Playing the Big Blind in Texas Holdem
Jim Brier wrote...
> I would call but it is close. The reason I would call is because I am
> getting current pot odds of 4.5:1 and if the under the gun calls then my
> pot odds are 5.5:1 to take a flop and see three cards. Against only two
> opponents a pair of Jacks or even Tens might win the pot plus I have
> some decent drawing possibilities given these pot odds.
It should be an easy call just based on the strength of the JT, but that's not the main reason to call. If you play so hopelessly weak
as to lay down a somewhat above average hand in the big blind for half price, you'll also be laying down similar hands, and your blind
will be attacked and stolen from you every round because you play like a sissy.
A big part of the difference between good players and very good players is how they play out of the blind. How good versus very good
players play QQ or AK on the button is a tiny difference. Playing well out of the blind is substantially where a players profit comes
Windows - Mac
Even if you call with a hand with a slightly negative expectation any one hand, that is a positive expectation play overall. If people
think they can't steal your blind, they won't try (or will try much less often), and you will be seeing flops for free with not just
JT but 75, 22 and lots of other hands that can end up winning big pots that you really would prefer not calling a raise with.
Weak-tight play has negative expectation
ramifications all down the line.
> Badger" wrote:
> > If a one bet call is wrong, it won't kill you. Weak, poor blind play will
> > hurt you though. If you lay down a hand this good for one measly bet
> > against two players who have (1) limped and (2) button raised, you'll
> > hardly ever play your big blind for a raise, and your big blind will be
> > raised by any decent player with any decent hand.
Izmet Fekali wrote...
> It is obvious you strongly advocate a call here. You are very bold in
> your convictions. [snip] (I know I am), but are *you* able to calculate expected
> value (or maybe use a poker simulator to arrive at a meaningful conclusion)
> of a BB call with JTo against a tight early limper and a sane button raiser?
You actually believe there is some generic expected value
for this hand in this situation? Holdem is primarily about post-flop play of a human being, not the intrinsic value of starting cards.
My expected value, yours, whoever's... all of us have different expected values.
Beyond that, we can talk about one person's expected value. Then, it matters who the players are. It matters how they are doing in the
game. It matters if they are waiting for a bigger game, or playing a bit over their bankroll. It matters if we know them well or not.
All those factors have a dollar value. The expected value of this hand will be different in every single situation it comes up, except
It is pretty easy calculate some broad expectations based on types of players we want to put in those chairs, and hands we want to
assign them. I suggested QJs and 77 as hands where we are "dominated" but where our call is still marginally good, in part because of
it's longterm ramifications -- which is a helluva lot more important than the one hand. If you give the players A9s and 77, the call
is excellent. Same with 66 and AQ. Any mediocre player should have positive value there, and it's a no-brainer for a very good player.
> > Badger: I'd love to be the guy on the button with an opponent in
> > the big blind who'll be laying down JT.
> Izmet: If he will lay it down because of the early limper but call when
> you are on a steal heads-up, the truth is quite the opposite.
> That player is probably good enough to hurt you big time.
That player has no chance to "hurt me big time." That player's cards are in the muck, and some of the value of his chips are in my
stack. A player that could hurt me big time would play the JT and play strongly and solidly after the flop. There is no comparison
between such a player and one who mucks so weakly and easily and regularly.
If you can't play this hand for a tiny loss or better -- and again a small loss is really a positive in the
long run if it leads to your blind being
raised less often -- then you can't play very well, or are playing in a game with only tremendous players and you ought to move
elsewhere. If you play after the flop as good or better than your opponents, you should be happily calling. If you play like shit
after the flop and they play great, then fold.
Cold-Calling Raises in Holdem
Tom Robertson wrote...
> What about a rule never to be the first to cold-call?
Why? It's just silly. *Think* about the situation, don't make absurd rules. There are plenty of games where a cold-call will induce
action behind you in a profitable way -- more so than raising or
> In telling some people never to make hard and fast rules,
> you may be assuming too much skill on their part.
Okay, I agree with you on that. Some hard and fast rules can be crutches. And, always generally having a crutch standard way to play
when you don't know what to do (or have a coin flip decision) that's fine too. But you should approach these rules as crutches.
