(Some Disorganized Thoughts) On the Topic of Hand-Reading and Incomplete Info
I've been working a ton on hand-reading lately, as I see it as something (along with mental game crap) that is holding me back a lot from being able to play more efficiently (and obviously more optimally).
I feel like hand-reading is something that most people think they are "pretty good at" but also that most people wish they could improve on. So I figured I'd share some of my thought process on hand-reading as of late.
Poker is a game of incomplete info, so I've been thinking a lot about which villain actions give us the most
info. I think I was watching a strategy video a while back and someone said something like "big bets and raises give you the most and the most accurate info."
I'm not sure that's quite true. If a weak-tight player who rarely bets suddenly 3bets a flop, then yeah that's a gold mine of info (another way to word this would be to say it narrows his range substantially). Seems like we get the most info from actions that are LESS likely to be made by a certain player. In other words, the actions that are taken less frequently narrow the villain's range the most.
Wow. When I word it like that it sounds stupidly obvious. Villain has a range -> villain takes action that he only does with small part of his range (and therefore less frequently) -> villain's range is MUCH smaller now. Duh. Apologies for what is probably extremely obvious to a lot of the more experienced players here.
For example, if a maniac opens from MP and we flat on the button, and the villain does NOT cbet and Q72r board, we can probably narrow his range more than if he cbets the board, as we expect him to cbet a huge part of his range.
I'll forego more examples, but I think what this says is that it's absolutely crucial to be hand-reading on every street. Often times a villain's range can stay very wide on the flop, and sometimes even on the turn, because of their actions, but then one action on the river tells
us our hand is no good.
Another similar epiphany I had is that the more actions that happen per street, the more likely we are to have more info. If villain opens MP, we flat button, and villain check-raises flop, we have more info than if villain simply lead out on the flop.
I'm not sure how much this is going to help me in the near future, but the obvious follow up to that idea is that by raising opponents bets, you not only have a chance to take down pots through fold equity, but you also gain information more quickly during a hand, as it forces more actions to take place. I'm not advocating raising or check-raising every flop, but imo it adds more incentive for aggression as opposed to passivity when you might otherwise take a calling-station approach with a mediocre hand.
Sorry for the rant. Writing out my thoughts on stuff I'm learning/thinking about helps immensely, and hearing what other people think is doubly good.