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Open Raise & 3-bet Sizing

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Open Raise & 3-bet Sizing - Mon Jun 03, 2013, 07:50 PM
(#1)
iggyo's Avatar
Since: Jul 2010
Posts: 171
Hi everyone,

Recently, I posted a hand for analysis and noticed that my bet sizing was a little off. I find that one of the best ways to reinforce learning is to talk about the subject. Keep in mind that this is for full ring cash tables. So here it is:

My bet sizing has evolved from the standard 3XBB that most beginning players are taught. You should already know that you shouldn't change your bet sizes based on your hand strength. So what exactly do you base it on? Position. Your position in relation to the Dealer button, if you don't know already, is extremely important in No Limit Hold'em (and other games). Many good players seem to open raise something like this: 4XBB in EP (early position), 3X in MP (middle) and 2X in LP (late). I tend to open like this: 2XBB in EP, 2.5X-3X in MP and 3X-3.5X in LP. The reason why I do this is so that I don't commit too many chips when in early position, where I stand to make less profit from the same ranking hand than in later positions. If I bet more in later positions, the pot becomes bigger and I stand to make even more profit. If my early position open is 3-bet, I can easily get away from the hand (given that my hand isn't strong enough to 4-bet or call) as I have not committed a lot of chips. This betting structure also allows me to occasionally open from early position with speculative hands like suited connectors and small pairs. Above, I mentioned that players shouldn't vary their bet sizes by the strength of their hand. However, since it is a cardinal rule, I like to break it sometimes. For example, if I'm in early position holding or , I may bet 4XBB if there are LAG-tards behind me who I know will call (or raise) with marginal hands.

There is also a good argument for limping in early position with . This encourages more 3-betting against you and you can 4-bet or flat and still know you are ahead. However, it's obvious that the more players that get involved with the hand while you're holding , the less chance you have of winning. I believe the profit/loss tipping point is at about 5 players. Your aces have a big chance to get cracked with more than 5 players and profit turns into loss. This type of betting is easily exploitable by better players though, if you only do this with AA (or monster hands).

With regards to 3-betting, I tend to make it 2.5X-3X the original bet in position and 3X-3.5X OOP. In position, I have an advantage so I would like calls whereas out of position, I am at a disadvantage and don't necessarily want a call.

Let me know what you think (eg. "you're doing it wrong") and why (eg."your logic is flawed"). How do you size your bets? Thanks!

Lester


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Mon Jun 03, 2013, 08:13 PM
(#2)
blainetoms's Avatar
Since: May 2013
Posts: 22
open min, 3b 2.5/3. standard and consistent.

4/5bets open for discussion.


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Tue Jun 04, 2013, 12:18 AM
(#3)
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,363
I wrote in detail about deviating from standard pre-flop bet-sizes on my blog a couple of weeks ago, and explained my reasons for doing so.
It's kind of funny, but some players (including me) swear that you should open for larger sizes in EP and smaller in LP, and others (maybe even Dan Harrington if I remember correctly) go the opposite route, with smaller EP opens and larger LP raises. The happy medium would appear to use the same sizing in every seat.

I'm not at all fond of limping aces. Every time I see someone try the limp-reraise trick, I have a little laugh, at both the player who tries it (usually a fish*, to be honest), and his victim. (I don't laugh too much, when I'm the victim, however, and it's happened a number of times when I wasn't paying full attention. )
I think I've only limped AA three times in my life, and I lost every pot. Lolbad sample-size I know, but getting "tricky" is just fancy play syndrome, and is more likely to cause problems and miss value than lead to higher profits.

I'm not a 3-bet wizard, but I use similar sizes to you. 3x IP and 3.5x OOP. I make it larger when OOP to increase the fold equity a little (if I want villain to fold) and to slightly improve the stack to pot ratio in my favour. If the pot is larger and the stacks behind are relatively smaller, the (dis)advantage of position is slightly lessened by the "better" SPR.

I'd alter my 3-bet sizing further according to villain type and stack size. If I have AA and a loose passive or an ubernit made a rare pre-flop raise, I'll choose a bigger sizing, expecting him to quickly get it all in with a big (but 2nd best) hand. i.e. If I'm expecting a call/4-bet, and I think/know I have the best hand, I want to get as much money in the pot as possible.

