Sunday, October 12, 2008

Playing from the blinds

Here's my thoughts on blind play as requested by Adam.

Frst thing to note, as suggested by the blindman, is that playing from the blinds is -EV. No matter how good you are you're not going to be a long term winner from the blinds. The two reasons for this are 1) you're putting in a bet before seeing your cards, and 2) you're out of position on every street.

I'm not sure which is the biggest factor, although being out of position really really sux.

Therefore my aim when playing in the blinds, is to lose the least amount possible. How do I do that? Well, from the SB, basically play super tight unless you have the opportunity to steal the BB. From the BB, play a little looser as you've already got that bet in, but still reasonably tight.

At the moment my stats show I see around 50% of flops from the BB and about 15 - 20% of flops from the SB. Obviously a number of those in the BB are freebies, but it also highlights just how tight I am in the SB.

Now, taking the BB for a second, i'll raise up limpers if I have anything above say JTs or KQo. If i'm facing a raise from early position its a different story though - i'll basically just call if I have anything better than 87s or QJo, and reraise with 99+ or QJs+ or AQo. The QJS might be a little loose for a reraise so I might have to think about that some more. If i'm facing a steal raise, i'm much more liberal with calling .. even calling down to 65o. If there are cold callers as well as the raiser, i'm more likely to also play any two suited. My overall aim is to be seeing a little more than 50% of flops. Basically the reason for this is that if you see anyone who folds more than 50% of their BBs to steals, its EV+ for them to steal every single time. That being said, I adjust my calling/raising/folding ranges depending upon how tight/loose/aggressive my opponent is.

The SB is a generall a very different story, apart from raising limpers. Basically you want to raise limpers to isolate, so I play with a similar raising range as when i'm in the BB. If a limper is super loose i'll even raise a little wider, but not much. I will however overlimp scs down to about 76s and any pocket pair, particularly if there are multiple limpers before me. When facing a raise however, in the SB i'm generally folding, and only reraising with basically QJs, KQo, 88 or better. I'd only overcall if the raiser has been followed by 2 cold callers and I have a reasonable but not dominated hand (eg scs). Basically i'm folding a lot in the SB. If its folded to me in the SB, i'm stealing with all sorts of trash. If the BB folds over 50% of their BBs i'm stealing every single time with any two cards.

What does all this mean for my stats in the blinds? Well at the moment with about a 30k hand sample the SB is showing -7bb/100 and the BB -13BB/100. I'm not actually sure what the benchmarks are, but I suspect that's about normal for 6max.

Now for the weekend's play. It started fantastically. I put in about two hours, and slowly but surely built up my bankroll, playing around 4 tables at a time, mainly at $2/4 and a little at $1/2. No real unusual hands - just the normal hitting and missing my share of draws. Cbetting and taking down regular pots. Having a couple fish dominated who would call me down with dominated hands. Solid session for about 60BBs

What followed that, however, was a horror session where two players - 85/35/2/60 completely killed me. One was kind enough to continuously suck out on me, and then donate it to the other players on the table the very next hand. The other, managed to kill the whole table and had a 65% W$SD to go with his 60% of showdowns. Effectively he won over half the hands of my session of over 100 hands against 5 opponents. I'm sure i'm due to run that hot sooner or later ..... Anyways I ended up dropping a good 80BBs, so have had a small drop in the bankroll, which will hopefully be made up by rakeback in the next day or so. I thought my October had turned around back well into the black. I was mistaken. Oh well .. next time the fish will pay!

Current Bankroll: $13,200


L4Y SP said...

Thanks very much. Alot to consider but I am reassured . Adam

TiocfaidhArLa said...

Thanks for the information on playing the Blinds. It prompted me to look at my own stats which are surprisingly similar.

I was losing 7BB/100 in the SB and 20BB/100 in the BB. I had no idea that the amount was so significant. The way you explain it makes a lot of sense.

Is my math wrong? In 6-max, if I folded every time, would I lose 8 & 16 BB/100 for SB and BB. EG SB = 0.5BB * 16. If so, optimal has to be better than this surely.

That got me to filtering on pairs only and I won modestly overall if I only count when dealt pairs. Then I added AK, AQs and KQs into the mix. I observed an interesting phenomena, my BB improved and SB got worse.

I then looked at the individual hands and ...

- in the SB my big hands lost, while small to medium PPs got paid off.

- in the BB, it was the opposite, with my big preflop hands getting paid off.

There's possibly a lesson in there that I might sleep on.

Curious if your stats reveal the same, Grinder?

parttimebonuschaser said...

Actually, I dont think you can do that for your math.

What i've done to get a BB/100 is just taken the BB/hand stat from the pokertracker positional stats page and multiplied it by 100. I would assume though that the BB/hand statistic is actually only taken from hands played from that position. ie for me i am -.13bb/hand from the big blind. Since a big blind = 0.5BB i'm definitely way better off playing it than folding every time, which would result in a -0.5BB/hand (or -50BB/100).

I dont have my database here, but i'd say its just variance that your big hands are losing in one position versus another. They should be winning in both. Also make sure you're raising from the SB with good hands to minimise your competition.

The blindman said...

Incidentally, the BB/100 I was quoting before were big blinds not big bets (jees this stuff is confusing), so my stats are not quite so terrible. 7-13BB/100 are awesome stats - I'll have to look into my blind play.

parttimebonuschaser said...

heh yeah i did think your numbers sounded odd. either that or a very very small sample.

Gavin said...

Good blog mate. As you are the PT bonus chaser are there any decent bonus' out there for players who mainly play MTT's smaller stakes?

Cheers Gav

parttimebonuschaser said...

hmmm thats a good question on MTTs. If you're only playin a small volume then you're just not going to generate the rake to clear bonuses in any decent timeframe.

If you're doin a small volume i'd stick to rakeback i'd say. probably thru rtr ... see my link :)

If you like william hill but dont have rakeback there, i'd suggest signing up on another site on the crypto network with rakeback.

i guess your other alternative is to play somewher that offers cashback, and a bonus that is paid even if you only clear a portion of it. for example bodog (see rakebackstat link).

Gavin said...

Thanks for that. I do currently recieve rakeback from Will Hill and will go onto the rakebackstat link.

Thanks for the reply


TiocfaidhArLa said...

Thx for the clarification on the maths. You're exactly right. I run PokerOffice so it's slightly different in practice but I get the concept now.

It probably is just variance as you say. If it was a single session maybe not, but with most of my opponents watching TV, I can't believe they are paying that much attention to me.