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Old 08-15-2010, 02:28 AM   #1
DaycareInferno
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basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

i couldn't sleep, so i thought i'd make a thread.

i see a lot of strat threads here where people disagree about both preflop and postflop play in hands where we are in in the blinds vs. a steal. i'm going to go over some pretty basic concepts, which will hopefully help you a little with that and focus more on other things.

before i get into all of that though, first i should say that its ok to play suboptimally from the blinds when you're still working on other things. its not easy to play oop, and having some sort of a nitty, training wheels kind of approach to blind play is ok when you're getting started. folding a hand oop that you're not really sure what to do with is never really that bad. never going back at some point and thinking about what to do with it is pretty bad on the other hand.

if i had to make a generalization about leaks of microregs in blind defense, i would say that the most common errors are:

too much 3 betting
not enough calling
too much check raising otf
not enough donking otf

beyond flop play is going to be going a little further than the scope of this post, but i'll try to cover these things in a way that's easy.

before the flop, most of your tough decisions will be with medium-strong hands. the kind of hands you might raise from mp with, things like KJ, AT, etc. you will usually be ahead of the opening range of a stealer, so folding doesn't seem right, but calling oop feels gross, and raising seems to overplay our hand strength. so, what's best? well, that depends on our villain and his ranges of course.

villains that you want to 3bet with good big card hands:

agrofish - they have a wide opening range as well as a wide calling range, so a hand like KQo is very good against this type of player for value.

toughguy regs - like any reg, they will steal a lot, but they will also defend a lot with hands like 86. you should exploit this the same way you do vs. the agrofish, because even though the toughguy reg isn't as stupid as the agrofish, his range is almost as crappy.

villains you don't want to 3bet with good big card hands (that arent premium):

lpass stations - while a guy that is 40/5 would call your 3bet with a lot of hands, he doesn't have very many bad hands to call you with in the first place, since he just limps in with everything but really strong holdings.

abc regs - while these guys will steal with wide ranges, just like toughguy regs, they will fold everything worse than this, and their remaining range will crush you. don't waste these profitable calling hands on a bluff you could run with a much lesser hand.

these are just generalizations, and its not always easy deciding exactly where to draw the lines between raising, calling, and folding, but if you just keep in mind the simple concept of staying ahead of your opponents range, you will usually be able to turn a profit. also, try not to forget that peoples' cutoff ranges aren't the same as their button ranges, and that you shouldn't be calling/3betting as if they are.

i think there's tons of good advice and strat for oop 3b spots here, but there's relatively less content on the oop hands where we just call and take a flop. post-flop play is obviously a lot more complicated than preflop play, but i'll try to hit on a few things that might be a good starting point.

donking vs. c/raising

a lot of you guys just don't ever donk, ever, which is completely ridiculous. by doing that, you really lower the ammount of flops that you can legitimately bluff vs. a non-horrible player. there are certain flop attributes that favor donking, and certain attributes that favor c/raising, and they apply to both bluffing and value betting.

attributes that favor c/raising:

-high probability of cbet
-high # of strong combinations in our percieved range
-low probability of ever being reraised by total air

example - 974 is a flop where our percieved range could contain 3 sets as well as some strong draws and possibly a couple of overpairs. a check/raise on this board will almost never be reraised by a hand like QJ. you can't really ever count on people to fold decent hands, but at least not getting rebluffed by total crap is good.

attributes that favor donking:

-lessened probability of cbet
-low credibility of value c/r
-low probability of being raised by air

examples - a flop such as 679 might be more suited for donking than c/raising vs. an opponent who will check often on such a coordinated board. a flop like A96 might be better for donking, since we could not often value c/r, although usually not ideal because of the high probability of cbet, which is why you will often see c/c on these types of boards.

both forms of agression should be kept to low ammounts in situations that lead to very unpredictable results.

example - flop is 994. sweet! that totally misses this guys range. time to bet with my 77! ****, raised. now what? this is bad. a lot of new players try to make a lot of moves (or ill-concieved value bets) on these ultradry boards, figuring that it misses their opponents range. the problem is that its completely transparent, and gets met with unpredictable results vs. most all players. that sounds bad enough already, but its compounded by the fact that we're oop, and additionally by the fact that villains range can have premium pairs in it, and ours cant. its ok to just give up with your air on these boards and play somewhat weak tight with not-great made hands. if you play really actively in these situations, you will lose in the long run.

anyways, like i said before, these are just some general concepts that might give you something to think about and expand on. there's always lots of gray area, but hopefully it makes it a little easier.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:37 AM   #2
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

really good read on a really good topic imo.

