April 3, 2010 – 10:41 am | 7 Comments

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## Pocket Aces Hand #1 – Suck Out?

Submitted by on January 2, 2010 – 7:43 pm22 Comments
Image by mrdelayer via Flickr

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I’ll do some analysis of my losses with Pocket Aces. Here’s one such analysis. To be honest, my gut feeling is that I didn’t play this too wrong, but let’s see.

Poker Stars \$0.01/\$0.02 No Limit Hold’em – 8 players – View hand 447780
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

BB: \$4.65
UTG: \$0.97
Hero (UTG+1): \$3.24
MP1: \$1.85
MP2: \$4.91
CO: \$0.99
BTN: \$1.92
SB: \$0.98

Pre Flop: (\$0.03) Hero is UTG+1 with A A
1 fold, Hero raises to \$0.04, MP1 calls \$0.04, MP2 calls \$0.04, 4 folds

I typically min-raise my entire range when I open at these blind levels, mainly because it achieves the same isolation that a larger raise would. Possibly should have raised more, but I try not to change how much I raise with relation to hand strength to help disguise the hand. So generally, I make the same min-raise, whether it’s AA (in this case), 55, or JT suited. The stats I have on MP1 are 64/0/0.88, over 56 hands, and for MP2, 50/16/1.46 over 63 hands. Not the largest sample base, but both of them seem to be fairly loose, and not particularly agressive. Given those stats, I might probably have gained more value by raising more.

Given the stats, it seems like the two players are going to be calling me with at least 45% of their hands. According to PokerStove, 45% of preflop hands is approximately this range: 44+,A2s+,K2s+,Q4s+,J6s+,T6s+,96s+,86s+,76s,A2o+,K6o+,Q8o+,J8o+,T8o+,98o. That’s really a lot of hands, and doesn’t narrow down their range much – I think they could pretty much have anything but randoms here. So I’m thinking I’m probably up against a suited connecter, any pocket pair, J-x or higher.

Flop: (\$0.15) 8 J 4 (3 players)
Hero bets \$0.08, MP1 calls \$0.08, MP2 calls \$0.08

The flop comes well for me, it’s relatively disconnected. The only drawing hand I have to worry about is 9-10, I think. I bet about my standard half pot, and get both of them to call. At this point, I’m actually hoping I’d get one fold, but both of them calling tells me that I’m probably ahead at this point. I think if either one of them hit a set or two-pair, they would have re-raised. As is, I think I’m up against a pair and two overs or something along those lines. Does MP2 get the right odds to call if he is on a 9-10, though? Before his bet, there is 31c in the pot, and he requires 8c to call. He has 8 outs, leaving 8/47 = 17.02% odds of hitting one of those outs on the turn. His EV for calling the bet here is then 0.1702 * 39 – 8 = -1.36c. Considering the implied odds of additional betting if he hits his straight, the call probably makes sense.

In retrospect, given this, I should probably have bet the pot here, to take out the 9-10 draw, and to extract more value from a J-x. I forgot to take into consideration the fact that I was in a 3-way pot.

Turn: (\$0.39) Q (3 players)
Hero bets \$0.26, MP1 calls \$0.26, MP2 folds

The worst possible card for me, because it makes the straight. That said, I’m still ahead to all but one hand (9-10), and now I think a Q-x or a J-x is likely to call a bet. I bet about 2/3s the pot here, small enough to minimize my losses if I get raised (as I’d expect to if I’m facing the straight), but still a sizeable amount for value against Q-x or J-x.

Getting one call and one fold here isn’t too much of a worry. I’m pretty sure I’m not against the straight here now. I think I put MP1 on a range of J-x, Q8+, Q3, . Out of which I’m only down against the random two-pair hands. I don’t think he’s likely to have QQ because if he did, he’d probably have re-raised my pre-flop bet.

