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Old 06-28-2018, 12:56 PM   #1
sabloid
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How to play top pair in 2/5?

Just started playing 2/5 with deep 200bb stacks and I am sometimes put in a tough spot with hands like Ax. The problem I am having is if I am the pre flop raiser and I do hit the A on the flop when do I bet vs checking for pot control.

If it's a multiway pot and the flop comes AQT and I have AK or the flop is AKT/AKJ and I have AQ, should I always c-bet? I then face the risk for getting re raised. I sometimes raise with A2s-A9s if I am in late position.

Now if the flop comes A high I would usually bet if I have position. But I was in a hand yesterday where I was OOP and I had A3. No flush draw or back door flush draw so I decided to check for pot control on AQx board with 2 hearts. Villain checked flop but bet turn (A ten) and river ( a 6 to complete the flush). I called turn and folded river. But I wonder if I should have called since my hand is somewhat underrepped.

The hand above is a very specific example but some general strategy on being balanced with my betting and check calling ranges would be helpful.
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Old 06-28-2018, 01:25 PM   #2
RagingOwl
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

I read this in an Ed Miller book:

Your c-bet frequency should be something like 70%. So figure out your whole starting range, and then figure out which 70% of hands you'd like to keep playing with after the flop. If this is a difficult exercise, then you're playing too many hands.

This is a pivotal point in your poker development. Playing too many hands is an unfixable problem. So if you struggle to find 70% of your range that you'd be happy continuing with on any given flop....then you really need to adjust.

The next thing you have to do is balance the 70% of hands you will continue with. Ed recommends that on the flop you have 2/3 bluffs and 1/3 value bets. So start to imagine what your ranges look like now. Of the 70% of your range that continues, 1/3 of it is value. So put your best hands in that range. Sets, trips, two pair, etc. Then stop when you've satisfied the 1/3 requirement. There may be some "good hands" that didn't make the cut, and that's ok. In fact, that's what should happen. Those hands fall to your checking range.

Then you have to populate the other 2/3 of the 70% of your starting range that continues. This is where you have bluffs. Pick your best bluffs. That is, hands with the most equity. Start with the obvious stuff, flush draws, and OESD's. Then add your pair+draws, Overcards+gutshot, Overcards+BD flush draw, etc. Stop when you've satisfied the 2/3 requirement. And by now you should be running thin on hands with any kind of respectable equity. Good, that's what's supposed to happen. Check everything else.

So in the end, you're c-betting 70% of the time with a range comprised of 2/3 bluffs, and 1/3 value hands. That leaves you checking 30% of the time with a range of medium strength hands and junk.

From there, he recommends you do the same thing on the turn. Bet again with 70% of your range, but this time balance it evenly between value and bluffs. Then on the river, once again fire another bet with 70% of your range, this time only bluff 1/3 of the time and value bet 2/3.

That's really just the basics of balance. You have to understand how these numbers change based on the bet sizing you use, and then how to apply these concepts to more complex situations like when you're not the pre-flop raiser, when there's unusual action like a check/raise, or when your opponents are heavily unbalanced.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:55 PM   #3
QuadJ
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

You should never be checking in this sort of situation for pot control. Your pot control lines should be bet/check/bet or bet/bet/check.

With AX top pair multiway on these moderately ugly flops it's better to apply some pressure now and back off later if you get too much action. If you are getting raised that often you have another problem of some sort.

One of the big reasons is that you should never check a really good hand multiway on a flop of this sort. So when you do check your range is immediately capped.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:16 PM   #4
BIoodRose
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

raise your strongest aces, call your middling aces, check some part of your lower middling and top weaker aces, fold your garbage aces when pressure is high.

If you got top pair, you have to bet wet flops. I know sometimes it sucks, and sometimes you don't want to do it, but if you are scared of being raised, then you will have trouble making money in poker. We shouldn't shy away from the correct decision just purely out of the fear that we face a tougher situation in the future.
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Old 06-28-2018, 11:56 PM   #5
sabloid
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

Thanks for al the info!

@RagingOwl Which book is this ? I have read The Course and found it very useful. I was also able to change my opening range. so I don’t think it’s unfixable problem.

