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Old 06-16-2017, 06:57 PM   #1
poker2016
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How to play from the small blind? never flat?

How to play from the small blind? never flat?

For example: BTN open, hero small blind with KJo. Should we flat? fold? raise?

KJo is ahead of BTN opening range. Should we ever flat hands like KJ/QJ from the small blind?
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Old 06-16-2017, 07:56 PM   #2
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

it depends
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Old 06-16-2017, 08:15 PM   #3
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

I will 3 bet from MP/CO/SB with suited connectors 70% of the time. Always take initiative no matter what. It announces your villian hand & disguise your range.

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Old 06-16-2017, 08:31 PM   #4
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

Assuming 100bb stacks.

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How to play from the small blind? never flat?
You're probably best off not flatting LP opens in general yes. Can flat vs EP opens.

Quote:
For example: BTN open, hero small blind with KJo. Should we flat? fold? raise?
Fold if BTN doesn't fold to 3bets, raise if he folds too much. I don't see why I'd ever flat. Even with fish in BB it's still questionable/marginal.

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Should we ever flat hands like KJ/QJ from the small blind?
yes if they're suited and vs EP open generally.
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:29 AM   #5
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

Seriously Sixfour gave the best answer. The questions OP wants answered are too vague. There's no one right answer to how to play from the SB.
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Old 06-17-2017, 01:25 AM   #6
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

Sadly playing from the blinds is every players biggest losing position, if this were as easy as Raise/Fold/Call xyz, game would be too simple. I'd suggest playing as tight as possible for the time being until you figure out tough spots. Even though you may be way ahead of villains Preflop range when his AS is 70+, its tricky to play marginal hands oop vs regs and aggressive opponents and it takes a lot of "falling off the bike" to really understand it. I would argue most people still don't really know how to play well from the blinds.
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:56 AM   #7
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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Originally Posted by mrno1324 View Post
Assuming 100bb stacks.



You're probably best off not flatting LP opens in general yes. Can flat vs EP opens.



Fold if BTN doesn't fold to 3bets, raise if he folds too much. I don't see why I'd ever flat. Even with fish in BB it's still questionable/marginal.



yes if they're suited and vs EP open generally.
This lays it out nice and simple...........except the last one, I'm not flatting against a lone EP range with dominated type hand. KJs and QJs are good resteal hands against a V that steal too much and folds to 3 bets too often.
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Old 06-17-2017, 04:11 PM   #8
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

Assuming 100bb deep cash, it depends on the open size. e.g. I'd call with 88 in SB vs UTG for 3x, but I'd only call with 66/ATs/A9s if the open was smaller. I've got (very small) flatting ranges for the SB vs every position, but KJo does not appear in any of them. Mostly, a flatting range in the SB is going to be capped at mid pairs and suited Broadways. Unless you're a superior post-flop player (e.g. the BB is a whale that increases your EV so much that you can flat with hands like A9s, A8s, QTs, T9s, 55) you should mostly adopt the '3-bet or fold' strategy. It's extremely hard to make a profit when you call in the SB.

FWIW, vs the BTN my standard play with KJo/QJo in SB is to fold facing a 3x open, but to 3-bet if it's smaller. The suited versions (and a few weaker suited hands and pairs) get 3-bet every time in that spot.
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Old 06-18-2017, 05:59 AM   #9
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly View Post
vs the BTN my standard play with KJo/QJo in SB is to fold facing a 3x open, but to 3-bet if it's smaller.
This is something I've been thinking about for a couple of days, so I'll just ask here: I've always 3bet more from both blinds vs a smaller CO/BTN open, but.. from the SB at least, is that correct?

A smaller open means a smaller 3bet and a better price for BB to flat, so that will probably happen more and is usually not something we want. And assuming we care at all about defence frequency, it seems fair to expect BB to take more of that burden given the improved odds to flat the steal.
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Old 06-18-2017, 10:39 AM   #10
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

I 3 bet or fold from the small blind first in after an open raise with a few exceptions:

If I think my opponent gives too many free cards, then I'll call with some of the smaller pairs that are too weak to 3 bet as well as strong drawing hands.

If I think my opponent gives too much action and is likely to lose his stack postflop with weak value hands and draws that get priced in, then I'll call with QQ+ and play for stacks postflop on lots of flop and turn textures.

