The WA/WB concept

dbitel

dbitel

Guest
I posted this hand, and the reason why checking >>>>> betting in hand analysis. So just thought I'd x-post it here too, as its kinda burried at the end of a long thread:

6max, Full Tilt, 100NL, both hero and villain have $100 in their stack. Assume no reads.

Preflop (6 players): Hero is dealt :ks: :kc: on the button
2 folds, CO calls, Hero raises to $4.5, 2 folds, CO calls.

Flop ($10.5, 2 players): :ac: :9d: :2s:
CO checks, Hero.....?


Most people said betting is best here. They are wrong. Checking is best:

Its a concept know as WA/WB, which stands for way ahead/way behind. It for spots where if you're ahead, then your opponent has very few outs and if you're behind, then you have very few outs. Now there are a few situations that we can class as WA/WB, and some don't fit in with this generalisation, but most the time in a WA/WB situation we will have a hand that is of medium stregnth and by betting, worse hands fold and better hands call/raise.

This situation is a perfect example of that (hence why I picked it). A few people for some unknown reason said that A4 will fold if we bet the flop. This is clearly wrong. NO-ONE will limp/call A4 preflop just to fold to a flop cbet when an ace flops. Some other people also said that villain will lead the flop if he had the ace. This is also wrong. EVERY1 c/c or c/r the flop with the ace here (leading this flop with the ace is obv bad, as it misses out on a cbet.) ANYWAY, as I was saying, If we can't fold out A4, its obvious that we can't fold out a better hand by betting. Next question, can we get a call from a worse hand. Answer...maybe....but only just. 89 for instance *might* call us on the flop, but so what? We're only getting 1 street of value out of him, so it doesn't really matter where we get it.

SO, if we bet this flop and he folds, have we really accomplished anything? Well we've won the pot, thats a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. We've won teh money, so thats obv good, but all we've done is made him fold a hand that was most probably drawing to 0-5 outs. Next question: could we play the hand in such a way so that we could have got MORE money from his 44/78/QJ etc etc. Answer...YES, we could have checked.

Look up through the post. Look how many people have said that checking is bad, because otherwise on the turn, he will bluff with his bad hands and make us fold. Its amazing quite how close every1 is. Every1 sees that, but not enough of you have taken it that 1 step further. Rather than folding to a turn bet...CALL A TURN BET! You've all said yourself that he will bet just about every hand he has, and we're ahead of just about all of those hands, so pretty obviously, calling on the turn is the best move, as we've now induced a bluff.

So consider the 2 options you have up to the turn if he has 44/QJ/67 etc. either, we can bet the flop and win the $10 pot. OR we can check the flop, let our opponent see 2 cards and possibly outdraw us, but make him pay $8 to do so. Without doing any major maths at all, it very obvious the better choice is to check the flop. Sure we win the pot LESS OFTEN, but more importantly, when we win the pot, we are winning a BIGGER POT. Now as the situation is a WA/WB one, we don't get outdrawn all that often, so the bigger pot is WAY more important than losing the pot once or twice.

Now comes the tricky part. if there is never a river card, very obviously as I hope I have shown, checking is best and please believe me when I say this (these ideas are not made up by me, they are from the top online players, way better than all of us) thats so far, its really not even close. Put yourself in villains shoes. You limp preflop with 67s and call a raise. Flop comes A-high and you check and so does the preflop raiser. The turn gives you nothing, but he checked the flop, so you decide to bet the turn as a bluff. WTF IS THIS....HE CALLED!!! Whats going through your head now? You obvoiusly think he has a decent hand. Most probably an ace and maybe an even better hand that he's slowplaying. But its pretty obvious that he has SOMETHING, or else why would he have called the turn? So on teh river, you have sweet FA. What are you going to do? Well obv you're not going to bet, because you know he has a hand, so he'll call you, so instead you bet.

Now I've played a lot and a lot (probably over 300,000) hands of online poker in the last few years, and I see this exact proccess the entire time. Players take 1 shot at the pot when you show weakness. And when you show strength again, they freeze up. So if after you call his turn bet, he fires on the river, he really really will have your KK beat 95+% of the time. (NOTE: if you are playing vs an aggresive/bluffy player, you should also check the flop, but you should just call the river as well as the turn)

OK, so I really hope I've now shown you why checking is so so so much better if we're ahead. What thought if we're behind? What if he has Ax? Then obviously we want to put as little money in the pot as possible and obviously we want to see as many cards as possible so that we can hit our king. So, what flop action accomplishes these two tasks best, betting or checking?

