stealing from the button with high blinds

soccerfreakjj10

soccerfreakjj10

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As I was just busted out of a tournament on the button trying to steal the huge blinds of a turbo tournament, I screamed to myself "OF THE COURSE HE PICKS UP #$%$ING POCKET JACKS IN THE BB."

This isn't the first time i have been busted out of a tournament pushing all in from the button to steal the blinds. It seems to happen a lot.

I do feel i made a mistake in this hand (because i am out), but I am curious if anybody knows or is smart enough to calculate the odds that a blind picks up a hand worth calling a push from the button (chip stacks being close enough that a call would be a big chunk of a blinds chips .) I would say those hands would be pocket 6s-As, AK AQ KQ AJ maybe even KJ, QJ, and J10. I bet if somebody figured this out then I would be surprised by the likelihood and try to steal like this far less...

I am still steaming and shocked i didn't just fold and wait for at least an ace to put my chips in with. As you can see though the blinds were huge and i believe my M was at 2.5 - deep in the red zone - so is this the right play in the situation?

here is the example i refer to:

full tilt poker Game #4250123462: Satellite to $15K Guarantee (31678638), Table 4 - 200/400 Ante 50 - No Limit Hold'em - 14:37:14 ET - 2007/11/21
Seat 1: backword (3,515)
Seat 2: Niarn85 (3,065)
Seat 3: Rounder63 (1,943)
Seat 4: goldog (4,500)
Seat 5: soccerfreakjj10 (2,745)
Seat 7: Bearhunter 11 (8,165)
Seat 8: sHuller (2,760)
Seat 9: brejne (1,895)
backword antes 50
Niarn85 antes 50
Rounder63 antes 50
goldog antes 50
soccerfreakjj10 antes 50
Bearhunter 11 antes 50
sHuller antes 50
brejne antes 50
Bearhunter 11 posts the small blind of 200
sHuller posts the big blind of 400
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to soccerfreakjj10 [6s Kd]
brejne folds
backword folds
Niarn85 folds
Rounder63 folds
goldog folds
soccerfreakjj10 raises to 2,695, and is all in
Bearhunter 11 folds
sHuller calls 2,295
soccerfreakjj10 shows [6s Kd]
sHuller shows [Js Jc]
*** FLOP *** [Qs 6h 7s]
*** TURN *** [Qs 6h 7s] 7♥
*** RIVER *** [Qs 6h 7s 7h] Q♦
soccerfreakjj10 shows two pair, Queens and Sevens
sHuller shows two pair, Queens and Jacks
sHuller wins the pot (5,990) with two pair, Queens and Jacks
soccerfreakjj10 stands up
 
ChuckTs

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Have you read the Harrington on Holdem series? He deals a lot with low-M situations like these and it'll really help your game.

I think this push is fine but K6o should be close to the bottom of your range for pushing unless the blinds are unusually tight.

I'm not sure of the odds of him picking up jacks in this spot, but there's an interesting little formula for when you hold a pair:

C= (N*R)/2

Where C = % chance of a player yet to act having a pair bigger than yours
N = number of players to act
R = number of ranks higher than your pair (ex 3 for JJ)

edit: interesting thread regarding pushing: https://www.cardschat.com/forum/cas...short-stacks-mtt-play-guide-discussion-83565/
 
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soccerfreakjj10

soccerfreakjj10

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wow great thread thanks

and that formula should come in handy. I haven't heard of it yet...

Still on the first harrington book, should get to the second soon though.
 
ChuckTs

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OK, well Harrington will explain it better than any of us could, but if you still need help after vol 2 then come back here and we can refer you to more threads or explain it here.
 
Egon Towst

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I think this push is fine but K6o should be close to the bottom of your range for pushing unless the blinds are unusually tight.

I agree with Chuck on this.

These things are very read-dependent, however, and at this stage of a tournament you need to be armed with detailed notes on (at least) the three or four players to your left.

Low-M play is a key study area for any MTT player. Assuming you are solid enough to get deep into tournies on a fairly regular basis, it is your low-M play which determines whether you only ever get your buy-in back, or whether you actually win the thing and get a serious payday.

Definitely read HoH. Also, like any other skill, practice makes perfect, and there is a lot to be said for honing your skills in SNGs. A 10-man SNG is reasonably analogous to the final table of an MTT, and by playing a week of SNGs, you get "final table" practice that would take months to amass through MTTs.
 
