Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pearl of the Orient

I had a brief Skype conversation with the Guru last night. In addition to just catching up on general life news (and verifying that his coastal village was indeed missed by the latest typhoon there that killed ~500 people overnight down there), we talked a little poker. And as is usually the case, I picked up a nugget of information that I am going to try applying to my game.

We were talking about HUD stats and exploiting opponent weaknesses. My own HUD focus lately has been on using key villain statistics to find leaks in my opponents' play, and then taking relentless advantage of it. For example, I believe that most fishy players can be subdivided into two camps: those that make calling mistakes on the river, and those that make betting mistakes. Knowing the difference between the two can greatly affect how to play a nuttish hand on fifth street. If I know my opponent tends to call to much, I'm much more inclined to just bet into him or her when I have a strong hand. Conversely, if my opponent is bluffy (or perhaps highly aggressive), I will more often than not try to check/raise. Maximizing profit at a poker table entails squeaking these few grains of gold from the the pay dirt your opponents are offering you--otherwise you're just passing up profit. And as another coach I follow likes to say, "it's indefensible to leave profit on a poker table."

Anyway, back to the pearl of wisdom the Guru passed along: using a villain's low cbet% stat as an indicator to call IP with any two cards (ATC). Here's a quick example to demonstrate:

You're on the button holding X-Y. Your opponent has a Flop Continuation Bet % stat of 30% after 300+ hands of data. He enters the pot upstream of you. Against this type of player, you should almost always call (or even better: iso-raise) and try to get heads-up. Your own cards matter very little. Why? Because he's obviously playing fit-or-fold poker. You have position, so when he checks to you on the flop--which will happen 70% of the time--you simply have to bet and take down the pot. You don't even have to bet very much against most players, which makes this a highly profitable play in the long run.


All-in for now...

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