Game dynamics based on table types.

FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
I have several very experienced and intellgent poker friends who play in different parts of the country. Some play 2/5 some 1/3. We were all discussing table types and I saw a pattern developing from my own experiences and their own. I was curious of the RCP community's experiences.

Here are some general points....

#1 There is a balance between making money from bluffing and from value. A table that allows you to do both is a better table than one where you can only get one or the other.

#2 We have all seen bet size correlating to fold % generally representing f(x) = log10(x) where x is the amount you bet and the f() is the ratio of the log to 1 in chance your opponent folds. It seems that the chart is correct to a certain point. After specific amounts, depending on the limit, the chance to fold is much higher for many poor players not relevent to the actual pot size.

#3 Table speed has a direct correlation on winrate two fold. 1st off in the number of physical hands you play an hour as a direct impact, 2nd image. So let's say at a normal table you get 32 hands per hour. At a slow table you get 25 hands per hour. That is 22% less. If you translate this into BB/hr assuming max winrate it is 2.2bb/hr loss. The 2nd factor now applies. If the hands are slower and you are tighter you appear to be way more tighter. Looser players spend more actuall time per hand playing a hand while you are greater perceived to be a nit even though your overall VPIP hasn't changed. Just the perception of it. What this translates to is that the players perceive you tighter than you are and don't pay off as often. At a fast table no one notices that you are playing tight. Hands are fast with more of the real time spent between hands not during hands. Then there is the information constraint as a function of time. With faster tables you accumulate more information on players quicker to exploit them before they leave or go bust. At times you get a player playing so unusual it takes time to decipher what they are doing. But if the table is slow they might swap tables or be time to leave before you can figure them out. Now a new unknown sits down. This also directly impacts winrate.

What I found from speaking to everyone is that the worst kind of table is the one in which you have many callers and aggression is higher than normal with little bluffing available. This isn't 2004 where people just pay you off. Since with the constraints mentioned above this table plays out very poorly.

If we raise big, we get a mountain of callers
If we raise small, we get a mountain of callers
Regardless the pot is enormous post flop and often times decisions are harder.

In both examples we assume players are bad....

A) Loose slightly more aggressive than normal table (unbluffable). Say players are calling with 40% of their hands post flop. Pots are bloated, raised more than average aggression. On average you get a 5 way pot. You have QQ with 2 limpers, raise $30, get 4 callers... Pot is now $150 you have $470 left. Preflop QQ has a 40.5% chance to win this hand. But due to the SPR of the pot things are difficult. We can expect to have 2 callers. Flop comes down. We bet $115 players all fold. The bet size is too large to extract value as per #2 above. We risked $145 to win $120. Now lets say we have callers or a caller and someone XRAI. Now we have a decision to make. The pot is enormous. We dumped $145 in the middle already which is almost 1/3rd our stack. Is the idiot with a $400 stack shipping the FD? Is he shipping TPTK? What about the guy in the middle? It seems from the information gathered at these type of tables where the SPR drops ont he flop your winrate has a massive accuracy adjustment based on the factors above. While the players that continue with their draws or hands have less odds than one hoped for they still hit implied. So in this example you bet $115 into $145. Some draw calls, and some pair calls. You are facing 14 outs to the turn with 1/4 to 1/3rd your stack in the middle. It's so hard not to lose the rest. I am not sure if this is simply a function of the same winrate as normal with skyrocketing variance or a lower winrate with skyrocketing variance.

B) Mixed normal aggressive table (bluffable). With the split between loose and tight players most pots having 1-3 opponents. Usually pots are 3 way. What I found is that this is optimal. A 3 way hand builds a pot for value but also allows maximum bluffing power. You have a player squeezed between the raiser and the one with relative position. The middle player is usually the dead money in the hand. Because you CB into 2 players you look stronger than heads up when bluffing and have more pot manipulation with value to have a greater chance to win a larger pot. Technically this table should be tougher than the (A) example due to the tight players. I always make pretty steady low variance income from this kind of table. Usually above the 10bb/hr mark with average luck. So take a hand example using the concepts I listed.