Are these just heads up play post flop or also for multi ways ?
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Old 06-29-2018, 12:36 AM   #6
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

This is a complicated question. Some good responses above. The problem your facing is when you have top pair, but on a wet board that hits your range and your opponents range. I think the question you have to ask yourself is what range of hands is my opponent calling with? Is the hand multiway? The more people that see the flop, the higher the likelyhood that top pair is beat with a wet board. Two pair, sets, straights are all possible with the boards you mentioned. Next, ask yourself what will your bet accomplish? What worse hands will call on that board, what hands will fold, or even raise. Sometimes checking is the best play, because you don’t want to build a big pot with a weak hand. Yes, sometimes top pair is a weak made hand. After you’ve mastered that, really study your opponents behavior and work on tells. That will take you to the next level.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:29 AM   #7
johnnyBuz
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

If you have one pair on a board where there’s 50 different combos of 2p+ and you’re in a multiway hand then x is probably best.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:29 AM   #8
Ray Zee
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

sounds like you just moved up. maybe stop playing and raising with Ax. it isnt a money winner except on great flops for you and he hits also. especially since you arent comfortable yet.
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:59 AM   #9
zippyroo
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingOwl View Post
I read this in an Ed Miller book:

Your c-bet frequency should be something like 70%. So figure out your whole starting range, and then figure out which 70% of hands you'd like to keep playing with after the flop. If this is a difficult exercise, then you're playing too many hands.

This is a pivotal point in your poker development. Playing too many hands is an unfixable problem. So if you struggle to find 70% of your range that you'd be happy continuing with on any given flop....then you really need to adjust.

The next thing you have to do is balance the 70% of hands you will continue with. Ed recommends that on the flop you have 2/3 bluffs and 1/3 value bets. So start to imagine what your ranges look like now. Of the 70% of your range that continues, 1/3 of it is value. So put your best hands in that range. Sets, trips, two pair, etc. Then stop when you've satisfied the 1/3 requirement. There may be some "good hands" that didn't make the cut, and that's ok. In fact, that's what should happen. Those hands fall to your checking range.

Then you have to populate the other 2/3 of the 70% of your starting range that continues. This is where you have bluffs. Pick your best bluffs. That is, hands with the most equity. Start with the obvious stuff, flush draws, and OESD's. Then add your pair+draws, Overcards+gutshot, Overcards+BD flush draw, etc. Stop when you've satisfied the 2/3 requirement. And by now you should be running thin on hands with any kind of respectable equity. Good, that's what's supposed to happen. Check everything else.

So in the end, you're c-betting 70% of the time with a range comprised of 2/3 bluffs, and 1/3 value hands. That leaves you checking 30% of the time with a range of medium strength hands and junk.

From there, he recommends you do the same thing on the turn. Bet again with 70% of your range, but this time balance it evenly between value and bluffs. Then on the river, once again fire another bet with 70% of your range, this time only bluff 1/3 of the time and value bet 2/3.

That's really just the basics of balance. You have to understand how these numbers change based on the bet sizing you use, and then how to apply these concepts to more complex situations like when you're not the pre-flop raiser, when there's unusual action like a check/raise, or when your opponents are heavily unbalanced.
Which book, sir? And I take it you recommend that book?
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Old 06-29-2018, 06:54 AM   #10
adios
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

Think of it this way, you've started the process of improving your strategy with this post. Good insight in this thread should be followed up with a lot of thinking about how to apply this insight. FWIW continue to carefully observe the action when not involved in hands and think a lot away from the table on how you would handle them.

Small Stakes NL Hold'em co-authored by Ed Miller is interesting in how to play when the board shows an Ace. That might be the book RagingOwl is discussing.
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:36 AM   #11
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

Yeah that's the problem with suited junk aces I try to see showdown whenever i can because oftentimes they've raised with JJ or QQ and are terrified by the ace but then again i play in the scrublands of 1/2 only.
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:36 AM   #12
zippyroo
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adios View Post
Think of it this way, you've started the process of improving your strategy with this post. Good insight in this thread should be followed up with a lot of thinking about how to apply this insight. FWIW continue to carefully observe the action when not involved in hands and think a lot away from the table on how you would handle them.

Small Stakes NL Hold'em co-authored by Ed Miller is interesting in how to play when the board shows an Ace. That might be the book RagingOwl is discussing.
I am reading “Beat the Donks” and just ordered “The Course” today.
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Old 06-29-2018, 11:29 AM   #13
Giltech
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

One thing i found helpful off the table is looking at a completely random flop like Jc 6c 8h for example and constructing a range of hands i would cbet (or potentially x) as the original raiser pre and then check their equity vs opponents possible ranges. Repeating this process from different positions with different flop textures can give you a good understanding of post flop play-ability.

I like doing this vs completely reverse engineering one hand or starting pre and being completely stuck with one hand because you only really get to look at it from one perspective; yours. Usually, we have some sort of bias surrounding the reasoning behind why we played a hand the way we did (V is a fish, plan to outplay him on later streets etc) and i have found this to process to be pretty helpful against that.
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Old 06-29-2018, 11:31 AM   #14
RagingOwl
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

The book I'm referring to is 'Poker's 1%'. Though as far as Ed Miller books go, this one is about 5th nuts.

