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Attempted Blind Defense on SNG bubble -- should I have played this differently?

 
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Attempted Blind Defense on SNG bubble -- should I have played this differently? - Wed Oct 05, 2011, 01:03 AM
(#1)
ILuvPoker77's Avatar
Since: Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Here's the background:

The player "polescholes", now seated immediately to my right, had been stealing blinds fairly regularly (33% or 5/15) throughout this 9-person SNG, and I hadn't really had a good enough hand to defend with.

On the bubble of the tournament, 2nd in chips and sitting on a 17BB stack (with polescholes not far behind me and the smallest stack about to bust), I was dealt JTo in the BB. Now, I know this is far from a fabulous hand, but for some reason I decided that after polescholes made a min-raise from the SB, I was going to choose that moment to take a stand.

So, I called. The flop came down somewhat coordinated, and I had top pair, medium kicker and a gutshot straight draw + backdoor flush draw.

I really at that moment thought he did not have much of a hand, and most likely I was in the lead. It was possible he had 2 clubs for the flush draw, though, so I decided to shove and end it then and there, certain he would fold.

OOOOOPS!!!

I have a sneaking suspicion that my play on this hand may have been pretty idiotic, especially considering we were on the bubble and the tiny stack was almost history.

If I had made just a pot-sized bet on the flop, would things have turned out differently? I don't know. If he had re-raised, that might have given me reason to exercise some serious caution at that point and stop betting.

If he called me there, though, I probably would have gone ahead and bet again on the turn, even though another club came down. Beyond that, it's hard to predict how he would have played it and how I might have reacted. If he had played back at me aggressively or even called a pot-sized bet on the turn, I may have stopped betting right there because of the danger of a flush. I also would have started to think it possible he had a jack with a higher kicker than mine, and in any case would most likely not be going that deeply into the hand with me if he didn't have something that could beat top/top.

The long and short of it is, if I had played "normal" poker on this hand instead of shoving the flop, I probably would not have ended up punting my stack, and would have made it ITM, if a bit depleted of chips.

Anyway, I'm requesting feedback on my thought process about this hand and the decisions I made to call pre-flop, and then shove on the flop.

Feel free to use the word "idiotic" if it applies. :P

Thanks!

~Luv


Last edited by ILuvPoker77; Wed Oct 05, 2011 at 01:25 AM..
 
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Thu Oct 06, 2011, 12:06 AM
(#2)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
BronzeStar
Gor...but you made some fundemental "mis-steps" in this hand. Luckily hthey are pretty easy" to fix once pointed out.

Shall we go through 'em?

1) Blind "defense".
Quote to remember: "The best defense is a good OFFENSE"

If you hold a marginal hand, but you suspect that a villain is raising light to steal your blind, then you should be RAISING rather than calling his raise more often than not.

Operative thought: By calling you have just 1 way to win; hold the best hand at showdown. By betting (or raising) you have 2 ways to win; you either hold the best hand at showdown, or you exert enough of a "threat" to a BETTER hand that it folds.

Sure, in this spot there was no way the villain was folding to a raise, and if he is smart enough, he might check the flop to induce a bluff from you if you had 3Bet pre flop; that could cost you MORE that a flat call to "fit or fold". But in MOST CASES, when you "read" someone as stealling your blinds too frequently, you will probably be correct about them doing so. That means a raise will tend to get them to FOLD their weak steal hands, giving you the "win", and also making them lay off your blind a bit in the future (most likely).

2) "Value owning" bet sizing choices.
Quote to remember: Before you back a mouse into the corner, you had better be POSITIVE he isn't really a badger!

When you jam all in on a stack big enough to represent a massive pot over bet, you will tend to see your opponent fold more often than not. Unfortunately, when you get called by a similar size stack you will generally find that it is only very STRONG hands which call you. When the opponent folds, you win only the amount in the pot, but when they CALL you lose a very large amount of chips. This means the risk/reward balance of a large pot overbet is totally skewed AGAINST you; you either win a little bit, or you lose a lot. That is what is called "value owning" yourself.

Operative Thought(s):
When you hold a hand which you think is "best", more often than not you want to bet an amount that is designed to DENY ODDS to any draw to beat you, but that INVITES A CALL without proper odds.

