Friday, September 28, 2007

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rabbit Hunting and Tilt Susceptibility

I have never been that into “Rabbit Hunting”. I also have played tilt free poker for close to two years now. Yes, I used to tilt. When I was a .50/1 NL grinder, I just could not make the move up to $1/2 NL for some reason. Every time I would try, I would get spanked with some beat, or just play bad and would go running back to my bread and butter .50/1 NL game. Because the pots were bigger at $1/2, and it was so important to me mentally that I beat this next level, it would tilt me. I was not quite there yet as a poker player. Decisions are what matter at the poker table. Results are not important after the correct decision has been made. Results are what tilt people the easiest, though I would imagine some of the better players tilt because of a bad decision.

I recently heard about some online sites that offer Rabbit Hunting. Rabbit Hunting is when you take a peak at what would have been the turn and or river, even though the hand is already over. Rabbit Hunting is tilt waiting to happen. If you are into Rabbit Hunting, you are susceptible to tilt.

When you make the decision to fold your hand on the flop, none of the cards that would have came after that have any impact on the correctness of your decision. You were in a situation, let’s say a draw. You knew your outs, and you knew the price. You decided that you were priced out, so you folded. It makes no difference if your draw would have hit on the turn. It does not make your decision bad if you would have hit. It does not make your decision good if you don’t hit. It simply does not matter. So why pollute your mind with stuff that does not matter while you are at the tables? Unless you like to tilt.

People who tilt simply can’t separate the two. They can’t separate the decision from the result. The results matter more to them. Bayne has his Tilt Advisory System, Hoy has his rants, KOD has his chat bans, and Wawfuls has his insults…. All clearly are looking to the results more than they should. They all probably love to Rabbit Hunt. Try to avoid this temptation. Start to not care about the results. Start to care about the decisions that you are making. If you make a bad decision, try to play better in the future, even if you get lucky and it works out one time. Don’t freak out when your great decision ends in a horrible result. Just keep making more great decisions and the results will always come.

Imagine for a moment you are BuddyDank late in an MTT. As normal, you have assumed the Dank Position, and are hanging on for dear life. There is only one way out of the Dank Position. You must bet your way out. So you pick up AA, and since you are a Blinders reader you play it –EV on purpose. You get rivered for a straight and sent to the rail. Should you tilt now? No way! The move with AA was correct for the situation, so you are happy with it. The result was not important. Plus you can focus on the radio show now, and it sure needs some attention.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

When the -EV Choice is Correct Late in an MTT

Sometimes you need to do some crazy stuff at the end of MTTs when you are short and miles from the money. Stuff you would never do in a cash game. Stuff like playing a hand -EV on purpose, or inviting your opponent to take a +EV draw on purpose. I stress the value of EV in poker decisions probably more than anyone, so when I say it is OK to make what you know is a -EV play on purpose, that's a little weird coming from me. But it is right sometimes to do it. Its something that I have thought about for a while, but never mentioned it here. When it is late in an MTT and you are pretty desperate, a double up can become so important that you would take a 40/60 type situation on purpose to get it. That's not exactly what I am talking about, but at heart it is the same concept. When you are miles away from the money and desperate, your chances of cashing are so slim that tournament equity wise, a 40/60 for a double up can have a positive expectation. The double up gives you some chips to play with, and a chance at making a run, while folding away just gets you closer to elimination, and less chips lowering your tournament equity further.

What I am talking about is inviting a draw on purpose, knowing that your opponent(s) is very priced in. You do this because the value of maximizing what you make on this is so important for tournament equity, that you will risk elimination on what afterwards could be considered a horrible play. Lets say that you are short late in an an MTT, and you have flopped TPTK or an overpair in a limped pot. You might be against a flush or straight draw, or top/middle pair. All of these hands are drawing to beat you. The best normal draws will hit one out of three times. So lets say you have a little bit more than the pot left. You could push, and cut off the drawing odds. But if you push, the top pair/middle pairs probably will fold, and the draw may correctly fold as well. So you just end up picking up a couple of blinds/limps, and not getting close to a much needed double up. The other way to play it is to invite the draws. Bet 1/2 or 2/3 of the pot with the intention of pushing on the turn. Now the flush or straight draw is priced in, and top/middle may come anyway because you are short, and will not do much damage to thier stack. You will not be able to push them off the draw on the turn, so you will get the double up if your hand holds, and you will only lose 1/3 of the time. So you have the choice of winning a small pot nearly every time, or winning a big pot that you need for MTT equity most of the time. Its a risk worth taking late in an MTT when you are desperate. A better time to do this would be inviting a draw to the river. Give them 1-5 on a 1-6 so that you get some extra money at a pretty small risk, rather than just pricing them out.

