"The mission of "The Digest" is to inform and entertain our readers"
Mikes007, BumbleBee99, WhyDoWe_Fall,PapaPyrite, A_Schupick, Bona
Welcome to "The Digest" thanks for reading. The links section of The Digest is its heart and we hope you will check them out.
The digest currently serves two forums, the BQ forum and the LHE micros. We hope you will enjoy the digest and will let us know of ways we can improve.
"The Digest" poster of the month is Trex8063. Trex is a regular poster in Micros forum and introduces himself here. Trex, in case you don't know, the POTM avatar is correctly sized for your use during the month of October.
The Digest has a special feature this month, generously contributed by Chad0X00. Chad's report on the London PokerStars meet up attended by several BQers. We know of at least 5 BQers that attended. Way to go guys and thanks for your report Chad.
September was a great month for some BQers. Some notable acheivements by BQers include:
ReidLockhart in live play $165 buy in, final table agreement took down $2950 then followed up with two wins in smaller tourneys adding about $1300 and a $100 ticket. wp Reid !!!
WE hear ASB is having a great month (off in Greece btw) at cash games and is about 90% of the way to Supernova. gogogo Bat!!!
Mikes007 won the "beat the pro" freroll at RPM for a $500 entry in a NLHE huhu with a sponsored pro. Of course Mike took it down. Nice job Mike... Mike is The Digest strat editor so we will all be reading his column twice now!
TBob wins the Annual Palm Beach Open, live NLHE bounty tourney for $2500 plus 8 $25 bounties. Wow
UHNM takes down 4th place in Stars wcoop LO/8 tourney for a $17,000 + cash prize. mmmmmmmmmmm...how sweet it is U have.
Not on the list?
Well October may change that for you, but you gotta enter to win!!! All of these guys are SHENANIGANS
veterans..coincidence? mebbe not.
In August, "The Digest" challenged McNeese72 to look past his favored LHE and play a NLHE challenge. "Doc" blew us away with his results. The digest staff enjoyed the challenge as much as "Doc" did so we are doing something similar in October.
We are challenging BQ moderator IceW0lf
to move out of his MTT comfort zone and succeed at LHE cash games. The challenge is to choose a number of hands between 3000 and 5000 to play during the month of October. He will declare the number of hands he will play before he starts play and then track them for the purpose of recording and graphing his results. To win the challenge he must finish with a win rate of at least 1BB for the month and must also finish with more profit in BB's than our super secret stalking horse who is shadowing the challenge.
Ice may choose and change stakes at will throughout the month but must play stakes at or above .25/.50 LHE 6 max or full ring.
Whether Ice wins or loses this challenge, he must agree to provide the digest with his graph and stats. We intend to publish them and will ask a LHE player to analyze his stats as part of our follow up.
If successful,Ice will win a yet to be determined prize contributed by our friends at OuijaPoker.com
We wish Ice a continuation of his notoriously consistent luckboxing and river binking. We expect this will be a very easy challenge for him and anticipate posting a huge win. After all, what could go wrong?
Trex8063, October Digest Poster of the Month, was selected because he has shown a great desire to not only improve himself but also stimulate many discussions with his hand posts in the Micro LIMIT forum. He is someone who has put in a lot of time and effort into not only becoming a better poster, but also a very good player and routinely posts insightful and instructional responses to problems from all kind of different sources.
Further, he has not been afraid to break the mold of answers and say what he believes even if it is not in the majority. This is a good lesson to everyone, because following the crowd will not help you become a better player. Lastly, he isn't afraid to post hands for critique even though they may seem standard, because he realizes that getting help and putting yourself out there is much more important than looking like a forum tough guy. With no further ado, I will let him introduce himself to the rest of you. Enjoy!
Howdy gang. As POTM (me??), I've been asked relate something about myself and my "poker journey", as it were. I'll skip my first introduction to poker, and get to the point where I REALLY got interested.
I missed the hay days of online poker, as my more focused interest in the game didn't come about until 2009. I suppose I was one of millions whose seduction was partly due to watching WPT and WSOP events on TV. At the time I was hating my job, and being somewhat a natural at basic math and having good logic and observation skillz, I figured I could make myself good at poker (maybe good enough to do it for a living and be done with the job I wasn't liking at the time).
Like any future poker pro destined for greatness I started by playing freeroll nlhe tourneys on Cool Hand Poker, while doing minimal amount of reading/study (mostly on PokerListings.com at that time). Played around some with an equity calculator, too. But I was doing it all wrong, putting single hands up against each other, thus discovering that A2o is a favorite HU against KQs. 44 is a favorite against AK. From this I naturally deduced that pp's are crazy stong, and any ace is a good hand to play.
I nonetheless was eventually cleaning up on those freerolls (built a bankroll of $13 from nothing), so decided it was time to make deposit, and did so (a few times) on Full Tilt Poker (RIP) around late October 2009.
