Monday, November 19, 2012

I Cbet, You Cbet, We All Cbet for Ice Cream

I've been thinking about flop continuation betting (cbetting) lately. Here are some random thoughts I've jotted down in my notebook this past week:

Sample Flopzilla Output. Steps to using the program are: a) give villain a range; b) input the flop cards; c) evaluate the flop statistics. In this example, villain most likely has middle and weak pairs, along with gutshot straight draws.
  1. Range and board texture. What is the villains range? How wet and heavy is the board against this range? In other words, how strong is the villains range after the flop come out? (This of course is integral to the R-is-for-Reading step.) A key means of evaluating where the villain is wrt the flop is to spend some quality off-table time with a program like Flopzilla. 
  2. What are villain's key flop statistics? Flopzilla will tell us the specifics of this particular flop against this particular range, but we need to factor in our opponents general tendencies, too. Specifically:
    • CB%. If villain leads into us, we have to decide whether to stay in the hand or not. Generally speaking a CB% greater than 75-80% is considered high, less than 55-60% is low, and in between is average. Remember that people only hit the flop 35% on average, so the higher the CB%, the more likely your opponent is bluffing. If the villain has a high CB%, and the decision is close based on our Read from step 1, above, I'd lean toward playing back at them more lightly. Conversely, if their CB% is low, I'd tend to use more caution in calling or raising their cbets (e.g., tighten up).
    • FvCB%. If we're considering leading into the villain, we need to evaluate how "fit-or-fold" they generally play. FvCB% greater than 60-65% is considered high, and values less than 45% are considered low. Keep this in mind once you've decided what you want to achieve with the hand (see (3) below).
    • AF and/or AFQ. Factor this into your general evaluation of the player. Are they typically aggressive? If so, you can/should discount their cbets more than if they're usually passive post flop but are now firing into you. 
  3. Value or Bluff? Like all betting decisions in poker, we have to actually determine why we're considering a cbet. Do we have a value hand? Do we have air? Or something in between (e.g., semi-bluff, draw, SDV, etc.)? Do not blindly decide to cbet without  answering this question.
  4. Bet Sizing. A key part of the I-is-for-Implementation step is determining a bet size, and this holds true for cbetting, too. With your value hands, you want to build the pot as much as possible...but not get the villain to fold. Similarly, with bluff hands, we want to risk the minimum we can...but still get the villain to fold. Ask yourself how strong (or weak) the villain is, put yourself in his or her head, and then determine an optimal bet size.
  5. Have a plan for the next street. If you want the villain to fold, and they don't, ask yourself what cards you do and don't want to see on the turn. Also, at this point you need to factor in their propensity and results of going to a showdown. Specifically, you need to look at two key stats:
    • WTSD% and W$SD%. How often a player goes to showdown and how often they win there are two stats that are tied together and help inform your decision whether to cbet or not. A WTSD greater than 28% is considered high, while one lower than 23% is considered low. Similarly, a W$SD greater than 58% is high, and one lower than 50% is below average. Generally speaking, if villain's WTSD is high and W$SD is low,   the stronger your SDV hands are in a relative sense against their range. Conversely, if WTSD is low and the W$SD is high, it's more likely villain has a real hand if he sticks around on the later streets.
All-in for now...
-Bug

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