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Educational Post: Setmining, And Alternative Short-Stack Plays

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Educational Post: Setmining, And Alternative Short-Stack Plays - Tue Mar 08, 2011, 03:55 PM
(#1)
PanickyPoker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,168
So, here's my second educational post. As a preface to this one, it is on a subject that I don't know quite as much about as last time, so my views on the matter might not be quite as clear as last time. I'm hoping to get lots of discussion on this topic, because I have a lot to learn myself in this area, and I'm hoping that as more people post, everyone will benefit from all of the insight provided and will become better poker players.

So, today's topic:

Setmining, And Alternative Short-Stack Plays

Now, first off, we all have a pretty good idea how to play premium pairs. They might not always pan out, but when we're dealt aces, we all get that the more money that goes in the pot, the better things will usually be for us. As we go down the ladder of pocket pairs though, we start to lose confidence in their strength preflop. We have to be more cautious with our pocket nines then we do with aces, because someone could be lurking out there with pocket tens or better, and those crush us. But, when we're unsure about whether or not our weak pairs are good, there's a very popular alternate strategy used to get a lot of value out of them: setmining.

Setmining works by entering a pot preflop inconspicuously with a pocket pair in hopes of flopping a set. If we have 44, and the flop comes K62, then 44 is an easy fold. If the flop comes A74, then Yahtzee! Everyone is probably behind us at this point, and we can proceed confidently. But you'll only ever flop a set about 1 time in every 8.2 times you try, which means that as a basic principle of setmining, you need to get paid of with at least 8.2 times (on average) what you put in the pot preflop, or you'll be losing money over time. Ideally, you want your setmines to get you at least 15 times what you put in preflop, to make up for all the times you flop a set and get no action, or you flop a set and lose anyway. That's why you need a big stack, and an opponent with a big stack (about 30 big blinds or more each), to setmine. But, what if you don't have that? What if you both have 15 big blinds, or one of you has 35, and the other has 10? When do you need to adjust this strategy, and when should you just fold a hand like 44 preflop?

This problem comes up quite a bit for me in the late game of tournaments, and at just about every point in a turbo tournament. When I get dealt 44 under the gun and everyone is sitting at about 15 big blinds, what do I do? 44 is stronger than QT and 78s for sure, but it's beaten easily if either one hits the flop. Should I fold the pair? I usually do.

Or how about this: You're in the mid stage of a tournament on the button with 45 big blinds and 66 in the hole, and a semi-tight player in the hijack seat (two seats before you) with 15 big blinds, known to steal occasionally, but who usually shows up with solid hands, opens for 3 times the big blind. If you try to setmine, the most you'll get paid off is five times what you put in preflop (assuming nobody else gets involved in the pot). Five times what you put in doesn't compensate for the seven times you won't flop a set. Therefore, you can't profitably setmine. Do you call anyway? Do you fold? Do you raise? If this player could be stealing, then you have decent equity against their range. But if they won't lay down any pocket pair above yours, you could be committing a third of your stack if you call and are behind. What should you do?

Feel free to discuss any part of this topic, as it's pretty broad. Setmining with a deep stack, or what to do when the stacks aren't deep. Short-stack alternatives is the area where I need the most extra practice, as the course of action to take is less clear-cut. If anyone has any questions about any part of the topic, feel free to post them, and I'm sure someone will answer.
 
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Tue Mar 08, 2011, 04:53 PM
(#2)
sharkatack89's Avatar
Since: Nov 2010
Posts: 536
BronzeStar
Quote:
Originally Posted by PanickyPoker View Post
So, here's my second educational post. As a preface to this one, it is on a subject that I don't know quite as much about as last time, so my views on the matter might not be quite as clear as last time. I'm hoping to get lots of discussion on this topic, because I have a lot to learn myself in this area, and I'm hoping that as more people post, everyone will benefit from all of the insight provided and will become better poker players.

So, today's topic:

Setmining, And Alternative Short-Stack Plays

Now, first off, we all have a pretty good idea how to play premium pairs. They might not always pan out, but when we're dealt aces, we all get that the more money that goes in the pot, the better things will usually be for us. As we go down the ladder of pocket pairs though, we start to lose confidence in their strength preflop. We have to be more cautious with our pocket nines then we do with aces, because someone could be lurking out there with pocket tens or better, and those crush us. But, when we're unsure about whether or not our weak pairs are good, there's a very popular alternate strategy used to get a lot of value out of them: setmining.

Setmining works by entering a pot preflop inconspicuously with a pocket pair in hopes of flopping a set. If we have 44, and the flop comes K62, then 44 is an easy fold. If the flop comes A74, then Yahtzee! Everyone is probably behind us at this point, and we can proceed confidently. But you'll only ever flop a set about 1 time in every 8.2 times you try, which means that as a basic principle of setmining, you need to get paid of with at least 8.2 times (on average) what you put in the pot preflop, or you'll be losing money over time. Ideally, you want your setmines to get you at least 15 times what you put in preflop, to make up for all the times you flop a set and get no action, or you flop a set and lose anyway. That's why you need a big stack, and an opponent with a big stack (about 30 big blinds or more each), to setmine. But, what if you don't have that? What if you both have 15 big blinds, or one of you has 35, and the other has 10? When do you need to adjust this strategy, and when should you just fold a hand like 44 preflop?

This problem comes up quite a bit for me in the late game of tournaments, and at just about every point in a turbo tournament. When I get dealt 44 under the gun and everyone is sitting at about 15 big blinds, what do I do? 44 is stronger than QT and 78s for sure, but it's beaten easily if either one hits the flop. Should I fold the pair? I usually do.

