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5NL zoom strategy

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5NL zoom strategy - Tue Apr 02, 2013, 07:43 AM
(#1)
PokerIggy's Avatar
Since: Nov 2010
Posts: 214
As some of you may know (if you've read my blog) I am focussing on 6-max zoom almost exclusively. Since the 1th of March I moved to 5NL again and have played about 45k hands with a winrate of just under 4bb/100. With a downswing of 10BI starting at 35k hands, but then recovered 6BI again at the end.

The downswing was probably caused by the fact that I started to play a bit looser again as I thought my stats could be a bit more optimal. The result of this was that I started to loose more on my non-showdown winnings (I think this is because I had to let my hand go more often as my holding would be weaker) and then I started to compensate this by playing more aggresively in order to push villains more often out of the pot. So I started stealing more blinds, 3betting more, play more connected cards in late position, etc. My showdown winnings also went down as I started losing more/bigger pots. This all resulted in that my BR went down 10BI in just a few sessions.

After 5k hands I started to realize that this didn't work for me (at least not at the moment) and switched back to my old playing style.

So now I am back again and still trying to find a way to improve my winrate. So here some questions I hope someone can help me with:

- I currently play something like: 18/14/5 (VPIP/PFR/3BET). I find the gap pretty big, but that's because I tend to isolate a bit less and just call and play a bit of a fit or fold game (not entirely, but with some types of hands). Should my 3bet be even bigger? So what are the optimal stats for 5NL zoom?

- Do we steal with Ax type of hands or just a subset of these hands in the BTN and/or SB? And how do we proceed if we hit an the A on the flop?

- I had a hard time to get value from small PP from the blinds when the PFR is on the BTN (or even the CO). So I started to raise with PP from the blinds in this case. This way I increase my changes of winning a small pot (when villain folds) or a bigger pot (when he calls and I hit my set) and even let my hand easier go when I miss as the pot is getting to big for my small PP. Any suggestions on this?
 
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Tue Apr 02, 2013, 03:08 PM
(#2)
RockerguyAA's Avatar
Since: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,089
BronzeStar
Nice dude you seem to be largely on top of things for taking on 5NL. There are however a few flaws in logic with your post that I'd like to point out.
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First is your perspective on the downswing. While playing a wider range of hands will result in larger swings in variance in general, that doesn't necessarily mean your 10 buy-in downswing is a direct result of it. It is possible to have that severe a downswing even if your were playing tighter. You mentioned that your felt you were going to showdown too often while playing a wider range. That is more likely what is having a direct effect on your downswing. It sounds like you have not fully adjusted yet to playing a wider range. The wider your range is pre-flop, the stronger your post-flop ability needs to be. So it may be that you are simply making too many mistakes post-flop. A good place to start and try to fix that may be to simply go to showdown less often. You could just tighten up pre-flop, but that just avoids the problem. It may be more beneficial to your game to just keep working on improving your post-flop play with your current strategy. You will have to eventually anyways. This is all assuming your not playing too loose pre-flop, but it doesn't sound like you are.

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I don't think your 18/14/5 has any big 'gap' in stats really. It is good to have about 4-5% difference in your VPIP and PFR. You will usually be raising yourself, but there definitely are some times where calling is best. When it comes to 3-bets, working in some light 3-bets into your range against decent regulars/solid players is a good (profitable) idea at 5NL. Against random players and fish it simply isn't necessary though. So a 5% 3-bet seems well within an appropriate range.

I find myself aiming for around 23/18 VPIP/PFR at 4NL 6-max, but lately I am often falling short of that quite a bit. My range has probably been closer to yours. I'm still trying to figure out why I haven't been able to loosen up as much as I planned to, but it is all good because it still works. You can still profit quite a bit playing 18/14/5 at 5NL.

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Ax type hands can definitely be played profitably on the button, suited or unsuited. That said though, if I have an opponent playing back at me some from the blinds I usually drop the weakest Ax out of my range quickly since they really isn't the strongest of hands. Ax suited hands do offer some reasonable 4-bet semi-bluff opportunities though if an opponent is 3-betting you excessively. Also keep in mind that A5 is overall much better than A6 due to the straight possibility. When you hit an A on the flop just c-bet is very often for value. It is not terribly likely that your opponent/s will have an A as well. If they call then re-evaluate the strength of your hand on the turn before barreling again. There is no need to value-own yourself on all 3 streets, but you don't want to miss out on value or give free cards for no logical reason.

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With small pocket pairs, it is usually a terrible idea to call a raise from the SB. These hands do have value though and big potential so raising is often better than folding if we suspect the open raising opponent has a wide range. In the BB it is more often OK to call due to better pot odds, but not much better. Of course if there are multiple players in the pot and we are getting great odds calling can quickly become better than folding.