If you hold a hand with which you wish to bluff (or semi-bluff), meaning that your bet is being made in hopes that it gets an opponent to FOLD, your goal should be to bet 1 chip MORE than an opponent is willing to call; Betting anything above that amount puts you at extra risk for chip loss if you are wrong. If a "bluff" requires ALL your chips to have a good chance of "working", the risk of getting called quite often outweighs the reward of winning this particular pot (not always, but the deeper your stack is, the less often you want to bluff with all your chips).

As you saw in the results of this hand, a bluff for all your chips was pretty hopeless versus any but the tightest and most conservative opponents. Jamming all in here actually looks somewhat weak, since with a hand stronger than an board over pair, you would be more prone to try extracting value with a lesser bet. To your favor, at least you did have the semi bluff gut shot outs if you did get called by better than your top pair/T kicker, but all in all, if you are only likely to fold out worse and get called by better, was this REALLY a pot you needed so much that you;d want to put your life at risk?


You do recognize (at least now) the ICM considerations (independant chip model, see this:http://www.thepokerbank.com/strategy...ment/icm/what/ ) at work here, with a bubble situation and 1 opponent extremely short. Those consideration should actually make you LESS willing to stake your tourney life on any single hand though. If your opponents are aware enough to at least have a "feel" for the ICM realities here, then even if you want to work a bluff, those considerations mean you probably need LESS than your entire stack to make those bluffs work versus the deeper stacked oppoents, right?

At any rate, jamming in a 2 times pot bet in this spot, even with top pair middle kicker and a gut shot straight draw, is not something you really want to be doing.
 
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Thu Oct 06, 2011, 12:41 PM
(#3)
ILuvPoker77's Avatar
Since: Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
Gor...but you made some fundemental "mis-steps" in this hand. Luckily hthey are pretty easy" to fix once pointed out.
That's good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
1) Blind "defense".
Quote to remember: "The best defense is a good OFFENSE"....in MOST CASES, when you "read" someone as stealling your blinds too frequently, you will probably be correct about them doing so. That means a raise will tend to get them to FOLD their weak steal hands, giving you the "win", and also making them lay off your blind a bit in the future (most likely).
THANK you. I had previously been operating under the understanding that calling or raising were both acceptable ways to defend a blind. And sometimes raising when you only hold a marginal hand yourself can be scary. But I can clearly see the advantages, the way you have stated them here.

In the future if I *really* think an opponent is stealing too often (and therefore with hands too weak to call a 3-bet), I will try to stick to raising, rather than calling, as a defense mechanism.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
2) "Value owning" bet sizing choices.
Quote to remember: Before you back a mouse into the corner, you had better be POSITIVE he isn't really a badger!
Haha...great quote!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
When you jam all in on a stack big enough to represent a massive pot over bet, you will tend to see your opponent fold more often than not. Unfortunately, when you get called by a similar size stack you will generally find that it is only very STRONG hands which call you. When the opponent folds, you win only the amount in the pot, but when they CALL you lose a very large amount of chips. This means the risk/reward balance of a large pot overbet is totally skewed AGAINST you; you either win a little bit, or you lose a lot.
Thank you. I understand your explanation perfectly, and have copied the above paragraph into the notes I review regularly to try to avoid repeating mistakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
Operative Thought(s):
When you hold a hand which you think is "best", more often than not you want to bet an amount that is designed to DENY ODDS to any draw to beat you, but that INVITES A CALL without proper odds.

If you hold a hand with which you wish to bluff (or semi-bluff), meaning that your bet is being made in hopes that it gets an opponent to FOLD, your goal should be to bet 1 chip MORE than an opponent is willing to call;
Got it. I may have to do some calculations to determine the exact bet size required for this, but I'm sure I can figure it out. Assuming the opponent understands odds, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
Betting anything above that amount puts you at extra risk for chip loss if you are wrong. If a "bluff" requires ALL your chips to have a good chance of "working", the risk of getting called quite often outweighs the reward of winning this particular pot (not always, but the deeper your stack is, the less often you want to bluff with all your chips).
Got it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
As you saw in the results of this hand, a bluff for all your chips was pretty hopeless versus any but the tightest and most conservative opponents. Jamming all in here actually looks somewhat weak, since with a hand stronger than an board over pair, you would be more prone to try extracting value with a lesser bet.
Another excellent point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
To your favor, at least you did have the semi bluff gut shot outs if you did get called by better than your top pair/T kicker, but all in all, if you are only likely to fold out worse and get called by better, was this REALLY a pot you needed so much that you;d want to put your life at risk?
Definitely not. This is where I realize that my play in this hand was partially influenced by emotion. I was annoyed at having to fold to his LP raises, and wanted to konk him over the head with something. Unfortunately, my stack was really not a good choice of weapon.

Normally, I'm pretty good at keeping my emotions out of poker decisions. I don't get thrown out of whack by "bad beats" or bad play by opponents, or just luck not going my way, even repeatedly. I can get a little off kilter if I'm regretting a bad decision I made that resulted in a loss of chips, but I'm working on that.

Evidently I need to work on not letting annoyance affect my decision-making process when it comes to having my blinds stolen.

I totally didn't need this pot. A PF re-raise here may have been appropriate as a defense, but if called (which it would have been) I should have just shut it down under the circumstances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
You do recognize (at least now) the ICM considerations (independant chip model, see this:http://www.thepokerbank.com/strategy...ment/icm/what/ ) at work here, with a bubble situation and 1 opponent extremely short. Those consideration should actually make you LESS willing to stake your tourney life on any single hand though. If your opponents are aware enough to at least have a "feel" for the ICM realities here, then even if you want to work a bluff, those considerations mean you probably need LESS than your entire stack to make those bluffs work versus the deeper stacked oppoents, right?
Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
At any rate, jamming in a 2 times pot bet in this spot, even with top pair middle kicker and a gut shot straight draw, is not something you really want to be doing.
That's what I suspected.

Thank you so, so much for taking the time to provide in-depth explanations of the reasons *why* my decisions on this hand were not good. I will definitely learn a lot from having posted this hand.
 
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Thu Oct 06, 2011, 03:35 PM
(#4)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
BronzeStar
For the record...

Bet sizing to deny odds but invite a call may not be as "easy" as you might think...

If you are configuring your bets to deny odds ONLY, then you really only have to bet about 25 to 30% of the pot to deny odds to an oesd...this is because you get another chance to bet the turn (if a scary card does not come).

BUT...

If you bet that little as a standard sizing, you may be TOO inviting...why? Because the OPPONENT might find a larger amount to be "inviting"...that means betting smaller would leave value on the table when you are ahead.

Additionally, if you are betting different amounts based upon the situation, but betting the same amounts by situation (such as checking your missed flops, and betting 1/3rd pot on top/top, and betting 25% on a set), you run the risk of throwing off PATTERNS. those patterns may then be used by opponents to exploit you.

The "theory" behind always open raising for the same amount (usually 2.25BB to 3BB to go), always raising over limper(s) for the same proportional amount (usually your stand open raise amount plus 1BB per limper), and always 3Betting over a raiser for the same amount (roughly raising a total 1.5 to 2.5 times the initial raise, such as a such as an open raise to 100 would be 3Bet for an amount between 250 and 350) is that these actions are consistent regardless of your hand strength...sometimes you'll make them with AK, sometimes with 77, and sometimes with AA. Within that cloud of un-certainly lies the ability for your opponents to make MISTAKES.

A "standard" post flop betting line is usually to bet around half pot in a heads up situation, or around 2/3rds in a 3 way pot, and up to full pot in a 4 way pot, on draw heavy boards. These amounts usually LOOK "inviting" to opponents, but they are all amounts which will easily deny odds to the standard 8 or 9 out draws. They are also larger than the bear minimum needed to deny odds, so they do not tend to leave as much value on the table versus loose callers as the smaller bet sizing choices do.

The REASON "standard" plays exist is because they tend to be the BEST option for the widest range of circumstances. That does not mean they are the best choice in ALL circumstances of course, but quite often you need a good deal of info about opponent(s) to really justify deviating from the standard plays...see?

a lot of oyur poker skill will be derived by increasing your ability to gather, process, and use hat extra info, so that you CAN spot the "right" places to deviated from standard plays, but without the info which says a deceptive play might result in MORE value for you, you are usually better served sticking to the straight forward option.
 
