Movie Posts

Although poker frowns upon Hollywooding, Hollywood certainly loves poker. Of course, we’d prefer quality over quantity, but we’ll take what we can get.

Before the three popular posts about the first and last hands from Rounders and the last hand of Casino Royale, the Hold ‘Em at Home blog actually kicked off with Mike McDermott’s explanation of Texas Hold ‘Em in Rounders, and the M and Q article couldn’t help referencing the two James Bond characters while actually discussing Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker.

Stan’s Lists have tackled movies in three different ways. Movie Taglines noted eighteen films that were about poker or just sounded like they were; Poker Movies listed Stan’s favorite poker movies and documentaries; and Poker Movie Scenes listed his favorite scenes, even if the movies otherwise had nothing to do with poker.

Of course, if Rounders 2 ever gets made, it’ll fill this blog for months…

Top Hold ‘Em at Home Posts from 2014


And here are the most popular posts from the second year of the blog:

Most Popular 2014 Hold ‘Em at Home Blog Posts

Rank Post Title (with link to post)
1 Stan’s Lists – Poker Reality Television Shows
2 Stan’s Lists – Poker Players on Reality Shows
3 Big One for One Drop 2014
4 “Poker Plays You Can Use” Review
5 Stan’s Lists – WSOP Main Event Streaks
6 Stan’s Lists – Last Woman Standing at the World Series of Poker Main Event
7 Stan’s Lists – The Irish Open
8 Texas Hold ‘Em for the Blind and Visually Impaired
9 Stan’s Lists – WPT Career Records
10 2014 WSOP Main Event Polarized Payouts

Again, quite a mix: two articles about television shows (disappointing but not surprising that they’re the top two) and a bunch about various major Hold ‘Em tournaments. I’m happy that my article about the blind and visually impaired made the list; they’ve been incredibly supportive of THETA Poker Pro, and with their help I’ve tried to make my iOS app one of the best games you can play on any device without needing to see your screen.

Top Hold ‘Em at Home Posts from 2013

{ NOTE: The Hold ‘Em at Home gang will be taking a break while the Pro AI level1 of THETA Poker Pro nears completion. For the next few months, please enjoy meta-posts like this one. Maybe you’ll discover an interesting post you hadn’t seen before or reread an old favorite… }

I started the Hold ‘Em at Home blog on January 31, 2013. Full of enthusiasm, overflowing with ideas, and dreading the emptiness of the blog, I posted an article every day for the first month before switching to every weekday for six weeks. Since then, I’ve posted one article a week early each Friday.

The topics have varied greatly, but every article has been about Texas Hold ‘Em in some way. I thought by looking at the most popular articles, I could discover what areas I should focus on, but the fact is that you readers do like a wide range of subject matter. Here are the most popular posts that I published in the first 11 months:

Most Popular 2013 Hold ‘Em at Home Blog Posts

Rank Post Title (with link to post)
1 Stan’s Lists – Poker Player Nicknames Explained
2 Texas Hold ‘Em Odds from 1 to 52
3 Stan’s Lists – English Idioms from Poker
4 Rounders First Hand
5 Stan’s Lists – Chip Tricks
6 Rounders Last Hand
7 Stan’s Lists – Poker Player Catchphrases
8 The Most Famous Hold ‘Em Hand
9 A New Game in Town – THETA Poker Pro
10 A Decade After Chris Moneymaker

The number one post isn’t a surprise, as everyone likes to know where nicknames come from. But number two is a bit of a head-scratcher as that post has almost no useful content (or rather, the information is too hodgepodge to be of much use). I understand that lots of people search for phrases like “Texas Hold ‘Em Odds”, but my article currently only ranks #39 on Google (#135 on Bing); how many people tap on links at the bottom of the fourth page of search results?

Footnotes:

  1. The Pro skill level is mostly about hand reading, as you may have deduced from recent posts.

Stan’s Lists – Aussie Millions

[SS] “Did you guys see that Phil Ivey won the Aussie Millions Super High Roller again?” Stan the Stat queried.

[RR] “The guy’s not human”, Roderick the Rock noted in assent.

[LL] “How many times has he won it now?” Leroy the Lion inquired.

[SS] “Three times in the last four years, although he also played in the first event in 2011.”

[RR] “That’s insane.”

