KKing David

Ruminations on poker

Archive for the tag “ranges”

Online Analysis, Part 1 – pre-flop 3-bets

I play a fair amount of online poker on the Ignition platform, almost entirely cash games.  So far this year I’ve been a winner, but not at a rate I’m particularly proud of.  Unless I compare it to last year when I won just a very tiny bit, or the year before which was worse.

One of the benefits of Ignition’s poker site is that after a few days have passed, the hand history details show all of the hole cards for all of the other players.  We can study hands that did not go to showdown and see exactly what each player was doing.  I can only see histories of the hands I played and on this site all players are anonymous – no avatars, no screen names, no other identifiers.  Still, this hole card visibility can be used to build a profile of the “typical” player (absent any specific observations) and to spot leaks in my own game (of which there are plenty).

So I’ve embarked on a study project, not using Poker Tracker or similar software for meta-data analysis, but scrolling through hand-by-hand, picking out hands with certain attributes or very large pots, and entering some of the data into a spreadsheet for further review when the sample size is larger.

It’s tedious, laborious work.  There are additional insights to be gained from the meta-data and maybe I’ll go there eventually.  For now, this is good enough.

At the top of my list of situations to analyze is pre-flop 3-bets.  When one player raises, then another re-raises (this is the 3rd bet, after the posting of the big blind and the initial raise), can we rely on any general conclusions about the strength of the re-raiser’s hand?  Do those ranges change – wider or narrower – as we move up or down in stakes?

The sample is still very small, but so far 3-bets have included:

AA – 11x     KK – 7x     QQ – 3x

88 – 1x      AK – 6x     AQ – 1x

AJ – 3x      Other/junk – 5x

I’ve seen some hands as strong as AK or QQ/JJ calling instead of 3-betting.  And the 3-bets made from the blinds after a cutoff or button opening raise, that look like a blind-steal vs. re-steal situations, are still dominated by the strongest hands.  The basic range here is QQ+/AK, which accounts for 27 instances of 3-bets in this sample (73%), with only 10 instances of a 3-bet outside of that range (27%).

Tentative conclusion:  respect the 3-bets.  It’s OK to call the smaller sized 3-bets with low-to-medium pocket pairs when the math is right for set-mining (especially in position).  Otherwise, as Idina Menzel sang in the movie Frozen, “Let It Go!”

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I can even fold hands as strong as JJ or QQ to the larger sized 3-bets, without bothering to set-mine.  Does this seem too nitty?  Let’s look at the math.  Using Poker Cruncher, I’ll set Player 1’s (my) hand as QQ, and give Player 2 (villain) a strong range of which 72% is QQ+/AK, to approximate the sample above.  Against this range, it’s a coin flip.  That’s gambling, and I have better things to do, unless I have a very player-specific read to go on.

        

 

Change my hand to JJ vs. a similar range that is 72% QQ+/AK, and my equity drops below 41%.  That’s worse than gambling at a casino, and I have much better things to do.

As the opening raiser from the cutoff or button against 3-bet by the small or big blind, I can let these go as well.  My initial investment will be small, and the data so far doesn’t suggest a high enough frequency of re-steal attempts to warrant fighting back.

It would be a mistake, however, to assume live players’ 3-bet follow the same pattern of distribution as online players.  This might be the case… or not.  Gathering enough data on live players would be vastly more difficult, as most of these hands don’t go to showdown nor get voluntarily shown on hands that end prior to a showdown.

In later posts, we’ll look at the ranges of hands involved in other common situations…

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Multi-Way Action

Here is an interesting hand from a $1/1 cash game last night.

I am the Big Blind, and look down at 9d 8d.  My stack is $130.  I’ve been playing for about 2 hours and nothing good has happened yet.  Four players limp into the pot, and the SB completes.  I check my option, so there are 6 players and $6 in the pot for the flop.

Flop ($6):  9s 8h 4c.

The SB (I’ll call him “Dell”) checks.  I like my hand, having flopped top 2 pair.  With this many players, I need to bet for value and to find out who likes his hand enough to continue.

The player to my immediate left (let’s call him “Jeff”) quickly calls.  Hmmm…  He is UTG and limped in pre-flop from this early position.

Another player (I’ll call him “John”) also calls, then “Jason” calls, and Dell also calls.

My $5 bet was 83% of the pot size (albeit still very small in absolute terms) and only scared away one player.  This might turn into an action hand.

