Friday, August 24, 2007

LHE postflop headsup lines

I'm getting more comfortable in playing in the $40/$80 game in which the lineup consists of 1-2 very bad players and 6-7 good-very good players. I used to be more reluctant to join such a line up because I didn't think there was enough value from the very bad players to overcome playing against very good players (particularly with the higher variance associated with playing against their aggression, and particularly if I am unlikely to get a desirable seat at that table).

Nowadays, if I see such a lineup, along with a few bad or weaker players in the feeder game, I will readily play this game (both for value and for learning experience) unless there are multiple good or one very good $20/$40 game(s) going.

Anyways, the reason I started this post was to comment on one interesting pattern I've been noticing in the above described $40/$80 lineup. I am growing more experienced in dealing with headsup blind defense situations (both from practical experience and also from WITHG) depending on the nature of the opponent.

For example, with weaker flopped made hands like 2nd or 3rd pair vs. a selectively aggressive opponent that I suspect may consider me a tighter/weaker player, I now prefer the check/raise, bet/call, check/call line. This line tends to maximize my value vs. semi bluffing and pure bluffing, and costing only 1 extra big bet vs. big hands. I have been finding that such opponents are tending to check behind on the turn with draws and 1 overcard type hands if I try the check/raise, check/call, check/call line. (yet seem to start drooling if I make a weak looking turn bet...)
In order for me to take that line, I really have to suspect that the Villain may consider me to be weak-tight. (either because of specific history I have had in the past with that Villain, or some recent laydown(s) I have made during that session, or even some comments I may have made during the session, and Villain hasn't recently seen me make some thin call down)
Against more simplistic aggressive Villains, I continue to prefer using the check/raise, check/call, check/call line. There is simply much less risk of Villain checking behind with a worse hand on the turn.

As an aside, I would be quick to leave the game if it degenerates into one where there are frequently only headsup blind stealing/blind defense situations. However, in games where there are only 1-2 very bad players, there will be times when those fish are lobbying away from the table (e.g. conducting their business on their cell phone - these guys have to make money from somewhere other than poker!, smoking, etc...), and such shorthanded type situations can frequently (but just temporarily) arise (and the better players ~immediately~ adjust to the changing game conditions).

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