[SS] “Yeah, even with the small fields — 20, 16, 18, 30, and 25 — three wins over such a tough group of pros is incredible. I don’t know what secrets he’s figured out, but he’s taken in almost a third of his career tournament earnings here1.”

[RR] “Who won the Main Event this year?”

[SS] “Manny Stavropoulos, a local from South Melbourne. He’s a cash game player who also plays in many of the big tournaments in Australia but previously had only amassed about $135,000 in tournament earnings and never won an event. He returned the crown to the home country after three years:

Aussie Millions Champions

Year Winner Prize Players Cashed Runner Up
1998 Alex Horowitz $15,693 74 9 Ken Eastwood
1999 Milo Nadalin $24,801 109 18 Adam Haman
2000 Leo Boxell $38,483 109 18 Gerry Fitt
2001 Sam Korman $28,368 101 18 Eric Sclavos
2002 John Maver $78,030 66 10 John Homann
2003 Peter Costa $221,862 122 18 Leo Boxell
2004 Tony Bloom $323,456 133 18 Jesse Jones
2005 Jamil Dia $777,442 263 40 Mike Simkin
2006 Lee Nelson $949,694 418 48 Robert Neary
2007 Gus Hansen2 $1,192,919 747 80 Jimmy Fricke
2008 Alexander Kostritsyn $1,450,396 780 80 Erik Seidel
2009 Stewart Scott $1,420,737 681 64 Peter Rho
2010 Tyron Krost $1,845,921 746 72 Frederik Jensen
2011 David Gorr $1,978,044 721 72 James Keys
2012 Oliver Speidel $1,647,158 659 72 Kenneth Wong
2013 Mervin Chan $1,689,118 629 64 Joseph Cabret
2014 Ami Barer $1,399,739 668 72 Sorel Mizzi
2015 Manny Stavropoulos $1,264,222 648 72 Lennart Uphoff

Notes:

  • An Australian has won the title 10 times: the first five from 1998 to 2002, four in a row from 2009 to 2012, and 2015.
  • No other country has won more than twice (England in 2003 and 2004; New Zealand 2005 and 2006). The remaining title have been captured by Denmark (2007), Russia (2008), Malaysia (2013), and Canada (2014).
  • Although an American has never won the Aussie Millions, the U.S. provided the runner-up every year from 2004 to 2009.
  • The event was originally known as the [Crown] Australian Poker Championships, has also been referred to as the Australasian Poker Championships, and has officially been the Aussie Millions Poker Championship since 2003.
  • The events took place in the winter (July and August) the first four years before moving to the summer (January then late January to early February) in 2002.
  • The Main Event was contested in Limit Hold ‘Em in 1998 and Pot Limit Hold ‘Em in 1999 but has been No Limit ever since 2000.
  • The buy-in increased from $1,000 Australian dollars in 1998 to $1,500 in 2000 to $5,000 in 2002 to $10,000 since 2003.”

[SS] “Unfortunately, many of the final hands from the early years have been lost, at least as far as the Internet is concerned, but here’s what I could find:

