Squeezing and Multi-way Considerations for Live Low Stakes No-Limit Games

This short guide will give you some important factors to consider before entering one of these spots in a live poker game and it’s incredibly hard to find information on this topic in books or anywhere online at this time.

 

‘There is an overwhelming tendency to flat raises rather than re-raise

which is consistently shown throughout the live player pool’- Me!

 

In truth there’s only a few select hands that play well as flats in multi-way pots and it is heavily weighted to medium/small pocket-pairs which either flop polar equity (very strong or very weak)

 

As I’m sure you are aware pairs flop their robust equity when they hit a set but the smaller ones (22-66) can suffer from extreme reverse-implied odds in 200bb+ effective stacks which we must be aware of as the pot grows exponentially with more players coming in.

 

Other hands that play well in multiway pots are suited aces and suited broadway cards but it is usually favourable to 3bet these hands instead to give us extra playability in 3bet pots whilst simultaneously preventing other players squeezing behind us pre-flop and allowing us more post-flop fold equity vs less players.

 

Fallacies of live poker:

 

“Any two cards are good when you have brilliant odds to call preflop!” -badlolregs

“How can you fold for £5 when there’s already £40 in the pot!?” -minus 20bb/hour pros

 

I’m certain you would have heard that concept over and over again but remember the truth:

 

“our equity goes down much faster than your pot-odds go up in multiway pots”

 

So how can we profit from those misconceptions?

 

  1. We should 3bet more of our continuing range preflop.
  2. We should decline to enter pots as a call when we expect the pot to have many (⅘) hands involved unless we have a pocket pair that will not suffer terribly from RIO (Reverse Implied Odds) especially when a bit deeper.

 

So let’s look at some common spots pre-flop to decide how we should best continue with our range in these types of games.

 

  1. Reg opens LJ to £10, a loose-passive player flats in the CO and we are on the button (£300 effective stacks)

 

The reg will often overfold preflop here when we squeeze because a weaker player is in the pot who will continue close to 100%. Stronger regs will usually be aware that this is more of a spot where they need to 4bet or fold as their equity will be much worse in multiway pots with a significant portion of their range and they are also aware they will be out of position for the duration of the hand which they despise.

 

Let’s say we have a hand like KQo, the majority of players will flat the £10 raise here inviting weak players to enter the pot with huge portions of the deck whilst also allowing competent players to squeeze profitable hands behind meaning potentially we cannot even realise our mediocre equity!

KQo flat

In this situation the KQo hand has 21.20% equity but in a 5 way pot will have minimal postflop fold-equity (it’s hard to get 4 other players to fold postflop and take down the pot). Hands like this thrive in heads-up pots. Notice that hand strength gets diluted as number of players increase.

 

Let’s now consider a more lucrative option available to us which is to squeeze to £35. Notice that by squeezing we:

 

  1. Blow the initial raiser out of the pot by making him fold (sometimes with blockers).
  2. Get heads-up against a weaker player postflop who we can get value from.
  3. Allow us to have some post-flop fold equity.
  4. Have initiative in position postflop.
  5. Win the pot without contest rake-free by taking it down pre-flop.

 

Here’s our new equities keeping these factors in mind and assuming the weaker player will continue with 100% of their range preflop (which they won’t as they will sometimes concede the pot immediately)

KQs

So what other hands can we think about squeezing profitably here in this situation?

image1.jpg

These hands will have excellent playability post-flop in this situation and will give you an idea of what you can use to isolate the weaker player in this common spot.

 

In this same spot imagine we have a hand like 77 instead. In this situation it would fare us better to flat preflop and get a multiway pot with huge implied odds and little reverse implied odds. Sometimes it is even better to squeeze hands like 77+ too if there are strong players squeezing their continuing range behind us but this is very unlikely in live poker as we know the remaining players have a strong preference to only call.

 

Squeezing aggressively builds our table image nicely in live poker allowing us to get paid off easier in the future and frustrating weaker opponents.

