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Heads Up NL Discussion of heads up NL Texas Hold'em cash games

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Old 03-05-2017, 02:51 PM   #1
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Not a good coach HU please help me explain.....

Ok so I thought I would coach since I have been pro HU for quite some time but I guess I am not the best teacher as I could not answer student's questions. I was explaining that poker is all about ranges I gave him the example of FR that based on position each player is going to have a range and whether or not he 3bets is going ot give us more info. His response kind of took me by surprise.

He asked well in HU there are only 2 positions and on anonymous tables we don't have any prior stats so they can literally play everything except 72 92 and 82os. I asked him why he said that. He said well if you are saying to open almost every button those are the hands that are left. He did have a point. Yet somehow when I am playing I can assign a pretty accurate range and by the river I have it down to a few hands so I explained his actions help us isolate his range. He said what if he knows you are doing that and just decides to play a hand like JT like its AK or hand like 85ss like it is AA?? I said that is the beauty of HU you can do that. He said so what is the point of ranges at all? I made him watch Vincent's video about 3b ranges and in that video Vincent says "we know there are not many jacks or 89 in our perceived range. He yells "HOW!!" How can he make that assumption?? I sorta saw what he is talking about. I mean how much weight can we put on a range versus an unknown player? How many showdowns must we see b4 we can assess his frequencies?? Would someone who is a good coach or understands these concepts throw me a rope and give me something to better answer his questions?? His main argument is "Look at Doug Polk he has no ****ing range. guy is mixing it up constantly. Is that what we have to do?? I explained not to try to play like Polk because his bluffs are very calculated. However I mush agree that if I played against Polk I would have no range to assign him. PLEASE HELP!!

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Old 03-05-2017, 03:18 PM   #2
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Re: Not a good coach HU please help me explain.....

Of course Doug has his ranges well defined. All the good players have. He just know how balance his value hands with the right amount of bluffs in his range, but that doesn't mean he can show up with any hand in any given spot.
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Old 03-05-2017, 04:57 PM   #3
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Re: Not a good coach HU please help me explain.....

Doug has no **** range! )))))))))))))))))))
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:27 PM   #4
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Not a good coach HU please help me explain.....

Let there be range.

It is an interesting question esp for ignition and is what drove me absolutely insane there because some players won't get to showdown without the near nuts and others will CR jam air on the river. And often by the time you get a read damage has been done (the player leaves and wipes any history).

You're really relying on opponents using some conventional strategy. I've always thought on anon poker you could come up with some really strange unbalanced strats (based on population tendency reviews) that would get crushed on sites with screen names and history.

I think your student is correct esp on anon. You can't really make those assumptions confidently without having a sense for frequencies over a certain amount of hands and seeing some showdowns to understand their strat and thought process.

Obviously the best players (even on reg tables) can manipulate the action so you expect them to show up with a certain holding and they blind side you with a hand you thought was not in their range. But it's done much better easier on ignition.

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Last edited by Nick_AA; 03-05-2017 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:34 AM   #5
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Re: Not a good coach HU please help me explain.....

If you play certain hands in a way that isn't a part of your overall strategy (balance bro) you will end up unbalanced in offer spots and thus lose money there. Let's be extreme and pretend you play every hand like it's your absolute top of your range will that be good for you in the long run ? No obviously not but it might work the first time around If board favours what you represent, and second time, hell maybe even a tenth time but eventually opponent will catch on and exploit this and checkcall you light and off a cliff you go

What you decide to put in as a bluff in said ranges is all a part of balance, ppl won't go nuts and just wing it which hands they bluff with unless they got a real reason to, like you being a 92 old guy that might die from agression. Most people have a very clear idea of how their own range looks like in which spots and plays accordingly, they don't randomly fill in hands that aren't supposed to be there cause it will hurt the range in spots that hand originally was in. Blockers and board runout matters also in this
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Old 03-24-2017, 05:05 PM   #6
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Re: Not a good coach HU please help me explain.....

You really can assume players are playing sensible ranges and do well. That's because a "sensible range" is, by definition, a range that doesn't cost the player playing that range money by way of making a lot of costly mathematical mistakes.

If you assume your opponents play ranges that aren't awful then one of two things will happen;
1) you will be wrong because your opponent is playing poorly and, by definition, will be making mistakes that cost him money (zero sum game, heads up, that means you win the money his bad ranges cost him) = COOL! glad to be wrong about my opponent not playing bad ranges
2) you will be right and your opponent will be playing sensible ranges and so your hand reading will be a viable and necessary skill.

The only thing hand reading skill does it forces your opponent to do one of three things; 1) bleed of money by playing bad ranges for the sake of being unpredictable (this is like hiding from the cops in the police station because they'd never think to look for you there)
2) allow you to correctly range them and make good decisions against their predictable ranges
3) use good and balanced ranges that not only don't make costly mistakes for the sake of unpredictability but are also difficult to read.

Hopefully, OP, following this thought train will lead you to a better understanding of what GTO actually is.

Trying to play GTO IS the act of trying to play ranges that not only don't sacrifice EV and blow off money just for the sake of being unpredictable but also don't allow your opponent to beat up on you because they know your ranges.

If your opponent actually had a perfectly balanced, GTO range in some given spot that would mean he could tell you his range and you still couldn't beat him. That's kinda what GTO means.

If you had some kind of bluff catcher in a spot where I check raised the flop, bombed the turn, and jammed the river with a perfectly balanced and polarized range I could tell you exactly what my river jamming range was and you still couldn't beat me. That's because my perfect range would make you indifferent between calling and folding.

If, based on our ranges and the action up to the river, you have all bluff catchers that would beat all my bluffs but lose to all my value hands and the pot contained $100 and I moved all-in for $100 with a polarized and balanced range of 2 value hands for every 1 bluff while laying you 2 to 1, I could tell you exactly what my range was and it still would't matter if you called or not. And if it doesn't matter if you call or fold, you may as well fold. And if you may as well fold then it is as if I have already captured the $100 pot by way of having a GTO range.

What could you do about it? I tell you (honestly) that I have these 18 value combos and these 9 bluff combos that I play like this. You can beat the 9 bluffs, and lose to the 18 value hands and you are getting 2 to 1 on the call so you break even if you call (losing most of the time but winning just enough when you win that your call is 0EV). So you can call or you can fold and it doesn't matter. If i instantly forget my exact hand but I know my range, i don't even care if you call or fold. If you call I probably win and what I do win is bigger than if you fold but if you fold I am guaranteed to win. On average I win whatever the amount of the pot is. On average you lose whatever is in the pot. You break even on the final bet.

So, yeah, if your opponents are silly button clickers who make a bunch of mathematically awful and costly mistakes that make you win a lot of money from them just so you can't read them then you can't and don't need to range them.

If they play reasonably but predictably but are not well balanced then you can read their ranges and you can make exploitative plays against them and you will win money from them by exploiting their predictability and imbalances.

and If they play good ranges and are also balanced then maybe you can read their ranges but, if they are actually good ranges and they are actually well balanced, then you won't be able to beat them.

That's the deal..
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