Below are a couple of examples from this week's Hoy. Both I would describe as milking AA for all you can get while playing the hand in a risky (and -EV chip equity) way. The first hand is Astin limping behind another limper in late position with AA. Normally a recipe for disaster, and a -EV (chip equity) decision. Astin though is short, and its getting late. He must double through on this hand. It is less likely he will get his chips in preflop this way. He is essentially pricing people in for a draw to the flop. If someone catches top-pair he should get his double through. In this case, he is able to get it in preflop after a later position move at the pot.

FullTiltPoker Game #3663906682: Mondays at the Hoy (26058958)
Table 3 - 100/200 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:35:44 ET - 2007/09/24
Seat 1: Fuel55 (11,606)
Seat 2: Astin (1,615)
Seat 3: a104l9 (5,019)
Seat 4: iam23skidoo (11,995)
Seat 5: Blinders (2,225)
Seat 6: jimdniacc (12,710)
Seat 7: bdidde (9,985)
Seat 8: IslandBum1 (1,775)
Seat 9: emptyman (12,070)
Blinders posts the small blind of 100
jimdniacc posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Blinders [Kc 9c]
bdidde calls 200
IslandBum1 folds
emptyman folds
Fuel55 folds
Astin calls 200
a104l9 folds
iam23skidoo raises to 800
Blinders folds
jimdniacc folds
bdidde folds
Astin has 15 seconds left to act
Astin raises to 1,615, and is all in
iam23skidoo calls 815
Astin shows [Ah Ac]
iam23skidoo shows [5s As]
*** FLOP *** [9d Tc 2d]
*** TURN *** [9d Tc 2d] [7s]
*** RIVER *** [9d Tc 2d 7s] [Qc]
Astin wins the pot (3,730) with a pair of Aces

Now its my turn, and whats interesting here is the amount of the bet on the flop. I am limping this hand early for a lot of reasons preflop, none of which relate to this topic. The table was pretty aggressive, and there was a very good chance that I was going to get raised behind. I had also limp/folded in this position enough that it would not be obvious I was doing this with a monster. I am in last place at the final table, with just the top 3 paid, and very far below the top three stacks. My tournamant equity is close to zero, but a double up+ would raise my tournament equity substantially. Taking this down preflop with a raise would be a bit of a disaster.

FullTiltPoker Game #3664025416: Mondays at the Hoy (26058958)
Table 3 - 150/300 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:47:34 ET - 2007/09/24
Seat 1: Fuel55 (9,146)
Seat 2: Astin (2,805)
Seat 3: a104l9 (4,094)
Seat 4: iam23skidoo (6,723)
Seat 5: Blinders (2,310)
Seat 6: jimdniacc (16,068)
Seat 7: bdidde (9,365)
Seat 8: IslandBum1 (3,064)
Seat 9: emptyman (15,425)
Astin posts the small blind of 150
a104l9 posts the big blind of 300
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [Ah Ad]
iam23skidoo folds
Blinders calls 300
jimdniacc calls 300
bdidde folds
IslandBum1 folds
emptyman folds
Fuel55 folds
Astin calls 150
a104l9 checks
*** FLOP ***
[Tc 6h Qh]
Astin checks
a104l9 checks

So there is a potential flush draw, and/or straight draw and someone could have the Q or T easy in a limped pot. I will go to the felt for sure on this hand. So I bet an amount that will invite a draw or Q or T to call with the intention of pushing the turn. That line in itself is -EV compared to betting more, or pushing the flop, but I must get the chips on this hand so I take the risk.

Blinders bets 900
jimdniacc calls 900
Astin foldsa
104l9 folds
*** TURN *** [Tc 6h Qh] [9d]

No flush hit, so time to reverse/regular hoy him.

Blinders bets 1,084
jimdniacc has 15 seconds left to act
jimdniacc calls 1,084
*** RIVER ***
[Tc 6h Qh 9d] [Ks]
Blinders bets 1, and is all in
bdidde: a hoy there matie
jimdniacc calls 1
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Blinders shows [Ah Ad] a pair of Aces
jimdniacc shows [9h Jd] a straight, King high
jimdniacc wins the pot (5,395) with a straight, King high
Blinders stands up


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Love_elf Takes Down Week 3 of the BFFB, and Takes Over Lead

It turns out smokkee can profit from his bad picks in the BFFB. Just talk his fiance into sharing some of her winnings as she runs right over us bloggers in this thing. Congrats to love_elf for besting a field of 31 and taking down week 3 of the Blogger Fantasy Football Battle. With the win she has taken over the lead in the season standings, and earned a seat in the Tournament of Champions. Pauly, lifesagrind, and BFFB newcomer Miami Don also won their individual contests this week in the battle. Complete results are shown below. We had a couple people with two entries this week. There is nothing against the site rules about this, but for BFFB purposes, only the first entry counts and all other entries will be disqualified from BFFB consideration. If I don't have you linked up yet, or know the link for someone I don't have, drop me a comment. Thanks for the big turnout this week, and we will be looking for even more next week.

