Defending the Big Blind (Day 26 Course Discussion)

Debi

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There are 2 considerations that are the most important that we need to take into account when Defending the Big Blind.

If you have not yet read Day 26 and watched the video for Day 26 - take a few minutes now to do that and then come back here to discuss it:

Defending the Big Blind

This is a great lesson for CardsChat players. On of the biggest mistakes I see players making in our league and event games is thinking they have to defend their small blind no matter who raises from which position, regardless of the amount of the raise - and regardless of what they are holding in the BB. I also see that a lot of players feel they are not defending their bb unless they raise - but you can also defend by checking. I pprobably don't defend mine often enough - so most of us need help here. :)

Let's talk about this and see what Collin and Katie want to add to this discussion.

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Polytarp

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This evening I played a larger range than I normally do in the 2/5 cent SNAP cash games where the minimum buy-in is $2 with a maximum of three simultaneous tables allowed. I played the big blind many times in a similar fashion, players with notes on them who gave an indication of their experience were played against differently than those without. Most of the experienced players would try to steal the big blind so I always three bet these types regardless of what I held. There were some experienced players who always had a good hand and against them I would fold anything but premium hands. I could see how well anyone was doing by how big their chip stack was during the game and I would adjust my bet size accordingly. Because my bankroll was $4< I could only play one game at the level required and with the remainder I went down a level to the 1/2 cent games to earn enough to multi-table 3 games. Therefore, I had to play cautiously to avoid getting wiped out but aggressively enough to bankroll the three games as well as having enough chips to pose a threat in those games. In cautious mode I fought for chips at every position, especially hard at the blinds where I was already invested. My big blind play was key to surviving and succeeding. I obtained the free roll and won enough to multi-table as usual tomorrow. I'm including some screen shots of those games, unfortunately none in the big blind. The first shows a counterfeited win, the second shows a win (against all odds) in the 1/2 cent game and the 3rd shows a misplayed poker stars hand where I would have had quads. Because of such plays, possibly because I was tired after a long day, I made too many mistakes in trying to apply the new ideas and lost after entering twice. The player note shown is typical so that if I encounter this person in the main event then I will have something to work with.

My questions for this section are as follows, the ICM gives a range of hands to play from the big button (and does it factor in the ante as Katie observed earlier?) but does it also provide the optimal bet size for each of those hands against the opposing players? Further, assuming there is a showdown, can the ICM be used to determine what the opposition's optimal bet size for that hand should have been? And then, could all such scenarios be summed up to determine if the ICM got it right? For example, say you do everything that the model suggests and you lose. Is there a "luck factor" that can be calculated for everyone at any instant in time during the game who played in such tournaments if their hands are known? How often does the ICM get it wrong and why? For simplicity, I'm considering only the hands played from the big blind as the antes increase to determine if and how the hand ranges would correlate to increased antes and fewer players. I'm assuming I can infer the variance for every player (where the data is available) and model the expectation of the occurrence and level of tilt and invincibility in certain players (unless they are stone cold professionals or AI) so that I can assess what is the best way to play these players "on the fly."
 

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Polytarp

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This screen shot encapsulates exactly what I had outlined in the prior post regarding what I do in the big blind. In this free roll which I qualified for yesterday, I'm in the big blind and an experienced player is poaching my chips. In my notes, this person played in a 100+ level tournament so he /she has experience. Further, looking at the chip stack this person has, this is also a smarty pants so they must be coddling at least one high card. Like I said in the prior post, I will call with complete garbage and "voila!" Looking at the flop it was pointless to go any further. I was busted in the next hand when this person again raided my small blind and I went all in with a J4s. I caught a J on the flop but the other player caught their Ace (told you they would have at least one high card) and I bid "sayonara" to the game.
 

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Collin Moshman

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Good question Poly, and the answer is that ICM doesn't give us the optimal bet-sizing. You need other tools besides ICM, including programs like PioSolver which go a bit beyond the scope of this course. So, ICM tells us a lot, but not everything :)
 
magistrant420

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There was a very interesting and informative video. But how do you feel pocket two should be played? that's how many times, I did not try to play them both aggressively and slowly ... I lost the stack.
 