Being super-bad, I lost my first two tiny deposits and part of a third at an alarmingly quick pace (especially considering the peanut stakes I was playing) in nlhe cash games. I don't believe in luck (as an entity that follows people around), so by early December 2009, I determined I sucked and stopped playing for money. Went back to freerolls/play money and read Dan Harrington's Harrington on Hold'em
series for nlhe tourneys.
Then came back in mid-January 2010 (to play nl tourneys, this time), making one last small deposit on FT. I vowed if this would be my last deposit. If I couldn't build on this, I was done with poker.
Well, I'm still here, so.....
I found myself turning to lhe around June 2010.
Tournaments (even STT's) take uninterrupted time to complete; and as a new parent of a needy infant, I simply didn't have that. My uninterrupted time came in tiny little spurts. It became clear that if I wanted to continue playing, I was going to have to play cash-games again (where I could quit without penalty after 10 minutes if needed).
But my prior miserable failure at nlhe cash games had me afraid to turn back to that. So what about lhe? I'd read it's a touch more math-based; more "science" where nl is "art". The notion sounded appealing to me.
I started at 0.05/0.10 (FR) and worked my way up to 0.5/1 and 1/2 FR, before transitioning to 6max (mostly 0.5/1), where I have struggled (many of you have likely caught my complaining about recent downswing).
I'd used 2p2 forums a little when still playing tourneys (primarily nlhe), but it wasn't until my start to lhe and locating the micros forum that I became a regular on 2p2. This forum has been the single biggest help (by far) to improving my game over the last two years. I'm entirely certain I never would have made as high as 1/2 without the guidance and work environment found here. Thanks everyone!
Pokerstars VIP Bash, London 29th September 2012.
Sorry about some of the picture quality. I was using my iPhone and we were in dimly lit rooms most of the time.
I drove down to Ealing on Friday night to stay over at a friends house. Hoped to be in bed by 1 so I'd be fresh the next morning and at the venue on time. Good wife and friend sat up talking til after 3 in the morning and the stupid bloody guinea pigs kept rummaging in their cages all night so I didnt sleep well.
Still, up at 8, on the tube by 9 and on my way. I knew it was at the British Film Museum near Waterloo Station so if I got down there about 9.45 I should be at the venue for 10. Arrived Waterloo 9.45 as planned. Went out onto York Road - no 3G signal. Phone good wife, get directions, go off down Belvedere Road to the right eventually come onto the next road along, get lost, ask directions, noone knows where the film museum is and I cant get a 3G signal on my phone so I cant check google maps. Phone Pokerstars mate Johnny C at the venue who finds me outside looking confused and takes me into... County Hall. It was far from obvious from the online maps that the venue was located *inside* County Hall but Id made it!
Once we got inside the Museum, there were check in desks left and right all done out in black, Pokerstars staff standing behind them waiting to check us in and give us a colour coded wristbands. Green for the plebs like me, red for supernova and black for SNE. I was ushered over to the left where SN and SNE players were to register. Had there been some mistake? Was I going to get the VVVIP treament? I wanted one of those black bracelets so bad. Alas it was not to be. They had lists of all the plebs on the left as well. They were very nice and put my band on and pointed me through to the reception area.
When you walked through from check-in into the first part of the film museum, waiting staff lined the entrance on both sides holding trays of champagne. Nice! Grabbed a glass and passed through. Some bloke in glasses said to me "Chad!" "yeah mate who are you?" It was GothNinja. The Bee was due back imminently. AE was there (hi mate!) and they were waiting on ASB.
I grabbed another glass of champagne off a passing waitress and wandered over to talk to a couple of the Stars staff I know while the other guys waited for ASB. Handshakes and hugs all round (havent seen each other for a year or two) and they introduced me to some Supernova guy, Benny something. They were all talking about win rates and hands and stuff, standard poker chat. I stood around for a few minutes, finished my champagne and handed off the empty glass to another waitress. The table next to us had loads of glasses of champagne on so I grabbed a fresh glass and headed back over to the BQ chaps.
Said hello then went for a look round the film museum. It's pretty big and has loads of fantastic memorabilia and interesting stuff to look at but it would take a whole day to look round properly so I just shot through, getting my picture taken with C3P0 and R2D2 (which Stars are going to post or something) and seeing displays of Jason and the Argonauts models from the old film, a Charlie Chaplin exhibition, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Aliens - loads of stuff. There were films playing on monitors throughout the museum too. Here's a cool Bobo Fett suit they have there.
After I'd had a quick peak at everything I headed back to the main reception area. I stood around for a bit listening to ASB and The Bee whilst necking another couple of glasses of champagne. It was going down pretty easily now, 2 or 3 mouthfuls to a glass. I realized that I'd better pace myself a bit better or I was going to end up a complete mess by midday.
At about 11 o'clock Stars opened the main hall and people made their way in. It said on their website:
11:15 - Brunch is served. Use this time to fill out your game card, which could earn you prizes while watching the football match later.