Playing small pocket pairs out of position can be rather costly if we have no backup plan for the 7/8 times we miss out set. While we do want to basically give up often when we call and miss or when we c-bet and get called, we have to look for other ways to make them more profitable. In position we can sometimes float a flop c-bet and attack weakness on later streets, but out of position it is more difficult. The only other trick up my sleeve (thanks to Dusty Schmidt's Treat Your Poker Like A Business Book), is to occasionally raise/check-raise bluff on the flop. It is a great move, but you have to be able to determine which flops are very bad for your opponents range. Also, it is best done against decent players who can think past their own two cards and consider what type of hand you are raising with. It is almost a pure bluff though, so if it doesn't work it is usually best to give it up unless a really scary card hits the turn/river. A great bonus to this play is that it helps to balance your flop-raising range quite a bit. That is another reason it's used best against thinking opponents since fish type players don't ever think about your range so that bonus is wasted.

Hope this helps!
 
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Thu Apr 04, 2013, 06:56 AM
(#3)
morduk666's Avatar
Since: Aug 2011
Posts: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by PokerIggy View Post
- I had a hard time to get value from small PP from the blinds when the PFR is on the BTN (or even the CO). So I started to raise with PP from the blinds in this case. This way I increase my changes of winning a small pot (when villain folds) or a bigger pot (when he calls and I hit my set) and even let my hand easier go when I miss as the pot is getting to big for my small PP. Any suggestions on this?
When you do 3bet from the blinds, do you raise all kinds of players(Unknowns,NITS,TAGS,LAGS,PASSIVES etc.) or is there any of these profiles that should be avoided?
 
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Thu Apr 04, 2013, 05:39 PM
(#4)
TrustySam's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 8,291
BronzeStar
Hey PokerIggy!!


That's such a great question - it's something I struggle with too ... what can I do to increase my winrate? So hard to tell sometimes whether it's us or the cards, when sometimes we play fine but don't win - or play bad, but do


So far I've been getting a lot of great ideas for plugging leaks from attending Live Training, rewatching the vids, and reading HA.

Like that question of what hands to reraise from the blinds in 6-max zoom morduk - I think it was answered in this class:

The Biggest Blind #1


I think the vids have helped me a lot with a leak that was particular to me - not folding soon enough, and then winding up in a lot of tricky spots, with mediocre hands? Stuff like that?
 
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Fri Apr 05, 2013, 03:52 AM
(#5)
PokerIggy's Avatar
Since: Nov 2010
Posts: 214
Thanks RockerGuy for that extensive answer!! This definitely helped me to realize that it's probably just my post flop play that lacks some knowledge when holding weaker hands. I did however now returned to my old preflop range, and just started to open a bit more in late position to get a bit familiar with a wider range. Hands like A2o-A5o and such. But also opening a bit more from early position like JQo as I got the fealing that this is also profitable on 5NL. Targeting a 20/16 range or so at first. I also try to keep in mind what you said about going less to showdown. Thanks for that tip! It confirms what I already thought but didn't do enough I guess.

About 3betting. I don't realy like light 3-bets that much on zoom as people tend to play their cards more than the player. So they will fold weak holdings and continue with strong holdings. So light 3-betting isn't realy profitable I think. There are some exceptions ofcourse.

@morduk666: I mostly use villains position to decide if I will 3bet him. For instance. Against an early opener I will more often drop out hands like KQ to prevent colission with AQ, AK. Definintely when its a tight opener. Against looser players I will 3bet lighter. From the blinds I will most of the times just 3bet a standard range like all PP, ATs+. I will call with hands like TJs+ sometimes when the BTN or CO is a loose player as this will result often in me having a better hand on the flop and I will just continue a lot more passive and let villain do the betting to extract some value (when I have hit the flop). I think I should look at his aggression factor a bit more when doing this, however I don't actually do this yet. Also against unknowns I will most likely only 3bet my top range like QQ+, AK.

I also do selective 4betting on 5NL, but mostly against user with a 3bet range of 8+. You sometimes see 3-bet ranges of 13+. Then I'll definitely 4bet a lot wider and fold if my hand is too weak to continue against a 5bet/shove.

@TrustySam:Yeah I think improving your winrate is something every poker player tries to do and ofcourse there is a lot of content available on PSO that will help us do this. The hard thing with poker is that making some small mistakes can result in losing money and finding them and plugging them isn't that easy. But we'll manage eventually!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RockerguyAA View Post
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Hope this helps!
This definitely helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

Last edited by PokerIggy; Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 04:05 AM..
 
