Harkes commented on Bluffing hands?

"The issue here is that on A high flush boards you generally have less flushes compared to BB"

Such a great point! I didn't realize this until you said it and then had to prove to myself. Do you have any suggestions on the best way for a studying player to generalize this information? After your comment, my approach was that I ran by using preflop guru's preset ranges and calculated It's about 2-1 or 7.5% of bb (after excluding K high flushes) vs. 4% of utg range.

Re overbets: my understanding of overbets is that we want to use them when we have the nut advantage and villain is capped. Given that he's played a check call line, we have Kh Qx as blockers, and he didn't 3b pre-flop, my ranging is that he has weaker aces, combo draws or some flushes (which are discounted and skewed downwards bc of passivity). Anything you can suggest to clarify my thinking here on overbets?

Also curious: if i'm polarizing with AQ+; J high flushes; full houses and trying to balance my range, what would you suggest as the premium bluffs? This feels like it might be a spot to "overbluff the pool that (is supposed to) overfold", but this is what i'm really trying to improve.

July 25, 2020 | 5:54 p.m.

Comment | Lewis Harkes commented on Bluffing hands?

Good point about the weaker heart as a bluff as my blocking the Kh really strengthens his calling range I'm not sure if I should include this combo on my earlier streets though. My default approach would be to check back at some point...thoughts?
I think KhQx is a natural hand to get to river and then i'm trying to think of how to "fill up" my range with bluffs here... Any other types of hands to suggest including in the range?

July 25, 2020 | 5:36 p.m.

Comment | Lewis Harkes commented on Bluffing hands?

Thanks Raoul!
I guess my line of thinking was that a flush or set etc is going to c/r or lead the river pretty often, and was therefore targeting a weak A or a combo draw type hand. In your opinion, does this seem like a bit too simplistic, at the 25z level?

July 25, 2020 | 5:29 p.m.

Comment | Lewis Harkes commented on Bluffing hand?

Yes, good points!
It's so important to know villain and tendencies and in bvb, the ranges are so much wider.

I'm just really trying to build a more balanced approach as a default. I find i'm a bit too value-heavy at the moment and am trying to explore ways to add more bluffs, in a better way, into my game.

July 25, 2020 | 5:22 p.m.

Preflop Guru has a good one, based on 100NL game.
Another interesting finding in PreFlop Guru is that there is more in position flatting of opens in the rake-aware strategy compared to a 3b or fold approach when rakeless.

July 25, 2020 | 5:19 p.m.

Comment | Lewis Harkes commented on Bluffing hand 3

Thanks for the comments and advice guys, really appreciated!

July 25, 2020 | 5:13 p.m.

Hey Scoop,
Good point about the binary thinking. I agree that we should avoid this, and this isn't what I'd suggest.
My point was that in this particular spot we'll face a river bet so often here that it makes sense to decide ott what we'd do vs. a shove on a bricked board.

July 25, 2020 | 5:09 p.m.

Comment | Lewis Harkes commented on Bluffing hand?

Thanks for comments guys! I felt like this should have been somewhat standard but afterwards thought that my flop call might have suggested I don't have a draw here. I've seen Carroters make similar comments before ("the population almost always bets the flush draw in position"), so if this applies and the population doesn't buy a flush there, am i burning money by not betting flop, i.e. i need to raise flop to credibly rep a flush draw?

Citanul, thanks for the feedback. I'm a bit confused though - can you explain the overdoing it comment? My understanding of overbetting is that you'd generally want to take this line when you have a polarized range and villain is capped. In the bit of work I've done with solvers, it seems like overbets would most often consist of nut flushes and nut blockers, which was the logic here. I realize it's pretty general, but trying to piece this together.

July 25, 2020 | 5 p.m.

Hey Zinom!
I get the more rake for bigger pot side of it. At the moment, i'm only talking about the rake minimization aspect, as it seems to be a given that "you 3b to reduce rake". The postflop stuff is obviously super complex in terms of postflop strategy; chance to win the pot etc. I would think there can be benefits to playing a more complex strategy and increasing the SPR when you have these high implied odds hands in position.
In terms of the math, I agree to a point. If we tweak the numbers (say open at 2.5x and 3b to 8x; or open at 2.2x and 3b to 7x etc), you still have oop folding a lot more than some of the standard recommendations suggest. For example, Preflop Guru suggests HJ opens to 2.5x and folds 50% to an 8bb BU raise in the simple version.