I think a standard 4-bet size is 2.5x the 3-bet, but it should be adjusted according to any other dead money in the pot from callers.

* Johnny Chan could profitably limp aces on HSP, but he's Johnny Chan. In a 10NL game or lower, I think it's a major blunder to slowplay a monster.


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Tue Jun 04, 2013, 03:25 AM
(#4)
bhoylegend's Avatar
Since: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,261
I tend to go slightly bigger in the very early positions now, not by much, x3.1 or something like that.

From everywhere else I am opening to just under 3bb. I know from playing 5nl that I am not the only one that does this. I see plenty of raises at around the same level 12-14c.

3bet size is similar to yours.

At the minute, I am never slowplaying AA/KK type hands, anything beneath that isnt worth slowplaying IMO.

I started looking through hands I folded the other day, out of curiosity to see what happened, and the amount of times I saw slowplayed AA/KK cracked served as a reminder of what a bad idea it is. Sure it will work sometimes but I dont see that there is any shortage of action when I raise with AA so why slowplay?
 
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Tue Jun 04, 2013, 06:10 PM
(#5)
Profess Awe's Avatar
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,579
FR Cash I 3x EP and MP and 2.2-2.5x Button and CO - I steal a fare amount + am happy post flop with position so can make it less. I will bump up EP raises to 3.5-4x with premiums if there is a high VPIP behind me or weak sticky blinds.
Phil Gordon advocated for raising smaller early and larger late - arguing that you are happy with callers when raising your good hands from early and want to detract callers with weaker range from late. Over time I have come to think this is awful advice and strongly believe the opposite.

re 4bets if we have a 4 bet bluffing range then I would generally make a 4 bet smaller than 2.5x in position - this is where it often happens - I raise late, blinds prone to resteal, I 4 bet bluff - If I raise pot I only have to get this through 50% of the time to make it profitable before considering that I might connect post if called, of course I make it same for 4 bet value hands. Kevin MacPhee advocates this and I would accept all his poker advice bar his belief in the power of staredowns.
 
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Tue Jun 04, 2013, 06:28 PM
(#6)
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Profess Awe View Post
Phil Gordon advocated for raising smaller early and larger late - arguing that you are happy with callers when raising your good hands from early and want to detract callers with weaker range from late. Over time I have come to think this is awful advice and strongly believe the opposite.
Ah yes, it was PG, not Action Dan. I'm with you on this. I don't like raising small in EP, because I don't want multiple callers. I hate playing out of position, even with aces.


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Tue Jun 04, 2013, 07:55 PM
(#7)
iggyo's Avatar
Since: Jul 2010
Posts: 171
This is getting interesting! Yes, Phil Gordon's Little Green Book does mention this but I first saw this on FTP's training site pre-Black Friday. I like big multi-way pots when I'm holding a speculative hand as it will usually get paid off big time when it hits. If it doesn't, again, you're only committing a small amount of chips to find out. As for aces, they do get cracked regardless of whether involved in a mulit-way pot or heads-up. The idea, obviously, is to win as much money as you can when you do have them. Therefore, when you do have them, you want as much action as you can handle (up to about 5 players as previously mentioned, according to the Mad Genius). I understand that the aces will get cracked more often with more players involved in the hand, but supposedly, you can keep ahead of the curve if you can win some monster pots with them. As a disclaimer, I'd like to say that I don't have a lot of experience doing this but am trying to incorporate it into my game to see what happens in reality.


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Tue Jun 04, 2013, 08:33 PM
(#8)
Profess Awe's Avatar
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,579
Agree with getting into big multiway pots with speculatives, although I prefer to see players in ahead of me, rather than opening something like .

As for aces and our goal to win as much as poss, better to try and get it in versus slightly worse hands. That is the action I want, hate more than two callers pre when raise .
 
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Tue Jun 04, 2013, 09:04 PM
(#9)
Fadyen's Avatar
Since: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,917
Lots of interesting points made in this thread. I'm going to assume we're talking about cash games or at least deep stack play as tournament play is very stack size dependant. I'm definately in the school of betting more the earlier my position. If I'm going to play early and out of position I'm going to charge my opponents to play against me, also in EP I should have a stronger range and want to build a big pot. The later position I'm in the less likey I am to be called so the less I have to risk to take the pot straight down but also I am risking less with a weaker range that is more vulnerable. It's kind of starnge since the cardinal rule is not to bet based on hand strength but in reality this is betting based on range strength. My general guide line is sometimes 4x UTG, 3x in EP-MP, 2.5x in LP and 2-2.5x on the button. I do sometimes change this up depending on who I'm playing obviously.

