February 07, 2010
Letâ€™s ramble a bit about theory.
Iâ€™ll throw this post together now and I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™ll clean it up later or not. These are just some of the concepts I have been thinking about lately.
Every once in a while a thread pops up in a poker forum, either as a hand post or as a theory post, which deals with the theoretical concept of playing small pocket pairs from the blinds vs late position openers.
The opinion of most people, also some coaches here at DC, seems to be that we shouldnâ€™t call to setmine, and rather fold, or even better 3bet these hands. Their reasoning is, that we donâ€™t have sufficennt implied odds to setmine profitably OOP vs an aggressive regular who opens the pot from late position.
In a vacuum this is true.
I still disagree with it strongly!
Here are my thoughts on this topic:
Letâ€™s start completely somewhere else: Our UTG opening range. I have stopped looking at this â€³specific hands and their profitabilityâ€³ filter in HEM. It tilted me, screwed up my game and in the end itâ€™s utterly and completely useless.
OH NOES!!! I open 76s UTG, but I lose with it longterm!!! I should not open these hands anymore!!!
I call BS on this statement. It LITERALLY fucked up my game for a while, when I tried to make every hand from every position profitable. I finally came to the conclusion that this is not nessecary at all.
You know these turbonits and their 6% UTG opening ranges, donâ€™t you? Will they ever get action from you with anything but a â€³Smack or Crackâ€³ range (i.e. Hands that smack their range right now, or have the potential to crack it postflop)? I hope not, and if they do, you should consider rethinking your approach towards situatons like that. These guys win marginally from the recreational players, but we here at DC have a good grasp of what it takes to win these playersâ€™ money. We all are here to study the game, get better at it and to achieve an edge over EVERY PLAYER in our games/stakes and beyond. We need to have hands in our UTG opening range, that wonâ€™t do super well longterm in order for us to get action on our big hands.
One could argue, that most regulars donâ€™t pay enough attention and wonâ€™t notice how loose or tight you are from UTG. While there is some truth to that, it doesnâ€™t really take that much observance to figure out your looseness. In fact, a few thousand DATAMINED hands will be sufficent, to determine if youâ€™re rather a 12/10 or a 29/25 kinda guy. These numbers, while certainly not telling the whole story, will make a difference in your opponentsâ€™ approach to you at the table.
How does this all translate to setmining OOP?
Well, itâ€™s the very same concept. I donâ€™t care that if I apply the HEM filter â€³blinds = true, facing late pos open = true, 22-66 = true, coldcall = trueâ€³ and whether it shows a profit or not. I myself setmine OOP and I will keep doing it, and I c/f A LOT, when I donâ€™t hit a set. Very rarely will the board be good enough to bluffcatch profitably vs guys that I know will barrel a lot. However my OOP calling range is far from being comprised only out off small PPs. I call a lot of stuff. Broadways, and SCs mostly, with the occasional monster mixed in.
And then I checkraise, yo!
For those who havenâ€™t already, I suggest you check out all the audio and video stuff that Improva has put out for free, since he talks about similar concepts, and is responsible for â€³incubatingâ€³ this thought, which had brewed in me for quite a while.
When I started checkraising more, I realized that people are often times super paranoid towards checkraises (Iâ€™m no exception I guess). I thought about that and came to the conclusion that this gives me the right to checkraise them even more for thin value with lots of TPs for example. I still keep c/fâ€™ing my small pairs though if they donâ€™t hit. Once they do hit, however, I get way more value out of them than the proverbial â€³Setmining Nitâ€³, because even if my opponent doesnâ€™t recall that I have barrelled off my stack once vs him with a busted draw, heâ€™ll see two BIG GREEN numbers in my preflop HUD (has nothing to do with the situation, but leaves an impression nonetheless) and when he opens my popup, heâ€™ll see an above average c/r flop %. Enough for him to call AT LEAST once with 97s on Q73.
Another reason why I hate 3betting these hands is that a small pocket pair is incredibly tough to play in a 3bet pot OOP, because most often you end up â€³bluffingâ€³ with it. I put that in qoutes, because you most likely had the best hand anyways if your opponent folds postflop. So youâ€™re forced to c/f a lot of turns or bluff off 150BB with 2 outs (I refuse to call this a semibluff) like villain did vs me in the following hand:
$0.50/$1 No Limit Holdâ€™em â€“ 3 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter
Hero (BTN): $150.90
Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BTN with J J
Hero raises to $3, SB raises to $9.50, 1 fold, Hero calls $6.50
Flop: ($20.00) 4 7 7 (2 players)
SB bets $12.50, Hero calls $12.50
Turn: ($45.00) Q (2 players)
SB bets $30, Hero calls $30
River: ($105.00) 7 (2 players)
SB bets $115, Hero calls $98.90 all in
Final Pot: $302.80
Hero shows J J (a full house, Sevens full of Jacks)
SB shows 2 2 (a full house, Sevens full of Deuces)
Hero wins $301.80
(thinly veiled brag, I know) ;-)
If I see a guy, like the one in the above hand, show down a small pocket pair, which he has 3bet vs me OOP preflop, then he has lost all of his credibility when he checkraises me in the future, because I know that a significant portion of the range that hesâ€™s repping isnâ€™t in his preflop flatting range to begin with.
To conclude the points I tried to make:
- If you want to get action on your big hands from UTG, youâ€™ll need to have other, maybe not as profitable stuff in your opening range.
- If you want to punish your opponents for their wide late position ranges by checkraising them a lot, youâ€™ll need to have strong made hands in your checkraising range.
All, feel free to give me some heat on this subject. I know that a lot of people will still disagree with me. Thatâ€™s the fun with this game. A lot of ways lead to Rome, and arguing about them (DC style, not 2p2 style) will only make us all stronger players who will climb â€³Mount Robustoâ€³ faster and faster.
Iâ€™m talking to you here. Yes, YOU! You think Sugar Nut is totally wrong here, and 3betting deuces OOP is the nuts. Go ahead, rip my post here apart, write up a blog post of your own and link me to it in the comments.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings and:
Until next time,