Raise/bet or fold exercise

NineLions

NineLions

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For the last couple of weeks I've been playing play money SnGs using dj's suggestion of Isabelle Mercier's idea; only betting/raising or folding. I allow myself to check, and to call only shoves or when I get heads up, since I need the heads up practice.

It's an interesting exercise. I was already comfortable making raises and c-bets, so I didn't expect to gain much there. But still, I've learned:

1) additional patience in the early stages waiting for hands,
2) to lay down when I get repopped when I'm not prepared to shove since I can't call and hate to minraise,
3) to fold more marginal hands; if it's not good enough to raise, it's not good enough to play,
4) to stay out of trouble in the SB (although I know there are a lot of situations where the pot odds are crying out for a call)

This only works at fairly high levels of buyins because at the low levels they don't even acknowledge raises. I'm mostly at the 25,000 and 50,000 buyins at Stars.

It's kind of fun to be able to look at my stats and see 9/9/3 when the blinds hit 100, or 16/16/3 when we're past the bubble. The exercise doesn't help me with reads as I don't even really pay attention until the we're down to 4 or 5, or I'm short stacked early, which rarely happens because of the level of competition plus I'm playing so few hands. Tonight I didn't even notice when the 3rd person went out until I realized I was heads up and outchipped 12,000 - 2,000 (which I still won).


Anyway, I throw this out there because it's been useful for me and maybe it'll be useful for someone else as well.
 
Insomniac_1006

Insomniac_1006

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What have you had success with this at any level lower than 25000?

I might give it a try on a $4000 table.

Question though, won't this be picked up quickly as a predictable pattern?
 
NineLions

NineLions

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What have you had success with this at any level lower than 25000?

I might give it a try on a $4000 table.

Question though, won't this be picked up quickly as a predictable pattern?

To answer the first question; at lower levels it's tougher to win (not that that matters) and more importantly, tougher to get useful training/experience from it because the lower the level the more players ignore raises and limp/call and cold call. You're supposed to get comfortable raising as well as see the positive results of raising instead of calling. At lower levels raising has less effect so you see less results.

To the second question, after 30 or so SnGs no one has commented, and play money tables tend to be much chattier than real money tables. (I can almost hear Dorkus saying no one will be paying attention to how anyone else plays anyways). But if they do, that's part of what is supposed to happen. They would see that I play very few hands and that I raise them. If that's the case, then they should assume that I'm only playing good hands so stay out of my way when I do play, which is exactly what I want when the blinds rise and I start stealing blinds. I'm using standard SnG strategies and this no-call restriction fits right in with standard strategy.


As a by-product, my play money bankroll has increased 350,000 over the 30 or so that I've played, but the real value is in the experience.
 
Insomniac_1006

Insomniac_1006

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hum, something to think about. Thanks for following up with an answer.
(I think I am learning too much to process everything right now, so sorry for the lame response)
 
skd1337

skd1337

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its a pretty sound strategy to be fair. I think howard lederer teaches this approach to pre-flop play.

It can be used deceptively late on too as you can raise a mediocre hand (KJos for example) and pass it off in the same way you did with the bigger hands earlier on.
 
reglardave

reglardave

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It's funny how things will sometimes get stuck in your head. IMO, the biggest recent improvement in my tournament game was when I FINALLY took Phil Gordon's one simple little tip to heart. Here it is:

Avoid playing easily dominated hands OP. Bend the rules, loosen your requirements, and go out of your way to play when you're in position.

Now I just have to keep reminding myself to follow it.:)
 
Chris_TC

Chris_TC

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If that's the case, then they should assume that I'm only playing good hands so stay out of my way when I do play, which is exactly what I want when the blinds rise and I start stealing blinds.
I read about this concept a whole lot but let's be serious: who's gonna fall for that?
People who don't know how you've been playing won't care anyway.
And people who do know how you've been playing will be smart enough to figure out that - like every other solid player out there - you simply change your pace once the blinds start going up.

Maybe I give other players too much credit but I know you won't fool me with your strategy.

As far as the experiment goes - I could give you a billion situations where it makes perfect sense to call instead of raising or folding, so I fail to see how this experiment improves your play.
All it does is make you overly aggressive which can be exploited. Be careful about things you seemingly learn at play money tables.
 
NineLions

NineLions

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I read about this concept a whole lot but let's be serious: who's gonna fall for that?
People who don't know how you've been playing won't care anyway.
And people who do know how you've been playing will be smart enough to figure out that - like every other solid player out there - you simply change your pace once the blinds start going up.