River: (\$0.91) 2 (2 players)
Hero bets \$1, MP1 calls \$1

Having placed MP1 on the afore-mentioned range, the 2 really isn’t a scare card. I’m pretty sure I’m ahead at the moment, and up against a random J or Q (more likely J). So I bet out here, slightly larger than a pot-size bet, thinking I’m just going to get more value.

Final Pot: \$2.91
Hero shows A A (a pair of Aces)
MP1 shows J 2 (two pair, Jacks and Deuces)
MP1 wins \$2.81
(Rake: \$0.10)

So, obviously, him showing J-2 offsuit was a bit of a blow. But I don’t actually see how I could have played this hand differently. At the moment, I’m writing this off as a bad beat. I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t bet more on the flop (though I probably should have) or turn (marginal decision?), because I ended up losing the minimum, I think. So all in all, I’m quite happy with the way I played this, but not with the result.

But what do you think? Was my reasoning flawed here – should I have gone more aggressively or let it go at any point?

• Micro Donk says:

“I typically min-raise my entire range when I open at these blind levels, mainly because it achieves the same isolation that a larger raise would.”

I'm not being funny but this is 2NL, who are you trying to isolate? The blinds, the loose players, there are so many people who will call you even with hands they shouldnt. When you raise it to 0.04 the pot is then 0.07, that means anyone who calls gets imediate odds of 1.75:1, after one person calls then the next gets odds of 2.75:1 and your facing more people than you wanted.

There are two main reasons for raising AA pre-flop, the first is for value the second is to try and get the hand heads up. You should minimum be making all your openening raises 3 x BB, 3.5 x BB, 4 x BB, pick one and stick to it, against 2NL players they are so dumb you could do 4 x BB from UTG, UTG+1, 3.5 x BB from MP, 4 x BB from CO and BTN. That way your steals and cheap and you get max value from the strongest part of your range.

There is a further reason for raising more pre-flop, the more you raise the less your opponents implied odds are. This also applies on latter streets, the larger your bet relative to stack sizes the less implied odds they have.

As a demonstration of how dumb 2NL players are, BB folds when there is a caller and an over caller, he only has to put 1 bb in at odds of 7.5:1 He should call you with pretty much any 2 cards here, stuited connectors, 3 gappers because his implied odds are for your entire stack.

I agree that these guys have a huge range, but your main considerations should be that you have the pre-flop initiative, the board is unconnected and 3 tone, so your going to cbet it. Your standard 1/2 pot bet is absoloutly horrible, you still need to get this hand heads up and you want to get value, bet 2/3 Pot to Full Pot. This is why you raise more pre-flop as well, you get to punish them with a bigger bet, that destroys their implied odds, and most importantly gives you value.

The queen is a bad card, but these guys have such a huge range that 9-10 is such a small part of it we should still bet the turn. QX, 8'x, J'x. Again I would bet closer to pot here, but your bet isnt too bad.

On the river the 2d is a blank, I would now be thinking that as he called our flop and turn bets he either has the straight or TP, middle pair. As we have some showdown value I would bet half pot and fold to a raise, if a passive guy ever raises you on the river you can muck your hand.

You over bet pot, I dont see why you do that. Everytime he has the straight, trips, wacky 2 pair you loose the most, everytime he doesnt he folds.

Also if you raised to 0.08 pre-flop would he still have called with J2'o? Maybe, but if the pot was 0.27 on the flop and you bet 0.24 would he still have called with top pair worst kicker? Maybe, but when the queen hits and the pot is now minimum 0.75 and you bet 0.54, does he call with 2nd pair worst kicker? Maybe! But if you did that and he sucked out and hit a 2 on the river, you'd feel you played the hand well.

As it stands you played this hand poorly.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate it, and I'll definitely take what you've said into consideration.

Here's my thoughts on what you've said. To be honest, I've actually had decent success min-raising preflop, even at 2NL. Surprisingly, I've managed to isolate and even steal the blinds at times with a min-raise of 2bb + 2bb per limper. Honestly, I haven't fully decided on what strategy to take, and I'll definitely take your thoughts into consideration. At the moment, I'm more or less modelling my strategy after what Negreanu wrote about his experience at 2NL, where he suggestss “Meaning min-raising your entire range, lowering your continuation betting percentage significantly, and playing lots of hands with big pay off potential.” So that's where the min-raise thought came in. The other thing about the min-raise is I'm in early position, I'm partially hoping to get re-raised, so I can 4-bet all in preflop.