 

Let’s look at another squeeze spot that I see misplayed frequently

 

2) We open AKo in an early position to £10, we get 2 callers in mid position and the     BB squeezes to £40…(£500 effective stacks)

 

Understand that we cannot flat this hand profitably because if we call and hit our Ace or King we will often be giving ourselves catastrophic reverse implied odds against the set-mining/suited-connected ranges of the other players who will likely enter the hand let alone whatever the BB has decided to squeeze us with.

 

Do not be shocked to find that our TPTK (top pair top kicker) type hand may not be good in the 400-600bb pot that commences in these frequent spots.

 

Here we would prefer to employ a 4bet strategy and keep in mind we do not need to 4bet much we only need to complete 2 objectives:

 

  1. Deny odds to set-mine profitable for the BB
  2. Don’t let the pot go multiway

 

With £500 effective stacks we don’t need to make it 3x the last bet, instead go for something a little larger than a click-back raise so something like £90-£100 to complete the criteria above and entice them into a very poor decision with large portion of their bluffing & thin-value range. Sometimes you will get jammed on and you need to factor in your table image when this happens but know that most of the time they will fold for the 2/1 risk-reward ratio of your bet OR simply continue with a crushed range out of position.

 

Trust me AK is much easier to play in a £200 pot heads-up with £400 in your stack than a £160 pot with 4 players and £460 in your stack.

 

So out of interest what hands could we employ to squeeze with in the last scenario if we were the BB and wanted a raising range vs 3 players out of position?

image2

Something like this would work pretty well as a default range to start squeezing with, we are looking at using a strong linear range in these spots. There’s no ‘bluff’ hands because all of them have excellent playability if you have practice in realising your equity post-flop out of position in raised pots.

 

If you aren’t comfortable with using some of those hands then don’t do it but whatever you do please don’t flat hands like AQo here and go to the flop 4-ways! Widen this range when you think you have decent fold equity and tighten the range when you expect resistance.

 

As for the squeeze sizing you don’t have to go crazy I see players pump the £10 up to £80 here sometimes, even £60 might be too big, £50-£55 sounds about right to me, remember you only need discourage them from profitable set-mines and you aren’t going to be looking to stack-off KJ on jack-high flops neither. You are just increasing your chances of winning the pot with a nut-making-hand at a good risk-reward ratio with playable hands and avoiding RIO.

 

3) Reg CO opens to £10 and we have 67s on the button and there is a deep-stacked   fish in the BB

 

Now we have some conflicting objectives because 67s isn’t particularly strong enough to call this raise and it works much better as a 3bet versus a reg but we must continually be looking to play pots against fish. If we can get in a 3-way pot with fish (instead of collecting dead money/ isolating ourselves against the regs stronger range) we massively improve our winrate over time by accumulating the EV of the implied odds we are given especially in a deepstacked games.

 

Each spot is dynamic and situational make sure you have a reason for every action you take

The debacle of running it 2x in SSNL and the struggles of straddling

Don’t get it twisted now because I love the option to run it twice when it’s available but I hate how the subject is discussed with such disdain in live poker rooms. Literally not a day goes by when someone doesn’t voice their incorrect/worthless opinion on running it twice.

Fish: “Yeah man I like never run it twice, that’s so lame

Fun-player: “Yeah and I especially don’t get why people run it twice when they are ahead in the hand… don’t they want to win!? Sure I’ll give you twice the chance to hit your draw! so dumb

LOLREG/Troll: “I just embrace the variance and gamble-it-up

whale

O.K. so some people never run it twice that’s up to them and they wear this ‘hardcore’ badge proudly- that’s fantastic I like these people because you know what to expect and it speeds the game up when it’s time for the 2x? decision.

For myself?

I always let my opponent decide whether they want to run it once or twice against me and I’ll usually steer them in the direction of twice by saying something like “run it twice if you want mate? You choose….” and they pretty much always go for the 2x option immediately as I give them a easy out! And if they are a never-ran-it-twice-badass they will say ‘no’ from the off.

This is easy, fast and lets the opponents save face because you are first to offer the option of 2x.

O.K. so why do I like running it twice so much!?

  1. You encourage other people to do the same when they have an option to 2x creating a potential pandemic on the table.
  2. You (almost) always get to see BOTH hands in a run-it-twice scenario to learn more about how both your opponents play strong hands/ draws.
  3. The sweat of running two boards with exposed hands for a big pot with a live rail is arguably one of the funnest things that can happen in poker.
  4. If you are seen as someone who always runs it twice then it encourages ACTION.

