Countering slowplay

persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 2017 in General Concepts
This week I am playing in a cardroom which, like an island home to unique evolutionary traits and strange unheard of animals, features a predominant play style of extreme slowplay. The known winning regs for the most part flat or limp/call their entire range, including premiums, and outdo each other with min raises and trapping. There is some quasi-collusion as well, as you can imagine, in such an inbred culture. On the surface, this sounds exploitable, but in practice it is not always so easy. They are very good at playing in position, respecting the board, playing carefully, and identifying aggressive non-regs and owning them.

What are some principles I might employ in such a place? What might I be missing? I have a long term good track record here but I got beat up pretty badly last night and need to regroup.
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Comments

  • ChipTraderChipTrader Red Chipper Posts: 178
    Welcome to LAG hell ... Lately I've been running into the same action it seems to be the theme for Regs lately.

    Options =

    1. Increase your raise sizing.

    limp limp 6 to 8 bb
    limp limp limp limp 8 to 10 bb

    If the reg calls you know hes got the top end of his range so shut down after 1 c bet on any danger board.

    2. Limp right along with a huge range (maybe 50%) since you know your going to see a ton of flops then hammer any A high boards with all your two pair plus hands and dont semi bluff just call all draws since your going to see all rivers for cheap.

    The bottom line is let them play tricky in scenario 1 its going to cost them everytime they miss and in scenario 2 they trick themselves right to showdown.
  • tagliustaglius Red Chipper Posts: 290 ✭✭
    This is an excellent question.

    I like ChipTrader's advice, I think I would choose to widen my limping range with more suited stuff. More suited 2 gappers and suited kings (with less regard to kickers). In short, flush-mining.

    I am the lord of always being in position - I'm wondering if we can loosen up those requirements a bit also. If the button isn't going to punish us, then why not take advantage? I don't think I would go crazy breaking this rule, we still have to get paid when we actually hit our flush, and being in position makes that much easier.
  • MarrekMarrek Red Chipper Posts: 104
    i still don't over-limp on these types of tables (my game is 1-2). I just keep a tight range and isolate big ( ie. limp, limp, limp, i go $15 -$20 with J9s in pos). you win alot pf, and when called you can put them on a range and play poker.
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,876 -
    ChipTrader wrote:

    1. Increase your raise sizing.

    limp limp 6 to 8 bb
    limp limp limp limp 8 to 10 bb

    If the reg calls you know hes got the top end of his range so shut down after 1 c bet on any danger board.

    I would argue that this should be your normal bet sizing anyways, this is not an increase.

    My PFR is formulaic.

    Standard raise + 1 BB for each limper.

    Add a little more if there are 3+ limpers
    Add a little more if I am in the blind.

    Usually the PFR is 5x at most $1-$2 I go to, but each table has its own culture.

    so:

    limp limp would be 5 + 2 = 7 BB (basically what ChipTrader said)
    limp limp limp limp would be 5 + 4 = 9 BB plus a little extra so 10 BB (basically what ChipTrader said).

    What I am getting at though is this should not be an adjustment for this table, this should be standard.

    Doug
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • starling81starling81 Red Chipper Posts: 88
    This is like never ending nightmare for me. High variants 1/2, where people just seem to get in with God knows what and most pots are always multi-way.

    It's hard to play, when u increase open sizes to 20-30 and still endup in 5-way pot.In such game "playing nit" becomes useless. If you only wait for premiums thinking that playing only JJ+ hands will pay off, you endup frustrated cause your premium hand ends up in multi way pot where you just endup check-folding it on wet board.

    Agressive play works sometimes, but even that becomes dangerous, since people start spazing out and damaging your stack by doing something stupid.

    As I've been taught, real player is a hybrid. But for me it's a tough order, since I don't have enough experience.

    I guess "change the damn table" works good if you are in the casino and there is options to choose diff table.

    High variants game with bunch of Tom Dwan wannabes at the table becomes my Kryptonite too often. :(
  • Doug HullDoug Hull RCP Coach Posts: 1,876 -
    In Miller's Playing The Player he discusses playing in Wild Games.

    In short: buy in short, jam early, jam often.

    Whenever I hear of situations like this, describing the table is describing the solution. What do I mean by this?

    We are winning at poker because we find the mistakes our opponents are making and allow them to make them. We in turn make less mistakes than our opponents and they do not exploit those mistakes as well.

    This table has lots of people that are willing to go too far with weak hands and open too many hand for too much money pre-flop.

    The fundamental thing to remember here is that you are no longer playing poker, you are playing showdown. Assume you need the best hand to win, and you need to get to the river. Getting all-in pre-flop will allow both of these to happen.

    14947499916_0cda36fcc7.jpg

    I put in a 4% range versus three 25% ranges. You win 1.5 times for every loss if you get to the river. Since there are three of these yo-yo's in the hand, you are getting 3:1 on your money.

    Sign me up.

    Get in there with a short stack, get a hand and basically ship it in as fast as possible. You are not trying to see a cheap flop, you are trying to get all the money in with a better range than they have.

