I expect this was just (another) flaw in my game, but APT is advising me to shove when I am a short stack with a considerably wider range than I had been, e.g. 87o in late position - I was usually waiting for a pocket pair, and A or K, suited Broadway cards.....
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No response so I'll try it. There are push/ fold charts online and APT has a shove/ fold tool on its site. Lots of hands are +EV shoves in tourneys, More than one would think. There are apps out there too that give detailed push/fold instructions. Study the subject. It is a mandatory skill for tourney play.
Agreed that a solid push/fold strategy is essential for success in tournament play. Across all types of tournaments, stakes and player-pools, this skill is relevant. My concerns when talking about push/fold charts in general come from the fact that they really need to be tailored to the specific game you are playing. Shoving and calling ranges are hugely different when going from expert games to recreational low stakes ones.
Learn the basic principles of the ICM and the gap-concept. Then get a feel for what players are shoving and calling with in the games you are playing. Take this information and shift the "perfect" ranges to accommodate the plays you have seen. In lower stakes games, calling ranges need to be tighter for the most part. Shoving ranges can get really loose if playing against typical low-stakes players who tighten up way too much. As long as you understand the purpose of making these plays, you will be far ahead of most recreational players who know none of these things.
There are many spots where you are shoving ATC against certain player type/flop type combinations. There are many pre-flop spots against loose raisers where you blind shove ATC and there is no +EV defense against it. In the BB you can use the stop and go play with ATC against some flop types. It's a whole separate area of study.
@monkeysystem - can you expand a bit on this? I'd love to keep this line of thought going and maybe even get into some details. I've been looking over a friend's bubble play in low stakes games and I'm seeing plays (mostly calls) I can't wrap my head around. One example would be getting multiple callers with some who shouldn't be in the pot if they had pocket trips. Others where loose raisers fold to small shoves and others where they call with hands that are so below any reasonable calling range that its obscene.
Basically I am seeing both opportunities to profit from really poor play and dangers for exactly the same reason. If people are going to spew equity everywhere, I want to be in the best position possible to grab some of it and to avoid being collateral damage where possible.
Say you're down to 22BB and V barely has you covered. Say V has opened in the CO or BU each of the last six hands he was in those positions. He opens again in the BU and you're in the BB. Do you shove? Note that the probability of his range being as narrow as 50% is 1/2^6 or less than 2%.
Full disclosure : I got this range estimation idea from Alex Fitzgerald's webinar "Why Apestyles is Right."
Or a situation I faced on a live tournament recently.. Five handed, you have 20BB. Your stack is below average in the tournament and on your table. You've been card dead for an hour so you've been quiet. V opens about 10-15% from MP where he is now. He limps another 25-30%. In this hand he limps and you check your option in the BB with 93o. Flop comes Q86 rainbow. Do you shove?
I can't give you a good answer for either of these spots without having a lot more information. Where we are in relation to the bubble or what is the payout structure if we are already in the money? What are the stacks of the remaining players, both at our table and at others if applicable? What are the antes currently? When is this level over and what will the blinds/antes be when the next level starts? Do we have any information on villains fold% to 3-bets? Did we ever play back at the villain in the 1st example or have we folded every time? Just a lot more I'd need to know here.
If you have a way to make these decisions without all that other data, please let me know. Am I missing something simple here (not out of the question since I'm still on pain-meds from my injury)?
I look forward to seeing how you address each of these spots and how you come to your decisions. In general, I need a pretty good reason to shove 20BB+.
Small turnout, only the top two getting paid out of 19 who started. 11 remain. Blinds 800/400/100. Payouts about 1200 and 700. One stack about 25k or so. SB about 4k. Other about 20k. There was not much 3-betting except me and chip leader. Didn't have much on V's 3-bet defense frequency. I did not have much dynamic with V. wasn't much dynamic with V.
Shoving 20bb gives you fold equity. If you wait until you are down to 10bb, you will get called too often and you won't get a hand that wants a call before you blind out. It depends on the circumstances... If your 20bb is a big stack you don't have to risk your tournament, but if you're below average you need to make a move. Wait for the right spot, such as a V with a severely capped range, especially with a flop that results in little possibility of V having a hand that can call the shove.
The point of my post is that there are spots in this phase of tournaments where your holding is irrelevant.
