Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Inducing the Allin in Large Pots

A little while ago Kajagugu did a few posts on inducing a squeeze play from another player acting after you when you actually have a strong hand, and I always enjoy reading how people like to induce certain actions from their opponents at the poker table. Now, to be clear the squeeze-induce is not a play that I really ever try, as I think you have to have such a great read that another player at the table is inclined to make a big raise with a less then premium hand that this is just not feasible in most cases. But, there are tons of tricks that I regularly employ at the tables to get my opponents to take or not to take particular actions. One of my favorite types of inducement has always been getting another player to move in on me when I have a strong hand.

Inducing the all-in has obvious value in no-limit holdem tournaments. To be honest, all-in inducement is probably the way I have eliminated most of the players that I've played against in the nlh tournaments you guys see me in on a near nightly basis, and it's something that I use especially frequently in the blonkaments, mostly because the majority of the bloggers are so dam easy to manipulate. More than anything else, I think my position, the size of the current pot and the amount of chips left in my target opponent's stack are the three most significant factors in deciding how to get my opponent to move allin on me when I believe I have the best hand. Let me give a few examples to show how I like to get opponents to move allin on me:

1a. Opponent's stack is less than half the current pot; I am out of position. Example: I have 8000 chips and my opponent has 4200 chips. I have AA and raise the 600-chip blind to 2400 preflop in middle position, and only my opponent calls from the button. This puts 5700 chips in the pot, leaving me with 5600 chips and my opponent with just 1800 chips, and we see a flop of Q94 rainbow. Here, with 5700 chips in the pot, and with my pocket Aces almost surely ahead on this flop, I want that guy's last 1800 chips. But if I bet out 1800 (or 1799, who are we kidding) here and he has a hand like AJ or even AK, he might fold and try to hold on for a better spot now that the flop is already out and has missed his hand. But, if I check here instead, the odds are very high that he will move in his last 1800 chips. The pot is so big at this point, and his stack is so small in relative terms, that he almost has to move in here to hopefully move me off my hand for his last 1800 chips, even the guy with the exact same AJ or AK hand that I mentioned above. Now I can call with confidence and I've gotten the last of my opponent's stack with him doing all the work for me.

1b. Opponent's stack is less than half the current pot; I am in position. Example: I have 8000 chips and my opponent has 4200 chips. I have AA and raise the 600-chip blind to 2400 preflop in middle position, and only my opponent calls from the big blind. This puts 5700 chips in the pot, leaving me with 5600 chips and my opponent with just 1800 chips, and we see a flop of Q94 rainbow. Here, with 5700 chips in the pot, and again with my pocket Aces almost surely ahead given this fairly raggy flop, I still want that guy's last 1800 chips. But here, my opponent acts first, and let's say he checks (since this is after all an exercise in inducing the allin). If I bet my opponent's last 1800 chips here, then I'm in the same situation as above, where he might call but he might be tempted to fold. Instead, I like to check here in this spot, given that the flop has no reasonable draws and a free card should not hurt me too badly here. I would esimtate that a good 80 to 90% of the time in this spot, my opponent will lead out allin on the turn card, again because the pot has grown so large compared to the size of his stack, and now I have shown weakness by checking the flop, so once again my opponent thinks he might be able to steal the entire pot, but only by moving in the remainder of his 1800 chip stack into the 5700-chip pot.

2a. Opponent's stack is between half the current pot and the full size of the current pot; I am out of position. Example: I have 11000 chips and my opponent has 7200 chips. I have AA and raise the 600-chip blind to 2400 preflop in middle position, and only my opponent calls from the button. This puts 5700 chips in the pot, leaving me with 8600 chips and my opponent with just 4800 chips, and we see a flop of Q94 rainbow. Here, with 5700 chips in the pot, and with those pocket Aces that I have to figure to be ahead on this flop, I again want to devise a plan to get this guy's last 4800 chips. Here, unlike in Examples 1a and 1b, my opponent's stack is not so small compared to the size of the pot, so he is not nearly as likely to push them allin just by me checking the action to him on this flop. Instead, here, I like to use the small-bet instead of the check, both to get a little bit more money into the pot, and to give off the impression that I do not love my hand and might be able to be pushed off of it by a significant raise (that will cost the opponent his entire stack to effect). So here, with 5700 chips in the pot and 4800 chips left in my opponent's stack, I might bet something like 1800 chips here.