Collin Moshman

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Magistrant, generally with 22 you want to either play a large pot after hitting a set, or get out quickly when you don't. Alternatively you can shove pre-flop when you have fold equity. You don't need to do anything too fancy to show a profit with great implied odds hands like deuces.
 
cferdi

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Another great lesson and one I will add to my toolbox. It is an area I don't always manage to master. Again, it may be the stakes and types of games I am currently playing, but there is certainly room for improvement in both SB and BB situations for me.

Thanks again, and I will be revisiting this one, for sure
 
Phoenix Wright

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Thanks for the lesson today. I defended BB a lot before, but I think I can defend even wider. Apparently, we are typically getting really good odds to continue a little bit - as noted in the video: we can just check-fold if we completely miss the flop.
 
Edison A

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This is a favorite topic for me, I love it! ... I read a lot of strategies to defend your blinds especially when there are few players at the table and the blinds are very high, making a small check in the big blind is recommended as long as no one else has done it, it is also recommended to go there- in when you have premium pairs (AA-KK-QQ) it is not recommended to slow-play in the big blind, thanks cardschat
 
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Day 26 - Defending the Big Blind

I would like to be more effective in the big blind, especially in SNG 9 man games when you are in the bubble and with the worst stack, because I have very bad luck against utg or others, but I mean very bad luck, because I am always ahead or at less coin flip but always win.

If I have QQ it is certain that someone has AA or KK just in the same round. It has happened so many times that I don’t even have much motivation when QQ appears :eek::eek:.. apart from that in 888 someone just bet against you any card that has 9 that you always lose.

I will not give up on that, if I am always ahead one day I will win more than I will lose. At least I hope so.
 
CadoARAJ

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Why noone respects the small blind - ask. SB suffers at poker.
My question is why we should shove with 15bb or less with antes and with 10bb without antes and, at the BB, this shoves increases to 25bb - ask
 
Collin Moshman

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Why noone respects the small blind - ask. SB suffers at poker.
My question is why we should shove with 15bb or less with antes and with 10bb without antes and, at the BB, this shoves increases to 25bb - ask


With antes, there is more to win if we take the pot down without a fight. So we are incentivized to shove with a higher effective stack. From the big blind, the 25bb guideline is only facing a prior raise or multiple limps.

Remember, the more money in the middle, the more we should fight for it!
 
PsychoVas

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According to my PT4, it is my potential problem. I do not 3-bet enough from the BB. Of course Leaktracker calculates only cash hands and as my cash games are mostly fast poker ones (zoom, blitz etc.) I find it more convenient to just let a blind go and move on than fight a whole hand oop. So I do play my BB rather tight (unless the SB open-raises).
 
Edu1

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I don't see players making 3bet in BB very often, is so rare that when they do, everyone folds. I think a 3bet in BB happens more often early in the tournament ( in low blinds in relation of the stack)
 
Collin Moshman

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According to my PT4, it is my potential problem. I do not 3-bet enough from the BB. Of course Leaktracker calculates only cash hands and as my cash games are mostly fast poker ones (zoom, blitz etc.) I find it more convenient to just let a blind go and move on than fight a whole hand oop. So I do play my BB rather tight (unless the SB open-raises).


You should be calling in the big blind more than 3-betting for sure. But it's good to 3-bet some of the time too!
 
freddydr87

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This is very important in MTT because everyone atacks the blinds to stay alive in the tourney and to keep his stack groung,so defend the bb is very important so they would think it twice before trying to steal the blind from you with any2.
 
Luvart

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Finished Day #26.

First day of this course's week. It seems like a marathon so far.

Today's quiz:

Effective stack less than 25bb and there are antes in the game. Definitely, a raise-shove with the ducks. If we get called, we are flipping, but it's a good spot to make a nice double up.

Tomorrow with Day #27.
 
Bozovicdj

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Yeah, defending BB is super important. I personally am defending super wide, especially in the early stages when the stacks are deeper.

I rarely bluff OOP, and just play it slow, also I don't get too attached to my hand. Numerous times I would hit a random TP, and just check-call OOP, If I see no one is c-betting flop, I then consider donking turn. Personally, would not advise donk betting from BB, even if you have a super strong hand, let the original raiser c-bet and hang himself if possible.
 
redboy23

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Hi CCers,

I am still enjoying success both at the ring tables and S & G's. My second best finish is 4th place in a $.10 360 S&G last night. CC tourneys still continue to elude me but I am working on it.