DetroitJimmy

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As you can see though the blinds were huge and i believe my M was at 2.5 - deep in the red zone - so is this the right play in the situation? [/quote said:
Sounds like you already read HOH 2,or someone who has explained the zone system to you.If you think there is a 50% chance the guy will fold,you almost have to push here IMHO.The key thing is you are first to act.Sometimes the guys in the blinds will have a hand to call.Most of the times they do they will not have a pair and if not chances are you have 2 live cards.To make a long story short....I would push this most of the time.
 
dj11

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Actually, or at least as I understand it, I think your 'M' was at about 4.5. No technical difference though.

As the blinds had just passed you, you must understand that your choice here was not without risk. You could have chosen to wait a few more hands. At best I would put K6s at about average, and personally would rather shove 78o.
 
soccerfreakjj10

soccerfreakjj10

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did you take the ante into account?

Actually, or at least as I understand it, I think your 'M' was at about 4.5.

not a big deal except maybe my excel spreadsheet M calculator calculates incorrectly.

if i could turn back time I would have waited a couple of hands and looked for a better opportunity... but in general it sounds like i need a better understanding of late play

this endgame stuff is hard... look forward to learning more in my second volume of HoH
 
WVHillbilly

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You M calc is correct, with the antes and blinds the pot is 1000.

BTW, I'd push here probably 90% of the time only laying it down if I had already stole the blinds a few times in the last couple of hands.
 
DetroitJimmy

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Actually, or at least as I understand it, I think your 'M' was at about 4.5. No technical difference though.

As the blinds had just passed you, you must understand that your choice here was not without risk. You could have chosen to wait a few more hands. At best I would put K6s at about average, and personally would rather shove 78o.

I agree with rather pushing 87o,reason being it is less likely to be dominated.All in all I still push the K6.It sucks to have to push UTG after you had your chance to push against only two opponents.Next thing you know you're getting unpushable hands like 25o and what not with limpers in front of you.Then you have to question rather you shoulda took a chance or not.Don't sweat it and move on to the next tourney.
 
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Cheetah

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As I was just busted out of a tournament on the button trying to steal the huge blinds of a turbo tournament, I screamed to myself "OF THE COURSE HE PICKS UP #$%$ING POCKET JACKS IN THE BB."

This isn't the first time i have been busted out of a tournament pushing all in from the button to steal the blinds. It seems to happen a lot.

I do feel i made a mistake in this hand (because i am out), but I am curious if anybody knows or is smart enough to calculate the odds that a blind picks up a hand worth calling a push from the button (chip stacks being close enough that a call would be a big chunk of a blinds chips .) I would say those hands would be pocket 6s-As, AK AQ KQ AJ maybe even KJ, QJ, and J10. I bet if somebody figured this out then I would be surprised by the likelihood and try to steal like this far less...

I am still steaming and shocked i didn't just fold and wait for at least an ace to put my chips in with. As you can see though the blinds were huge and i believe my M was at 2.5 - deep in the red zone - so is this the right play in the situation?

Let's calculate the odds for a player to have 66+,AJ+,KJ+,QJ,JT.

These hands constitute 12.5% of all possible hands. This can be calculated by direct count or, easier yet, by using pokerstove.

The probability a player behind you to have one of these hands is approximately 12.5%. (It is a little more, but not by much.) So let's round it to 13% per player(easy to remember too:)).

So if you are in the SB and push, there is 13% chance the BB will call you.

If you are on the button, you have 2 players behind you, and each one has about 13% chance to call you. So your total chance to get called by at least one of them is about 26%.

Your hand, K6o, is 38% dog against the above range. So on the button, you will win the blinds 74% of the time and get called 26% of the time but you will win 38% of the time you are called. The chance you will get called by both blinds is less than 2% and we will ignore it since even when you do get called, your equity in the pot doesn't change much (you will lose more often, but triple up when you win).

If you get called by one of the players, your total cEV is:
cEV= 74%*1.5BB + 26%(38%*(Stack+1.5BB)-62%*Stack)
where Stack is the smaller of the remaining chips of the caller or your stack.

We can solve that equation to find out the maximum stack when this play is +cEV by setting cEV = 0. This yields:

cEV(max) = 20BB

To understand this result, look at the attached image. I calculated the cEV for variouis stack sizes. The smaller the stack, the larger percentage your wins are. We can see that this non-linear trend slows down at around 10BB.

In addition, cEV is not the same as $EV. But when you are <10BB, unless you are near a bubble, increasing your stack is MORE important than losing it because if you don't increase your stack, it will become so small that you will have no chance to come back.

On the other hand, when you are >10BB, the risk of busting out with marginal hands becomes less desirable since you have time to wait for a better situation.