Crutches are not *answers* to problems. They are temporarily useful and people should *want* to discard them. It's an attitude thing.
If you say, "I'm making too many mistakes when I cold-call so I'm just not going to do it", that may prevent the mistakes, but you
aren't really addressing the problem, and you sure aren't getting truly better as a player.
> In actuality, Badger, as an experienced poker player, has undoubtedly thought
> about situations such as cold calling with ATs in the situation he described,
> and come to the conclusion that it is better, most of the time, to cold-call.
I sort of said that but that isn't what I was trying to get across. I'm sure there are a few situations where a cold-call is the right
play most of the time, but the point is that it should always be an option. Not making it an option is deliberately, thoughtlessly playing
bad by *thinking* bad. It's not something that should be considered. All options need to be considered in the context of all other options.
> Because he understands the mechanics of the game thoroughly, he
> may take a thought experiment such as this one for granted. However, I feel
> that it is very useful in gaining insight as to what really IS the correct play
> in certain situations, and moreover, WHY it is the better play. If we really
> think about what WOULD happen if we never cold-called, we will reach the same
> conclusion that Badger did: such a rule limits our play and has many exceptions,
> and would take away from our overall profit. Does this help any?
I guess I don't know how to say it any clearer than: you can't realize what is the best play if you don't think about all your
available plays. It's like asking "if I couldn't think, what would I do." It's not the way to approach the game. Flip it around,
think about *only* cold-calling, never three-betting or folding. There is nothing useful to be gained by considering that, beyond the
realization it is a dumb idea.
Coming to sound decisions is the result of a
decision-making process. Sound decisions or
observations will only coincidentally come out of a ludicrous decision-making process.
> My point was that if people allow themselves the option, they will
> take that option when they know they "should" without knowing WHY.
> If they imagine what would happen when they three-bet, they would
> come to the answer. This is what is meant by "thought experiment."
I figure it's called considering your options. This part is not an experiment, and should always part of your decision-making. Again,
that's why this whole line is flawed, it has you consider things that you shouldn't, instead of considering things you should. Whether
you coincidentally come up with the "correct" answer or not isn't important.
Poker actions are (or should be) the result of a thought-process, decision-making. Doing the action, the result, is not important. A
person could flip a coin and come up with the right answer, but they did something non-sensible.
> and to come to some possible advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
> Taking your case of ATs, the disadvantages clearly outweigh the advantages.
I just don't see how you think this is good. What's better: flushing a $5 bill down the toilet, or setting one on fire? Well, who
cares? My decision-making about what to do with a $5 bill is only sensible if I include the third option, keeping it in my pocket in
the first place! It's non-sensible to consider burning the bill or flushing the bill (let alone actually doing these things) as a way
to find out that both actions are not as good as keeping it in my pocket. You are
learning the wrong things, and basing your
actions on faulty reasoning. That's not how to play.
> People, too often, come to a conclusion by thinking something like this:
> 1) I have AT suited in a raised pot with three other callers
> 2) I read that Steve Badger said that I should call here
> 3) I call... you see, they NEVER DID consider all of their options.
So that is another (even more) loony way to make decisions. I wouldn't suggest people do that either.
> they don't know why they are playing a certain way; they are not
> concerning themselves with all the plays...only the one that person "x"
> (in this case I used you but it could, of course, be anyone) says. If,
> instead, they ran through a "thought experiment" of three betting,
> they would reach the same conclusion and they would know why.
Now you are suggesting something different. Of course consider three betting. That's what I've been saying. But don't not-consider
cold-calling as you think about three-betting. Poker thinking should be holistic, not compartmentalized. There are reasons why you
should cold-call sometimes. You should try and learn these reasons. They have positive value. They should not be seen as merely
not-negative values. That is just a completely butt-backwards way to structuring how you think about the game and how you play the game.
> How can you consider any option, whether it be cold-calling or raising, without
> taking into account, mentally (or through experimental data), the results?
Suppose you think you have the best hand on the river, the other guy bets, you raise, he folds. But he folds a better hand than you!