If I think the big blind is very tight preflop, then I'll call with some even weaker drawing hands than I usually would.

----

However, the question you should be asking is probably "how to play from the small blind in 3+ bet pots."

Leave the study of coldcalling for a later time as it's not essential to having a positive winrate. The factors that are essential to having a positive winrate are value betting, bluffing, and checking ranges that maximize your expectation to the best of your current abilities.

So nail down a preflop range for 3 betting vs different positions from the small blind and look at a lot of different flop turn and river textures. There is money in the study of this spot, especially if you ever plan to play online in shorthanded games.

I prefer to just click the pot button preflop from the small blind because it allows me to spend more time thinking about more important factors like postflop tendencies and gameflow.

So the cutoff opens 3x, you 3 bet from the small blind with a stronger range than your opponent's and he calls. Then the flop comes:

334r

567r

TT9r

KK3r

KT4r

etc

Let's talk value ranges first

You're out of position for three streets in a bloated pot with something like 90 to 200 big blinds behind. It's time to manage that liability with weak hands and get value with big hands. Notice that the more you have left in the effective stacks, the more you can bluff on the flop because when you bet a range of (strong hands and strong semibluffs and a few backdoor straight flushdraws) your opponent is forced to call with lots of hands, depending on betsize of course. This is good for us because we should have an average equity advantage thanks to all of the monsters in our range.

All of that will be true on those boards with the exception of one of them. Can you guess which one?
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:26 AM   #11
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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Originally Posted by purloin View Post
A smaller open means a smaller 3bet and a better price for BB to flat, so that will probably happen more and is usually not something we want. And assuming we care at all about defence frequency, it seems fair to expect BB to take more of that burden given the improved odds to flat the steal.
As long as your 3-bet size is "pot", no one gets great odds to call. The BB can't just flat 9bb like it's trivial. He's not even closing the action. (The onus is on the BTN to defend, because he's put in at least twice as much money as the BB). I've been playing Zoom where the BB has often already folded to the BTN open, so he doesn't even see the size of the SB's 3-bet. Besides, if the BB did cold-call more often, it just means KJ is more likely to be ahead or at least have solid equity against him (when he's set-mining).
FWIW, in the micros especially, I think players still have pre-flop bet-sizing tells, with their smaller opens on the button typically being with weak hands that snap-fold to 3-bets, but I haven't yet got a decent sample in my latest database to draw any firm conclusions on sizes and 'fold to 3-bet' frequencies.
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Old 06-18-2017, 02:56 PM   #12
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

It primarily depends on the B's range, where a 3-bet is more liberal the more liberal his open is, especially if they still don't call more than usual, in case you are less likely to flat.

His size will change the pot odds you get, that could make more hands cold callable, as the pot/implied odds change. You also get a bit different odds for a 3-bet, and he might have a bit weaker range when he raises smaller, or a mix of strong and weak, perhaps.

The B's range is not all there is left, as the BB is still there.
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Old 06-18-2017, 08:07 PM   #13
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

It clearly depends on the stacks and the structure of the tournament.
So many factors around this. There is never a never.
Flatting vs a passive opponent in a HU game can become very profitable in the long run!
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:57 AM   #14
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

I think this idea of never flatting the SB came from the problem that people were flatting far too often from the SB. There are hands that are worth calling but won't benefit from a larger pot with fewer players. I think people should be 3-betting far more often from the small blind, but to do it 100% of the time is a mistake.

Last edited by Hrmmmm; 06-19-2017 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 06-20-2017, 08:15 AM   #15
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly View Post
As long as your 3-bet size is "pot", no one gets great odds to call. The BB can't just flat 9bb like it's trivial.
Well no, he probably can't do it long-term profitably, but that won't necessarily stop him trying...

Quote:
FWIW, in the micros especially, I think players still have pre-flop bet-sizing tells, with their smaller opens on the button typically being with weak hands that snap-fold to 3-bets
That's mostly what I see too, and I'm totally happy with 3betting "too much" when someone folds too much. My question was more about play vs a hypothetical blind thief who is better than that.


