Factoring Stack Size into your PreFlop Action
Hey Gang, I've been thinking about something a lot lately that I hadn't thought of much until recent events (stacking people with shady hands for hundreds of dollars at the live tables).
I have a very LAG style, in that I don't mine showing up to raised pots with weak holdings if the strength of my hand is low, but has potential to hit big against a deepstack. Also I certainly don't mind barrelling or 3-betting light if I think it's going to be a profitable move.
In one of Harrington's Cash books, he discusses this theory, and relates it to a venture capitalist. If I understood the theory correctly, he basically says that a venture capitalist is somebody who puts small amounts of money into business that may or may not make it, but if it blows up, they make a lot of money.
Loosely translated and in my own words - I look at the potential of my hand rather than the strength of my hand. And a big deciding factor in potential is stack size. In the live games I frequented while I was home, a few players ussually get their stack sizes up to about 200BBs and sit there, waiting for opportunities to play their stack against eachother with the nuts, picking off the short stacks to keep up with blinds etc. I believe while I'm relatively new at this, it has paid off well.
DISCLAIMER - Some of you 'nitty' online players are going to tell me that I shouldn't be showing up to a flop with these garbage hands. Let alone calling a flop bet with them. That's all well and good, perhaps it's a -EV move, but I'm looking for BIG pots. And a BIG pot is decided by one player with a deepstack having what he considers to be the best hand against another player with a deepstack having what he considers to be the best hand, and these 'hidden strength' hands are very sneaky ways to get it done.
All of these hands are at the 2/3 NL at the Bike, a live game.
Hand 1 - 24o double up
I'm in MP with 24o. I've just bought in for $300, and perhaps I'm tilting a little bit. The player directly on my right hand ~$500 in front of him, and raises to $15. I call, knowing damn well I'm behind, and I'll fold to a 3-bet (this table didn't 3-bet often, otherwise I probably wouldn't try this move from this position). The button calls the $15, blinds fold.
After the rake, the pot is ~$45.
Flop comes Q72 rainbow.
The player on my right bets out $25, presumably with an overpair or a strong queen. Let's say AQ just to be on the side safest. He ussually doesn't put money into the pot with nothing, and being the preflop raiser from out of position I give him credit for KQ at the very least. And I don't think he'd bet a set of queens (or sevens, or dueces) on such a dry flop, even if it is 3-players. I decide a call is in order, and I don't suspect the pot will get raised by the BTN. The BTN calls, and I pray for another duece.
The turn comes a 4, not making a flush possible. The player on my right fires up his engines, and bets $100 into the pot of $120. I decide he's commited enough to call a jam, and if I'm beat or get drawn on, I've got more money in my pocket, however the BTN won't call a jam here with only a Q. I jam, BTN folds, player on my right calls, flips over AQ.
Had this player had $40 in his stack, I wouldn't have dared show up to this flop. So stack size definitely mattered, and luckily a bunch of harmless looking cards came out, and I ended up being best after all the cards had fallen.
Hand 2 - 35o turns a monster.
In this hand, I was the chip leader at the table. I had already stacked the player on my right in two straight hands (24o and 66 with a set respectively), and was for the most part playing my rush. A raise from a 100 BB stack gets my attention from the button, and I happily call a raise here.
The flop comes 47J rainbow. The preflop raiser checks, and I'm happy to check behind him. If he has an overpair, TP, or even 2nd pair I'm looking at a 9% chance to improve to a straight, and only if I hit a 3 or a 5 am I going to open up to any more outs to beat him, or be drawing thin to a flopped set.
The turn comes my miracle 6, and he decides it's time to bet. He fires a pot sized bet. I look at him, and decide to make what looks to be a steal attempt, and raise to 2.25x his raise. He jams on me with AJ, and I call, happily adding his stack to mine.
Luckily on this hand I was able to use my position and my opponent overvaluing his hand to my advantage.
After stacking him, villain rebuys, wins a few small pots, and a few hands later he raises again. I look down with Td5d from the button.
Now - generally T7 is the worst T I'll play, and in fact I'm folding this hand about 90% of the time, even if me and villain are stacked and a million BBs each (not true, but if I'm stacked that deep at a cash game I'm calling a friend to pull me off the table and provide armed support in case it becomes neccesary as we leave the casino). I talk myself into not folding by saying "it's such a small bet, it's just a fraction of your stack. Maybe you'll flop 2pr or something." Okay, me. Okay. So I call.
The flop comes 9 high, all diamonds. Villain checks his whole cards (big PP anyone, one to no diamonds?) and jams. Now I'm in a predicament. Should villain have AdXd here I'm getting my money in bad and winning 0% of the time. Should he have a bigger diamond he has 7 outs to beat me on two streets, rule of fours says he has a little better than a 28% chance to make a flush, let alone runners to a fullhouse if my read is right, so we'll leave it at 28% to accomodate for his runners and folded diamonds.
I call, he asks me if I flopped it, and he opens KcKd. No more diamonds come.
What do all these hands have in common?
1. I have position on the original raiser.
2. They're all 'snap-fold' preflop for most players.
3. They all won me over 100BBs each.
I left that night with $2000 in chips (getting off the table with 666 BBs is fun), and had a lot to think about as far as playing deepstack poker.
I believe it can be profitable at live games, because most live players don't have the math of bet-sizing available to them, and are overall a weaker field. I believe it can be profitable at online games, however much less so, as a flat-call pre, and a raise on the river sets off 'set alarms' to most players who see a bajillion hands, so you have a lot of fold equity.
But it's something I'd like to discuss - how does stack size effect your decisions in poker?
All discussion is welcome.