Maybe I give other players too much credit but I know you won't fool me with your strategy.

As far as the experiment goes - I could give you a billion situations where it makes perfect sense to call instead of raising or folding, so I fail to see how this experiment improves your play.
All it does is make you overly aggressive which can be exploited. Be careful about things you seemingly learn at play money tables.

IMO you are giving your opponent too much credit, play money or not. Too many players make too little adjustment as the blinds go up and limp KQ/AT even when the blinds are up, or maybe because the blinds are up and they're afraid to risk their game with a non-monster.

And yes, there are many situations when calling is the ideal play, although it's last on Phil Gordon's list of choices for a reason. He wants to be aggressive if he has a hand, get out rather than chase, call if the other options are not good options or if it is a good choice and the other two are not. I think you "fail to see how this experiment improves your play" because you're giving everyone else too much credit. This is not something that someone who normally plays $100NL 6 max needs to try because they should be comfortable and experienced being aggressive.

I was watching a training video with an "experienced player" being coached and cringed at some the hands she was "calling to see if we can hit a flop". I think in general it's too common of an affliction.

As for becoming overly-aggressive, it's helped me both ways; being more aggressive with weaker hands, but also folding (staying out of trouble) with hands. Some of those hands in normal playing situations I would limp/call depending on the situation/game/opposition but I'm more careful about only doing so when something more than just the potential of the cards is there. Plus, it's been of some help laying down to aggression post flop instead of shoving when someone comes over the top.

Obviously you can do the same thing on real money tables, and I have done so. You just have to be able to afford it because when I do it the results in terms of win/loss is not that important. I don't use it as a strategy to win, just an exercise to practice particular things so that you can use elements of that in regular play.

But, maybe you've read something different, someone claiming to use it all the time as a winning strategy. I haven't seen that, although in some ways it's similar to short stack play at cash tables.
 
J

jeffred1111

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I read about this concept a whole lot but let's be serious: who's gonna fall for that?
People who don't know how you've been playing won't care anyway.
And people who do know how you've been playing will be smart enough to figure out that - like every other solid player out there - you simply change your pace once the blinds start going up.

Maybe I give other players too much credit but I know you won't fool me with your strategy.

As far as the experiment goes - I could give you a billion situations where it makes perfect sense to call instead of raising or folding, so I fail to see how this experiment improves your play.
All it does is make you overly aggressive which can be exploited. Be careful about things you seemingly learn at play money tables.
I agree that nobody will fall for that and that is why you should not play like that: this is not at all the point of the exercise. The goal is to teach you how to play tighter, more efficient poker (more efficient meaning positional poker IMHO) and more agressive poker, wich people fail to realize is the most straightforward, sureproof way to win money, at least at the micro and low levels.

For me, this realization came when I started to multitable more and more SNGs and cash games. In this situation, even with 2 callers, you will rarely want to complete in the SB with a bastard hand such as 97s, you're either gonna raise it to make for an easier decision later on (get it HU or take it down now) or just fold and wait for a better spot since you won't have time to ponder for 3 minutes about a 7K3T board after villain has called your flop bet.

Once you realize that calling is very rarely the right play and that bettign/raising is usually good, especially once you are in position, the number of pots you will enter will diminish, but more importantly, the number of pots you enter OOP and are forced to take decisions will diminish greatly since you'll play far tighter and stronger from the blinds.
 
dj11

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As an exercise, the importance is that you will shortly learn not to play less than pretty damn good hands, AND, you will get out of the habit of limping.

Sure limps have their place, as do min raises, but few will argue they should be the norm.

So many players come here how to better their game, and this exercise will help.

It has a lot do with the notion of raising. I had only begun to understand raising when I got here, read numerous threads about the pros and cons and had to work at breaking old habits. This exercise helped.
 
J

jeffred1111

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Just to nuance my post a bit, everything I said doesn't really apply to river, where I feel calling and checking are more often the better options than on the previous street. This doesn't mean you should never bet/raise, but checking behind or calling a small bet with a marginal hand are way better than betting or raising since every river you face is a WA/WB situation (you cannot improve, you are either beat or beating opponent's range and should act accordingly).
 
W

wsntme

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I just finished reading the post and and sounds like it is sound play i am tring to learn to improve my game so i think I will try it I play a lot of low buyin games and it seems like some games you will get called with any thing no matter what you raise and get sucked out on the end
 
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