I grabbed a table and chairs for us quickly and once AE had come back with a glass of red wine I went off to the back of the room to see what was available. Lovely nibbles! Speciality sausage rolls, Beef and hot cheese bagels, Salmon and cream cheese bagel bits, spring rolls (and chilli sauce), quiche bits. Not really what Id call brunch, I was hoping for eggs benedict! Good nonetheless. On the next table over there was red wine, white wine, bottles of peroni, guiness and water. Time to hit the beer. Grabbed 5 bottles and went back to the table.
We sat chatting for a while, more poker talk obviously (what else would poker players, at a poker vip bash talk about ?) and nibbles. A waiter bought round a tray of chicken (I think it was) salad - delicious!
By now I had started to lose track of the beer consumption. Every time our bottles emptied, we got another 5 bottles.
Lee from Stars was up next, he was a good presenter, showed us the new client. It's a lot easier to make a new account (one pop up screen only) and get into a game using that new software and so it'll be easier for the fish to get involved. Great news for Stars and your average 2+2 regs alike.
Once he'd finished showing us the new client, he encouraged us to get our game cards in. First things first though, I went and got another round of beers in. There were 3 UKIPT packages available for guessing the first goalscorer (and the time of the first goal), shots on target, corners, yellow and red cards and so on and so on. We filled in our game cards handed them in and the game between Chelsea and Arsenal started. A fresh round of beer arrived at the table and I decided to get up and go take a look at the games room on the riverside. Disaster! As I stood up and turned away, I must have caught the leg of the table or something because a couple of the beers fell over spraying Bee and AE with beer. Sorry chaps, could have been worse!
I grabbed a fresh beer and walked round the museum til I found the games room. Obviously it was well stocked with beer and wine. I saw round the room a fairground punch ball game, a donkey kong machine, space invaders silver anniversay game, a couple of Wii's, a stand up Alpine Skier game, a glass topped table football and air hockey. Fantastic. Even better, the top scores of the day on 4 of those machines won a sunday millions ticket. Better still, Im an old fart, I was 8 when Space Invaders came out and 10 when Donkey Kong came out - I spent my youth pumping 10p's into these machines so I thought I had a pretty good chane of winning on those. The punch ball was pretty decent too, I punch pretty hard. Had a go on each of those 3 machines, top scored on each, grabbed a beer and left to meet
up with the guys again.
When I got back to the main room they were all still talking about poker. I grabbed a round of beer and sat down, joining in the chat with the football on the big screen in the back ground. One of the waitresses brought over some food, I asked what it was "fish n chips" - Ill take it! Bloody funny looking fish and chips though only about 5 chips and one piece of battered fish about the size of your little finger.
Another two rounds of beers followed in quick succession. AE was sitting opposite me and moved to get up but he hit the table. Beer bottles flew towards me. I put my forearms up to stop them hitting me and two bounced off, spraying ASB and the Bee in their faces. They were blinded! We were all completely covered in beer. They weren't blinded. Venue staff came over and mopped up. We got a new round of beers in.
The football ended and I was pretty amazed at how well organized the Stars staff were. They had the UKIPT package winners announced and sorted out almost straight away. Pretty awesome predictions from the winners. They must have been psychic to have guessed all that random stuff right, I wouldnt want to sit down and play poker with them.
I wandered off back down to the game room and noticed the houses of parliament out the window with the sun going down behind them, looked pretty spectacular.
A few Stars big wigs were about and they were all friendly as we passed in the corridors of the museum saying hi and stopping for wee bits of small talk. I think all the stars staff were primed to receive suggestions because on the 3 times I mentioned stuff they all immediately got their phones out and made a note. What did I suggest? Firstly that at the next one they bring along the stars store so we can spend fpp's on stuff we can see, touch and hold. Second, would be great if they did some poker lectures next time. Third was a suggestion about the stars client. I think it would be really handy if you could search up a player you have played against (from player notes) and make notes on them. Bah, just remembered that I forgot to suggest that they sort out their import notes function to import straight from whatever pt3 and HEM1 export. Next time.
Two guys were battling it out on the punchball machine going higher and higher.
I stood and watched as one of them punched 895, a single point higher than my best. I had another few goes but I couldnt quite get there so I had to let that one go. Noone was even close to my donkey kong score, the competition in here would end at 4pm and it was 2 minutes to now so I had that one locked up. I saw a guy start a game on the space invaders machine who'd been on it a few times throughout the day but he hadnt been doing very well. I grabbed a beer and jumped on the air hockey game playing winner stays on, won, was king of air hockey for a bit then went over to the space invaders machine just in time to see the guy playing the last game of the day .... beat my score by 10 points. Noooooooooo!
Oh well, I was top on Donkey Kong, a $215 sunday million ticket was mine, very happy, in fact it's in my acct now.
I picked up a bottle of beer and walked round to the entrance to pick up my VIP Party T Shirt, tried it on - spot on! Took my other T-Shirt off and walked back to the other BQ chaps in the main room again.
Things were coming to a close here and people were moving onto the Fox Casino on Shaftesbury Ave for a tourney.