The problem with this approach to the game is that it really only works if A) you're deep and B) You're playing against someone good. If you're playing under 200 BB's deep in a typical LLSNL game, then balance isn't really a priority.

A better, and more relevant Miller book would be 'Professional No Limit Hold Em'. A concentration on SPR, commitment, and planning hands is pretty much all there is to beating the type of games frequently discussed in this forum. 'Playing the Player' is also a very good read.

That said, 'Poker's 1%' is till worth the time in my opinion. He does a good job explaining the math behind poker and explaining why playing too many hands is an unfixable problem. Someone in this thread challenged the term "unfixable". Yes, you can adjust your range and fix the problem. What I mean when I use the term is that you can't overcome a range disadvantage with skill. No matter how good you might be at reading hands, you simply cannot overcome the pre-flop mistake of playing too many hands.

This game is won and lost pre-flop. Period.

Here's some homework:
1) Do a google search for "Ed Miller You Check I bet". You're welcome.

2) Stop thinking about the types of hands that get posted here. For your next couple of sessions, take notes on all hands that go down like this....V opens, you call in position, V c-bets, you fold. Not alot happening there, so note taking should be supremely easy. What were your cards? What was the pot size on the flop? What was the flop? What was his c-bet size? End of note.

Then, go home and work this out on paper. First, determine your entire calling range. Be honest. If you called with suited 2-gapper, then you have to assume you'd also play a suited 1-gapper. Make sure your range makes sense, and it's realistic.

Then, solve this equation. 1 - [cbet/(pot + cbet)]. The result is the % of your range that you must continue with in order to prevent V from an auto-profit. So if V bets $50 into a pot of $100, you need to continue 67% of the time.

Now see if you really can continue with that % of the range you gave yourself. If not, you play too many hands. And it doesn't matter how much you study post-flop hand reading, value betting, and bluff post-flop, you will never ever ever ever ever make money in this game if you commit the pre-flop sin of playing too many hands.
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:30 PM   #15
zippyroo
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingOwl View Post
The book I'm referring to is 'Poker's 1%'. Though as far as Ed Miller books go, this one is about 5th nuts.

The problem with this approach to the game is that it really only works if A) you're deep and B) You're playing against someone good. If you're playing under 200 BB's deep in a typical LLSNL game, then balance isn't really a priority.

A better, and more relevant Miller book would be 'Professional No Limit Hold Em'. A concentration on SPR, commitment, and planning hands is pretty much all there is to beating the type of games frequently discussed in this forum. 'Playing the Player' is also a very good read.

That said, 'Poker's 1%' is till worth the time in my opinion. He does a good job explaining the math behind poker and explaining why playing too many hands is an unfixable problem. Someone in this thread challenged the term "unfixable". Yes, you can adjust your range and fix the problem. What I mean when I use the term is that you can't overcome a range disadvantage with skill. No matter how good you might be at reading hands, you simply cannot overcome the pre-flop mistake of playing too many hands.

This game is won and lost pre-flop. Period.

Here's some homework:
1) Do a google search for "Ed Miller You Check I bet". You're welcome.

2) Stop thinking about the types of hands that get posted here. For your next couple of sessions, take notes on all hands that go down like this....V opens, you call in position, V c-bets, you fold. Not alot happening there, so note taking should be supremely easy. What were your cards? What was the pot size on the flop? What was the flop? What was his c-bet size? End of note.

Then, go home and work this out on paper. First, determine your entire calling range. Be honest. If you called with suited 2-gapper, then you have to assume you'd also play a suited 1-gapper. Make sure your range makes sense, and it's realistic.

Then, solve this equation. 1 - [cbet/(pot + cbet)]. The result is the % of your range that you must continue with in order to prevent V from an auto-profit. So if V bets $50 into a pot of $100, you need to continue 67% of the time.

Now see if you really can continue with that % of the range you gave yourself. If not, you play too many hands. And it doesn't matter how much you study post-flop hand reading, value betting, and bluff post-flop, you will never ever ever ever ever make money in this game if you commit the pre-flop sin of playing too many hands.
Your thoughts on “the course?”
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Old 06-29-2018, 01:37 PM   #16
RagingOwl
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Re: How to play top pair in 2/5?

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Your thoughts on “the course?”
If you read Professional No Limit Hold Em, and Playing the Player, then 'The Course' is probably mostly redundant. I'd say it's almost like the Cliff Notes on the first two books.
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