Winning Fantasy Team

Quarterback P. Rivers SDC 28.1
Wide Receiver B. Berrian CHI 7.3
Wide Receiver B. Edwards CLE 14.3
Wide Receiver W. Welker NEP 6.9
Running Back L. Tomlinson SDC 15.5
Running Back B. Westbrook PHI 40.1
Tight End K. Winslow CLE 8.8
Kicker N. Kaeding SDC 7.5
Defense PHI 16.5
145 Pts

On The Leader Board ($100/$50/$25 Bonus)

1 love_elf 191.51
2 jek187 174.13
3 Blinders 158.04
4 lifesagrind 135.82
5 bayne_s 102.57
6 Dr. Pauly 83.9
7 HermWarfare 79.25
8 Madden 73.88
9 Otis 73.24
10 23skidoo 67.39
11 Miami Don 64.64
12 StB 61.95
13 Big Pirate 60.75
14 Digger 60.32
15 Bad Ass Mofo 52.24
16 funnyshoes 50.07
17 Smokkee 49.25
18 wwonka 42.65
19 bonds 40.21
20 Chewbot 39.58
21 jmathewson_III 35.4
22 scurvydog 34.83
23 metaltoad 32.32
24 Flick 31.50 18
25 BG 31.15 19
26 TripJax 29.92
27 Schuabs 28.98
28 DonkeyPuncher 28.44
29 mclarich 27.99

Honorable Mention (no BFFB points yet)
Joe Speaker
Bobby Bracelet
Red Ryder

Qualified for Tournament of Champions

Blinders Deadmoney in TOC Pool So Far ($150 Min)

Top three fantasy scores of the season ($100/$50/$25 Bonus)
1 Jek187 186.9 (Week 2)
2 Madden 185.3 (Week 2)
3 Digger 184.8 (Week 2)

Week 3 BFFB Results

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

When It Is Correct To Play Optimally

So I went to the trouble to do a blind steal EV calculation using Game theory. It took several hours, and was not easy to do at all. Then Hoy drops the comment that he hears tons of people talking about game theory and optimal play, but he has yet to meet someone who plays optimally. So the conclusions that you draw from game theory (which are based on optimal play from everyone in the hand), are called into question. Hoy has a valid point here, but I would like to dig a bit deeper before surrendering. First of all when people say they use game theory at the poker table, most are pretty much full of shit. It took me hours to calculate a very simplified blind steal problem for even and small stacks. There is no way the Chris Ferguson or any of the "Math" players, can make a calculation like that on the fly for a simple hand, let alone a real life situation that is much more complicated. What they are really saying is that they understand game theory, have taken the time to analyze certain situations, and take advantage when those situations arise at the table. Since those situations are pretty rare, most of the "game theory" poker players, rarely actually use it at the table. But it can be used, and it can be right to use it.

When you are the one who is forcing the action it will often be most correct to use the strategy game theory suggests. If your opponent plays optimally he will limit what your EV will be for the hand. If they don't play optimally, all the more EV for you. It is to your benefit when they don't play optimally. Now when the action is forced to you, you need to understand if your opponent is playing optimally. If you know that they are not, then you must make an adjustment to what game theory suggests. You just can't call down a huge% of your hands, if your opponent is not raising a high enough % of theirs. A simple example may help here. For this example we are playing a 1/2 NL cash game, and it folds to the SB. Either the SB or the BB only have $20 in front of them. It really is not important which one, as the shorter stack will limit the pot size. So lets just say the BB has $20 to start the hand and the SB has $200. I typical preflop raise from the SB would lead to awkward stack sizes post flop, so the SB either puts the BB all in or folds. With what range should the SB push, and with what range should the BB call if both are playing optimally? The optimal solution is shown below.

The SB pushes in with his top 50% range and the BB calls with about a 32.5% range. You may ask how this is optimal if the SB's EV is negative for the hand. There are no solutions to this problem with a positive expectation value for the SB. He is out of position, and there are no dead antes to fight over this time. However, folding 100% of the SB hands will yield an expectation value of -$1. Any solution that is better than -$1 is more optimal. So now you are the SB, and have done the calculation so you push your top 50% of hands in a cash game when you are the SB and it folds to you, and you or the BB has a stack of about 10x the big blind. If the BB is playing optimally he will call with his top 32.5% of hands. But lets say that the BB is not playing optimally. If he calls down a higher percentage, or a lower percentage, the SBs expectation value increases. The BB must play optimally to limit the SBs EV. Any deviation hurts the BB and helps the SB. So in this case, you use the result from game theory even if you know the BB will not play optimally.