We all left and stood outside the venue chatting for a bit before going down the road to the Premier Inn where ASB was trying to get a room. The girl behind the check in desk thought ASB was Bee's dad. I dont think it went down too well. There was no room at the Inn though so I think ASB booked a room at another Premier Inn somewhere and we made our way not to The Fox but instead to the Vic. The rationale was that all the regs would be at The Fox tonight so there would be easier games at the Vic. I've never been there before so it was easy to say yes. After about an hour there I said my goodbyes and went over to the Fox to see who was there and what it was like. It's a shabby little hole is what it is. Down the back they had some blackjack tables and who should I spot there but George Sammy! I recognised him from the YouTube videos of his HU match with Tom Dwan. I wasnt 100% sure so I said to the bloke next to me "Is that that bloke who played Tom Dwan for $1,000,000?" and he told me that his mate had said the same thing to him. I turned to the guy at the table and said "Hey George!" and when he turned round I knew for sure it was him.
You know how bad he was at HU? He was a complete fish at BlackJack. I saw him stand 13 against the dealers 8 and asked him why he did that, "I had a feeling". I suggested he should learn perfect strategy, would take him about 5 minutes. He looked like I was speaking a foreign language to him. You know, perfect strategy? He told me he liked to play by feel and I argued that that was bull**** and he should just go with the maths and make the most correect play each time as he failed to split his 7's vs a dealer 4, hit instead and go bust with a J. I asked him how he made all his money and he told me as a trader but then he went off on some great long rant about suing google for something somoene had posted about him or something. I didnt know what he was on about but I'd finished my pint so I got up and left. I've always loved how crowded London is late at night.
I made my way to the tube station and left for home. What a brilliant day that had been. It was great meeting the other BQ guys and I think we'd all agree that it was a cracking event. Well done to Pokerstars. Next time they do one - you should put the effort in, get a ticket and get yourself down there. You'll thank yourself for it.
AK is a premium hand. But it is hand which is often leads to difficult decisions. In this column, I am going to look at different ways we can play AK in No Limit Holdem in order to maximize our EV.
First of all, if the pot is unopened to us, whether in a 6max or FR game, we have to play this hand 100% of the time. Unless you are playing at a table where you will have an open-limping and limp-reraising range (a rare circumstance, especially at microstakes), you will want to open the pot for a raise. If someone else 3bets our raise, then we have a decision to make. Against nitty players, whose range for 3betting is less than 5%, we probably should fold to a 3bet. Against players with a wide 3betting range, we should 4bet and be willing to get it in preflop.
There are some times when we might consider flatting the 3bet, however this should be done mostly in position, and only against an opponent whose range for 3betting is neither too nitty or too wide. If an opponent's range is too nitty, then when we flat call the 3bet, we will be at an equity disadvantage without the betting lead, and furthermore we will either have to play fit-or-fold on the flop or be willing to put in tricky postflop action against a tight range, which is inadvisable without solid reads. If our opponent's range is very wide, it is much better to 4bet and stack off than to call, as we have a big equity advantage against his range, and by 4betting we force him to either fold too often or get the money in as an underdog.
Let's look at an example hand where our opponent has a wide 3betting range:
9-handed .10/.25 No Limit Holdem
Hero (BTN) - $27
SB - $25
Dealt to Hero A
6 folds, Hero raises to .65, SB raises to $2, 1 fold, Hero ?
Our stats on villain indicate that he resteals from the SB 11% of the time. We do not have any solid information about how he responds to 4bets. Let's assign him a range for 3betting. I think something like the following is reasonable: TT+,AJs+,A8s-A6s,KQs,K9s-K8s,J9s,T8s,87s,76s,65s,AJo+,A9o-A8o. This range includes about a 6% value range, the other 5% is composed of suited connectors, some Axo and Axs and a couple of suited Kx hands. I think this represents a good range for an 11% 3bet percentage, although of course some villains will be more heavily weighted towards either value or bluff, or they might have a merged value range and no real bluff hands. Now, what hands do we think he will stack off with? Let's say he'll stack off with only QQ+, Aks, Ako. We're a horrible 61/39 underdog to this range. Does this mean we can't 4bet here? NO! Let's do some math now. QQ+,AKs,AKo is a 2.6% range. If he's folding the rest of an 11% range to a 4bet from us, then he's folding 76% of the time, and jamming 24% of the time. Those times that he folds to our 4bet, we make ($.65 + $2 + $.25 bb folded) = $2.90. Those times that we get it in as a 61/39 dog, we're putting in another $24.35 and we're getting back our equity share from the $50 pot: (.39 equity x $50) = $19.5 - $24.35 = -$4.85. So our total EV can be calculated by (Villain folds% x EV1) + (Villain jams% x EV2) or (.76 x $2.90) + (.24 x -$4.85) = $1.04. That's more than 4 bb in equity from 4betting. That's huge. That's a moderately decent winrate/100 just from this one hand.
