Optimal strategy for winning at $5NL ?

Killdalimper

Killdalimper

Enthusiast
I've been adding 1-2 $5nl tables to my regular $2nl tables recently just to get myself adjusted for the new stakes. I've been experiencing huge swings at $5nl which makes me uncomfortable at times. What I've noticed is that people 3bet more often IP and play more aggressively as oppose to $2nl. They're more sticky with their medium pairs and arent afraid to to call flop and turn cbet with their high cards so I've lost reasonable amount of $$$ by cbetting flop and turn being the preflop aggressor. Also opponents tend to check raise very often otf/ott.
Need some advice for re-adjusting my strategy for $5nl as I cant grind at $2nl forever.
Cheers!
 
J

Jack Reacher

Visionary
Awards
8
Or become more tight and then fire with all cylinders when you have monster cards or become more loose and when you draw nuts steal them stacks.
 
P

pentazepam

Visionary
If they call a lot after the flop: bluff less and value-bet thinner. Easy game.

Some players also call the flop a lot (as they should against you if you C-bat a lot) but fold to aggression if you fire a second or a third barrel. But that is more risky, and you have to get a good read and a favorable board.

So to start with: play good starting hands, especially when you don't have position, and bet most for value (and some good draws) post flop.
 
Killdalimper

Killdalimper

Enthusiast
If they call a lot after the flop: bluff less and value-bet thinner. Easy game.

Some players also call the flop a lot (as they should against you if you C-bat a lot) but fold to aggression if you fire a second or a third barrel. But that is more risky, and you have to get a good read and a favorable board.

So to start with: play good starting hands, especially when you don't have position, and bet most for value (and some good draws) post flop.


Very informative, thanks! I'll try to implement this into my strategy on next session.
 
F

fundiver199

Legend
Awards
1
You are basically just facing slightly better opponents than at 2NL. The regulars are those, who already graduated from 2NL, so they have learned things like 3-betting and 4-betting a bit more, they understand position better etc.

Even the fish are not always complete beginners either. They still play two many hands, because they are looking for action, but they have a bit more idea, what is going on after the flop. They are maybe level 2 thinkers rather than level 1, which mean, they also think about, what you might have, and they fight back at you a bit more.

Not all 5NL games are the same. Full ring and 6-max tend to play different, and the games can be different on different sites or even different times of day. But maybe this general guide can still be usefull:

https://www.blackrain79.com/2019/07/how-to-beat-5nl.html
 
V

Vlad Savchenko

Rock Star
There's really not much difference between these stakes in terms of how you beat them.

Create yourself some reasonably tight RFI & 3-bet ranges, don't slowplay, don't be a calling station, don't bluff the fish, bluff the nits.

In a bit more detail: if you have a problem with people not folding to your barrels, chances are your cbet frequencies look like 70/70/70, which is way too high.

Learn more about cbetting IP and OOP on different boards, they're not the same thing (basically OOP you should play way more defensively, on some boards it's best to check 100%). Betting OOP at a high frequency leads exactly to the problems that you have (especially against stations and regs that float your wide cbets).

As for playing against 3-bets - break down your opening ranges into categories that you're planning on 4-betting, calling and folding, and go from there (fold more versus tighter players, play wider versus looser ones). And once again, it's fine to overfold OOP, because position just gives a huge advantage to the player.
 
F

fundiver199

Legend
Awards
1
There's really not much difference between these stakes in terms of how you beat them.

A lot of the same strategies apply regardless of stakes of course. Its not like, there is any stakes in poker, where it is for instance a good strategy to call out of position with bad hands or open limp in cash games. But that being said the jump in average skill level from the lowest limit to the second lowest is probably larger than any jump, you will face later.

So on sites with 2NL, 5NL and 10NL, 5NL will tend to play much closer to 10NL than 2NL, and its normal to see a significant drop in winrate, when you move from 2NL to 5NL. The reason is simply, that most of the complete beginners will usually go to the lowest limit.
 
V

Vlad Savchenko

Rock Star
A lot of the same strategies apply regardless of stakes of course. Its not like, there is any stakes in poker, where it is for instance a good strategy to call out of position with bad hands or open limp in cash games. But that being said the jump in average skill level from the lowest limit to the second lowest is probably larger than any jump, you will face later.

So on sites with 2NL, 5NL and 10NL, 5NL will tend to play much closer to 10NL than 2NL, and its normal to see a significant drop in winrate, when you move from 2NL to 5NL. The reason is simply, that most of the complete beginners will usually go to the lowest limit.
Just tried to give my best answer to the problems the TS outlined (being floated too often and facing more re-raises pre).
I've always thought that the best answer to a question "I beat X stake, how to beat X+1" is "keep doing what you're doing and get better at it".

So far I've played only NL2-NL20 (with an occasional shot at NL50), and I've never actually felt the skill gap between two stakes (although NL50 felt much different than NL20, but I feel like it's actually the effect of 2.5x-ing the stakes). Obviously it exists, but it never made a huge difference.

However, recently I've made a huge withdrawal from BR, which forced me to rebuild from NL2 again, and yep, the gap between multiple stakes is quite noticeable (but dropping down and moving up are totally different experiences).
 
I

Ianmacca99

Rock Star
You will find opponents stickier meaning bluff less and look for thin value against these players also open tighter I've found that if I loosen my pre flop opening range I get 3 bet mercilessly from co and button at higher stakes. You have to open a proper range of hands otherwise have to fold against this aggression or play a middling hand OOP if you stick to your ranges you can make better choices facing aggro players
 
I

Ianmacca99

Rock Star
Players tend to be stickier so bluff less and also look for value thinner. Make sure your opening ranges are good otherwise you'll get 3 bet mercilessly and have to fold or worse than that call and flop bottom pair oop so now not only have you called with a subpar hand you've caught a piece of the flop often meaning you feel obliged to call a cbet don't do this stick to a proper opening range and when you have the goods milk it for all its worth
 
G

GameTooHard

Rock Star
The big thing at .02/.05 that you'll find is that there is a small but severe percentage of people at those stakes who will attempt to be extremely exploitative with pre-flop 3bets then c-betting the flop aggressively when called.

You essentially have two options:

If they're an unaware/weaker player and/or you're a weaker player:

1. Attempt to exploitative back. If they're 3betting something absurd like 16% of hands or 1% of hands either over-fold and wait for value and let them hang themselves or over-raise and abuse their unwillingness to 3bet with anything outside of 28 combos respectively. If your opponent is somewhat aware you're going to run into the problem of infinite exploitation where you and your opponent essentially swing back and forth between states of over-betting/over-folding trying to deal with what is essentially a leak in both of your play.

If your opponent is a reg and aware:

I'm not going to describe all this stuff, just listing what you should try and learn.

2. You will need to balance your strategy. This involves the use of polar ranges around PF 3betting, calling 3bets HU and multi-way, PF 4Betting etc... This would naturally lead to a discussion around minimum defence frequency (MDF) which is essentially what part of your range do you need to defend against raises/3bets in order to prevent your opponent from adding additional 3bet bluffs to their range. At this point your goal would be working on balancing your play in-game such that your opponent is essentially left with ~0EV from aggressive 3betting because our range is balanced.
 
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