Aussie Millions Final Hands

Year Winner Hand Value Runner Up Hand Value Board
1998 Alex Horowitz unknown Ken Eastwood unknown
1999 Milo Nadalin Two Pairs,
6s and 5s
Adam Haman A♣7♥ Pair of 6s 6♣6♥4♠K♠
2000 Leo Boxell Three 6s Gerry Fitt Pair of 6s
2001 Sam Korman Q♣4♦ Flush,
Ace-high
Eric Sclavos 8♦7♦ Straight,
9-high
9♠5♣6♣9♣A♣
2002 John Maver unknown John Homann unknown
2003 Peter Costa unknown Leo Boxell unknown
2004 Tony Bloom Three 3s Jesse Jones Two Pairs,
Kings and 3s
3♥7♦
2005 Jamil Dia unknown Mike Simkin unknown
2006 Lee Nelson J♣5♣ Flush,
Ace King Queen Jack-high
Robert Neary 4♣2♣ Flush,
Ace King Queen 4-high
A♣6♥Q♣K♣K♠
2007 Gus Hansen A♥A♣ Pair of Aces Jimmy Fricke 9♣7♣ Pair of 9s Q♦8♦6♣2♣9♠
2008 Alexander Kostritsyn J♥9♥ Pair of Jacks Erik Seidel A♠Q♣ Ace-high J♦8♠7♠3♥K♥
2009 Stewart Scott A♠A♦ Two Pairs,
Aces and 9s
Peter Rho A♥J♣ Pair of 9s 2♠9♦8♥4♦9♠
2010 Tyron Krost K♠9♦ Two Pairs,
Kings and 2s,
9 kicker
Frederik Jensen K♦6♠ Two Pairs,
Kings and 2s,
7 kicker
K♣3♥2♦7♥2♣
2011 David Gorr K♣4♣ Pair of 4s James Keys 7♣3♣ Pair of 3s 7♠6♣3♥K♥4♠
2012 Oliver Speidel A♠A♣ Pair of Aces Kenneth Wong 9♣9♥ Pair of 9s K♠T♠8♥4♣7♥
2013 Mervin Chan 8♠6♠ Three 8s Joseph Cabret A♦3♦ Two Pairs,
8s and 3s
8♣7♦3♣8♦K♥
2014 Ami Barer A♥A♠ Full House
Aces over 2s
Sorel Mizzi Q♦8♦ Pair of 2s 2♣K♠2♥3♥A♦
2015 Manny Stavropoulos J♦T♠ Straight,
Jack-high
Lennart Uphoff T♦6♦ Straight,
Ten-high
A♦9♠8♦7♥8♥

Notes:

  • Pocket Aces won on the final hand four times from 2007 to 2014.
  • Stacks are still reasonably deep heads up. The chips went all-in preflop 4 times (1999, 2009, 2012, and 2014), on the flop 4 times (2004, 2007, 2008, and 2010), on the turn 3 times (2000, 2011, and 2013), and on the river 3 times (2001, 2006, and 2015) [unknown the remaining 4 years (1998, 2002, 2003, and 2005)3].”

[SS] “Lastly, two players have reached three final tables,4 and nine have reached two.”

  • 3: Leo Boxell (1998 [4th], 2000 [1st], and 2003 [2nd]) and Martin Comer (2000 [5th], 2003 [7th], and 2005 [4th]).
  • 2: David Gorr (1998 [3rd] and 2011 [1st]), Gerry Fitt (2000 [2nd] and 2001 [7th]; the first back-to-back final tablist), Jamil Dia (2001 [6th] and 2005 [1st]), Jason Gray (1998 [6th] and 2000 [4th]), Lee Nelson (2002 [4th] and 2006 [1st]; also 8th in 2001), Mike Ivin (1998 [5th] and 2004 [7th]), Sam Khouiss (1999 [4th] and 2003 [4th]), Sorel Mizzi (2010 [3rd] and 2014 [2nd]), and Toby Atroshenko (2001 [4th] and 2002 [6th]; the second back-to-back final tablist).
  • Honorable Mention: Gary Benson (2000 [3rd] and 2005 [8th]) and Patrik Antonius (2011 [8th] and 2013 [3rd]).

Footnotes:

  1. Ivey’s career tournament earnings are now just over $22 million, of which $7.3 million have come from the Aussie Millions Super High Roller (in 2015, officially called The LK Boutique Challenge as it was sponsored by LK Jewellery).
  2. Amazingly, Gus Hansen planned to write a book about his 2007 Aussie Millions run and then went on to win the event! That certainly gave a huge boost to the sales of Every Hand Revealed in which Hansen shares his thoughts on every important hand he played.
  3. Any information about the missing final hands would be most appreciated!
  4. Play starts eight-handed and drops to six-handed at 36 players, but the official final table is seven players according to Wikipedia’s Aussie Millions article.

Reading Hands, River

{Continued from Reading Hands, Turn}

[NN] “The river is the exciting conclusion to a four-act play”, Nate the Natural continued. “With a good read, you can pick off a bluff by a missed draw, like naming the murderer in a whodunit.”

[FF] “I don’t get killed that often, but they’re certainly always stealing my chips”, Figaro the Fish amended.

[NN] “Okay then, just a bit of larceny to discover… or commit. If you think you’re behind, can you try to steal the pot? If you’re ahead, how much value can you get from the final street of betting? If you’re in position or do you fear a check-raise? If you’re out of position, are you better off betting or hoping to pull off your own check-raise?”