“But wait,”you may say, “of course if villain folds almost all the time we will make huge moneys. What if villain shoves more of his range? Then we're screwed, right?” Wrong. Let's go back and change villain's stacking off range. Let's suppose that we 4bet and he instead stacks off with 99+, Ajs+, Ajo+ and folds the rest of the time. Well now, he's only folding 43% of the time, and jamming 57% of the time. But if you put that range into PokerStove and run the equity of Ako, you will find that we are a favorite when we get it in with him! Clearly this is a +EV situation; let's do the math from before with these new ranges. Our EV when we call his jam now is ((.53 Equity x $50) - $24.35) = ($26.5 - $24.35) = $2.15. And our total EV is (.43 x $2.90) + (.57 x $2.15) = $2.47. Now we're making double what we were when he was folding too much. So, when our opponent is 3betting a range as wide as 11%, we do well to 4bet and stack off with our AK, regardless of his tendencies when facing a 4bet. In general, when you get into blind-stealing and blind-defense spots at the table, everyone's preflop ranges will be wide enough that you can just keep putting in action with AK until you are all-in. Only against nitty players should you consider folding AK preflop in a positional pot.
Now, what do we do when we are facing action in front of us when we hold AK? Well, it depends what the action in front of us is. If we are facing limpers, we have an easy raise. If we are facing a single raise in front of us, we will want to consider the tendencies of the raiser to determine whether we should cold-call or 3bet. Let us suppose that our opponent opened for 3bb from early position, and is a nit whose range for raising in early position is: 99+, AJs+, AQo+. This is around a 5.5% range. Against this range, we are basically flipping. If we 3bet to 9bb, we believe that our opponent will fold everything except TT+, Ako. He will 4bet with KK+, and will call with QQ-TT, AKs, and AKo. After doing some simple math, we can see that our opponent will fold 36.1% of the time, will call 47.1% of the time, and will 4bet 16.6% of the time. When he 4bets, we will fold. When our opponent folds, we will win his 3bb + 1.5bb from the blinds, or 4.5bb. When he calls, we have 46% equity against his range. Let us assume we will realize exactly that 46% equity in a 3bet pot of 19.5 bb. The distribution of our EV for the various cases looks like this:
36.1% V folds x 4.5bb = 1.62bb
47.1% V calls x ((19.5bb x .46) – 9bb) = -.01bb
16.6% V 4bets x-9bb = -1.49bb
So our total EV is the sum of the 3 cases, or .12bb. So 3betting is better than folding. What happens if we just call instead? Well, our equity against his opening range is 50.4%. So we are calling 3bb into a pot of 4.5bb, making a total pot of 7.5bb, in which we have 50.4% equity. Our equity in the pot is 3.78bb, and it costs us 3bb to call, so we make .78bb, which is more than we made by 3betting. Of course, both of our scenarios neglected the fact that there may be opponents remaining to act behind us, and we did not look at the postflop tendencies of our opponent at all. But I think that our example illustrates the point that against very tight ranges, and especially tight ranges which are not folding often to a 3bet, AK does better by flat-calling rather than by 3betting.
Let's take a look at a perhaps more typical villain. He's opening from middle position, and his range is 22+,ATs+,KJs+,QJs,JTs,AJo+,KQo, which is 11.9%. If we 3bet him, he will 4bet with a range of KK+, AQo, or 15.2% of his opening range. He will call our 3bet with QQ-TT,AJs+,AKo which is 26.6% of the time that we 3bet. The remainder of the time, or 58.2% he will fold. The distribution of the equities of the various actions are as follows:
58.2% V folds x 4.5bb = 2.62bb
16.5% V calls x ((19.5bb x 50.34%)- 9bb) = .14bb
15.2% V 4bets x - 9bb = -1.37bb
So, we make 1.39 bb by 3betting here. What do we make if we flat his open? Well, we're 54.5% against his 11.9% opening range, so our equity in a 7.5bb pot is .545 x 7.5bb = 4.09 bb, from which we must subtract our 3bb call, so we make 1.09bb by flatting. Clearly we do better by 3betting here than by flatting, unless we have some really good reads on how to exploit our opponent in single-raised pots. The difference between this example and the previous one is that our increased fold equity and our slightly better pot equity in the event that we are called combine to make this a more profitable 3bet.
What about multiway spots where there is a raise and one or more calls in front of you? Well, there are a lot of variables involved as each opponent will have different tendencies, but in general you would do well to 3bet AK nearly 100% of the time when the pot is multiway before it gets to you. AK generally does not play well postflop without the betting lead in multiway pots with a high SPR. If your opponents will only call your 3bet with a range with which you are flipping, you gain a lot from the times that they must fold, and still have a decent chance of winning when they call. If, on the other hand, they fold so often that you are crushed when you get action, then you still should 3bet, as they are folding too often and you should show an instant preflop profit from 3betting AK. What if they rarely fold? In that case you should still 3bet, as they will be calling with a lot of dominated hands like KQ and AJ. An especially profitable situation to look out for is when there are both a solid reg and a fish in the pot. A 3bet here has a good chance of getting the reg to fold, while the fish calls with a dominated range, and you get to play postflop in a big pot against him. If you get 4bet after 3betting in a multiway pot, you will have to be aware of the tendencies of the player who put in the 4bet. Either folding or 5-betting all in could be the correct play. Be especially wary if a passive fish 4bets you – most of the time, they have the goods. Be very suspicious if a reg backraises you after you 3bet – most of them would have 3bet their monsters themselves the first time around, so their backraise indicates a weakish range which you can shove over. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, some regs will flat AA and KK occasionally so that they can backraise over a squeeze.