Let me explain,

If a fun-player sees that you always run it twice then nothing is going to stop them jamming in all of their flush draws in 400bb+ pots because they know you will run it twice with them (and he’s bound to hit that draw on one board right!? heh) But if  you never run it twice he’s going to play far more timid against you and the pots will never get as large. This is the exact opposite of what you want!

Make sense?

Sometimes I wish that running it 2x never existed however because it creates some of the most strung-out, time-wasting and awkward moments at the poker table whereby there is this huge stigma that running it twice is really uncool. If you are playing poker to look cool you’ve missed the point. So when a player is talking about how running it twice is lame and then they later get an option to run it twice it wastes so much time because they don’t want to back on their word by running it 2x so there’s ALWAYS a long slow consideration for the players feeling that they need to wait a while before agreeing to see two boards”errrmmm ahhhh hmmmm ahh go on then”. Listen guys please stop wasting everyone’s time.

Now here’s another annoying thing about live poker and it is the straddles. Now again I must stress it’s not the straddles themselves that are annoying its how they are perceived again with this weird anti-stigma (is that a word?) …no….  then the honour of being ‘cool’ again.

And why is it always the BB who turns to his left smirks and says “straddle?” to UTG to start that particular peer-pressure-fuelled  and annoying conversation.

DUDE! IF YOU DIDN’T STRADDLE IN UTG THE HAND BEFORE THEN WHY YOU ASKING UTG TO DO IT THE NEXT HAND!?!?

Actually I do hate straddles a bit to be honest and it’s for the same reason as above they discourage action.

People play low stakes poker because they want to see lots of cheap flops and straddles throw a spanner in the works. A fun-player would have no problem making a raise in the CO with J3s for £8 in a £1/£2 but they would never make a 4x open to £20 with the same hand if there was a straddle because it’s gone past their pain-threshold and causes them to tighten up. They also defend the blinds and RFI’s much tighter too which makes the table less profitable.

RANT OVER

What do you think?

Do you have an article you would like me to consider submitting for the blog?

contact: blockchain@crushcashpoker.com

 

Calling down postflop & equity realisation

This article will help guide you through the thought-process I use when deciding which hands to defend preflop and factors to be taken into consideration when calculating equity. In this example the cut-off opens the pot with a selection of hands we believe to be about 25% we can visualise this as a hand range shown below.

coo

 

Let’s say that we are playing a £1-£2 live game and the open raise has been to £7. This means we have to call £5 to win £15 when the SB folds giving us pot odds of 5/15 or 33%.

This means that we can make a profitable call with any range of equity that has over 33% right? Not quite…

Imagine a hypothetical situation where there is no post-flop betting. This would mean that the BB will see all 5 of the community cards with each card representing a portion of equity to the BB hand. The flop being equivalent to 3/5th’s the turn  4/5th’s and the river 5/5th’s (100%) of equity realised. We aren’t going to see all cards from the BB as we need to flop something to continue in the hand when the in-position player cbets/delay cbets. This is what those poker books from 2005 mean when they say ‘always play in position!’ but may have left you wondering why exactly that is the case.

So we always get to see the flop when we call so we are guaranteed over half of the equity will be realised immediately and let’s assume on average that we will at least see the turn lets chop of 10% of our implied equity to account for that.

Is there anything else you can think of that we should be accounting for when making these equity calculations?

RAKE. Usually around 5% so lets chop off another 5% of our implied equity. All this accounted for now- instead of 33% we need 48% equity to make this call.

