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.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Small Blind Strategy

I have not played a large sample of hands at Zoom yet (25k) but I'm performing dreadfully in the small blind. I've done a little analysis and thought that I'd share that insight here. First thing I'll say is that over such a small sample I'm certainly running poorly.

To Steal or Not to Steal?
Over the sample I've decided to attempt to steal around half of the time it is folded to me. This seems high, and was the first thing that I investigated when I noticed how poorly I was doing from this position. However it turns out that the steals are working 71% of the time in this situation.
When we raise to steal the big blind at 10NL we are risking 0.25c to win 0.15c so it must work 0.25/0.4= 62.5% of the time for us to make an immediate profit. Therefore, my pre-flop stealing strategy is working well (despite the fact that I'm opening so widely when given the chance).

However, despite knowing that I should be making tons of money from the pre-flop raises alone I'm actually losing money in this situation. So I must be losing money once my pre-flop raise has been called. In other words, I must be putting my money in poorly post-flop.

Examining Post-Flop Play
So the obvious next port of call is c-bet %. Well, it turns out that I'm only c-betting half of the time. This is particularly low for that statistic, and the reason is because I know that this situation is usually one where the big blind - having called pre-flop - does not like to let their hand go. So I'm c-betting whenever I have equity or a made hand.
Despite the low c-bet frequency in this situation, the bet is only working 32% of the time! I think that this is related somewhat to variance but over the much larger sample of hands that I've played it's not that much higher. So in other words I should probably tighten my c-betting range even further, perhaps concentrating on those times when I've likely got 6 outs or better or a made hand that I'm betting for value. Or hands where I've got a damn good chance to double barrel bluff.

Sample Size?
It's hard to draw firm conclusions from just 25k hands of play. But as I mentioned, I've seen a similar story from my other databases. For whatever reason, players don't like to fold their big blind once they've called a small blind steal. This is likely due to the fact that they are calling with a pretty strong range in general, coupled with positional advantage.

So I'm really going to be careful with the money that I put in post-flop over the next few thousand hands when caught on a steal by the big blind. I'll just be looking for really good equity spots or solid value betting opportunities, and the rest of the time giving up. Perhaps if I can get that c-bet % down to 45% or so I'll see an improvement (and maybe start running better too).

Hope that's of some use to any of you that try their hand at ring games in the near future. GL

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