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 06-28-2012, 07:50 PM #1 centurion   Join Date: Aug 2009 Posts: 132 When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? There are many times where making larger than normal bets preflop is proper strategy, for example to exploit an opponent who calls the same amount without regards to betsize. But is there ever a situation where we NEED to to make our bets bigger in order to just be "+EV"? Please note that I'm not talking about maximizing winnings, just winning at all. The only reasons I can think of is when we are shortstacked and need to convey that we are setting up a shove at some specific odds, or if we play badly postflop. But can this basic principle be extended to say that we need to make a certain raise size, when stacks are larger? I don't know. I've always kind of thought that if an opponent is calling very frequently, and outplaying us postflop, then instead of changing our betsizing, we should work on improving our play against them postflop. Changing our preflop bet sizing seems like a very weak strategy to me, at least for one raise(not the case with re-raises, etc), since it is so obvious. Example: Let's say we are playing 3 handed and it is folded to you in the SB. You have been making raises of 3.5 times the BB the whole game, and the BB has been flat calling them over 90% of the time, rarely folding or raising, and beating you consistently over a large sample size by outplaying you postflop. To defeat such an opponent's "call almost everything" strategy, I consider three possibilities. 1. Raise more. 2. Change your hand selection. Play and/or call fewer hands, while maintaining an appropriate mixture of hands. 3. Improve your postflop play. Are 1 & 2 the only possibilities preflop? Obviously they don't exist in isolation, as each potentially effects the other(s), but are there other options preflop? And, coming back to the title question, if we can play at least as well as our opponent postflop, do we ever NEED to raise more in order to be "+EV"?
 06-28-2012, 09:05 PM #2 Pooh-Bah     Join Date: Jul 2007 Location: Vancouver, BC Posts: 5,663 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? well, for one thing you have to be playing really effing terrible to get outplayed by an OOP opponent with a 90% range. i guess if you can't improve your postflop play, i'd do a combination of 1 and 2. but if you're getting outplayed that badly, you really should just leave the table.
 06-29-2012, 04:31 PM #3 adept   Join Date: Jul 2009 Location: Canada Posts: 1,004 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? @DarkMagus: opponent is not OOP, he is IP. It's 3-handed (BTN folded), so SB (hero) is OOP here.
 07-01-2012, 05:14 PM #4 veteran     Join Date: Aug 2009 Location: Stanford, CA USA Posts: 3,322 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? If someone raised UTG with 10% range and 3 people called him 3bb each (or the stupid 2.25bb these days that is moronic and has stupid fold equity plus kills top hands in winrate by making all smaller pairs plus EV against them from the blinds lol) then you have QQ at BB what do you think can you do here but reraise big??? If you have 3 handed game its pathetic to claim that when you are raising you have a net loss vs opponent. I mean seriously now this is pure BS. By definition a raise ought to be around 30% of hands even 3 handed and how the hell then 100% range beats 30%??? One has to be ultra bad for this to be true. Of course what can be true is that you win far less with your raises than you would deserve in effect registering a loss vs that opponent over 100%of your hands not the raising hands only. You cant defeat a player by raising more if you already raise 3bb or so. May i actually add that if you raise 3.5bb 3 handed and do it with many hands that dont deserve it or react bad to 3bets calling light or folding too much, the problem is your raise size already and your hand selection not needing to make it larger but in fact reduce it to 3 and select better plus react to 3bets better. Can you imagine a guy raising 5bb all the time with top 30%? Guess what you have to do to destroy them now! They overbet their hands and when behind they lose 5bb or more vs you losing 1.5 bb in the blinds.
 07-02-2012, 12:21 AM #6 veteran     Join Date: Jul 2010 Posts: 2,117 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? If you have the choice of raising to 3bb with Aces and get 6 callers everytime or raising to 10bb and always get 2 callers, I'd much rather take the latter option. Not because of MUBS, but because I can get all-in profitably for stacks more often.
07-02-2012, 01:02 AM   #7
Carpal \'Tunnel

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 8,149
Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by LazyAce If you have the choice of raising to 3bb with Aces and get 6 callers everytime or raising to 10bb and always get 2 callers, I'd much rather take the latter option. Not because of MUBS, but because I can get all-in profitably for stacks more often.
Well, sure. But have you considered that when you go up against only 2 other players, the chances of one of them flopping something that allows him or her to pay you also declines?

The justification for raising larger (as I said, generally rejected by good online players, who tend to be better on the theory and math than live players and with better tracking tools to determine whether their plays are actually making them money) always seems to involve only ONE of the several variables at play in this situation.

To really determine this issue, you'd need to know lots of things, including:

1. How bet sizing affects the number of callers and the ranges of callers.
2. Typical effective stack size.
3. How bet sizing affects the probability of three-bets.
4. How bet sizing affects our ability to raise NON-premium hands and the EV of such raises.
5. How number of callers affects: (a) the probability of getting sucked out on / our equity; (b) the probability of someone hitting a second-best hand that can pay us off / stack off with us; and (c) the probability that we will be able to get away from our hand in the event of an unfavorable board.