Interestingly, Preflop Guru suggests button take a 3b or fold strategy vs HJ in the simplified version but in the rake version flats about 1/3 of continuing range. Fwiw, seeing the difference in ranges is is what prompted the think about the strategy and this post...

Obviously, vs. weaker regs or rec players, I default to a 3b or fold to apply more pressure. But against players who play a lot closer to a GTO/solved opening range, but not as well postflop (otherwise they'd be at higher stakes), doesn't it make sense to mix it up a bit?

July 25, 2020 | 4:53 p.m.

Fair points Brett, and I agree !
For example, at NL25z at stars, the cap kicks in at about 90bb. This would probably require 3 streets of betting in a 3b pot - since these are still somewhat rare, I excluded for simplicity. Giving a low weight probably does't move the needle much in total % though?
Regarding overcalls - true, and this will increase rake. But given that postflop continuing frequency decreases with extra players, doesn't this decrease the total rake we expect to pay? In terms of EV, given the types of low equity / high implied hands we're flatting (small-mid pps; scs), is it not preferable?

July 25, 2020 | 4:31 p.m.

Hey Pete,

Thanks for the feedback, I'll tweak the weights. I think i'll lean towards playing more often during "more favourable times" and study when the pools aren't so favourable.

One follow up question: as aspiring players trying to improve as much as possible and ideally move up in stakes, are there many benefits in 3-4 tabling zoom? My theory is that since we're trying to play our best game and develop our new skills, maybe 1-2 tabling zoom is a better way to purposefully practice and ingrain new habits/deprogram bad ones? (like in chess where all speed and no tournament games leads to formulaic play?)

July 25, 2020 | 4:09 p.m.

Solvers typically recommend a mix of about half call and half shove.
There’s merits to both:
shove and you capture value from TT and JJ and some AK, Axs and also defend your 3b range. (If he never 4b bluffs and is 4b only AK, JJ+, a shove is +EV vs folding).
Call - it’s not the most premium hand and you’ll be behind but you can play pretty well vs hands you beat postflop. Idea is aa or kk will stack you either way but you can get in good otherwise (check shove In favourable boards Vs agro players that will Cbet to take a stab seems good). Problem is that in position he can play a lot of hands you beat pretty perfectly too and some of his funky bluffs that would’ve shoved will gain equity.

Solvers assume ppl play perfectly. People obviously don’t. But imo it’s good to know the theoretical starting point and adjust from there. Given his aggro frequencies, especially his high 3bet, I’d assume he’s not playing a super tight 4b range (no bluffs, Ak, kk+ which is still very close).

July 25, 2020 | 2:53 p.m.

I agree with what the guys above have said in general and about the forum - reading their posts has helped me a lot.

I’d also suggest getting From The Ground Up - it’s a great foundational starting point. As an aside, make sure to get and work with the better software tools - I like Pio (or GTO+) for solving spots, Snowie for a gamified experience and somewhere to import hands for a pseudo-GTO recommendation, and Equilab for working through equity vaulluations. Imo working through these, purposefully playing & posting, and running through the essential videos are a great way to build a foundation.

July 24, 2020 | 2:24 p.m.

GREAT video Pete! I love the tough love and that you invest the time and effort to come up with new, creative ideas and different approaches to help us improve.

A few ideas and questions.
Cycles 2-4, poor balance between theory & deliberate practice. Do you have some practical suggestions on the best approach for improvement? I think you've previously recommended something like a 50-50 split between playing and studying (similar to what chess trainers suggest to developing players!). I try to treat play as deliberate practice, and only play 2 zoom tables - I'm playing to find leaks and test & solidify new concepts. Is this an approach you'd recommend?

