Playing The Player: Moving Beyond ABC Poker To Dominate Your Opponents by Ed Miller

Playing The Player: Moving Beyond ABC Poker To Dominate Your Opponents by Ed Miller

Author:Ed Miller [Ed Miller]
Format: epub
Publisher: Monkey Tilt Books
Published: 2012-05-16T18:16:14+00:00

Include more premium hands (e.g., TT, AQ, and the like) that you’re willing to stack off with.

Remove some of the light hands to bring the premium hand-to-light hand balance closer to 50-50.

Include more small pairs and ragged aces (preferably suited) in your light 3-betting range.

The first two adjustments should make sense. When you expect bluffs, you can play more hands for value. Say you 3-bet for value against a very tight player. You might expect only AA and KK to show a profit when called if the player is so tight he might fold JJ or AK to the 3-bet. For instance, reraising JJ for value makes no sense against this player, because he’s folding all worse hands. Instead, you’d want to keep a very tiny value range (AA and KK) and then add in lots of bluffs until this player adjusted.

Now say you 3-bet for value against someone you know 4-bet bluffs. Your value range would be considerably wider for two reasons. First, you’re now getting action on hands like JJ because he’s bluffing at you sometimes. Second, no one aware enough of your light 3-betting tendencies to start 4-bet bluffing is going to fold hands like JJ or AK to your 3-bets. Since he’s calling you with a wider range of hands, you can 3-bet more hands for value.

So against a 4-bet bluffer hands like TT and AQ certainly merit 3-bet consideration. It should hopefully go without saying, but if your opponent does 4-bet you when you 3-bet any of your value hands, you aren’t folding. You might shove or you might call and play a flop depending on how you expect your opponent to play postflop, but you’re absolutely not folding your value 3-betting range to a 4-bet bluffer.

How should you respond when your opponent 4-bets one of your light 3-bets? You should 5-bet bluff (usually a shove with 100BB stacks) sometimes and fold the rest of the time. When you’re 5-bet shove bluffing, some hands are definitely better than others.

A hand like 76s, for instance, is pretty bad to make this play with. Why? Because when you get called, you’re likely going to be up against either a big pair, AK, or maybe AQ. Against this range, a small pocket pair performs strictly better than a small suited connector. (PokerStove it if you like.) Small card hands also don’t offer any card removal benefits.

Suited aces are better. They give you card removal, and they give you about as much equity as the pocket pairs when you get called.

So against a 4-bet bluffer that you anticipate sometimes 5-bet bluff shoving against, add some small pocket pairs to your 3-betting range and remove some of the weaker hands like K6s. Then when you need to break out a 5-bet bluff, you have small pocket pairs and ace-high hands to do it with.

I should say that most people look at me crosswise when I suggest 5-bet bluff shoving preflop. But if you want to play this game well, virtually every time you make a large bet, your opponent should have to fear that you might be bluffing.


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