All of the above applies to full-stacked 100bb poker. If you find yourself playing against a shortstack and you have AK, you should almost 100% of the time try to get it in preflop; due to the reduced stack depth, you don't lose very much when it turns out that you are facing a monster, and furthermore they should be 3betting and shoving pretty liberally, which means that your AK does better against the typical shortstacker's all-in range than it does against a standard 100 bb player's range.
Clearly AK is an excellent hand and it tends to have very good equity against various ranges. By carefully considering what kind of range your opponent is playing, and how your actions will distort their range, you can choose the action which will maximize the combination of fold equity and pot equity versus your opponent. Here is a link to a COTW post about playing AK by I vi ii V7 in the Micro Full Ring forum
On July 18th, I entered a freeroll at RPM Poker. The prize, which was paid only to first place, was a HUSNG against an RPM pro with a prize pool of $500. Several other twoplustwoers played in the same freeroll, including Bona and tehpokerz. Tehpokerz made the final table with me, but was eliminated. Eventually I got heads-up and wound up winning the freeroll.
My match against the RPM pro was delayed due to WSOP. Finally, the match was scheduled for September 17th against Aaron Been. I was somewhat nervous to find out that we would start the match 300bb deep, as I usually don't play that deep. As it happened though, I wound up winning and collected a cool $500. Here is a video of the match: Link to Mike's "beat the pro" huhu match
When trying to learn a new game, we as thinking players automatically ask what our stats should be and what we should be aiming for. The problem is that many times these answers are not easy to find, or we simply do not know how to search for them. I am here to provide that service though, because I want to make this transition as easy as possible for everyone involved. I will outline: Bankroll Management, Ideal Statistics, and provide a few things to read for the inquisitive mind.
Before you can even think about getting certain statistics in a game you need to start playing it. This can be a scary thing though, because you don’t know how much you should be buying in for, nor do you know what how big of a roll you should have to play the stakes you want to. The general rule is to have 300 Big Bets (2x big blind) for whatever level you want to play. So if you want to play .25/.50 LHE, then you need $150 to comfortably play at the tables. (Keep in mind in the LHE lobby the stakes are listed by small bet/big bet, not small blind/big blind.) When you are looking to take shots it’s normally good to have an idea with how much you are comfortable losing. For me, when I was moving up I said 100 bets at my new stake was what I was comfortable when taking aggressive shots. Depending on your ability to rebuild, re deposit, and other such factors that make a difference in what you should be comfortable doing or not doing.
As for how much you should be buying in for that depends greatly on what site you are playing on. On Merge once the pot is HU you can go as many bets as you want, where on Pokerstars it is capped at four bets per street. So on Merge, it can be quite good to have many bets in your stack in case you flop the nuts and someone wants to put in a lot of action with you. This will happen as anyone who has put in significant volume at Merge, especially at microstakes, has seen someone 30-bet with a marginal hand. Being able to have enough on the table to stack these opponents becomes very important and should be your main concern. On Pokerstars, having 12 big bets is fine, as you can never have a bigger pot than that, so you lose nothing by just having auto top-off on.
Now that you finally are able to know where you should be playing we will get into what kind of stats you should be looking for. Keep in mind most of the games are 6-max nowadays, but I will also tell you about full ring, because it is still available at the lower levels.
First, we will look into VPIP/PFR (as well as some other preflop stats). Everyone is pretty familiar with these stats from NL, so I won’t explain them, but something I will warn against is not getting involved in that many hands preflop. The initial thought is going to be too cold call a lot of hands, because it’s not that many chips, but keep in mind that what you can win a single hand is also capped to a large degree, and cold-calling can be very bad. As a general rule, never be the first to call a 2-bet. An example would be if you have 89s and UTG raises and it folds to you on the BTN, you will be tempted to call here, but don’t. You can 3-bet if you like, or you can fold, but calling shouldn’t be considered an option unless at least one person before you has also called. Limping is not as militant, but I would caution against it as well, and until you learn to play post-flop better I would never be the first to call a limp, unless you are in the SB. Also, never limp first in. If you are going to get involved in a hand, either raise or fold. NO LIMPING FIRST IN!!
