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About Bond18

  • Birthday 01/01/1970



  • Your favorite poker sites
    32Red Poker
  • Favorite poker hand
  • Your profession
    Student/Poker player
  • Favorite place to play
    Las Vegas, NV
  • Your hobbies
    Movies, working out, reading, cigars, tennis, writing, booze.
  • Favorite Cash Game and Limit
    Limit HE, $7.50/$15 and over
  • Favorite Tournament Game and Limit
    NL/PL HE MTTs, $100 and over

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Latest post

  1. I've been thinking a lot lately about the adjustments we need to make to adapt as internet players in the live arena. I'm interested in both writing somewhat of a guide and also starting any discussion and getting others opinions, since I'm by no means an authority on this topic (as my results would prove). First, when talking about live play, we're going to have to make some generalizations. When referring to the play of live tournaments or live players, let's make some assumptions: 1. The villains in the hand aren't very well known live players whose game you respect or who have excellent fundamentals. 2. The villains in the hand aren't established or successful internet players. 3. The villains in the hand are basically unknown live players or known live pros who play badly and/or have bad fundamentals. As I said, it's a fairly cumbersome set of generalizations, but discussing how we would play against other internet pros in a live setting seems somewhat redundant to our discussion of playing them online. Although there will certainly be differences, in most live tournaments you won't run into internet players anywhere near the frequency you will unknown live players. Additionally, you won't always know when a player is successful online, as nobody's wearing a name tag in a tournament. Also, the language in these lists will sound absolutist, but please don't think I mean that 100% of live players play like this; it's just that if you opt to play people as unknowns instead of making at least some generalizations, you're throwing money away. Some of these lists will be overlapping. First, some tendencies I've noted in your more standard live players: 1. Early in the tournament they call raises or limp too loosely. 2. They have a weak understanding of pot odds. They may not understand when they "must" (that is, in order to make the optimal decision) make a decision solely based on odds. 3. Their open raising conditions are often too tight. 4. They resteal at a very low frequency. 5. They are highly concerned with their tournament life. 6. They call raises out of position too lightly and defend their blinds too loosely. 7. They don't understand what kinds of actions their stack size (should) limit them to. You'll see them full 3X raise at 12 BB's (sometimes less) and snap fold to a shove. If it's Phil Hellmuth, he'll do it at 6.5 BB's, and no, I don't understand how he wins either, so don't ask. 8. They tend to play large draws more weakly than online players (less big semi-bluff raises, more calling). 9. They tend to bluff less, especially in terms of big multi-street bluffs or large elaborate bluffs. 10. They don't think about ranges very well. 11. If they are the type that's capable of adjusting their play, they will often react to a loose-aggressive style more quickly than in many online tournaments. 12. They don't make thin value bets as often as they should. 13. They slow play much more than online, astonishingly more. 14. They mostly read all ins as strong, or at least stronger than nominal bets, especially early in a tournament. 15. They may seem highly inconsistent; that is, you'll see some players play very tight/weak for a long time and then suddenly do something very loose and spewy almost out of nowhere. This can sometimes be a result of only having a very limited sample size against them (one hour is only worth ~30 hands) or sometimes the result of fast changing metagame. 16. They bet and raise for information and don't necessarily have a clear motivation of value bet/bluff behind their actions. 17. They may aggressively commit a very large % of their stack and yet fold to more aggression in return. 18. They perceive a pre-flop 3-bet range to be much tighter than it normally is, unless you are very often 3-betting. 19. They may search for tells or visual cues of intent. 20. They may make a decision based on a very specific read. 21. They won't isolate limpers in position nearly as often as they should/could. 22. They squeeze at a much lower frequency. 23. There is basically no such thing is a pre-flop 4-bet all in as a bluff in their arsenal. 24. Their shoving ranges on a short stack tend to be much tighter than online. Again, these are some really massive generalizations, but often when devoid of a specific read, they are the kind of generalizations we should be making. The list isn't quite as complete as I'd like it to be, as I could certainly nit pick at it and separate some ideas, but I think it's mostly a good summation. So here's the part I really want to discuss: the kind of adjustments we internet players should be making in the live arena. I feel like at this point in my live experience, I may have done a pretty mediocre job at this. Adjusting to some of these ideas feels like the total opposite of what we condition ourselves to do online, and it can feel really wrong as we execute these adjustments. 