Is it best to win the hand pre-flop if you can? And a good microstakes site

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TheKing3

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Hey everyone,
So I try to play a TAG-like style (though often play a little looser than that would entail), but that's just some background for my question. I actually have a few questions so I'll number them to make them easier to answer.
1.) If I can win a hand pre-flop by, say, raising large causing everyone else to fold when I have a strong hand like AK, is that always/usually good? I'm conflicted about it because on one hand, I did win the pot pre-flop when there's no guarantee I would have won it once seeing the flop and beyond. On the other, I sometimes question if that is the best outcome when I think that if someone had called and I hit on the flop, I could have made a greater profit off that hand. So if you have a chance (whether bluffing or betting with a strong hand) to win the pot pre-flop, is that usually/always the best outcome?
2.) In trying to analyze my hands after a game, I'm wondering what's the closest piece of software that will show me what the best play (+EV decision) would have been in any situation? Is that what solvers are best at? I purchased PokerSnowie, would that be the best to use in analyzing my hands to find out where I made mistakes or find out what the optimal decision would be each move?
3.) I'm pretty new to poker- been studying/playing 3 months now and play microstakes (0.10/0.25 blinds) on ignition. However, I'm looking for a new good microstakes site to play at - the things I don't like about Ignition is that all players are anonymous, which doesn't allow me to take advantage of PokerTracker 4 that I bought. The 2nd thing I want that Ignition doesn't have is that it allows you to muck your cards in basically every situation, even when 3 players go to showdown, only the winning player is required to show their hand to the table which makes it hard for a player like me to practice hand-reading/ranging my opponents. I'm obviously looking for soft games as I'm currently a breakeven or slightly losing mostly-cash games player, so where's a good site with soft games, that addresses the 2 things I mentioned above?
4.) Is there any wisdom/advice anyone would like to share with me? Anything that helped you increase your winrate in poker for someone who is a below-average mostly 6-max cash games player? It could a site with specific articles that helped you, or telling me the few most important things I should know based on the games I play, etc?
THANKS EVERYONE!
 
F

fundiver199

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First of all this is your first post, so welcome to the forum :)

1) With a hand like AK we dont mind taking it down preflop, especially if the pot is already large, but we also dont mind getting called by worse. We should usually play AK agressively preflop but not to an extend, where we raise bigger than with other hands "just" to get people to fold.

2) I have also owned Snowie for a year, and I think, its a easy way to analyse cash game hands. As I understand it, the main difference to solvers is, that solvers care much more about balance. So they will sometimes make -EV plays to protect other parts of their range, whereas Snowie only focus on EV in each hand. Solvers also do a lot of partials for the same reason, which Snowie dont, like for instance 30% raise, 70% call with the same combo. I am by no means a solver expert, so perhaps other forum members can jump in here and correct me, if I am wrong :)

3) The following sites allow the use of trackers and HUDs: pokerstars, 888 Poker, ACR. There might be others as well, but these are the main ones, that I know of. They are not nessesarely soft, but for learning and improving it is kind of important to be able to create a large database of hands. That might also be possible though on sites, where the HUD is not allowed, but you will need to check that out on each site.

4) Just keep studying and improving. You seem to be on the right track already. If you sign up for a site, where PT4 is working, then start sharing some hands in the hand review forum and get feedback from other forum members.
 
Mamkin_Pokerist

Mamkin_Pokerist

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I also often think that with AK it is better to collect a bigger pot on the flop than to force players to fold their cards on the preflop. But nevertheless, if this happens, I'm not worried, because there is a possibility that the player with the worst hand can win. I console myself with the fact that it's still a win
 
Mamkin_Pokerist

Mamkin_Pokerist

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And yet, sometimes it is necessary to mask the strength of your hand, allowing the opponent to show aggression and extract more profit from him
 
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Hermus

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I am by no means a solver expert, so perhaps other forum members can jump in here and correct me, if I am wrong :)


You are not wrong but I do have some things to add :).

Snowie is based on a neural network. The architecture behind it is pretty complicated but essentially nodes and links that all take different numerical values simulate neurons. Feeding that model data, tweaks the numerical value of the nodes and links in such a way that it gets pretty accurate in making the desired decision. For most game applications (e.g. chess, poker, starcraft) these models are trained (i.e. acquire data) by playing the game against itself or another instance of the same neural network, and are rewarded based on performance. The risk with neural networks is always that they get trained on a local optimum (i.e. a small deviation in any direction is bad, but a different strategy altogether can be even better). Snowie can then differ from the "optimal" strategy because decisions are not based on maths, but on the training of the neural network.

Solvers don't need data because for each decision of each combo the EV is specifically calculated. The drawback there is that solvers are slow and require a lot of computing power. The result of calculating each situation specifically is that solvers quickly converge to a mathematical unexploitable strategy and playing anything other than the perfect GTO strategy against a solver will result in you losing money.

I have never owned snowie but I do own GTO+. What I can say is that using GTO+ is a little bit tricky starting out, and the output is sensitive to how you set up the game tree and input ranges. Can't really say I recommend it to most low limit players unless you enjoy game theory or mathematics. I am a microstakes player myself, but I also have a degree in economics (which includes about 30 credits of game theory) and currently working on machine learning so for me it was worth it just for the experience.
 
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