Radical experiment, randomised bets... am I nuts?

CistaCista

CistaCista

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Disclaimers
1) I am just learning the game so bear with me
2) This is an experiment and I will probably develop away from it

As a developing player I was looking to become more agrassive, and have adopted the small ball strategy as Daniel Negreanu explained it in some available videos. I play a large range of hands, often raising but with just minimum bets.

With small ball, since you play both so-so hands and monsters in similar ways, the opponent cannot pin down what you have. More info is coming in yor direction than the other way. In my experiment I take this to extremes: in short, the decision whether I bet or check post-flop is randomised. (I will try to expain it better in the next post).

What I get from this randomisation is that I KNOW that I am not sending information about my hand to the villain. He may THINK he is getting info on my hand, but the only actual information is going from him to me. Even if I play the same guy for hours he will never be able to figure me out.

As always with small ball poker you lose many small pots while waiting for big wins. That’s fine with me. What I can see is that after I started this I am beginning to win actual money here and there, and see some people getting quite upset with my random playstyle. I can also see that my strategy works better against more skilled opponents that pay attention and try to pin me down, and it works better on smaller tables.

Do you think the experiment is useful? Any comments are welcome!
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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A bit more details on my strategy.

Preflop
I decide whether to raise, limp or fold based on the quality of my hand and position etc, nothing weird there, except I play an awful lot of hands.

Flop
After the flop, if I have initiative, comes the decision to check or bet. The key thing here is that whether I bet or not is NEVER a function of how well the flop improves my hole cards. (I wouldn’t even need to see the flop). Instead, the decision whether I bet (minimum always) is randomised following a certain probability. This probability of betting is not 50 %, but is higher than 50 % if I raised preflop, lower if I limped in. Other factors (I shall not go into details) like the size of stacks and my knowledge of the villain etc. can also influence the probability of me betting.

Based on whether villain raises, reraises or whatnot, I make decisions seeing the quality of my hand and what I now know of HIS hand, and this continues through the streets.

Turn-river
Same thing basically on turn, but on river the randomising is often discarded as I have a good feel for villain’s hand at that point.

So it might happen that for a certain hand I bet on flop, check on turn and bet on river. Or it could be the other way around. These small bets are mainly mining for info, and make me able to react to the villains reraises or whatever.
 
The Dark Side

The Dark Side

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With what I am about to tell you, do what you will.

Drop it. Stop watching stupid DN small ball videos.

Start. Focusing on position. Playing more hands in position and less (but stronger) hands OOP. Develop a range.


Stop making crazy bet sizes. Now that your playing IP, focus on making weak players pay you when you have a hand with position on them. If you dont have a hand stab at the pot with a 1/2-3/4 pot sized c-bet.

Be aggresive pre-flop and on the flop and DONT be aggressive on the turn or river without a hand.

On the note of aggression. Dont open limp. That shouldnt be an option. You've used the word "initiative".

Your opponents are not thinking about your wierd bet sizes. I PROMISE! (Unless you decided to learn the game at 50nl)

This may sound harsh, but I mean it in good faith.
Your plan is foolish. One day you look back and say... "My plan was foolish"

Like I said. Do what you will.
 
vanquish

vanquish

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dark side pretty much said it right
 
WVHillbilly

WVHillbilly

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With what I am about to tell you, do what you will.

Drop it. Stop watching stupid DN small ball videos.

Start. Focusing on position. Playing more hands in position and less (but stronger) hands OOP. Develop a range.


Stop making crazy bet sizes. Now that your playing IP, focus on making weak players pay you when you have a hand with position on them. If you dont have a hand stab at the pot with a 1/2-3/4 pot sized c-bet.

Be aggresive pre-flop and on the flop and DONT be aggressive on the turn or river without a hand.

On the note of aggression. Dont open limp. That shouldnt be an option. You've used the word "initiative".

Your opponents are not thinking about your wierd bet sizes. I PROMISE! (Unless you decided to learn the game at 1Knl)

This may sound harsh, but I mean it in good faith.
Your plan is foolish. One day you look back and say... "My plan was foolish"

Like I said. Do what you will.

+1000 with only the minor change in bold above.
 
alaskabill

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What Darkside said is absolutely right. Remember that what DN does is against specific opponents in much different types of games than any of us play in. Also, he has probably 20 years of experience at high level and you are new to the game. Even with all of that I think the small ball strategy is debatable.