As for bet sizing post-flop, you're probably right there. Still trying to figure out when to bet half the pot, and when to bet more, though. I'd think a lot of that has to do with the fold equity of whatever opponent you're up against. But I could easily be wrong. How do you decide on bet sizes?

As for why I overbet the pot on the river, I kind of thought that he'd call with a Q or a J, as mentioned. Could be wrong, and I'll definitely take what you've said into consideration.

I guess overall, my line for this hand would be to be willing to give up even an overpair, which I think I tend to overvalue.

• Micro Donk says:

'Here's my thoughts on what you've said. To be honest, I've actually had decent success min-raising preflop, even at 2NL. Surprisingly, I've managed to isolate and even steal the blinds at times with a min-raise of 2bb + 2bb per limper.'
One thing you are doing right is being consistent, I also like to alter my bet size based on the number of limpers. However the way you are doing this is disproportionate, and leads to an imbalance in your play.
To give an example, we have 100bb effective stacks, if you have 3 limpers in front of you when you are on the CO holding KJ's you will bet 8bb (creating a pot of 12.5bb), A ton of people at 2NL will Limp Call a lot, they love to limp call, even if you just get one limp caller you have a massive pot of 19.5bb. The issue here is that the vast majority of the time you are going to miss the pot, but quite a lot of that time you will want to Cbet, after all the equivalent of nearly 20% of a stack is out there.
Any Cbet your going to make is going to be fairly expensive, so your already playing for a big pot with no real hand. Even if you Cbet half pot for 8bb and you get called the pot is going to be huge, its like 35.5bb, If you get raised then you've burned a lot of bb's to no good end, if you do get called then there is enough money out there to make a 2 barrel a consideration (but that will be a huge bet), before you know it a fair portion of your stack is out there an you have no hand.
Your going to end up playing a lot of large pots with marginal holdings (mid pair, top pair good or weak kicker), it would be very easy to end up playing for stacks with TP and such, I would imagine you find yourself in that situation a lot just now. You want to play small pots with small hands and large pots with large hands, the way your doing it now you play big pots with small and big hands!
Say you follow my preferred strategy, you open 4bb from early, 3.5bb from mid and 3bb from late and add 1bb for each limper. In the same scenario as above you raise to 6bb, and get one limp caller, the pot is 15.5bb. Your just as likely to get a fold as you would raising your way, but every time they call you have spend 2 less bb, if they fold to a bet of 8bb they will fold to a bet of 6bb, if they will call 6 bb they will call 8 bb. So keep it as cheap as you can, over thousands of hands the saving adds up.

“Meaning min-raising your entire range, lowering your continuation betting percentage significantly, and playing lots of hands with big pay off potential.” So that's where the min-raise thought came in.

I don't agree with Danielss view on min raising your entire range, you will miss out on so much value that its not worth it. Also at 2Nl people are way loose and passive , so you'll raise AA from MP and get everyone behind you calling, so next thing you know your like 5-6 handed playing AA which is not what you want. Its not that Daniels strategy cant be a winning strategy, its just that its not optimal and you can win a lot more doing it the other way, I also think with Daniels strategy you will be playing marginal hands in big pots a lot, which is not something for beginning players or those who are not expert hand readers.

I do agree that at the micros you do have to lower you Cbet percentage, but you should base that on mainly board texture and consideration of your opponents FCBET stat, rather than just a general view of lowering it.

