Monday, March 8, 2010

The importance of position

I've been involved in a 2p2 forum discussion about AQo in the SB and raising it with regards to Rush poker. Here is the hand:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official 2+2 Hand Converter Powered By

CO: $27.10
BTN: $47.20
Hero (SB): $50.25
BB: $28.75
UTG: $37.90
UTG+1: $50.50
UTG+2: $66.30
MP1: $51.70
MP2: $27.75

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with Qh As
UTG calls $0.50, 1 fold, UTG+2 calls $0.50, 2 folds, CO calls $0.50, BTN calls $0.50, Hero raises to $3.50, 1 fold, UTG calls $3, UTG+2 calls $3, CO raises to $27.10 all in, 1 fold ???

My response of:
Some will call me crazy, but I'm *DEFINITELY* not raising up AQo in the SB. I'm overlimping and folding a bad flop. That said, I'm likely calling here for the following reasons:

a. CO had an opportunity to raise when his action came around; he chose not to.
b. CO cannot expect to get a PF opportunity to raise again; he has BTN (who unless he has serious information on - but does not because it's Rush - cannot reasonably expect BTN to raise for him) who will likely be call / folding and the blinds who will be likely call / folding from out of position. Therefore, *HIGHLY* doubtful he has QQ+, AQ+.
c. When he shoves, there's about $8.50 in the pot already, which makes your 50/50 prop that much sweeter with the dead money.

Sparked a little thought in my head that I wanted to get out on this blog. My follow up:

Weird play by V. Not seeing overcall from CO/BTN -> 3bet shove SB raise very often... if ever. Simply weird. It's like he missed his opportunity in the first go around; meant to hit raise but accidentally hit call, but then was presented with your raise and a second chance.

BTW, reason I'm not raising out of SB with AQo is it's too easily flipping from a host of limpers like you have, and it's going to be difficult to play post flop with a bloated pot and out of position. For example, let's say A 4 7 hits the flop or something similar... add in a two-tone board. What are you doing in that spot? Depending on the overcallers you get, which, based on your raise, you get at least 2 of them, what are you doing? You have absolutely NO idea of where you are in the hand... likely those limpers limped pocket pairs ranging from 22-99+, weak and strong Aces, etc. Are you going crazy with this hand? Make it even more difficult for you: turn is a Q so you're Aces up... Now what?

Point is, IMO, raising AQo OOP with that many limpers is looking for potential disaster. It's almost the same thing with AK, and one could argue the same line as I take above, but at least you know that unless someone has played tricky and slow played AA / KK, you're likely a coin flip against the table. All of that said, if you have AQs or AKs, you can at least flop a nuts-type draw, which lends more power to the suited-ness of raise and gives more credence to raising that spot.

Finally, if you're going to raise OOP like that, making your play a quasi-squeeze, make it a stronger-than-normal raise. You raised to $3.50 from $2.75 in the pot (if my math is correct). I don't believe that a pot-sized raise is good enough in this spot; I think I would make it $4.50-$5.00, discouraging the SCs and small PPs from making their calls profitable (based on the 10x rule of people looking to call small PPs / speculatives for 10x implied stacks).

and finally, a hand example:

To ram home my prior point a little better, take a look at this hand:
Full Tilt Poker $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $200.30
SB: $32.00
BB: $52.65
UTG: $61.70
Hero (UTG+1): $300.05
UTG+2: $26.60
MP1: $145.70
MP2: $361.20
CO: $197.45

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG+1 with Kc As
1 fold, Hero raises to $4, 4 folds, BTN raises to $18, 3 folds

Final Pot: $9.50
BTN wins $9.50

I have no problem doing this; UTG+1 4x raise reps a big hand. When BTN over-the-tops me for 4.5x, time to shut down... perhaps even shutting down KK. I take a missed opportunity and a $4 loss, but I know exactly where I am at the end of the day.

Just wanted to copy my thoughts to my blog for my readers if they're interested...


  1. if you're going to raise OOP like that, making your play a quasi-squeeze, make it a stronger-than-normal raise.