What Darkside laid out for you is a basic plan that will absolutely win in the micros and it will help keep your decisions simpler while you are learning more about the game. You have to walk before you can run.

Good luck and welcome to the forums.
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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Hey Dark Side, thanks for the comments, but most of what you are saying seems to me to be basic ABC poker which I have already made use of. Range, playing position, bet sizes etc.

I probably did not explain myself very well, and probably I am not able to, but no worries. I can say though that when you state "Your opponents are not thinking about your wierd bet sizes. I PROMISE!" - this is not true as I get a lot of feedback, I think I said as much already.

"One day you look back and say... "My plan was foolish" -
Well obviously you didn't read my disclaimer either. This is an experiment, it's not a plan. I am forcing this system on myself in a period to learn from the effects it has on the opposition, like Obrestad forced herself not to look at her cards to learn to study the opposition better. I am not going to continue to play this way forever, but may retain certain elements.
 
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swingro

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I agree with the Darkside and i will explain why. In my experience as a beginner i saw houndreds of players using that, thinking they saw Daniel Negreanu and thinking this is the right way for a beginner.
Is not at all. You are verry easy to combat and untill you'll catch that hand an average experienced player will shorten you of 2-3 buy-ins unless you are incredible lucky. Making so much crazy bets means you play a big range of hands. So with any decent hand you can be reraised and you will fold because the odds are against you. If you don't, you will pay badly most of the time.
Of course you will catch that hand once or if you are lucky in the first session you will hit every time. But on the long run the odds are agains you when playing with tight agressive players that will not let you see the flop or the next card for a min bet.
Playing with donks they have the same strategy as you have without the readings. Problem with them is that they bluff a lot , raise a lot and to keep up you have to become TAG and there goes your strategy.
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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Making so much crazy bets means you play a big range of hands. So with any decent hand you can be reraised and you will fold because the odds are against you.
You are absolutely right, and since I have started palying small ball I have also constantly been narrowing down my range, and I am still in the proces of narrowing down - might end up with "big balling" instead lol.

I was not trying to start a discussion on small ball though, more a discussion of the random thing experiment I am doing. But I didn't explain it very well.

I should probably better have done a thread asking: has anyone here ever tried an experiment where they force som rigid rule on their play for some time, like Obrestad forced herself not to view her hole cards?

Then I could say: My experiment is that my decision whether to c-bet or to check/slow play post flop is following a random probability function. So far it has turned out to improve my game!
 
TPC

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In Harrington on Hold'em Vol 1, I believe, he talks about using a randomizer such as a watch to decide what you do in a given hand. IE, are you going to play it fast, slow, be aggressive ect. He lays it out in his book.

With that said, that is more a strategy for live play vs players you see often. You want to randomize your play against them to combat any reads they might think they have on you.

As Dark Side mentioned, this is pretty much for higher limits. You're just wasting your time implementing randomizers into your game at the micros.
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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In Harrington on Hold'em Vol 1, I believe, he talks about using a randomizer such as a watch to decide what you do in a given hand.

With that said, that is more a strategy for live play vs players you see often. You want to randomize your play against them to combat any reads they might think they have on you.
Thank you for the Harrington ref!
Yes, I have also thought that the randomising would be much more interesting in live play.... that annoys the h*** out of me, because I would really like to try it in live play! (Unfortunately I can't play live)

But I certainly don't feel I am wasting my time. I am learning a lot! For example, this experiment has taught me a lot about how easily bluffs go through. Because my bluffs are mainly decided randomly, I am now bluffing in myriads of hands. When I started playing poker I was much too timid to bluff. And the bluffs now give me wins very often
(I even have to show many of the bluffs to opponents because I want them to learn immediately that I am very loose so they call me more often).

So even if I stop the experiment, I will have learned a lot about when bluffs work and when they don't.
 
TPC

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You need to learn who to bluff and when to bluff, not just bluff at random. You're looking at it all wrong.

The mistake a lot of players make is think online play is like live play. They are both very different games. Randomizing your play at 2nl to 50nl online is pretty much pointless unless you are in a HU pot with someone you are very familiar with. Online we are usually playing many tables at once, so we don't really need to be too tricky with our play. You could actually play ABC poker, with set betting lines and be profitable online. But you're also seeing like 600 to 700 hands an hour. That just isn't possible playing live.
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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You need to learn who to bluff and when to bluff... You could actually play ABC poker, with set betting lines and be profitable online
Isn't it a contradiction to both say you need to learn who to bluff, but also say that online players on 2nl do not need to pay attention to each other? Maybe I am misunderstanding your words.

