Thursday, October 6, 2011

When to Holdem, When to Foldem

When to Holdem, When to Foldem in poker
Firstly, thanks for all the support on the book guys. It's been very motivating to see all the encouragement and advice on Dragthebar, Twitter and here on my blog. I asked people to give me some ideas on what they might want to see in it and I got this response on DTB.



"Make sure you include when to fold. Of all the books out there, I don’t remember one that included when to fold if you get played back at and why. The just assumed a beginner would know or thought it was elementary."

Well firstly, yes I talk about this a ton in the book. But in advance of that I thought I would go over a few common scenarios where this situation may come up.

Hand #1

You have,



You raised preflop from MP and got called by a nit in the blinds. Stacks are 100bb effective.

The nit has stats that look something like this,

  • VPIP= 10
  • PFR = 8
  • AF= 2

The flop comes,



This is a standard cbet spot. You should bet around 75% of the pot.

The nit calls.

The turn brings the,



You bet again and he raises.

A couple things about this situation. Firstly, I would not always bet here again on this turn. I know this sounds crazy right? We have QQ, wtf! Valuetown!

But you have to consider this player type's range. A 10/8 set miner type nit is usually playing 18 or 24 tables at once and is just looking for nut hands. Usually their fold to cbet % is pretty high (70% or more) and they are often fairly passive as well.

When this type of player calls you on that flop some alarm bells should go off in your head. There is no flush draw. And there are no actual draws besides 54 and 78, neither of which are likely to be in his range.

His range is going to be heavily populated by hands like small to medium sized pocket pairs and maybe a couple big broadways. And especially at the micros, these types of players often only 3bet with a very small range (QQ+ and AK) so JJ could easily be in his range here too.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, I think that checking behind here on the turn is a perfectly viable play. Don't get me wrong, betting is ok as well but you have to be ready to fold when he raises.

And that is the point of this post of course. Should you continue when this nit check raises you on the turn here? Absolutely not. Players at the micros in general don't check raise turns without nut hands, and a nit with an AF of 2 who is 22 tabling is even less likely to do so.

Probably a pretty straightforward scenario. Let's look at one that is maybe a little closer.

Hand #2

You have,



You raised from LP and got called by a fish in the blinds. Stacks are 75bb effective.

The fish has stats that look something like this,

  • VPIP = 45
  • PFR = 11
  • AF = 2

The flop comes,



And the fish leads into you for pot.

If you have any kind of a decent sample on the villain I often have a look at their donk bet% in this spot to get an idea of their range.

donk bet %

Make sure you have a decent sample size like I said. If he has only had 2 opportunities to do a donk bet (the number in brackets to the right) then it's probably not a good idea to put much stock into it. But if you have a sample and his donk bet is something like 50%, then you will know that there is a lot of draws, weak pairs and complete air in his range.

Now the pot sized lead definitely adds a little to the situation as well. Fish generally like to lead huge on the flop with a hand that is ok but not great, especially top pair no kicker or a flush draw. We are well ahead of either of these.

That doesn't mean I would raise here every time. I think raising just folds out a lot of this range and keeps in the portion that beats us. I would just call the flop and ship over on most turns. It's interesting of course if another club comes and he bombs it. I would probably fold most of the time.

Hand #3

You have,



You raise from MP and get called by a TAG in LP. Effective stacks are 100bb.

The TAG has stats that look something like this,

  • VPIP = 15
  • PRF = 12
  • AF = 3

The flop comes,



You bet the flop and he raises.

This situation is a lot closer than the other two because this player type has the most balanced range here. That is, he has a couple nut hands, a couple overpairs that beat us as well as quite a few draws, semi bluff's and a couple outright bluffs with just an over or two.

I would say that a good case can be made for not even cbetting at all here. As he can also do this with any Ace and have decent equity against us here as well. Against a player with an AF of 3 or more (usually TAG's and Maniacs), you need to expect that you are going to get raised by a wider range of hands than against most player types.