“The other thing about the min-raise is I'm in early position, I'm partially hoping to get re-raised, so I can 4-bet all in pre flop.”
I can see that working out for you a whole lot. If you min raise to 2 bb from EP then get 3bet to say 8-10bb and 4 bet all in then I cant see you getting a whole lot of calls, if you have 100bb stacks your expecting your opponent to ship another 90-92bb into the pot. Also if they just cold call then your playing a very small pot with a very big hand, which is the reverse of how it should go

Maybe they call your 4bet shove sometimes, but I would imagine that with Aces your winning a lot of very small pots and loosing some pretty large ones. Its a pretty cowardly way of playing poker to try and get AA or KK all in pre-flop, against a single opponent you should sometimes be flatting the 3bet to trap or 4bet to like 24-26bb to induce either a weak shove from JJ+, AK, AQ or a bad call from weak hands.

“As for bet sizing post-flop, you're probably right there. Still trying to figure out when to bet half the pot, and when to bet more, though. I'd think a lot of that has to do with the fold equity of whatever opponent you're up against. But I could easily be wrong. How do you decide on bet sizes?”
I try to make my cbets and my value bets about the same size, that way nobody can tell if I betting for value or stealing the pot when I miss the flop. Fold equity really doesn't matter in terms of bet sizing all that much, you should be looking at how often they fold to cbets, if they fold almost all the time to a Cbet then you could bet half pot, if they fold quite a bit but not way too much then more than half pot, if they rarely fold to cbets then you shouldn't cbet.

“As for why I overbet the pot on the river, I kind of thought that he'd call with a Q or a J, as mentioned. Could be wrong, and I'll definitely take what you've said into consideration.”
There is a common logical fallacy in your thinking on the river, situations like this come up a lot in NLHE and if you keep thinking this way in these spots you will loose the maximum and win the minnimum in these spots.
On the river you can get value from hands like Qx or Jx, but those hands are not going to call a shove very often, so when you bet all in he will fold all of the hands that you get value from and will call with only the ones you cannot beat, so you loose the maximum. If you bet half pot, then hands like Qx or Jx can call and you get value, weak 2 pairs might fold or call, trips and the straight will raise, if you get raised you can fold and save the maximum money.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Oops, looking at your post, you're right. I was actually thinking 2bb + 2c (aka 2bb + 1bb for each limper) when I wrote that. So essentially, if there's one limper, I'll raise to 6c, if there are 2, I'll raise to 8c. So it's even smaller than what you suggested. My question is, would my system lead to my opponents playing too many hands? You say that “if they fold to a bet of 8bb they will fold to a bet of 6bb, if they will call 6 bb they will call 8 bb”, how far can that be extrapolated to? Can we also then say that “if they fold to a bet of 5bb (which would be your raise from CO with two limpers) they will fold to a bet of 4bb”? If so, why not raise to 4bb instead? And so on. Basically, how far can we go before the “if they fold to x, they'll also fold to x-2” doesn't hold true anymore?

As for the post-flop play, you're definitely right. I'll look to improve on that.

“I try to make my cbets and my value bets about the same size, that way nobody can tell if I betting for value or stealing the pot when I miss the flop.”
Yeah definitely. I tend to bet about half pot in almost all situations, though. Trying to learn to vary that between half to 2/3 of the pot depending on situation and who I'm up against, as you said.

“If you bet half pot, then hands like Qx or Jx can call and you get value, weak 2 pairs might fold or call, trips and the straight will raise, if you get raised you can fold and save the maximum money.”
Ok, that's understandable. I'll keep that in mind and try to remember that in future play. Thanks.

• Steve Brogan says:

I like the discussion you had. I would like to say that I have played with people like your J2 opponent. They catch a pair on the flop and will not let it go. It is almost as if they think you are bluffing and do not want to be bluffed out of a pot. Just the psychology of the player comes into play. The math, the pot odds and implied odds don't matter to some players at the .01/.02 level. They don't seem to matter to some at the .25/.50 level either as I have seen. Depending on the type of player, you might have been raising larger and still get called by some loose player who does not like to fold – even though they do not like to raise or re-raise either. It is an interesting discussion.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Yeah, definitely, I'm really enjoying the discussion too. =). Glad it's been of value to you. Question: How would you have played the hand (if you were me)?