Last edited by kp1022; 08-15-2010 at 02:38 AM. Reason: 1st
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:37 AM   #3
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

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Originally Posted by kp1022 View Post
really good read on a really good topic imo.
+1
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:09 AM   #4
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

Excellent post.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:11 AM   #5
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaycareInferno View Post
example - flop is 994. sweet! that totally misses this guys range. time to bet with my 77! ****, raised. now what? this is bad. a lot of new players try to make a lot of moves (or ill-concieved value bets) on these ultradry boards, figuring that it misses their opponents range. the problem is that its completely transparent, and gets met with unpredictable results vs. most all players. that sounds bad enough already, but its compounded by the fact that we're oop, and additionally by the fact that villains range can have premium pairs in it, and ours cant. its ok to just give up with your air on these boards and play somewhat weak tight with not-great made hands. if you play really actively in these situations, you will lose in the long run.
I just bet 77 OOP into a 994 board and got raised O_O (but I was UTG preflop raiser)

Very good post, seriously. I call from BB/SB a lot more than people seem to suggest on here. In fact, it sounds like you and I play a very similar game from the blinds (similar preflop I mean. My post flop game is sort of a mess. not consistant). My VPIP was at 22% from BB, 24% from SB at 10NL. My game is changing and improving, so im not really sure what my current stats would look like. I 3 bet light more often now (almost exclusively with suited connectors though, and very situationally, because im adding it in slowly so it probably doesnt change a lot). Also, my BB/hand is -.10 from BB, and -.14 from SB, so I made up a good chunk of my blinds.


Also, it should be noted that against nits (which you should avoid playing behind anyway) you fold hands like KQ and KJ, because you got a good shot of being dominated. (I mean, at least thats what I think.)

Last edited by Tomark; 08-15-2010 at 03:17 AM.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:13 AM   #6
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

nice post
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:21 AM   #7
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

some other keys figuring out how to be +EV vs steals is understanding:

(a) board texture
(b) how often does my villain 2 barrel?
(c) does he ever give up vs me?
(d) how can i make it look like I have something when I have nothing?
(e) what can I do when I know villain's range is { } on the river, but I can't beat a lot of that?
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:48 AM   #8
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

On semi dry boards like J75r where your opponent is aggro and might play back at you when you donk (Hey I'll float) and won't believe a c/r very often (He isn't repping that much, a couple of sets and OESDs) I have noticed the stop and go strategy works pretty well (c/c flop lead turn). We rep like KJ or something like that so have a wider range than we would if we c/r. Also it is pretty easy to balance with KJ etc
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:23 AM   #9
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

lumileijona - i agree, i do this as well sometimes and it works pretty well. but are u talking about employing this line when we have air or some equity or even a good made hand (or any of the 3)?

taking from your example, flop is J75r.
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:35 AM   #10
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

Any of the 3. 68, KJ AT
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:40 AM   #11
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

thx for the comments. i'll probably add a little more to this tonight when i have some more time.
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:48 AM   #12
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

This is really really good!
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:08 PM   #13
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

Appreciate your efforts OP !
Well done!
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:08 PM   #14
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

well-written post - I esp. like your paragraph summarizing hands like KJs and ATo. This topic has come up before in other parts of the forum (like here), yet I still struggle with it.

