Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Light 3-Bet, shove flop.

Started playing tonight, but just wasn't feeling it, so I quit after 33 hands and a profit of 0.25.

I did listen to a video in the car today during the commute, so I can't say I've been totally avoiding the game.

One thing I forgot about a session I played a few nights ago: I attempted some light three betting, to good effect. Here's a sample hand:

Full Tilt, $0.25/$0.50 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter
UTG: $20
CO: $48.45
BTN: $22
SB: $28.65
Hero (BB): $28.60

Pre-Flop: 9 6 dealt to Hero (BB)
3 folds, SB raises to $1.50, Hero raises to $4.50, SB calls $3

BTN is stealing at 33%: fairly high. I three bet (very) light with a garbage hand. He calls.

Flop: ($9) 3 7 8 (2 Players)
SB checks, Hero bets $10.50, SB folds

Ed Miller says that when 3-betting light from the blinds as a defense, if you so much as "graze" the flop (even like pair + gutshot for 6 outs), you have a high equity play by shoving. The fold equity plus the 25%+ or so equity if called often makes this a winning play. Here, I flop an open-ended straight draw - even better than the 6 outs suggested, so in it goes. Add to this the fold equity of an all-low flop that misses many of the typical blind stealing hands, and boom, 9 blinds won with a garbage hand.

Results: $9 Pot ($0.45 Rake)
Hero showed 9 6 and WON $8.55 (+$4.55 NET)

This play worked so well, I tried it again a few orbits later against the same villain.

Full Tilt, $0.25/$0.50 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
LeggoPoker.com - Hand History Converter
BB: $20
UTG: $26.05
MP: $43.85
CO: $25.30
BTN: $27.05
Hero (SB): $30.40

Pre-Flop: A 2 dealt to Hero (SB)
3 folds, BTN raises to $1.75, Hero raises to $5, BB folds, BTN calls $3.25

This time I actually have an ace when I three bet, but a garbage kicker. Again he calls.

Flop: ($10.50) J T A (2 Players)
Hero bets $10, BTN folds

This is a messy flop for Ace-no-kicker, but I'm ahead of the top 30% of hands at about a 55-45 clip, plus there's always some fold equity. The other reason I like the shove here is because I've made the same play I made before, and he may be inclined to play sheriff against me with a jack or ten, in which case he's drawing very thin.

Another point - this shove also works because aces lower than ace-ten give me extra outs for a chop. If the board pairs the ten or jack, or whatever the turn card is,
or comes any other card higher than his kicker, I would chop the pot with A4-A9 (as long as he doesn't hit his two-pair).

Pokerstove says I will chop this pot 24% of the time against any ace in the villain's hand.

Add up all the chops, plus the fold equity, plus being slightly ahead of his stealing range to begin with, and boom, easy shove. In this particular hand, another great result - 10 big blinds with ace-friggin-deuce.

Results: $10.50 Pot ($0.50 Rake)
Hero showed A 2 and WON $10 (+$5.25 NET)

I feel like I'm learning the game at an exponential rate compared to when I was playing sit-n-goes. Plays like this aren't necessary (or even correct) when playing a short stacked tourney. But in the cash-games, I am quickly finding out that they can be the difference between long term winning and losing.

Everyone is going to get pocket aces and kings the same number of times in the long run. Everyone is going to flop the same number of sets, and win with AK vs. AQ about the same number of times.

But winning decent pots with ace-deuce, and six-nine off, while at the same time avoiding losing big pots with the same hands - that's what winning players accomplish, and losing players do not.

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