This decision to select the exact number of chips to bet is not a cavalier one, and requires I think careful consideration from both directions. First, I don't ever want to be the donkey making the post-oak bet that just screams out that I want to be raised. I mean, that might work against the absolute simplest of opponents, but against any kind of real competition, if you bet out only 600 or 800 chips into the 5700-chip pot in this spot, you are either going to get a skeptical call or they are going to fold. I might fold a shitty hand in that spot if I am the opponent, as I can only assume that you want to be raised and expect me to raise you when you make a tiny bet like that relative to what's already in the pot. So in this case I like to go with a bet that is smallish enough to still indicate weakness to my opponent, yet is large enough that it won't stand out as downright silly in a pot of this size. 1800 chips or so seems about right for a few reasons. #1 it is roughly a third of the pot, which is right around the minimum size bet you'll ever see me make in any sizeable pot or else I risk looking too post-oaky and not making a serious attempt to take down the pot, which is just not the way I play or I advocate others playing the game. #2 and more importantly, 1800 is a bet that can plausibly be raised allin by my opponent where he may think he can take down the pot with such a raise. In other words, if I had bet 2800 chips here instead of 1800 chips, then my opponent's allin reraise would only add another 2000 chips on top of what is then nearly 10k in the pot, which is a raise that I am obviously going to call. Now he's not going to bluff or raise-light in this spot since he knows he has no fold equity. But with 1800 chips, that will leave him with a plausible raise of 3000 more on top. Now, even though I still probably call with any kind of a solid hand there, if I happen to be bluffing or in there with a hand like 3rd pair or just an inside straight draw or something with a limited number of outs against a made hand, he should have reasonably high confidence that I will fold to his allin reraise of his last 3000 chips on top.

Note as well that if I am in position in the above example (2), and my opponent checks the action to me on the flop, I will once again often try to make this same smallish bet on the flop there, for all the same reasons and in hopes of the same results as described in the example above. My overall point here is that, if the relative stack size of your opponent is at or below the size of the pot, and I believe I have a winning hand after the flop, there is often ample opportunity to goad an opponent into moving his chips into the pot, either by checking where my opponent is clearly committed to what is a substantial pot size, or by betting smallish where my opponent may need a bit more convincing to try to take down the pot after I can portray to them a sense of weakness or at least of unease about my own hand being best. Of course, when the chip stacks of the players involved are much larger than the current size of the pot, it often becomes impossible to use normal trickery to get people to move in their chips against me without them holding the nuts. Perhaps those situations can be the subject of a later post.

Hope this is helpful reading for some of you out there. In the meantime, don't forget to register for the Mookie tonight, 10pm ET on full tilt. Password as always for Mookie's tournaments is "vegas1". Tonight I can promise some solid donkery with my own stack as I have been bounced off of every virtual wall on full tilt poker on most of the nights of the past couple of weeks, so come by the Mook and hope you're at my starting table to take advantage of the tiltiest and donkiest player online. See you tonight at 10pm!

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3 Comments:

Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Hey Hoy. Why do you think bloggers are so easy to manipulate? Do you think its something inherent in the blogging community, or do you think it is an outgrowth of the fact that you have gotten to know what to expect from individual players and the group as a whole (as opposed to anonymous online players, where they don't know you and you don't know them)? Or, it may've just been a tongue-in-cheek statement. Not quite sure.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Mostly tongue in cheek, Jordan. I mean, for the most part I find the bloggers to be not very good players, and that's all I was really getting at. So most of the time, these tricks I mention here tend to work well in the blonkaments.

I also think it helps that I have built up such an image with mostly everyone who plays regularly in the blonkaments -- both from playing myself in them all the time and from the things I write in the blog -- so people have a certain expectation from my play, and I have been able over time to greatly take advantage of what they think they know about me.

Nothing personal though. And of course I'm not referring to you ;).

2:36 AM  
Blogger RaisingCayne said...

I immediately agreed with the statement that bloggers are more easily manipulated than the average anonymous player. I didn't even really think about why this was 'til I read Jordan's comment, and it's got me thinking. ... I believe my bloggerment success is contributable to being able to more accurately read opponent's play in these events. It's my opinion that the average blogger plays a little more 'by the book,' than the average anonymous internet schmuck. And this allows me to have a little more faith in my reads, and has lead to good results. It appears to me that everyone in the MATH each week has read Harrington on Hold 'Em, and knowing how to react to this has proved beneficial. Anyway, just my two cents...

Oh, and Hoy was referring to me with the comment anyway... as I'm a f*ck*n' puppet.

6:41 AM  

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