[NN] “So, if a blank hits on a draw-heavy board after your opponent has check-called you the whole way, you’re not going to get paid off much. You have to hope the draw included a weak pair. In tournaments, you may not want to risk a small value bet if your opponent is a known check-raiser (unless of course you think he check-raise bluffs too often).”

[NN] “Likewise, if a money card hits on the river but your opponent still checks, there isn’t much point in betting.”

[NN] “The interesting case is when a draw comes in and your opponent leads out.”

[FF] “Easy fold.”

[NN] “Against most of the players here, probably. But what about against someone crafty like Elias the Eagle?”

[DD] “I try not to get into hands with him in the first place.”

[NN] “True, but you have top pair, and you never even had a chance to fold, since he never bet or raised. So here you are now with a board that shows K♥Q♥T♣4♦2♥. Elias bets half the pot. What are the odds he actually has the flush?”

[DD] “I have to fold or else he justifies his odds for chasing his draw.”

[NN] “The Birdman chases a lot of draws, because his implied odds are higher than ours are. When we didn’t bet him off on the turn, he called with pretty much 100% of his holdings, so he still has:

	AA, JJ
	ATs+, K8s+, QTs+, Ah9h-Ah2h+, Jh9h+, Th9h
	AKo, KJo+, QJo-JTo

Count up the hands, and you’ll discover that he was on a straight draw more than three times as often as a flush draw. But by representing the flush, he more than doubled his ‘outs’, got us to fold, and stole our chips!”

[DD] “So, the only way to apprehend the criminal is to catch him in the act by calling his river bluff.”

[NN] “Right. Now suppose the board was dry instead: K♥7♣2♠4♦2♥, and your opponent is Roderick the Rock instead of Elias.”

[FF] “No draws there, so he has a real hand.”

[NN] “Yet he’s only been check-calling us.”

[DD] “He has top pair but doesn’t like his kicker.”

[FF] “Maybe a pocket pair lower than Kings?”

[NN] “It depends on who you are. If his opponent is Carlos the Crazy, Rod would have no problem calling with a pair of Tens. If it’s Mildred the Mouse, he’s folded all but his best Kings.”

[DD] “So, not only does he have a King, but it almost has to be King-Queen. Because he would have raised with Ace-King preflop.”

[NN] “Very good. So if we’re Mildred, and we actually hold pocket Sevens for a set, how much should we bet to extract the maximum value?”

[FF] “I’d probably pay off anything up to half a pot.”

[DD] “He’s tighter than you are. I don’t think he’s paying off much at all. I might try a quarter pot or even smaller.”

[NN] “I agree. That’s all you’re likely to get. He shouldn’t call anything, but we all hate to get bluffed, and we’re all curious to see what our opponents have.”

[DD] “Mildred isn’t ever bluffing here.”

[NN] “What if the opponent was Elias with an unknown hand instead of Mildred? If he bets a quarter pot, should Rod call? A half pot? Pot?”

[DD] “Roderick would probably call the first two but fold to a pot bet.”

[FF] “Unless Elias had been bullying Rod out of a bunch of pots recently.”

[DD] “Precisely when Elias is most likely to show up with the goods.”

[NN] “Maybe. But if you do a good job of putting him on a hand range, he won’t be able to fool you nearly as often as he does now.”

[DD] “Thanks, Nate. You could write a great book about reading hands.”

[FF] “I don’t know about palmistry, but you sure could write a good poker book.”

[NN] “Thanks, but Ed Miller already has. How To Read Hands At No-Limit Hold’em is expensive1 but worth the price. You can easily win that outlay back in a single cash game or tournament.”

Footnotes:

  1. Currently still selling for its original list price of $49.99 at Amazon. The book deserves a full review, but I’m not qualified to write it. Maybe in a couple years.

Reading Hands, Turn

{Continued from the Flop, Part Three}

[NN] “The turn is the street of hope”, Nate the Natural asserted. “You hope you’re ahead in the hand. If not, you hope you can bluff your opponent out. But if all else fails, you still have hope that you’ll be able to hit one of your outs.”

[FF] “I’m usually hoping I won’t mess up the hand…”, Figaro the Fish added, “if I haven’t already.”

[DD] “Roderick’s usually hoping his opponent isn’t about to suck out on him”, Deb the Duchess noted.