• […] had a really good discussion in my earlier post about my Pocket Aces hand. One thing from the conversation that struck me the most, however, was this statement by […]

• Steve Brogan says:

At the table I have been playing of late, the standard opening bet is 3BB. After the pre-flop raise and post flop raise, I might have just checked it down, suspecting that either I am beat or that I have hit upon an opponent that won't fold. In once case, I will lose a little less if he does have the best hand or win less if I do. This may not be the optimal play. Just my thoughts.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Hm. Yeah, you're probably right. I probably should not have bet the river, at least not that much. The previous commenter said so too, and I think you're both right. Have to change that aspect of my play. As to opening raises, I normally make it about 2.5 to 3BB when I play live. It's only at 2NL that I min-raise. Still haven't quite decided though.

• Mac says:

It seems to me the small ball strategy is good when players understand what your doing. At the micro stakes your going to find more people calling j2 k7 q2 and whatever hands just because they see your raise as weak.

Obviously for me, I take a look at the PT3 stats realize the guy min raising is a nit and is only doing it with strong hands.

Small ball is meant so that you can see many more flop cheap and then get it in, it's great if you get 3bet alot in the bigger games.

I wouldn't think it's going to accomplish anything because you don't polarize the villains range at all. The min raise is like a limp for them.

Also you could raise more with bigger hands like AA KK QQ JJ, because the fish don't look at your raise and say hes raising more he has aces, they look at it as he's raising that means he'll keep betting i'll call and hope for a good flop to take all his chips.

As well with small ball you need more reading ability and therefore have to pretty much play 1 table.

You could get more winnings playing TAG style and raising it up more and get more value from big hands and doing it over like 4-16+ tables.

Another thing is your thinking so much about your hand it almost puts me on tilt. You are giving these guys respect as if they know what they are doing. Most of them want to gamble after work or whatever and losing 5 bucks is all in good fun.

All you got to do is focus on your hand, get value out of your good hands and bluff from time to time nad you'll come out on top from 0.02NL-0.25NL.

• Derrick Kwa says:

I do pretty much play 1 table at a time. For me, at the moment, it's more about general play than about the money (ie I'm trying to improve my overall play, not just maximize winnings at this level). So yes, while you might definitely be right that playing TAG across 4-16 tables would give more winnings at this level (I wouldn't know, haven't tried), I don't think that really helps improvement of my game.

By playing small ball this way, it helps me focus on training my reading ability, and forces me to think through the hand and what goes on. You say that I'm “thinking so much…it almost puts [you] on tilt”, but essentially, wouldn't that help my overall improvement? I don't really believe I should play these levels as if they are complete idiots, I think if I do that, while I might get a bit more value out of these levels, it'd be harder to adjust for other games.

Just my thoughts.

• Mac says:

Well, I have put in \$10 onto stars and in 1.2k hands running at 50bb/100 (1-2 sometimes 4 tables) I have made \$24 in profit.

Thought this limit needs adjustments anyways so to say you play 0.02NL the same way you play 200NL is just going to end up getting you broke.

Reading ability at 0.02NL is so simple it basically is just waiting and busting donks.

I have noticed the small ball stratagy at the low limits is really terrible for the following reasons..

1) You get very little value
2)More people feel they should call
3) you need to hit a big hand to ever bet big

At the low limits people look at how much more is it to call, they think its only 1 bb and they will call j7 off and only put money in when they suckout which is funny but is going to make them profit.

