Hello all, welcome to my online poker blog.

I've been playing on and off for a decade after being introduced by a friend.

I played regularly for a few years during the poker boom and had a decent record at the micros, particularly Rush and Zoom No Limit Hold'em games (here's one of my graphs).

Around 2012 I began a new career which involved immersing myself completely in study in my spare time, so I had little to no time for poker. However recently this burden has eased and so I have been gradually dipping back in.

I'm an amateur player who still hopes to some day beat the rake.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Big Blind, I Suck. #4

Just been browsing the knowledgeable Cardrunners' forums about blind defence. It's a members only forum I believe so I'll quote a post by pro player Pokey put up a few months back (i.e. relevant)

" I have a non-traditional approach to blind defense, and I'm sure that other pros on the site will disagree with me, but here's how I handle it:

1. I rarely cold-call from the blinds. My approach is to either 3-bet or fold. I will overcall if circumstances warrant and I'm holding a good speculative hand, but even there I'll get quite frisky and frequently donkbet the flop to put significant pressure on the preflop raiser.

2. Against a person who steals too often, I 3-bet liberally with the intention of folding to a 4-bet fairly frequently and punishing with a huge 5-bet (ideally all-in) when I have the goods. When I 3-bet it is large -- usually 4x their raise -- with the intention of preventing light floats. Knowing that I'll be out of position the whole hand through, I want to either end the hand very quickly or at least chop down their implied odds (and therefore their maneuvering room) postflop. "

Pokey - Cardrunners' forum

Elsewhere on the site I've seen pros advocate flatting with some of your range and 3-betting a polarised one. The different views from some excellent players lead me to believe that the expected value of each strategy is somewhat close and that either option is OK. I like Pokey's logic and reasoning, and the other player to advocate this style of blind defence is Cole South who has played in some of the toughest games online.

Personally I feel much more comfortable playing with the betting lead, but I do want to test myself and my ability to play out of position post flop.

In theory I like the sound of Pokey's approach, but I need to figure out some ranges to play against a variety of different opening frequencies. In my #3 post on this subject I learned some sound advice regarding not 3-betting at all versus UTG through Hijack ranges. I could flat a range like {88+, AQ+, AJs, KQs, QJs, JTs} against a standard 10% open, knowing that the big pairs defend against an opponent that likes to barrel multiple streets. I can maximise the value of those hands while providing some protection against my mid pair hands (that I currently have to fold frequently to turn double barrels).

When things get to the CO and Button I can begin to reverse this approach and 3-bet a merged range versus both players that like to call (then my range becomes top heavy against a capped range which should cancel the positional disadvantage somewhat) and those that like to fold (we probably gain as much equity from the dead money preflop than we would in a pot out of position without the betting lead). If we are going to try and play back around 12-15% of the time then we should probably be raising about 6% of hands for value : {99+, AJ+} and a bunch of semi bluff raises (hands that have around 40-45% equity or more versus a typical calling range). The following graphic shows what I consider to be a reasonable resteal range that works out at around 16%.

Graphic is a screenshot of free poker tool Hold'em Viewer

I'm currently folding a ton of those hands to button and cut off raises, and they all have more than 45% equity against a loose raise. This seems wrong to me, even out of position.

I quite like the idea of playing the range in the graphic by 3-betting but occasionally randomising and calling with the top x%. This really would give opponents a hard time hand reading as my range would be typically much stronger than a normal blind defence range when this happened.

In conclusion, I have found a ton of information this week regarding this difficult poker situation. I think it's time I put some of the ideas in these posts into practise in my games and see how it works out over 100k hands or so. As a break even player, I've nothing to lose! GL

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