Take a tour. Enjoy some free sample content.

How it works

Free Video: CLP Video No. 287: Home Game Bart Reviews His Splashy At $1-$3 Deep Part 2

Free Podcast: CLP Podcast No. 54: Time Warp And Turn Value
New to Crush Live Poker?

Tight predictable Tricky TAGs in 3b pots

FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,298Subscriber
edited February 2016 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
Interesting situation that I see more and more online but have also witnessed it live more often. Where before I didn't concern myself with it because it was so infrequent it didn't matter. Well now it is starting to.

Villain is a TAG that is not creative and very predictable in his betting. They do well vs fish but not good players.

These players before would generally 3b premiums and police you with 3b's of a merged range if you played a little too aggressive. The general play I used was to 4b or fold. Why? Because the 4b would pretty much narrow their range down and allow us to play perfect. What you 4b didn't much matter because they were so predictable.

They would 5b KK and AA
They would call AK, QQ, JJ, TT, AQ depending, sometimes smaller pairs
When they called their range included more paint than pair making CBs to take it down on the flop profitable.

We could play on from here just due to the math vs range combinations and the strength of our hand.

But now I see the new dynamic where they 3b the same range but will call 4bs with AA/KK and not 5b them if they are heads up with you. They still fold their air.

So while 4b'ing trash might still be profitable depending on how much of a merged range they are raising you with. The play with them is very simple. I was wondering what we do with hands like 88-JJ that actually have real value post flop.

So now the range shifts if we just include AK and TT+. Or even AQ and TT+. Now if we have a hand like JJ we face 16-24 combos of paint + 18 combos of QQ+. Makes it tough to play.

So I have been mulling this in my head. How to play these situations?!

Should we 4b, make a larger CB, and give up if called? Usually they will still fold AK/AQ unimproved. It means we commit more money to the pot post flop than they do without accurate information.

Should I call the 3b keeping the pot smaller, and X-C their CB because they will almost certainly follow up with a CB. mostly X the turn with unimproved hands. We can make a small CB on the river for value gaining a closer 1 for 1 money earned. But this also adds the chance they might bluff a river if an Ace comes with a worse hand. Small chance but it affects the outcome. Also AK and AQ now get to see 5 cards.

They are still VERY predictable post flop with their bet sizes and post flop play.

Reason why I post this is because we never have exact information on their 3b range. It takes so many hands to get an accurate gauge on this. But I see this tricky pattern more often now.

It is a weird dynamic which I am not sure the optimal line is vs this specific action from them. If the player was tough and balanced GTO would dictate I play a certain way to get exploited to lose the least. But they are not playing this way, they are just being tricky.

I ain't no math genius, ya hear? So I ask yall.


  • dontfeedthenits Posts: 396Subscriber
    edited February 2016
    What's does these players' preflop 3b range look like?

    I think it's safe to say you want to have a 3bet calling range, but you can't construct one without without defining their 3bet range.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,298Subscriber
    I think I listed it. They 3b premiums and if you get out of line they try a 3b bluff. But their 3b bluff frequency isn't close to optimal.

    They 3b AK, TT+... sometimes AQ...... sometimes a bluff hand to keep you honest. Their 3b bluff isn't optimal. Clearly my AJ isn't playing here. But when I hold a hand like TT-QQ is the question. The reason is that they are predictable post flop. They is where they are weak. Playing vs myself my plan with those hands would be different for example. Because I know I can't outplay myself without position.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,298Subscriber
    What I believe is that calling with hands like AK, TT-QQ is a better solution because they are so predictable post flop. Keeps the SPRs higher. Allows for bluffing when their predictable play tells me they have nothing but I tie their nothing or am losing to their nothing. They can't lay down AA anyways if the board is Txx and I have TT.
  • AJoff Posts: 546Subscriber
    edited February 2016
    I would think about how often they really have TT or AQ. My guess is that it is rare. If the conditions to set mine are right (stack depth, ability to outplay opponent post) then calling is fine. If you aren't sure how often they are going to go broke with an overpair or how they will play the hands you are flipping with, you can just fold everything but the absolute top of your range.