Since we have an extremely difficult hand to play (we are going to hate almost every turn and river card that comes) and we are OOP, I think that simply check/folding is a perfectly fine play here. Something that I try to talk a lot about in my videos and coaching etc is making a decision early in a hand so that you are not putting in a bunch of dead money, just so you can fold later.

When you know the hand is going to be extremely difficult to win, giving up early is sometimes the best approach.

I hope that you guys got something from these examples. I would love to hear some feedback on what you guys think about these situations or anything else that you would like me to talk about. Thanks for reading!
Nathan Williams aka "BlackRain79" is a microstakes grinder, poker coach, DragTheBar instructor and the author of Crushing the Microstakes. Now available in Spanish and Russian as well.


18 comments:

  1. Hi

    Whould you also fold AA in hand#3 situation?

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, I would probably play AA for stacks a lot of the time here against an aggressive opponent. AA is ahead of a lot more hands than 88. And even if the villain has a set we have those extra 4 outs with the gutter.

    ReplyDelete
  3. oh so when we have AA or KK on low board we should stack off vs tags and donks? im folding a lot of situations like that becouse im afraid of sets so it can be my leak.

    ReplyDelete
  4. JustOpen,

    Na, you should still be folding a good amount of the time especially against passive players. And most players at the micros are passive. I am talking about versus aggressive players.

    It also depends on your image a little bit as well. If you are very tight or passive yourself, people are going to be less likely to play back at you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. quick questions on hand 3, why do you play mid pp from mp when you know most boards you will hate?

    What are your plans if you check flop and he checks behind than comes over cards like T/J/Q/K/A on turn and river?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Haha, hand #3 sure is popular. I thought that might be the case :P

    Bold Bet,

    On the contrary, I like most boards when I raise with a hand like 88 or anything for that matter. Most of the time I am going to cbet and take it down.

    In this particular spot, this is one of those rare boards where I am not going to get a lot of folds no matter what I have. Also, I am OOP to an aggressive player with a very vulnerable hand that doesn't have a lot of ways to improve. It's just one of those tough spots where it is really hard to win the pot.

    As to your other question, if the flop went check/check and the turn came a broadway yes I would stab at it a large amount of the time because those cards hit my perceived range.

    Thanks for all the comments so far guys! Keep em coming.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Blackrain

    Do you ever fold high overpairs(AA-QQ) in 3bet pots vs tight players? When you get raised his range is strong but there is a lot of money in a pot.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 100bb or less, not that often. Depends on the board of course though and any dynamic between us.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi,

    You fold a full house again a rock passive player¡?

    both players deep and passive player push allin?(NL2)

    my hand: JJ

    board: AcQhJhAh,

    ReplyDelete
  10. Depends on a lot of factors like how the action went, just how nitty he is, how much is in the pot, any dynamic between us. All I can really say is sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi. Helpful post. I often come across these exact same situations.I didn't get the chance to comment on your last post.Good luck with the book. Can't wait for the release. Lolo

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi bro!
    I have a ques for you.
    I played at 1 table with you a few days ago, and you had this hand with fish.Are you offen call oberbet flop with weak draw and call turn not for odds?
    Your comments, plz.


    Poker Stars $0.01/$0.02 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
    [url=http://www.deucescracked.com/?referrer=converter_dc]DeucesCracked Poker Videos[/url] [url=http://www.handconverter.com]Hand History Converter[/url]

    [b]BlackRain79 : $5.86[/b]
    BB: $3.77
    UTG: $5.49
    UTG+1: $5.26
    MP1: $1.39
    MP2: $2.51
    CO: $1.00
    [b]BTN: $1.96[/b]

    CO posts a big blind ($0.02)

    [b]Pre Flop:[/b] ($0.05)
    [i]2 folds[/i], MP1 calls $0.02, [i]1 fold[/i], CO checks, BTN calls $0.02, SB calls $0.01, BB checks

    [b]Flop:[/b] ($0.10) 5:club: 8:spade: T:diamond: [color=blue](5 players)[/color]
    SB checks, BB checks, MP1 checks, CO checks, [color=red]BTN bets $0.13[/color], SB calls $0.13, BB folds, MP1 folds, CO folds