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Fri Apr 05, 2013, 04:53 PM
(#6)
TrustySam's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 8,291
BronzeStar
Have to make sure to respond fast, before you and your wife have your new baby - my brother's got two little ones, and they seem to require constant care ... no more golf, unless you count Fisher Price putt-putt

I tried a bunch of stuff at 5nl after playing about 25,000 hands too - stuff like tinkering with my blinds stealing ranges (to make the wider, or more narrow). Not 100% sure how it went, because my button winrate was good, but my cut-off was not for the longest time. And then suddenly one day it switched, so like ... I couldn't tell if the ranges were making a difference, or if it was just variance, or what?

Something I noticed was that there were a bunch of one-pair TP hands where I wound up losing with a lesser kicker, in the cut-off to blinds region. So ... maybe that's like something that goes hand-in-hand with widening a range?


I posted this clip from Live Training in my Time Vault thread a while back of how if we think our kicker might not be good we're supposed to fold (Typecasting Zoom @23:55)



But when I found myself in a similar situation against a tight reg, I wasn't able to find it in me to fold, so in the net, not sure if widening my stealing range wound up being +EV or what?




Meh ... just some random thoughts ... I don't know. Anyways, GL at the tables, and GL to you and your wife with the new baby!!
 
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Sun Apr 07, 2013, 05:55 AM
(#7)
PokerIggy's Avatar
Since: Nov 2010
Posts: 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrustySam View Post
Have to make sure to respond fast, before you and your wife have your new baby - my brother's got two little ones, and they seem to require constant care ... no more golf, unless you count Fisher Price putt-putt
haha. Yeah Io had to give up golf or poker too when my first was born. I choose to give up golf that time. I hope I don't have to give up poker this time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrustySam View Post
I tried a bunch of stuff at 5nl after playing about 25,000 hands too - stuff like tinkering with my blinds stealing ranges (to make the wider, or more narrow). Not 100% sure how it went, because my button winrate was good, but my cut-off was not for the longest time. And then suddenly one day it switched, so like ... I couldn't tell if the ranges were making a difference, or if it was just variance, or what?
Hmm, that's a good one. I'll try to find some time to do some database analysis on this some day. See if I can find out how I'm doing from the blinds. I actually currently don't have a clue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrustySam View Post
Something I noticed was that there were a bunch of one-pair TP hands where I wound up losing with a lesser kicker, in the cut-off to blinds region. So ... maybe that's like something that goes hand-in-hand with widening a range?
Yeah I think at zoom you'll have to be really carefull with that as when people play back, then you're mostly beat as they will just fold their weaker holdings against a raise.

btw also thanks for pointing me out to the "The biggest blind" series. I've watched those videos before, but totally forgot about them. I'll try to watch them again some day soon as its something I'm currently actively working on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrustySam View Post
Meh ... just some random thoughts ... I don't know. Anyways, GL at the tables, and GL to you and your wife with the new baby!!
Thanks!! Its'gonna be an exciting week I think.
 
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Mon Apr 08, 2013, 01:36 PM
(#8)
Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,905
Hey PokerIggy!

I play full ring zoom, but struggle with the same issues. However, I go at them from a different angle that might be useful. I discuss them in my FR post, but here are the pertinant thoughts.

I don't aim for "optimal" vpip/pfr stats. What is optimal for one player may not be optimal for another. I think you need to focus on what works for you and incrementally improving apon it. For me, this is defined by the types of hands and spots that I can confidently play post flop. When I first started I sucked postflop. So, I played super nitty tight. The more I learn the wider my range becomes. I would think this true at 6-Max as well.

Secondly, rather that looking for spots to increase your value (such as with pp), I suggest looking for spots to minimize your losses. I find it easier to look through my stats to isolate the leaks where I am losing money, than to find spots where I might be able to make more money.

Just my two cents! Keep up the good discussion. This is a great thread!

Roland GTX
 
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Mon Apr 08, 2013, 02:46 PM
(#9)
Sandtrap777's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 3,310
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland GTX View Post
I don't aim for "optimal" vpip/pfr stats. What is optimal for one player may not be optimal for another. I think you need to focus on what works for you and incrementally improving apon it.
Roland GTX
I totally agree
There's the basic knowledge or info available for all, but then you need to find what works. My VPIP and PFR are 17/13 with a BB/100 of 6.88 since January 2012 over 350,000 hands played and cash winnings of $8,965.

I tried over 3 months to increase my C-Bet value, but it was a disaster for me, so I decided to go back to what did work, but I'm still working on it.

Remember that poker is a continuous learning process

Goog Luck
 

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