Within the training bucket, my approach is to spend roughly equal time between focused videos, Pio on hands i'm unsure of (is this better or should we study specific, more frequent spots in greater depth), Snowie training (review a session and play hands), and forum review. It feels a bit scattered though. Do you have suggestions for where and how break-even/ small winning players can better allocate our time?

Cycle 5, result obsession: I think I struggle with this sometimes. Like life, I think this can be caused by caring too much generally and too few positive results to buoy our confidence. Do you have any suggestions for someone with relatively few recent hands looking for yardsticks to understand where we're at without a huge sample of hands?


July 23, 2020 | 9:57 p.m.

Hey Hawks!
Yes, from a rake perspective, i was accounting for this in option B(ii). Basically i'm saying: if some of the time we play a 16.5 bb pot and some of the time we play a ~6bb pot, we need to bet avoiding the bigger pot a lot more often.
I'm not overly concerned from an equity perspective, as I was trying to look only at the rake situation. But, given the hands are mediocre and either we have good play-ability or we realize a lot of equity flopping well, (and have to fold to some 4bets) it might be comparable EV wise...

July 21, 2020 | 2:18 a.m.

Hand History | Lewis Harkes posted in NLHE: Bluffing hand 3
Blinds: $0.10/$0.25 (6 Players) BN: $27.23
SB: $25.22
BB: $56.17 (Hero)
UTG: $25.47
MP: $34.51
CO: $30.01
Preflop ($0.35) Hero is BB with T J
4 folds, SB raises to $0.75, Hero calls $0.50
Yes, this is probably a 3bet most of the time. But I wanted to vary a bit and play a decent hand in position. Not sure it's a huge mistake...
Flop ($1.68) 8 4 9
SB checks, Hero bets $0.80, SB calls $0.80
Turn ($3.28) 8 4 9 4
SB checks, Hero bets $3.13, SB calls $3.13
Feels like this is a bet and it should be large to set up profitable river. is 3/4 or 1.5x better here?
River ($9.54) 8 4 9 4 2
SB checks, Hero bets $9.11, SB calls $9.11
I think like this is the sort of spot i need to be betting. But given the turn and river didn't seem to change the texture too much, is it reasonable to think anything that was good on flop will be good on river? (like good 9s probably don't have much to fear). If i can't triple barrel here, do i need to wait for something to improve the board to fire a bluff on the river (like a 5, Q, K)?
Trying not to be overly sensitive to results here but to find the general message/rule that helps bluff better.
Final Pot SB wins and shows two pair, Nines and Fours.
BB lost and shows a pair of Fours.
SB wins $26.51
Rake is $1.25
Thanks in advance for the help! I appreciate the comments

July 21, 2020 | 2:12 a.m.

Hand History | Lewis Harkes posted in NLHE: Bluffing hand?
Blinds: $0.10/$0.25 (6 Players) BN: $25.00
SB: $18.68
BB: $27.06 (Hero)
UTG: $25.34
MP: $6.20
CO: $38.21
Preflop ($0.35) Hero is BB with 3 A
4 folds, SB raises to $0.50, Hero calls $0.25
Flop ($1.18) 2 5 6
SB bets $0.56, Hero calls $0.56
Gut shot plus A high plus runner runner draw..Feels like an easy call.
Turn ($2.30) 2 5 6 T
SB bets $1.10, Hero calls $1.10
I called here in order to float and take a shot on favourable rivers.
River ($4.50) 2 5 6 T 9
SB checks, Hero bets $6.00, SB calls $6.00
So many draws get here and I have the blocker to the nut flush. Given I called down on flop and turn, can I represent the flush effectively here for an overbet? If not, is a 3/4 or pot bet more reasonable?
Final Pot SB wins and shows a pair of Tens.
BB lost and shows high card Ace.
SB wins $15.76
Rake is $0.74
It seems like a good hand to bluff. If I can't bluff this river, how do I build a bluffing range? I believe players in this pool are likely overfolding, so what am I missing?
Looking back, I can understand a line was says A high flushes don't play this way (raise preflop or on flop) too often and therefore I probably don't have flush, and I probably can't overbet with a made straight...
How else to take advantage of this spot? If he's reading that I can't have AXcc bc i didn't 3bet, then the nut flush blocker can never be used to bluff right?