You happened to choose the best action, but you should have been thinking you were bluffing, not raising for value. The result is
unimportant. The bonehead misreading of the situation (in this case) is what matters. If a player walks away from that pot pleased
with himself and how he won it, he has very dramatically taken a step back from becoming a better player. Doing the right thing because
you think the right way is what matters. Your opponent might accidentally call when meaning to fold... specific results are not relevant.
> At the root of this debate, I feel that we are in agreement. One should
> consider ALL options in a situation, and choose which will result in the
> most profit. However, we disagree on the fact that this thought experiment
> is a means to this end. I believe that it is.
Two paths converge in the woods. One goes directly to where you want to go. One goes hither and yon (my life is complete, I used
hither in an RGP post), through poison oak, over mountains and valleys, till finally you wade nose deep through a river of snot to get
to the same place as you could have walked directly to. Both paths are a means to the same end. One sucks.
> to truly consider one's options, a person must be knowledgeable
> about the probable outcomes of each decision. If a person has never
> given thought to the outcome of three betting, rather than cold-calling,
> then he or she is not equipped to make a logical decision.
Of course... just like if a person doesn't consider cold-calling, they are not making a logical decision, by definition.
> However, because we are asked to do this in situations where we normally
> cold-call, and are now "told" by our rule to three-bet, we can reasonably
> assert that cold-calling has ALREADY been considered.
Cold-calling is eliminated, it is not an option, it is not considered. I can't imagine why you'd think that's a good idea.
> So, in conclusion, I agree with you that "only considering reraising"
> is simply idiotic. However, I believe it is a useful thought experiment
> "to consider" reraising in situations where a person would normally cold call.
Beating Low Limit Poker
Steve Carbonara wrote...
> While I am not advising folks to sit in games over their financial heads,
> I am asking them to consider a different approach to the game.
> Strategy and skill. These two
tactics will only work against better players.
> The idiots can't be tricked,
and the there is no strategy against fools. Sorry.
Strategy and skill work best, most easily and most surely against "idiots." The way to approach the game is strategically simple, but
it is supremely skillful. If you get to decide which hands you play, and how you bet them, and other "players" were all showdown bots,
there would be no easier game to beat strategically. You could just sit with a starting hand chart (and a betting one) and win. It would be as
close to a sure thing as there is in this world.
You seem to think "strategy" is niggly little tactics like checkraising and bluffing. That stuff is trivial in the big picture.
What matters is getting your money in with the best of it, while considering the ramifications of the blinds and
rake. Against showdown bots your game should be one of nearly pure strategy.
It might be dull, I'll grant you that, but watching a printing press printing money for you would be a bit dull too.
Steve Carbonara wrote...
> Many of these LL type players will take that bet, too. When you
> get a collection of them, all trying to
suck out, one of then does.
Do you operate in some vortex where you never suck out? What's up with this? You make it sound like if you go to the river against 9
random hands that they win 100% and you win 0%. That's just silly. At worst you would win 10%, just like them. If you have the chance
to fold 92o but raise with AKs, you'll win a higher percentage.
Steve Carbonara wrote...
> Like Badger said earlier, I might just (worst case) win at a 10% rate;
> and I am having trouble correlating that to the
90% of the time I lose.
> I can't reconcile the profit at 10% against the loss at 90%, and come
> up with a net win.
If you did win precisely this 10% of the time, unless you employed an extremely excellent betting strategy, you would lose (to the
rake). And, if you did win a higher percent than you fair/random-luck share, you could still lose to the rake because of a lousy
betting strategy (checking when you have the best hand, calling bets when you are drawing dead, etc.).
Maniac game strategy does boil down to good betting strategy along with starting hands. If you aren't doing as well as you "should",
you should analyze your betting patterns -- are you not aggressive enough when a big favorite; do you too often call turn bets with
hands that you abandon on the river.
What wouldn't be a surprise here is if you were a tiny winner in these type of games after many hours, which means you are doing
fairly well but are losing your profit to the rake, while undergoing extreme swings. If this is the case or close to it (meaning even
if you are a slight loser, the rake is responsible for that), you probably should be able to improve via better betting and valuing
your hand strengths differently.
On the other hand, if you think playing in games with passive cupcakes is more suited to your style, then that is a good choice to
seek out those games.