Things for further consideration

by PokerAnon ~ January 29th, 2014. Filed under: poker, Poker theory, Rush/Zoom Poker, Weaknesses.


Even though I wrote about patience and playing like an automaton in the previous post, my game always changes. I change. Some days I’m more attentive, or less attentive, happier, or less happy. And there are always things to look at, to see if I can find out where I’m playing sub-optimally and to look for ways to tweak that.

Here are my questions for my current project; $10NL 6 max Zoom. These are the areas where I’m less automatic and where I suspect I may be most sub-optimal:

  1. When to 3 bet from the blinds
  2. When to 4 bet
  3. When to 3 bet IP
  4. When to flat preflop
  5. When to 2 barrel
  6. How to play set/two pair on the flop

For 1, 2, 3, and 5 I’m not talking about when I have value, but about marginal or crap hands, the times when I’m playing the player more than the cards.

When to 3 bet from the blinds: There are a lot of high frequency stealers; 30%, 40%, even 60%. If he’s 35%+ (Q9o and up, on average for CO, BUT and SB) I’m 3 betting anything from the big blind. From the small blind I need some sort of hand because players open call 3 bets far too often, making it impossible for the button to fold, and then I’m OOP 3 way in a oversized pot with crap. I’ll bet 3/4 pot on almost every flop when called.

I need to learn to 3 bet small/medium pairs against stealers as well because I flat too often against their weak range and I hate having to consider calling two barrels from them when there are three to five overcards to my pair. I can do this in a regular cash game, but Zoom doesn’t allow me enough confidence.

When to 4 bet: I’m 4 betting light against 3-bet-steal percentages of 20%+, betting small enough to look like I might want a call, but also small enough to fold to a 5 bet/shove. And obv this is only against full stacks.

It looks like someone has espoused the theory of 3-betting-steal-attempts with any Ace as I’ve seen this happen with all kinds of crap Aces. Then there are players like the one I ran into when I raised AK from early, got min-3bet, I 4-bet, he min-5-bets, I shove, he calls, with A2s. And flops his flush.

I 4 bet light less often if I’m going to be OOP; ie. the 3 bet comes from behind me. The 3 bet non-steal percentages are a lot lower than the 3-bet-steal-attempts so I assume a stronger range, though it seems pretty indiscriminate for some, like those who have a really high 3-bet rate and do it against EP raises.

When to 3 bet IP: I don’t do enough of this. I’m much more willing to 3-bet steal attempts, probably because their open raising range is much stronger. But even a 15/12 opening from mid or cutoff is likely to fold or play fit/fold on the flop when 3-bet. If there are no big cards on the flop though, I may need to 2ble barrel because a tighter player may need more convincing to fold their middle pair. On the other hand, I’m building a huge pot by doing so.

When to flat preflop: These are probably the biggest potential winners; the pairs or medium or medium-high suited connectors, but I have to learn to restrict this to when the raiser’s hand range is strong. I started off flatting these hands even from the blinds against stealers, but when the raiser’s range is weak, I’m not going to get paid off when I hit. Not much different from flatting when the opponent’s stack is short; not enough implied odds, either because of lack of chips, or lack of post-flop value.

Against weak ranges I should be 3-betting instead, against short stacks I should just get out.

When to 2 barrel: For value, even thin value, against calling stations. I’ve been getting calls with 40% pot sized river bets with pretty weak holdings, even Ace high in a small pot.

But there are a lot of players that will call the flop with absolute garbage, and others that will call with bottom pair on the flop. My flop cbet success rate is 50% and my turn cbet success rate is 50% as well. I should filter my data for heads up and IP and look at board textures and opponent stats to try to figure out the best times to 2ble barrel. Again, this is much easier at regular cash tables than at Zoom.

On the other hand, a lot of players look for what they consider ‘weakness’, so if you bet flop, check turn, they will bet river with bottom pair or garbage, including busted or faked made flushes. Sometimes betting flop, checking turn, calling river with marginal hands can get two bets from some players where they might have folded to a turn bet.

How to play set/two pair on the flop: I’m beginning to consider min-raises and min-check raises here. Even a min-raise will build the pot so that I have more to work with for turn and river bets, though, players at this level will fold to even puny river bets.

My standard play OOP is call flop, donk turn, but if I min-raise flop, I can donk turn much bigger, or, smaller as a percentage of the pot but bigger in dollar value. Plus there will be some players like me that hate min-raise and won’t be able to fold.

Two bottom pair on a flop is different; I have to play this as fast as I can because of it’s vulnerability. This happens relatively often to me because I raise with crap from the button, like a J83 flop to my 83o that I raised with.

Way Ahead/Way Behind: This isn’t an issue for me, but a reminder. This works pretty darn well at this level. Kx will bet an Ace high board on the turn and river if you check the flop with QQ/JJ.

Which brings up something else; most players have no concept of pot control. KK/QQ is not a big hand on an Ace high or highly coordinated board. They will build huge pots with marginal hands like top pair no kicker. And players will often spaz out with top pair, or with some type of flush draw. 3 bet them with AA/KK/QQ, flop a ten high two tone board, and if they shove with a wild overbet they usually have some kind of ten, or a flush draw (not a combo), or even two unpaired overcards that they can’t fold.

Unless their stats look totally reasonable (which is unlikely if they overbet) call, and hope your hand holds. I raised two limpers with AK, and UTG donks pot on a K high board. I flat and another K comes on the turn. He shoves, which is about 2x pot, I call. He has K8s and apparently couldn’t consider that I had a better K and assumed I couldn’t fold my AA/QQ or whatever he thought I had.

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