Wednesday, 13 October 2010

BvB spot

So in STTF, someone asks about a spot at t100. We are in the SB with 98s and stacks are quite deep. I think it's five- or sixhanded. Should we raise or limp and then stab? Villain is playing 29/20 and has folded his BB 80%.

In my view, this is a snapraise. Although fold to BB is an unreliable stat (players fold their BB to raises from earlier positions much more willingly than to SB raises -- you could use fold to SB steal but it takes a long time to converge and we play nitty enough not to have given him many opportunities), if it's high, or the player seems tight or skilled enough, we can make a judgement about a player's willingness to fold.

If we raise to 250, we are risking 200 to win 350. If villain folds 57% of the time, we make an instant profit, and can simply checkfold the flop and make chips. You'd want some overlay for ICM tax and some allowance for simply being wrong, so I tend to think if villain calls or raises tighter than 30%, I'll raise ATC in this spot. 30% is 55+,A2s+,K5s+,Q7s+,J8s+,T8s+,98s,A7o+,A5o,K9o+,Q9o+,J9o+,T9o, and this guy is not going to call that. You'd need to put in more pairs and aces, and lose a lot of the other shit. I think 22+,A2s+,K9s+,Q9s+,J9s+,T9s,98s,A2o+,K9o+,QTo+,JTo is as wide as he will go (that's exactly 30% as it happens). So yeah, there's not too much margin for error. Make him as nitty as I am, say, and you have an easy raise with ATC. I certainly don't call many raises at t100 with JTo or K9o even if I think villain is wide. And he has no reason to think we're wide. We won't have played many hands at all by this stage.

One guy wanted to fold in this spot. That's horribly nitty and I certainly wouldn't. Okay, you might have your doubts about 93s, but 98s is a decent semibluffing hand.

If you limp and then stab for another 100 chips, you are putting in 150 to win 350, so you're laying a slightly more favourable bet. But you do have to let him have a shot at the flop first and he may well raise you off your limp with hands he would not have reraised a raise or even called one with. A 29/20 guy is likely to read a limp from a nit as a weak hand and pop you up with his KT/Q9s type hands.

Should you cbet when you miss? Say the flop is K73r. Well, I certainly bet that but you can check and fold and no real harm is done. If villain has called with 30% though, he doesn't have a great deal he can continue with. He is reraising a lot of the hands that have a piece preflop, and most of his range has missed that flop.

In this hand, we were considering what to do against a guy playing 29/20, where we might feel raising is risky. So yeah, maybe you want to make sure your hand has something so that you can make value on some flops when you are called. Against a looser guy, limpstabbing might be better. Against a tighter one, your cards don't matter so much and 98s even has the advantage over stronger hands that it is not dominated by much of his calling range, where, for example, QT can be.

Games are tighter now and players don't obligingly fold everything short of AA when we get to push/fold, particularly regs, who overgeneralise the need to call looser BvB and now will call much too wide when you're less than 10BB (not that those same regs have realised they also have to push a bit tighter). So we need to find good spots to pick up chips before push/fold and not to waste opportunities because we want to "preserve chips". You have to at least limp/stab in this spot.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

On the redline

Most serious STT players obsess over their redline. This is a measure of how "lucky" they've been with allins. If you win an allin, you gain over your expectation; if you lose it, you lose what you expected. In case that's not clear, imagine you shove 63, and are called by KT. You now expect to win 33% of the time. If you do win, you won 66% more of the pot than you expected, and when you lose, you lose 33% more than you expected. The gap between what you expected and what you got is important to STT players, because they can tell themselves they were unlucky if expectation is a lot higher than results.

I will note straight away that for most typical nitty 2p2 types, particularly those who do not shove enough, expectation will very much be higher than results. That's partly because you so often get it in with the best hand, and obviously, when you lose in that case, what you lose is further below expectation than winning would be above. It's also, as I discuss below, perversely because you tend to do the opposite later in the game and get it in worse when the equity involved is higher.

But there are other components to luck. I was thinking about this the other day. I lost 9ish buyins and I had about the unluckiest day I could remember. But when I checked my expected results, I should have lost even more! I had actually run good in allin EV. How was that even possible?

Well, here are a few things that most players don't even think about.

Take that 63 hand. If you make KT fold, and you often do, you gain his equity in the hand for free. You don't consider yourself lucky, but think. If I had KK, shoved and he showed AA, I'm not going to be unlucky when he wins (he's a 4/1 favourite), but I sure am unlucky that he had the only hand ahead of me preflop! I don't have the maths to hand how often I can expect that, but it's not often. If it happens to more than a time or two in a set, you are running bad. But your allin EV doesn't consider that. The same goes for the times you threebet the LAGtard who is raising half his hands and this time he has a monster. He may have raised 20 times in a tournament, and the one time you went for it, he had you beat. He may well have not had a better hand every other time.

But I am focusing on how lucky you are to get away with shoves. HEM will credit you with a gain because you took the blinds and your equity increased, but it doesn't credit you for folding out better. But villain will often make a Sklansky mistake (should have called if he could see what you had).

We all know it's unlucky to shove AA, get called by JJ and then watch in horror when a J flops, or to get it in on the flop and watch JJ turn his miracle card. But when you raise AA, flop rags, get it in and are shown a set, you are not considered unlucky by HEM. Your expectation then is very low and you usually get nothing. But he flopped a set! 7/8 times that won't happen but this time it did. Effectively you were as unlucky as with the JJ hand where you got it in pre. But if he flops it for a raise, you weren't very unlucky at all according to your redline.

The same obviously goes for the times you raise AK, get called by A8, flop comes A83r and you get stacked. Again, you are not accounted unlucky preflop where you would be if you shoved.

Nor does it account for longer-term patterns that we would also consider "lucky". You're supposed to flop a set one in eight times, roughly. But you can call 20 raises with small pairs and hit nothing. Or you can hit your set and no one else has a piece, so you have had your "luck" in hitting, but you gain nothing from it. Of course, you can also hit and then get sucked out on. This should all even out in the long run, but the long run is not a day, a week or even a month. If I have a day where I play a hundred games and hit 30 sets in the early levels, getting paid off with every one, do I think I'm lucky? Well, it doesn't show in my redline, does it? (I don't know how often I get dealt pairs or hit flops, but that strikes me as hella lucky!)

Also, your redline is skewed by high-equity spots. If I shove the first hand of an 11 with JJ, and get called by AK and lose, I lose 5ish bucks; but if I shove that 63 on the bubble with 4K chips and get called by KT and lose, I lose more dollars (I'm not sure how many, but say I have $23 equity, I would lose 33% of that, which is about 7.50 or so). I am "unluckier" to get caught when shoving with a worse hand than I was to get caught with the better hand. Sure, I gain a ton when I win, but losing is worse than winning (you lose more equity when you lose than you win when you win because of the structure of STTs: note that I'm not saying that you lose more when you lose with 63 than you win! I am saying that the downside when you shove is always bigger than the upside unless you're heads up, so that proportionately winning twice when a 66% favourite does not make up for losing once). So we tend to lose out both ways! We get it in better when equity is low, and if we run bad, our losses take many similar spots to recoup; and we tend to have the worst hand at high equity, so we lose more in dollars even if we run as expected.