This is a discussion on Discussing the Concept of Balance within the online poker forums, in the Tournament Poker section; As a lot of us do, I study lots and lots of Poker. Within the last couple of years, I've found enormous value to Upswing
As a lot of us do, I study lots and lots of Poker. Within the last couple of years, I've found enormous value to Upswing Poker, fully understanding that there are some different ideas floating around among serious tournament/Poker minds.
I had two hands in my last tournament that I'd like to use as a basis for this discussion.
$27K and effective $400/$800/$800 HPT $1,100 Main
Folds to me, open $1,800
Folds to BB who 3-bet to $5,500
Now, this is never a fold, and it seems like a 4-bet is profitable here as well. Nonetheless, I settled on a call in the attempt to make sure I balance with some of my other HJ open hands that are clear 4-bets (AK) and clear folds (ATo).
BB bets $7,500 and I call, again balancing. My hand is way too strong to fold, and not quite strong enough to raise. Though, in hindsight, I've been thinking a little differently in that, of the hands I call with pre-flop, this is at the top of that range and even when balancing should probably be a flop raise. But anyway, that's the point of this discussion.
BB bets $10K
As played, I had no idea where I was at - and I find that routinely occurs when I try to balance hands like this. My stack could not stand to call this turn bet, so this is either an all-in or fold, and either way I'm guessing, and/or hoping he does/doesn't have it.
$50K and effective, $1k/$2k/$2k HPT Main
UTG open $5K
Rest of the table folds
I am absolutely not against a 3-bet here. However, and again in the interest of balance, we need to have some pairs we flat here, some we raise, and some we fold. We know we're folding <66 and 3 betting >QQ, so TT becomes a flat. But......but.....it turns our hand into a passive, no further information, type of hand.
UTG bets $12K and I call - again in the too good to fold, not good enough to raise spot.
UTG moves all-in.
Now, in this spot I called for reasons not applicable to the question of this post.
In a nutshell, I know UTG well and have had numerous hands with him over years of playing together. Additionally, I thought I had a live read (that turned out to be wrong) and did not have the .
He had the aces, so, whatever, good game - but I again found myself in the guessing spot and used what I thought was a live tell and some card removal to nudge me to the call side.
So anyway, the point of this post is to discuss balance in a tournament. I know that even amongst Upswing staff there is some disagreement on the subject, namely Tonka.
Tonka's opinion is that balance is kind of moot in tournaments since you will probably never see that guy again. I find myself, in the middle a little bit, since I play in Colorado at the same casino, and while 6 players at the table, I've never seen before, 4 I have, and have seen a lot.
Nonetheless, it seems like attempting to balance puts you in bad spots a lot. In both of the above hands, if I have raised at any point - the outcome would have been drastically different and more profitable IMO. But doing so, unbalances us – is that a problem at these stakes?
Like a lot of Poker advice, it comes from high stakes pro’s where this kind of stuff does matter. Against the donk that just flatted an open with a2o in the SB, does any of this shit matter? Or are we just intentionally putting ourselves in a bad spot thinking that we’re balancing with the times we’re nutted up?
I wouldn’t worry about balancing the AJs. Personally I feel that blinds 3bet very wide and 4betting as a bluff would actually balance your 4bet range. You have an Ace blocker leaving only 3 combos of AA and 12 combos of QQ & KK. If you’re facing an aggressive player you could get some 4bet bluffs that put you in a tough spot but most other spots hands will be played fairly face up. You should be targeting players who are not on your skill level.
The TT is more of a toss up for me. But ultimately I prefer the 3bet. You’re in early position and if you get 4 bet it’s easy to just let this hand go without getting stacked. I’d consider calling in later positions where I’m more likely to have absolute position on the flop. Also your getting raise from early position so it’s more polarized where TT+ is about 1/3 of the range if they’re playing fairly snug. When you play hands passively you’ll mostly find yourself in tough spots. If your trying to balancing your range but nobody sees your hand what have you accomplished? Balance ranges with hands with pocket pairs like KK or AA, something that’s less likely to experience variance against lesser hands. If you’re playing cash you can work in other hands such as TT but you have to have the discipline to lay down these hands. Also don’t worry about balance unless you’re 50+ bb. You’re up against the clock and are only going to see a few premium holdings. You need to take what you can or walk away and find better spots to maneuver. I’m no pro but I study quite a bit and log about 20-30 hours a week online
I personally would've shoved preflop or on the flop with AJs contrary to AJo. People have been 3betting a lot lighter nowadays against a late position open, even hands like QJo (I've seen Brynn Kenny do this in a 6 handed high stakes game.)
I think balancing is important, but there are arguments for both sides of the coin. Poker is a game of strategy, but from my experience aggression tends to gain more information and give you more opportunities to win the hand rather than being in a tough spot bluff catching. The betting lead always has a small advantage, but an advantage none the less.
There are jackals (loose-aggressive) elephants (passive calling down like in the tens hand) mice (nits) and eagles (tight aggressive with some pot control on the turn).
Balance is a lot like pot control, but for different reasons. Its just whatever strategy makes you feel more comfortable man, and also what will gain you the most information, since this is an information-seeking game. 4betting AJs in the HJ to a blind hand looks really strong and plus people will think you are opening a HJ range with hands like Kjo and Q9s.
I play micro, so we are in different solar systems in relation to stakes but I found this post interesting. I'm so glad I do not have to worry about balance at the stakes I play.
A/J would be a 3-bet on the flop for me to gauge better where I'm at. Ultimately if the opponent proceeded the same way I would have lost more but I would have put the pressure back on the opponent, rather than having the pressure myself.
TT - no set no bet. Easy one to lay down because Ts have killed me in similar spots. Obviously to be balanced this is a call but the rule is kind of a good one to follow, unless sporting premium pocket pair. If the flop bet was light I'd consider a call, but Ts oop is tough with that board.
At my level Up Swing adopters would seldom even min-cash. Too much bluffing, and too many Elephants.