    If this is a $1-$2 and they are going multi-way for $20 a piece regularly it is not unreasonable to ship in $150 AIPF over them.
    starling81 wrote:
    It's hard to play, when u increase open sizes to 20-30 and still endup in 5-way pot. In such game "playing nit" becomes useless. If you only wait for premiums thinking that playing only JJ+ hands will pay off, you endup frustrated cause your premium hand ends up in multi way pot where you just endup check-folding it on wet board.

    Stop trying to play poker in these scenarios. Think of it as roulette, you are the house. With normal stack sizes, you will be VERY shallow SPR on any given flop, yet most flops will scare you. Just get it in pre, keep those rebuys handy.

    It will be a very wild ride, but casinos are built on 0.1% edges. You have a much bigger edge here. Embrace the variance, try not to confuse it with poker and enjoy.
    Co-founder Red Chip Poker,
    Author Poker Plays You Can Use
    Author Poker Workbook for Math Geeks
  • MarrekMarrek Red Chipper Posts: 104
    Watch ed's videos on 6.5 hours of 2-5 at the WSOP. I use his exact style in my 1-2 games and it works. 6 limps, i raise it big, 3 callers. I only cbet when i have equity. Lots of times i won't win a hand for 2 or 3 hours, then i'll hit 2 in a row and be up 75bbs. Patience is the key. If you can't just x/f AKo on 678hhd, then it won't work. But if you can be O.K. only playing 7 hands in 3 hours and being down a 100bbs, this style definitely pays off.

    Patience and big pf raises are the keys to winning these games IMO.
  • ChipTraderChipTrader Red Chipper Posts: 178
    Doug Hull wrote:
    ChipTrader wrote:

    1. Increase your raise sizing.

    limp limp 6 to 8 bb
    limp limp limp limp 8 to 10 bb

    If the reg calls you know hes got the top end of his range so shut down after 1 c bet on any danger board.

    I would argue that this should be your normal bet sizing anyways, this is not an increase.


    Doug


    Agreed I didn't mean it literally ;)

    Also I don't think this is a "Wild Game" this looks like a standard 1/2 game to me lol.

    I have recently seen this bleeding into 2/5 lately though.
  • Sir_McBoozeSir_McBooze Red Chipper Posts: 43
    I agree with pretty much everything everyone's said here. As I was reading the original post my immediate thought was a combination of ChipTrader's "raise huge" and Doug's "buy in shorter." If all the money's getting dumped in on the flop, then they can only play so slowly.

    I also liked ChipTrader's idea of loosening up and seeing a lot of cheaper flops, and would add to this not just taglius's idea of "flush-mining," but the idea of "SDV-mining." If we pick the right range that includes a bunch of random high-cards and try to just get to the river cheaply IP, we'll win at showdown a profitable percentage of the time, while letting the regs slowplay themselves to death and get no value from us. Since it sounds like they're content to let other people control the size of the pot, when we do have it we can probably hurt them pretty badly before they realize what's happening.

    The last thing I'd say, persuadeo, is that if you have a history of good results in this game, then don't let one bad night bother you too much. Obviously we should all try to keep improving, but don't lose confidence in what's been winning play so far. "lol" at your reproductive isolation analogy, btw.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks everyone. However, a couple things, just to clarify.

    1. This is not a wild game, and I'm not sure how we went down that road. From the opening raise size (2x-3x), to the meticulous postflop play, this game does not play at all like a typical low stakes game.

    2. That said, it's still all about putting players on ranges and going from there, so in that sense, there is nothing different about this game than any other.

    3. However, I will try some of the preflop tactics mentioned.

    Thanks again.
  • Ed MillerEd Miller RCP Coach Posts: 330
    persuadeo wrote:
    Thanks everyone. However, a couple things, just to clarify.

    1. This is not a wild game, and I'm not sure how we went down that road. From the opening raise size (2x-3x), to the meticulous postflop play, this game does not play at all like a typical low stakes game.

    2. That said, it's still all about putting players on ranges and going from there, so in that sense, there is nothing different about this game than any other.

    3. However, I will try some of the preflop tactics mentioned.

    Thanks again.

    Let's break it down. These guys are playing passively with ranges spiked with premium hands. What does this mean?

    1. It means some bluffing spots will be less profitable than against typical players, since these guys can have premiums at any time. It doesn't, however, mean you should never bluff.

    2. It means guys aren't getting value for their hands, and it means that they don't have a credible bluffing strategy. When people are slowplaying a ton, they can't bluff as well early in hands (because the premium hands aren't in the betting/raising ranges), and in general they will be getting less value.

    So where's the edge. Because guys aren't getting value for hands, you can count on taking more medium-strength hands to showdown. You can also defend blinds more/play more from OOP, since these guys won't be exerting maximum pressure. Even if they aren't dumb in position, the mere fact that they make smaller bet sizes and slowplay more means that they're using position inefficiently.

