Well, it’s finally happened. Today I am officially a PokerRoad Degenerate. Goooooooooooo me!! In honor of my 1000th post, I’m going to tell you guys how I won 24 tabling 25c-50c LHE on Stars. If I could do it, so can you.
Note: I haven’t played this level since July. So things may have changed a little bit. Also, a lot of the info given here comes from Ed Miller’s “Small Stakes Hold’Em: Winning Big With Expert Play.”
Things you need to know:
The equity of flush draws, OESD or double gut shots, gut shot str8 draws, etc. I could tell you, but if you’re serious about this game, you will find out on your own. It’s not hard. Just download pokerstove.
BDFD and good BDSD count as about 1.5 outs each. Don’t forget about counting back door draws when determining your equity.
How do you know if a raise is profitable? If your equity is more than your fair share of the pot.
Be fast at calculating pot odds. It’s ok to call a raise w/a gutshot str8 draw if you get the proper odds.
In SSHE, Ed Miller had a nice preflop chart for “tight” games (3-5 plyrs/flop) and “loose” games (6-8 plyrs/flop). Through experience, I found that the best preflop strategy was somewhere in the middle. The reason being that the 25c-50c LHE online games are a little tighter than your average loose 4-8 game, and slightly more aggressive. So I eliminated a lot of hands from early and mid position that are easily dominated, such as Axs, x<8.
Early position: any pp, any two s00ted cards ten or higher, A9s, ATo+, KJo+. Raise: 88+, ATs+, AJo+, KJs+, KQo.
Mid position: all hands from EP, Axs, 98s, T9s, K9s, Q9s, J9s. Raise: same as EP, 66, 77.
Late position: all hands from MP, Kxs, 87s-43s, Q8s, J8s, J7s, T8s-53s, any two cards ten or higher. Raise: 66+, A9s+, ATo+, KQo, any two suited cards ten or higher.
Any position: Against a raise, reraise w/TT+, AQs+, AKo. I rarely cold call. If I did, it was w/AJs, KQs, 88-99, though many times I 3 bet them. Also, if there are several limpers and then a raise, you can cold call w/any pp, s00ted cards ten or higher, Axs, T9s-76s. If the raise was from EP, I would fold AQs. If the raise was from MP or LP, I would also 3 bet AJs, 77-99. Against a 3 bet, cap w/JJ+, AK. If you see it’s going to be a massive, multiway pot, play any pp, s00ted cards ten or higher, T9s-76s.
It’s ok to open limp in loose LHE games. Limping usually encourages more limping. If your game is loose enough, add more hands. If it’s tighter, take some away.
The limping hands in MP and LP depend on how many limpers there are. If there are no limpers and you’re holding A2s in MP, do not limp. Raise or fold.
Do not try and steal the blinds with trash. You will get called. Loose players hate folding their blinds, so they’ll call. It’s what they do.
If you are on the button and the CO raises vs. several limpers, consider 3 betting w/a hand you may cold call with to create some dead money. Hands like 77 or ATs.
If you limp and it’s raised behind you, never fold. EVER!!
If you limp and it’s 3 bet behind you, play hands w/monster potential. Call w/any pp and s00ted cards, but fold offsuit hands that are easily dominated (such as ATo).
If you play lower stakes, go ahead and play all MP hands from EP. They are generally more loose and more passive.
Keep in mind this was my range 24 tabling. I played these hands readless. If you play fewer tables, go with your reads first.
In general, you want to make the play that will win you the most money and/or increases your winning chances. Sounds obvious, but many players make the complete opposite (read: worse) play.
Try not to think of a hand as a “drawing” hand or a “made” hand. Think of a hand in terms of equity. Put it this way. Would you rather have 33 on a board of 89T (made hand) or AK on a 3JQ board (drawing hand)?
I’m not going to concentrate on flopped monsters. Basically, just bet the **** out of them. Or if it’s heads up/3 way, you may want to wait until the turn to get aggressive depending on the position of the bettor. If he’s to your right, play the flop fast. If he’s to your left, it may be more profitable to wait for the turn.