Now lets turn the tables, and you are the BB, but the SB is not playing optimally. You figure out that he really only pushes about 30% of his hands in this situation. It is now incorrect to call down with the top 32.5%. This will result in a lower EV, although your EV will already be higher due to the expanded number of walks the SB is giving you. You want to be calling with about 1/3 less hands than the SB is raising with (a result from game theory as well), so you now call down with your top 20% range, even though that is not the optimal game theory range. You have made an adjustment based on your opponent not playing optimally. This is not strange, as it is done all the time at the poker tables. You sense a blind is weak and will not call down optimally so you attack. Edges are found in this way at the poker table, and game theory can identify where some of those edges are.

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It is never to late to jump in and compete for the $500 minimum added, weekly cash prizes, and blogger bragging rights. The highest weekly fantasy score bonuses and tournament of champions entry can be won in any single week. Also the season is 17 weeks long, so it has really just begun. If you are unsure about this, ask one of the bloggers that has already played. The feedback from our user's is incredibly positive, and you will find out if you ask. You can even freeroll the first few fantasy contests with the bonus money on your initial deposit that is credited immediately. Use bonus code Blinders, or any other valid bonus code or web ad, for free cash with your first deposit. We should have 30+ in this week, and it is a ton of fun.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dookie Champ

I played my first brogger tourney in a few weeks and above is the result. This was also my first Dookie ever. I really need to find a way to play more poker. I should be in the riverchasers tomorrow night. How did I do it? I was pre-occupied with some other stuff early, so I only played my bigger hands for the first 1/2 hour which is a horrible idea in a turbo, but it happened to work for some reason. Then I had a few 40/60s go my way late. That's about it. Oh yeah, got to give a shout out to buddydank. This was my first time listening to BuddyDank radio, and it was great fun. His show kicks ass.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

The Solution

The solution to the problem is above. It is accurate to 5% hand ranges, but with these type ranges you would be nit-picking to care if it is a 50 or 52% range. In case you do not remember the set-up is an MTT late, 7 handed. Blinds 1000/2000, ante 250. It folds to the button. Remaining players have 10k to start the hand and may only push or fold. What is everyones optimal range to maximize chip expectation value.


1) The button pushes with his top 50% range, or 1/2 of the time. The problem revolves around the competition for the dead $1000 in antes. This is the EV to be divided up between the three players. The button obviously would push more often than 33%, and because he is not posting any blinds, should be +EV overall for this problem.

2) The SB calls the buttons push with his top 45% range. This may seem high on the surface, but once the SB figures out the BB pushes 50% here, the SB goes ahead and calls with top 45%, also knowing that the BB is will come along about 40% of the time as well. So the SB is competing for the dead antes, defending his SB, and staying in the running for the BB. Again, three handed you would need to be calling at least your top 33% here.

3) The SB pushes his top 75% of hands if it folds to him. Smokkee guessed 100% which is close. The BB will adjust and call a huge portion (top 65%) of his hands because of this. The SB only needs to get through the BB to get the $1250 in dead antes and the BB. If he pushes 100%, the BB can pick and choose a little bit to hurt the SB. At top 75% there is nothing the BB can really do.

4) BB calls both 40%, SB only 65%, and BB only 70% of the time. This also seems high, but these guys are attacking the BB with the button raising top 50% and the SB raising 75% when the button folds. The BB must compete for the antes and defend his blind. Folding 100% is -2250 EV. The aggressive calling strategy is only -113 EV which is a huge improvement.

EV for the situation in the problem

Button +804
SB +308
BB -113
Rest of Table -1000

Total EV = 0

So does the EV make sense? The button is actually out of position for the problem, because this is push or fold preflop. That's a pretty big disadvantage, but he has the advantage of not posting a blind. The SB has positional advantage over the button, but must post the $1000. The BB has positional advantage over both players, but is putting the most into the pot blind. It makes sense that the Button would have the highest EV, and that the BB would have a negative EV based on the situation with the SB somewhere in between.

The interesting thing about hand ranges is how they are relative. A 35%/40% match up is almost the same as a 65%/70% match up. Once you figure out that the SB calls slightly less than the Button raises, and the BB calls them both slightly less of the than the SB calls, as well as the other two match-ups, it becomes a question of how often does the button steal.
The button acts first, and is choosing to maximize his expectation value (cut of the dead antes), so assuming the others will adjust to him, he finds that "stealing" with the top 50% of his hands maximizes EV at about 80% of the dead 1k. Once he makes this choice, everyone else reacts to what he did, and tries to maximize their own EV as best they can. The SB does this by aggressively attacking the BB, and the BB by aggressively calling them down.