1. I think we should call down tighter: I think live villains are less likely to bluff, especially in multi-way pots. When I think back to my live experience and every time I've tried to make a tough call down, the only one that sticks out that I got right was against a good/aggressive/thinking player on a money bubble (and it was only on one street I had to hero call him.) I think it's probably okay to give our villains more credit than we're used to online and take spots that seem like marginal/close call downs and weight them towards folds. I think the kinds of bluffs we should call down are the more obvious ones in pot-controlled situations when a draw misses and we've checked on the turn. Live players will still often make the mistake of betting rivers in those kinds of spots. When you check for pot control on the turn on a board that has a notable draw on the flop, and then that draw misses, consider calling down the villain's bet more often than you would online, especially if they've shown any ability to bluff. They don't expect you to read their hand well. 2. I think we should call in position a bit more loosely pre flop, when stack appropriate: It seems since many players will play a bit more weak and straight-forward post flop, as well as slow play and give us more free cards, that we can call a bit lighter than normal in position, especially with the decreased chance of being squeezed (though obviously you need to be aware of who's behind you). Also, I think calling a looser range is especially effective, since they often won't give you credit for many hands in your range if you haven't established that kind of loose image yet, and they tend to call too many value bets on the river, assuming it doesn't get to the stage of all in. Again, villains won't read hands well, so if you hit the type of hand that most online players expect to be in your range, the live players will see it less often and pay you off accordingly. 3. I think we should value bet nominal amounts in favor of all in when appropriate: If the all in gets treated with a lot of seriousness and players aren't often aware of stack size considerations, then I think we might be missing value by shoving in spots where we can make what is a very clear value bet and get a call much of the time. If you think the player is very unlikely to adjust to this and start shoving over your bets as a bluff all in (this seems very unlikely with most live players), then betting for value intending to fold to a shove might be the best alternative. Obviously, if all in on the river is only a half pot bet, we should basically never be betting the nominal amount. Because live players are overly concerned with their tournament life, you can make a bet for most of their stack that will technically leave them still alive but takes them to value town at a much higher frequency than the all in would. 4. I think we can use plays that have become somewhat out dated online: These plays include things such as the stop-n-go or the squeeze, as live players are mostly expecting this less and few put in enough volume to become overly familiar with these plays. The squeeze is especially effective, since it still (kind of) works online and many live players fail to three-bet pre-flop and end up flat calling pre-flop and eventually giving up to your shove. 5. I think we should limp more: ...especially behind other limpers, but I also know of two players whose game I really respect (Alan Sass and William Thorrsen) that also do a fair bit of open limping with considerable success. I think we should limp behind limpers loosely, since it's less likely we get isolated and since people play pretty poorly in limped pots. You can get away with open-limping more often, since again, you'll get isolated at a much lower rate, or people's raise sizes might be much too small to correctly price you out of seeing a flop. I wouldn't go crazy with this, but you should especially be open-limping some small pairs and suited connectors that you'll easily have pot odds with if there's a raise. This can be quite profitable on passive tables. 6. I think we should increase our 3-bet frequency with antes: That is, more so than we do online, but there's a catch to this. I think you can increase your 3-betting frequency to a point, but finding the line is very important, since eventually live players may just start stationing you much wider. I was talking to a successful Australian live player, David Saab, and he called this the 'vindictiveness factor,' which I thought was a good term. Basically, you can pummel your table with reraises for only so long until suddenly they just kind of snap and start spite calling you down with a very wide range. To reduce the 'vindictiveness factor,' consider being friendly and chatty with your table, complimenting people on the way they play a hand (just bite your tongue and think about something really serious so you don't laugh) and whatever else to get people to shy away from fighting back. 7. I think we should go absolutely ballistic on the bubble on most tables: Unless your table is packed with pros who don't give a damn about cashing, I really think you can go all out on a live cash and final table bubble, much more than you can online. People are normally playing for multiple days to reach these points, and going out at that stage is a pretty gross feeling for most (even plenty of online players when you consider the time investment). I think you should be willing to break rules in terms of stack sizes needed to 3 bet or open raise (to a reasonable degree). I think you should put people all in with an almost reckless abandon. I think against other deep stacks, you should flat call pre-flop when a 3-bet isn't appropriate and just