Friday, 9 January 2009

uFR - Welcome to Nitdom!

I don't know what the hell is going on in uFR right now. Ultra-weak-tight fit-or-fold has become fashionable apparently.

-Top set vs an uberdonk that donk bets the turn with possible turned nuts when we still hold the 2nd nuts? Fold.

-Top 2 pair - aces up - vs an unknown on a 2 tone board when we get c/r on the flop? Fold.

-Overpair with an SPR of 4 in a 3bet pot? Try for Pot Control? Bet/Fold if we get c/r. Really?

The list goes on.

I mean, COME ON PEOPLE! Get your shit together! Seriously. Just fold everything but KK+ PF, and fold KK if you get 3bet.

In all seriousness, this whole b/f fad has gone a bit too far with people spouting "Baluga Baluga Baluga!" every chance they get. And yet they call themselves TAGs. Sadly, the days of Baluga and the like posting pure gold and refuting this nonsense in uFR are over. There's still a few people that post some really solid stuff but they are few and far between.

And unfortunately, it appears uFR did not take anything away from the "Fold." trolling some ssFR posters were doing a while back. That was the biggest gift anyone could have given uFR and no one really realized it.

The reason why so many people can not handle the move up to ssFR from uFR is that they are still stuck in the weak-tight uFR rut of Baluga-ing away all of their obvious 1 pair hands.

Good players are aggressive. They know how uFR thinks. They know that for 90% of your made hands you are thinking Baluga. And you think that you are better than fit-or-fold? Why? Because you are b/f every time instead of c/f like it's a plan? But really it's just another version of fit-or-fold - at least the way it's being applied. And good players will Baluga you to death.

Sure, weak-tight beats uFR games because uFR is littered with fish jumping into the boat. Moving up, you have to actively look for those fish and you might have to start figuring out how to **GASP** exploit some regs to keep the winrate up.

Here's a simple example:

100BB effective
uFR is 14/11/2.5 "TAG" dealt 66-AA/AQ+/KQ in MP1
CO is 16/12/2.5 realTAG dealt xx

Preflop (1.5BB):
Folded to uFR, uFR raises to 4BB, folds to CO, CO calls 4BB, 3 folds

Flop (9.5BB): KdTs3s
uFR bets 7BB, CO calls 7BB

Turn (23.5BB): 5c
uFR bets 17BB, CO shoves 89BB, uFR folds everything but TT/KK and sometimes AA and AK (if he's feeling spewy) here 100% of the time.

That's uFR's plan - the standard b/f because CO obviously has better than TPTK if CO raises here but uFR wants to get value from draws and hates when his TPTK is being floated - and the hand plays out identically if it's BB instead of CO CRAI on the turn.

Funny thing is that CO can do this profitably with his entire range because uFR is snapping it off with 25% of his PFR range at best and CO has a whopping 75%+ fold equity on the turn regardless of what cards he has here, and sometimes he will show up with a set. uFR, you think you are planning your hand, but when the big bets come out you revert back to 1st level thinking, "Well, that's a big bet... He could have... Hmmm... Big Bet... Well, ok, What do I have?"

As you move up, this is going to be the case more and more. Baluga is an excellent theorem and applies to straightforward players very well. Once you get into ssFR you still apply it to straightforward players. The problem, uFR, is that you are applying it to everyone, even in uFR games. Baluga said it best himself: "when playing against a goood TAG, particularly a 2p2er, most especially me, raising the turn with a draw is a powerful (but risky) play."

And you are going to find a lot of people willing to do this as you move up. You need to stop being weak-tight and figure out a counter-strategy instead of continuing along mindlessly following your weak-tight strategy and forever being stuck in uFR because you can't beat ssFR aggression. This is why there are so many 50NL nitty-weak-tight regs out there.

Don't get me wrong, uFR got me to where I am at right now and is a good foundation to build on and I'm greatful for that. But you have got to break out of that rut once you start to understand just what exactly is going on in this game. And they're not playing back at you contrary to how this post sounds - but you have to remember that semi-bluffing draws and pushing thin edges is not considered "playing back." I'm still working on it myself...


  1. Hi

    What do the abbreviations uFr and ssFr mean? I have tried googling them but come up blank.
    I also had no idea what Beluga meant until I googled it after reading your post, so thanks for bringing that theorem to my attention.



  2. Hey no problem! uFR stands for micro full ring. It's not actually a u but the greek letter μ (Mu) which is a prefix for "micro" in measurements.

    ssFR is Small Stakes - 100NL and 200NL.

    Baluga is one of the greatest money savers ever - if used properly. Used improperly, it leaves a lot of money on the table.

    Another one you might be interested in is Zeebo: no one ever folds a full house. Look up the thought processes behind it!

  3. Hi

    I found Zeebo's theorem very shortly after reading your post together with a handful of other theorems that I did not know existed.
    Thanks for bringing them to my attention.
    I think the readers of my blog would also enjoy learning about the theorems of poker....would you be interested in a link exchange. If yes you can drop me a line on

  4. Hi again, I'm just wondering, do you play all fast tables, or a mix, or all normal?

  5. its an interesting article with some good observations (if a bit over-egged, from a language point of view)
    i am assuming your article is touching on that very difficult ground that lies between the 5ptbb/100 harringbot guy at 25nl who is trying to take his game to 50 or 100nl? (some argue 100nl is still micro - i dont, esp if u multi)
    just for discussion, i think you are getting way too fancy in your ideas. whilst you may be right that they MAY "balugaing" bluffing u, but who cares. the key to micro and ss is reducing variance by avoiding the coin flips, even at 100nl, there is just so many weak players to wait for when you are at the 70-30 spot or whatever. save all that fancy thought for 400nl, when you really need it.
    but like i said, v interesting points u raise

  6. I'm inclined to agree with Micro Bankroll Builder on this point. At 100nl and above your points are valid, but at uFr there aren't enough of the belugaing bluffers for you to go ahead and shove it in. I generally put a note on the people who do it to me though, and if it happens more than once or twice I'm a little slower to fold my overpairs or top top.

  7. Yeah my point basically wasn't that Baluga isn't primarily correct at 2NL-50NL micro FR. Sorry if it came off that way (It applies probably 95% of the time there).

    The point is that people try to take their weak-tight micro game that was a significant micro winning style up to 100NL (and in some ways even 50NL is comparable to 100NL) and it doesn't work.

    There were a lot (understatement) of posts where people were super super weak-tight and wanting to fold really strong hands because there were a few monsters that beat them and people tend to go back to their own absolute hand strength when facing a big bet rather than continuing to look at ranges. Baluga was just one example and the most common and misused - people say Baluga and "apply" it without actually thinking about the hand.

    I really think that if people can break out of that pattern, they can really start to develop the mind set to play at 100NL and above. There's too much 2nd and 3rd level thinking and ranging going on for a lot of 25NLers on PF, Flop and Turn that gets wasted when they get scared on the River.

    And I have to disagree with those that are basically saying wait for a better spot to reduce variance. There is no such thing as a better spot in cash games, that's only in tournaments where chips are limited.

    If you are trying to reduce variance by passing up +EV situations, you are playing too high for your bankroll (monetary or more proabably pyschologically).

    Playing cash games properly rolled means you are able to theoretically play with the same mindset as if chips are unlimited.

    Good comments guys. Much appreciated!