As for specific numbers you should be looking play around 35/29 for 6-max and 20/16 for full ring. (VPIP/PFR). When you are at the lower stakes, your numbers will be different, most likely, because of the bad players, but keep in mind that your first couple of positions should have the same VPIP/PFR numbers, so that is a good way to check yourself. Also, keep in mind that your CCPF number shouldn’t be over 3.0% at lower stakes and not over 1.5% for anything .50/1 or higher. Now, you may be wondering how you get to these numbers, well, I would use this hand chart as a general rule to start off. (For 6-max just eliminate the first couple of positions.)
UTG: ATs+, AJo+, KJs+, KQo, 88+ Fun hand to add: T9s and 89s
UTG +1: ATs+, ATo+, KJs+, KJo+, 77+ Fun hand to add: T9s and 89s
MP1: A8s+, A9o+, KTs+, QJs, QJo, KJo+, 77+ Fun hand to add: T9s and 89s
MP2: A7s+, A7o+, KTs+, KTo+, T9s+, QTo+, QTs+, 22+ Fun hand to add: 78s, T8s and 89s
HJ: A5s+, A7o+, K8s+, K9o+, QTs+, QTo+, J9s+, 78s+, T8s+, T9o+, 22+
CO: Ax, K6s, K8o+, Q8s+, Q9o+, J7s+, J8o+, 67s+, 79s+, 22+, 89o+,
BTN: Ax, Kx, Qxs, Q6o+, J6s+, J8o+, 56s+, 86s+, 22+, T7s, 78o+, T8o+ - can widen even more with good reads or other good reason to.
SB: Depends on the Big Blind, higher fold rate you can open a very wide range, normally keep it around 55%-65% against unknowns, watch out for really tight blinds though at the lower levels.
Seeing this chart also allows for a natural Segway into some other preflop stats. ATS is a pretty important stat, especially in limit. I would suggest shooting for something around 45%, with a breakdown of 35%/45%/60% from CO/BTN/SB. This of course is a general guideline, but I think that it can be a good starting point and even just sticking with these stats carte blanche you are never going to be doing anything all that wrong, so that’s really important to keep in mind.
Another really important stats pre flop is 3-bet and 4-bet stats. Generally you are going to be looking for a 3-bet stat of something like 10%-12% and you should never fold to 3-bet PF if you have already put chips in the pot (with the exception of if you are in the BB or SB.) You are getting way too good of odds to fold. 4-bet is a little trickier in that there isn’t a good number to tell you, because it really does depend on who is at your table. If you raise and it gets 3-bet and then 4-bet you still should never be folding expect for in the most of extreme cases. Until you know those cases well and have a good idea a very good rule is just to never fold.
Another important stat to consider if FBBtS and FSBtS (fold big and small blind to steal), and how these numbers should look based on what level you are playing. That’s really key, because based on what level you are at, there are different things that will be optimal. At the lowest levels you can get away with 50%-55% FBBtS, because the steal will be much stronger, but at higher levels where you are being challenged a lot, you should be look for no higher than 40% and most likely 35% or slightly below is optimal. FSBtS is most likely going to hover around 70% or higher. Many people call far to liberally out of the SB, but the important thing to remember is despite the good odds, you are out of position, and going to be put in a lot of really tough positions post flop that are not going to be profitable.
A couple of key postflop stats to keep in mind are cbet, turn cbet, WTSD, and W$SD. Cbet on the flop depends on the number of people in the pot. As a general rule if there is 1-2 opponents in pot with you then you should be cbetting 100% of flops. This is because if you start not betting certain flops then you are not going to be balanced enough. There are going to be some flops that you feel uncomfortable betting on, but remember that every time you bet, you stand a much better chance of getting a call when you do have a hand, because it will be impossible to remove anything from your range. Also, at the lower levels you get a lot more respect for the bet on the flop and you will get a surprising number of folds out of people.
Turn cbet is going to be a lot harder to talk about in numbers, per se, but a general rule is 60%, but this can vary wildly based on stakes and opponents and also over sample sizes. If you are over 70% though you are starting to get in an area that might cause some problems and you should be careful. And if you are under 50% you need to make sure you are not giving up on too many pots, because the turn is really the big decision street in LHE. It’s the first big bet street, and will determine how the rest of the hand is going to shape up. Generally a turn c/r is super strong, and you can make a lot of big laydowns if you see some very straight forward player making it. At the nanos, you just don’t see a lot of c/r on the turn or river, so when it does happen, be very, very wary.
The final two numbers are WTSD and W$SD. WTSD should be something around 40% for 6-max and closer to 35% for full-ring. This is something that can be really hard to regulate when you start playing because you almost want to call down everything because everything is small portions of your stack, but it’s important to not get to over the top with it. Another good barometer of how well you are making decisions comes in the form of W$SD. Pretty much if you fall below 50% you shouldn’t be super concerned, but you will want to keep an eye on it, at least over a large sample. That’s the most important thing to take from all of this; everything needs large samples to really be relevant.