Lets follow the hand through: lets say we check the flop and he bets $7 or w/e on the turn and we call. We have now paid $7 and seen both the turn and river cards and are very close to showdown. What if we decided to bet $7 on teh flop though? He can C/R us and we have paid $7 and seen no more cards! or maybe he will call and lead the turn, and again we have paid $7 and just seen 1 more card. OR VERY BEST CASE, maybe he just call AND checks turn and then obv we check. THEN we see the turn and river for just $7. But even that best case, is just the normal case if we check the flop!


So, to conclude, the reasons why checking flops in position with WA/WB hands like this are:

We induce bets from worse hands
We see all the cards for the same price
For metagame for the times we check here with a set
Because we get to showdown with more ease
Because we are less predictable (we don't just bet flop no matter what....we keep our opponent guessing)
We still gain information, just by simlpe knowledge of how people bluff
 
Egon Towst

Egon Towst

Cardschat Elite
Nice post, m8.

It actually seems self-evident to me that checking is best here. If you bet, villain is only likely to call if he has the Ace. Therefore, betting wins you nothing if you`re ahead and loses you more if you`re behind.

So, I agree with you, but your analysis was a good deal more detailed and intelligent than mine. :eek:
 
F Paulsson

F Paulsson

euro love
It's a form of slowplay, you could say. Slowplaying doesn't have to be when you have a monster; the more important criterium is that the relative values of the hands involved won't change. If you're ahead now, you're giving your opponent a chance of making a hand that's second best (but unlikely to be best). If you're already behind, you're saving money.

... not to mention the fact that you're keeping the pot small with a hand that's potentially very expensive. I hear that's important in NL, but I never really figured that out properly myself.
 
blankoblanco

blankoblanco

plays poker on hard mode
Does this idea change at all if you're out of position? If you've raised with KK in the MP and been called by the c/o, and the flop comes Ac9d2s, and you're first to act.
 
dbitel

dbitel

Guest
I still do check, but only b/c I feel I play very well OOP. When OOP, betting certainly becomes a more attractive option, as its harder to control the pot size OOP
 
tenbob

tenbob

Legend
Awards
1
The first post on this, (the one with the poll) I almost instantly voted for betting, without putting much thought into it. Looking back, if im new on a table, i almost intinctivly check the flop behind.

I really like you post, its a great concept, ok ok, it opens you up to a bluff, but most 100NL players dont have the stuff it takes to fire the second barrell on the river, which would have to be a substantial bet. Attempting to control the size of the pot and reach showdown cheaply, is really the best option here, even though C-Betting does have its merits and should not be discounted.

Looking at it, ace small is just as likely to check-raise as fold to a c-bet, especially since the donk has just called a PF raise.

Most pairs will fold to a flop bet, and bet at the turn regarldless, and check the river unimproved. As would ace small, unless he hit 2-pair on the turn/river. In which case it would become fairly obvious.

OK, i can see the point, its an elequont way of telling us about controlling pot size, and reaching showdown cheaply.

2 Questions.

Would you do this with an unhit AK against a single opponent ?
Would you do this against 2 opponents, in postion ?
 
dbitel

dbitel

Guest
tenbob,

There are certainly situations when checking behind a missed AK is best. It obviously depends on the opponent and the flop, but i do it quite a few times per session. You are basically looking for situations where 22 won't fold and where you have a good handle of his range for elading the turn (either very large or very small)


vs. 2 opponents, sure, I check even more. But I check and give up a lot more often than check and continue like i do vs 1 opponent
 
S

schild41

Guest
Check. If one is not careful in this situation, it is easy to get sucked into thinking the Kings are a powerhouse. If you swing a decent bet, then I agree that weak hands are out, and strong, or even stronger hands call/raise. If you get slow-played in this position, you are going to be out a decent chunk. Kings is a very hard hand to get away from when you have committed a lot of chips. However, the check allows you to analyze the hand more thoroughly, and act accordingly.