July 21, 2020 | 2:01 a.m.

Hand History | Lewis Harkes posted in NLHE: Bluffing hands?
Blinds: $0.10/$0.25 (6 Players) BN: $25.00
SB: $43.89
BB: $59.88
UTG: $25.92 (Hero)
MP: $42.78
CO: $31.66
No real history with this villain.
Preflop ($0.35) Hero is UTG with K Q
Hero raises to $0.63, 4 folds, BB calls $0.38
Flop ($1.54) A 2 4
BB checks, Hero bets $0.51, BB calls $0.51
Turn ($2.56) A 2 4 T
BB checks, Hero bets $1.83, BB calls $1.83
I think this is a good turn bluff for two reasons: 1) Nfd & gutshot + 2) uncapped vs. capped range. Is this sizing best or should i overbet etc?
River ($6.22) A 2 4 T 2
BB checks, Hero bets $8.00, BB calls $8.00
Is an overbet correct here? He could have 44 but i feel like I'd get c/raised earlier given flush draw. I want to target weak Ax.
Final Pot BB wins and shows two pair, Aces and Deuces.
UTG lost and shows a pair of Deuces.
BB wins $21.22
Rake is $1.00
I'm very surprised he called down here. Is there any takeaway on my play (is it obvious that i have a flush or no flush and i'm face up?) Should i think getting called down this light is an exception? It feels like a lot of my bluffs get called and I can't quite understand what I'm missing here...

July 21, 2020 | 1:51 a.m.

Wow, had no idea about the GTO. I couldn't get the video to play but found the same idea on youtube. This is terrifying! What was the gist ofthe podcast? Is this generally done?
I know it said it works on Stars but the time moves so quick...
Thanks for the heads up!

p.s. Brutal call !!

July 21, 2020 | 12:55 a.m.

So I see and hear a lot of comments that 3betting is the default in a high rake environment.
BUT given that most players can download pretty optimal ranges relatively easily, and these ranges advocate for defending 50% of the range, I am a bit confused on how it is actually saving us $$.

Three points / assumptions to make:
1) I only want to discuss the rake-specific implications, and not benefits for range of 3betting mediocre hands in position.
2) blinds are folding in this example but assuming in general they're not squeezing too often and it doesn't hurt us too much (either not super wide given utg raise or we've developed some sort of anti-squeeze defense to exploit over enthusiasm).
3) when we 3b, I'm assuming our opponent would have a call or fold strategy. Obviously not balanced but I am assuming the "rake benefits" of 4bets (i.e. we don't pay any rake when we fold) are offset by the extra rake when we defend our 3b about 50% of the time etc.

A bit of math:
Option A: utg raises to 2.2xbb, hero in BU calls 2.2bb, sb folds; bb folds. Pot is 5.9bb, rake is 5%, or 0.295bb.
Option B (i): utg raises to 2.2xbb, hero in BU raises to 7.5bb, sb folds; bb folds, utg calls. Pot is 16.5bb, rake is 5%, or 0.825bb
Option B (ii):utg raises to 2.2xbb, hero in BU raises to 7.5bb, sb folds; bb folds, utg folds. Rake is 0%, or 0.0bb.

According to this math, is utg flatted 3b half the time, we'd be saving about 30% of the rake bill preflop --> 0.295/(0.825*.5)=71.5%.
Utg would need to fold to 3b 65% of the time for the rake effects to break even, and this doesn't get into the effects of a single bet on flop etc. This fold to 3b seems too high in today's game.

So other than the times sb/bb can squeeze, what am I missing here about the anti-rake strategy?

July 21, 2020 | 12:23 a.m.

Yes, i think it's a river fold. Maybe even turn?

Am i crazy here or are you kind of deciding river calling range on the turn decision? Not a lot of turns that help you so I'd want to know what hands you plan to call vs. fold on river (in general, not this hand). If you fold most hands other than T on river, aren't you calling the turn just hoping to see a river check-down and therefore bleeding with the turn call (assuming villain shoves wide, which feels somewhat likely given all action and sizing so far).

July 20, 2020 | 11:54 p.m.

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