 07-02-2012, 01:14 AM #8 veteran     Join Date: Jul 2010 Posts: 2,117 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? I don't play live but from what I hear about typical \$1/\$2 games, they sound a lot like .01/.02 online. People talk about good players being able to make up to \$20/hour at \$1/\$2 live after stupid ridiculous rake and only 30 hands per hour. This would lead me to believe that in terms of bb/100, winrates over 20bb/100 are quite possible. In order for 20bb/100 winrates to be possible you need the average player to be a drooler. If the average player is a drooler then your bet sizing will not usually effect their calling ranges, you won't be getting 3bet very often anyway, and the table is too stupid for balance to matter one bit so you should go ahead and raise to 15bb preflop if you're still getting action.
07-02-2012, 11:33 AM   #9

Join Date: Jan 2012
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Posts: 732
Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by LazyAce I don't play live but from what I hear about typical \$1/\$2 games, they sound a lot like .01/.02 online. People talk about good players being able to make up to \$20/hour at \$1/\$2 live after stupid ridiculous rake and only 30 hands per hour. This would lead me to believe that in terms of bb/100, winrates over 20bb/100 are quite possible. In order for 20bb/100 winrates to be possible you need the average player to be a drooler. If the average player is a drooler then your bet sizing will not usually effect their calling ranges, you won't be getting 3bet very often anyway, and the table is too stupid for balance to matter one bit so you should go ahead and raise to 15bb preflop if you're still getting action.
I'm a live player and what LazyAce says here make sense to me. When playing LLSNL you can raise as much as 10x at times without having to worry too much about balance and responding to 3bets, especially when IP. It really is a matter of experimenting with drooler thresholds to the point where you can manipulate both SPR and the number of callers. So, in this respect, raise-sizing is primarily an exploitative strategy, and, should be part of your repertoire. At, say 2/5, balance does become more of an issue, so it's more difficult to employ raise-sizing in this way.

 07-02-2012, 11:46 AM #10 Carpal \'Tunnel   Join Date: May 2009 Posts: 8,149 Well, bear in mind, just because the average 1/2 player may allow you to make money with a strategy of large raises doesn't mean that a good player would make more money with that strategy versus using a standard raise. "Manipulating SPR and number of callers" are things you can do to make a big pocket pair EASIER TO PLAY, because it will put you in situations where you are pot committed. But that's different from a mathematical proof that it is superior to a standard raise size. And I continue to think "number of callers" is MUBS. There's nothing about number of callers that inherently decreases your EV. You still have an equity edge, you have a greater chance of someone picking up a second best hand, you win bigger pots when your hand holds up, and it's easier to get away from your hand when the flop is bad.
 07-02-2012, 12:03 PM #11 veteran     Join Date: Jul 2010 Posts: 2,117 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? I would say that most good online players, at least in today's NLHE games have a whole lot of experience playing AA with 5+ players seeing the flop and huge SPR's. Just because the lower SPR happens to make the hand easier to play doesn't mean that it isn't the most profitable way to play it. Lawdude, let me ask you this. If you could open shove your AA at a table for 100bb and get called by 2 players that have you covered everytime would you not do it? Surely you would. In games where balance is not a consideration, shoveling as much money in pre with premium hands has always been a superior play. When SPR's get lower villains also jam flops much lighter than they would if higher SPR's. For example, I open raise to 3bb, some whale calls with 55. I bet each street and he calls down for 3 streets. Standard stuff. Now instead, I raise to 3bb some reg 3bets to 9bb, whale cold calls the 3bet, it comes back to me and I 4bet it. Reg folds and whale calls. He of course flops bottom pair and ships over my cbet because he has a pair in a pot with low SPR. This is very true when playing against short stacked fish. Their stack size or the SPR causes them to ship weaker hands otf. This is obviously something that we want when we have AA.
 07-02-2012, 03:31 PM #12 Carpal \'Tunnel   Join Date: May 2009 Posts: 8,149 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? Lazy: I'm not denying those things happen. But that doesn't mean the play is +EV. I concede that balance only matters if opponents are paying attention. But in terms of even the EV of the play in isolation, there are favorable scenarios for a small raise too, such as getting 6 callers who all fold on the flop rather than 1 who does, or getting one of your callers to call 2 streets with a flush draw who would not have called a larger raise. Also, there's a contradiction between saying you will get fewer callers and saying they will call the larger raise anyway. And that's really my point. It is definitely true that your hand will play differently with a large raise than a small one. But that can mean more money or less money depending on the specifics. To really know what is +EV you would need to game out all the different scenarios, and I've never seen anyone do that. But as a general matter, I trust online guys to be more likely correct on the math.
 07-02-2012, 06:38 PM #13 veteran     Join Date: Jul 2010 Posts: 2,117 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? Who are these online guys that wouldn't raise bigger with big hands against a table full of droolers? I don't see much difference in playing a big hand preflop or on the flop when we are up against stationy players whose biggest leak is calling too much with too weak a hand. Would you go so far as to suggest we should also never vary our bet sizing post flop? If I flop a set against a whale should I not try to bet the most that I think he will call on average? I'm pretty sure this principle applies to any street including preflop. FWIW, I'm an online guy but I've never come across other online guys who take the same stance as you wrt to preflop sizing. If you got to small stakes forums and post a hand where you have AA in ep, and describe 2 deepstacked whales in the blinds and go ahead and open to 6bb and proceed to stack them both I don't think anybody that is smart is going to chime in and tell you don't ever do that again.
07-03-2012, 02:48 AM   #14
Carpal \'Tunnel