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Thu Oct 06, 2011, 06:09 PM
(#5)
ILuvPoker77's Avatar
Since: Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Thanks for all the helpful info on bet sizing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
Additionally, if you are betting different amounts based upon the situation, but betting the same amounts by situation (such as checking your missed flops, and betting 1/3rd pot on top/top, and betting 25% on a set), you run the risk of throwing off PATTERNS. those patterns may then be used by opponents to exploit you.
I get that. I understand the importance of not telegraphing my hand by the size of my bets...so many players do, and it is very exploitable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
A "standard" post flop betting line is usually to bet around half pot in a heads up situation, or around 2/3rds in a 3 way pot, and up to full pot in a 4 way pot, on draw heavy boards. These amounts usually LOOK "inviting" to opponents, but they are all amounts which will easily deny odds to the standard 8 or 9 out draws. They are also larger than the bear minimum needed to deny odds, so they do not tend to leave as much value on the table versus loose callers as the smaller bet sizing choices do.
Yes...I wondered about your previous statement about betting "1 chip more" -- I tend to do odds calculations approximately in my head when I'm deciding whether or not to call a bet, and if the difference was only 1 chip, I would probably either not notice or decide to go ahead and call.

One thing I do have a problem with in post-flop betting is when the pot is multi-way (and therefore likely large), it's very hard to make myself place a pot-sized or close to pot-sized bet, when I'm not that deep stacked and therefore placing a bet that size will commit me.

If all I have is top/top or an overpair, it is definitely in my best interest to discourage draws, but in a multi-way pot, the chances of my already being up against a better made hand are significant.

Often I find myself making as big a bet as I can afford to without committing myself...which, when I think about it, is probably not good, because it is an exploitable pattern (if I had a really strong hand, I would commit, therefore betting a smaller amount could easily tell opponents my hand isn't all that great), and also because it often gives the right price for draws to call.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDean View Post
The REASON "standard" plays exist is because they tend to be the BEST option for the widest range of circumstances. That does not mean they are the best choice in ALL circumstances of course, but quite often you need a good deal of info about opponent(s) to really justify deviating from the standard plays...see?

a lot of oyur poker skill will be derived by increasing your ability to gather, process, and use hat extra info, so that you CAN spot the "right" places to deviated from standard plays, but without the info which says a deceptive play might result in MORE value for you, you are usually better served sticking to the straight forward option.
Yes, I'm realizing more and more as time goes on that one of the things that separates the ABC player from the next level is the ability to discern when and why to deviate from cookbook play, and when to stick with the basics.

But I am learning.

I have taken down a few big pots lately that I would have given up on incorrectly just a few weeks ago, and I have also folded in some instances where I likely would have lost a lot of chips by calling or raising incorrectly just a few weeks ago.

Of course, I have also made many less than optimal decisions, and gone back to review those hands and understand what I could have done differently.

Still, though, just making better decisions on one or more key hands during most games is giving me better and better outcomes.

I owe so much to PSO -- it is really an awesome, awesome program!
 
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Thu Oct 06, 2011, 07:57 PM
(#6)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
BronzeStar
Check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundame...eorem_of_poker

This will help outline the thoughts behind "bet to deny odds, but invite calls".

As for the multi-way pot variations on this theme, view this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton%27s_theorem

You can (potentially) run into a situation where "early mistakes" in a multi-way pot then leads to later actions by opponents that have a correct price.

Obviously, rushing in a full pot bet JUST because at flop was taken 4 way is not necessarily "ideal". If your opponents would normally FOLD to a lesser bet, say if you have position in the hand and it has checked to you, there is not necessarily the "need" to rush a full pot bet out there with a top/top hand; a 2/3rds pot bet will probably work to fold out ENOUGH hands that Morton's Theorem may not become operative.

If, however, you are facing 3 (or more) opponents who are CALLING STATIONS (especially when on decent 8 or 9 out draws) you benefit from exploiting their leaks by getting more value in earlier with the larger bet sizing...see?

Poker really is a balancing act, kind of like trying to juggle a broom stick vertically on the palm of your hand bristle side up. So MANY things can weigh into your decision that you really need experience to be able to sort thru that "clutter" quickly enough to make your decision a good one.

Don;t worry though, as you get more and more familiar with all the tiny factors you might consider, the faster you will become at putting them on 1 side of the scale or the other.

 
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Fri Oct 07, 2011, 12:59 PM
(#7)
ILuvPoker77's Avatar
Since: Sep 2011
Posts: 84
Thanks for the info and the links, JDean. I'll read the articles later today.
 

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