As a final note here is a hand I played that shows that raising 2x or calling is so -ev.

okerStars Game #38483458708: Hold'em No Limit (\$0.01/\$0.02 USD) – 2010/01/20 23:32:27 ET
Table 'Ismene II' 6-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: XaceofKingsX (\$6.51 in chips)
Seat 2: irish jim 1 (\$4.27 in chips)
Seat 3: peteyle (\$4.57 in chips)
Seat 4: LennyK (\$7.73 in chips)
Seat 5: vikxbox (\$2.21 in chips)
Seat 6: fruckt (\$12.10 in chips)
fruckt: posts small blind \$0.01
XaceofKingsX: posts big blind \$0.02
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to XaceofKingsX [4d 9c]
irish jim 1: folds
peteyle: folds
LennyK: folds
vikxbox: folds
irish jim 1 said, “that hurt bad”
fruckt: calls \$0.01
XaceofKingsX: checks
*** FLOP *** [9s 3h 8c]
fruckt: checks
XaceofKingsX: bets \$0.04
fruckt: calls \$0.04
*** TURN *** [9s 3h 8c] [4h]
fruckt: checks
XaceofKingsX: bets \$0.12
fruckt: raises \$0.12 to \$0.24
XaceofKingsX: raises \$0.12 to \$0.36
fruckt: raises \$11.68 to \$12.04 and is all-in
XaceofKingsX: calls \$6.09 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (\$5.59) returned to fruckt
*** RIVER *** [9s 3h 8c 4h] [Jc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
fruckt: shows [Ks Kh] (a pair of Kings)
XaceofKingsX: shows [4d 9c] (two pair, Nines and Fours)
XaceofKingsX collected \$12.37 from pot
XaceofKingsX said, “oops”
fruckt said, “nh”
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot \$13.02 | Rake \$0.65

Mind you this hand was for more then 300bb.

pre flop he is almost 90-10, he calls my flop bet and the turn hes now 10-90.

If he min raised I'd fold but if some donk was sitting on the big blind he'd call 94 get top pair and play it all the way.

This stratagy is only good when you get people to fold but it's such a grind you will learn nothing.

If you used this strategy at say 200NL, you'd get 3bet anytime someone has a hand a10+ 88+ and you give people insane odds to set mine or call with any suited hand.

This strategy is for tournaments and I guess for the low stakes with table selection. Daniel is shit at cash games, go onto 2+2 and you'll see a few posts about him playing at HSP or anything like that.

He is -ev cash player and to get good reading ability you should play tag 1 table and you will understand how to bet and where to raise etc.

I like that you play low to learn but your clearly able to beat at least 25NL, so don't screw around with the limit.

I'm going to play 10k hands at 0.02NL and post my results.

P.S did you hear about the PS blogger tourny?

• Derrick Kwa says:

Doesn't playing the small-ball way provide less variance, though? Sorry if I'm being stubborn about it. The reason why I'm hesitant to adjust is because I've been consistently able to grind a profit in general playing this way. Yes, it's been a bit of a grind (\$43 in 4k hands), but it's still been working. Haha maybe I'm just afraid of playing any other way.

Specifically, though, the three things you address. Firstly, you say you are getting very little value. Thing is, though, most of the time, I'm still able to get to a flop with 1-2 other players, and taking down the pot with cbets quite often. Maybe it's table selection, I don't know.

“you need to hit a big hand to ever bet big” Isn't that the point though? I'd think that you don't want to be betting big much with mediocre hands.

On a whole, though, yeah. I've read a lot about how you shouldn't be playing this way at the micros, but to my surprise, it's actually been working, so I don't know about whether I should change it up.

Here's how I would have played KK from the small blind. Raise to 6c preflop. Yes, I know it's larger than my standard min-raise, but when it comes down to just the blinds, I make it a bit larger. Essentially I'm trying to make it 2bb for the other players (especially those behind me) to call. Maybe that makes a difference? Essentially my thinking is, when I open for 2bb + 1bb per limper, the players who haven't bet preflop need to call at least 2bb. The limpers also have to call at least 2bb. Generally I don't worry much about the big blind, because I'm normally find with isolating the big blind, and playing with position on him.

I'd also have led out on the flop and the turn, and probably not gone all-in with such a huge overbet. Once it's been 4-bet I think I'd just call, and try and c-c it down for as little as possible. Essentially a small ball approach, because at the end of it, a pair of kings is still just one pair, and I try not to go all in preflop with just a pair.