These ranges are for optimal play. Obviously many do not play optimally during the end games of MTTs. This also may not be optimal in some cases from a "tournament equity" perspective where you are trying to maximize your expected cash in the MTT. If you feel that others will not play optimally and call down with these wide ranges, you pretty much have to raise these types of ranges, and your EV will be even higher than whats shown here. Below are some other, non-ideal solutions for the problem.
Initial Guess at Solution

Raising the BB Call Both Percentage Helps BB

BB calling the SB and button more often helps
Button Raising a higher percentage helps, but this was a bit too much

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jek187 Takes Down Week 2 of the BFFB

The ranking cap value seemed a bit generous in week 1, so we lowered it 10% to 900 pts for week 2. This in general should have lowered the fantasy scores, but some huge numbers were put up in week 2. Jek187 put up a score of 186.9 to beat 26 other runners for the week 2 title. The week 2 results and overall standings are shown below. The added prizes in the battle are for bloggers only. If you are linked up in the leaderboard you are good to go. Because our contests are public, and we have had overlays the first few weeks, we have had a few non-bloggers jump-in. Just like with the BBT we will factor them in for that weeks scoring, but no bonus prizes. The blogger battle contest will start switching to a 6 player, top 2 paid on the weekends to reduce the overlays, so get in during the week if you want the 10-player version. If for some reason, I don't have you linked up after a week or so, drop your link in the comments.

Winning Fantasy Team
Quarterback C. Palmer CIN 49.0
Wide Receiver S. Smith CAR 33.3
Wide Receiver C. Johnson CIN 32.9
Wide Receiver S. Holmes PIT 5.3
Running Back T. Henry DEN 13.6
Running Back W. McGahee BAL 16.3
Tight End K. Winslow CLE 16.0
Kicker J. Carney JAC 7.0
Defense BAL 13.5

On The Leader Board ($100/$50/$25 Bonus)

1 jek187 174.13
2 lifesagrind 98.50
3 love_elf 79.56
4 Blinders 78.88
5 Madden 73.88
6 23skidoo 67.39
7 Digger 60.32
8 bayne_s 56.87
9 Bad Ass Mofo 52.24
10 Smokkee 49.25
11 wwonka 42.65
12 bonds 40.21
13 Otis 39.49
14 HermWarfare 36.94
15 scurvydog 37.23
16 StB 33.04
17 Flick 31.50
18 BG 31.15
19 Big Pirate 29.70
20 Schuabs 28.98
21 DonkeyPuncher 28.44
22 Dr. Pauly 27.92

Honorable Mention
Joe Speaker
Bobby Bracelet
Red Ryder

Qualified for Tournament of Champions

Blinders Deadmoney in TOC Pool So Far ($150 Min)

Top three fantasy scores of the season ($100/$50/$25 Bonus)
1 Jek187 186.9 (Week 2)
2 Madden 185.3 (Week 2)
3 Digger 184.8 (Week 2)

Week 2 Official Results

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Problem #1 - Structured Hand Analysis

I have been working on solving the problem from my last post. I think Harrington used the term "structured hand analysis" in Volume 1 or 2. What it means is when he is confronted with interesting situations during his play, he will often spend a few hours afterwards doing the math to beat the problem to death, and see if he can find a way to play more optimally than before. That is essentually what I am trying to do here. In The Mathmatics of poker they did this for a bunch of very simple situations, and used differential equations and other advanced math to solve them. I don't think they even worked there way up to a problem this difficult where you are solving for the Button, SB, and BB with lots of possible results. I don't quite have the math skillz to extend the mathmatics of poker to a full-up blind steal/defend the blinds type problem. But, I can solve using a trial and error approach with pokestove.

I have not solved the problem yet, but I put the framework together in a spreadsheet. From here it will be a few hours of trail and error to nail the result. Below is what the spreadsheet looks like. Oh yeah, this will be based on 7-handed which specifies the dead antes (not in original problem definition).

In the upper left corner are the hand ranges that I am attempting to solve for. The ranges shown are just an initial guess, and are there as a placeholder for the calculations. Once you have all the players ranges determined, you can get the chances of each situation occurring. This is shown in the lower left corner. Seven possible situations exist for the problem, and you can see that the odds of all the situations sum to 1 (100%), so I did not leave anything out. On the lower right side is the pot equity for each player and each situation. If somebody folds this is obviously zero. If the other two players fold this is 100%. For the situations where there is more than one player all-in, you put the hand ranges into pokerstove, and it will tell you what the equity is for each player. What I am showing here are just guesses at the equity. I have not run anything through pokerstove yet. Lastly, in the lower middle, you can see the EV calculations for everyone involved. The formula for this is (chances of happening) x (Players pot equity) x (pot size - amount invested). The amount invested is 10k for any player that goes all-in. So you calculate the expectation values for all the players/situations and try to find the hand ranges that maximize this for all players. The total expectation value for the Button+SB+BB is $1000. This represents the dead antes from the players that folded to the button. This is not correct now, because I guessed at the pot equity values (guessed high). So you change someones range, run the new ranges through poker stove, and see what it does for everyones expectation value. When everyones expectation value is maximized you have your answer. I will post my answer on Monday.

