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Old 05-16-2017, 04:48 PM   #1
Brawndo
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The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

I recently read Ed Miller's book "The Course" which is focused on how to play 1/2 ,2/5, 5/10 live games. Although I generally like the book I find myself very much in disagreement with some of his pre flop hand selection he suggest. Specifically the value he places on suitedness and to some extend connectedness. But in case I'm wrong I want to here the counter arguments people have for this logic and Ed if you're on here please chime in. I'll explain my thinking below.

As an example here's what Ed Miller suggest for early position which he defines as all spots to the right of the cutoff:

22+
A2s+, KTs+, QTs+, JTs+ -76s+
AKo, AQo

I personally play more offsuit broadway cards and would cut out the weaker Axs and lower SC.

So Ed's arguments goes like this. He agrees you'll rarely flop a flush but he says playing suited cards makes sense cause you can semi bluff with a flush draw. He also says that because flushes are a big hands they can win big pots.

I also would add I here somewhat related arguments from players and websites that go something like this: "If I call for $2 I can stack the person with my SC if I hit a straight or flush". Maybe in some touristy areas this is true but in my area (Philly) this is generally not true. These people tend to group low pairs and SC together as "implied odds hands". I agree low/mid pairs have huge implied odds but I think it's a myth that SC do cause everyone can see 3 of suit or 3 coordinated cards on the board.

Here's why I think suitedness is overrated:

Hands like AJo hit the flop about 1/3 times and even when the flop comes low the overcards give them some drawing potential. So if you're going to play a hand like a low pair that only hits 1/8 times it needs to have a big payoff potential to justify the fact that you're going to miss far more frequently. Low/mid pairs have this potential because a set is possible on any board.

Suited hands DON'T have this potential for 2 reasons. First most of the time you flop a DRAW not a flush (11% and 1%). You are still an underdog in the hand with a draw if you're up against even 1 pair. Yes a flush draw may turn a modestly -EV stone cold bluff into a modestly +EV semi bluff but the fact that the bluff doesn't always work and you're more likely to lose than win in those spots makes this considerably less +EV than say flopping a set with a low pair would be where you have your opponent crushed.

Second when you do make a flush it's not as easy to get paid off as people pretend. First of all everyone can see 3 of a suit on the board and if a 4th comes it really kills the action. Also most of the time you complete a flush it's on the river (6%) versus the turn and flop (3% & 1%). This means you have a limited number of streets to build the pot. Most of the times I see flushes win big pots it's in one of these scenarios:

1) The pot got very inflated before the flush hit. In which case you're not "getting in cheap" for something that rarely hits.

2) The other person had a strong draw. This may be a 1 card draw to the nut flush or a person that flopped a set or more rarely 2 pair. In these cases you may win a big pot and it is profitable but you're going to get outdrawn a lot which is going to hurt the profitability of this spot a fair amount.

3) Flush over Flush. This scenario is very rare and if you're playing SC expect to be on the losing end most of the time. Also a 4th card of the suit will probably kill the action anyways.

4) The person has a reputation as a compulsive bluffer

Balancing your range

This is one other argument I here for these cards is that how do you bluff when the flop comes low if you don't play these hands. Well if you play pairs (big and low) then people have to fear you have an overpair or a set. And since a set can be on any board it doesn't have the limitations that SC and Axs have on rainbow boards.

Please feel free to present the other side if you disagree with me
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:04 PM   #2
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Is he coming in for a raise with those hands, or limping? If raising, what is the expected result (HU or maybe 3way, or likely multiway)?

In my opinion, at a loose preflop table full of non-retarded postflop players, my guess is he's setting money on fire with that range.

But I'm currently working my preflop nit game to a much tighter preflop rock game, so I'm obviously going the exact opposite direction.

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Old 05-16-2017, 05:10 PM   #3
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

A nice property of suited hands is that there are far fewer combinations of them than offsuit hands. Each suited hand you play adds 4 combos to your range, each offsuit hand adds 12. It's hard to overcome having lots of offsuit combos in your range - as soon as you start playing hands like JTo-87o they become a huge part of your overall range.

I think playing more offsuit broadway cards and cutting out lower suited connectors is a valid way to construct your range. However, you should always remember that the combinations aren't 1 to 1, and for every offsuit broadway hand you play, you'll need to cut out 3 combos of SCs to avoid over-weighting certain hand types.