I raise and get 2 callers @ 2/5 with QQ again. In this spot I am 60% to win the hand preflop which is a 50% improvement over playing 4 players. The money I put in better correlates to the chance to win
POT $60 - I bet $40 get one caller
POT $140 - I can bet bluff $110 or value bet under $80. Due to the dynamics of concept #2 my larger bet will get a fold correlation much higher than expected from a cb/fold log chart and a $80 a higher chance of calls. At least this is my experience at 2/5 $100 good hand, $200 strong hand. If you want to bluff the turn or river make your bet over $100 or $200. But lets say in this example I have value and bet $80 and we get a call.
POT $300 - If I bet $150 here I got a lot of good value for my hand $270 of my opponent's money.

But with this pot I have room to fold and it is very unlikely someone will make some XRAI with a draw because the pot is small enough not to warrent it making decisions easier.

Translate this into a 4 way value pot Raise $20
POT $80 - bet $60 - get 2 callers
POT $240 - bet $140 - get 1 caller
POT $520 - I got $380 left to shove.... Or even if I have 1 caller the pot will still be very substantial but to an exact point that let's say my fish XC, XC, Shoves when the spades come it is way more unlikely he is shoving $300 -$400 as a bluff.

I have been seeing tables differently in the past 2 years and I have been accumulating data on it.
f(speed) * f(image adjuster) * f(aggression) * f(pot size) * f(information gathering) * f(bet risk to # of opponents) * f(bluffing power% + value power%) = winrate.

Variance is adjusted by all these variables also. Players aren't that idiotic anymore to just stack off TPWK vs the NF at least from all my experiences at 2/5. The 1/3 games my friends play seems to be more of the (A) games. These games are in LV, LA, and Ohio so 3 different parts of the country. And these games play slightly different. Each of these players are more than competent and highly intelligent players. That last player plays 2/5 and 5/10 and is a better player than I am.

Thoughts? Wouldn't mind the pro's opinions on this? I rarely lose at a (B) type game.


  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,519 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Your examples and language suggest why you and many others win more in one and not the other:

    1) in game type A you propose betting (the laying of a price on the pot in proportion to your ownership of the board and formation) into a field of callers, when in fact there should be nearly no flop wagering as the PFR unless it is leveraging or inducing leverage. Pushing "value" vs "bluffing" is just not enough of a concept for this shared equity situation.

    2) in game B you see the next level of players but the game is essentially the same in disguise. All they have done is reduce the amount of passive dead money they put in pre and now concentrate it post, which requires fewer hands, but overall simply covers the lack of fight and theory in their game, and an overbluffer such as yourself will easily beat these types. That's because the decision point is actually more straightforward than in A, where the risk and reward for correct leverage is higher, given so much passive dead money available.

    Overall, games at 1/2 and 1/3 and even 2/5 are entry level games. There is no live NL5 spread to learn on, and you can expect errors so massive they aren't really that interesting in the end.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
    The players, and myself, that I interviewed do not bluff at type A games because there is no value in it. Well the bluffing difference between type A and B are far apart. Type A is clearly value. I do fine online playing in tougher games that the two live game types. We can call that type C.

    Are you advocating in a spot as type A that we check our QQ on the 973r board and see what our opponent's do and not value bet? This is an attempt to manage the pot where being passive yields more information than value betting? On a board that is 987r or 983+FD I can clearly see a check and the reasons why.

    In type A games you can't bet small to leverage the pot because you will be what I called "out dumbed" too frequently and again be forced into a tough spot. You bet small and someone raises past commitment where it forces a reraise or fold generally do they have A9 thinking you have AK or do they have a strong hand?

    If you are mentioning a concept of checking in type A games it is something I have been working on. The value of the accuracy that one action has over another in influencing your decision. High accuracy of correct decision in a smaller pot can be worth more than a marginal accuracy of correct decision in a larger pot. In truth the difference between a flop checking through is 5% EV on average but is countered by hands that have almost no equity catching up more on the turn. We assume 1/2 the players call on the flop and 1/2 fold their nothing. Those with nothing usually catch up to 2nd best hand way more often than the 5% loss. Take JT on a 762 board vs our QQ. JT folds the flop but if checked through he has ~14% chance to catch up with 2nd worst hand outweighing the 5% EV loss transition.

    Personally I have experimented with this and by chance found an article after the fact by Tommy DeAngelo tackling this issue. I do believe if you play a hand passively you need to really have a deep understanding of your opponent's ranges, behaviors, and knowing when it is good to play passive even though in theory you should be betting for value. I have extracted extra value from hands that I would normally gain zero value from betting in these spots.