Playing marginal hands OOP: You are in the bb w/56. The CO raises after 3 limpers. You call. The flop is 358. You have middle pair w/ back door draws. You want to increase your winning chances. So you bet, right? Wronnnnnnnng. Betting out accomplishes nothing. The pot is 10bb. By betting out you are giving basically all hands the odds to continue. Preflop aggressor is in the CO. This is a perfect time to check raise. CO could have an over pair, but he could just as easily have UI overcards. Check raising will force other players to call two bets cold. Think of all the good things that could happen. You get all overcards to fold. Gutshots may fold. Not as likely, but a huge plus when it happens, you may get a better hand to fold. How would you like your 89 facing a bb check raise? You may or may not have the best hand, but do what it takes to increase your winning chances. This type of play also would be correct if you flop top pair. Go for a checkraise. If you manage to get the hand heads up, bet the turn 100% of the time. You’ll be surprised how many times you will win the pot w/o a showdown. The only turn card I may not bet is an Ace. I’m not saying check/fold. It depends on the player. If this is the type of player that will bluff an ace, then check/call and let him hang himself.
Now suppose you limp from EP w/QT after one limper. Button calls, bb checks. The flop is JT3. BB bets. Limper folds. What do you do? Notice that this is a limped 4 way pot vs. a raised 5 way pot. You are now getting 5-1 to call. Is that enough? Count your outs. You have middle pair w/a BDFD and a BDSD. You have 3 queens to get two pair, but that card is not a clean out as it definitely sets up a redraw. Or you could be up vs. QJ. So we’ll count it as 1.5 outs. The 2 tens are outs 95% of the time. And don’t forget about the 1.5 outs each for the BDFD and BDSD. That’s a total of 6.5 outs. You’re equity is around 25%. Combine that with the fact that you may have the best hand, clearly you should continue. I would raise here to try and fold out the bb and get this hand heads up. If you succeed, bet the turn just like above. Except this time I would bet an Ace. The reason is that this pot was not raised. So he doesn’t necessarily have an ace. The board is coordinated, so he could have been betting a draw. He may have you beat and the ace may scare him into folding the best hand. Even if called (or raised), you still have outs.
Playing draws: It’s almost always correct to see the turn card when you have a flush draw or OESD. The question: to raise, or not to raise. What about a BDFD? It’s only correct to continue w/a BDFD if you have other outs to go with it, such as overcards and/or a gutshot str8 draw. Now how do you know if you should continue? If your equity is close to your fair share of the pot.
The odds of you hitting a gutshot on the turn are 10.5-1. The reason I say by the turn and not the river is b/c rarely will you have the odds to see the river w/a lone gutshot. Now do you need 10.5-1 odds? Not necessarily. Implied odds are not as big as in NL, but still important. I would say about 8-1 odds is what you need. You’ll likely make at least a big bet on the turn, making that flop call profitable. I would never raise the flop w/a lone gutshot unless I have other outs to go w/it, am trying to semi bluff steal the pot, or going for a free card play (see below). On the turn, you are more than likely going to fold your naked gutshot. Very rarely will you have the pot odds to continue. I would say you need @ least 9.5-1 odds to continue. Getting that river bet will give you the proper odds to justify calling.
Now, how do you play an OESD or FD? Well, it depends. The value of a flush or str8 draw is not about the strength of your hand if you hit your draw, but the strength of your hand if you hit a pair. That’s why an A hi flush draw is more valuable than, say, a jack high flush draw. Both hands will win if you hit your draw, but a pair of aces will win more often than a pair of jacks.
So if you have a flush or str8 draw that will only win if you hit your draw and not a pair, then you’ll want as many players in the pot as possible. If you still have 3 players to act, do not raise and blast them out of the pot. Just call and hope they tag along. If you are lucky, one will raise so that you can reraise when it gets back to you.
Now, if you have a flush or str8 draw w/one or two overcards, you want to play it as fast as possible, hopefully blasting people out of the pot. Why? Well, suppose you have A7 and the board is 429. You should raise in the same situation as above and try and buy some outs. You may be able to get a hand like A8, AT, or even A2 to fold. Now hitting your ace will give you another chance to win. If raising w/a flush draw could possibly buy you more outs, you should raise as soon as possible.
