Monday, November 05, 2007

Why more people should read my hold'em book

I ran across this post on 2+2
When talking about playing speculative hands, I often read about needed a certain number of callers/limpers to play hands such as K3s or 67s. However, I've don't recall anything specifically mathematical about such hands.

As an example, early in 180 player SNG I had K3 in the small blind. Blinds were 15/30. One caller, and it's to me with 75 in the pot.

One the one hand, there is only one limper to play a speculative hand. One the other hand, I'm getting 5:1 (75:15) to call.

Is this a call?

He only got one response who said he shouldn't call. I'm not sure how you can actually answer the question since the poster doesn't tell us whether it's a limit or no limit game. Most sit-n-goes are no limit, but his obsession with current pot odds suggests he's talking about a limit sit-n-go.

Calling might be okay in a no limit game because of implied odds, but he doesn't tell us anything about stack sizes so we can't really be sure about that either.

All in all I think folding is probably the best idea but a call might not be so bad.

But that's not the reason I'm posting.

I'm posting this because of his statement
I often read about needed a certain number of callers/limpers to play hands such as K3s or 67s. However, I've don't recall anything specifically mathematical about such hands.

I don't know what that means. A statement that you need a certain number of callers/limpers to play hands like XYs is a specific mathematical statement.

So if he's seen the statement that you need 4-6 callers to play 67s or 5-9 callers to play K3s then he's seen specific mathematical statements about how many limpers/callers you need to profitably play those hands.

That's, by the way, what I say about those hands in my hold'em book (p138-144).

The overlap is related to how badly you estimate your opponents play after the flop. Of course these estimates are also based on your being in a limit game, on having late position, and on the number of callers/limpers being typical for the lineup. That last dependency is on a distinction between 6 tight limpers and 6 loose limpers. In a game where most flops are seen by 2-3 people a situation with 6 limpers is very different from that of 6 limpers in a game where 6-7 limpers is the norm.

In a game that's generally tight and passive the K3s (or even something as strong as K9s) is pretty much worthless after 6 limpers. But in a game that's generally loose and aggressive a K3s might be worth a shot.

That might not look mathematical to you, but it's still a mathematical statement. Just because it doesn't use mathematical notation, or doesn't result in a close form statement using mathematical notation does not mean it's not a mathematical statement.

I'll use this as a plug for the blog Math and Poker which often talks about mathematical concepts without using a lot of mathematical notation. X=2 isn't really a mathematical statement (unless X is defined) but "I have two apples" is mathematical.



Blogger DMW said...

That seems a bit extreme to say that k9s is worthless after 6 limpers. Assuming the small blind completes, that's 8:1 from late position. Are you assuming that tight-passive means that they do not raise with hands like AK and QQ?

11:08 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Here's the definition of tight player I use in the book.

A tight player is one who doesn't get involved with many pots. He's very selective (p 102).

You can't really talk about what hands they play becuase it depends on position and how many have acted in front of them, etc.

On the same page I say a a passive player is one who doesn't tend to bet or raise with most hands but does tend to call.

A tight passive player is one who combines those two characteristics.

When you have 6 of them who have something they think is worth playing it doesn't leave much for a K9s to fit with.

They'll likely have hands like KQ or A9s or TT. K9 is toast against that kind of lineup.

You will very seldom actually see 6 tight/passive limpers. Very seldom.

Read the book. It's a good book.

7:49 PM  
Blogger DMW said...

I was asking how tight are they? I play 10-20 with the most irritatingly tight-passive old men all the time. Often, 2 hands in a row will end when everyone folds to an EP raise. Then on the next hand, 8 people take the flop with no raise. This shift in conditions happens all the time.

So I'm often left wondering what the bottom range of an ok limping hand is. I might exclude the weaker Kings, but not k9s since I rarely have to make a tough decision post flop and the free card play works most of the time.

My book has fallen apart from being read so much.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

I don't know the answer to your question in a form that you're looking for.

I think it's a bad idea to try to be as specific as you seem to be trying to be. You're trying to be more accurate than is possible. You just can't be that specific and have any actual confidence in the estimated range.

The kinds of hands you would like to be up against with a K9s are K9o or K8s or Q7s. The kinds of hands you don't want to see are KJ or A9s or TT.

Which of those two general types of hands do you expect to see from tight/passive players?

9:44 PM  
Blogger phlash74 said...

It's almost certainly a NL sitngo the OP is describing, since there are very few limit sngs. A lot of people place too much emphasis on pot odds which is more relevant in limit poker as you say.

I still think you need a few more limpers to play this type of hand (K3s or 76s). The reason being not because of the pot odds, but your implied odds are better if more people see the flop. If you do flop a hand like two pair, trips, or pair+flush draw, it's more likely that someone will pay you off if more people see the flop.

Against just one limper and the BB, it's probable that no one will give you action if you flop great, and if you flop a marginal hand like TP bad kicker, you're probably beat if they play with you.


12:34 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Phlash --

Part of my point (which I guess I didn't make very well) was that those two hands have vastly different odds requirements. That's true in nolimit or limit.

The K3s is much, much weaker than 76s in a multi-way pot.

I think that's made clear in the table in the book that I reference, and the difference is just magnified in no-limit.

6:43 AM  
Blogger phlash74 said...

No, the confusion is mine. I only lumped the two hands (K3s and 76s) together because of the post you referenced that put them together in the speculative hands category.

Clearly the 76s is much stronger multiway because being dominated is much less of a concern, as well as the straight draw adding value. I'd probably still fold both from the SB early in a sng, but I'd be much more likely to call with the 76s. Against tight passive limpers, the 76s would be an automatic call since you'll likely get a free or cheap card if needed and it's easier to fold if you only hit a pair with no redraw.


p.s. Are you in WRGPT17? This is the first one I've had the chance to participate in, and it's a blast.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

No, I'm not in WRGPT17. I intended to but was late for the signup and missed it.

I've played in it before, although it's been a couple of years. I even blogged about my play one year (at a now defunct site which isnt archived anywhere)

Maybe next year.

8:51 AM  

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