No calling strategy pre-flop for 6-max?

arenaci

arenaci

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Hey guys,
I am trying to build pre-flop charts for myself for 6-max cash.
Especially because of high rakes do you advice to apply no calling strategy pre-flop (except for BB of course)?
 
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fundiver199

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That is probably taking it to far. But it is a better starting point than being a calling station :)
 
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Dhendrixon

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Hey guys,
I am trying to build pre-flop charts for myself for 6-max cash.
Especially because of high rakes do you advice to apply no calling strategy pre-flop (except for BB of course)?


I think if you are doing that, then you are taking away some of the most profitable spots in poker. This would be just calling a multi-way pot with low to mid pocket pairs, suited connectors, suited A's etc. These types of hands play well multi-way with little money invested (less than 5% effective stack size), hoping to hit a big hand. Just only continue with 2 pair or better or a draw of eight outs or more.
 
arenaci

arenaci

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I think if you are doing that, then you are taking away some of the most profitable spots in poker. This would be just calling a multi-way pot with low to mid pocket pairs, suited connectors, suited A's etc. These types of hands play well multi-way with little money invested (less than 5% effective stack size), hoping to hit a big hand. Just only continue with 2 pair or better or a draw of eight outs or more.


I am not doing it yet. Just asked for some info :). I especially stressed except for big blind. On BB what you suggest has enermous EV. If I were on other positions though I would always have the risk of being squeezed. So in the long run it might not be plus EV.
 
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fundiver199

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I think, it can make total sense to never cold call from early position, or if you do it, maybe you should actually protect your range by also cold calling hands like AA or KK at least a fraction of the time. However when it gets to late position, there is a lot of value in having position postflop, and there are also less people left to squeeze. So never cold calling on BTN is almost certainly a leak.

There is also a difference between tournaments and cash games. Most tournaments have antes, and good players often use a very small open size like 2,2BB in the mid and late stages. Yesterday I watched a live transmission of a final table from a pokerstars SCOOP event, and it was noticeable, that people did a decent amount of cold calling from small blind seat. And I think, this is simply because, they are getting such a good price, if big blind fold.

For tournament players watching these streams is actually a great way to pick up on GTO strategy, because presumably people making it to the final 9-12 in a 5.000$ event are mostly good players. So if they do something, they usually have a reason for it, and small stakes fish like us can learn from them :)
 
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Delfino

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Probably a mix of call and raises would be more profitable because you lose less money with speculative hands unless your calls are always raised. If this is the case, don't call then.
 
Matt_Burns88

Matt_Burns88

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Hey guys,
I am trying to build pre-flop charts for myself for 6-max cash.
Especially because of high rakes do you advice to apply no calling strategy pre-flop (except for BB of course)?


As first in to the pot, I would recommend a 100% raise/fold strategy except for in the blinds. This helps to disguise your range as your opponent will not know if you are raising with a premium hand, a marginal hand, or an implied odds hand.

If you do choose to have a calling range, you should make sure that you include some premium hands in your calling range and some of your more speculative hands in your raising range (polarised range), rather than betting with your best hands, calling with your marginal hands and folding your junk (linear range).

If you do not mix it up, it will make you incredibly predictable for any opponent paying any sort of attention and will make it easy to exploit your linear calling range, because they will know you only have a marginal hand that will rarely stand up to much pressure.
 
Nr98

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I think, it can make total sense to never cold call from early position, or if you do it, maybe you should actually protect your range by also cold calling hands like AA or KK at least a fraction of the time. However when it gets to late position, there is a lot of value in having position postflop, and there are also less people left to squeeze. So never cold calling on BTN is almost certainly a leak.

There is also a difference between tournaments and cash games. Most tournaments have antes, and good players often use a very small open size like 2,2BB in the mid and late stages. Yesterday I watched a live transmission of a final table from a PokerStars SCOOP event, and it was noticeable, that people did a decent amount of cold calling from small blind seat. And I think, this is simply because, they are getting such a good price, if big blind fold.