I have lost a lot of money in situations of this nature. That's how I learned to exercise better judgment. Pocket kings lose a lot when an ace hits the board.
 
zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
Look up through the post. Look how many people have said that checking is bad, because otherwise on the turn, he will bluff with his bad hands and make us fold. Its amazing quite how close every1 is. Every1 sees that, but not enough of you have taken it that 1 step further. Rather than folding to a turn bet...CALL A TURN BET! You've all said yourself that he will bet just about every hand he has, and we're ahead of just about all of those hands, so pretty obviously, calling on the turn is the best move, as we've now induced a bluff.
Here's the heart of the problem for me - how on earth do you know you have his hand beat? Assuming he does bet the turn (and I'm only making that assumption for arguments sake), how do you know he doesn't have the Ace?
Obviously, if he doesn't this method works. But if he does, now you're following with the 2nd best hand. So you call the turn either way, and see the river - unless its a K, you're still not sure if you have the best hand. You called his turn bet, so he will (assuming that he has the weak A) check the river, can you bet? No, you don't have the information you need to raise - so you check it down as well. If he doesn't have an A, you still haven't bet in a way that forces him to reveal hes got TP - so you really shouldn't bet anyway. Either way, I think you effectively called the turn "blind," because this technique requires you show the strength, but doesn't follow with a raise. Now assume he has a strong Ace. He bets the river - and you say fold your hand. Fair enough, but why call the turn if you're just going to either fold or check the river?
So lets assume he checks to you and you do bet on the river. If he folds - it worked, congratulations. But if he wouldn't fold on the flop with a weak Ace, he's not going to fold on the river, either. As best I can tell, you've just extended the amount of time it takes to find out whether he has the Ace (and put more money in the pot on the turn to do so), for exactly the same result as if you'd bet the flop. Not to mention effectively giving up 2 free cards along the way when your hand is unlikely to improve.

I really think you're mangling the application of WAWB. If YOU had the Ace, then it would apply, but given that the PP here is quite possibly 2nd best, I don't see how that fits as "way ahead."
 
dbitel

dbitel

Guest
zeb,

wawb means you're way ahead OR way behind, but you dont nkow waht one.

And you points make no sence!
 
zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
zeb,

wawb means you're way ahead OR way behind, but you dont nkow waht one.

And you points make no sence!
Ouch, that hurt. I'm hoping your reading comprehension is better than your typing skills, otherwise I know exactly the reason they don't make sense.:deal:
Smile, we all just do it for fun, y'know!


In any case, see my response in HA - it's just time for us to disagree and drop this.

Thanks for the input, it's valuable even if I don't necessarily agree with it.
 
dbitel

dbitel

Guest
zeb,

last try. Two options. You bet flop, he calls, you give up. Second option:

"Assuming he does bet the turn (and I'm only making that assumption for arguments sake), how do you know he doesn't have the Ace?
Obviously, if he doesn't this method works. But if he does, now you're following with the 2nd best hand. So you call the turn either way, and see the river - unless its a K, you're still not sure if you have the best hand. You called his turn bet, so he will (assuming that he has the weak A) check the river, can you bet? No, you don't have the information you need to raise - so you check it down as well"

And we check.

PLease PLease Please tell me that you can see why option two is clearly better?
 
joosebuck

joosebuck

Legend
the more passive option gives us a chance to allow a hand like J10 to make a pair he think's best, or a draw he will semi-bluff. a chance to make money.

the aggressive option just wins us the preflop bets & allows us to lose a lot more vs. a weak ace.
 
zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
Certainly if I have the 2nd best hand I'm happy checking it down. There's even the chance I do have the best hand, and I will win the extra money from HIS turn bet. I get that, really I do.
Maybe this is because I'm a certifiable casino gambler and not an online player, but I just don't play against many people who will bet the turn, get called, and then NOT bet the river (which is a fold in your tactic). I'm paying for a river card that is unlikely to help me. My regular opponents will leap all over a call on the turn, and overbet with the reasonable knowledge that I can't call. I don't see people making a bluff on the turn and not following on the river when I show weakness by only calling them.

Between the assumption that a bluffer won't bluff the river, and not adding value to the pot for people to draw, I won't come out ahead against the folks I play against. Maybe online this is different, but it just doesn't apply 90% of the time where I am.
 
c9h13no3

c9h13no3

Is drawing with AK
What if the turn card is a scare card. For example, 8d. They could simply be betting their draw as a semi-bluff, hoping to take down the pot now. Do you simply smooth call here, and risk letting them draw up another diamond, or the last part of their straight? Hands like 6d7d go from 9% to 32%, and two random diamonds are 18% to win. I'd be tempted to raise (depending on the size of their turn bet), to check how strong their hand was. Although, I suppose with only 7d6d (or the top end) having decent odds to beat you, you'd be safe just calling here as well.

Are you planning to call a river bet if there are 3 diamonds on the board?
 
