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Bet Sizing Revisited

I took 3rd last night in the Hoy, finally making the Hoy money board and winning approximately $180 for the price of a token earned with $8.80. Not a bad return. The Hoy games are doublestacked, which to me is a godsend. Very early on, I was playing horribly. As I type this, I am in Binghamton, NY, approximately 3 hours North of NYC. I'm here for work, and playing last night in my hotel room, I couldn't get into the rhythm early. I was playing atrociously, calling preflop way too much, just to fold post-flop. Thankfully, I was able to turn things around when I got down to about 1200. From there on out, I played a lot tighter, got paid off on big hands (thanks, I am sure, to my general table image amongst bloggers), and once I had a healthy stack, went back to more complex plays.

Last week, I discussed the importance of bet-sizing. I have two hands that relied heavily on sizing to get my opponents to do what I wanted them to do.

After hitting 1200 in chips (down from the 3000 starting stack), I had worked my way back to 2986. I was UTG when I was dealt Aces. Generally, there is a very basic ploy to play Aces in early position in an aggressive table. You limp, expect to get a raise somewhere in there, and reraise. This will get more money into the pot and hopefully isolate you against one opponent. There is just one problem: most intelligent players know the move. It's just so damn obvious. But I put on my level 3 thinking cap and decided that if it was so damn obvious, it would appear TOO obvious to this intelligent crowd, and I might just get a biter.

With that in mind, I made the crazy play of limping UTG with AA. Blinds were 50/100. It folds to CJ on the button and he raises to 400. He has 4k in chips. It folds to me and I raise to 1000. The sizing was very important here. By only raising to 1k total, I cover all possibilities. If he is bluffing with position, he may decide to just call the mere 600. If he has a strong hand, I have left myself almost 2k behind. For anyone in CJ's position, this appears to be the perfect time to push all-in. Hell, even if he doesn't have a great hand, he may do it to induce a fold. After all, I would still have a workable 2k stack, so a player in my position making the play with a medium pair like 88 or a vulnerable hand like AQ would probably fold here. Remember, by all appearances, I'm loose and willing to make crazy raises so either of those aforementioned hands are probably in my range according to CJ (I assume). I limped, but a limp re-raise against the button probably seems like a BS resteal ploy.

These were the things I hoped CJ was thinking. The size of my bet made it appear that I didn't want to go all-in. I wanted to leave myself a folding out, with 2k in chips. I was playing poorly too up to this point, so I was using that to my advantage. CJ did push. I called. He showed TT and I doubled up.

Now, this is almost the exact opposite situation, where I size my bet small to win some easy money. I actually used this ploy at least 3 times in the course of the tournament, with this being the first one. The others were actually smarter and more profitable, because antes were in play, but this one will do as an illustrative tool.

I have over 8k, and I'm dealt A7o in the SB. The BB is lucko with 2315. When it folds to me, I min-raise the 100/200 blinds. He folds. I knew he would fold. So, why min raise? Doesn't this induce a call. Sorta.

I should mention that I hadn't been stealing a lot from the BB in this situation. I limped a couple of times, and he raised my limp at least once or twice. I folded my SB a bunch when facing earlier raises. For the most part though, I wasn't stealing too much yet.

So why min raise? Because its scary. It basically screams that I'm begging for action. At that point, I'm only getting action if Lucko has a great hand. In that case, he's likely to raise, and I fold and loose a tiny amount. If he has something marginal though, like A8 (which has me dominated) he's going to fold, because my min raise appears so fishy. Keep in mind, the table was folding away, so it appeared as though I was desperate to get whatever action I could. Lucko folds and its easy money. Remember, I'm playing for all possibilities by making a min raise. I can get away for cheap if he raises, or I win when he has marginal to weak hands. I desperately don't want a call, because he could easily pull ahead on the flop and I'm out of position.

There it is folks. Now, I best be going. Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:55 PM,


At 10:43 AM, Blogger TripJax said...

good job the other night...see you at the mookie tonight?

At 12:27 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Stop sharing such good information. Good post.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Luckbox said...

Bah... my push was as stupid as can be. The limp, re-raise from early position is probably in Mike Caro's second chapter. It's a clear tell of a monster hand, probably Aces. I should have trusted my read, but I was on a bit of card dead tilt and didn't want to let my Ts go. Well played... you maximized your Aces. Always important in a tournament!!!

At 1:44 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Thanks, guys. CJ, the basicness of the play was exactly why I hoped/expected it to work. It helped that I was playing at a table of bloggers, who know that I'm making an obvious Aces play. As I said, I wanted it to appear too obvious, and from your comment, I guess I succeeded. Also, I'm sure your push was encouraged by my usual table image.


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