Phil's limping strategy vs Daniel

TeUnit

TeUnit

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Total posts
3,720
Awards
12
I do not understand why Phil is limping the button vs Daniel with deep stack depths. I can understand if he was playing HU Hypers against a super aggro opponent with 15 bbs, but with 300 bbs against a relatively non aggro opponent it does not make much sense to me.

It seems to me like he is losing value on some hands and any fold equity he may have. It also seems like the hand would be much more difficult to play post flop, because he has gained very little knowledge about DNs range by limping to him.

What is Phil trying to accomplish?
 
Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Total posts
2,586
Awards
4
Lots of debate in this one and also lots of room for interpretation (unless Phil himself finds this thread and details his strategy to us all :D )

It is my observation that Phil is getting a few things with this strategy (for better or worse)...

1. Hellmuth is a tighter player than Negreanu is, so this helps disguise his holdings versus him. If Daniel sometimes raises and others not, then we can try to interpret hand strength somewhat (even if Daniel is raising a mixed/balanced range which I'm sure he is in GTO-fashion). However, by Hellmuth seldom raising at all, he puts himself on a wider range of hands he could possibly hold. Perhaps this decision is because his tighter image would have him raising with a stricter range than Daniel would and therefore reveal his holdings more. (if a LAG open-raises then they could still have a ton in their range, but a NIT like Hellmuth might as well have a neon sign saying AA if he seldom raises)

2. Negreanu is famous for popularizing his "smallball strategy" (which he did not invent by the way). In Negreanu's "small ball", he himself tends to raise small amounts preflop to pursue the blinds and antes; this is balanced by Negreanu limping with some bigger pairs and stronger holdings to help offset his open-raising, so it can't as easily be exploited.

If Negreanu is playing similar to this, then Hellmuth doesn't really gain much by raising. If Hellmuth open-raised 3x or more, then Negreanu calls...now what? Hellmuth has built the pot, sure, but this doesn't say much about Negreanu's hand. Perhaps it is something to attempt a blind steal (like the "small ball" 87s or something) or perhaps it is a trapping hand like KK. Negreanu is rarely folding, so continuing doesn't tell us a great deal about the hand; he could still reasonable float, continue barreling or perhaps have had a premium hand from the start!

3. Player history perhaps? These two have encountered each other at the tables a ton. Maybe a more straight-forward strategy wouldn't be as effective since they both know each other so well as poker players.

These three points are just some of my thoughts off the top of my head, but these are all potential reasons why Hellmuth is playing in this way.

True, he might be missing out on some potential value preflop, but maybe the pros outweigh the cons here? We must assess what this strategy gains as well as what it gives up ;)
 
Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Total posts
2,586
Awards
4
One more thing to add: here is a short Johnathan Little video if you haven't seen this yet. In fact, in the YouTube comments, Daniel Negreanu himself touching on Hellmuth's flatting range a bit by saying:

"Good video Jonathan. One thing I wanted to point out:Because Hellmuth's flatting range is incredibly strong since he isn't 3-betting many hands that should, in theory, you should be c-betting LESS against a strong range. Similar to why you didn't see me lead any flops when he limps. If he limps, and I check back, his range is WAY stronger. He has all his big pairs, AK, AQ, and I have none of that.Additionally, Hellmuth actually does check raise the flop far too much. Maybe not as often in this match, but if you watched the match against Antonio he check raised an insanely high frequency. His range construction for those check raises is very poor, which actually helps your case for betting more flops, but overall if someone doesn't 3-bet their good hands, the best counter for that is to check back more flops."

 
Collin Moshman

Collin Moshman

Poker Expert
Joined
Nov 11, 2009
Total posts
1,317
Awards
3
I think it would make sense against a maniac, or possibly versus a player who makes huge mistakes post-flop (in which case, you want them getting the free flop with 93o and randomly spewing post). But I agree with you that it seems a poor strategy against most players, Negreanu included, not to apply some pressure pre-flop and build up a pot this deep.

With that said, I think you're doing exactly the right type of analysis by asking what the benefits might be instead of just dismissing it as a mistake like many would do. Even though it might definitely just be bad strategy on Hellmuth's part, we don't want to just immediately assume that.

And nice insights on the strategy from Negreanu's perspective with that quote, Phoenix.
 
killing_random

killing_random

Rock Star
Joined
Mar 3, 2021
Total posts
351
I come up with with two ideas:
- Taunt. When you limp, your basically saying: "I don't need fold-equity. bluff as you like, I gonna see show down no matter what".
- False security. I like to limp a strong ace with deep stack some times, create multipot and then pull out disastrous check-overbet on the flop.

It's heads-up after all, mind games become more relevant here.
 
Top