If you are not in the blogger fantasy football battle at FSL get over there and sign-up. Deposit $100 with bonus code "Blinders", and you will get $20 free for two free trys in the battle. If you don't like it after that, withdraw your full $100 deposit. I thought you guys liked free money? We have already picked up a few more bloggers this week, and it is never to late to play.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The First Problem

I have been experimenting a bit lately with pokerstove. If you don't have it, it is free to download and is pretty useful. What it does is calculate odds/equity for hand range match-ups. For example if one player has a top 20% hand and the other has a top 40% hand, it will tell you how often the top 20% hand will win (no, its not twice as often). I used it to do a limp/call range calculation for a hand I had with Hoy a few posts back. That problem did not fully consider the BB in the hand. So I thought I would attempt a slightly more complicated calculation that considers the actions of the button, SB and BB completely. This is for the semi-common situation late in an MTT when it folds to the button or the SB and everyone has similar stacks that are pretty short relative to the BB. What range should the button be stealing with and what range should the blinds be defending with? Using game theory you can calculate it based on a few simplifying assumptions. I will will lean on pokerstove, and trial and error to nail down the ranges for everyone involved. If this is somewhat easy, I may try to throw the cut-off in as a follow up calc.

So below is the set-up, and I will not calculate it till later in the week. You may guess at the ranges if you would like, or try to answer one of the questions if you want.

Blinds 1k/2k, ante 250.
Button, SB, and BB all have 10k in chips to start.
Action folds to the button.

1) The button may not limp, and can only push or fold.

2) If the button folds, the SB may not limp and can only push or fold.


What range does the button push with?

What range does the SB call the push with?

What range does the SB push with when the Button folds?

What range does the BB call the button and SB push with?

What range does the BB call just the SB push with?

What range does the BB call just the button push with?

What is the Expectation Value for each player in this situation?

All of this assumes that each player is maximizing their own EV for the situation.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

The Laydown

Making a huge laydown under pressure on the river can make the difference between winning and losing overall at poker. There are times when you have a very strong hand, but you just know that you are beat, and must make the laydown. I made a pretty big laydown a few weeks ago at 2/5NL at the Bellagio. I held the 2nd nutz and was facing an open bet and a reraise before I acted on the river. The Stone Cold Nutz was a Royal Flush. I made the laydown and was right.

The 2/5NL cash game at the Bellagio is as soft as they come. These are simply not good players, and they are way over their head playing 2/5 NL. But variance is huge, and in the four hours I have played there over two sessions I am down a nice amount. In my latest session at Bellagio, I was passing through Vegas, on my way back from vacation. James Woods was playing 5/10 NL a few tables over. He seemed like he was having a blast and talking it up with the table. If I had more cash with me, I would have got on the list for his table. But I did not, so I sat down at 2/5NL. I compare this game to .10/.25c NL cash games online. There are substantial adjustments that need to be made to beat it. These guys are not good enough to fold, so you better have a hand. They also tend to bluff too much, so you call down slim a bit as well. I was running into lots of mid pairs like TT and 99 during this session, and to adjust to the 2/5NL at Bellagio, I was playing them like I would at .10/.25NL. There is no reason to raise these hands preflop at .10/.25NL. You will get too many callers if you make a standard raise, and you will also get called by a player or two if you make an oversized preflop raise. these guys don't fold easy to C-Bets, so you can't push them off very easy postflop if you miss. So the play is to limp or limp/call and play for the implied odds of hitting a set against a bunch of players who know not how to fold post flop. So that's how I was playing my pocket nines and tens. I was limping and limp/calling them in 5 and 6 way pots preflop most of the time. These are huge implied odds, but I was not really getting any love on the flop, so I was bleeding off some chips. So now for the hand in question.

I pick up 99 in the SB and limp to see a five way flop. Flop comes AdKdx. I obviously check with the intention of folding, but it checks around. Turn brings a Qd, and again I obviously check and it checks around again. River drops the Td. I check again, and then check my hole cards. I have the 9d. An aggressive player who I know can bluff, fires $40 into about a $30 pot. I am prepared to call this guy. Then a more solid type player reraises him to $140, and it is on me. I have the 2nd nuts. A Jd makes a Royal Flush for the only possible better hand. The problem here was that it was a 5 way limped pot, that got checked through to the river. There is actually a pretty decent chance that the Jd is out there. The solid player can't have the 9d so that he would need to make this move with the 3rd nutz if he does not have the Jd. The opener could also have it, but I really think the solid player does. I fold. Solid player obviously has to show the table his Royal Flush, so he did. I told him I folded the 2nd Nutz. I would not even list that fold as one of my top ten. Any of you guys make the call there? Push?