As for limping AA, I really hate that play. It's going to work sometimes against weaker opponents but I feel the majority of the time people are going to see right through it. Or what if you do get a bunch of calls and it goes multiway? Well yes in theory it can still be profitable since although you are up against more villains when you do win the pot should bigger, but is that really the case? Say you limp and get 3 callers plus the BB that's 5.5x in the pot to start and you have 4 hands that might suck out on you. While with 4 other players the pot can go up quickly but it's risky now. Where as if you raise 3x and get 1 caller then there is 7.5x in the pot and only 1 hand trying to suck out on you. There may also be the rare time you raise 3x and still get a few callers but then the pot really will be huge the times you win and all is good.

Now 3-betting, I tend to agree with those sizing iggy but it's not really as straightforward as that all the time and I often deviate from the standard. 3-betting is where skill really comes into it IMO. Really depends on position, stack sizes, table dynamics, villain tendencies, hand strength and how tricky you want to get/can get away with. Basically when you want action bet as much as you can get called or an amount that will get you raised and when you're bluffing, which I don't do too often pre in cash games, bet as little as will still comfortably get the job done. It's a fine line and not an easy one to get right all the time.



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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 02:38 AM
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Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
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I strongly agree with raising more from bad position (early and sb) and less when in positon for all the reasons stated above.

Personally, I 4x from UTG, but I'm opening with my tightest range there which helps offset some of the problems. Especially big pairs where you will be lost if you get a table full of limpers. Or, if you limp-raise from utg, you are pretty much telling them you have AA or KK.

I did previously try limping small pairs and some sc from ep. My thought was I would have to fold to a 3-bet if I raised, but could afford to limp-call with these hands. I found two problems with this line. Firstly, I end up check-folding the flop way too often because it becomes 100% fit or fold. Secondly, this makes me an open book to any villain that is paying attention which in turn makes it less likely that I will get paid when I flop a set or strong draw. In other words, I'm losing more often and winning less when I actually win.

I am on the nitty end of the scale, but UTG is one spot where I'm a lagtard. Note, I've only really tested this on 25NL FR Zoom.

4x raises from UTG in particular look strong. Therefore, I have widened my range from that position. I open all pairs on FR. My raises get a lot of respect because this is still my lowest VPIP postion. This results in a lot of folds. And when I do get called, I might flop a set, but can also very credibly rep a big hand QQ, KK, AA or AK. Some of my biggest pots have come from opening 4x with a low pocket pairs, flopping a set and stacking A10, AJ, AQ type hands that just called pf. I don't call 3-bets from EP though and I'm too chicken to 4-bet bluff.

AA I am betting/raising every chance I get preflop, both for value and to protect my hand. It is just a pair after all

Roland GTX
 
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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 01:46 PM
(#11)
Profess Awe's Avatar
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,579
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland GTX View Post
I am on the nitty end of the scale, but UTG is one spot where I'm a lagtard. Note, I've only really tested this on 25NL FR Zoom.

4x raises from UTG in particular look strong. Therefore, I have widened my range from that position. I open all pairs on FR. My raises get a lot of respect because this is still my lowest VPIP postion. This results in a lot of folds. And when I do get called, I might flop a set, but can also very credibly rep a big hand QQ, KK, AA or AK. Some of my biggest pots have come from opening 4x with a low pocket pairs, flopping a set and stacking A10, AJ, AQ type hands that just called pf. I don't call 3-bets from EP though and I'm too chicken to 4-bet bluff.
Wow, not what I would have expected from Roland GTX My hats off to anyone who can play small pairs profitably from early position, I never could and happily stopped opening them early.

I had assumed we were talking cash games - same typically applies to early deep tourney play - if we are talking more generally then there is some interesting discussion to be had around adjusting raise in tourneys sizes for low effective stacks, antes and being deep in da money.
 
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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 02:11 PM
(#12)
iggyo's Avatar
Since: Jul 2010
Posts: 171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Profess Awe View Post
I had assumed we were talking cash games
Yes, I'm primarily describing cash play here although as mentioned, these principles do similarly apply to deep stack play in tournaments. Love the feedback and opinions. I'm thinking about changing to big open raises early and smaller late and seeing what kind of difference in terms of profit/loss, etc. over a sample size of say 50K hands...