My other argument against playing offsuit broadways is that they're often dominated and don't retain their equity well against other big cards, especially big pairs.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:34 PM   #4
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

A couple thoughts:

1. I think it's a mistake to group all positions right of the CO as early position. I think that the posted range is insanely loose UTG at a 9-handed table. It's not bad at all from the HJ.
2. I agree with you generally that the posted list overvalues suitedness. For instance, I would rather have AJo or ATo than JTs. The value of being able to outkick someone on a J or T high board outweighs connectedness IMO, at least in a 100 BBs game.
3. Both bluffing propensity and stack depth impacts this a lot. Big, offsuit cards go down in value as stacks get deeper, while connected, suited cards go up in value. Also, if you're going to be bluffing a lot, it helps to have cards that can improve to beat a typical calling range of top pair. If you're game is oriented more around value betting it's nice to have cards that make TPTK.
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:19 PM   #5
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

ib4l

Adds raw equity, playability to ranges, board coverage...
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Old 05-16-2017, 06:50 PM   #6
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

A couple points re: Miller/the course.

He only suggests ranges in the beginning of the book. He then goes through his "skills" and hand examples for 1/2, 2/5 and a little 5/T. So the ranges he suggests are attempting to apply every where.

Now he specifically introduces barreling as a "2/5" skill. For fair reason as in some 1/2 games barreling will be lighting money on fire. In other 1/2 and 1/3 games with regs and slightly better players who have developed a modicum of folding skill some barreling is effective.

If you start double barreling turns regularly you want to be flopping equity with your airballs and suitedness often helps.

Miller has also tried to bake in some balance. As a poster mentioned above, sticking with the suited combos keeps ranges from becoming too vast and frequencies too high.

Elsewhere in the book he covers dealing with shorter stacks and correctly acknowledges trading high card value of unsuited big Broadway's for some lower suited connectors is likely preferable in those games where much or all of the money is frequently going in on early streets.

Miller also groups positions and acknowledges that it would be more correct to further subdivide those. As with the single range chart for all stakes he's simplifying his strategy for the audience of this book.

He is advocating a raise first in strat. He acknowledges there may be a place for limping in the weakest games but again in the name of simplifying the strat and discouraging weak, exploitable play he's not recommending splitting your range.

I will say that especially at the 1/2 and 1/3 level, players who always have either Broadway's or pairs in their hand and who limp part of their range are very transparent and easy to play against. Miller is suggesting a strat so that you don't become that weak, passive predictable player. I'm not going to offer my opinion on whether that's good or bad.

As for the ranges themselves they won't work all that well if you play fit or fold post. And due to his positional groupings and varying game conditions some early position tweaking is in order imo. He pretty clearly says you may want to change them up but warns to keep the frequencies close.

I don't get your grouping of Miller's advocacy of suited connectors with people who lump them in with small pairs as "speculative hands". He pretty clearly says he does not view them that way and they are in our range as raises specifically because they flop continuing equity on a lot of boards allowing us to barrel. Under those conditions (playing them aggressively) flushes make relatively big hands. Limping in and calling to hit a flush and trying to get paid (what much of the rest of the table is doing) isn't really what he's talking about.

I bought the book because I like Millers presentation and I like to get an idea of what other people might be reading.

Anyway that's my take. And yeah suitedness is a good thing.





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Old 05-16-2017, 06:53 PM   #7
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

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Originally Posted by gobbledygeek View Post
Is he coming in for a raise with those hands, or limping? If raising, what is the expected result (HU or maybe 3way, or likely multiway)?

In my opinion, at a loose preflop table full of non-retarded postflop players, my guess is he's setting money on fire with that range.

But I'm currently working my preflop nit game to a much tighter preflop rock game, so I'm obviously going the exact opposite direction.

GAQoinEP,lol,whatamaniacG
That was exactly my thoughts. He suggest raising everything to not give away your hand. But that would just compound the problem in my opinion. To the extent a hand like A2s is playable it's definitely better that the hand be multi-way than heads up.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:23 PM   #8
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The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Quote:
Originally Posted by gobbledygeek View Post
Is he coming in for a raise with those hands, or limping? If raising, what is the expected result (HU or maybe 3way, or likely multiway)?

In my opinion, at a loose preflop table full of non-retarded postflop players, my guess is he's setting money on fire with that range.

But I'm currently working my preflop nit game to a much tighter preflop rock game, so I'm obviously going the exact opposite direction.

GAQoinEP,lol,whatamaniacG


He has a section entitled "loose players and multiway pots" or some such thing at the end of each chapter. Iirc he distinguishes between two types of loose games. Basically those where people will fold to bigger raises and cbets and those where they won't. He suggests the obv adjustments... large ISO raises (yes heads up or 3 way), high card hands / pitching med scs for likely low spr situations yadda yadda yadda.


