Since I am almost through NL4, mainly thanks to great promotions and not because of a good winrate, I am going to write about 5 common mistakes Bad Regs do I personally noticed in the Partypoker/bwin Fast Forward NL4 6-max Playerpool.
You will not read stuff here everyone else praises like “Don’t Limp!”, “Play in position!”, “Raise your strong hands!” and “Raise the loosest on the Button”. This is all very basic stuff everyone in the micros already knows. That’s what is explained in top 100 searches in any internet searching machine when u type in “How to beat Poker Microstakes Cashgames”.
This is my personal opinion only! I’m nowhere close to a position to tell you what is definetly right or wrong (Poker doesn’t work like that anyways). This blog just shows my point of few and personal way of thinking. If you disagree you are more than welcome to tell me in the commentary section. If you are the one making the first commentary in my blog my love will be yours forever!
All examples and suggestions are based on 125 Bigblind stacks (5$ buyin) unless stated differently.
Seatbelt is on? Ok lets jump in!
1. Terrible 3-bet calling range (especially Out of Position).
I recently noticed alot of bad regs would use a common 3-bet-range and use that exact same range as their 3-bet-calling-range! May that be KTs, 67s, or 55. Well, at least it is no random bullshit like 3T and all of these hands have some playability. Nevertheless those hands are very very hard to show up in a profitable way by calling 3-bets. Good Things about 3-betting those hands: 1. easy to play 2. apear more agressive; big hands will profit. 3. lots of fold equity in the right spots Now lets look at those hands when u call a 3-bet. Yes, you still have a hand that is easy to play. Do you apear more agressive by calling a 3-bet? No! Do you have fold equity? Sure not! So you have to rely on the equity your hand has which alrady is marginal! Oh wait. Can you really use all the equity your marginal hand has? Here is an example to figure that out for yourself. You opened 89s in MP, get 3-bet from the button and decided to call. Sure, if you flop your flush or your Straight right away you look like king. Even when u just flop a draw the hand is playable, but that is very unlikely to happen, and even if you get a draw on the flop you are still behind in equity most of the time. Flop comes down rainbow 962, great Flop for your hand! I mean you have Top-Pair! But even with your Top-Pair how do you feel in this spot after calling a 3-bet? Right! terrible! you have no idea where you're at, you are OOP, hit toppair and still don't feel comfortable? you check, button raises. Holy cow i would feel horrible now, probably call it once, check on the blank turn and give up if he barrels, right?
So what are we supposed to do?
We have 2 options which should be more profitable: -Fold (suggested 70-90% of the time vs Regs and 100% vs fish or Bad Regs) "Did you say more profitble? If we fold we always lose money!!!" Correct! we always lose when we fold. Still the expected profit (well, losses in this case) is higher than using half of the equity our hand actually has and fold on alot of boards (better sooner than later). Sure we can hit the checkpot once in a blue moon, still that should not cover our losses over the long run (remember, that's all that matters!). Just fold it preflop, you are at the bottom of your MP opening range! -4-bet as a bluff (only suggested vs well balanced Regs arround 10-30% of the time) This can be profitable against the right kind of oponnents. Sure we will not throw a light-4-bet (4-bet bluff) at a nit who only 3-bets the nuts. (2% 3-bet for example). If we decide to 4-bet we play for stacks! So if u hold an underpair to the board be very careful with your C-bet! Don't comit yourself! Whenever we get a draw on the flop (with SC) we should stick with it and get all the money in by the river- Wether we hit or not shouldn't matter to much! Unless the board runs out in a way that works better for the villain's range than for ours, or if we are sure he is going to call, I would always stick with it! Here is a good example of a well played 4 bet bluff hand even tho the better option would probably be to jam the turn. Hero decided to split his stack into 2 bets on the turn and river which is fine, too. Don't be result oriented!