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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 02:35 PM
(#13)
Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Profess Awe View Post
Wow, not what I would have expected from Roland GTX My hats off to anyone who can play small pairs profitably from early position, I never could and happily stopped opening them early.
I started playing them before I knew better. Then I narrowed my range to 88+ from utg, but I found everything still tough to play when I didn't flop a set and overcards came. Somewhere along the line I got confident in my ranging skills and found that if I could play 1010 with overcards on the flop, then why not 22.

I am not really recommending this, just explaning what I do right or wrong.

Roland GTX
 
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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 03:36 PM
(#14)
Fadyen's Avatar
Since: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,917
I think that if you are going to limp pocket Aces UTG then you should also be limping with other hands like small pockets and suited connectors but still not loving that so much.

And I certainly do play all pockets UTG in cash games and am not afraid to be aggressive with them.. I can't say for certain if it's profitable or not but it doesn't feel wrong. I think when you hit a set in this spot and can get some action you tend to win big and when you miss you can either play it like you have a stong Ace or bigger pockets or you can easily get away depending on the board texture and action and so on. Would almost never do this in a tourney though so perhaps I'm just being delusional about it being a good thing to do.



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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 06:39 PM
(#15)
Profess Awe's Avatar
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,579
RE all pocket pairs FR UTG

Here is why I don't open all pocket pairs UTG, I previously did this before mid April when I made some changes to my leaky cash game. I found that in all hands I had saved before mid April from early position with 22-66 I was -72/bb/100 , from MP-BB with 22-66 I was =49bb/100 . That was pretty telling for my game, not saying it would be the same for everyone but worth a look on holdem manager or pokertracker.

Here is why I think I was doing so bad. I raised small pairs from early to 3x, flop is often 3 overs and I cbet (cos I used to do that too much as well!) but I don't really know if my cold calling opponent who is in position has high cards or a better pocket pair, so I was lost really.
Also it makes sense that if I am raising UTG and up against the calling range from LP or blinds I may not get paid off if I hit my set. Whereas now that I am focussing more on cold calling with low pockets versus the strong range of early position I am more likely to get paid off when I hit a set and they have an overpair or hit top pair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland GTX View Post
if I could play 1010 with overcards on the flop, then why not 22.

I am not really recommending this, just explaning what I do right or wrong.
Versus an unknown or someone not keeping an eye on how often we raise this is fine, but it is easier to play TT strongly postflop when it misses and our opponent knows we are only in there with 4% of hands versus when we open 7.5+% and our opponent knows we cant always be strong.
 
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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 07:02 PM
(#16)
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,363
When I was playing full ring 2NL and 5NL, I analysed my stats with small pairs and found that for early positions:
Limping was marginally -EV.
Folding was neutral EV, obviously.
Raising was hugely -EV.

Maybe I just didn't hit enough sets in my relatively small sample size, but another part of the problem may have been my lack of post-flop aggression. I wasn't firing more than one barrel when called, as it always seemed spewy for me to fire 2 barrels with an underpair against most opponents. At higher stakes than 5NL, raising all pairs in EP, even in FR games may be profitable. It at leasts balances your range, if that's important. I wonder if frosty opens with small pairs in EP.

In 6-max games, I think it's fairly standard to open all pairs in all positions, but I'm not yet confident enough to do it with anything less than 55.


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Wed Jun 05, 2013, 07:55 PM
(#17)
Profess Awe's Avatar
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,579
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtySmokesPS View Post
It at leasts balances your range, if that's important. I wonder if frosty opens with small pairs in EP.
I do balance my range from early but there are too many pocket pairs to balance it + I want some suited connectors in my opening range from all positions. Aside from my resistance to continuing losing money opening low pairs from early, I just cant open all pairs + premiums + some suited connectors UTG without feeling like I am opening way too wide and probably be liable to exploitation.

From the Frosty vids I have watched I am sure he is not opening small pairs in EP - have seen him dump them, I also recall that he is careful about where he is cold calling, there is less value in set mining at 100NL where less players will pay off your sets with overpairs let alone TP. I wouldn't know the inner workings of 100NL of course, but I can watch Frosty vids and pretend to know
 

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