If a bunch of players have already put money in the pot on the flop, then raise w/any flush draw or OESD. This raise is for value and (if needed) a free card play.
Sometimes it’s best to lead out w/a draw. Say you limp UTG w/JT. 3 players limp and the button raises. BB and every1 else calls. Flop is 358. The BB checks. You should bet. The preflop raiser is in the CO. You don’t want to check and let CO bet. If you checkraise, then the other 3 limpers will be forced to call 2 bets cold. You don’t want that. If you check/call you only get in one small bet on the flop. Bet out and hope @ least 2 call. If the CO raises, you have the option of whether you want to 3 bet or call. Either way, you succeeded in putting more money into the pot w/positive equity.
On the turn, you will only have around 20% equity if you miss your draw. Unless the pot is @ least 5 handed, try and get to the river as cheap as possible. If it is @ least 5 handed, only raise if the other 4 players have already put money in the pot, though it is a very very thin value raise. Keep in mind that the turn bettor could 3 bet and the other players could fold, charging you extra to see the river card as a probable huge underdog. It wouldn’t be a mistake, if at all, if you simply called to see the river.
The free card play: If you have a weak made hand such as middle or bottom pair (5 outs) or a draw in late position, you may want to raise the flop to get a free river card. The way it works is that you raise the flop w/a draw. Now, most players’ tendencies are to check to the aggressor from the previous street. So if you miss your draw, you have the option of checking the turn and seeing the river for free. If the play works, you saw the river for a half bet discount. Instead of paying one half bet on the flop and a bet on the turn, you are paying a big bet on the flop and nothing on the turn. This play will only work in passive games. If the game is aggressive, you may get reraised and have to pay more to see your draw. But if your draw is strong, that’s ok. Cap it!! Also, I wouldn’t do this heads up. If your opponent is somewhat observant, he will bluff you on the river.
Now just because the free card play worked, doesn’t mean you should take it. If you paired a hole card and it’s top pair, you should bet. You probably have the best hand. Bet for value. If you manage to get the hand heads up, bet! You may take down the pot right there. You may even consider doing this 3 handed. 4+ handed or more, just take the dam free card.
When you flop nothing: Say you raise from MP w/AJ. The flop is T93. It’s checked to you. What do you do? Well, it depends. If it’s heads up, bet. Most players will call w/ nothing but an overcard. You may have the best hand. Bet now and try and take the pot. If called, bet the turn. Most players will fold their UI hole cards on the turn.
What if the pot is 3 way? 4 way? Now you have a judgment call. If you raise w/AK and the flop is 229, bet. Even vs. 4 players, bet. The pot is large, so you should try and win it. Also, when the board is paired there are only 5 cards that beat you. With all the random crap players limp with, you may have the best hand. But if the board is not paired, you have to analyze your hand strength. If you have two overs, a BDFD, and a BDSD, you have decent equity. Bet and try to eliminate some players. But if all you have is two red overs and the flop is 789, your hand is worthless. Check/fold.
On the turn, if you managed to get the hand heads up, you should bet most of the time. Analyze the board though. If the turn card is coordinated w/the flop, just check. Villain just completed his draw, or paired one of his hole cards. Either way, you are behind. But if the turn card is not coordinated w/the flop, bet again. If the hand is 3+ way, you should probably try and get to the river as cheaply as possible, if at all. This is all if you miss the turn. If you pair your hole card, bet.
Make sure you understand equity and how to calculate it (read: memorize).
Evaluate your hand based on equity, not whether it’s a “made” hand or “drawing” hand.
Make the play that makes you the most money and/or increases your chances of winning the pot.
Evaluate your drawing hands based on strength of the draw and strength of your hand if you pair one of your hole cards.
Flopping top pair is not always a good hand. AT on a T35 rainbow board is much stronger than AT on a T98 flop.
Depending on the action, you may even want to fold it.
An overpair’s strength also depends on board texture and number of players, just like above. Not saying fold either of the above. Just proceed with caution.
Just because the free card play worked, doesn’t mean you have to take it.
Play your overcards depending on number of players and board texture. Back door draws increase the value of your hand.
I wrote so dam much I had to split it into two different threads.
Here’s part II.