[NN] “Which is why if you’re ahead, you need to figure out which cards you’re worried about and charge accordingly. Suppose we’re in position as before, on a wet board of K♥Q♥T♣, when the 4♦ hits, and our opponent checks again.

After he check-called the flop, we put him on:

	AA, JJ
	ATs+, K8s+, QTs+, Ah9h-Ah2h+, Jh9h+, Th9h
	AKo, KJo+, QJo-JTo

So he has a lot of draws in his range where he currently has less than top pair:

	JJ (8 outs for straight and 2 outs for set)
	JhTh (17 outs for flush or straight)
	AhTh-Ah2h, Th9h (9 outs for flush)
	KJo, QJo-JTo (8 outs for straight)

That’s half of his hands. Except for the J♥T♥, you can give your opponent the wrong odds to call with a half-pot or larger bet. Assuming of course you don’t pay off on the river if a scare card hits.

If you have a King yourself, your opponent is even more likely to be on a draw, so a bet here is basically required.”

[FF] “What if my he check-raises me?”

[NN] “That’s very unlikely around here, but if it happens, just fold and silently congratulate your opponent on a nice play.”

[DD] “I’ll have to try that with my next drawing hand!”

[NN] “On the other hand, if you have a King on the dry board of K♥7♣2♠ and the 4♦ hits, you need to know how often your opponent would have called your flop continuation bet with a weaker King or an underpair. The looser you’re perceived and the tighter he plays, the more reason you have to check behind to avoid the check-raise or check-call he was planning.

As the saying goes, ‘Big hands want to play big pots…’, and you have just top pair here, so keep the pot small. Your opponent most likely has at most five outs,1 so the free card isn’t much of an issue.”

{To be continued…}

Footnotes:

  1. An underpair has five outs to make a set or two pairs, a weaker King has four kicker outs, and an Ace has three outs for an overpair.

Cepheus Conquers Heads-Up Limit Hold ‘Em

[RR] “Headline writers are really starting to annoy me”, Roderick the Rock complained.

[SS] “Starting to?” questioned Stan the Stat.

[LL] “Instead of sharing useful facts in the headline, they’ll tease, ‘Find out which famous person did this bad thing'”, Leroy the Lion agreed.

[SS] “Or they’ll mislead you to get you to click because you’re thinking, ‘That can’t be true'”.

[RR] “Exactly. Bloomberg wins this week’s click-bait award with ‘Texas Hold’em Mastered by Computer With No Wrong Moves’.”1

[LL] “Wow. That’s pretty bad.”

[SS] “Yeah. If they’re talking about Cepheus,2 that omits some very important information. It was just Limit Hold ‘Em, and it was just heads up.”

[RR] “A combination that almost nobody ever plays anymore.”3

[SS] “And while Cepheus can beat any human in a long enough match, it plays a GTO (game theory optimal) strategy, so it won’t do as well against weaker players as a good pro would with an exploitative strategy.”

[LL] “I don’t doubt that computers will be able to play No Limit, Full Table Hold ‘Em at a pro level some day though.”

[SS] “And be better than the best pros not long after.”

[RR] “Still decades away I think, because you can’t just take Cepheus’s brute force approach and add processing power and memory. The search space is just too big.”

[SS] “Lots of money to be had though, so there’s no question that it’ll happen in our lifetimes.”

[RR] “Speaking of which, at least Bloomberg’s headline didn’t ask a question like Gizmodo’s did: ‘Can You Beat This Virtually Unbeatable Poker Algorithm?’

[LL] “That’s not too bad. They could have asked, ‘Is It Pointless to Play Poker Now?'”

[SS] “Betteridge’s law of headlines gives you the answer, as it usually does. If a headline asks a question, the answer is, ‘No.'”

Footnotes:

  1. For comparison, The Guardian went with Poker program Cepheus is unbeatable, claim scientists, which is click-bait-worthy for other reasons, while Motherboard was the almost-accurate This Robot Is the Best Limit Texas Hold’Em Player in the World.
  2. Cepheus, the poker program, was named for the constellation (home of largest known black hole), which in turn was named for mythological Greek Cepheus, King of Aethiopia, husband of Cassiopeia, and father of Andromeda.
  3. In the Cepheus blog, a January 8, 2015 article said, “At of the time of writing this article on a Saturday evening there are, on Pokerstars, the current market leader, thirty-five heads-up limit hold’em tables above the one dollar level where players are waiting for an opponent and one table at which two players are actually competing. Cepheus will undoubtedly prove a valuable sparring partner and research tool for casino players and enthusiasts looking to sharpen their skills, but the heyday of heads-up cash play has, unfortunately, already passed.” Unfortunate for the developers of Cepheus perhaps, but we humans play other poker variations because they’re more interesting and entertaining.