    Thoughts on this?
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,519 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, I have to run, but yes, delaying leverage as the PFR has a strong place and if players were more honest, they'd find that many of their wagers are more fear based than rational.

    However, I would also say the following: let's imagine you were reading these forums very, very carefully. You'd find a very strange bias, almost a group hysteria, which suggests that if one checks and sees a bet, the only response is to x/c non nutted hands and draws. I guess they are watching too much of the "Poker Guys," I presume.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
    Yea but type A tables usually don't have thinkers. If you had players like RCP in the hand you would have to balance the range with strong hands too. And even then you can't balance enough of the time to force a thinking player to proceed cautiously. You have way too many good hands but not strong hands. Now the counter to this if by chance the pot gets heads up effectively or with dead money between would be to now leverage your single pair hand vs the thinking player. The dead money is a player who almost always has a medium strength hand.

    Basically your balance becomes when you check.
    XC some good hands
    XRAI some good hands and strong hands
    for balance since the thinking player himself rarely has a strong hand himself. And at times he might be forces into a call with a draw if the pot size is right. Real interesting dynamic.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,519 ✭✭✭✭✭
    On this score, there is no "yes but..." Telling me that a good strategy fails against weak players is illogical and just another poker old wives' tale.

    What you are doing is describing exactly what you yourself are good at, in fact crushing at, but is not a comprehensive understanding of the game which includes mw pots.

    More importantly, everyone is thinking at some level. Show me someone who talks a lot about Thinking Players and I'll show you someone who only understands himself.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
    I have been accused of overthinking players. Most of the regs I meet are very static in thinking. 1% of the pros and regs actually are challenging to me at a casino @ 2/5. I have met many 5/10 players that are static thinkers also.

    Often I hear bad players don't think. I say they do but you have to realize what they are thinking. "Outdumbing" means where they interpret an action one way and one way only without considering options. But it is their way.

    Yesterday I made a XR bluff based on my perceived range and card removal from my opponent. It was a balanced play that I would make mostly with strong hands knowing 80% of the time he wasn't. He snap called the XR and the turn bet and it went XX on the river. The board AAQs. He called with Q2o saying that I wouldn't play trips that way. I will admit at the time I was irritated as hell and on tilt. And if I wanted to sell what I had I should have XC, Bet small, bet large which is how a fish would play trip Aces.

    Most of the times bad players have their own logic system. It's hard to figure it out at times. 1/2 not so much but 2/5 yes. At my casino there is an old player who wears a WSOP bracelet from like 40 years ago when he played that MTT. He is a terrible player today but he has that old school logic which I can follow.

    Anyways I strayed. Issue is that 98% of my hands have been played online and I have been seriously tackling live play @ the 2/5 level for roughly 1000 hours so far. So my perception is still being adjusted. I don't have that many MWPs in live play under my belt with big overpairs out of position or in a bad position. Those are rare. But I know what I noticed and gathered data from my friends who experienced the same thing.

    But your definition of "ownership of the pot" is what really made the light bulb go off in my head. I beat 1/2 handily for 10bb/100 and 2/5 I'm split depending on the casino I play at. We got weird casinos in Florida. Also had some redonkulous negative variance my 1st 500 hours in large all in pots ahead. Still adjusting from online to live @ 2/5. This discussion is my only major hurdle. It was being resolved but I needed some outside input. You really helped confirm my suspicions.
  • MidnightFoxMidnightFox Red Chipper Posts: 321 ✭✭✭
    Any posts you’ve written on what leverage is, and an expanded discussion on it, that you could link to?
    I just don’t know what it is.
    :Jd :Tc
  • kageykagey Red Chipper, KINGOFTAGS Posts: 2,207 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I agree with point #1. When players play poker as a "game" rather than an ATM -- with which to extract value from premium holdings -- this type of table favors those who study and know their way around post flop play.

    Not sure I agree with #2. Each player has his/her own "pain threshold" - so there is no direct correlation (from my observations) on how bet X will always fold out range Y.

    Agree on #3 - about speed. Another point that I don't think has been addressed is when you have "tankers" at your table - it brings to the forefront that you "should" take time with your thoughts/hands... and it often encourages bad players to make more "thoughtful" decisions.