    So the edge is that you can get max value for your good hands and pair the appropriate number of bluffs, while they're getting less than max value for their hands and they are forced to bluff less often and/or permit you to call down with all your medium-strength hands.

    If they play loose preflop, your edge will be fairly large, since their ranges will still be weak enough to bluff into regularly. If they play tight preflop, however, then your edge against this cagey style may not be that great if they read hands well and otherwise don't do too much stupid stuff.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks, once again, Ed. I will reread this carefully and take it under advisement.

    However, an anecdote to amuse you all, which says a lot about this crew:

    Just after value owning myself once again with top two versus a super slowplayer, I pick up JJ UTG +2. I raise the limper from 5 to 25, and to my surprise, I pick up two callers in the field, plus the limper. The flop is KQ4, and I consider myself pretty much dead here. Their calling range is very strong, and if it just happens to be suited connectors or small pairs, I'm not getting any value. So I follow the UTG player in checking (he's busy on his phone), and it checks through. A low blank is dealt, UTG checks, and I humbly check again. Somehow the field players also check, and I wonder if it is just possible that I might have the best hand. The river is another low card; there is no flush, and only a gutter that no one here plays makes a straight. UTG checks, and I feel that as a poker player, I have to bet for value here, after no action on the flop and turn. So I fire out a weak forty into 100, looking for a hero call from any of the small pairs out there. The field callers fold, but UTG snap calls me. When I reveal my jacks, UTG reveals his set of fours, and everyone looks at me reprovingly for overplaying my hand.
  • ChipTraderChipTrader Red Chipper Posts: 178
    hahahahaha sorry but I'm not laughing at you but rather laughing because I've been there 100x before and the good news is as much as this SUCKS there is some really good lessons in it for you in adjusting your play. As per usual ED said it masterfully and in only a way ED can. I would re read that post a few times and then be read to adjust your play to this game and once you start to make $$ from it you will come out a better player.

    Cheers and good luck let us know how it goes.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm a little traumatized at the moment, after dumping six buy ins over two hellish nights of runbad and spewage in an effort to exploit their 4th stage MUBS, but I will be back. Revenge has motivated me to a lot of wins.
  • BetStackBetStack Red Chipper Posts: 24 ✭✭
    Observation

    Their over-limping and passive play protects them from aggressive/skillful play and minimizes their flop/turn/river mistakes; whether they realize it or not.

    Theory

    From a theory perspective watch some of the SplitSuit videos on flopzilla and do the suggested exercises. You'll see how often people miss flops, how rare 2-pair plus can be, how turn cards improve or not-improve hands. This will take away some of your MUBS and give you additional insight.

    My local 1/2NL can play like this and until I did the above exercise I used to be totally frustrated at the game. Now I can clearly see the mistakes and look for spots to take advantage of it.

    (I'm guessing you have not done this ... yet ...)

    Tactics

    Most low limit has a 8-10BB threshold where people stop being curious about their hand and things start getting real. You may want to consider increasing your raise/bet sizes but I think that means playing tighter than you already are. Take the time with paper or on flopzilla to map out your opening and calling ranges from each position at the table. Now take out that bottom 5-7% and you'll likely be good to go. You can't play so tight that you won't make a profit in this game over a few hour session.

    Also, start looking for spots where players are dumping their bad hands. Do they fold on the flop? will they always float? Will they never fold top pair? Four ways to a flop you're not up against AA Vs. AK vs. KK vs. QQ so they have to dump their hand somewhere. Start to look for where they are dumping hands and how they're doing so. Will give you some additional insight into exploiting them differently.

    Final

    I used to be frustrated in the same way but if you do the off-table work the RedChip Team suggests the dynamic you are frustrated with is strategically/tactically beatable.

    Also, over a period of time playing styles start to converge. Don't get pulled into their style/thinking/approach and bleed off stacks ... you're a black hole which their chips fall into, never to return :)
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper Posts: 4,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @betstack

    Thanks for the post, which contains valuable advice.

    Just to be clear, however, I'm not the one with MUBS (although this place is going to give it to me eventually). My problem with this cardroom, and to summarize this thread, can be restated thusly:

    1) I am usually an aggressive player.

    2) I am playing in a 3/5 game, a big game for around here and one that attracts good players, against an unusual culture of slowplay and which has lately been punishing my range, bet sizing, and general strategy; one that is casino specific, not even region specific... I can go forty miles north and play with absolute spewtards should I choose, albeit in a slightly smaller game. However, before you say, "well, go there, idiot," the slowplay casino cardroom has the most tables, players, and best promotions (which means regional appeal to tourney players), so I have reasons to go.

    3) Therefore, I have been looking for tactical advice for when I redeploy at this shithole.

    Thanks again to everyone.
  • BetStackBetStack Red Chipper Posts: 24 ✭✭
    persuadeo wrote:
    3) Therefore, I have been looking for tactical advice for when I redeploy at this shithole.

    1) Play 5-7% tighter

    2) Play 5-7% more aggressive

    3) Do the requisite off-table work for #1 and #2

    4) ???

    5) Profit


    GL

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