Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Playing your opponent's hands

Last night was an interesting night. I was gonna play until I got my daily 200 points but then the fulltilt website was not working so it doesn't show me how many points I have... so, not knowing how many points I had for the day, I just kept playing, just to be on the safe side (in the end, I ended up with 360 points by the time the website was back up). I say interesting because I was on the bad end of a set up quite a few times... but sucked out on almost every single one of them. On my HEM, I believe my $EV was like -$36 but I ended up with +$360. I felt so dirty...

Well, in order to continue with my attempt to watch more vids, I watched a 2-4NL 6 max vid on DeucesCracked by Whitelime... and then I realized why I wasn't making much money there. Watching his play was... jaw dropping to say the least... After watching this vid, I am now convinced... if you are serious about wanting to get better, watching the pros play is a must. I am probably way late on the bandwagon (after all, I never joined CardRunners) but I am now realizing how crazy awesome some of these vids are. It's gonna take time for me to soak in everything that happened on that one hour vid but this hand illustrates the thought process that whitelime has and he uses it to exploit his opponents.

Basically, we all know that we should always be thinking in terms of what the opponent has. And I generally do... the problem is, I don't necessarily think in terms of "if I'm the opponent and I have a range of x, what hands within that range would I be able to do this with?" What do I mean? Let me illustrate:

From the DeucesCracked vid: Lime-Aid Part Deux (episode 1)

6 max 2-4NL deep stack
Whitelime has the villain (who has 200BBs) covered. The villain is a familiar name if any of you play 2-4NL. I'm not saying the villain is really good or anything (though, he is a solid player, I think) but the villain is definitely a regular.

Whitelime to this point was very active. And once again, on the button, he raises with 84s. Villain calls from the SB, BB folds. Heads up pot.

Flop K-J-6 rainbow.

Whitelime cbets and gets checkraised by the SB. At this point, I know that I would instamuck. I mean I was bluffing, I was caught and I am done. But this is why he makes the vids while I watch in awe...

He repops him.

Let me recap this. When the flop comes, the pot is $30. Whitelime bets approx $24 (I think) and gets checkraised to like $90). Keep in mind they both start with $800+. Whitelime, as he discusses his thoughts on the vid, then elects to repop to like $280 or something where basically, the only move that is available for the SB is shove or fold... shove and play a $1600 pot or fold.

And this was his reasoning. On a board like KJ6r, there are only two hands out of the whole range of hands that the villain has where he can shove. 66 or KJ. Why only two? Well, his thought was that KK or JJ would have repopped him preflop. So, with no reraise, the only two hands here that the villain could credibly have is 66 or KJ. The villain again is a fairly solid player so K6 or J6 would not be in his calling range preflop. In a spot like this, whitelime knows that it would be incredibly tough for the villain to 4 bet shove here on the flop and think he has any fold equity so it would be a bad play by him to do it with an OESD. So, basically, the opponent's range is extremely limited on what he can shove with which is why whitelime decided to put him to the test there. Sure enough, the villain folds and whitelime takes down a good sized pot with 84s.

Again, this is where his thought process clearly incorporates playing the opponent's hand. Let's say the opponent has KQ (even though I would think even KQ would have repopped him pre). Or QJ. He checkraises, thinking his top pair is good against a loose button raiser. Except all of a sudden, you're 3 bet on the flop when you already announced that you have at least top pair. That has got to be extremely scary and the question is, are you willing to risk your entire stack with KQ? You have to think that if you call here, if a blank falls, you're gonna be put to the test for your entire stack on the turn. Can you take that pressure? And again, keep in mind, this is 200BBs. Getting stacked with top pair that deep is just very unprofitable in the long run.

Talk about reading the flop texture and the opponent's hands... and this is just one example. Very sick.


RaisingCayne said...

Definitely indeed a sick example of what makes a pro a pro. I like the logic. Although I have to say, my fear of seeing villain's KJ or 66 would be overwhelming, and lead me to mucking after the flop checkraise. Yes these are the only two hands that are really feared, but the sheer volume of fear would lead me to the (pansy)fold. (Of course fear would also result in my mucking 84s preflop, but I digress!)

I've heard some great things about deucescracked, I'll have to look into it. (Consider myself a SnG specialist far more than cash games though... hopefully they have some specific vids related to the 6seat SnGs I frequent.)

Fuel55 said...

1. QT is also a reasonable hand for villian IMO. Given the depth QT is a fold but with smaller stacks at 2/4 down villians are taking it to the felt.

2. Flop 4-bet are almost always bluffs - players above $2/4 are well aware of this fact and can 5-bet air too. Would whtelime really raise a checkraise with a set? No he'd flat call and try to extract more value.

$mokkee said...

ballsy play

Anonymous said...

hm, the post reads interesting but then again ... when I look at whitelimes graphs I cant help but feel that this is not always winning poker: