Set Mining

joesizejoesize Red Chipper Posts: 110 ✭✭
edited January 2017 in General Concepts
I have read a lot of poker books, and understand the basics of set mining, such as the post flop maxim of "no set, no bet," etc. I also understand that the SBR has to be great enough to offer enough implied odds to compensate for the times that you miss, or hit and lose. Still, I'm not sure that I'm thinking the right way, and here's why:
The consensus seems to be that an SBR should be at least 15. My thinking has been that, since I don't like to limp, I should open raise with small pairs, and since I want the chance to win as much as possible when I do hit, I should raise as much as I think someone will call, so long as the effective stacks are at least 15 times my raise. By open raising, I know that I risk being 3 bet out of the hand, especially if someone calls after I open raise.
I realize that probably the bigger the SBR, the better, and that for that reason limping might be better, but since I'm not going to get many small pairs of deuces through sixes (less that 3% of the time, if I'm guessing right) I feel that I should be pushing the pot geometry when they do come.
The attitude I've had is that I would rather call a raise of $20 if the effective stacks are $300 than I would a raise of $10. Is this right?
Also, is my SBR double if I'm in with two players with $300 stacks? I probably wouldn't stack both players if I hit, so how much should I be estimating that the SBR is?
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  • moishetreatsmoishetreats Red Chipper Posts: 1,819 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    Funny -- I have been asking myself the exact question over the past couple of weeks. Here's where I have come out (I'm both sharing and happy, like you, to take suggestions).

    Early in my session, I just raise any hand that I'm going to play. Plain and simple. Including the small pocket pairs. If they miss, then they go into the small percentage of hands where I don't cbet. If they hit, then I make money and show small pocket pairs as a hand with which I'll raise, and that generates a table image that I'm happy to have :).

    As the session lengthens, though, the stack size becomes critical for me. If I'm smaller stacked, then I want to keep the SPR high, too. I might start limping, and the fact that I'm smaller stacked usually allows others to create their own "justification" for my limping without knowing the hands that I'm liming with. In addition, if I'm at a table with a lot of pre-flop 3-betting, then I'll tend to limp these hands, as well. These are hands that I want to play for the price of a raise -- either my own or by calling another player's raise (and, if I'm set-mining, I'm less hyper-focused on maintaining initiative) -- but not for the price of a 3-bet.

    Of course, if I'm big-stacked -- AND there are other big stacks at the table!!! -- then I'll keep raising my small pocket pairs; after all, I do still want to get paid off if and when my set hits :).
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    joesize wrote: »
    Also, is my SBR double if I'm in with two players with $300 stacks? I probably wouldn't stack both players if I hit, so how much should I be estimating that the SBR is?
    I think you're talking about S-P-R.... meaning Stack-to-Pot-Ratio.
    It's a way of talking about a hand after before the flop is dealt.

    If you have 300 and bet 10... and get called by 4 players... the pot is now 50 and your stack is 290. So your SPR is under 6.
    What does that mean?
    In the book Professional No Limit Hold-Em, Ed and friends offer some guidance as to what is ideal, what is bad and what is ok.
    A "6" is on the low side and basically means you don't have much room for creative betting. If you bet 40 on flop and got 2 callers... pot is then 170.... and you've got 250 left. Which means the on the turn you've either got to overbet shove 250 into 170 or if you make a pot-ish bet, you're left with pennies on the river that won't get many folds...
    basically, you've got an awkward stack size.

    This SPR is something you want to consider when you're betting with a big hand, not small pps. It should be part of your planning process to get your stack in by the turn whenever possible... this means you'd probably want to bet larger pre.

    Set-mining is a totally different topic.
    Odds of a pp hitting the flop are 7.5:1... meaning you hit it once out of 8.5 times.
    That's where the idea of stack sizes and calling with it come from.
    If you're on the button and UTG raises to 20 pre-flop, he should have at least 8.5X that bet (170) in his stack for your call to be "correct."
    Some guys use 10X, other use 15X.... because they figure that in all the times you do call, you're still losing to other sets, flushes or str8s... so they want the implied odds to be higher.
    But remember, this is only a number folks use if they're playing fit-or-fold.
    On the button, you could call with lesser odds if you're bold enough to bet the flop if UTG checks because his AK didn't hit... meaning, you're not calling just to hit, you're calling because you're playing your hand in position.

    When set mining- try not to consider everybody's stack size who's in the pot.
    As you've probably experienced, there is often just ONE main villain. He's the one pushing the action and the guy who will probably put the most amount of chips in the pot. So just because UTG has 150 and MP caller has 250... you can't call a 30 PFR with 33 from the SB thinking you're gonna win 400. That's wishful thinking math!

    BACK TO YOUR ORIGINAL Q:
    Playing small pps from early position needs to be something that's part of your total strategy. You need to consider how you would play them compared to AA, AQs or TT.
    They need to be part of a bigger picture that doesn't give away the strength of your hand. But you also want to play them in a way in which you can realize their equity.

    Overall - when you've got a small pp in EP - your SPR really doesn't matter much because you'll probably be check/folding most flops or turn.
    In addition, when you raise with small pp in EP - you don't get to choose which opponent calls... so you may get called by a short stack and not realize the 10X or 15X that you've established as a guideline. But don't sweat it... happens to all of us.
  • joesizejoesize Red Chipper Posts: 110 ✭✭
    Funny -- I have been asking myself the exact question over the past couple of weeks. Here's where I have come out (I'm both sharing and happy, like you, to take suggestions).

    Early in my session, I just raise any hand that I'm going to play. Plain and simple. Including the small pocket pairs. If they miss, then they go into the small percentage of hands where I don't cbet. If they hit, then I make money and show small pocket pairs as a hand with which I'll raise, and that generates a table image that I'm happy to have :).

    As the session lengthens, though, the stack size becomes critical for me. If I'm smaller stacked, then I want to keep the SPR high, too. I might start limping, and the fact that I'm smaller stacked usually allows others to create their own "justification" for my limping without knowing the hands that I'm liming with. In addition, if I'm at a table with a lot of pre-flop 3-betting, then I'll tend to limp these hands, as well. These are hands that I want to play for the price of a raise -- either my own or by calling another player's raise (and, if I'm set-mining, I'm less hyper-focused on maintaining initiative) -- but not for the price of a 3-bet.

    Of course, if I'm big-stacked -- AND there are other big stacks at the table!!! -- then I'll keep raising my small pocket pairs; after all, I do still want to get paid off if and when my set hits :).

    That's interesting. I've always kind of worried about the idea of having to show that I raised in early position with a small pair, and looking like a donkey. But, since you mentioned it, I agree that it would be good for table image. Like, this guy's obviously not the nit I thought he was. Also, if they do think you're a donk, that's probably good, too.
    KAGEY is right, though; it really sucks when the only caller is a short stack- even worse when he re-raises all in.


  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2016
    You might want to search the forum for other discussion on this - specifically the stack ratio you want to play. Consider someone raises with KK and you call on the button with 33 and the flop is J73 rainbow. You got a bet/stack ratio of 30:1, let's say. How much exactly do you think KK is going to lose in this situation? Anyone trying to get stacks in here is going to look really suspicious. In this case, it's possible the high ratio actually hurts you because they'll fold earlier in the hand if they suspect you have it, because they're worried about increasingly larger bets and stacking off. So there was some talk that something like 10:1 or 12:1 might actually be better than 15:1 or higher, in some situations, because it's easier to get stacks in that way.

    Regarding raising small pps in EP, you're really not doing that for set mining purposes, you're doing it for balance, bluff, value of the pair by itself, image, etc. Of course you might hit a set, but you've got so much else going on that I wouldn't worry about set mining ratios at that point.
  • joesizejoesize Red Chipper Posts: 110 ✭✭
    Ye
    jeffnc wrote: »
    You might want to search the forum for other discussion on this - specifically the stack ratio you want to play. Consider someone raises with KK and you call on the button with 33 and the flop is J73 rainbow. You got a bet/stack ratio of 30:1, let's say. How much exactly do you think KK is going to lose in this situation? Anyone trying to get stacks in here is going to look really suspicious. In this case, it's possible the high ratio actually hurts you because they'll fold earlier in the hand if they suspect you have it, because they're worried about increasingly larger bets and stacking off. So there was some talk that something like 10:1 or 12:1 might actually be better than 15:1 or higher, in some situations, because it's easier to get stacks in that way.

    Regarding raising small pps in EP, you're really not doing that for set mining purposes, you're doing it for balance, bluff, value of the pair by itself, image, etc. Of course you might hit a set, but you've got so much else going on that I wouldn't worry about set mining ratios at that point.

    Yeah, it's unlikely that a good deeper stacked player is going to stick his whole neck out that early. He's probably going to be sniffing out the set. and you'd be better advised to go slower, even though you're risking flushes and straights developing. After playing for several years, I'm just now getting to the point where I can fold top pair, or two pair when facing a lot of agression on the flop, and it has cost me dearly.

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