I saved some money there, but still had a pretty bad session overall. Bellagio will give me some love at some point I know, and it will make up for these first two poor sessions. The guy with the Royal, hit a Q high straight flush using both card about 1/2 hour later. I need to work more on my card rack abilities, I guess.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lifesagrind Takes Down Week 1 of the Battle

Lifesagrind took down week one of the Blogger Fantasy Football Battle with an impressive fantasy score of 152.8. With the win he already has a seat in the Fantasy Tournament of Champions, and takes over first in the battle standings. He also has put up 152.8 as the score to beat so far for the $100 highest score bonus. It was a pretty wild Sunday with the late game lighting up the leaderboards and shaking things up big-time. No lead was really safe before the Giants/Cowboys game ended.

Week 2 contests will begin registering on Tuesday. It is never to late to join in, and I expect this thing to grow, so spread the word. Just look for "Blogger Battle Week x" in the title. Results from week 1 are shown below.

Winning Fantasy Team
Quarterback T. Romo 42.9
Wide Receiver T. Owens 20.7
Wide Receiver S. Smith 18.0
Wide Receiver T. Holt 13.3
Running Back S. Alexander 17.7
Running Back B. Westbrook 13.1
Tight End J. Witten 17.6
Kicker N. Kaeding 0.0
Defense D. JAC 9.5
152.8 Points

On The Leader Board ($100/$50/$25 Bonus)
1 lifesagrind 98.50
2 jek187 69.65
3 bayne_s 56.87
4 Smokkee 49.25
5 Blinders 44.05
6 bonds 40.21
7 23skidoo 37.23
8 scurvydog 37.23
9 love_elf 32.83
10 BG 31.15
11 Big Pirate 29.70
12 DonkeyPuncher 28.44

Honorable Mention
Joe Speaker
Dr. Pauly
Bobby Bracelet

Qualified for Tournament of Champions

Blinders Deadmoney in TOC Pool So Far ($150 Min)

Top three fantasy scores of the season ($100/$50/$25 Bonus)
1 lifesagrind 152.8
2 Jek187 151.9
3 bayne_s 138
Week 1 Official Results

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Friday, September 07, 2007

$50 Bonus from FullTilt and Sixteen and Counting

I got this email today. FullTilt misses my business, and assuming I have no way to deposit (though I have more than enough $ online to play indefinitely), is throwing me another bone without me reloading. Much smaller than last time, so easily clearable. It would be like me to do some sort of challenge around this, but I have played so little cash games this year, that I am sure my game is way rusty. Also, I hear the games are even tougher now. I can't resist the free $50 though, so I will need to knock it out. I figure I will just multitable 1/2 NL and knock it out in a few hours. If I start out real bad, I will move down. I don't think I can clear it in MTTs in 14 days, though I would probably prefer that. I think I may take a shot at the Kat rebuy madness for the first time tonight if I can figure out the time/PW. I will be a huge donator I am sure so watch out.

We have 16 in so far for the 1st ever Blogger Fantasy Football Battle. There are tons of bloggers with FSL accounts not in yet, so I figure 30+ for week 1 at this point. You have until 1PM Eastern on Sunday to open your account and register for the Blogger Battle. Registering and drafting takes about 5 minutes if you are prepared to chose your players. If you want to really think about it, it is a good idea to register/draft a few days early, or allow yourself additional time on contest day. You may change your draft choices at any point prior to 1PM Eastern on Sunday, so you can always go back and fine tune your fantasy team as required within the cap constraints. I know lots of you are already in other fantasy leagues, but this is where the best blogger will be determined. There are already some heavy hitters signed up, and more to come for sure so the competition will be tough. If you want to find out where you stack up against the rest of us, the battle is where you find out. Winning your local league is not the same as a beating huge field with no draft order advantage given to anyone. Good luck everyone in the battle.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Calling All Bloggers - The Blogger Battle Begins

Pro Football was officially launched last night on and registration for the first annual Blogger Fantasy Football Battle has begun. Its time to come out and support the blogging community and see who owns the fantasy football bragging rights around here. The set-up is that each week you enter a new contest called "Blogger Battle Week x", and draft a new team of starters from the players in the games that Sunday. You are limited to a cap of 1000 ranking points when drafting that forces you to make trade-offs when selecting your team (i.e. you don't have the points to select all of the highest ranked players). All players will use the same cap value and same draft pool when selecting their fantasy football teams each week. This will be a true apples to apples comparison of all entries each week of the season. Each Blogger Battle contest will be 10 players, cost $10, and will pay the top three finishers $45/$27/$18 each week (90% payout). Each time a contest fills a new, empty one will start forming. From all of the Blogger Battle fantasy contests that form each week, I will pull out the scores and apply the PokerStars TLB formula to the top 50% of fantasy scores each week. These scores will be accumulated over the season to determine the overall winner.

FSL will add $500 minimum to the prize pool including

$100 for first place overall
$50 for second place overall
$25 for third place overall

$100 for best overall weekly fantasy score
$50 for 2nd best overall weekly fantasy score
$25 for 3rd best overall weekly fantasy score

$150 minimum added to "Tournament of Champions" at end of battle
Weekly over all winners get a seat in the TOC.