The unstated part of my concern over 3b% increasing as open size decreases is that 4bets will be smaller, so we're risking more chips when we 5bet jam and therefore need a stronger range - which we'll struggle to find having weakened our 3bet range. It's totally possible that the answer is to 3bet more often and then start flatting 4bets oop, but... I hope not, because I've never done that and the thought of starting makes me uncomfortable.
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Old 06-20-2017, 05:37 PM   #16
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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It's totally possible that the answer is to 3bet more often and then start flatting 4bets oop, but... I hope not, because I've never done that and the thought of starting makes me uncomfortable.
I used to be the same way and I still don't particularly like playing bloated pots, as I'm a risk-averse nit. But, to quote Phil Galfond, "a 3-bet pot is just a pot". By extension, a 4-bet pot is also just a pot, so you have to learn to get comfortable playing them.
Against players that have a 4-bet range that isn't solely the nuts, you should have a flatting range. The spots don't come up particularly often, especially in the micros, but I flat 4-bets OOP sometimes, usually with AKo, AJs+, KQs and QQ-99, and hands like that, in SB vs BTN. (i.e. flat with hands that have decent equity when villain's (4-bet) range still contains some weak stuff, but that are in pretty bad shape against a 6-bet jamming range (KK+/AKs). When facing a 4-bet, you often get odds only requiring you to bink the flop 25-30% of the time to break even, so it would often be a mistake to fold something that could flop TPGK or a decent set/overpair. e.g. if you 3-bet AJs and villain 4-bets, you feel stupid when you fold and he shows A3s or ATo, as not only does he win the pot with a hand you crush, but you could have stacked him if you'd both hit the flop.
If your opponents never 4-bet bluff (and always have QQ+/AK), or they make large/committing 4-bets that destroy your pot odds, it's perfectly fine to fold AQs or even AKo/QQ to the 4-bet.
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:30 PM   #17
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly View Post
AKo, AJs+, KQs and QQ-99, and hands like that
Well, at least it's reassuring that you named a range that makes sense to me, and is small enough to learn to handle postflop fairly quickly.

Is this something you do as a default vs unknowns, or only once you've seen someone 4b bluff?
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:40 PM   #18
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

A+ post, thanks Arty.
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:50 AM   #19
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

Have a flatting range more if bb is a fish/loose passive which means no 3! squeezes or if you are playing live and multiple limps in front of you basically similar to bb scenario.

Ex:
Some nit opens in LP and you in blinds, multiple limps b4 you, and you have KQs (basically a standard linear 3!, but taking the highest EV line would be calling given the bb scenario)

Blinds don't matter in live poker so i guess i'd be calling a lot of the hands i wud be calling in HJ/LPish, only calling if it's highest EV to call instead of 3!. 100bb deep stuff like all pp's KTs, AJo, etc. and SC's like 56s or 98s, 200bb+ deep prolly a lot of **** like J8s, K9s, basically a lot of suited gappers + connecters again if it's highest EV to call in this spot i'll call and not 3!, still depends on a lot of factors
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:52 PM   #20
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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Originally Posted by purloin View Post
Is this something you do as a default vs unknowns, or only once you've seen someone 4b bluff?
By default I play like a robot with a hand-chart pre-flop, and pay very little attention to HUD stats from small sample sizes unless someone is particularly out of line (e.g. the 9/9 ubernit, or the 44/33 lagtard). Noting that someone is capable of 4-bet bluffing is very useful though.
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:29 PM   #21
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

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Originally Posted by ArtyMcFly View Post
By default I play like a robot with a hand-chart pre-flop, and pay very little attention to HUD stats from small sample sizes unless someone is particularly out of line (e.g. the 9/9 ubernit, or the 44/33 lagtard). Noting that someone is capable of 4-bet bluffing is very useful though.
thanks for all the awesome advice^

Im wonder what kind of hand-chart you use? Is there any good hand-chart I can find it online? like what hand to open from different position and what hand to defence against a 3bet.
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Old 06-21-2017, 08:04 PM   #22
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

Type "upswing poker charts" into google and click the links until you get to what's quickly becoming/become the most popular training site. I think you can get access to the opening charts for free if you sign up for an email subscription, but the more esoteric charts (3b/4b/5b ranges) are only available for paid subscribers.
My own charts/ranges are slightly different to Doug Polk's, but only slightly. You can/should alter your ranges according to the type of players you're up against.
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Old 06-21-2017, 10:51 PM   #23
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Re: How to play from the small blind? never flat?

I base my "charts" off how loose villain is. I don't have static ranges in any position. I mean in a vacuum yeah it's nice to have solid ranges, but when you have a history on the table you adjust accordingly of course.
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