Villain in this example is 19/14, only 3-bets 7% and folded to 4bet 1/1 in a 700 Hand sample. I was really confused when he turned arround T6s in a 4-bet-pot.
How can we abuse others who call our 3-bets with weak holdings?
First, and probably the most important thing to do, is to instantly make a note! When you see him arrive at the showdown in 3-bet pots (as the Preflop-Caller) with a hand as described, whatever the outcome may be, note it down in your software instantly! (most Pokersites have a good note system, if not PT4 and HM2 both can save notes, too) It should also be obvious by his low "fold to 3 bet" (f3b) stats in your HUD. There are different playertypes, some only call (3bets) with small pairs, some only call with suited connectors, and others call with the "blockers"(KTs;KJ). The lower the f3b % the more hands you can raise FOR VALUE and the less you should 3bet your "bluffs". hell yeah, vs some guys who looks to be "regish" on the first glimpse considering their basic stats (vpip and rfi) (21/17 as example) you can even 3-bet AJ and 99+ for value. (f3b <30%) Just be careful if you miss flops or they are very coordinated. Keep in mind that it is a possibility he actually has those kind of hands in his range and don't fall to much in love with your overpairs! Flop comes down: 8s5s4h sure, protect your Overpair but don't play a big pot with that kind of hand! It's still only one Pair! I guess you have to play some poker from there. So my suggestion vs a 3-bet: Don't call SC, low pairs, and weak Facecards! Fold or 4-bet (preferable first)! Unless......
2. Min-3-bet preflop
Holy moly, such a smooth transition! I have jumped in the NL4 FF Playerpool from time to time and only really sticked with it since the beginning of this year. Still the following seems to be a present trend since I did not notice it that frequently in the past. People started min 3 betting alot! You open for 12c (3bb raise, position doesn't matter at all). Villain 3-bets to 20c (the minimum amount he can raise)
How to fix this habit and how to play profitable against it.
This is very simple and maybe some guys just have to read it once! Don't ever do it! (at least in Cashgames) Both, how to abuse it and how to understand why you should not do it can be explained best with simple poker math! Pot odds! we all love it! So here is the math very simplistic: pot = 12c(your RFI)+20c(his 3bet)+1c(SB)+2c(BB) = 35c Amount you have to call = 8c So your potodds are 35:8 (35 to 8) or 18.6% So all you need to hold to break even is 18.6% equity. (well we just learned we can't use our full equity most of the time, still look at the equity edge we have in most cases to the 18.6% we need.) here are some Equity examples to: 1. Two Undercards vs 2 overcards (QJ vs AK) ~ 35% 2. Lower Kicker (AJ vs AK) ~ 25% 3. Two Middlecards vs an Overcard (AJ vs KQ) ~ 40% 4. Pair vs Overcards (77 vs AK) ~ 55% 5. One Overcard vs a Pocketpair (A9 vs TT) ~ 30% 6. Underpair (JJ vs AA) ~ 20% 7. complete Bullsh**t vs Overpair (72 v AA) ~ 12% 8. complete Trash vs Overcards (72 vs AK) ~ 33% Personal Conclusion: Don't min 3 bet ever! Always call min 3 bets! Easy? As you can see we always have sufficient equity to call the hand exept total rag-hands vs an overpair. We can ignore that, since we (hopefully) don't have that kind of hands in our RFI (Raise-First-In) Range. We can value our Premium-hands for Value and just call every other hand in our RFI and still turn an easy profit if we are capable of playing some poker on later streets. It is true, we cannot use all of our equity all the time. But the occasions we flop huge makes up for that. Additionally, in my experience those guys who make fishy Min-3-bets preflop are even worse on later streets.
