I wanted to create a post to capture Vanessa Sebst's poignant response to Card Player Magazine's July 24th issue (page 26) interview about "How to Formulate A Plan and Extrapolating Maximum Intel From Every Hand During Tournament Play." The quote below applies to cash games as well, and is perhaps something that I don't consciously think about, though it is something I keep in the back of my mind.
The reality is that unless you're playing at an online poker room like Carbon Poker, which allows the use of HUDs and other poker tracking software, you're going to have a tough time getting the scientific and exact reads. You need to make interpretations for yourself on what you visually see at the table. The quote:
Craig Tapscott asks: "Please share examples of information that you can extrapolate about an opponent and how you can use it to maximize value or make hero calls?"
Vanessa Selbst answers: "In live poker, we don't have online stats we can use, so it's important to get as much information as possible as quickly as possible. A great skill to have is to be able to see one hand happen and extrapolate to information from that hand to use other similar (or sometimes completely different) situations. One example I always give is, let's say someone has three-bet a lot but never shown down, so we don't know what they are three-betting. But then they get to showdown in a spot where they flat called A-Q preflop. Well, we can use that information to figure out that if they are not three-betting hands as strong as A-Q all the time, then their three-betting range is probably bluff-heavy (because it is hard to get 10-10 plus and A-K!), and therefore consists of a whole lot of hands that can't stand more pressure, so we should four-bet bluff them with a wide range. Another good example is if I see someone betting a lot of rivers when checked to, but then I see them missing relatively easy value bets, I'm more likely to hero call them because once again, their frequency is too high to justify the fact that they're unwilling to value bet thin, so their range of monster or bluff means that they're usually just bluffing."
I believe this translates not only to tournament poker, but all poker. If you pay attention to prior tendencies and follow hands to show down, you gain a TON of information about a player - from what their 3bet ranges are to how often they bluff the river when they're checked to. In other words, if you see a player 3bet a ton but show down modestly premium hands without 3betting, they're mostly 3bet bluffing their suited connectors, making in-position 3bets, etc. The counter for that action is the 4bet. On the contrary, if you see a lot of overpairs checked through on the river, for example, vs. obvious top / top or top / mid hands, you know they're cautiously playing that river - so much so that when they do bet through the river, they're mostly doing it with the 2 pair+ or missed draws; they're not going to bet big on the river with 1 pair hands. You can also extrapolate their play to different lines they take: call / call / bet when the draw has missed usually indicates missed draw while bet / bet / check usually indicates overpair or 1 pair hands.
I think the point is: watch your players. Take note when you get to see show down hands. Record the action of how the show down happened so that you can apply their lines to other similar situations.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Vanessa Selbst's response from Card Player - Information you can extrapolate about an opponent to use for maximum value
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