I still would say that trying to learn how to play your opponent cannot be a bad thing. And that is what my experiment is helping me to do - I am forcing myself to play based on the opponents hand rather than my own hand, while the opponent gets no info about my hand.
 
The Dark Side

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Hey Dark Side, thanks for the comments, but most of what you are saying seems to me to be basic ABC poker which I have already made use of. Range, playing position, bet sizes etc.

I probably did not explain myself very well, and probably I am not able to, but no worries. I can say though that when you state "Your opponents are not thinking about your wierd bet sizes. I PROMISE!" - this is not true as I get a lot of feedback, I think I said as much already.

"One day you look back and say... "My plan was foolish" -
Well obviously you didn't read my disclaimer either. This is an experiment, it's not a plan. I am forcing this system on myself in a period to learn from the effects it has on the opposition, like Obrestad forced herself not to look at her cards to learn to study the opposition better. I am not going to continue to play this way forever, but may retain certain elements.

Obviously, nothing is obvious.

GL bud.
 
ericgarner118

ericgarner118

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As pretty much everyone else has said, this isn't a good way to play. if you are just doing this to see what happens, by all means continue. It just won't win you money in the long run, especially at lower levels.

People at the lower levels aren't really thinking too much and once you get to a level where the players are thinking and are noticing that you are doing weird things they can start to exploit your play. The lines that you are taking by making random bets and raises don't represent anything. You aren't really learning anything useful if you aren't understanding why your bluffs are working, who you should be bluffing and understanding what they think you have. If you are just randomly throwing out bets and raises it'll either work or won't but you won't have any idea why it did or didn't work.

You said this is just an experiment, I'd highly suggest letting it go and spending that time playing good solid poker, reading, reviewing hands, etc. Maybe once you are playing in the nose bleed games this may work but right now I think it is just a waist of time.
 
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eamesy4980

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I dont understand randomisating your bets. Obviously its random but what you do? flip a coin heads you bet tails you dont? or are you still doing it on the strength of your hand? obvs is random so cant be that. I dont understand the experiment. Are you just playing like an idiot to see if it works?
 
P

playerk7

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watch yourself, be aggresive but have control of your aggresion, good players are going to start to reraise you and then what are you going to do. be patient with your steals and they will work out for you in the long run, also dont be afraid to look dumb or get caught stealing it happens to the best of us.
 
TPC

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Isn't it a contradiction to both say you need to learn who to bluff, but also say that online players on 2nl do not need to pay attention to each other?

No, not at all. I said you need to learn who to bluff and when to bluff. I also said micro stakes players aren't going to be playing attention to how you are playing.

I said nothing about micro stakes players not needing to pay attention to each other.

I still would say that trying to learn how to play your opponent cannot be a bad thing. And that is what my experiment is helping me to do - I am forcing myself to play based on the opponents hand rather than my own hand, while the opponent gets no info about my hand.

I never said trying to learn how to play your opponent was bad. What I said is your experiment isn't going to get you there. You even admitted to yourself that you are tightening up your range more and more. Most players don't fold at these levels. You need to figure out who does (like Pooffy Fooffy, ha ha snap!) and exploit them. But you are going to need to play hands that flop well and focus more on semi bluffs than just bluffing with any two cards at random. Sure, you'll take down a small pot here and there, but what are you going to do come the river when you have 5 high and fired two barrels already? You have absolutly no show down value and your opponat at these levels probably has at least middle pair, possibly a busted draw. So a third barrel might win the pot for you, but you are playing a dangerous game if you get yourself in this situation often.
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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I dont understand randomisating your bets. Obviously its random but what you do? .... Are you just playing like an idiot to see if it works?
You could say I am playing like an idiot, but within a strict framework.

If you have a good hand you will most often choose to c-bet and continue to bet and put out a value bet on the river, right? But every now and then you choose to slow play it throughout, or you may want to checkraise on flop or turn or whatever, to trap the opponent.

So you are taking these decisions in many hands. Meanwhile your opponent is trying to read your hand, to figure out if you are giving up on the hand or trapping him. He is trying to gain information, right? In my experiment I let "the idiot" take some of these decisions, thereby I make certain that no valuable information is passed onto the villain.

