March 27, 2011
This is my first strategy post. Rather than using a hh to analyze I am going to use a concept or tid-bits of strategical concepts and explain/discuss it. This post will cover check raising. Hopefully it will give some of the readers a better idea of when and why they should check raise. I am going to leave out some of the very obvious stuff and focus on the nuts and bolts of check raising. I also plan to write some sort of e-book at some point that will be aimed at the ssnl player. Maybe feedback on this topic will let me know if it would be helpful enough to people for me to seriously consider writing it.
Check Raise Bluffing: When deciding whether or not to check raise bluff a flop many players run through their reads stating the villains c-bet % and overall tendencies/frequencies and then make their play. A very common mistake people make is improper usage of the c-bet stat and very often miss usage of information. A lot of players look at the villains c-bet % and never really know villains actual c-bet strategy, even though they have had several chances to accumulate relevant information. All they know is villain is c-betting 76%, and the board texture is one which villain should c-bet bluff a lot, and maybe hero has some equity, so he decides to check-raise as a semi-bluff. That logic certainly makes sense, but it really only helps hero's decision making ability on one street, the flop. All too often hero will be put to a turn decision he isn't equipped to make because he either has limited information, or he has no plan and ends up making a rushed/confused decision. I will give a few common pieces of information you should look for that will help you plan your check raises more thoroughly, allowing you to set up a multi-street plan in advance. I will also show a couple hands to demonstrate some adjustments for your planning.
Instead of looking at just the c-bet % of a villain you should be looking for c-bet range-types or tendencies of each individual villain. WTF is a range type???.
Range-Types: There are 2 very common c-bet strategies people at SSNL employ. Polarized and De-polarized, very few players are balanced in their c-betting strategy. Although a De-polarized c-bettor is going to be closer to balanced than a polarized c-bettor. For this post I will focus on Polarized range types and continue with De-polarized types in my next blog entry.
Polarized: People who c-bet a polarized range typically pot control weak/middling parts of their range, and are very often playing their hand face up. They tend to bet air/draws and the upper portion of their value range. Polarized c-bettors could also have a lower c-bet % than a De-polarized c-bettor, due to a higher pot controlling frequency.
In this scenario villain is a player we have identified as a polarized c-bettor, and his stats are: Btn-steal:55%/c-bet:70%/2-barrel:48%/WTSD:22%. Villain is a reasonable regular and seems fairly competent so far.
UTG: ($66) folds
BTN:($79) raises to $1.50
BB_Hero: ($50) 9 T calls $1
FLOP: Q 8 4 (pot: $3.25)
BTN bets $2.50
BB_Hero raises to $7:
Now lets plan for the hand using the information we have. We know villain is opening a pretty wide range from the BTN (55%), and he is c-betting a polarized range at a moderate frequency (70%). We determine this flop will be one he should be c-betting a good portion of his air, and we know since hes polarized he will be checking back all of his 8x's, pp's and possibly even weak Qx's like Q5, so we can discount these hands from his range. His value range is likely to be good Qx's+ like QT, and not much else. We decide to check raise with our gutter +bdfd, expecting to have sufficient fold equity on the flop. Given the information we can form a plan of what to do on various turns when villain calls. When we are called villains hand range is pretty face up to being some Qx+, draws or equity floats like JT/9T, so we have to plan what to do vs this range when we don't hit our draw, so lets put everything together to form our multi-street plan: Villain is a reasonable reg (wtsd 22%) and we know when called villain has Qx+ and draws or equity floats like JT/9T, which is a reasonably strong range and we should not expect to have fold equity on many total bricks, and we should only continue on the very best of scare cards. So we plan to barrel turned flush completing cards, hearts with intentions of bluff shoving riverd flush completing cards, otherwise we give up on the hand unimproved.
We can make our life a lot easier just by paying closer attention, and knowing ranges as well as numbers.