Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Staying uncommitted

It feels good to be playing my "A" game.

My results have been OK but not great as donkeys get it in bad and suckout repeatedly. What's gratifying is that I haven't been making many major mistakes for my stack when drawing slim. I know this probably means I'm getting bluffed sometimes, but I've also caught my fair share of big bluffs.

One of the reasons I haven't been going broke as much with overpairs or top pair is the guideline in "Professional No-Limit Hold 'em" that you're close to being committed after putting in more than 1/3 of your stack. By paying attention to how much I've invested and how much my remaining stack is, I've been able to slow down before the pot gets too large to resist. It has given me more confidence 4-betting when I feel I can take down a 9BB to 16BB pot preflop without feeling bad when I have to fold after getting 5-bet or called. And sometimes, I'll flop a decent draw and go with it in these large pots.

This train of thought got me thinking about adjustments in aggressive games. If most pots are being 3-bet preflop, how can you see a flop with drawing hands when you don't have implied odds? For example, if I raise from the cutoff with 76s and get 3-bet from the button, I can't really profitably call very often with 100BB or smaller stacks. I could 4-bet as a semibluff at times, but folding is usually the best choice.

Some would argue for limping or minraising more often in these kinds of games, and there's probably some merit to that, but it's not my style at all. If I'm going to open a pot, I'm coming in for a 3X+ raise.

Your options are limited when 3-bet out of position. I'm going to raise or fold almost every time unless I want to mix it up by smooth calling with AA-JJ.

In position, I'll be more likely to see a flop or reraise. But the reason for seeing a flop isn't necessarily to flop huge. In addition to draws and some pair hands, I also have to bluff a bit against highly aggressive opponents. This kind of situation comes up after raising something like 76s or Q9s from the button.

It isn't always comfortable to play medium-sized pots with these weakish hands, but there's not a good way around it except to try to outplay your opponents postflop. I wonder how often folding preflop may be the better play, even in position.

1 comment:

Fuel55 said...

I dont think limp/calling small pairs and connectors some percentage of the time in aggro games is a bad idea for pot control preflop.