As to how I have done the "coinflips", it is not exactly a coinflip, because the probability is influenced by how I played preflop. But the decision is independent from the current strength of my hand, it is based on some random parameters on the screen.

Edit: I am not allowed any more posts today :( will respond to TPC's great post tomorrow!
 
vanquish

vanquish

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you're trying to use blanket statements to define your gameplan, when you should actually be using a dynamic cognitive map where you have gameplan that's dependent on what is happening at that moment in time, vs. that/those opponents



ie. rather than saying "what i do is i beat my opponents by using random bets (or however you choose to define random) to have an edge vs. them" you should think more like "i have a particular set of ranges vs. these opponents and base my gameplan on all of the information they convey to me, then adjust my bet sizes/frequencies/ranges/etc accordingly"
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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what are you going to do come the river when you have 5 high and fired two barrels already? You have absolutly no show down value and your opponat at these levels probably has at least middle pair, possibly a busted draw. So a third barrel might win the pot for you, but you are playing a dangerous game if you get yourself in this situation often.
You are absolutely right, and this has happened many times. I have even incorporated value bluffs in the "idiot system". Even though costly bluffs have been rare, and even though I want to present a LAGgy and bluffing image, I am beginning to see that I am leaking there.

So when something like this becomes evident I start overruling or changing the "idiot" system, because my understanding of the game and the villains is improving, and because of input for example from this thread. Bit by but the randomised decisions under some circumstances are being replaced by conscious decisions.
This is all good, I am learning every day. I believe the randomisation is something I will carry with me as I hopefully start to earn money, a tool I will dust off and use at some levels, some tables or with some particular villains.
 
CistaCista

CistaCista

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you're trying to use blanket statements to define your gameplan, when you should actually be using a dynamic cognitive map where you have gameplan that's dependent on what is happening at that moment in time, vs. that/those opponents
I agree in part, as I said also in the OP it is an experiment that I will develop away from as I learn to read the game better.


you should think more like ....base my gameplan on all of the information they convey to me, then adjust my bet sizes/frequencies/ranges/etc accordingly"
Ah yes, BUT: the opponent does the same! There is an information tug-of-war going on.

Standard philosophy is to tip that balance by becoming better at reading the villain than he is, increasing the information you get. My experiment aims to tip the balance by decreasing the flow of information going to him. This is also in my understanding one of the foundations of the small ball strategy as a whole.
 
TPC

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You are absolutely right, and this has happened many times. I have even incorporated value bluffs in the "idiot system". Even though costly bluffs have been rare, and even though I want to present a LAGgy and bluffing image, I am beginning to see that I am leaking there.

So when something like this becomes evident I start overruling or changing the "idiot" system, because my understanding of the game and the villains is improving, and because of input for example from this thread. Bit by but the randomized decisions under some circumstances are being replaced by conscious decisions.
This is all good, I am learning every day. I believe the randomization is something I will carry with me as I hopefully start to earn money, a tool I will dust off and use at some levels, some tables or with some particular villains.

You are starting to see the light, but I don't think you realize it. You're trying to win a race with a Ferrari when a well built VW Bug will get you to the finish line first just as well.

I get what you are saying, it's just not going to work in the micros. I know from experience. You can't out play someone if they don't fold. You can however, value town the shit out of them.

Focus on the basics for what you are playing and save to more advanced stuff for higher limits with familiar opponents. You really only need to randomize your play, (aka balance) your play against opponants that are paying attention. Sure, there are some micro players like yourself that think on a higher level, but that's probably less than 10% of the players you're going against. Maybe more like 3%. So save it for when it will actually be a valuable tool in your game. Right now it isn't.
 
Arjonius

Arjonius

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Changing up, be it in the manner you're experimenting with or probably any other, really only matters if against those opponents who (a) notice what you're doing, and (b) change their actions accordingly. Unless both those things happen, what are you likely to see and learn that you wouldn't have otherwise?

Also, small ball is better suited to deep stacks and slower structures where entering a bunch of pots cheaply is more affordable than in most online games.
 
vanquish

vanquish

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Ah yes, BUT: the opponent does the same! There is an information tug-of-war going on.

this will only start happening at a point for you to be worried about when you're playing like .5/1 or higher
 
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