    I agree with this. With the size raise that was suggested, if one calls, you'll get others, too, just like falling dominoes because it doesn't cost them that much compared to the size of the pot they'll win if they get lucky -- even players that don't know anything about pot odds understand this on some level.

  2. @Memphis MOJO - Yes. It's amazing that some of the 2p2'ers don't understand this concept and disagreed with my SB limp of AQo. It just sets up a large pot with a semi-marginal hand.

    FYI - It turns out that in the first hand, the CO had a weirdly played AK and won the hand.

    I think as I get more and more experience at this game, I'm looking to reduce the situations where I'll be in awkward spots with big pots (i.e. OOP with no idea where I am in the hand). I am so skewed towards positional poker right now - and PARTICULARLY with Rush poker... it's all about position!

  3. that is one nitty fold w/ AK. And if you are folding KK to a 3bet there, please come play with me.

  4. I agree with anonymous that it is a nitty fold with AKo and probably exploitable. So you're logic is that you don't want to play OOP with a hand that doesn't play well in a 3-bet pot from OOP. If we had stats on villain it would be an easy fold with anyone with a 3bet% of 2.x and under.

    However, given that the villain is 3-betting from the button, they are more likely to have air/dominated hands in their range than anywhere else and have a ton of hands that cannot withstand a 4-bet. This means that the amount of hands they are 3-betting the button with should be multiplied by a certain %. In essence, the villain is most likely 3-betting with their normal range plus some additional hands because of their favorable position.

    If they know you avoid playing 3-bet pots from OOP with hands as strong as AK, then they can pretty much 3-bet you all day with any 2 cards and find out that you have AA/KK when you 4-bet them. At that point they can 3-bet you 100% of the time and plan to fold to a 4-bet, unless of course they cooler you with AA.

    With that said, somebody with a wider 3-bet range [especially on the button or cut-off] should be 4-betted for value more often. As for the nits that are 3-betting at 2% or less, well, they should be taken for face value and respected.

  5. @Anonymous -
    First, I realized that my post does not point out: This is Rush poker, against an unknown opponent.

    That said, the problem in the hand is that we're both 200BB deep. With KK in this spot, the two lines that I can take are: flat or raise. Perhaps 4betting to like $50 is the most reasonable option, and shut down to a shove, but I think flatting KK is the same as flatting 22. I believe I am set mining in this spot. I would not feel comfortable getting it all in with KK here.

    Here's the issue: Do I really want to get involved in [what promises to be] a HUGE pot with no control over the hand? If he pots every street from here on out, am I supposed to just call down an all under card flop? With that PF 3bet, it's going to be pretty easy to take a 200BB stack:
    PF pot: 40BB
    Flop bet: 40BB + 40BB; flop pot: 120BB
    Turn: Easy committing bet
    River: All in

    Look, AK is a very good hand, plays well against a lot of hands, has fold equity blah blah blah. The reality is though, I'd rather lose $4 than lose 200BB when there are so many easier spots to get my money when I know I'm good. I don't need to play PF optimal poker in order to be profitable. I can throw away my "premium" hands with the knowledge that my opponents are going to make many more mistakes than me post flop PARTICULARLY DEEP STACKED . I don't want to commit to a hand PF without the knowledge that I'm ahead.

    Let's be honest: he raises a UTG+1 4x raise by 4.5x!!! Either he has a death wish, is a donkey, or has the goods. For a $4 loss and opportunity loss, I'm folding.

    The other point is this: what happens if an A or K flops? If he has QQ or less, a "reasonable" player is going to be folding out most of his range to an A high flop. I ask, will I get much value other than taking down the $40 pot when that happens?

  6. @omgitsjoshua

    "If they know you avoid playing 3-bet pots from OOP with hands as strong as AK, then they can pretty much 3-bet you all day..."

    Absolutely. Totally exploitable. Not saying that this is my line in standard, full ring poker. In FR poker, I have reads, stats, etc. However, in Rush, it's easier to avoid a large loss here and find a more favorable spot.


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