02-12-06 [poker] - 3

02-12-06 [poker]

Let's say your opponent folds their BB 70% of the time, and folds to continuation 50% of the time. (these are pretty standard stats). So if you raise to $4 on the button, 70% of the time you get +1.5 in the hand. The other 30% they call and the pot is now 9.5 BB and you're -4 into it. On the flop they check and you c-bet 7 BB's, and they fold 50% of the time. In that case you're +5.5 BB. The other 50% of the time they raise or call your bet and you have to play from there. How often do you have to win in this final case (they didn't fold to your cbet) ?
EV = 0 = 0.7 * 1.5 + 0.3 * ( 0.5 * 5.5 + 0.5 * ( -11 + P * 22.5 ) )
0.225000 + 0.3 * 0.5 * P * 22.5
0.225000 + 3.375 * P
You don't have to win at all !? If you just check/fold every time they play back at you, you're +EV !!? This is because they're folding their BB too often, but more importantly they're folding the flop too often when you c-bet. That actually really surprises me, I thought P would have to be at least 25% or so to break even. If P is 25%, this is right around EV = +1 BB. Note that P will of course be < 50% here since they have chosen to only play their better hands, while you're on a big range, but I suspect it's probably actually > 25%.

One thing I find is that even when I feel like someone is running over me with c-bets, and I start playing back at them, I still fold about 50% of flops. Playing back more than that just feels like going maniac, which of course is what you have to do!! Similarly, when you're running over someone c-betting and they start attacking back, notice that it's actually still pretty rare, and you can just fold to their raises. They just won't have the balls to do it very often because they'll be afraid that you pick up on it and come back over the top. Also, you're getting them to commit a lot of chips with marginal hands, so when you do show up with the hand it's a big bonus.

Clearly giving up the pot to the preflop raiser 50% of the time is too much. Roughly 2/3 of the time you should not give up the pot so easily. Either lead into the preflop raiser, or check-call or check-raise. With big hands, mostly lead, and occasionally check-raise. With junk (whiffs), occasionally lead and occasionally check-raise. With mediocre hands, mostly lead and sometimes check-call (lead turn). With big draws mix all three choices.

Of course one way to deal with blind steals is not to try to defend too much, but simply to make sure you steal enough when it's your turn. There's an inherent disadvantage to being in the BB. There's an advantage to being on the Button. The Button is worth money, and you can't do anything about that. If you're in the BB, the Button is going to make money from you on average. That's fine, you just have to make the same amount when the situation is reversed.

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old rants