Response to video question:

I would call in that spot and hope to hit a set but I do recall information about more than 25% of your stack in the middle being a good recipe to shove. So I guess it is okay in that spot if you adhere to that guideline.

I need to work my way to this level of aggression! It will take a very long time to come to terms with it.
 
Glaucopone

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Fold is also protection

At 6:05, the first example was sensational, protecting BB is also a winning fold, I learned a lot that we shouldn't be sorry to leave a pair knowing that the villain has a top pair and bet high. Great example, I liked it
 
Andrew Popov

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The protection of the blind is often overestimated. We will not often have a strong enough hand to tie ourselves to the bank for the sake of a “good image”. This is a common mistake of many novice players who lose a significant part of the stack with weak hands in order to protect the position on the blind. You must have a good understanding of the prospects for playing this hand.
 
Collin Moshman

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At 6:05, the first example was sensational, protecting BB is also a winning fold, I learned a lot that we shouldn't be sorry to leave a pair knowing that the villain has a top pair and bet high. Great example, I liked it


Thanks Glaucopone, I'm glad you liked this example!
 
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Good lesson learned today. I like the fact that I am understanding better the poker lingo you're now using more frequently in the latest videos especially this one [emoji846]

In the example of JTs, pre-flop, I know what an overlay in a tournament is, but what does it mean to say that it's OK to call because there is an overlay? How does an overlay relate to a betting round? Also, on the flop, how can we have good fold equity because the pot is so large? I mean, does the pot size have an impact on villain's chances of folding?

Finally, in the next example of A8s, I understand that we can call or shove, but in this case where we have an effective stack of 25BB, why we don't want to call (or fold) facing a shove?

Many thanks for replying to the questions! I appreciate your time.
 
ChickenArise

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I honestly think that this part of the game will undergo the largest paradigm shift in game theory over the next few years. Something to the same level of how open limping was once the sign of a bad player, but then became commonplace once again.

I am not suggesting that modern theory is all wrong as you often do have the correct price to defend, but I do believe the level of aggression will decrease a bit over time. It has become commonplace to defend, but in my opinion it has also become common place to be overdone and taken too far.

In tournament play I am already witnessing a shift by some craftier players towards not 3 betting monsters out of the big blind preflop against one non blind open raising opponent.

I also tend to lean this way so as not to disclose the strength of my hand especially if villain has a tendency towards 3 barelling. This opens up more options post flop as well in case that flop is not favorable. My differences do not end here either.

The blind versus blind aggression is so hyper exaggerated that taking a counter intuitive exploitative measure against an aggressive opponent has reaped big rewards in tournament play.

The one thing that hasnt changed is that the blinds are the least profitable spots to play from. If you have ever busted a tourney from these spots you should be rethinking how you are playing these spots.

Today one theory is correct and tomorrow another theory will be correct and that is how poker theory goes. Time will tell, but understanding the theory and how population is using it is the key to exploiting your villain.
 
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Collin Moshman

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Good lesson learned today. I like the fact that I am understanding better the poker lingo you're now using more frequently in the latest videos especially this one [emoji846]

In the example of JTs, pre-flop, I know what an overlay in a tournament is, but what does it mean to say that it's OK to call because there is an overlay? How does an overlay relate to a betting round? Also, on the flop, how can we have good fold equity because the pot is so large? I mean, does the pot size have an impact on villain's chances of folding?

Finally, in the next example of A8s, I understand that we can call or shove, but in this case where we have an effective stack of 25BB, why we don't want to call (or fold) facing a shove?

Many thanks for replying to the questions! I appreciate your time.

Glad to hear that!

An overlay in this context means extra money in the pot improving your odds. It can occur on any betting round.

Pot size definitely impacts fold equity. Higher pot size usually lessens your fold equity but also improves the potential reward. When we say "good fold equity," we usually mean relative to this reward, i.e. there's a good risk-reward ratio.

With A8s, could you elaborate on this question? It's a strong hand for 25bb BB-vs-button, which is why we're happy to play it with a call or 3-bet. Happy to talk more about this hand so just let me know, thanks!
 
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