Or how about this: You're in the mid stage of a tournament on the button with 45 big blinds and 66 in the hole, and a semi-tight player in the hijack seat (two seats before you) with 15 big blinds, known to steal occasionally, but who usually shows up with solid hands, opens for 3 times the big blind. If you try to setmine, the most you'll get paid off is five times what you put in preflop (assuming nobody else gets involved in the pot). Five times what you put in doesn't compensate for the seven times you won't flop a set. Therefore, you can't profitably setmine. Do you call anyway? Do you fold? Do you raise? If this player could be stealing, then you have decent equity against their range. But if they won't lay down any pocket pair above yours, you could be committing a third of your stack if you call and are behind. What should you do?

Feel free to discuss any part of this topic, as it's pretty broad. Setmining with a deep stack, or what to do when the stacks aren't deep. Short-stack alternatives is the area where I need the most extra practice, as the course of action to take is less clear-cut. If anyone has any questions about any part of the topic, feel free to post them, and I'm sure someone will answer.

Another Great Post. I use to be a big fan of set mining a good 10 years ago or more. Bank then there were a lot more passive players. Be it Tight or Loose. I made a good run at SnG and some MTT's by set mining. Now a days, I feel there are a lot more TAG and LAG players, and, good ones at that. So set mining for me has become an unprofitable play. If I can't be the the aggressor w/ my mid to small PP, I'm done w/ them. IMO -shark
 
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Tue Mar 08, 2011, 10:13 PM
(#3)
EndlessMyk's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 33
BronzeStar
Here's a thought Panicky, and others. Give me your input.

This post is in response, in general, if you are big-stack.

Odds of improving your pocket pair, 22,33,...,AA is always 1 to 8, regardless of the pair, right? And isn't it just a wonderful feeling when you flopped trip 4's and cracked someone's A's? So, if 1 to 8 roughly equates to 11%, and you are putting someone on KK or AA, wouldn't you want to call their raise, no matter how large, as long as it is less than or equal to 10% of your stack?

P.S. I love these topics. Keep them coming.

Last edited by EndlessMyk; Tue Mar 08, 2011 at 10:14 PM.. Reason: Additional Comment
 
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Tue Mar 08, 2011, 10:38 PM
(#4)
TrumpinJoe's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,557
8:1 is the odds of hitting your hand. You need an overlay to make this move possible.

Why the overlay? A set does not always win. And when the set does win it doesn't always get the opponents stack.

The next question is "How much overlay is required?" This depends on your opponent's tendacies. If they are loose, 12:1 may be sufficient. If they are rock tight, it may take more than 20:1. If you have multiple opponents the chance of being paid off improve but so does the chance of being outdrawn.

Lastly, you must always think in terms of the "effective stack". This is the smallest stack involved as this is the limiting factor. If you think you need 15:1 to be profitable then to call a 100 bet you require an effective stack of at least 1500.
 
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Tue Mar 08, 2011, 10:44 PM
(#5)
PanickyPoker's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,168
Quote:
Originally Posted by EndlessMyk View Post
Odds of improving your pocket pair, 22,33,...,AA is always 1 to 8, regardless of the pair, right? And isn't it just a wonderful feeling when you flopped trip 4's and cracked someone's A's? So, if 1 to 8 roughly equates to 11%, and you are putting someone on KK or AA, wouldn't you want to call their raise, no matter how large, as long as it is less than or equal to 10% of your stack?
There are cases when you just won't get your opponent's whole stack. One example: You flop a set, but so does your opponent. You go all-in, and get snapped off by the nuts, and lose your stack.

Another example: You flop a set, and your opponent decides that they have the best hand, but as soon as you make a play for your whole stack, they get suspicious, and fold. This is especially possible if the board is draw-heavy. Aces play badly when there are three cards to a straight and two to a flush, and players who are awake will be willing to fold them.

You need to pay off your set, taking all of the outcomes where you lose money into consideration as well, because all of these situations will happen. You need to be paid off more than 10 times what you put in, otherwise, in theory, you're losing money.

A few other thoughts: It's hard to put someone on AA or KK exactly preflop. There's always mystery in what your opponent is holding, so you can't necessarily assume that 55 will play well and that you'll get action if you flop a 5. Also, remember that both stacks need to be big enough to get paid off. If the raise is for 10% of your stack, but it's 20% of your opponent's stack, then setmining isn't really an option.

I notice Joe just summed this up. I am curious about what you think about this idea, Joe: Rock-tight players, nits, and skilled TAG's in the present day and age know all about setmining. The good ones will lay down overpairs, and sometimes even two pair, if they see one coming. Do you think that traditional 20-to-1 guidelines are effective against them, since they will less often stack off than bad players?
 
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Tue Mar 08, 2011, 10:59 PM
(#6)
TrumpinJoe's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 4,557
My viewpoint is that depth of money is critical in addition a players savvy. In shallow money (<30 bb effective) you are more likely to be paid off by a savvy player than on deep money (>100 bb effective).
 
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Tue Mar 08, 2011, 11:35 PM
(#7)
Mmmm Fish's Avatar
Since: Oct 2010
Posts: 705
BronzeStar
I look at it a little differently if I am shooting for an ITM in the Skill League. Say I'm in the BB and my call to set mine will cost me 30% of my stack for a chance to win about 150% of my stack. I don't have the right odds to call if this were a cash game (5 to 1). But, this is not a cash game, it is PSO and I want my penny. I try to figure how much the 30% will diminish my chance of ITM versus hitting the set will increase the chance. If I feel I am at about 40% to cash if I fold, 35% to cash if I call and lose and 85% if I hit the set, I'll click the call button. My rationale is I am betting 5% EV for the hope to score 45% EV and that is 9 to 1.
 

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