Tuesday, November 02, 2004

OK, Alright, You Win

YTD: +$Back, but not played yet

A word of advice, don't go on night flights of 4+ hours with small children!

Thanks for all the comments on the hand. I think the answers are fairly clear cut. A6, suited or not, is always a raise. I too, like my friend Chaos, do not like the thinking behind the call play as advocated by Sklansky. The 87, suited or not, *should* always be a pass, although like Aksu, sometimes you feel tempted to raise by "accident". FWIW, I think that this is one of the big leaks of people coming to limit holdem from a big bet tourney perspective, like many UK players do.

Lastly, and surprisingly, no one mentioned the call play with AA. If you raise here and they both pass then this is a disaster, as AA is worth more than 4 times the blinds here. Admittedly, the chances of them both passing are not high, but the trap call play also has some additional positive side effects as it often causes players to go "off on one" with your perceived weakness. In a Party 15-30 game I think that this play is so effective that it should be used at least a good % of the time. If the game was just a bit tighter, or even much tighter like the 10-20 on Stars, then this shoots up as being by far the best play.


Anonymous said...


I've just come across this site and I'm greatly impressed. Very comprehensive and informative debate. I'm on a miserable run at the moment, being about $3K down in the last fortnight.

I'm losing most of my 50/50s and more than half of my c.70% favs. On top of this, I think I play worse when I've lost a bit, making optimistic calls occasionally, and sometimes being a bit timid when down to 4 or 5. I was interested to read your comments Andy that your play at this stage produces a high EV. Do you tend to be aggressive or passive at this point?

I play mainly Party 100+9 NL STTs, and have found these to be the best hourly rate I've achieved in my 20 months online so far. Try them out - several players only like to play them with a big stack, so are gone at the first level. Also, lots are very optimistic pre-flop with small pairs. They put you on AK or AQ and just hope for the best. Be interested to know whether people think there are easier games out there than these?


Julian Reed

Anonymous said...

Re the flat call with AA. This is good on Stars, because a raise there on the button often steals the pot, which isn't what you want in this case.

But, from your description of the scenario in the Party game, you are likely to get aggressive disbelievers rather than folders.

The strength of the raise is that it gets players involved, because they have already put money into the pot voluntarily. So they are likely to call with, say, middle pair, whereas if you flat-called and the flop came JT7, they might fold their Ten-Two suited.

I can't see how a flat call with AA can have a higher EV in the scenario you describe, although I agree that there are some games where it does.

I'm in the middle of a 350-hand session. If anyone saw the hand history, they would be convinced that online poker is rigged. 0 for 4 with AA and 0 for 2 with KK (no QQs and 0 for 1 with JJ, just to keep the good news rolling). Genuinely painful. Just gotta grind through it.

Peter B

Andy_Ward said...


I haven't stepped up to $100 yet but I do play aggressively 4 and 5 handed, especially if no one else seems interested in taking the lead.

Once you get to 200-400 especially, just nicking the blinds twice can give you the chip lead and put you where you really want to be - in front and pressing the players with smaller stacks who are trying to hang on for 3rd.


Aksu said...

Funny thing. Flat call with A6 makes a lot more sense if you are willing to do it with AA too. To be frank I don't like either.

There may be situations and games where flat call from button is the best play with certain hands. But I tend to allways raise when opening from button to minimise information.

Also, isn't it a greater danger to just win the blinds when opening up front?


chaos said...

'Also, isn't it a greater danger to just win the blinds when opening up front?' - certainly in the tight games, but possibly not in the one Dave has described.

Awareness was the key criteria here. If they are aware there you must limp with a mix of hands to justify the AA limp. Rasing with the AA is more likely to get action on later flops than limping. The 78 hands are probably losers and there is little implied value in playing them in this type of game. But I guess we should be close to having the 'answer' with poker tracker data out there. Anyone have any data?

In the SH games these hands while still perhaps -EV cannot be considered seperately: they should, perhaps, be considered loss leaders and are the reason that you have greater EV elsewhere. In Aggresive SH games 78o on the button can have more appeal than the A6o. It may not be born out in the facts but it feels that there is an advantage.

When the flop comes high and you've missed with 78, your opponent is less likely to make a move on you, unless s/he has a hand, because you were the raiser.
So your chances are hig of winning the pot with a bet. But when you hit say on 10-8-5 you will often get chk-raised (nearly always in the aggressive games) and get paid off.* When the flop is low with the Ace, and you get check raised you are in two minds as to whether to call down with it. The strategy with A6 when the flop comes is a lot less clear than the 78. The fact that the strategy is clearer with 78 in SH game maybe explain why it can appeal more, rather than anything born out in EV.

* Getting paid off with a hand like this on a flop like that might be stretching it, but it is short handed!


Big Dave D said...

Chaos is spot on here. The key is the outstanding lack of awareness shown by most Party players. The need to balance the call of AA is non-existent. This play of AA seems to be little known, so I wanted to give it a little publicity. Of course short handed and HU you are in a sense playing a continuum of hands and so everything is different.

chaos said...


The lack of awareness or independence between playing hands certainly justifies the raising of all the Ax flavours and folding the 78o/s. However, the AA I'm not sure, but I think you are probably right: only when you are paying attention is the move suspicious. If a player is multi-tabling then a little voice might pipe up and say 'he's raised me a couple of times, why limp?', but because one hasn't formed an opinion of the player it will probably be ignored. And when the J-6o hits with the J then all will be forgotten and it will get played out.

One of the problem with playing at places like party is assuming a certain level of awareness from your opponents. Quite often you might assume they are following a story, but because they or you might be playing so many tables, there isn't one.

Too often we are too lazy to find out a trivial bit of information that paints a very different picture.

I think you've made a good case, but I'm not sure I could twist my arm to calling AA regularly, but I don't play there much these days. Certainly the limp does require more thought and in general easing off of the button might be advisable: I believe that the blinds generally play the button better than they did a year or two ago, so the button should throw away a little more.