    As described, call and evaluate.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,298Subscriber
    I put a lot of thought into this after this post. It is really a logic problem.

    There is an optimal 3b range that is not exploitable. We all know that. But they are smart enough to notice when you are raising more than you should and have their range out of this GTO zone.

    So with the fact they simply can't fold post flop any over pair.
    They play so incredibly predictable.

    I came to the conclusion calling OOP is best. At worst it will cost you one flop bet. They simply won't double barrel a missed hand. I also reversed the scenario thinking what separates me from them? Because on occasion I do flat a 4b with AA. While their play is predictable to a "T" my play is very dependent on how my opponent plays, his betting patterns, his fold capability.

    But calling OOP is not really my style. Specifically vs these predicable tricky types I believe it is correct with the right SPR and the right hand.

    I never ran into TAGs specifically like this until the last 3 months.
  • iamallin Posts: 1,173SubscriberProfessional
    So you are saying they have a premium value plus bluff range for 3 bets.

    What do their bluffs look like? 57s or A3s?

    If it is 57s, then flatting pairs becomes very enticing. If their bluffs are Q9s and k8s then flatting pairs is not exciting.

    How often are they bluffing?

    I mean if someone has a premium 3 bet range with an occasional bluff, just fold. I will happily fold TT to someone who doesn't 3 bet all that much. I am talking about oop of course.

    In position if you have a skill edge you should call a lot.

    Oop, you say you can outplay them. But if their range is unbalanced towards premium hands how are you going to outplay them oop?

    I don't like 4 betting..from your description it looks like they have a polarized 3 bet range..so call or fold with most hands..

    You can sometimes 4 bet bluff them but that depends on how much garbage is in their 3 bet range

  • sxz18 Posts: 345Member
    edited February 2016
    Fuzzypup, the solution to your logic problem is to decipher why these TAGs stopped 5b AA/KK type hands. The reason is because it's incredibly difficult to balance.

    While you can continue 4b these TAGs, I believe another counter to them is to flat their 3b with the top of your range as well, which is much easier to balance (following same train of thought). This is simplifying the problem a bit as we aren't taking into account position or stack size, but my general experience with bad/predictable TAGs is that they don't do very well when they are the aggressor. Like you said, they do well against weaker players, but thinking players present a whole set of problems for them.

    To dissect this thought further, imagine a TAG and the range they are 3b with. We can even toss in a few suited connectors to give them more credit. Their style of play dictates they barrel no matter what, trying to apply pressure against weaker opponents. From a GTO standpoint, calling the strongest of your hands does well to combat this. If you modify your 3b calling range to include AA/KK, it leaves the TAG playing a guessing game.

    Rather than going through the logic of when to 4b and when not to 4b, put the test to them and make them guess if you are trapping. If you are flatting with the top of your range and TAG is 3b a wider range, you will get money either way. They will try to barrel AK/AQ to get you off the best hand or they will value own themselves when they hit top pair/flop overpair. Once your opponent wises up to this, they will react one of two ways:

    1) 3b less, narrower range
    2) 3b even more, wider range

    In the event of #2, they probably would not be classified as a TAG anymore, but a thinking player capable of changing range. More often than not, they will react with #1 which makes them easier to play against because their range is too narrow. If they don't react with anything and just stick with status quo then let them go down with the ship.
  • FuzzypupFuzzypup Posts: 2,298Subscriber
    I find it amazing that every year I learn quite a bit more in poker. I already do very well but it is incredible how much more I can learn. The last few months I have been experimenting with understanding the dynamics of different traits in players while combining them with the street they stop being aggressive.

    Folders, callers, aggression, predictability in betting all have different dynamics that change our standard lines into more profitable ones because some of these traits seem to literally flip their hand face up.

    Idea's like the standard raise a draw on the flop. Well I am experimenting with waiting till the turn vs players who will bet normally on the flop then bet size the strength of their hand on the turn to where I exactly know if they are weak or strong. Ironically I just read an Ed Miller article on this.

    It got me thinking about 3b pots vs these specific TAGs.... thus this post.

    My results so far in the last few days have been good. Calling OOP and reading their predictability has paid off.

    Thx for the input folks,
Sign In or Register to comment.