Using equilab let’s discover the hands that have 48% against this PFR (remember to remove any hands that you decide to 3-bet pre-flop from your range) leaving you with something like this.

range vs range

 

bb no3

This is the kind of off-table work you need to do facing various open-sizes to construct your overall strategy. The hands you 3-bet and call with are completely dependant on the rake and the PFR open-size and effective stacks. How should we defend when the open raise we face is just 2x? what about 5x?
Here comes the flop!
flop board
What’s that- you can’t see your cards!? Good! That’s because we are doing theory right now, we are playing our entire range not a single hand here.
Our opponent bets near the size of the pot- that’s not good for us as we were going on the expectation that we would be seeing turns with a wide part of our range and this board does not hit our calling range very well. When an opponent bets the pot in theory we should be calling about 33% of our range (he bets £15 so we need to call £15 to win £45) but I would suggest to you that you again adjust this in-game just like we did with the preflop equities. As a rough guide I would suggest when facing a full pot bet continue with the top 25% of hands, facing  for 1/2 pot continue with the top third of your range, and if they bet a 1/3rd of the pot themselves continue with around the top 50% of your range. This becomes much more important in 3-bet pots when deciding what our continuing range should be so keep this in mind.
So what about if our opponent bets smaller? We simply continue with more of our range! Our opponent goes for a 40% pot-sized bet on the flop instead so let’s continue with something between 1/3 and 1/2 of our range now leaving us with 5.43% to continue with on the flop. Note that sometimes we defend our best Ace-high hands depending on the size of the bet we face.
flop
Great we’ve selected some hands to continue with now. Is our opponent going to bet the K♥ turn? He does and goes for a 1/3 pot sized bet, so lets continue with around half of our range this time (2.87%) and select our best hands. Unfortunately none of our flop calls connect with this turn card so it’s a good card for the preflop raiser.

turn

Excellent we’ve reached the river to show….. K♠……. and this time he goes for a full pot-sized bet- What hands should we call with? On the river there are no more bets to face and we can use our direct pot-equity of our hands now so when he bets the full pot we should in fact call with more hands than the top 25%, I would go for something around the top 1/3rd of our hands here as our pot odds are around 33%.
Always pay attention to reads, player type, our image and table dynamics when selecting how much of our range to call with. Which hands would YOU choose? What about if the guy was really loose and crazy post-flop how would that change your calling range? How about if the villain hasn’t played a hand for 3 hours and doesn’t tip the waitress? Use all the information available to you!
Good luck on the felt!

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Angle-shooting in live poker (a cautionary tale of cheating)

Angle shooting is engaging in actions that may technically be within the scope of the rules of the game, but that are considered unethical or unfair to exploit or take advantage of another player.

angle

Yesterday I was playing a £1/£2 No Limit-Holdem game at a London casino. I opened AKo from an early position and got 4 callers. The flop is AK3 rainbow (no flush draw) giving me top 2 pair which is a strong holding on this board. I bet £22 into the £28 pot the button player puts in £40 worth of chips into the pot and then verbalises “call” I found this outrageously suspicious but OK it still could have been a mistake. The dealer then explains to the accidental-raiser that he needs to make a minimum raise to £44, the player complains and says “I only wanted to call” he shrugs his shoulders and says “fine” the other players fold around to me and I look over at his stack (he has about £325 behind) and feel a bit sorry for him making a mistake but I’m not going to soft-play (purposefully play weak) against him as this is again another form of cheating in poker.

I decided to make it £110 and the thought crosses my mind about maybe giving him back the money for the raise he accidentally made for a split second but instantly my opponent shouts “FINE, I’m all-in”

I immediately call the floor…

FLASHBACK 18 months before

I’m on the river in a heads-up pot and I’ve bet with 2 pair, a different opponent ponders for about 15 seconds and then puts in just enough chips to force the dealer to make him min-raise my bet then verbalises “call”. He then explains to the dealer that he just wanted to call and didn’t mean to raise! I genuinely believed him for a second that he actually did want to call and for a brief moment felt sorry for the guy and I immediately called as I had a very strong holding and he showed me the absolute nuts

I couldn’t believe someone would cheat so shamelessly. In that particular spot he’s not even allowed to call because he has the strongest hand possible and calling would be a form of softplay as mentioned above, he must raise. He got a warning from the floor and picked up his chips and left. Funnily enough he would’ve made a lot more money if he just made an actual normal sized raise and didn’t try to cheat as I would’ve called him anyway. Well played sir.