While there are more stats to be considered, this is a good starting point for most players, because there are some pretty distinct changes from NL. Once you have played these stats for a while you can start to look at more situations, but keep in mind you need at least 10-14k hands for a decent sample, so don’t try to take the training wheels off to fast. Playing anything .25/.50 and below like this will work out pretty well for you, so feel confident this is a winning formula, at least against 90% of the people at this level. I will also include a few other links helping to improve your game/looking at things in a slightly different light that might also be helpful.
A thread that you can directly ask me where to go on your journey
A different thought on BRM for LHE players.
A different starting hand chart that is also a good starting point
A detailed post on how to consider hand ranges in LHE
A reminder from BBB
A place to ask the LHE community if you're doing it right.
Another good place to ask if your stats are looking good, and what you can improve on.
It has been a busy few months on the poker legislation front, and so we thought it would be helpful to recap some news stories and provide a few updates. The biggest news, at least in the US, is the long awaited bill from Senators Reid and Kyl which had been rumored for many months. The new bill is a federal licensing proposal with far reaching implications, and is most likely the last opportunity for any movement on the legal online poker situation this year.
The Reid/Kyl bill titled “The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012” looks to reinforce existing legislation to prevent all forms of unlicensed gambling, but with a carve-out specifically for online poker and off-track horse race wagering. The act calls for a state-by-state opt-in procedure through a voluntary election, which requires a majority vote in each state legislature to pass. Inaction will result in the state opting out. Indian tribes can only opt-in if the state in which they resides also opts-in.
It proposes to form the Office of Online Poker Oversight (OOPO), as a part of the Department of Commerce, to oversee the regulation of online poker. It would appoint additional regulators to aid in the issue of licenses. One of the most interesting parts of the act is that for the first two years only currently licensed land-based casino operators that meet certain criteria will be granted a license to operate online poker. Also, the manufacturers of related gaming devices will be allowed to apply for support licenses.
The most controversial aspect of the bill is the so called “bad actor” provision, which restricts companies that were involved in internet gambling in the US after the enactment of UIGEA in 2006. The bill calls for a five-year block on these companies, which would currently include most major poker sites except bwin/Party and Pacific/888, unless they can convince a court that no federal or state law was breached during this time. Also, there will be a “whitelist” of allowed online poker operators issued to financial institutions, who will be required to block transactions from unlisted operators.
Pokerfuse has put together an excellent FAQ
on the new bill, and we urge all of you to look it over. The Poker Legislation forum
here on Two Plus Two is also full of great information, and there are some entertaining and informative discussions on this and related topics.
Another important news item is the move of all FTP equipment to the Isle of Man by new owners PokerStars. FTP was previously headquartered in Dublin, but maintained its servers in the Channel Islands and was regulated by the AGCC in Alderney. Although FTP will remain a separate company and maintain their offices in Dublin, the site will be licensed in the Isle of Man, where PokerStars is regulated and bases its head offices. In order for there to be an effective online poker regulation, the infrastructure and servers must be maintained within the licensing jurisdiction, hence the move last week to ship the equipment onto Manx territory.
In a related news story, as I was writing this column, French regulator ARJEL released a statement saying it has approved a procedure that will allow French players with funds tied up on FTP to withdraw those funds via PokerStars.fr. Players will be allowed to transfer their FullTilt.fr balances to PokerStars.fr where they can continue to use those balances to play on the site or withdraw them.
Links to other important poker legislation news:
PokerStars Reveals Non-US Repayment Plan and Relaunch plans for FTP
Bilateral agreement between Spain and France seen as positive step towards pooling player liquidity
DOJ Presses Court for Sale Order on Absolute Poker Software
Howard Lederer's Current Aspiration: Peaceful Return to Poker Room
Nevada Gaming Board OKs More Online Poker Licenses
Link to PPA September 26 newsletter
PDF cartoon brief of court decision
The Library-awesome repository of poker lore from the Micros
Micros Forum Guidelines
Guide to PokerStove Lanyi Milestone post
Links to previous digests:
BQ Digest September 2012
BQ Digest August 2012
BQ Digest July, 2012
BQ Digest May and June 2012
Link to concept of the Week thread in NLHE micros forum...good stuff here
Bet sizing questions
Limp behind, small pairs?
Discount for overflush?
How to learn to play poker
LHE Micros Strat Posts:
A hand that illustrates how important not missing value is, and why to not play scared.
Solid Milestone Poast
Good exercise in reading a hand from Villains perspective
Why your opponents matter when you get to the river
I have JJ..... What do I do?
A discussion of what variance is, and what we should be doing with that information
Discussion of drawing hand
Thorough discussion of a nano stakes hand with multiple playing errors
Milestones, fun posts, trip reports, etc..
Artie's 3k milestone, bumped and worth another look
Thanks BBB for sharing your comparison study results in the links below:
Google document, rake analysis, BigBadBabar author
Side by side comparisons of rake, BigBadBabar author
Pretty links in this to forum and internet lingo
Interactive version of the October Crossword Puzzle
Thanks for reading "The Digest".
We solicit your comments, suggestions, and criticisms in "The Digest" thread.