At 20BB, this play is a clear loser even in cEV, let alone $EV.

In your particular case, your stack was 6.5BB. So this move has a positive cEV of about 14% of your stack. Unless you were near a bubble, it is correct to do that. Note that the earlier your position is, the greater the chance people behind you will call you.

So don't feel bad about the outcome. You didn't do anything wrong.

Let's note that the tighter the players are, the better this move is. When called, you are a bigger dog, but only by a little bit. On the other hand, you pick up more blinds.

There is another benefit of making moves with your marginal hands in position. If later you get a premium hand in early position, and push again, some player may get tired of this and call with a marginal hand. There is of course a huge difference calling with a marginal hand and pushing with it:D

Finally, a note on why the max cEV of 20 seems so high. In particular, it implies that in cash games, moving all-in with a small stack from late position is a profitable strategy (but not optimal!).

This concept is a generalization of the so called Sklansky-Chubukov numbers. For those who don't know what they are, they represent the required maximum stack of the SB to open-push and show their cards to the BB. The idea is that if the SB doesn't have a big enouigh stack(for their holding), the BB cannot call profitably often enough to make a profit. Since you don't usually show your cards to your opponent, you get the benefit of "bad" calls as well.

The calculations I did are only for one specific hand (K6o) against a specific range. A proper generalization of the Sklansky-Chubukov numbers to button play would involve all hands against any range for both players. It is doable but a lot of work. If I find time, I might do it one day.

But the practical conclusion here is that stealing from the button with marginal hands is profitable (though not always successful:eek: ).
 

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pigpen02

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If you are on the button, you have 2 players behind you, and each one has about 13% chance to call you. So your total chance to get called by at least one of them is about 26%.

If you are going to do more calculations, note this error. You need to calculate the chance of somebody NOT having a calling hand. Otherwise, you get chances over 100% easily with larger numbers. So, in this example, the chance of the small blind not calling is 87% and the chance of the big blind not calling is 87%, so the chance of both not calling is 0.87x0.87 or 75.7% so the chance of one calling is 24.3%. Not a big difference here, but it could matter in other calculations.

An example of this difference would be if you looked at the chance of the BB, SB and Button having one of the 25% best hands. It is not 25%+25%+25% = 75% but 1-(.75x.75x.75) or ~58%.
 
Cheetah

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If you are going to do more calculations, note this error. You need to calculate the chance of somebody NOT having a calling hand. Otherwise, you get chances over 100% easily with larger numbers. So, in this example, the chance of the small blind not calling is 87% and the chance of the big blind not calling is 87%, so the chance of both not calling is 0.87x0.87 or 75.7% so the chance of one calling is 24.3%. Not a big difference here, but it could matter in other calculations.

An example of this difference would be if you looked at the chance of the BB, SB and Button having one of the 25% best hands. It is not 25%+25%+25% = 75% but 1-(.75x.75x.75) or ~58%.

You are correct pigpen. This is why I said "So your total chance to get called by at least one of them is about 26%.". I didn't want to become too technical and lose the readers.

When the numbers are small, it is easier to add the probabilities as an approximation. If you have say 6 players behind you, then the approximation is clearly not good anymore.

Also, the error from this approximation is much smaller than the error inherent in the assumptions regarding their calling ranges or the assumtions that relate cEV with $EV.

The same is true for the "rule of 2 or 4" when converting outs to odds. For those who don't know this rule, it is as follows: If you have 3 outs to help you, with two cards to come, you can estimate your odds as follows:

There are 47 unseen cards which we approximate to 50. 3 cards out of 50 is 6 out of 100 which is 6%. So if you multiply the number of outs by 2 you get the approximate percentage of times to get them with one card to come. With 2 cards to come, we make the SAME APPROXIMATION as I did in the previous post and simply add 6% for 1st card with 6% for the second card for a total of 12%.

The outs can be used pre-flop as well to estimate probabilities to make certain hands. For example, say you have AK. What is the chance to get an A on the flop?

A quick way to do it is to say: We have 3 outs (3 remaining Aces) so there is 6% chance to get it with the first flop card, 6% with the second and 6% with the third for a total of 18%.

What is the chance to hit A or K? Again, you can approximate by saying that you have 18% to hit a K, so add them up and you get 36% to hit a pair. The actual, CORRECT, calculation is about 30%(including 2 pairs, sets, and so on).

As we can see, the approximation always overestimates. As the number of outs becomes very large, this can lead to odds greater than 100% which is impossible by definition.
 
