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On bet sizing

TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
edited November -1 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
It's obvious that most profitable for us is to bet big for value and small as a bluff. The only problem here is that this is highly exploitable (unbalanced) play. If (and only IF) we want to prevent our opponent from exploiting us by folding to our big bets and calling small bets we should balance our betting range by making our sizes less different. Degree to which we want to balance depends on a degree of which our opponents are capable of exploiting us. To balance we can make our bluffs bigger or make our value bets smaller (or both). Which way to go depends on your whole betting range. More combinations of value hands we have in the range - bigger our bets should be and opposite to make our whole betting range as profitable as possible. It means if you're playing tight you should use bigger sizes and if you're laggy your betting range is weaker (more bluffs in there) and smaller sizes would be more profitable for you.
You shouldn't change your bet sizes according to your actual hand cause it would give away information about your holdings, but change it according to your range and your opponents ranges.
These are the questions to ask yourself when choosing the bet size:
- How balanced I want to be?
- What's my range in this spot? How strong it is?
- What's my opponent(s) range in this spot? How strong it is?
- How much I want to bet with my whole range?

Comments

  • I'm not trying to bash you or anything, but I think balancing in games under 5/10 is extremely overrated. Honestly, if you're at a table where you are required to think about all these things related to your bet sizing then you should table/casino change. I hear some of you say you were at a tough 2/5-5/5 table and I just think it's very bad game selection. There are so few bad games at these levels (except for Vegas where a ton are nitty and full of decent-good regulars, but I love that people keep moving/going there) that you should never be sitting in a bad game.

    Don't get me wrong, I understand all the stuff you're saying, but I just feel you (and many others) are too often over thinking in games where so many players are not thinking.
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    It's all in a degree to which we balance. If we'd thought balance is not important at all we would bet $1000 into $30 pot for value and we would bluff $5 into $1000 pot. What's stopping you from doing this? Only concern about balance.

    PS. And BTW I love being "bashed". That's why I post - to get critical opinion which will help me find mistakes in my game.
  • Tyrith Posts: 353Subscriber
    TDF said

    It's all in a degree to which we balance. If we'd thought balance is not important at all we would bet $1000 into $30 pot for value and we would bluff $5 into $1000 pot. What's stopping you from doing this? Only concern about balance.

    It's not balance concerns - it's that betting 1k into 30 for value isn't likely to get called by worse, and bluffing 5 into 1k isn't likely to get better to fold. If some fish would call a 1k bet into a 30 pot with the second best hand, then we should do it even if it's turning our hand face up. People don't appropriately adjust to our unbalancedness, so trying to come up with the mathematically perfect, unexploitable range can often lose us money when we can makes plays that, while obviously unbalanced, people make mistakes against anyway.

    If the leveling war gets much above that, I agree with fishcake - we need to table select better. It's going to be really rough making any decent amount of money at 2/5 against people that are actually playing the adjustment game with you.
  • whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    I agree with fishcake 100%.
  • marseille Posts: 400Subscriber
    Echoing others, balancing at lower limits doesn't seem like a priority given player pool and probably does as much harm as good. For me anyway, consistently maximizing value bets is a much bigger concern and outweighs inevitable effect of unbalanced bet sizing. OTOH, I play in 2/5 games where there are a number of decent, not great, players who are capable (not always willing) to pick up on betting patterns. The occasions where balancing sizes and ranges matter are fewer in lower stakes but they are there.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    The one thing that people have to consider is certainly at the lower limit games there are fewer paying attention. That said if you do play with the same players alot then it starts to becoming more of an issue. In LA there is a regular set of players I see at every 5/5 game I play. At least 5 or 6 players are players who I have played with many times before..

    In those games I would be more likely to try to balance a bit more.. a bit more.. many of the regs arent too good but they are still likely to notice if I limp utg with Ax suited but raise to 40 with AA..

    If I am traveling I basically dont consider this at all unless I am at a table with good players and I have been at the table a long time. But then again that isnt such a good table to be at and I would be looking to find a table with more fish..

    ww
  • TDF Posts: 1,130Subscriber
    Tyrith said
    TDF said
    It's all in a degree to which we balance. If we'd thought balance is not important at all we would bet $1000 into $30 pot for value and we would bluff $5 into $1000 pot. What's stopping you from doing this? Only concern about balance.
    It's not balance concerns - it's that betting 1k into 30 for value isn't likely to get called by worse, and bluffing 5 into 1k isn't likely to get better to fold.
    But why? Why would they fold weak pair in 30 pot for 1k? Cause they realize that we're not bluffing - in other words we unbalanced.

    If some fish would call a 1k bet into a 30 pot with the second best hand, then we should do it even if it's turning our hand face up. People don't appropriately adjust to our unbalancedness, so trying to come up with the mathematically perfect, unexploitable range can often lose us money when we can makes plays that, while obviously unbalanced, people make mistakes against anyway.
    Exactly right. And I never said we should strive to be perfectly balanced for the sake of it. Our aim should be to be as much unbalanced (playing as exploitable) as our opponents allow us get away with. Cause it's the most profitable way to play. But it's a good habit to have to start thinking from finding balanced bet size and them moving away from it as far as you think is most profitable in each exact situation. This way you can play in any game by using the same thought process. Moving up the stakes way easier this way.
  • CruelUltimatum Posts: 160Subscriber
    One of my biggest leaks is thinking that players are exploiting me because I've been playing so unbalanced/exploitably all night, and I assign weaker ranges to them or try to bluff raise them because I think they're playing back at me since they've seen me bet/fold five times in the last three hours or whatever. No, they just have it. They pretty much always have it.

    Playing exploitably against the unaware is the most profitable way to play these games. I need really really strong evidence that someone is actually paying attention and can exploit me before I even consider balance. Even if I know the guy is a thinking player, I have to then also assume he's making the correct adjustments and that he's going after me - and that's a lot to assume.

    My win rate went up a lot when I realized that I can play a super straightforward, exploitable style and I don't level myself into thinking that people are exploiting me because they aren't.

    (Not disagreeing here, but just wanted to reiterate that this seems like a common leak among good $5ish level grinders. It was a leak of mine, and shoring that up was really nice, and it made poker easier to play!)
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