make their lives miserable post-flop. I think in most of these situations, you can get away with murder. As one WSOP player once told me one off the money bubble, "Of course I would have folded my kings if you shoved and had me covered. I didn't come all the way from Alaska just to finish 271st!" after having flipped up my 83o and telling him, "You're lucky I'm such a nice guy." 8. I think when we have a tight image, we should consider making more big or elaborate bluffs: Be they multiple street or 3/4 bet type things, I think live players will make some ridiculously tight folds if your image isn't too loose or anything. When I think about it, in most online MTT's I very rarely make big or 3-street pure bluffs, and while I certainly don't think we should go crazy with these things, I think there's more possibility to make these work live than online. However, make sure not to level yourself, since some players have a skewed perception of what the nuts are. Plenty will still stack off with KQ on a K75 flop for 200 BB's, so be sure not to bluff those types. 9. I wonder about the inverse of the Gigabet dilemma: I'm pretty sold on the idea that in some tournament situations, taking a -EV spot to open up future +EV opportunities can be a good investment. Can the inverse of this be true? If we have a table full of very bad players in a live tournament, should we consider passing on some slight edges for a ton of our stack, since if we lose we miss future opportunities where these players would put their chips in a much worse spot. I am obviously not talking about being a tournament life nit, or "OH MY GOD YOU HAVE AA FIRST HAND AND 9 GUYS GO ALL IN YOU MUST FOLD!" or anything like that. One example I'd give: The $3000 buy in Pokernews Cup I played recently was an incredibly weak field with a very deep structure. If it's the first hand and it folds to SB with me in the BB holding 66, and SB open shoves and then flips up AKs, should I consider folding? I think (and I can't prove it, because I'm not good enough at math/theory) that might be a fold given the field. Do you think this inverse applies? If so, how far does it go? Whether this is applicable or not often comes down to how good you are, how bad your table is, and how slow the structure is. For the most part, I believe in absolutely never passing up on even the slightest of +EV spots, and hearing people say, "I can wait for a better spot," makes me want to vomit in rage, but there just might be situations where committing your entire stack in a coin flip situation might be less +EV compared to letting villains implode into you on future hands. 10. I think we should call short stack all ins tighter until villain proves he's capable of shoving light: People in live tournaments just don't seem to shove very light on a short stack, even under 10 BB's with high antes. I can't say how tight we should go, and obviously the villain in the hand is the pertinent detail here, but I do think we should tighten up in this spot. Again, people seem to be very obsessed with their tournament life, and even many recognizable pros have absolutely no idea about shoving ranges, so consider making some folds that would be absolute blasphemy to live players who haven't been shoving much. 11. I think we should be really image conscious: Since you're only getting around 30 hands an hour in a live tournament, everyone can (if they want and bother to) watch most hands pretty accurately. People seem to be a bit less observant in the early stages than mid/late where every pot is so important, but they will often sit around talking about the way other people at the table play, and if you play as loose/aggressive as most of us do (especially compared to them), they will eventually just start calling you a lot wider, even if their calls are very bad in relation to their stack or your range. Image and meta game in live poker are kind of hard to put into words, but I think adjusting to this factor is really important in dominating the live scene. You will often be able to feel what kind of tipping your point your table is on, based on table talk, people's physical reactions to your raises, and how often they start calling and 3-betting you. 12. I think we should do more obvious stuff and take more obvious lines for what we want: Remember the "stack a donk" line? Guess what, in live it still works. Even dirtier, you can stack a donk by check-min-raising the turn. Soooooo dirty. I think min-raising for free cards on the flop or min-raising for value on any street is way more viable live than online (though I still haven't done it). I think live villains will think about your hand range less, so doing what might be really obvious online becomes considerably more viable live where they haven't already seen that pattern 10,000 times. Making tiny raises on the river with medium to strong (but non-nut) hands that are sensible folds if your opponent shoves is a very viable move. That's everything I have for now. I've got quite a lot of live to play over the next month, so if additional issues pop into my mind from the experience perhaps I'll write a second part. Authors Note: I know most people around here know me for writing something a bit more comedic, but there's not much of that to be had this time. This started off as a thread on 2+2 and my blog looking for input and suggestions on how to modify the information here, and I've combined that information with what I originally wrote to create this article. Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

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