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If our opponent is polarized, do we generally call?

TJ Posts: 239Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
Yes, I KNOW the answer is it depends, and I KNOW this is such a general question, but I'm looking for thoughts.

On the river, if our opponent has a polarized range, and could *truly* have either end of it, should we generally lean towards calling with a medium strength hand?

Comments

  • This is just not a well-formed or meaningful question.
    Would you ask "Given y=mx+b, is y generally greater than b?"

    If you mean as opposed to raising, then yes.
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    If he's truly balanced it doesn't matter what you do - you can't win. If not, you need to find out if he's bluffing too much or not enough and adjust accordingly.
  • TJ Posts: 239Subscriber
    staaaaalin, I meant as opposed to folding. And no, y is not generally greater than b, because mx has as many negative values as positive. Wink

    TDF, if his range is polarized, isn't it by definition not balanced?

    I guess I'm having a hard time getting my thought process across, so let me try again: I've heard it said that, "His range was polarized, so I called." Is this correct thinking, because if opp is polarized he has a lot more combos of bluffs in his range than monsters? In other words, is a polarized range enough reason to call with a medium strength hand, in and of itself?

    Is river polarization a function of the board and how it was played out? Can someone make a polarized OR a merged bet on the river on a given board?

    Let's say the final board is AcKcQd7d4h, and our hand reading indicates that our opponent has JT or a missed flush when he bets on the river. Should we then always call with 99 here? If so, why or why not?

    Now, if my thought process itself is flawed, then that's another story altogether. I'm willing to discuss that. Am I just asking the wrong question?
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    TJ said could *truly* have either end
    This means balanced.
    Polarization and balance are not related.
  • TJ said
    Let's say the final board is AcKcQd7d4h, and our hand reading indicates that our opponent has JT or a missed flush when he bets on the river. Should we then always call with 99 here? If so, why or why not?

    Now, if my thought process itself is flawed, then that's another story altogether. I'm willing to discuss that. Am I just asking the wrong question?
    You still need to do an old-fashioned range analysis.
    What are villain's tendencies?
    Also, I did not include them in most of the example ranges, but discounting sets and two pairs from this river betting range is oversimple imo.
    I did include some examples w/ AdXd to demonstrate how false assumptions about _how_ polarized a range is can affect equity distributions.

    Hold'em Simulation ?
    612 trials (Exhaustive)
    board: AcKcQd7d4h

    88 68.14%
    JxTx, *c*c, *d*d 31.86%

    88 60.96%
    JT, *c*c, *d*d 39.04%

    88 59.76% 147 0
    JxTx, 4c2c+, 4d2d+, 3c2c+, 3d2d+, Ad*d 40.24%

    88 55.06% 147 0
    JT, 4c2c+, 4d2d+, 3c2c+, 3d2d+ 44.94%

    88 47.46% 84 0
    JxTx, 4c2c+, 3c2c+, Ad*d 52.54%

    88 46.23% 147 0
    JT, 4c2c+, 4d2d+, 3c2c+, 3d2d+, Ad*d 53.77%

    88 33.73% 84 0
    JT, 4c2c+, 3c2c+, Ad*d 66.27%

    88 24.14% 42 0
    JT, 8c6c+, 6c5c+, Ad9d-AdKd 75.86%

    88 19.05% 24 0
    JT, 6c5c+ 80.95%

    88 16.00% 24 0
    JT, 6c5c+, Ad9d-AdKd 84.00%
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    TJ said
    "His range was polarized, so I called." Is this correct thinking, because if opp is polarized he has a lot more combos of bluffs in his range than monsters?
    He doesn't have to but usually there are more possible combos of draws than monsters.

    In other words, is a polarized range enough reason to call with a medium strength hand, in and of itself?
    No, but usually it's one of the big reasons.
    Old nits are polarized too. They don't bet medium strength hands - only monsters and bluffs. But their bluffs are very close to 0% - their range not balanced. So we can easily exploit them by folding close to 100% when they bet.

    Is river polarization a function of the board and how it was played out? Can someone make a polarized OR a merged bet on the river on a given board?
    Usually that is referred to size of the bet. If somebody pots the scary river we think that this bet is polarizing - t doesn't make sense to bet medium strength hand this big. But we can bet second pair small in the same spot hoping to get called by third pair. This would be merged bet.