For tournament players watching these streams is actually a great way to pick up on GTO strategy, because presumably people making it to the final 9-12 in a 5.000$ event are mostly good players. So if they do something, they usually have a reason for it, and small stakes fish like us can learn from them :)


While it's certainly good to think about protecting your range strength etc. I would definitely advise against flatting Aces and Kings in a deepstack cash game. You just leave way too much money on the table by doing so (we're deep so we want to build a pot preflop).

Love the attitude you got about learning from pros. However, also make sure to question why they are making a move. In general it's good to 3B a lot from the SB since we are out of position. But on the FT there is a lot of ICM pressure, which makes stack preservation more important (and thus we like to keep pots small most of the time, hence we flat more). You can certainly learn a lot from the pros (they're way better than any of us ofcourse), just beware that in those streams, FT dynamics are very different than early in an MTT. Also, small addition, in general we can flat more in tourneys due to antes (i.e. better odds).

As for OP, it's very true that in some cash games it becomes unprofitable to flat certain hands (due to rake). I'm by no means an expert on this topic (mostly a MTT player), though especially for some live games the rake is quite a high %, although capped. This can make cold calls that would be slightly +EV without rake unprofitable (as we do not reach the cap that often, which leaves the rake at a high % of the pot). I doubt having a 3B only strat is optimal, but I reckon you definitely could crush certain live games with it.
 
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Mahdi

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Never calling? Dude, you always have to mix your play, you can't 3-bet every hand, you can't 3-bet only mosnter hands, people will read you easily and play from it
 
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UkoChebuko

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This is an "utopia". Impossible I think. Still, looks pretty cool. No calling range...Your win rate will suffer. Even at very high stakes online the people do have a calling range. The people use squeeze as crazy there, you know. They just use mixed strategy, "balanced" range for call. Or no 3bet at all. As I heard...

You know, you have 3 options, call, fold and 3bet. Sometime the call will be the one +EV option. To not have a calling range, you must "throw" that, this money.
 
arenaci

arenaci

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Never calling? Dude, you always have to mix your play, you can't 3-bet every hand, you can't 3-bet only mosnter hands, people will read you easily and play from it
What if I 3-bet my monster hands as well as medium strength hands? Villain will find hard time of continuing bottom of his RFI range. Of course this 3-bet range that I am going to choose will obey Gap Concept.
 
arenaci

arenaci

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As first in to the pot, I would recommend a 100% raise/fold strategy except for in the blinds. This helps to disguise your range as your opponent will not know if you are raising with a premium hand, a marginal hand, or an implied odds hand.

If you do choose to have a calling range, you should make sure that you include some premium hands in your calling range and some of your more speculative hands in your raising range (polarised range), rather than betting with your best hands, calling with your marginal hands and folding your junk (linear range).

If you do not mix it up, it will make you incredibly predictable for any opponent paying any sort of attention and will make it easy to exploit your linear calling range, because they will know you only have a marginal hand that will rarely stand up to much pressure.
Dude, I was mostly interested in raised pots. :)
 
arenaci

arenaci

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This is an "utopia". Impossible I think. Still, looks pretty cool. No calling range...Your win rate will suffer. Even at very high stakes online the people do have a calling range. The people use squeeze as crazy there, you know. They just use mixed strategy, "balanced" range for call. Or no 3bet at all. As I heard...

You know, you have 3 options, call, fold and 3bet. Sometime the call will be the one +EV option. To not have a calling range, you must "throw" that, this money.


Why utopia? Have you tried? Why will my WR suffer? I will definitely have calling range on big blind (needs to be defended and I am also closing the action). Other than that what is the logic behind having a calling range on other positions? I actually don't see much.
 
arenaci

arenaci

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However when it gets to late position, there is a lot of value in having position postflop, and there are also less people left to squeeze. So never cold calling on BTN is almost certainly a leak.
IMO calling on the BTN can be justified if there are fish on blinds. Nevertheless, even if we are in position for the rest of the hand going multiway is like shooting in a crap game.
Of course, EV of calling might be greater than of 3-betting in some instances but then again we must be very strict on post-flop (say continue only when flopped a set, or at least OESD, etc). Otherwise, calling on BTN might just be another door to post-flop misplays. This is not to say we are afraid of playing flops. This is more to say, we will not always play our A game. Having 3-bet or fold strategy would mostly eliminate this.
This is just my opinion. I might be wrong.
 
arenaci

arenaci

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Probably a mix of call and raises would be more profitable because you lose less money with speculative hands unless your calls are always raised. If this is the case, don't call then.
We may also choose not to play speculative hands at all where we just don't lose anything.
 