    Your next point demonstrates why I think point #2 is off. If you raise big or small, and everybody calls... well, that's an example of players having no "pain threshold."
    The problem with such a game is... it's no longer poker. It's really a game of Bingo! Everybody calls and check/calls to the river to realize their equity. Or bets when they hit big. It becomes a Value-driven game where players are only playing their two cards with no regard to stack sizes, opponents or bet sizing. In a Value-Driven game, bluffing is suicidal. So, such a game (when you're card dead or running bad) can hurt your winrate substantially.

    In your example A, since players are only seeing the backs of your cards - they don't know that you have QQ. So, it's incorrect to say that the game is unbluffable. You bet and they folded. They assumed you had a big pocket pair... but if you had AKs and insisted on making a big c-bet, you technically could have bluffed them off a better hand. (This is where studying board textures and how ranges interact with different boards can become so profitable off table work!)

    BTW - there is also game type-D - where full of nits who only call you with tight ranges that crush you. And you end up valu-owning yourself because all they ever do is check/call with the nuts... and we weren't expecting someone to do that on such a drawy board!

    Your bet with QQ is what some of us call "capitalization" or "equity denial." A check allows any A or K to make "best hand" without having to risk anything.

    Overall - I agree with persuadeo's assessment of your analysis. If you have a strong initial strategy - there should be enough room for adjustments that you can be profitable in any type game.

    Having played in Florida vs. OMC's who limp call AA... I can empathize with having a losing streak there... I think overall - you're trying to pigeon-hole general things into buckets to seek a "solve." The problem is there are too many variables in game for there to be a formula that can give true results (or probability of results.)

    Every player has strengths and weaknesses. Every player plays by a set of "rules/beliefs" that they've taught themselves, read in a book or learned from a training site/coach. When you can figure out what makes them tick - then you will know when to bluff the AAQ board and when to check/fold.

    Playing live is about being as exploitative as possible. Use player tendencies against them. Learn how they react to stress/bets and use that information to increase your win rate. All table types should be profitable to smart, thinking players. Obviously, some table types will afford you a higher winrate than others - but they should all be profitable. If they're not - then we've got fundamental leaks in our game.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
    Any posts you’ve written on what leverage is, and an expanded discussion on it, that you could link to?
    I just don’t know what it is.
    :Jd :Tc

    Information Reciprocality

    I was talking to someone about what I am posting then they pointed me to this article.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
    @Kagey..... pain thresholds.... I notice them. If you play 1/2 they aren't there as much as 2/5. In 2/5 from everything I see when I stage a pot so the river I can make a bluff bet that is over $100 it succeeds far more often than if I bet $70. That is a pain threshold. If I bet $200 even more so in a larger pot. So many times I am bluffing betting maybe 55% pot with a 95% success rate when I should be betting more. I believe this is a psychological triggered effect in players. I notice when fish have a good hand (TPTK) they tend to bet $100+ in 2/5 OTT. When the have a strong hand (set, 2p) they tend to bet $200 or around there. So this reverse translates subconsciously in their brain to when I bet. The bet seems too large to call. The other pain threshold is what will they call preflop to play a hand. $15 gets 4 callers, $20-$25 gets 3 callers, $30 gets 2 callers... perfect. But yes there are games where the players have zero threshold. Nothing I say is 100% absolute but a tendency. I have been in games where I am raising 10% of my stack and still get 5 callers and I'm like WTF!!! How do you call a $50 raise with 43o?

    Tankers - OMFPGs (oh my fucking poker gods) yes. At my casino there is this guy who is a lagtard. Great money. But he takes so long per hand tanking and making decisions I change tables if he sits. Super nice guy, rich, big fish. But he slows the game down to a crawl. In MTT that is especially bad. Usually speed has to do with decision making skills. 1/2 certainly plays slower vs 2/5 not only for players per hand but their slowness in thinking.

    Bluffable or unbluffable... To me a game is considered unbluffable when you have to spent a huge bet size to get it through that isn't mathematically correct. So say if the pot is $100 and I have to bet $150 with air to move 4 players off their hands when 50% of the time they are calling that means the game is unbluffable to me. That isn't a profitable play. While it might succeed X% of the time the cost I am paying isn't worth it. Much like your fair ownership of the equity when you have it.

