Monday, September 26, 2011

Poker Quiz Question #30

Q#30: In no-limit hold'em, your position matters less than in limit hold'em because of your ability to move all-in at any time. The deeper the stacks, the less your position matters in no-limit.
  1. True
  2. False


A#30: Wow, seriously? This is one that I really consider to be the first dumb question in this series of quizzes (although whenever I use that expression in life, someone invariably replies, "there is no such thing as a dumb question; there are only dumb answers." Sigh.)

So, if I treat this like a serious question, the short answer is, obviously: False. Position matters much more in no limit hold'em than in limit precisely because of the threat of an all-in from your opponent.*

In limit poker, the betting sizes are fixed. This means that if you're OOP, you can simply check-call to the river and you will know ahead of time how much this is going to cost you. The potential damages are finite. Pot control is not ideal, but still can be achieved to an extent.

In no-limit, however, you have no idea how much your opponent is going to charge you to stay in the hand. Trying to get to a river showdown cheap OOP can be very, very difficult and expensive. Your opponent can charge you a horrible price to continue, even if you know he or she is bluffing. Often in NL, you have a SDV hand, but can't continue because the price is going to get too high. For example, you're in a 100bb NL game, you raise UTG with 9-9 to 3bb, get called by a TAG in LP, and see a flop heads-up. The board comes out J-5-2. You c-bet 5bb, and he re-raises you to 15bb. Does he have the best hand? Maybe, maybe not. Can you continue? Sadly, no. What will you do on a blank turn? Check-call? You're committing yourself at that point with a mediocre hand, which is the antithesis of good NL poker strategy.

Now turn this situation around. You're in LP with the 9-9 hand. The same betting sequence takes place, but with the roles reversed. If he checks to you on the turn, you can almost always bet and take the pot down. If calls and then checks to you on the next street, you can check back. If he check-raises instead, then just fold and move on. You're essentially turning your SDV hand into a float bluff. And the only reason you are able to do this is because you have position.

Answer: False

All-in for now....
*I've read in numerous places that position is even more important in pot limit games than no-limit games. I believe this has to do with how quickly the pot grows in games like PLO, and how hard it is for you to control the size of the pot OOP.

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