3. Being lost Deepstacked
This one is self-explaining, but be careful. NL4 FF is one of the trickiest limits. Your full buy-in is already 125 Big Blinds (bb) when u won 3$ (60% of a buy-in) you already have 200bb which is considered Deepstacked. The more money you have in front of you the more carful you have to approach. Stack off with Kings on 555 flop for 125 bigblinds? Any day! (given it is a 3-bet pot already) Stack off with Kings on 555 flop for 600 bigblinds? I don't know. Would he get it in with Queens? Not sure about thatone! What I have noticed is, that alot of Bad Regs don't feel comfortable Deepstacked! I have seen alot of redicolous stuff from guys who seemed to be regs at NL4. Most of them breakeven to slightly losers. They get their money in on a single colored flop with Aces (no nutflush blocker + redraw) and think they are protecting. "If the other guy has flopped a flush thats just a cooler" they think! They keep calling down with their draws in their hopes to win those big pots. Sure, there are implied odds in place when two Bigstacks run in each other, but you hardly can turn a profit when you keep calling through with your draws. (especially if they are up against a decent player who will not invest any more if their obvious draws hit!)
Stop failing Deepstacked!
The easiest approach would be to just reopen the table with 125 bbs if you don't feel comfortable at all. But if you consider you a better player than your average playerpool there is alot of value to be gained in deepstacked situations! Here are some easy hints: -Stop Overvalueing your 1 pair hands. -Stop drawing when the odds aren't right! or at least can turn it in your favor with implied odds -Value Position even more! -Suited Connector gain value -Small Pairs gain value -Give draws a bad price to call you down (bet pot for example) -Play your draws agressive but do not overcomit! (fold if you get raised) A very smart person once gave me a very basic but useful tip. "If you can win 20 times the amount you have to call, you can profitably set-mine!" While this is not always true because this is very playerdependend, it is still good to have that sentence in your mind whenever you are at the tables! Basic example: You have 77 utg and decide to open for 3 bbs, button comes over the top for 10bbs. So you have to call 7 bigblinds. 7x20 = 140 This means if Villain and you play for effective 140bbs+ Stacks (over the top of what is already in the pot) than we can call for set mining purpose in general! Just be capable of folding when you don't hit!
4. Overplaying Top Pair in Multiway Pots
I didn't plan to write a book, so I will keep this very short and simple! In the Micros you will often experience something that can be called "Chain of bad calls equals good calls" (badcalls²=> good calls?). It is pretty much fish calling your RFI with wrong odds, but because more fish come along all off a sudden all of them actually had the right odds to call (no more on this matter). And how much is your overpair really worth when an even very dry flop comes down and you hold your overpair? Most ppl even get passive there with their toppair, but they call down 3 streets just to find out they got valued all the way. Don't level yourself! Don't let them take you to value town! Let go at some point and save your moves for when you hit the flop hard in a multiway pot! Or when u have your overpair heads up. This does not mean you have to fold your Overpair, just play it with caution!
5. Trying to Check-Raise rivered nuts OOP.
Bad Regs keep calling down with alot of draws and even underpairs even tho the Odds are not correct. Sometimes they even c-bet their hands (which by far is the better play! Remember foldequity!) When they finally hit on the river they try to get tricky and want to get the Check-Raise (x/r) in. More often than not they get no value at all, it goes Check-Check, Showdown. And everyone on the table starts to lough! So they lost a sh*t-ton of G-Bucks and didn't get a single cent in while they actually were ahead or had it! If they would just donk into us (i mean they finally hit!) or keep barelling, they give us a tough spot and we have to decide whether to call or not. If they raise smart more often than not they would get payed off (this does not mean to overpot jam every single time)
There is alot more stuff I noticed where Bad Regs leave alot of money on the table (for you to win)! I had a list of 10 Big losing plays and could have at least doubled that with ease. Since the volume of this Post got out of hand i decided to only write about the 5 biggest Topics.
It is no shame if one or more of these points apply to you. Just work on them and try to get rid of them. You can easily check your database to see how profitable you are in these spots.
My next blogpost will be a recap about 888 poker’s Treasure Quest! How it works, what I think about it, and my personal result. Just check in next week again!