Some screenshots are below for those that are not familiar with the website. Also, there is a postcard image below that also explains how things work on FSL. If you use bonus code "Blinders" or click through an FSL Ad or use a different, valid bonus code when opening your account, you will get $20 free with a $100 initial deposit, or $30 free with a $200 initial deposit. You can use the instant bonus to freeroll the first few weeks of the challenge, and if you don't like it, you can withdraw your entire deposit risk free. Now that's a pretty good deal, so come on over and sign-up. Also there is no season long commitment here. You can choose to enter any or all of the weekly blogger battle contests.

Main Lobby - Find Blogger Battle

Contest Info - See entries, prizes, scoring, and games included

Draft Screen - Select your fantasy team without spending more than 1000 pts.

Marketing Postcard - Designed by Mookie

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Indifference Point

If you are trying to do an expectation value calculation that incorporates game theory, you end up having to look at the point of indifference for each player in the game. The point of indifference is the point where a players hand range or calling/folding/raising frequency becomes ideal and variations from this will lead to lower expectation value. I probably did not explain that very well, and I may not even be using the right term. It is where for example in a range of hands that it makes little difference if you fold or push the same range game theory wise. When I did my blind steal and resteal EV calculations a while back, I did not continue on to this important level to further refine the results. I came up with ranges for people, but did not look at what those exact ranges did against each other to further refine the ranges and find the point where the pushing/folding the range made no difference for all players involved.

So I thought it would be great fun to do a bit simpler of a hand, but take it all the way to see what ranges fall out. It would be especially fun to use the hand with Hoy that I recently posted about, since there seems to be some hand range controversy in this one. To make this even more fun, I will show the hand, and list my assumptions and do the actual math later as an edit to the end of this post. I may be way wrong when the results come out on Hoy's range for this hand but we shall see. The hand in question if from a Riverchasers Tourney a few weeks ago. The theme is a big stack pressuring the table with a bunch of preflop raising, and what kind of range do you want to raise/call a shorties push with. From the shorties perspective, what is your range for pushing in over a big stacks late steal attempt, knowing it is highly likely they will call you because of them being "priced in".

FullTiltPoker Game #3206450743: Riverchasers Online Poker Tour (24300118)
Table 3 - 500/1000 Ante 125 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:49:17 ET - 2007/08/09
Seat 1: hoyazo (9,778)
Seat 3: stl_phily (29,045)
Seat 4: jeciimd (7,795)
Seat 6: AlCantHang (16,379)
Seat 8: crazdgamer (12,875)
Seat 9: Blinders (38,128)
hoyazo posts the small blind of 500
stl_phily posts the big blind of 1,000
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Blinders [Some Range of Hands]
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to Hoyazo [Some Range of Hands]
jeciimd folds
AlCantHang folds
sircrazdgamer folds
Blinders raises to 3,000
hoyazo raises to 9,653, and is all in
stl_phily folds
Blinders calls 6,653

A left out the results of the hand because that is not important. The assumptions here are as follows.

1) Blinders must call any shorties push if he raises preflop, and always must raise 3x initially.
2) Hoyazo may push-in or fold, and knows that Blinders will call his push.
3) The BB must fold preflop.

Question #1: What is Blinders optimal raising range preflop
Question #2: What is Hoy's optimal pushing range preflop

Antes are 125, and Hoy posted the SB of 500
A Blinders fold preflop EV = -125
A Hoy fold preflop EV = -625
There is $2,250 in dead money in the pot.
Hoy has $9,153 left.
Blinders must call $6,653 if Hoy pushes
Total pot will be $21,056 if Hoy goes all-in

Edit to follow with range results if I can pull the calculations off. feel free to throw out guesses for the ranges now if you would like.


OK, I could not wait to do the calcs so here are the results. The first thing is that I am leaving out the case where I fold from Hoy's perspective. In this case it is a "battle of the blinds". For this case which is pretty likely, I just give Hoy 45% equity in the dead money. This seems fair, as he is out of position, and the positional advantage is worth some equity for the BB. So when you start doing trial and error to find ranges, because the BB has some equity, but can be forced out per the assumptions by a Blinders raise, the correct answer is Blinders pushes all hands, and Hoy Pushes all hands as well. This maximizes EV for both Hoy and Blinders. This is not very realistic, so if you look at some of the middle cases, it appears that without taking every last drop of equity from the BB things work best somewhere near the Blinders Raise/Calls top 40% range and Hoy pushes in over the raise with about the top 35% of hands. That is a pretty wide range for both of us, but this is late stage MTT stuff here so the math calls for these types of plays. Optimal ranges for both are shown below.

Hoy's Ideal Range Based on the Assumptions

Blinders Ideal Range

Case #1 were the results for the A8+, 88+ range.