Thursday, December 22, 2011


Example Of A Leak

If you're hoping to hear about technical things I'm changing to improve my game, so you can implement them into your own, I'm sorry to disappoint. The fact is when ElRupert, for example, tweets a link to my blog post (which I do appreciate, thanks mate) and then next time I play he's on three of my tables, it would be cutting my own throat to talk about a lot of the changes I have made.

The reason balance is not that much of an issue in online MTTs is that you just don't build up that much of a history with other regs. That means it's difficult for them to spot patterns in your play (and vice versa of course), especially when you're only taking particular actions with a small subset of your hands. If I blab about them on here and people are reading it though, that cuts out the process of picking them up through piecemeal observation entirely!

I can give you an example of one leak though, as the solution is (unusually) making my play more balanced rather than less, and it comes up quite rarely anyway. Say you're at a final table with a high bubble factor (in English, you don't want to get knocked out right now) and you pick up a hand like AJ or 88 with 18 blinds or so. My original idea was that if I raise small with these hands then I will have odds, even allowing for bubble factor, to call a jam reraise. But AJ, 88 etc is not a sufficient favourite over the reraising range to want to get it in, so, assuming villains will call a jam less often than they reraise (generally a reasonable assumption), I'm better off jamming.

On the surface it sounds plausible, or it did to me, but it's sloppy thinking and it's wrong. DUCY? Quite probably. The problem is that any better hand than AJ is going to get it in with you whatever you do. The fact that AJ isn't in good enough shape against the whole reraising range isn't the issue, what you need to consider is how it does against the extra hands that reraise but don't call a jam. Against those extra hands you're in very good shape because, depending exactly on ranges, there are a bunch of KJ, A9, JTs, 98s and so on that you're way ahead of. Even allowing for 66-44 etc that you would rather force out, you're in good enough shape against the "extra" range that you're happy to get it in against that range allowing for bubble factors.

So the solution is not to jam these "middle" hands but just raise-call them instead, which means I'm raise-deciding with everything I play. It's not a big leak because it's such a specific scenario and both raiser and caller have to have a narrow subset of hands to bring it into play, so not that big a deal. But it illustrates quite nicely some of the ways in which other leaks have developed, particularly :

- Changing something that was working perfectly well before through trying to be too clever
- Fixating on being unexploitable and so
- missing out on opportunities to exploit others
- worrying too much about being exploited by people who mostly aren't capable of it

It's just an example as I say, but it's the kind of wrong turning that I've taken in the last year and it's not the only one by any means!

Addendum : By the way, it's unrelated but I was flicking through the old Full Tilt Tournament Strategy book and while some of it's pretty lol, re-reading the Gavin Smith section I was really impressed. A lot of what he said is standard online aggressive play now and he was way ahead of his time really.

Checking this blog to find six new posts is like entering a hotel room to find the tv porn is free.
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