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PL/NL Texas Hold'em >> Micro Stakes

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matrix
there is NO spoon

Reged: 09/04/05
Posts: 7050
Loc: UK
Basic Theory - Raising preflop
#7417191 - 09/25/06 07:38 AM

This is hopefully going to be the first in a series of basic theory/discussion threads.

Micro Stakes NL is all about learning the basics, laying good foundations for building a solid winning game.

The widely touted standard for preflop raising at 2p2 is 4BB +1 per limper with any hand you want to play for a raise.

Why exactly is this the standard?

Is there a better one we can use?

and doesn't NLTAP recommend varying your preflop raise amounts.. ?

...

to answer those questions (and possibly a few others) lets work through the reasons why we raise preflop and figure out what an ideal raise might be for each situation.

Reasons to Raise preflop:
i) for value - we have a good starting hand, that stands a good chance of being the best hand at SD, so we want to make the pot as big as possible by the time we get to the SD.
ii) ...

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munkey
A model citizen

Reged: 05/25/06
Posts: 1340
Loc: stackasaurus
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: matrix]
#7417211 - 09/25/06 07:42 AM

Matrix,
I like this basic theory thread -hopefully it can become a series...

2. To limit the field - AA, KK play better HU rather than 5-way

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avfletch
veteran

Reged: 10/23/05
Posts: 1491
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: munkey]
#7417235 - 09/25/06 07:48 AM

3. Because they fold so damned often to a cbet.

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Heine

Reged: 09/28/05
Posts: 684
Loc: Midland
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: avfletch]
#7417264 - 09/25/06 07:55 AM

reasons to raise:

1. value
2. deception
3. improve your equity (limit the field)

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ChipStorm
Village FR Nit

Reged: 10/11/04
Posts: 2584
Loc: Poker For Dogs
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: avfletch]
#7417306 - 09/25/06 08:04 AM

Theoretical side:

- Raise to offer limpers a poor price to continue with the hand
- Raise to isolate the limpers with your position on them

Practical side:

4BB+1/limper works out to about a pot-size raise (+1/2 BB or so depending on stakes).

While NLHTAP makes the case for sizing one's raises (which I completely agree with), if we assume for uSNL that we just want a standard rule of thumb, then the question then becomes how much. And we want to answer, of course, in terms of pot size.

Dan Harrington will say that raising 3BB to open is fine, so maybe his view is that somewhat less than a pot raise is adequate. But many on these boards will argue that, if you have the goods, you boost your EV against donks by raising more preflop, because they'll call anyway.

So strictly as a rule of thumb, 4BB+1/limper works out to be about right, as a balance of all the theoretical reasons to raise: you're setting your opponents' price such that you're reasonably happy to see them take any action -- fold and give you the pot, or continue with what you believe to be an inferior hand and/or inferior position.

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munkey
A model citizen

Reged: 05/25/06
Posts: 1340
Loc: stackasaurus
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: ChipStorm]
#7417380 - 09/25/06 08:21 AM

To gain the initative in the hand.

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avfletch
veteran

Reged: 10/23/05
Posts: 1491
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: ChipStorm]
#7417383 - 09/25/06 08:23 AM

Most of your money at micro stakes comes from two sources. The preflop raise followed by a cbet bet on the flop and pounding calling machines for as big a bet as you can get away with on every street. So let's take a look at these two situations.

(I'd like to note that these are over simplified but serve to prove a point)

1. C-bets

If you could guarantee that your opponents would fold the flop every time you cbet for any amount then you'd want as much money in the pot already and to then make a tiny bet to pick up the huge pot. Sadly this isn't the case because there is an upper limit to what most limping donkeys will call and the amount you need to bet to get them to lay down on the flop.

At a typical micro stakes table you will find the limpers happy to call raises up to around the 4BB + 1 per limper range. After that the amount they fold goes up dramatically, so what we are doing is putting as much as we can in the pot now so we can take an equal amount from them on the flop with our cbets. If you were to bet 3BB + 1 per limper when you could be making it 4BB then you are missing 1BB every time you take it with the cbet.