    Type-D games? I'm fine with crappy nit type D games. I play it like an MTT. Small bets, checks where they slowplay. They give me great odds on draws, the game is fast, I get reads faster, less card deadness, blind steals for 3x raises. I find them usually a slow increase in winrate with little variance. But if the nits are actually fairly competent and include bluffing then it sucks. I remember reading that if a station just bluffs every once in a while he reduces his losses drastically. The same applies for nits but it takes away any profit you made from them. And I have been value owned by tricky nits.

    I play in Florida. You must play at the Isles lol. I 100% agree about understanding the table. Fast tables I get better and I measure each player at the table and adjust my opening range depending on who is where. I don't run into the problem myself often and intuitively I knew what to do. But in the last 2 months 3 of my friends have been playing the 1/3 and getting into these situations. They are pretty decent players and think deeper than most regs I meet. I was trying to figure out what was going on in their games. Lots of callers, low SPRs, tough turn decisions based on pot size and leverage. So that is how this thought process started.

    Anytime my brain farts out an idea it is a generalized concept that is a tool to be used. The setting I use depends on all the variables you mentioned. Nothing is absolute in this game.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,519 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Leverage is not covered much, as far as i know, in the literature outside of Seidman, as it is a somewhat fuzzy concept and more important in deepstack games, or as i see it, in mw clusterfuck games.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
    Professional NL Vol 1 it is the concept of Stack to Pot Ratio. One uses it to leverage a pot. They put it in terms of not putting yourself past commitment in a shit situation. But I also see it as leverage on others.
  • MidnightFoxMidnightFox Red Chipper Posts: 321 ✭✭✭
    I had forgotten about that term. Thnx guys.

    @persuadeo Maybe i could think of it, as the way bets string together to create “real” decisions on Turn or River, because getting called once will be almost automatic?

    This is especially true of Ed Miller’s Category 3 boards.
    I just realized I still don’t feel super-comfortable on these. I don’t have down, on which runouts I can commit and tripple barrel against which players. Though Ed has warned that you want equity in the hand yourself unlike many Type 2 Board-situations.
    :Jd :Tc
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,519 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, a lot of "barrelling" is just dumb and highly reciprocal, once you understand what a bet it is. But we're getting way off course here.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Red Chipper Posts: 52 ✭✭
    Some replies had some good key ideas here. I don't have a problem with these pots personally but my friends do. I knew how to play them intuitively. But I wanted to find the mathematical answer.

    To sake a board of 973
    I do think vulnerable hands are ones that you generally bet or strong draws.
    2 overs + NFD is a good bet candidate like AsJs. You want AK, AQ, 66 to fold.
    QQ you want to bet to make any Ace to fold AK, Ax.
    A GS or SD you want to bet to make overcards to fold
    Hands like AA you might want to consider checking. You have no overcards to come. More 2nd best hands will catch up on the turn than you get drawn out if you aren't already.

    I think your bet size should be small like 1/3rd pot. Considering you have so many callers you are generally in a low skill game. So while you raised $20 got 5 callers and now the pot is $120 betting $35 or $40 is still perceived as huge and strong into many players. If you have aggressive players that don't close the action and aren't savvy they won't make a move.

    I have made small bets in this spot with good results. I have gotten 5 folds or I have gotten calls hit my 4 outer and gotten paid because now the pot is huge and they can't fold. Like AJ on a KTx board. The bet also gets the behaviors of the players. With so many in the field I think their behaviors become more evident. Like if the guy behind me snap calls, as does the next player I can infer that their hands aren't monsters. The is the 3rd player hems and haws then calls he has probably a weak hand. etc. The guy who raises isn't bluffing.

    But it was the ownership of the pot that was the key concept someone mentioned above. My friends are well educated playing a zoo of a game @ 1/3. I often think the difference between two players who seem relatively close in skill is one pot every 2-3 hours. In this case if they overbet and stack off due to commitment they lose lets say 100bbs 60% of the time or 60bbs overall. At a medium winrate that's 12 hours of work. At a top winrate that's 6 outs of work.

    Shit I made a mistake last night. That cost me a $180 swing because I called instead of raising. @ 2/5 that's 4.5 hours of work with a good winrate.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,519 ✭✭✭✭✭

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