Turn ($31):  6d.

This card doesn’t hurt me, unless someone has exactly T7, 75 or 66.  With this loose crowd of players anything is possible, so let’s see what happens.

Now Dell in the SM leads out with a bet of $11.  He does this a lot, leading out into the raiser from a prior street, but it doesn’t necessarily mean great strength.  I debate raising vs. calling and decide to call to help me get some more information.  If my hand is indeed the best, I don’t want to run everybody off with a big raise here.

Then Jeff raises to $35.  Huh?  “Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger, DANGER!” goes the alarm in my head.  John calls $35, and Dell also calls the raise to $35.  It’s back to me.

Here is where I need to think very carefully about what each Villain might have and how they would play it.  Jeff is the biggest concern, so I’ll deal with him last.

Dell is fairly easy, once I think about it.  I’ve played with him several other times, and he is loose and aggressive.  He donk bets a lot of flops and turns where he has hit any part of the board – bottom pair, middle pair, weak kicker, as a way of (1) getting information, and (2) winning the dead money when no one else has anything.  I can exploit this from time to time by raising big and representing a strong hand.  If he does have a really big hand, he bets it aggressively rather than trying to trap.  (For example we had a recent confrontation where he has AJ and I had QQ on a flop of AQJ.  He led out, I raised, he 3-bet and also called when I shoved, playing his 2-pair (top + bottom) like it was the nuts and ultimately doubling me up.)  Back to the present, however, he just calls Jeff’s raise but doesn’t re-raise.  I conclude my top 2-pair is better than his hand.  No need for me to slow down on account of Dell.

Next up is John.  John is a very loose player who likes to see flops with virtually any two cards, and likes to chase draws, including weak flush draws, gut shots, etc.  Hard to push him off of a pot as he is very sticky if he hits any part of it.  He ends up making 2-pair or middling straights an awful lot, and this frustrates many of the other players.   He called my $5 bet on the flop and then called Jeff’s $35 on the turn.  He only has about $30 remaining behind.  Surely he would re-raise all-in if he had a made straight or set.  This looks like classic John chasing some kind of draw, perhaps with a pair + open-ended straight draw (97, 87, 76), pair plus gutshot straight draw (T9, T8, T6, 95, 85, 65) or something like J7 that was a gutshot on the flop and gained outs when the 6 hit.  He also could have 2 pair like 98, 96, 86, 64.  Since he didn’t shove it all-in on the turn, my top 2-pair dominates his range.

Lastly, what about Jeff?  He’s the one who worries me the most here, based on his UTG limp, quick call on the flop and raise on the turn.  Could he have 44?  T7?  These are the two hands that crush me and might follow this betting pattern (especially T7s).  With 44 I think he might raise on the flop, although with so many players behind him, calling to keep everyone in the pot may be his best option despite the possible straight draws with 98 on this flop.  T7 is certainly possible, and his stack is larger than mine.  Ouch!  Or he could have turned 2 pair (or have the same hand as me… suited 98, but only one combination remains), but I’m having trouble seeing which 2 pair would make sense to limp in from UTG other than 98s.  Not that it has to make sense, and I do know Jeff can be very loose passive at times.  He could also be overplaying a strong 1-pair hand (I’ve seen him limp with AA from early position trying to trap).  Without doing all of the combinatorics at the table, it seems like I need to worry about 3 combinations of 44, plus 4 combinations of T7s.  In either case, I’ll have 4 outs (9%) to catch up on the river.  It seems like there is a greater number of combinations that I can beat, plus the pot size is now rather swollen.  There is $147 in the pot, and it costs me $24 to call or $115 more to go all-in.

My last consideration here is whether Jeff could fold 44 if I go all-in, representing that I have the T7 and nut straight.  Would he fold a small set?  I doubt it, but maybe, just maybe…

I finally decide to throw caution to the wind and shove all-in.  All three players (especially Dell and John) have a lot of draws in their ranges and I need to punish them if they are going to chase.  And I might actually get paid.

Jeff folds.  Whew!  I feel better already.

John calls his remaining $30.

Dell folds.

John shows J7o, for an open-ended straight draw, plus one (useless) over card.  He has 8 outs, with the the large pot, he is getting the right odds to make this final call.

The river is a blank and I scoop up a large pot, which puts me “in the black” for the evening.

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