END FLASHBACK

The floor-man has arrived and the dealer has explained the situation well. The floor declares that the players all-in will stand and if he is angle shooting he will get a warning but I have to call or fold. This is the standard decision, I say to the floor “look if he has 33 here…. (33 is really the only hand he can have here if he is angling me as my AKo blocks him having AA/KK combinations but that’s getting a little technical now) if he has 33 here can you rule that he can only call my initial flop-bet as by his actions he is clearly cheating to expose me to a £750+ pot. If he doesn’t have exactly 33 then we will play for the whole pot. Floor declines and says I must either fold or call for the whole pot. I think that would be a fair ruling as it would stop people abusing this angle and penalise the perpetrator instead of reward them. Maybe I’ll suggest that as a standard ruling in the future…

O.K. let’s get a little bit technical now… if I have AK and he has 33 then I have around 17% to win the pot. Since I’m almost certain he is angling me I’m going for exactly 33 which is the worst case scenario. Now I have to call £215 to win £774 which means I need about 28% equity to call. Now although I’m 90% sure he is trying to cheat here I also have to take into account what I like to call the spazz factor of him tilting himself and going all-in ontop of my re-raise because he thinks I’m just re-raising to cheat him.

Now this may seem like a standard stack-off (and I probably would if he has played his had normally anyway) as I have top 2pair but I’m so sure he’s cheating me. I been playing live poker for 15 years and this situation has only ever arisen twice so it’s not like I have a lot of data to back up whether or not this is cheating or frustration. I think for about 2 minutes and call but I am pissed at the way it has happened…

So AK vs (we think 33) flop has no flush draw around for and is AK3 turn is A river 5

Now I wish I had slow-rolled my opponent here its the one time it would’ve been not only hilarious but incredibly spiteful yet deserved but I immediately open my hand (habit I guess!) on the turn. My opponent says “yeah you win, you win” but the floor tells the dealer “open that hand” and he does have 33. Floor gives him a warning explaining what he did is cheating and the loser leaves straight away.

I don’t want to discourage people from playing poker as these kind of things are so rare that you can effectively dismiss them- I mean come on just twice in 15 years but just be careful.

My sample size is increasing for this scumbag move. You know what the weirdest thing is about this whole thing? Both of the cheaters were of the same nationality! Now what are the odds of that!?

I knighted that dealer with a new title that night ‘poker justice’

 

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Nutrition & Poker

Playing poker every day can come with a plethora of health problems from the sedentary setting, unhealthy eating habits and for some even sleeping all day and staying awake all night.

I’m very interested in getting any edge I can on and off the table and that includes the health-edge which I want to help you with by making this first of a series of posts on optimal nutrition tips.

My girlfriend is a doctor (and a dentist!) who works in aesthetics and she travels around the world to cutting-edge seminars to learn about anti-ageing medicine and functional medicine in Vegas and Monaco (woohoo!). What she shares with me is the sort of thing that can take years and years to get recognition from traditional medicine. Now I’ve been excited to start making these posts as soon as I learn these new things but I’ve been a bit hesitant as I don’t want to be giving advice on the extremely new developments as I would like them to have more of a lets say… time-based-foundation before instantly sharing them with you. Without further ado lets begin!

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1. Water Filters

Tap water has been found to contain:

  • Chlorine
  • Viruses and harmful pathogenic bacteria
  • Heavy metals
  • Parasites
  • Hazardous chemical contaminants and impurities
  • Arsenic
  • Fluoride

Now I don’t know why more people don’t have water filters considering all the potential harmful effects these can have on your body but maybe it is because people simply aren’t aware. If you do decide to get one be sure that the filters can remove everything thing you need it to because some only remove a select few of these contaminants from the water. I’m also not saying that drinking tap-water is going to kill you I’m just saying why not minimise the risk to your health? We’ve installed a filter for our shower now too.

Image result for toothpaste

2. Fluoride-free toothpaste

Again as a risk-minimising option fluoride-free toothpaste will reduce your exposure to this chemical when brushing and flossing as part of normal healthy routine it just isn’t necessary in this day and age. At excessive levels fluoride is an endocrine disruptor and neuro-toxin.

 

Image result for tuna salmon mercury

3. Tuna, Salmon and other large fish

The larger the fish the higher potentiality of chemicals such as arsenic, mercury (probably the more well-known issue as it’s extremely toxic), PCB’s, and DDT present in the flesh and fat due to bio-accumulation.