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Old 05-16-2017, 07:36 PM   #9
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Open folding AJo and KQo in HJ but opening 76s? Lumping in HJ together with UTG and calling it "early position"? Lol.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:54 PM   #10
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The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

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Originally Posted by daniel9861 View Post
Open folding AJo and KQo in HJ but opening 76s? Lumping in HJ together with UTG and calling it "early position"? Lol.


Pretty clear that the flaw in this book is over estimating the reading comprehension of readers.... I flipped to the ep range page and it says this:

"In different game environments, you would tweak this list by taking out some of the weakest hands and including other hands with different features. (For example, you would prefer AJo to A6s or 76s in many situations. But don’t worry about these hand-selection issues too much for now.)"

cAhowdidIbecometheforumapologistforEdMillerAm


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Old 05-16-2017, 08:04 PM   #11
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Sure but it sounds like he's suggesting that as the default range.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:17 PM   #12
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Quote:
Originally Posted by daniel9861 View Post
Open folding AJo and KQo in HJ but opening 76s? Lumping in HJ together with UTG and calling it "early position"? Lol.
Ajo and kqo are terrible terrible hands from ep to mp
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:36 PM   #13
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

^^ I honestly really don't get this... maybe I'm outta my mind but AJo and KQo seem plenty profitable as UTG raises in games I play (2/5 1K max BI)... Hard to know about 67s, but I definitely sometimes open it early and don't feel bad about it.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:36 PM   #14
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Way worse than 76s apparently.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:36 PM   #15
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

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Originally Posted by cAmmAndo View Post
cAhowdidIbecometheforumapologistforEdMillerAm
Nice
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:55 PM   #16
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Slightly off topic, but I reckon most players lose more with suited connectors than they do with offsuit connectors, broadway and suited aces excluded.

Because they fold 97o, and call with 97s.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:25 PM   #17
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

How deep are effective stacks in the examples? I have some books by Ed Miller and he gives a lot of 200BB+ examples IIRC. In those cases suitedness adds a lot more value to a hand compared to 100BB deep.

And AXs and suited connectors are good for more than just drawing to the nuts. You can make marginal hands and extract thin value, you can make hidden two pair hands, you can leverage scary boards to triple barrel even when you miss, etc.

I agree to some extent that you won't get paid off (as in stacking someone) as often as writers seem to assume with a flush, but straights are different. I'd generally rather hit a straight for a couple reasons: one, when you hit a straight you generally need two specific hole cards which have 16 combinations (4 if you only play the suited connectors), so players will assume it's less likely; and two, straights can be hard to see on many boards. Flushes on the other hand are very easy to see and when a 3-flush is on the board, there are something like 55 combinations of hole cards a player could have to complete the flush.

Still, it's not hard to extract value with flushes even when you don't stack someone. Keep in mind though you don't need to raise big to build a big pot in weak games. If you raise in EP to $6 and get 5 callers (a typical result), you've got $33+ on the flop and it should be easy to build a pot most of the time, because with that many callers you'll get at least a couple player peeling the flop bet, especially if the board is draw heavy (which would be the case if you're drawing to a flush). I agree if you're heads up you probably won't stack your opponent but in multiway pots you can win just as much by charging the draws to come along until the river. They may give up then if their draw didn't make it, but you can still build a big pot.

Example: You have A5. You bet $6 from EP and get 5 calls.

Flop: A46 ($33)

You bet $25 and get three calls.

Turn: 2 ($133)

You bet $90 and get two calls.

River: J ($403)

You go all in and everyone folds. This result is just as good as stacking an opponent assuming 100BB deep, and this kind of hand should be relatively common with AX flush draws on a wet board. And if the river had bricked I think it's still a good spot to shove. AX flush draws provide good triple barrel opportunities IMO.

Balancing your range is also important, especially if you ever want to bluff or even C-bet. You need AXs, suited connectors, and small pocket pairs in your raising range so on any flop you can represent the nuts, giving your C-bets and barreling a lot more credibility. If your raising range in EP is {99+, AJs+, KQs, AQo+}, then flops like 842 could not have hit you, and flops as high as T64 are very unlikely to have hit you. If your opponent is paying attention he can crush you by raising your C-bets or floating and raising the turn. So the way I look at it is yeah, it might be slightly -EV to raise 76s in EP, but you more than make up for it because your C-bets will work more often. You also get a looser image when people realize you're capable of raising suited connectors in EP, which is a good result.

