5/16/2007

05-16-07 - 2

Any time your range of hands doesn't match the range your opponent puts you on, you have a profit opportunity. You may not be able to realize that profit, however, unless you know what kind of error he is making. For example, if he puts you on a very good hand and you range is wider than that, you should not be value betting the top of your range - you should be value betting the top of the range *he puts you on* which is tighter than what you actually hold. On the other hand in that same spot you should be bluffing with a large amount of your range. Conversely if he puts you on a loose range but you actually are on a tight strong range, you might value bet 100% of your range. Compare this to the game theory situation where you opponent knows your range - when he knows your range you should be mixing up your play in the different regions of your range - value bet the very best hands, check the middle, bluff the worst hands.

Now, most people in SSNL don't really actively exploit this principle. We just assume that our opponents are sort of morons and are going to mess up our range. We just play a sort of standard solid game, and we automatically get profit opportunities because our opponent makes mistakes and puts us on a range that's different from what we're actually playing. The most common case is that they assume we're a lot looser than we actually are, so we can value bet lots of hands and get called incorrectly.

At the higher levels if you try to play a basic solid style, you will run into people who can read your range very well. The reason is partly that they came up playing the exact same style so they know very well what hands you play in what situations. Now that doesn't necessarilly mean they can "own" you as many mistakenly think. If you are correctly varying your play and doing different things with different parts of your range (eg. playing game theory style), then they cannot exploit your play at all. However, they can play 0 EV against you so you cannot make any money from them. Of course in the real world, the standard "solid" style is very exploitable because we do not mix up our range correctly. There are lots of sitations where an SSNL player will never show up with a wide enough range and won't bluff.

To fix this problem you have a few different options. One is just to mix up your range more correctly so that you are theoretically unexploitable. This is a very powerful way to go and aba20/sbrugby sort of plays this style. Most players don't have the mathematics and discipline to do this, so they instead "change gears" which is more of a feel response. By changing gears you can keep your range hard to read, any time you are in a different gear than your opponent thinks you are, you have an edge, or at least you avoid being too readable.

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