I think it comes down (for me) to not being afraid to call OOP and play good (ie: not fit or fold) poker.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:53 PM   #15
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

i should also add that while some situations are better for bluffing than others, that doesn't mean that bluffing is or should be the bulk of our plan in most cases. that just depends on the opponent, and just like in any other situation, some villains should mostly just be vbet against. some people flat vs. steals with hands like KJ with a thought process something like "if i make a pair, cool, if not, np, i make teh bloof lol". that might work a lot vs. a very small group of people, or work for a very small ammount of time vs. a larger group of people, but its not exactly a very solid long term approach.

that leads to the topic of balance. there's been a lot of discussion about whether or not balance is neccessary at microstakes. to me, its just like anything else. its probably not neccessary to beat super easy games, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't be better off learning how and when to apply it. i could fold QQ every time it was dealt to me and still easily beat most micro lineups, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a stupid thing to do.

balance is more important when you're playing oop for two main reasons. the first reason is that it isn't a free money situation. a free money situation is something like calling behind a raise and 2 coldcalls otb with 44. we don't have to do anything other than just sit there and set mine, and its massively profitable. if you try to do something like that hu oop, you will just bleed money.

the second reason is that your opponents will play a more balanced game themselves in position with the lead whether they're really trying to or not. in position, its easier to bluff, easier to value bet, easier to draw, easier to pot control, easier to slowplay, etc. if you have TT on J85 with the lead, you have a lot of options in position vs. different opponents, out of position, much less so. even a total fish that doesn't have a very good grasp of the fundamentals will also excercize more options in position.

on top of those things, its also much easier for people to figure out what you're doing when they have position on you, so 1 dimensional strategies will be exposed pretty quickly. in order to use a 1 dimensional strategy, you must either have a very tight range or a very bad opponent. in order to call with a wider range, you'll have to be more balanced, period.

so, how do we play more balanced? well, that part is pretty easy really. just a little balance goes a long way. there's no need to take a ton of time fine tuning. just dont bluff every ****ing hand, and try to bluff in decent enough spots, like when you have some equity, when you mirror some value hands, etc. starting to think about that sort of thing now will not only help you now, but it will help you a lot later when it becomes more neccessary.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:53 PM   #16
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

very very good topic and post, DCI.

I think I need to work a lot in this area -- I absolutely hate playing out of position and without initiative, so I probably 3bet too much just because it makes my decisions easier. But I need to get better at calling and playing postflop poker.

it seems like we have four main lines for playing back to steals:
1. 3bet
2. call and c/r flop
3. call, check/call flop, lead turn
4. call and donk

I would love to hear more about when it's best to take each of these lines, as well as when to call and just give up on the flop or turn...
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:56 PM   #17
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

Thanks !
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:07 PM   #18
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

the only thing that i will add to this is to learn how to donk bet. People do not know how to react to it and just generally play really bad against. You will find villains who will never raise donks, always raise donks, raise only strong value hands, raise only raise bluffs, etc. Act accordingly and it will be extremely profitable.

A lot of people handread like this, " I would cbet a set on this board so it does not make alot of sense for him to have a set since he checked the flop" but since most people dont implement donking into there game, they have a very hard time putting you on a range of hands.

Last edited by TheWizardOfOddz; 08-15-2010 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:17 PM   #19
Brian J
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaycareInferno View Post
if i had to make a generalization about leaks of microregs in blind defense, i would say that the most common errors are:

too much 3 betting
not enough calling
too much check raising otf
not enough donking otf
nice post by i have a hard time believing that too much check raising is a typical micro reg leak. check raises from regs are weighted very heavily toward nutty hands in the micros. people aren't raising their draws that much reg on reg.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:25 PM   #20
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

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Originally Posted by TheWizardOfOddz View Post
the only thing that i will add to this is to learn how to donk bet.
what are your favorite situations for donk betting?
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:37 PM   #21
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

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Originally Posted by RBlagojevich View Post
what are your favorite situations for donk betting?
i almost never check call the flop, so when you think of check calling just donk bet instead. Donk gut shots, flush draws, top pair, sets(sometimes, usually on draw heavy boards), mid pair, bottom pair etc. this is very opponent and board dependant but this is my basic strategy.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:39 PM   #22
Brian J
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

you must hate free money
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:42 PM   #23
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

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you must hate free money
i wont donk in obvious cbetting sitautions like A high boards but donk betting in a lot of spots is way more profitable then people realize .
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:22 PM   #24
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

At the micros their are plenty of regs whos button raise % is 50,60+. Against these A high boards are great boards to donk at.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:39 PM   #25
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Re: basic concepts of blind defense vs. steals

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At the micros their are plenty of regs whos button raise % is 50,60+. Against these A high boards are great boards to donk at.
but you make more money by check raising these boards
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