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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Strategy vs Loose or Tight players

Question for you:

Hero is deep and in the BB with JT suited. Villian is deep on the button. Would hero prefer a tight or loose PreFlop Raiser (PFR) to be raising his blinds?

Intuitively you would think you would want someone loose to raise your blinds. Assuming they will not have much of anything, you could take the pot from them if a quality face card shows up. But this results in a marginal win. JT suited as well as pocket pairs have the potential to make monster hands. If and when you make these monster hands, you will want to be paid off. Do you really think someone who is loose preflop is going to have a great hand to pay you off big when you hit the hand?

You want someone with a PFR to be of less than 12 percent. He is playing only premium and you could bust his aces or great cards if he doesn’t know how to play deep stack correctly.

This reason is also why I will always call ANY UTG raisers with pocket pairs. Even loose players tighten up UTG. You want to play against premium cards with monster drawing hands. If you don’t hit your monster hand/draw, you pitch your hand. Obviously the best case scenario is a Tight UTG raiser. You can easily put him on a monster hand and take his money if you hit the flop. The tighter they are, the more willing you’re to call a larger raise. I would not call a loose raiser UTG of 5 BBs because it could very likely be total garbage and I would not get paid off. But a tight raiser UTG of 5 BBs is screaming JJ-AA, AK.

This is the problem with playing extremely tight. You are predictable, so you would really need to protect your hand preflop by making a large raise. But by making a large raise you scare off everyone and don't make any profit from your hand.

2 blind examples:

1. VERY loose button raises it to 4BB and you are in the SB with 33.

Worst play: call.

The button's range is so wide in that position is so wide that he could hit any type of flop. Your 33 will see all overcards on the flop and will have to play out of position the entire hand without being able to hand read very well b/c of button's wide range.

That leaves folding or raising. I personally believe that when out of position, you really can't hurt yourself much at all by folding. I really believe that even if you folded JJs in this position all the time, the money you would be losing would not be that much considering most of the time the button is not going to pay you off a big pot. Folding is also a good choice if the BB has high VPIP. when you have pairs you do not want to play 3-way. You want it either heads up or 4+ multiway and go for trips. If the BB has high VPIP, he'll might be dumbly enticed to call your reraise because he sees it as multiway and he has an ENTIRE 1BB invested already.

I believe most good players would tell you to raise here. As mentioned, the buttons range is wide. You could get him to drop a lot of hands with a reraise and if he calls, he would drop to most c-bets. There is then also the chance of hitting trips (although they won't get paid off).

Recommended play (if you're good and confident): 3-bet.

2. VERY tight button raises it to 4BB and you are in the SB with 33.

Worst play: Reraise.

Unless you are both VERY deep and even after his 4-bet you still have enough chips to get good implied odds (both your stacks are still 10x larger than the total of his bet) a reraise does nothing but harm. He has an excellent hand, so you will not get any fold equity. You are lowering your implied odds by making the preflop pot larger (when your hand is very likely behind). You are risking giving him the chance to 4-bet and blow you out of the pot.

As I said before, fold and you do yourself no harm in this situation. Never feel like you can't fold preflop even if you started the raise to 3.5.

Calling here, which was the worst play earlier, is the best play here. First, you've got a discounted rate being in the small blind. You're sure he has a great hand since he's extremely tight. If you miss your flop you just instant drop. Before you didn't want to just call because you didn't know where your pocket threes stood when the flop came, but here you're going for trips and you know where you stand if it hits. If you hit your trips, you're going to be in great shape. Since you hit trips 1/8 times, you'll need 10 times his raise in your stack for this play to be profitable.

In summary: play strong drawing hands vs tight players. play hard with heads up hands (pocket pairs, Ax, Kx) vs loose players.

posted by joe | permalink | 1 comments


At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Rosemary said...

Thanks for writing this.


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