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UkoChebuko

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Yes, mate, actually I tried everything, I am very experienced player. Happy 3betor and "squeezer" as well...I also use depolarized range. As default. Hands which are +EV with call, but I use this hands for 3bet. This is not a "bluff", still I fold vs 4bet (maybe). Hand like QJs. Or T9s. Or AJo. I use polarized range only with info. Still...I have a calling range. Wide one...Just because the people don't like to squeeze...The first option for me is 3bet, then call, then fold. But if I don't like the 3bet, then I choose the call. For many possible reasons I can choose a call. Ofc, it is a -EV call, if the people use to squeeze very often, to exploit. But they don't. Why to care about this!? They choose to give you this money. And you say "No!". Because you don't want to call.

Ask some high stakes player for this. Not us...He will know better. But as I know they prefer the opposite. To not have a 3bet range. Or some mixed strategy. Uncapped range for call + depolarized range for 3bet. This is a different universe. They know better. Why the call is bad. But "bad" in theory. Phil Ivey is not behind you, you know, someone else is.
 
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fundiver199

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Love the attitude you got about learning from pros. However, also make sure to question why they are making a move. In general it's good to 3B a lot from the SB since we are out of position. But on the FT there is a lot of ICM pressure, which makes stack preservation more important (and thus we like to keep pots small most of the time, hence we flat more). You can certainly learn a lot from the pros (they're way better than any of us ofcourse), just beware that in those streams, FT dynamics are very different than early in an MTT. Also, small addition, in general we can flat more in tourneys due to antes (i.e. better odds).

Completely agree. I also dont look to much at individual hands and go "oh someone did this in a 5.000$ tournament, so it must be a great play". He might be a rich recreational player or a satellite qualifier, or he might be a good player making an occational punt. Or maybe his opponent is a recreational player, and he is making an exploit.

So I am more looking for general tendencies like this one with small blind calling on or near the final table. Where maybe some of us including myself have cleaned it up so much, that we have actually gone to far in the opposite direction from, where most beginners start. But that being said I do think, watching these streams can be a great short-cut for studying. Most of the players have probably spend 1.000`s of hours working with solvers, and since they have done it already, maybe I dont need to :)
 
Matt_Burns88

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Dude, I was mostly interested in raised pots. :)


Ah! My apologies. Then yes, there is absolutely a case for calling raises, rather than 3-betting. One is to disguise your range (you do not want to be just 3-betting with AA and KK) and the other is pot control when you have a marginal hand. Here are some implementable GTO 6max charts that I use when I play cash:
 

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UkoChebuko

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This idea is not "new" at all. "No calling range"...This is like "Why to call vs MP, if we both have 15% range and I am IP". "Why this is bad, seems even better".
I will tell you why :D. This is the first level of thinking. Yes , this is a "GTO type of thinking". "What I have". The difference for the "GTO " is "What range I have" , not "What hand I have". But still this is the first level. Yes, you can play GTO at the low limits. The people are very aggro (this is good for the GTO), you will win some money. But less than if you play exploitative, AKA second and third level. This is a huge topic. Why the second and third level are the best for the low levels. But the short version.... You have 15% range and MP have 15% range. You are IP, you raise (3bet) to take "some value" from this. But your bottom range is -EV raise vs his range. I mean look your hands "in vacuum", this is the right way, the most profitable way. Your hand in vacuum vs his range. Second level of thinking.
 
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arenaci

arenaci

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Ah! My apologies. Then yes, there is absolutely a case for calling raises, rather than 3-betting. One is to disguise your range (you do not want to be just 3-betting with AA and KK) and the other is pot control when you have a marginal hand. Here are some implementable GTO 6max charts that I use when I play cash:


Thanks for the info. Much appreciated. Seems like you have polar 3-bet ranges. Do you 3-bet/fold with AJo on the BTN while call with AQo? And on SB I couldn't understand all the colours. What site do you use to make these ranges?
 