 

I’m only going to do a few at a time in these posts and there’s lots of potential topics to discuss like nootropics, meditation, hypnosis, supplementation, vegetarian/veganism, intermittent fasting, cryptocurrencies… TBC!

JoeyCraigProTip: Always look for edges in poker and life, they all add up!

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partypokerTV hosting

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If you are interested in hearing some online strategy for fast-forward 6-max or live-poker hand analysis or simply hearing about the poker lifestyle in London- this is the show for you!

If you are around on Tuesday nights (9pm) I can answer live questions during my partypoker stream on twitchTV, this was last weeks stream…

If you haven’t done already follow partypokerTV on twitch to see when the show goes live by clicking the subscribe button at this link partypokerTV.

They regularly cover a wide range of live events too like ones at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham and Kings Casino

schedule twitch

For my archived partypokerTV shows check out my YouTube channel for some free content too:

Crush Cash Poker (YouTube)

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Will you show if I fold?

Whenever I hear this phrase I cannot help but die a little bit inside.

People talking at the table is great for the game and I will forever encourage it (thanks Will K) but there are particular questions and phrases that are getting really old really fast. I played a recent competition in London and took a seat for day 2 on a new table of fresh-faced hopefuls and there was this one guy who was chatty and I was thinking to myself ‘oh that’s good’ HOW WRONG I WAS.

This guy was a walking poker cliche and as soon as the cards started flying the phrase ‘that’s so sick‘ was heard at least once a minute. I wanted to destroy whoever introduced that phrase to him. This phrase was heard every single time one of the following criteria was fulfilled;

  • Any raise was made during the course of a hand
  • When he was dealt a hand
  • Every-time he folded
  • The flop
  • The turn
  • The river
  • Every showdown
  • Every non-showdown
  • Every-time I fantasised about having my headphones with me

Yesterday I was playing a cash game and it was a brand-new player at the table. He opened his first hand under the gun, bet the flop, bet the turn and got raised. Tanked for about 45 seconds and then said ‘Show if I fold?’ ON THE TURN. I think I might’ve let out an audible groan. I expect this to be asked on the river around 25% of the time now but on the TURN!? Is the turn no longer sacred? Dude you take it to a whole new level. Oh and now you want to fold your TPTK face-up? Thanks mate that should loosen up the game real nice.

shut_up_018

This question is being asked so much I even thought up a strategy to counter it by looking confused as I work out the puzzle in my mind like I’ve never heard that question before and this is my first time considering it:

‘Hmmm…. what’s that? Will I show if you fold? Errmm…. (YEAH, I’LL SHOW because that means you will call me right! GOT YOU!)….. Yeah If you muck I’ll show it mate’

Wait-What? Why are  you folding now? FFS. Worthless, what a waste of everyone’s time.

And another thing never EVER come up to my table and ask ‘How’s the game?‘ because that’s extremely awkward for everyone involved. That’s the equivalent of walking up to a kid at their birthday party in front of everyone and asking ‘so who is your best friend Pete?’.

So listen, seat 2 is about to do his 3rd bullet, seat 5 hasn’t played a hand for 2 rounds, seat 9 and 4 are going to take medium strength hands to showdown and seat 6 likes to hero rivers for pot-sized bets- is that what you want me to say? What do you want man? Have we ever even spoken before random middle-aged grinder from I-don’t-know-where? I’m not gonna tell you anything. If you ask me this question you are going to get the answer ‘All the tables are good‘….do your own homework.

liamnee

On a similar note don’t ask ‘What did you have?‘ when someone folds and concedes a pot to you- that’s poor form. There’s a reason they didn’t show- If you ask me this you are going to get the response ‘I had Jack-3’ yes, J3 and if you ask ‘was it suited?’ the response will be ‘yes, double-suited‘ and when you continue to ask me this question you may come to the realisation that my entire range seems to consist solely of J3.

And why don’t some people wash before going to play poker- that’s gross there’s no excuse to be smelly. Water is available in the UK you just turn on the tap. RANTOVER.

JoeyCraigProTip: If you are double-suited you can make 3 different flushes

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