I know that seems contradictory to how I played the hand in the post, but I think I would have seen the raise and re-raise as a show of strength. In the Aces hand, the opponent just called, so I didn't think he had that much.

Overall, I think playing this way would essentially require that I be willing to lay down overpair hands like this some times, or not get all-in. Maybe I won't be getting as much value as I can in the long run, but I'm also not going to get busted as much, and have lower variance.

That's my take on it, does that make sense?

And yeah, I know of the bloggers tournament. I'm playing, probably at least the ones on the 25th and 30th. Might not be able to make it on the other days. Registered using my other blog (http://derrickkwa.com) because the registration kept failing with this. Are you playing? Maybe I'll meet you there. =).

ps. You should drop me an email/im some time, I think it'd be great to have discussions with you. =).

• ... says:

Rainbow flop, so slow playing it would be fine. This scenario is a lot like being caught out with a set, you can't pick up if anyone has it… They just got lucky on the river but your play of it was pretty standard from what I've seen from other post-flop pocket ace plays.

On the turn, a check-raise would be pretty nice if you have them on J-x. Keep in mind that this is micro stakes, people stay in pots and flat call with top/mid pair or even high card aces… and I have no idea whether a larger pre-raise would've made MP1 give up his J2o trash hand. The majority of micro stakes players are not “thinking” players.

Believing you had the best hand on the river, value bet or check, don't overbet… assuming they know what showdown value is both players would check this, a bet would be really unusual for J-lower kicker. Really, if you pushed on the flop to try and get max value, you might be getting people with draws it would be worth the risk.

At micro stakes, it would be favourable – for me, to shove pre-flop (people call with anything suited, etc) or raise 5xBB, even if you get one caller you make more from it than min raising against two and push on the flop, pushing on the flop would be bad OOP but again, a flop like this doesn't really hurt you.

I read somewhere that “weak hands are easy to play because you know their value but aces are the hardest because you don't know their value”. Meanwhile, I'm poor on PS, lol. I hope my contribution was worth something.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Yeah, it was definitely “worth something”. =). Thanks for dropping by. I agree, my river play here was a mistake (been discussed in earlier comments.

As for a check-raise on the turn. If they're on J-x would they actually bet out? I dunno, I figured someone who is just calling on the flop wouldn't bet out on the turn, especially with the overcard being dealt, and I wanted to get more value here.

• Mac says:

I think your confused, I didn't have KK in the hand. I had 94o, I play like a god.

More importantly, I do not play brainless poker, I know when they have a hand and when they are trying to fish their 4-5 outers. Either a gut shot or trying to get two pair or trips with bottom pair or middle pair.

I almost folded flopped 2 pair but I just called it down. I had 78 vs 99 on a 978 board which i was certain he had 99 but I thought, I'm ahead of the range so much that I can't fold. Like when you have KK and you know the guy might have AA you get it in because your going to be ahead most of the time and it's a cooler if it's AA.

If I would ever play at a table with you I think I would destroy you just because you play so weak.

My line goes straight up with mild downswings where i got it in on a flip like ak vs 66 or ak vs qq. I don't think I have ever lost more then 1 buy in in a row.

I think variance can be reduced by smart tight play not by betting less. I think the reversed implied odds of you min raising in 0.02NL vs tight players isn't very good.

The stratagy is obviously working at 0.02NL because your playing nits and you can always find nitty tables.

The problem is that, the higher you go up the stakes the more people think. If you would ever re raise someone they need a hand or they will fold most of their range.

If you flop a set you only get action from anything higher then tptk or higher.

I think however you should stick with it for now and as you move up you will gradually change.

Though the strategy is great at higher limits because players don't just call any 2 cards that might hit a flop.

Keep up the good work, see you at the tables.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Yeah, I know. I was just saying how I would have played KK from the other player's perspective.

As for your general comments, I think you're right. I'm playing mainly nits at 2NL. I think at these levels, the strategy really differs based on table selection. There are really nitty tables (the ones I try to look for), and there are the tables full of donks.

