Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CTS knows

A recent CardRunners video by CTS shows why poker training sites are so valuable. I sometimes learn more from a single training video than I would from reading an entire book.

CTS is one of the best because his thinking about the game is on a much higher level than most other pros, and he does a pretty good job of explaining his reasoning.

For example, he writes out this equation for calculating the expected value of a stone-cold bluff:

I hadn't ever seen that specific math anywhere else, and it's a practical way to analyze whether you made a profitable bluff. This reminds me of a similar example CTS gave in a previous video about calculating the EV of a semibluff, which I wrote about here.

Another strong point of this video is when CTS folds his big blind with 55 against Taylor Caby's button open raise.

He says that a call or a raise could be defensible against a weaker player, but against a strong player out of position, low pocket pairs won't flop a set often enough or get paid off often enough to turn a profit.


At the tables, I've been working hard on my heads-up game.

Heads-up hold'em is such a thrill because you play so many hands and have to work through so many difficult situations. I can see where I have an edge (or lack thereof) more clearly when playing a single opponent.

I find that there are so many situations where I need to do a better job of balancing my range:

_ I have a hard time playing paired flops with Ace-high or low pocket pair hands. I find myself often checking the flop and trying to keep the pot small with these kinds of hands that are either way ahead or way behind. But this strategy makes it more difficult to get value when I do hit these paired flops because it's harder to represent anything but a strong hand type.

_ When I fail to continuation bet, I need to mix in more check-raises for value and as bluffs in order to mask the weakness a failed c-bet usually reveals.

_ My donkbets represent a tremendously limited range because I often prefer to check-raise the flop. That tendancy fails miserably against opponents who check behind the flop and raise the turn, both with strong and weak holdings. I need to do a better job of recognizing what flop textures I need to bet out on both for value and as bluffs. I'm guessing that it's better to bet out on the most extreme flop types: either very dry or very coordinated.


Shrike said...

I really, really need to learn how to properly make those sort of calculations. Very important to be able to fundamentally internalize this at the tables with solid math and not rely solely on pure instinct and guesswork!

Gnome said...

For more information on bluffing math, see http://randomshuffle.blogspot.com/2008/07/calculating-break-even-points-on-bluffs.html

Shrike said...

I can't get that link to work. Please drop me an e-mail.