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 8,149
Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by LazyAce Who are these online guys that wouldn't raise bigger with big hands against a table full of droolers? I don't see much difference in playing a big hand preflop or on the flop when we are up against stationy players whose biggest leak is calling too much with too weak a hand. Would you go so far as to suggest we should also never vary our bet sizing post flop? If I flop a set against a whale should I not try to bet the most that I think he will call on average? I'm pretty sure this principle applies to any street including preflop. FWIW, I'm an online guy but I've never come across other online guys who take the same stance as you wrt to preflop sizing. If you got to small stakes forums and post a hand where you have AA in ep, and describe 2 deepstacked whales in the blinds and go ahead and open to 6bb and proceed to stack them both I don't think anybody that is smart is going to chime in and tell you don't ever do that again.
My limited experience with online NL was that games would settle on a standard raise size and that the good players would rarely vary from it (except perhaps by adding an extra bb when out of position).

Now maybe this is wrong and they do vary it if a real drooler is sitting.

But having said that, I still think you are missing the point. An EV calculation is not made by saying "well I might get to stack them". That's a wish. And if you do stack them a couple of times and remember it, that's not proof that the play is +EV any more than a fish calling a couple of times with a bad hand and flopping trips proves that it's a good call.

You need to consider the ENTIRE SPECTRUM of different things that can happen. I've mentioned some really obvious things, like "I raise big and everyone folds" and "I raise big, get one caller, and he doesn't hit anything and folds the flop" and "I raise big and then am pot-comitted even on a bad flop".

There's all sorts of things, good and bad, that can happen when you try different raise sizes. Getting to stack off may happen occasionally but it isn't the only thing that happens when you raise big. You need to account for all the different things that can happen rather than assuming a big raise is correct.

 07-03-2012, 02:52 PM #15 veteran     Join Date: Jul 2010 Posts: 2,117 Re: When do we NEED to raise bigger preflop to be +EV? Lawdude, i posed a couple of questions specifically directed to you which you didn't answer. 1) If you could open shove with AA and be guaranteed 2 callers with 100bb effective stack sizes would you not do it? I dont know if you missed the question, or chose not to answer it. It seems to me that it really isn't up for debate that open shoving would be the best play in that spot. If you choose to admit that getting 100bb in pre would be better than 3bb then how can it be that getting 10bb in would not also be better than 3bb? The more money you can get in on each street with the best hand the better. 2) Would you go so far as to suggest we should also never vary our bet sizing post flop? This question was just asked in my last post which you quoted so I'm sure you must have read it. Should we always bet full pot? Should we always bet 2/3, 3/4, 1/2 min bet with certain hands? Of course we shouldn't. The reason why good players make standard preflop raise sizes is really simple. It is required only for balance and to not give away the strength of our hand and is only necessary when we are playing against players that will pick up on patterns and exploit us if we exhibit them. If we raise to 2bb preflop with the bottom half of our range and 4bb with the top half, eventually we'll get no action from the top half (from observant good players) and get raped when with our bottom half (from the observant good players). If you are playing against players that are just plain bad at poker - level 1 thinkers that are just there to gamble and could care less then we SHOULD vary our bet/raise sizes on ALL streets, not just pre or post. By varying our betsize we can manipulate SPR in our favor according to different stack sizes at the table, we can maximize the value we get on each street and also build pots quicker by raising larger, we minimize the cost of our bluffs by making them as small as possible while still working effectively. You seem to think its better to get more callers because its more likely that somebody will hit something good enough to go all-in. While it is true that is more likely, it becomes much more likely that somebody sucks out on you. In a 5 way pot with relatively large SPR's, AA unimproved starts to become a thin value hand. The times that you can profitably stack off if 1 or more players starts betting/raising becomes less and less, whereas, if you if you were to raise to 10bb and get called by even 1 player 100bb deep you're looking a an SPR of 5:1 and can pretty much stack off close to 100% of the time and have a nice equity edge against villains range.

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