And yeah, I'm definitely going to have to adjust as I go higher, starting to realize that more now. Played a bit of 0.05NL, and the same strategy isn't working quite as well. I think I've gotten so used to 0.02NL that I wasn't thinking through my hands as much at 0.05NL.

I think by min-raising at 0.02NL vs tight nits, you can more or less let go a lot of hands with minimal losses, while seeing a lot of flops.

Still trying to figure out how I should be playing 0.05NL though. Seems slightly less nitty there. ;).

Thanks for all the advice and thoughts, though. I really do appreciate it. =). It's given me a lot to think about.

• Mac says:

Yep, I got destroyed at 0.05NL. I think in the end I was break even until I changed somthing.

Looking at the AA vs j2 this is standard at this limit. Your value is coming mainly from pre flop and when you are min raising you kill your value.

These players don't think you bluff they just think they can get a J or 2 and win a big pot, obviously they disregard the odds but they will call and therefore you should raise more even 5x because they look at it as implied odds. (ex. If I flop a full house ill beat him)

I played about 10k hands at 0.02NL 6max running 14bb/100 (i 15 tabled) and i got a profit of 68\$ net.

It's easy to bluff because they fold unless they get 2 pair or if they have a hand they raise at the 0.05nl people just slow play aces and such huge hand and never raise.

What I did is just search for the maniac donks and sit down stack them a few times and move up.

There is not much skill to be learnt at the level. at least for someone like me who has put in lots of hands and played way higher stakes online.

I am at 0.10NL now and I am crushing it so hard because I am finding the donks and making easy money. Ask any pro at the HU tables, thats all they do wait for the donks to dump off money. (what my friend tells me)

Good luck and I hope I see you on my poker blog.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Yeah, agreed.

The best way to get profit out of the microstakes is probably what you say, to search for donks and stack them a few times. But as you said, there isn't much to be learnt from that and not much thought that goes into it. And for me, I enjoy the game for the decision making more than the profit, so waiting to stack donks doesn't quite do it for me. Haha.

So for now (as I mentioned in the other reply), I'm experimenting with some \$1 + 0.20 SNGs. I think there's a bit more thought that goes into that. Eventually I might go back to grinding at the microstakes, though. And I'll definitely be looking at your poker blog. =).

• MorganRush says:

I'm an idiot when it comes to math and you have mad skillz in that department…I haven't been playing long either but I've been winning some…here's the way I see it…when you opened with a min raise, because you don't like to change up to reveal hand strength (I don't agree with this btw), you practically invite anybody with any paint to at least call…he does…then he hits a J…unless you blow him out on your flop bet he, being loose and not that aggressive, will wait patiently for the turn and see if it helps not because he can calculate why necessarily but it's just not that expensive not too…you let him hang on by not making it too expensive to take a chance, imo…now, because you are not showing real strength, he probably has you on pocket pairs, which he can take with his JJs, you don't bet strong against the Q on the turn so now he's thinking you surely have low PPs…he stays in…hits the two pair and you flame…happens all the time…

I haven't been playing long enough to talk in technical poker terms yet, but I think you understand what I'm saying…I would have stayed in too, raised you when the Q showed up to force you to show me your strength, then it would have been really interesting on the river…

Cool blog…thanks!

• Derrick Kwa says:

Thanks for the thoughts. Yeah, I think the issue with micro-stakes is people tend to look at the bets as absolute value, instead of actual odds. But yeah, I admit, I should have raised higher preflop (as I've said in earlier comments). As for the bet sizes on the flop and turn, I don't know, I generally don't bet more than 60% of the pot on the flop, and yeah, I probably could have showed more strength on the turn. On a whole, though, I admit, it was quite a badly played hand on my part as well, I think.

• […] vs. ♣Q♦Q is 43%-57%. If the ♥A♠K is against the same suit of queens (♥Q♠Q) then the percentages already change about 1% in favor of the AK to 44%-56%. In the case when the AK is suited (♥K […]