    Let's say the final board is AcKcQd7d4h, and our hand reading indicates that our opponent has JT or a missed flush when he bets on the river. Should we then always call with 99 here? If so, why or why not?
    Depends on how often he bets with his missed FD. If he bluffs them 100% than we should call 100% cause there are more combos of possible draws then JT in his range.

  • A balanced, polarized range is one against which you can not exploitatively create calling, folding, and raising ranges.
    Due to the nature of polarized ranges, the easy part is raising, which will be just our nut hands.

    To simplify the situation, assume we never have nut hands and always have medium strength hands

    If villain presents us with the range v range situation
    88 42.86% 18 0
    JTs, 6c5c, 9c8c, 6d5d, 9d8d 57.14%
    and bets 4/3 pot, we break even whether we call or fold.
    This is a balanced strategy.

    We make thin value bets (ie merged range) when we find ourselves in a situation most players in the population would bet with a very polarized range, which exploits the tendency of the other players in the population to call w/ medium strength hands in these situations.

    You are not asking the right question in that polarization is just one of the many things about the composition of a range and simply does not provide a sufficiently meaningful description by itself to suggest any specific response-action.
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    staaaaalin said
    Due to the nature of polarized ranges, the easy part is raising, which will be just our nut hands.
    Theoretically we can bluff raise polarized range weighted towards bluffs if we don't have showdown value.
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    staaaaalin said
    polarization is just one of the many things about the composition of a range and simply does not provide a sufficiently meaningful description by itself to suggest any specific response-action.
    Apart from not raising medium strength hands.
  • UntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    Doesn't it basically just mean that the nuts and second pair are the same hand?

    When in doubt, fold everything but nutted hands against river polarization. You can start calling only after you have evidence that somebody is bluffing frequently in these spots.

    At the low levels in cash games, river polarization tends to be the nuts way more often than a bluff. In tournaments, it might be a different case, so I'm more likely to call with medium strength hands in tournaments.
  • FreeLunch Posts: 1,311Pro
    This is going to sound dumb, but a player is never polarized - just your understanding of his range. The villain knows what he has and if you are playing with villains that truly balance and know how to bet then when their perceived range is polarized - then find another game. Odds are though the villains you run into are not that good so in the end - when your ability to put them on a range is polarized then its all about player tendencies. If the villain will bluff or bet a worse hand a percentage of time in that spot that equates to the odds you are getting, then call.
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    JB said
    This is going to sound dumb, but a player is never polarized - just your understanding of his range. The villain knows what he has and if you are playing with villains that truly balance and know how to bet then when their perceived range is polarized - then find another game. Odds are though the villains you run into are not that good so in the end - when your ability to put them on a range is polarized then its all about player tendencies. If the villain will bluff or bet a worse hand a percentage of time in that spot that equates to the odds you are getting, then call.
    It seems you don't fully understand concept of range polarization. Research this topic a bit more.
  • TJ Posts: 239Subscriber
    staaaaalin said
    You are not asking the right question in that polarization is just one of the many things about the composition of a range and simply does not provide a sufficiently meaningful description by itself to suggest any specific response-action.
    Excellent point. I guess I was really having trouble putting into words what I was thinking. But reading all of the responses has helped.
  • FreeLunch Posts: 1,311Pro
    TDF said

    It seems you don't fully understand concept of range polarization. .

    Really? Sounds more like you did not want to actually think about what I was saying.

    To be fair to OP - I am ignoring the "and could *truly* have either end of it" part of the assumption because that is not a real world assumption, so perhaps I am actually answering a different question.

    The core question from OP was if the villain's range seems polarized on the river should we lean towards calling. My point is that when it "seems polarized" this means you can't properly weight if its a bluff or value - which as others point out, is not the same as saying the villain is actually balanced,. So essentially the reason you are perceiving the range as polarized is that, more often than not, you are not putting them on the right range as there are very few players at low stakes that play bluffs and value the same way.

    Your assumption that polarized means lean towards call is the opposite of what I normally think is right. With most of the pool I play in, if I cant understand their line but they bet on the river its for value more often than not so I should fold.
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