    [b]Turn:[/b] ($0.36) 2:heart: [color=blue](2 players)[/color]
    SB checks, [color=red]BTN bets $0.17[/color], SB calls $0.17

    [b]River:[/b] ($0.70) 9:diamond: [color=blue](2 players)[/color]
    SB checks, BTN checks

    [b]Final Pot:[/b] $0.70
    BlackRain79 shows 6:diamond: 7:club: (a straight, Six to Ten)
    BlackRain79 wins $0.67
    (Rake: $0.03)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi bro!
    I have a ques for you.
    I played at 1 table with you a few days ago, and you had this hand with fish.Are you offen call oberbet flop with weak draw and call turn not for odds?
    Your comments, plz.


    Poker Stars $0.01/$0.02 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
    [url=http://www.deucescracked.com/?referrer=converter_dc]DeucesCracked Poker Videos[/url] [url=http://www.handconverter.com]Hand History Converter[/url]

    [b]BlackRain79 : $5.86[/b]
    BB: $3.77
    UTG: $5.49
    UTG+1: $5.26
    MP1: $1.39
    MP2: $2.51
    CO: $1.00
    [b]BTN: $1.96[/b]

    CO posts a big blind ($0.02)

    [b]Pre Flop:[/b] ($0.05)
    [i]2 folds[/i], MP1 calls $0.02, [i]1 fold[/i], CO checks, BTN calls $0.02, SB calls $0.01, BB checks

    [b]Flop:[/b] ($0.10) 5:club: 8:spade: T:diamond: [color=blue](5 players)[/color]
    SB checks, BB checks, MP1 checks, CO checks, [color=red]BTN bets $0.13[/color], SB calls $0.13, BB folds, MP1 folds, CO folds

    [b]Turn:[/b] ($0.36) 2:heart: [color=blue](2 players)[/color]
    SB checks, [color=red]BTN bets $0.17[/color], SB calls $0.17

    [b]River:[/b] ($0.70) 9:diamond: [color=blue](2 players)[/color]
    SB checks, BTN checks

    [b]Final Pot:[/b] $0.70
    BlackRain79 shows 6:diamond: 7:club: (a straight, Six to Ten)
    BlackRain79 wins $0.67
    (Rake: $0.03)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think he was not very good meaning that I had a lot of implied odds. My draw isn't that weak. It's a well hidden open ender on a rainbow flop. And his bet was only slightly an overbet. If he had made it like 20c or more on the flop I probably would have folded.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello Nathan,

    When you think about it when it comes to table selection, we try and pick tables with the high vpip which is definetly a good way to find some fish but it'll be completely random which seat you get in terms of getting direct position on them. But think about it when it comes to a random fish when he table selects they will never join a waiting list for one, and 2 they probably get pissed off when they open a table of 8 or even 7 players and click on the seat and it fills up before they get to sit. I started picking tables where there are only a few guys there and u can either play short handed and they fill up or just sit out and they fill up, or if they die just get rid of them, the time of the day will depend on if they will fill up or not i guess if they are all dying then just pick tables with 5 or 6 people at them but you get the maniacs coming to these tables alot not just 1 but 2 or 3 at once, it is random who sits but you get a higher frequency of fish that sit in these tables. Also i was playing some heads up which im sure you can win at too, its amazing how many guys come in and go all in every hand, some guys $5 shoves every hand lol, just something to consider cos fish won't ever join waiting lists so keep and whats better having one fish at the table or 3, plus if you join a short handed table you can spot them straight away and stand up and re-sit in position on them!

    GL Betidiots

    ReplyDelete
  16. Bet,

    Ya you make a lot of good points. I mostly just mass table though. I don't really have the time or care to focus on a bunch of fish at short handed tables. It's something I have thought about doing at higher limits though where it would be much more worth the time. I know some guys have a lot of success doing that.

    ReplyDelete