Also, if you raise {99+, AJs+, KQs, AQo+} and limp your AXs, small pocket pairs, and suited connectors, you become very easy to play against.

Now these considerations are more important in 2/5 and tougher games, but even at 1/2 there's usually one or two players paying enough attention to exploit you if you play in a blatantly transparent manner. And if in your region you can't get paid off when hitting flushes, it's likely because your opponents are paying at least some attention, and they could easily exploit you if you raise your big pairs and broadway hands and limp the rest.

EDIT: Let's say we change the EP raising range to including low pocket pairs as you suggest: {22+, AJs+, KQs, AQo+}. How does this compare to Ed's range {22+, A2s+, KTs+, QTs+, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, AQo+}?

There are 114 combos in the first range, 190 in the second. Of particular interest is what happens on mid and low boards. On flops with no J, Q, K, or A, how many combos can represent a hand? In range 1, there are 54 combos. In range 2, there are 118 combos. Moreover, your opponent won't be thinking "he has a pocket pair or nothing" on low to mid flops, but will be wondering about straights, flushes, and pocket pairs. You are far harder to play against with the second range.

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Old 05-16-2017, 11:23 PM   #18
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai Hulud View Post
How deep are effective stacks in the examples? I have some books by Ed Miller and he gives a lot of 200BB+ examples IIRC. In those cases suitedness adds a lot more value to a hand compared to 100BB deep.
Didn't think this thread would endure here and not in PT but ok...

OP - above is what matters most when it comes to suitedness "value". I'm not sure what EM wrote about specifically, but the gist of what you are looking to get your head around is that the deeper you are the more hands you want to have -and the more hands you have, the better you can play big pots. The bigger the pots, those few clicks of raw equity help you realize greater gains.

I'm not one for examples, but in a super extreme event, imagine the difference in play from 10bb to 10,000bb w one player holding 67o and the other 67s w the bdfd on 345r. The unsuited counterpart begins to encounter EV problems the deeper we get eventually reaching a point where it has to consider folding as the best EV option.

Practically speaking such game conditions are of minor concern, but if suitedness has negligible relevance at 10bb but monumental importance at 10kbb, then there is naturally an easy-to-image value add tge deeper the game.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:02 AM   #19
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Cards are like women.

Stick with the pretty ones.
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Old 05-17-2017, 12:16 AM   #20
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The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avaritia View Post
Cards are like women.



Stick with the pretty ones.


Beauty in the eye of the beholder tho?


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Old 05-17-2017, 04:27 AM   #21
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Few things:

The range provided is almost certainly too loose for UTG and almost certainly a bit tight for the HJ. I open the following ranges, by percentile, with probably more emphasis on suited hands than your accustomed too (UTG (8%) -> UTG+1 (10%) -> UTG+2 (13%) -> Lojack (18%-20%) -> Hijack (22%-25%) -> Cutoff (30%-33%)-> BTN (45%-60%). You can open tighter/wider than this depending on game dynamics.

The value of suitedness lies in one's ability to realize equity. Suited hands in general tend to over-realize their equity, while offsuit hands tend to under-realize their equity. When you play OOP you immediately suffer from equity realization issues, because playing OOP sucks. Having hands that can mitigate or reduce those realization issues becomes helpful. It should be noted that low suited connected hands will lose their realizability in low SPR situations. If your playing in a game where its going 5-way to the flop everytime and people aren't deep stacked, those hands are gonna lose a lot of value.
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Old 05-17-2017, 06:41 AM   #22
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Ed Miller had a breakup with 2+2 years ago. While he may view the forum (who knows), he doesn't post. His mother has posted in this forum though, complaining about the mods.

I haven't read his latest books, but what I have gathered from others is that he advocates an aggressive game that doesn't rely on hitting your hand to win. He'll size his bets pf to make sure he isn't going to 5 ways to the flop. One advantage he has over the rest of us mortals is that a lot of players stay out of his way because of his position as a noted poker authority. He doesn't have to bet as much to get folds and people don't want to call his cbets because they know he's going to power through on the turn and even the river.

As for the suited value question, I've found that if I'm at a table where the players will fold when an "obvious" flush draw hits, you don't have to show your flush. Since that's the case, do you really need to have the flush draw? Or would any two suited cards do?
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:06 AM   #23
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

My limited and non-mathematical understanding of this issue is as follows:

SC and AXs make more nutted hands over three postflop streets than small/medium pocket pairs or big unpaired offsuit hands. Thus we are able to barrel more frequently postflop and be good allin on the river with a range of [22+ AQ+ BWs A2s+ 76s+] and [22+ AJ+ KQ BWs K2s+ 64s+] than with [88+ AJ+ KQ] or [22+ AT+ KJ+].

