Friday, 18 January 2008

Moved Back Down...

... but only for this morning. I got home and the 25nl tables were really dead and they had 1 guy on basically every tables waiting list and I didn't feel like hanging around waiting. 10nl was very busy so I jumped down there to splash around a bit. The difference in play is amazing now that I've played so many hands at 25nl.

I started crushing 8 tables, so I bumped it up to 16 and ran at 16ptBB/100 for 2500 hands over the course of 2.5 hours (I'm going to start typing in terms of ptBB/100 again, people will think I'm playing limit otherwise). As I said, I'm rereading Sklanksky's Theory of Poker and there is one major part of the game that I was never paying attention to, and why my aggression factor was always so low - and that is the art of semi-bluffing. It is now a healthy 2.8.


This is a wonderful play because of several factors:

1. You take the initiative in the hand and allow your opponents the chance to fold.
2. You disguise your hand, which is very important against expert hand readers.
3. You can get yourself a free card often enough.
4. There is virtually no defence against it.
5. It is mathematically +EV compared to check-calling which is -EV.

As Sklansky says, you gain from having a combination of fold equity and the odds that you will hit your hand. For example, there is $100 in a heads up pot and you are drawing with 3:1 odds, and you know your opponent is going to make a $75 bet if checked to. If your hand is worth a call, your hand is worth making that bet yourself. If you add in that he might fold, say, 20% of the time then this is what you get:

EV of check-calling = (0.25 x 175) - (0.75 x 75) = -$12.50

EV of betting $75 = 0.2 (1 x 100) + 0.8 ((0.25 x 175) - (0.75 x 75)) = +$10

Your positive expectation comes from both the chances of hitting your hand AND having fold equity. That's why you don't semi-bluff calling stations with no fold equity, because then you are right back to the same as check-calling, which is -EV.

Consider this, if your opponent is semi-bluffing, how are you going to defend. If you figure that he's semi-bluffing 55% of the time then the obvious answer is to raise, right? Wrong. Out of that 55% he will hit is draw often enough that he will win more than half the hands he does this with. You have to commit a large number of chips to find out if he is semi-bluffing or not, and this lets him get away cheaply win he is, and costs you a lot when he's not. That's why this play is so powerful.

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