Related Links:

  • Cepheus Web site, where you can play against the computer (when it’s not down, like it is as of this writing).

Stan’s Lists – Top Ten Best-Selling Poker Books of 2014


{As Nate, Figaro, and Deb continue their discussion on hand reading, Stan introduces a new topic across in the room.}

[SS] “Did you guys see PokerBug’s list of the ten best-selling poker books on Amazon in 2014?” Stan the Stat effused.

[LL] “No. Are you happy to have another list or sad that PokerBug thought of it before you did?”

[SS] “Both, I suppose, but it was actually a guest post by Jason from YourHandSucks, which appears to be a blog for poker newbies.”

[LL] “That reminds me of the You Suck at Photoshop videos.”

[RR] “That guy is hilarious”, Roderick the Rock noted.

[SS] “Not as funny, and sadly, nowhere near as instructive either. But this list is good as it’s just a simple reporting of the facts; I’ve added my own comments:

Top Selling Poker Books on Amazon, 2014

# Author Book Year Comments
1 Sklansky, David The Theory of Poker 1999 (orig. 1987) This book is old enough that it spends much more time on poker variants other than Hold ‘Em. The concepts are universal though and have withstood the test of time.
2 Whitehead, Colson The Noble Hustle 2014 (paperback due 3/15) Grantland.com staked the author to play in the 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event and chronicle his experience. Witty writing but don’t expect to learn much about poker.
3 Brunson, Doyle Super System: A Course in Poker Poker 1979 A classic but really should be supplanted by its 2004 sequel, Super System 2. Texas Dolly’s once very aggressive play is now almost standard.
4 Harrington, Dan
and
Robertie, Bill
Harrington on Hold’em; Volume I: Strategic Play1 2004 Groundbreaking at the time but very conservative now. The other two volumes, The Endgame and The Workbook, are also worthy of this list, but you might consider his 2014 Harrington on Modern Tournament Poker instead.
5 Tendler, Jared
and
Carter, Barry
The Mental Game of Poker 2011 A good read if you have a tendency to go on tilt, curse your bad luck, or lose focus at the table. There’s also a 2013 sequel, but maybe poker’s not the right game for you if you need it.
6 Moorman, Chris
and
Jacobs, Byron
Moorman’s Book of Poker 2014 One of the most successful online pros analyzes 80 hand recaps as he “coaches” his co-author. Good if you like examples more than theory.
7 Caro, Mike Caro’s Book of Poker Tells2 2003 (orig. 1984) The original book on poker tells. Could use a new edition with clearer photos (and more Texas Hold ‘Em examples) and perhaps newer tells, as all but the weakest players now know to avoid exhibiting the ones in the book.
8 Harlan, Mark Texas Hold’em for Dummies 2006 An extensive beginner’s guide to Texas Hold ‘Em, published during the peak of the poker boom.
9 Harroch, Richard
and
Krieger, Lou
Poker for Dummies 2000 Like the Hold ‘Em book, but also covering Seven Card Stud, Omaha, and other popular poker variations so lacking in depth since it isn’t much longer.
10 Harrington, Dan
and
Robertie, Bill
Harrington on Cash Games 2008 Covers deep stack No Limit Hold ‘Em cash games but is actually just half a two-book series, with Volume II. Same super-tight style as his tournament series.”

[LL] “Wow, that’s a lot of old books.”

[RR] “It’s hard to write a great poker book.”

[LL] “And even harder for the masses to realize that you have.”

[SS] “Not unlike writing a great blog like PokerBug’s.”3

Footnotes:

  1. Harrington on Hold’em was reviewed on June 14, 2014.
  2. Caro’s Book of Poker Tells was reviewed on September 19, 2014.
  3. If only PokerBug would post more often. I’m still waiting for the second part of his REDi technique that he summarized three years ago and has shown many examples of (like much of his Donkey Test analysis, starting at question 15). He started to detail the steps with R is for Reading. And Reduction but hasn’t followed up.