We cbet and barrel because we expect to get paid by a poorly played weaker range or we expect to get folds from a poorly played weaker range. Suited and connected hands more frequently flop useful equity than small pairs and SC/AXs' flopped equity less often puts us in reverse implied odds situations than the equity flopped by offsuit broadways. So we can barrel more frequently and more safely (fewer tough committment decisions) with a range rich in SC/AXs/KXs than one rich in small/medium pairs and large offsuit unpaired hands.

So in addition to contributing greater strength to our postflop ranges SC and AXs also contribute to more playable postflop ranges. This overall range advantage allows us to play more aggressively when we flop equity which allows us to play more aggressively even when we flop nothing which allows us to more frequently put pressure on when our opponents have weak ranges which allows us to play more aggressively in general which makes opponents less willing to stand up to us which means we can play more aggressively etc etc around and around in a positive feedback loop of ever greater aggression. This upsets and unsettles opponents causing them to make even bigger and more frequent folding and calling errors and thus our profitability is increased.

It is important to realise we aren't playing fit or fold postflop and that means we aren't waiting to flop draws with our speculative hands before we bet them. We aren't even waiting to rep a particular hand before we start betting. What we're doing is ranging our weak opponents and betting appropriately with the relevant part of our range when they are weakest and most able to fold or pay us off. Our fold equity comes from our opponents being on weak ranges and our perceived tendency to keep betting bigger and bigger once we start betting. It is a battle of range vs range and strategy vs strategy with a little fear thrown in!

Our tight but mixed range is strong and playable over multiple streets and on most board types. That supports our aggressive strategy both for fold equity and value. Our opponents' ranges are wide, weak and difficult to play across multiple streets and on all boards lacking an Ace. That hinders their already poor strategy of seeing as many flops as possible from all positions and then passively fit-or-folding postflop.

Ed's strategy is basically the same strategy Doyle put forward in Super System all those years ago - and it still works if stacks are deep enough and you have good reads on your opponents. However it ONLY works when stacks are deep enough for meaningfull action and real decisions on the turn and river against opponents with the tendancy to take wide ranges post flop and then call or fold too much...

Sure enough Ed says that shorter stacks and wilder more "gii on the flop MW" type games call for tighter preflop ranges and a purely value based strategy. This is the same as Doyle's observation that we're left with nothing but a "pick axe and shovel" vs "really weak" opposition. Doyle's "weak opponents" are proper fish who never fold any draw, any pair or any Ace-high; similar to Ed's recreational players. Weak regs to Ed are Doyle's normal players. Doyle doesn't mention tough, adaptable players. Ed mentions them in passing but doesn't give detailed strategy on beating them except to read them very hard looking for leaks while playing a psuedo-optimal balanced strategy to ensure you are not exploitable in the meantime.

Ed has gone much further than Doyle by giving his readers a clearer and more rounded idea of when and why we bet against different weak player types. You have to read all his latest books to get a full picture of his approach to the game though. He's sneaky like that, maximising his books' value. Of course, I'd expect nothing less from a decent poker player

Last edited by Ragequit99; 05-17-2017 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:49 AM   #24
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai Hulud View Post
Example: You have A5. You bet $6 from EP and get 5 calls.

Flop: A46 ($33)

You bet $25 and get three calls.

Turn: 2 ($133)

You bet $90 and get two calls.

River: J ($403)
Isn't this kinda a lol example?

You're going to face a 3bet squeeze a lot after a ~minraise and a bunch of calls.

4ways to the turn, when we have like every card? Is this a Limit game? And no one actually having a hand worth raising (where if we get in the chips we're actually typically a huge dog?).

And pretty much nicest turn / river runout and action (apart from the getting paid off part on the river, which ironically is probably the only street we were actually ahead).

If your suggestion is that the key to crushing poker is to play aggressively *and* run extremely well, you'll find no argument from me.

GcluelessNLnoobG
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:52 AM   #25
gobbledygeek
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Re: The value of suitedness in live game according to Ed Miller

I do find the idea of treating UTG thru HJ as almost the same position an interesting one, and it's actually something I've been thinking about doing lately myself (at least in some respects).

GcluelessNLnoobG
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