Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The rare poker post

My blog should be changed to "Other stuff and poker." It's becoming increasingly rare for me to post strategy or any situational thoughts... but it seems like that's been the trend on a lot of blogs. I mean, you all are tired of reading about how to play AK in position, out of position, 200BB deep v 100BB deep, etc etc right? Well, I sure am tired of talking about it. Plus, as I mentioned few posts ago, I'm playing bottish anyways so it probably doesn't even matter... for now. I would want to say that I am gonna renew my resolve and start reading up more poker material etc etc but right now, I am having more fun doing other stuff so it is what it is.

Having said that, this is a poker blog so I figured, I should post something poker related. About a week or two ago, crushmastac asked about overlimping/reraising in 6 max games. I'm sure a lot of you have seen it before. You know, where some guy limps UTG or UTG+1, someone raises in LP, blinds fold and then the original limper 3 bets. Trappy.

His question was what do I think about this play and how to counter it. Honestly, I think this is a question better suited for Bruechips who thinks about stuff like this probably more often than I do. (here's your blog pimpage dude) Having said that, I do have some thoughts.

You can't really counter that play. In other words, just like any 3 bet, you just have to go by how often this guy does it. In other words, if you have seen him do it with aces and only aces, it's pretty easy. You figure out if you have set mining odds and if not, you fold. If you have seen him do that frequently, that you need to push back by 4 betting or calling (if you have position... if not, I would recommend 4 betting). But what do I think of the play in general... well, it really depends. Just like any other "move" in poker, it really depends on whether you are capable of mixing it up or not.

If you are limp-reraising with only AA or KK, it's a terrible move. You're practically announcing what your hand is so that's obviously terrible. If you're gonna do that, you also need to start doing that with some other random hands. The question is, what would the random hands be? Should you include AK? AQ? Is that still too tight? Maybe you should try to do it with JJ+ and AQ+? That's one thought but if you are only doing it with that range, I still don't necessarily like it unless you are so afraid of playing post flop poker that you just want to end the hand pre. The only danger is that there's no guarantee that someone will raise and do you really want to see a flop 4 handed with AA? But let's just say that you love that move... well, one way to make it alright is by polarizing your ranges.

I think this is key for any of the moves though. Instead of starting to do it with terrible hands that could easily be dominated like AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ, QJ and pocket pairs TT and belowm, you might want to polarize the range. Now, your initial thought might be, what the hell are you talking about? How are the above hands easily dominated? Well, if you are not polarizing your range and are doing it with let's say top 5% of your hands, then the hands that will call you will usually dominate/beat what you have. You don't want to be in a situation where you are out of position and you are unsure how good your hand is after hitting top pair... in a overinflated pot preflop. So, instead, one thought would be to mix in some sh*t hands when you do this. So, instead of saying that you're gonna do the limp-reraise move with AQ+ and QQ+, you could also include 22-44 and maybe some suited connectors like 89 or T9. I'm not sure that polarizing those ranges make this a good move but it's definitely a thought. That way, if you don't hit and you cbet but you encounter resistance, the decision would generally be easier. Also, more often than not, you could bluff off the better hand. In other words, if you do the limp reraise with AQ and you hit a Q high flop and you bet out and the other guy folds, you most likely had the best hand to begin with. So, you didn't really gain much of an additional value since you had the best hand and you took it down by betting. On the other hand, if you polarize your range and you do that, then let's say you hold T9 and you pull the same move on the Q high flop. It's very possible that you could get several better hands to fold such as lower pocket pairs, a few Ax hands, etc. The ability to bluff off some of the better hands will be adding value to the move itself.

Polarizing ranges are key in any situation I believe. I used to think that when people said I needed to open up my range, that meant that I needed to raise with the top x% of hands as opposed to the top y% of hands (obv x > y here). However, now, I realized that by polarizing, you might be 3 betting with the top x% + some random hands as situation dictates which I think will obviously increase the frequency so that they might start playing back at you more often, even when you have a real hand which adds value as well as being able to take it down with a cbet post flop (if not pre) or having to fold to pressure post flop without too much agonizing decision.

I don't have the math to support any of this but this is more or less a "thought about poker" post so that's all you're gonna get from me. Maybe this helps, maybe this doesn't. Feel free to comment.


Bayne_S said...


spritpot said...

If I were to start trying to come up with a limp/re-raising strategy, I'd definitely let 22-77 or so comprise the rest of my re-raising range along with AA-KK. The reason is that those pocket pairs are the only kinds of hands I might be interested in limping up front and having it limped around or seeing a big multi-way two-bet pot. The other thing is that if you're up against observant players who see you limp/re-raising AA-KK from EP a lot, they will realize that your EP RAISING range is weaker, so against those players you will have to start playing back more with the top of your UTG raising range, which is now QQ and AK.