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soccerfreakjj10

soccerfreakjj10

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woooooooow cheetah

i was hoping someone would tell me that its App. 13 percent that someone has a call worthy hand...

The analysis you did is amazing thank you thank you!

From a mathematical perspective I know I didn't make a mistake pushing there. Now I can sleep at night! :)
 
Cheetah

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i was hoping someone would tell me that its app. 13 percent that someone has a call worthy hand...

The analysis you did is amazing thank you thank you!

From a mathematical perspective I know I didn't make a mistake pushing there. Now I can sleep at night! :)

iwouldprefernotto, I am glad you found my response informative.:)

I do these detailed responses to interesting questions because of the following:
  • The results provide an objective basis to discuss the particulars of a situation
  • The results provide the tools necessary to evaluate certain situations mechanically during play
  • The analysis often applies to more general situations and answers much more than the original question
  • The analysis often opens new questions that need to be answered
  • It is fun to be able to answer certain questions about a game as complex as poker
  • Sometimes people appreciate it
  • It is nice to increase your post count by one:D
Obviously, these responses take a lot of time to prepare. Interestingly enough, I have been experiencing recently an unexpected benefit from all the hours I have spent on these kinds of posts. When I encounter a situation on the table that I have worked on for hours to analyze, I have an automatic recall of the conclusions from this analysis.

So, in conlcusion, I can say that I thank you for the good question.:)
 
mrsnake3695

mrsnake3695

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I think the BB calling range here is larger that what has been stated before. He can see you are a short stack and could/should push with almost any 2 cards if folded around to you. Also BB is a short stack too and can't afford to give up to easily. If short stack button pushes and SB folds I think BB calls with any ace almost any king, any 2 face cards and any pair and prob med connectors like 9-10 suited. I think BB chances of calling are much larger that 20-30 percent considering the current situation. It would be different if BB had a medium stack that isn't under blind pressure but calling your push could hurt him. Then his range is much smaller but with a small stack or large stack his range against a button short stack push is much larger.
 
soccerfreakjj10

soccerfreakjj10

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I was contemplating this earlier

I think the BB calling range here is larger that what has been stated before. He can see you are a short stack and could/should push with almost any 2 cards if folded around to you. Also BB is a short stack too and can't afford to give up to easily. If short stack button pushes and SB folds I think BB calls with any ace almost any king, any 2 face cards and any pair and prob med connectors like 9-10 suited. I think BB chances of calling are much larger that 20-30 percent considering the current situation. It would be different if BB had a medium stack that isn't under blind pressure but calling your push could hurt him. Then his range is much smaller but with a small stack or large stack his range against a button short stack push is much larger.

I agree with you here that stack size plays a huge role in what one can call with.

I realized that when the small blind pushed on me in an mtt and I insta called with K 8.

In that situation though the stack was really small and i was medium large (can't recall the ms but i was in the green zone.)

The list i originally brainstormed is probably for medium stack vs. medium stack bsb play because obviously medium stacks play the tightest.

but as the stacks of the blinds get larger or smaller it would probably be a good idea to add a couple percentage points to the 13 percent in my opinion to possibly as high as 25 or 30 percent which would mean you can no longer push with any 2 from the button, but K 6 would still be a good push because as the percentage of calling hands increases, the odds of the K 6 being the favorite increase dramatically. So it would seem that this would cancel out, leaving your cEV still positive.

maybe cheetah has some thoughts on this because obviously he is more qualified than me to figure that out.
 
soccerfreakjj10

soccerfreakjj10

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So, in conlcusion, I can say that I thank you for the good question.:)

lol no problem! It is easy to come up with good questions when you have no idea what you are doing :)
 
B

Bentheman87

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I've thoroughly read HoH volume 2, and I remember in one of the examples, Harrington had a 6 4 offsuit on the button with an M of less than 3. It was folded to him, and there were medium size stacks in the small blind and big blind, and he said the correct play is to push all in because "this situation, where everyone folded to him, is just too good to fold, push all in and see if anyone will call you. remember, your stack is plenty big enough to hurt the remaining players, so they will be cautious." Harrington said something along those lines.
 
DetroitJimmy

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I've thoroughly read HoH volume 2, and I remember in one of the examples, Harrington had a 6 4 offsuit on the button with an M of less than 3. It was folded to him, and there were medium size stacks in the small blind and big blind, and he said the correct play is to push all in because "this situation, where everyone folded to him, is just too good to fold, push all in and see if anyone will call you. remember, your stack is plenty big enough to hurt the remaining players, so they will be cautious." Harrington said something along those lines.


It was a 10 6 offsuit.I think 64 may a little too small to make this move.If it isn't,it is definitely at the bottom range.I know later when he is showing red zone strategy in action,he actually folds a 23os.

He says he is only folding the worst of hands here.I think 64os is a folding hand.
 
B

Bentheman87

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106 46...same thing, if you get called you are an underdog in either case. Topic creator, there was nothing wrong with your push with the King 6. You had to go through just two random hands, probably 80% of the time they will fold and you'll increase your stack from about 2700 to 3700. You were just unlucky one of them had a real hand. You had one overcard at least so you had some chances of winning against the JJ but his hand held.
 
Cheetah

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I agree with you here that stack size plays a huge role in what one can call with.

I realized that when the small blind pushed on me in an mtt and I insta called with K 8.

In that situation though the stack was really small and i was medium large (can't recall the ms but i was in the green zone.)

The list i originally brainstormed is probably for medium stack vs. medium stack bsb play because obviously medium stacks play the tightest.

but as the stacks of the blinds get larger or smaller it would probably be a good idea to add a couple percentage points to the 13 percent in my opinion to possibly as high as 25 or 30 percent which would mean you can no longer push with any 2 from the button, but K 6 would still be a good push because as the percentage of calling hands increases, the odds of the K 6 being the favorite increase dramatically. So it would seem that this would cancel out, leaving your cEV still positive.

maybe cheetah has some thoughts on this because obviously he is more qualified than me to figure that out.

Actually, as the percentage of calling hands increases, our benefit is less than what we lose as FE.

What happens is that the more often they fold, the more we win, independent of stack sizes.

When they call, we are dog so we lose and the larger the stacks the bigger the losses. However, as we get called more often, our loss from the times they would fold is NOT compensated by the fact that we are lesser dog.

The attached pictures illustrate this. They represent K6o on the buton being called by one or two of the blinds with different top % of hands.

The cEV in each case is:

cEV =
(% no callers)*1.5BB +
(% one caller)*((% we win)*(1.5BB+Stack) - (% we lose)*Stack) +
(% two callers)*((% we win)*(1.5BB+2*Stack) - (% we lose)*Stack)

We can not ignore being called by both blinds when they are calling too often so the formula takes that into account as well.

Let's compare the cases when blinds call with top 10% and top 20%. At stacks of 4 BB, our cEV is 25% and 18% of our stack. So, as they start calling twice as often, our increased wins don't compensate for the lost bilnds we steal at 10% calling range. On the other hand, our cEV is not half of 25%, but better.

The graph represents all this visually. There is a clear trend that we make the most money from the tightest players. The top line corresponds to a calling range of 5% and it is the most profitable for us. At stack <= 7BB, we are profitable regardless what their calling range is!

The 75% calling range line (the tick line), behaves differently than all others. The reason is that when they are that lose, we have a positive cEV even when we are called by one of the blinds. So we make money when they fold(getting the blinds), and when one of them calls. We are still a dog when both blinds call since we have less than 33% equity.

Such range is quite unusual, of course. However, if our hand was much better than K6o, we would see this happen at much smaller calling ranges.

Finally, all this is even more applicable to blind stealing, especially with a big stack. When our stack is big, the calling range of players decreases, which makes it MORE profitable to steal.
 

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U

unlucky79

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You win some and you lose some I always say. Just make sure you push with good starting hands. You win or lose atleast you know you did the right thing in the given circumstances. Best of Luck and awsome work Cheetah!!!
 
ratmantoo

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Superb as always Cheetah.

Very interesting read and something I have to work on. I tend to play too tight when I get short.

Thank you
 
K

Kajagugu

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Looking at PokerStove against a random hand you are only 55% to 45% favorite with K6o. The bigger issue with jamming this hand into two players is that you are all pretty much even money against two random hands. And the worst problem is jamming into the SB who has you outchipped 4-to-1 and might call with a wide range against what looks like a steal attempt from a short button.

Since the blinds have just passed you and you have a whole orbit to get a better jamming hand, I would wait if I were you. Sometimes you just have to stay patient. Even if a whole orbit goes by you will only lose 350 which is fine until the blinds come around again.

I just noticed something else about this hand. It's a satellite. So this changed a lot of things. Is this the final table? How many spots pay a seat to the $15K? Where are you in relation to the field? How many more need to bust before seats are awarded?

In satellites you are not trying to come in first. You are just trying to play for a seat. Think about it this way. If there are 1000 players and 50 seats awarded, you are playing for 50th place.
 
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