Related Links:

Reading Hands, Flop: Part Three

{Continued from Part Two}

[NN] “Alternatively,” Nate the Natural continued, “the non-preflop raiser could bet first. Derogatorily called the ‘donk bet’2, the bet basically says that the player hit the flop (or, at higher levels, that they think the raiser didn’t, but we’ll ignore that possibility for now). For some players that means top pair or better. On a dry board, the strongest hands would usually check to the raiser, but on a wet board, those hands are in the betting range.

Using the same 20% preflop range as before, what hands would provoke a donk bet on that dry board (K♥7♣2♠)? Mostly just top pair, as the sets might slowplay, and the weaker pairs might hope to see a free turn,

	K8s+
	AKo, KJo+

which is under a sixth of the preflop range. Looser players might bet other pairs, nearly tripling the number of hands.

On the wet board (K♥Q♥T♣), the same players who might check-raise a good hand or a draw against a frequent c-bettor, could choose to lead out against a more timid opponent:

	KK-TT
	KQs, KTs, QJs-QTs, AhQh+, AhTh-Ah2h, Kh8h+, Qh9h+, Jh9h+, Th9h
	AJo, KJo+, QJo-JTo

Again, whether the draws, which are two-thirds of these hands, are included or not is very player- and stack-dependent.

The size of the donk bet might also be telling. A small bet can represent either a blocking bet with a weak hand or a value bet with a monster. The numbers say that the former are much more common than the latter. On the wet board an overbet usually means top pair with a good kicker, ‘to price out the draws’.”

[NN] “Lastly, in the case where there was no preflop raise, which is common at lower levels, you can’t narrow anybody’s range much preflop. This is one good reason why better players prefer to raise or fold preflop most of the time. The postflop bet, especially out of position, then simply means that the player liked the flop. In position, some players will often or always take a stab if checked to, while others will just take the free card (for some players, only with draws).”

[FF] “Okay,” Figaro the Fish commented at last, “now my head is spinning like Regan’s in The Exorcist. I know you’re trying to rid me of my donkey demons, but the cure is killing me.”

[DD] “But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, Deb the Duchess assured.

{To be continued…}

Reading Hands, Flop: Part Two

{Continued from Part One}

[NN] “Even if we know the range that the c-bettor is betting with, that doesn’t mean opponents will call or raise with broad enough ranges. Among weaker and tighter players, particularly out of position, a c-bet will induce a check-fold most of the time.

Looking at the same dry flop of K♥7♣2♠, if the button c-bets, a player who has already checked might call with top pair with a bad kicker, second or third pair, or a slowplayed set, but not much else. If the board had been lower, a loose player might call with just two overcards, but I don’t see that play much around here.

Suppose you had put a middle position player on this 20% range for their preflop limp-call:

	22+
	A2s+, K8s+, Q9s+, J9s+, T9s
	ATo+, KJo+, QJo-JTo

The calling hands would be these:

	22+
	AKs, A7s, A2s, K8s+
	AKo, KJo+

which is half of his hands.”

[NN] “On a wet board like K♥Q♥T♣, many players will check, hoping to see the turn for free but otherwise intending to check-call with just about any draw. Top pair and better hands might also check-call, along with some weaker pairs that have other potential, leaving this range:

	AA, JJ
	ATs+, K8s+, QJs-QTs, Ah9h-Ah2h+, Jh9h+, Th9h
	AKo, KJo+, QJo-JTo

That’s just about 60% of the preflop hands. Sets will probably bet, and straights will bet unless they have the flush redraw.”

[NN] “It doesn’t make much sense to check-raise on a dry board with a strong hand (although I suppose you should some of the time to cover your bluffs), but on that wet board it’s a good play against a frequent c-bettor. Not including bluffs, the check-raise of the c-bet might be made from two pairs, a set, better hands that don’t want to give up a free card, and semibluffing drawing hands that want to take the pot down now:

	KK-TT
	KQs, KTs, QJs-QTs, AhQh+, AhTh-Ah2h, Kh8h+, Qh9h+, Jh9h+, Th9h
	AJo, KJo+, QJo-JTo

Since two-thirds of that range are drawing hands, it really pays to know whether your opponent would check-raise with a draw.”

{To be continued…}