Friday, August 10, 2012


Pre-flop, the most common and sensical arrangements are to swap or 'shift' connectors with high ranks, and change as your opponent catches on.  This is true IP and OOP.  There are other ways to tweak these ranges, but your options are more limited because pre-flop your choices are to call or raise (i.e. not to check, check-raise, donk-bet, etc).

Post-flop it gets interesting.  The cool thing is, though, that no matter where you make decisions post-flop, your options are all the same (with slight differences IP vs. OOP).  For example, if you check-call the flop, this provides you with options for a calling arrangement.  If you're VBetting the flop (you must then consider your opponent's current 'arrangement' which I sometimes refer to as a snapshot or strategy) and they raise and you call, your range that was your VBetting range now becomes your calling range, and has it's own arrangement with all the same components/options as any other time you call!

Before we get into all the arrangements, there's one more concept that's important to understand.  While value and bluffs can be swapped (by the way this is what people refer to as 'balance' except that many people think this means do both in proportion all the time, when really you should go back and forth using the same size range for cover; these balances are meant to be tipped!) to exploit how much your opponent calls/folds, the CR is a tool, specifically OOP, to implement when you need to control how much your opponent CBets each street with their marginal value (you can control their bluff % just by your calls, but then they can exploit your bluff catchers with their value, so this is when you need the CR).

The balance with the CR is how much you do it; i.e. how much you add/remove it from your checking range.

Within the CR is another balance: how much you CR with value vs. how much you CR with bluffs (or semi-bluffs).

And a third balance being check-call/check-fold.

A visual would be a large balance containing two smaller balances on each side:   

_CR-V__________CR-B_            C-C                 C-F    
                  ^                                          ^                   

There are actually many ways to arrange the balances (what it actually is is a decision tree), but the above isn't how I'm going to view it actually.  I'm going to put the hands that continue on one side, and the folds on the other.  I'm also going to try to keep the typically larger groups as main branches on the tree.  Lastly, I'm going to incorporate into my diagram the betting (VBets & Bluffs) hands.

Here's the tree when you have the option to bet or check OOP (note: when you check, you are also deciding what to do afterwards if your opponent bets since that will decide the EV of your check, and that your opponent may also check behind, which also contributes to your EV).  Also note: 64 possible combinations of arrangements if it's all or none when tipping each balance:

_CR-V_____CR-B_     C-C lower   C-C higher           
              ^                                 ^           
                                ^                                       C-F 

                                                         ^                               Opp Check       Bluff        V-Bet          
                                                                                 ^                                        ^    

By the way, this previous one would be built on another one for pre-flop ranges of either 3-bet connectors or top ranks!

Here's the tree when you have the option to bet or check IP (4 combinations of possible arrangements):

                   Bluff-Bet        V-Bet          
Check                         ^      

Here's the tree when you're facing a bet IP (note: if you're OOP, you're using the first tree where you check with a decision of what you'll do afterwards).  Also note there are 16 combinations of arrangements:

                    Call-Lower             Call-Higher               Bluff-Raise          V-Raise  
                                         ^                                                         ^  
 Fold                                                              ^   

I'll address the Call-Lower/Higher in depth later on.  There's a bit of an exception to the 'balance' model on that one; basically when you call, you can call more by either calling with more bluff-catchers (lower side of your calling range, instead of folding it) or call with more of your higher value hands (higher side of your calling range, instead of betting it).  And in fact, it's an even more special exception because you can do both at once; in the model, this would be like keeping the Call-Lower and Call-Higher balance level, while the whole side of the balance underneath it was heavier.

Here are some perhaps familiar and/or frustrating arrangements you and/or your opponent might have.  Later I'll provide some visuals and math behind them, and talk about which ones exploit which ones / how to adapt to each.  I'll also go through every possible/relevant arrangement so as to not leave anything without being addressed:

A)  (opp is OOP) Your opponent bluffs > pot odds by a lot, and starts calling with at least some of their stronger value.

B)  (opp is IP) Your opponent VBets a much wider range than 50% of value on the board (ex: BP+) and practically stops bluffing.

C)  Your opponent both VBets and bluffs a ton (i.e. they CBet 100%).

D)  (opp is OOP) Your opponent checks a very wide range, calling a lot, almost not folding at all, and they CR all their value hands.

E)  (opp is IP) They CBet low value and best value, but check behind medium value and bluff-catching range.

If you noticed in the example scenarios above, I also compared the ranges to the pot odds, as well as to a 50% amount; these are common thresholds that must be considered when you decide 'how far' to tip each balance.

Ok, that's it for this post.  In a coming post I'll go through each arrangement and how to exploit it.

1 comment:

  1. And how's the poker game improving? I'm afraid mine has suffered somewhat in the last several months.