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Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
Good post db. I instinctively use similar techniques - this hand from a few days ago was a good example, and shows how you can get extra value from your hand in such situations:

Seat 1: ECartman - $62.25
Seat 2: Klimtachacka - $61.90
Seat 3: donriver - $105.60
Seat 4: Raoul65 - $67.90
Seat 5: denutzboy - $157.55
Seat 6: Bombjack - $87.25
Moving Button to seat 3
Raoul65 posts small blind ($0.50)
denutzboy posts big blind ($1)
Shuffling Deck
Dealing Cards
Dealing [:ks: :qs:] to Bombjack
Bombjack raises to $5
ECartman folds
Klimtachacka folds
donriver folds
Raoul65 folds
denutzboy raises to $9.50
Bombjack calls $9.50
Dealing Flop [:4d: :7c: :kd:]
denutzboy checks

At this point I'm WA/WB. Either he's re-raised with TT-QQ and I'm well ahead, or he's re-raised with AA/AK and I'm drawing pretty slim. Absolutely no point in betting this flop.

Bombjack checks
Dealing Turn [:7h:]
denutzboy bets $10

Bluff / value bet induced - still WA/WB, no point in raising.

Bombjack calls $10
Dealing River [:10d:]
denutzboy checks

Still WA/WB. In retrospect I'm pretty sure I'm ahead now, but my hand is well disguised so a small value bet ($5-10) was probably in order. Small bet because if I'm way ahead, villain isn't calling for much. If I'm behind, I could face a raise.

Bombjack checks
Taking Rake of $1.95 from pot 1
denutzboy shows [:ac: :jc:]
denutzboy has One Pair: 7s
Bombjack shows [:ks: :qs:]
Bombjack has Two Pairs: Kings, 7s
Bombjack wins $37.55 with: Two Pairs: Kings, 7s
 
blankoblanco

blankoblanco

plays poker on hard mode
WA/WB concept in action?

Full Tilt Poker Game #1577099091: $20 + $2 Sit & Go (11458509), Table 1 - 20/40 - No Limit Hold'em - 10:47:00 ET - 2007/01/11
Seat 1: MisterElephant (1,575)
Seat 2: KGB22 (1,215)
Seat 3: thinky38 (1,455)
Seat 4: diddy34 (1,425)
Seat 5: elcrazy (1,335)
Seat 6: combuboom (1,455)
Seat 7: sycoman (1,920)
Seat 8: Bonsaibuzz (1,650)
Seat 9: blagul (1,470)
Bonsaibuzz posts the small blind of 20
blagul posts the big blind of 40
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to combuboom [Qh Qd]
MisterElephant folds
KGB22 folds
thinky38 folds
diddy34 folds
elcrazy folds
combuboom raises to 120
sycoman folds
Bonsaibuzz folds
blagul calls 80
*** FLOP *** [As 2h 6h]
blagul checks
combuboom checks
*** TURN *** [As 2h 6h] [6d]
blagul bets 220
combuboom calls 220
*** RIVER *** [As 2h 6h 6d] [3h]
blagul checks
combuboom checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
blagul shows [Qs 9d] (a pair of Sixes)
combuboom shows [Qh Qd] (two pair, Queens and Sixes)
combuboom wins the pot (700) with two pair, Queens and Sixes
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
In Combuboom's hand you don't have much confidence you're ahead, so betting the river here isn't that great IMO. However you could occasionally put a fairly big bet out as a bluff which might get him to fold a weak Ace.
 
gord962

gord962

Legend
I've ran into this exact situation a few times and used the WAWB theory and it worked exactly as above. If the villain checks the flop, bets the turn and checks the river, that screams they didn't have the A and we are way ahead. I throw out a small bet (1/4-1/2 the pot) looking like a weak steal on the river and I usually get called.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
Wow, nice thread, +rep.

I really like this concept. I feel like I've read something about it in one of the books on my shelf, but it was very succinctly described here and it's the first really new concept I've learned in awhile.

I have little more to add except well done!
 
blankoblanco

blankoblanco

plays poker on hard mode
I wasn't completely sure if I should have made a smallish bet on the river or not. Obviously it wouldn't have been called since he had air, but a pocket pair between 77-JJ could play it the same way he had, I suppose, and a smallish bet on the river would get value from those holdings. Really unlikely that a flush, 6, or A would check, intending to check-raise, but it's possible, or he could get cute and decide to check-raise on some wacky bluff, and I probably have to dump it if he raises enough. So I'm really not 100% sure if it would have been best for me to bet or not.
 
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