January 15, 2010
Iâ€™ve missed a few days posting, which is a failure of my own mostly due to laziness. Played only a little bit of the cash games, but basically started over-doing it a little bit with stealing dead money and running a little bit too laggy/c-betting too much and ended up putting too much dead money into the pot myself. Iâ€™ve put that in check and spent a couple of days reading my theory notes and playing around in excel. Below are the initial results of my analysis:
Iâ€™ve been thinking a ton about my opening range when I am not on the button. It is possible that I may face a 3bet or a cold-call, and be left fighting against a villain with position on me. You can actually make up a fairly unexploitable UTG raising range if you work from the premise of â€œI will not put dead money in the potâ€. For example, 77+, AK, AQs-AJs, A5s-A2s, KQs, JTs, 74s is precisely 100 combos and it is very difficult for a villain to extract dead money from such a tight opening range.
Versus a min 3bet I _must _ defend with at least 28 combos or I am putting dead money in the pot. That is, if I fold too much then I am giving up too easily and villain will cause me to bleed away chips by 3-betting me relentlessly (villain may in turn spew chips off playing so loosely, but if I am not the one fighting back, my chips will end up in someone elseâ€™s stack).
The theoretical nemesis is the min 3bet. This is the bet against which we have to fight back with the widest range; my initial general strategy versus a min 3bet would be to set mine with my PPs and sometimes 4bet KK+ and AK. At 100 bb stacks it should be fairly obvious that it is not really possible to lose money from UTG using this strategy. I could probably play most of the other hands in my opening range profitably versus a min 3bet too, by either 4-bet bluffing or calling with fantastic immediate odds to hit; I donâ€™t have to, and it canâ€™t be far wrong to fold if villain will still pay me off post-flop even though I have no bluffing range. This strategy would leave me folding only 46 combos from my opening range, which isnâ€™t so bad at all, considering I can fold up to 72.
In reality it is more common to get 3bet from a player in position to 2.66x, 3x or 3.33x (or more versus some bad villains). Against these, with our 100 combo opening range, we must defend with only 20 combos if we are 3bet to 3.5x! That isnâ€™t even all combos of KK+ and AK. It should be pretty obvious by now that this â€œtight is rightâ€ philosophy can form the foundation of a solid general strategy that will be difficult to exploit by a player in position. The most dramatic case would be a villain that auto-3bet-shoves all-in versus our UTG open; if we are prepared to call with only AA then we can open with up over 300 combinations and not be leaving dead money in the pot!
Strangely, a strategy of opening 22+, AT+, KT+, QT+, JT, J9s, T8s+, 97s+, 86s+, 75s+, 64s+, 53s+, 42s+, 32s (302 combos) and then having villain 3-bet all-in with ATC at 100bbs is a losing strategy if we only fight back with AA. There is a nash-equilibrium to be found here, but you can take heart in the fact that if villain ONLY shoves AA, you can still give him action with AA and KK 100% of the time and make money in the long run from the blinds you steal when he folds. Of course, if you adjust properly and fold KK (even though this is â€œexploitableâ€, you can win a lot more in the long runâ€¦)
I will post a follow up to this post that will discuss the dynamics of opening in the CO, where we would like to have a much wider range, and the implications that this has on our 4-betting/getting it in range.