2. Pounding calling stations

You have AK and are up against a calling machine with KQ and you know that he can't let go of top pair unless you overbet the pot. Voila! The magic of creating whatever situation I want brings a flop of K82 rainbow. He checks, you pot it, he calls and the turn blanks. He checks, you pot it, he calls and the river blanks. You get as much as you can into the pot.

So how much is as much as you can?

Let's imagine the SB disappears in rake and that villain is in the BB to make the numbers easier. You raise the button to 3BB and he calls (pot is 6BB).

Going by the sequence above -

Flop (6BB) -> You bet 6BB he calls 6BB.
Turn (18BB) -> You bet 18BB he calls 18BB.
River (54BB) -> You bet 54BB he calls 54BB.

You take just over 80BBs from him but have to pot every street to do it. But when was the last time you were able to pot *every* street against someone like this?

Now imagine the same thing happens but you raise to 4BB preflop and he calls.

Flop (8BB) -> You bet 8BB, he calls 8BB.
Turn (24BB) -> You bet 24BB, he calls 24BB.
River (72BB) -> You push and he calls.

By raising 1BB more preflop we were able to pound the calling station for nearly 20BB more by the end (assuming 100BB stacks of course).

Yes, these numbers and situations are greatly simplified but hopefully they show the point of squeezing out that extra big blind preflop and why 4BB+1 per limper is better than 3BB+1per limper.

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kerplunkNL
the mercenary

Reged: 04/02/06
Posts: 588
Loc: spewing chips @50NL
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: avfletch]
#7417410 - 09/25/06 08:28 AM

Quote:

2. Pounding calling stations

You have AK and are up against a calling machine with KQ and you know that he can't let go of top pair unless you overbet the pot. Voila! The magic of creating whatever situation I want brings a flop of K82 rainbow. He checks, you pot it, he calls and the turn blanks. He checks, you pot it, he calls and the river blanks. You get as much as you can into the pot.

So how much is as much as you can?

Let's imagine the SB disappears in rake and that villain is in the BB to make the numbers easier. You raise the button to 3BB and he calls (pot is 6BB).

Going by the sequence above -

Flop (6BB) -> You bet 6BB he calls 6BB.
Turn (18BB) -> You bet 18BB he calls 18BB.
River (54BB) -> You bet 54BB he calls 54BB.

You take just over 80BBs from him but have to pot every street to do it. But when was the last time you were able to pot *every* street against someone like this?

Now imagine the same thing happens but you raise to 4BB preflop and he calls.

Flop (8BB) -> You bet 8BB, he calls 8BB.
Turn (24BB) -> You bet 24BB, he calls 24BB.
River (72BB) -> You push and he calls.

By raising 1BB more preflop we were able to pound the calling station for nearly 20BB more by the end (assuming 100BB stacks of course).

Yes, these numbers and situations are greatly simplified but hopefully they show the point of squeezing out that extra big blind preflop and why 4BB+1 per limper is better than 3BB+1per limper.

[OT]
I think overbetting the pot is not so bad either. I never do it, but sometimes I see players overbetting the pot and getting a call from someone w/ TPWK. A lot of villains just don't notice the potsize or think that you're bluffing by overbetting.
[/OT]

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PietM
old hand

Reged: 08/16/05
Posts: 837
Loc: All over the (poker)place
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: kerplunkNL]
#7417456 - 09/25/06 08:40 AM

I use the standard 4BB+1 per limper-rule. The reason to add a BB per limper is because the pot is already bigger, so my raise needs to be bigger to get more people to fold.

Maybe in higher stakes games it is wise to vary the size of the raises. But to make that work you need villains who notice the players around them, and I don't think you will find a lot of those at MCNL. Their perception stops at who-raises-often (if that). A lot of the donks at this level are 0-level thinkers at best.

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kslghost
Pooh-Bah

Reged: 08/16/04
Posts: 1833
Loc: Cal (6-4) We suck
Re: Basic Theory - Raising preflop [Re: PietM]
#7417474 - 09/25/06 08:45 AM

I believe Harrington's 3BB generally applies more to tourneys where stacks are shorter in general. 3BB in a deeper game is not quite as effective in balancing building/cutting the field.

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