Monday, March 05, 2007

MATH Pimp, and 3-Betting NLH Strategy

It's Monday, and that means it's that time again....

I'm still atop the 2007 money leaderboard for the MATH, so come on out and take your shots at knocking me from the top spot tonight at 10pm ET on pokerstars. Password is "hammer" as always. And as always, tonight's tournament is sure to be replete with callmonkeys and people with big stacks playing the "any two cards" strategy to perfect donkery. So come out tonight, for entertainment purposes as much as anything else.

Right now the Hammer Family is actually on vacation, and as such I won't have time for my traditional megaposts until I return later this week. That said, today I wanted to briefly discuss something I read on the Poker Gnome's blog last week, something that frankly surprises me greatly. I've been reading the Gnome more and more lately, and I have to say I like what I'm seeing there. I added him to my blogroll last week even in my constant attempt to provide the highest-quality poker blog links to you all, and I suggest you go check him out if you've never read his blog before. Anyways, late last week the Gnome put something up that surprised me, and I was even more surprised by the commenters saying how very right he is. His post dealt with no-limit holdem cash games, and situations where he likes to 3-bet it (re-reraise a reraiser) preflop.

The basic premise of this post that surprised me is when Gnome says the following:

"Three-betting in position preflop with most reasonable hands is a standard play in shorthanded online games. Any suited connector, low pocket pair, Ax suited or high cards are worth a raise in these situations."

Now, as most of you know, I am not a cash game player. In fact I'm a cash game donkey, as I've said here on many, many occasions. I don't even play enough nlh cash to be able to know whether this advice is good or not. Nonetheless, I've read enough strategy books on nlh cash to know that this is not "standard" advice that you get from most well-known cash strategists and authors. Is this how you other big cash guys play the game? Do you reraise preflop with hands like 75s and A4s and KTo if you have good position?

Personally, though again I don't play enough cash to be able to say this from experience, I can't imagine how putting in extra preflop bets with lesser hands like this can be profitable. The Gnome does a good job, however, of explaining in his post how moves like this with hands like this can in fact be profitable, ranging from getting folds before the flop to having a chance to hit an "unreadable" monster hand if you make just the right flop with starting cards like this. While I have no doubt that playing hands like this will make it almost impossible to know if you do hit the flop hard, I have trouble accepting -- again having no experience with this in actual cash game play myself -- that the money you put in with these poor relative starting hands can be made up over time, even with the scenarios and results that the Gnome describes in his post.

So tell me all you cash gamers out there, is this the way that you guys play nlh cash before the flop in position? If it is, this just goes to show all the more what an mf'ing cash game donkey I really am, because I freely admit it's never even occurred to me to make a play like this with 75s, A4s or KTo. In fact, I would never even call with a hand like this. If it was raised and reraised ahead of me in any no-limit holdem cash game, I am folding "garbage" hands like this faster than you can say "pushmonkey". Is this yet another well-accepted and profitable cash strategy that I have completely missed the boat on?



Blogger lightning36 said...

Wow - gotta have deep pockets for this strategy. Almost reminds me of the article in, I think, December Bluff magazine about scoring with "donkey hands."

Hoy - if you have a chance could you stop by my blog and critique the hand I listed? I am interested in feedback from analysis types like you.

Other bloggers - your critiques would also be appreciated.

9:52 PM  
Blogger lucko said...

I rarely do it with KTo or A4s, but I love doing it with sc'ers and one gappers. The KTo and A4s type hands can put you in some real tough spots post flop. Flops you hit with those hands are right in the zone of what the initial raiser will call with. I would much rather reraise with hands like 75s, 87s, T8s, etc. They are a little easier to play post flop.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Raveen said...

gnome hit that post on the head with how i play cash (and its extremely profitable at 2/4nl and up). The reason the strategy works is because being short handed people dont hit hands as often so raises with all sorts of hands keep your opponents on your heals. Think about strategies in general about poker...whats mainstream isn't as profitable as the unconventional. Its only seemed profitable because people dont understand the other types of play. Whats different is wrong, whats normal is right type of mentality.

Raising all these types of hands I would aggree with except the suited Axs and k10 as lucko suggested. And his reasoning is right those hands get you in trouble. But at max 6's raising with suited's is highly profitable if you can play well post flop. Which works well for cash players that FLOAT a ton like I do and can mix up playing styles leads to people getting there money in bad spots.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Gnome said...

Thanks for the linkage and discussion!
This 3-betting strategy is effective because it doesn't matter much what cards you have. Especially when in position against a single opponent, more often than not a continuation bet will win the raised pot. It's a numbers game -- if you believe your continuation bet will win that raised pot a little more than half the time, it's correct to make it.
And right when someone decides to play back at you, BAM, that's when you'll (hopefully) hold a legitimate hand to stack him with.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Man I am an even bigger cash game donkey than I thought. I see a raise and a reraise preflop with a hand like 75o and I am heading for hills screaming.

Heee hawww. This is great discussion for a donk like me.

3:04 AM  
Blogger Wes said...

Yes, this is the strategy that I mostly use (although I think it is kind of more important out of position than it is in position). The reason why you use this strategy is that...

1) It is shorthanded and people are opening a lot of holding, thus you should be reraising a lot of hands also.
2) You don't want your reraising range to be transparent to only a great range (say AK,QQ+). If you do that, people can profitably set mine you. But, if you reraise with a wider range, people that are set mining are doing so at -EV. The reason being that you are taking down the pot the vast majority of the time, and you are not stacking off 100% of the time when they do hit a set.

Then, with all this 3betting preflop, people then will play mind games and adjust to this by either 4bet bluffing or taking a flop and semi-bluffing with whiffed overs. This entails a lot of guessing games, and the great players guess better than the lesser ones.

Of course, cash games are of a lot more skill than tournaments, so it may seem awkward to a tourney player.

5:05 AM  

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