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UkoChebuko

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Those are mainly depolarized ranges for 3bet. There are few weak suited combos, but still this is a depolarized range. Only blind vs blind is pure polarized range. AJo and KQo can't be part from polarized range or part from depolarized range. Depends on that vs which position is your 3bet (without info for OR%). Ot how wide is his range. But if the range is +AQo, then this is a depolarized range, if they are not many weak hands in your range. I mean you can't use AQo AND AJo vs UTG (narrow range), but you can use this vs CO, BTN, SB. If you play "for exploit". I mean if he have fold preflop, fold postflop and his range is narrow preflop, then AJo "can" become a "bluff". That's why you strategy "no calling range" is not good, not so profitable. AJo can be -EV 3bet, but still can be +EV call.

Even if you use that to protect you range vs squeeze, they still can exploit you with cold 4bet. And they can adapt very fast. All will see what you are doing. Very fast...But you will be "blind", you can't see this. This exploit from them. Pretty slow. With this "vs Hero stats".

But his strategy (up there) is pretty close to "no calling range ". And ofc this is not good for the low limits. You can play like that as default at let's say NL100 or vs very aggro field (low limits). But only as default. There will be some soft tables even at NL100. Will be waste of value, if you don't have a calling range.
 
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UkoChebuko

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But still I think if you use this high percentage for 3bet vs early positions, you will have a problems. They will start to use cold 4bet and you can't afford this lose. Because your 3bet is not so profitable. And you can't see that coming. Not in the reality. GTO, yes, "the optimal play", but vs some guys you will win small, vs others you will lose huge. This GTO is only a theory. Not so usable in the reality.

As you can see already, this is really an "utopia". As "the optimal play". Everything is an "utopia". The game is not solved. Also you pay a rake.
 
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arenaci

arenaci

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But still I think if you use this high percentage for 3bet vs early positions, you will have a problems. They will start to use cold 4bet and you can't afford this lose. Because your 3bet is not so profitable. And you can't see that coming. Not in the reality. GTO, yes, "the optimal play", but vs some guys you will win small, vs others you will lose huge. This GTO is only a theory. Not so usable in the reality.

As you can see already, this is really an "utopia". As "the optimal play". Everything is an "utopia". The game is not solved. Also you pay a rake.

Thanks for your answers. Much aprreciated. I see you are a bit obsessed with GTO and you don't like it that much :). I think GTO is a good starting point when building ranges. One can think of GTO as a launch pad for a rocket which is about to be launched into sky. Then when we are far deep in the sky we can explore exploitative space. Namely, we can build a nice GTO preflop range and make some adjustments while we play according to opponents we face. Noone can exploit us when we play 100% GTO. But there may be more EV to grab by exploiting. On the other hand, someone only can exploit us when we exploit others. So, while adjusting we must be careful not to go far away from launch pad. That's why I think exploitative play is good in lower stakes where there are many unaware players and more fragile in higher stakes with lots of pros.
 
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UkoChebuko

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Noone can exploit us when we play 100% GTO.
This is simly not the truth. I am "obsessed", because this is the new "religion". But I can tell you I have friends, who play for living, and they don't use that. You must learn this, as you say, but you can't use this in reallity. You learn this to make a better decisions. And if you start to use a strategy without cold call, this is already a "GTO strategy". I even had a conversations, "honest" conversations with some of the best players in my country, millionaires, you know. They are "coaches" and they have a "GTO courses". And they tell me that, they also don't use that in reality and they play NL2k and $500 (as average) MTT.
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This is one big lie, the new "religion". This is not "unexploitable". You can exploit GTO very easy with value bets and raise with different sizes. Depends on the strenght of your hand. Weak hand, small size, strong hand, big size. Nuts, overbet. This dumb bot Snowie. You can use the trial and see how strong is this bot. At HU. It is like you play against someone retarded...GTO win money only vs over aggro persons. And lose from the rake vs "GTO player".
 
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