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I don't want to become too nitty and too passive!

I don't want to become too nitty and too passive! - Tue Apr 01, 2014, 04:27 AM
pullin1988's Avatar
Since: Apr 2013
Posts: 717
Hi guys,

I hope all is well within your poker world. I am looking for a bit of advice.

I watched a poker lesson video the other night, I think it was called "reads and ranging part 1, 2 & 3 by the langolier": awesome videos; however, I think it may have lead me to think on a more passive and nittier approach to poker.

Here is a scenario below that I would like some advice on (if you don't mind)

the game is 2nl/5nl FR Zoom cash games

Hero on BTN with KK, 100bb TAG
Villain on CO, 100bb TAG 15/12 3bet 3%

Villain on CO raises to 3bb
Hero re-raises to 9bb on the BTN holfing pocket KKs

Now this is where I am becoming a bit stuck. AT 2nl I have always tried to get stacks in preflop when holding KKs, but is this right against a thinking TAG Player who may perceive hero as a TAG or a nitty type player.

Preflop on the BTN I believe to be way ahead of villain's range when he bets from the CO, but is 3betting right? This is where I don't want to become a passive nitty player.

If I 3bet do you think a TAG type low 3bet villain will do the following:

villain's 3bet stat overall is 3%, so around JJ+ AKo, AQs+. So I believe if villain 4bets me, is he range looking really strong, and what should I do with my KK?

If villain calls, do you think I can be called by worse, if villain has a high fold to 3bet?

Villain could also decide to trap with AA (by calling the 3bet), especially if he is a thinking player and see a nitty 3bet stat on hero.

I am coming to the conclusion (and want to be corrected) that I should flat with KK on the BTN against his CO raise to keep his range wide (this seems wrong to me on many levels although maybe not against a nit), but then again if he has AQ, AT, AJ, JJ, TT, etc, I don't really want villain to see the flop and hit a monster cheaply, not while I am probably ahead of his range.

I think I need to be steered on the right track again.



Last edited by pullin1988; Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:32 AM..
Tue Apr 01, 2014, 05:23 AM
bhoylegend's Avatar
Since: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,261
I'm never (I know your not supposed to use that word in poker) flatting KK against a CO open. If we do this we are just inviting more calls behind with speculative hands. We ideally want to take KK to the flop against 2 others at most.

If the blinds are really nitty that might not apply but still...

If nothing else we should be raising for value as we have a premium hand and CO doesn't have to give us credit due to our position.

I've seen nits stack off with JJ pre-flop from EP so I guess it depends on reads.

I'm always 3betting though.
Tue Apr 01, 2014, 07:37 AM
Roland GTX's Avatar
Since: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,905
Good question pullin!

In general (against unknowns and most players) I will 3b in this spot. 3betting maximizes our value by taking advantage of common mistakes made by players at 2NL and 5NL. They too often call 3b oop or 4b jam with hands we are crushing. 3betting also protects our strong hand by isolating the raiser. If all the money goes in the middle preflop, I am happy with that. As bhoylegend points out, we don't want a string of callers since big pairs play best against a single opponent. So, in general, don't pass up an opportunity to build the pot with your strong hands. This option keeps it simple and is rarely a mistake, but it may not be optimal 100% of the time. I would need a compelling reason though to flat call rather than 3betting.

One reason might be a well-known tight villain raiser who has 100% fold to 3bet when oop. Against this villain, we rate to win more by flatting and letting him barrel post flop since he "always" folds to 3bets. However, we need to play smart post flop and not stack off blindly on every and all boards when we flat. Remember, "it is just a pair".

Another scenerio might be if one of the blinds was especially squeeze happy with a high 3bet%. Flatting may induce a 3bet which builds the pot for us. If the CO calls, then I'd usually make a solid 4b. If the CO folds, we might flat the 3b and put our position to advantage winning the pot post flop as in the example above.

A different scenario may occur at higher levels where I know players are keeping track of my actions, I try to avoid black and white answers. I don't want to "always" do X in situation A. So the meta game might come in to play. I might flat with AA or KK in this spot vs a well known opponent for the long term benefits of balancing my 3b and calling ranges. That way, if I were to flat call some time in the future, the villain won't know that I "always 3b with KK" thus excluding it from my flatting range. I might flat something like 1 out of 20 times just to keep things balanced.

It all depends on what we know about the villains in the hand on both sides of us; the raiser and the blinds. What do we know about their preflop tendancies and what do we know about their postflop tendancies. And, how comfortable are we playing hands like this postflop?

In the scenerio you describe, I would normally 3b. Firstly, I don't know who is in the blinds. Secondly, even though he has a value only 3b%, we don't know his Fold to 3b%. Moreover, ranges tend to be a bit wider in late position battles. As bhoylegend stated, many "nitty" players will still stack off in these late position battles with hands we are beating such as JJ, QQ, AK.

We could talk about this all day long, but the short answer is 3b unless you have a compelling reason not to.

Finally, I would say you are now on the right track. Your question shows you are thinking about the partiuclar situation, not just in general terms. Thinking (and re-thinking) about all these details is the road to improvement.


Roland GTX
Wed Apr 02, 2014, 03:59 AM
pullin1988's Avatar
Since: Apr 2013
Posts: 717
Cheers guys

I am glad I am right track with my thinking process.


Wed Apr 02, 2014, 10:05 AM
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,355
Originally Posted by pullin1988 View Post
AT 2nl I have always tried to get stacks in preflop when holding KKs, but is this right against a thinking TAG Player who may perceive hero as a TAG or a nitty type player.
At 2NL, you SHOULD always try to stack off KK pre-flop. You'll run into aces occasionally, but it is hugely profitable to 3-bet (big) with the second best hand in holdem, as villains will call with stuff like AJ or 99, which play really badly post-flop OOP.
I've flatted kings on the button a few times, but there were specific reasons (e.g. villain played 11/3 and folds QQ to a 3-bet when I'd rather that sees a flop with 18% equity, or I was confident a maniac in the blinds would squeeze, allowing me to backraise all in for value).

At higher stakes, you should also 3-bet KK the vast majority of the time, but you can prevent villains exploiting your perceived nittiness by also 3-betting light sometimes. One way to get stack action with KK is to 3-bet hands like A3s. If villains know you always have QQ+/AK when you 3-bet, you're totally unbalanced, and villains can exploit you by folding queens and jacks to your 3-bet. If you sometimes show up with A5s, then they will be happy to stack off AQ or JJ, which are still underdogs to a more balanced/polarized range of QQ+/AK/A5-2ss.

In short, if you're worried about villains realising you're a nit, then stop being a nit.
As it goes, you don't need to worry about this too much at 2nl/5nl, as even the players with HUDs won't have a decent sample size or notes on your 3-bet range, and even if they do they'll still make bad calls.

Bracelet Winner
Wed Apr 02, 2014, 10:18 AM
JWK24's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 24,832
I'm 3-betting too and will flat a 4-bet. With the opp being tight, what I do need to do... is to be smart enough to let KK go if an A comes on the flop, because this smacks the opp's range.

Just because I have KK does not mean that I want the chips in preflop. I want to build a pot, but be smart about it.

John (JWK24)


6 Time Bracelet Winner


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