OK, so basically zero ICM implications in either spot and a payout structure requiring players to chip up aggressively to have any chance. That makes much of the information I'd normally use in making these decisions irrelevant.
I see the point you are making and can see the virtues of situational shoving in some spots when you can find them. Very different considerations from bubble and ITM play but maybe something important towards reaching those later stages.
Thanks for clarifying and for giving me something to think about. This is exactly why I like to participate in poker forums. I am constantly exposed to concepts and strategies I had not considered before. Whether or not I find them applicable to my own game, I improve as a player just from the thought exercises. I wish more people would participate here.
The shove-fold tool here on APT can yield some surprising results. It can be hard to find a reasonable V range where it's NOT profitable to shove.
You have to use these shoves with care. Do it too often and the law of probability will catch up with you. You'll run into the OP+ that knocks you out of the tournament. Lady Luck doesn't like it when you knock on her door too often.
I have used the tool here sparingly, mostly because I am much more comfortable with ICMizer. I may do some side by side calculations to see if they are in agreement across a broad range of situations. I am not sure about some of what I saw when I watched the training video on how to use it here - something seems "off" to me.
On a related topic, I just finished an online MTT where I was in push-fold territory and pushed over the UTG+1 limper. I had 12BB with AKs and we were coming close to the cash bubble. Anyway, it folds back around to the original limper, who had about 21BB. He calls and turns over 9/10o. Spikes a 9 on the river to take the pot. That call (forget about the open limp to begin with) is one of those bizarre ones like I was referring to earlier.
I'm happy with my play but I am still thinking about how to adjust shoving ranges vs populations who will call so light. Fold equity is dramatically reduced vs a population like this one. These players need to introduce more variance to the game to have a chance at winning. They are going to call with ranges that competent players would never dream of. To counter this, I think ranges need to be shifted towards containing more A's/Broadways and fewer small pairs. My shove is the offensive move. The rest of the table shares the defensive role. By sheer numbers, the loose players blunt much of the skill edge I have over them.
Where is the sweet spot in these games? I may start a thread to discuss how people deal with these types of players and games.
One thing you have to do in the APT shove/fold tool is to enter V's calling range after your shove, not his limping range before the shove. It makes a big difference in the results.
Your villian's call with T9o is type of thing we need to track. I learned from many years of experience in tournament blackjack that as a game evolves the casual players as a group learn some of the basic strategy elements and can no longer be reliably exploited in those areas. Perhaps as you suspect the casual players in NLHE tournaments are learning what the shove/fold tools shows us - - you need to call shoves with wider ranges to avoid being exploited.
Good point - I still have some questions about some of the results it shows but I need to play around with it more before I'm comfortable commenting any further about it.
Nah, his play was pure donkey. From what I've seen in lower stakes tournaments ( <$100 online or <$500 live) the players are mostly horrible. Much of what they do makes no sense, sometimes not even to themselves. Very few people are willing to spend any time at all learning the game. Of those who do put in some work, very few get around to studying ICM or push/fold strategies. Heck, most couldn't tell you what ICM is.
Exploiting a weak player is standard fare. Figuring out how to exploit a table of weak players is a little more complicated, at least for me. It may just be a matter of having to accept the higher variance but I'm not willing to simply concede that without trying to solve the issue. It isn't just me either - I know several good players who have harder times dealing with weak player pools than with better ones. The game just doesn't make much sense once you go below a certain level of competence.
1 other bit of strange behavior to point out with weaker players - Some of them see raises and shoves as challenges for some reason. Raising/shoving into them is like waving a red cape in front of a bull. Someone explained it to me this way: Certain people are at the table to gamble, not to play cards. Their interest in the pot is directly proportional to the pot size, not proportional to their odds or equity. These players are more likely to draw against the odds in a large pot than in smaller ones.
I'm sure we've all seen players who will call an all-in with total rags and we wonder what the heck they were thinking. Well, they may have just been thinking that since 2 other players were already all-in, there's a chance they can win a huge pot. They are not considering their odds to take the pot, just the concept that they could win a big one.
We face all kinds of players at the tables. We can never assume that each and every one of them are thinking the way we would. We can't even assume each of them are playing for the same reasons we are. The lower in stakes we move, the more of these "irrational" players we encounter. While we may not respect them, we certainly cannot ignore them either because in NLHE, 1 hand can send you packing.
As our skill levels increase, most of us try to decrease the impact of variance. We can outplay people so we don't need to rely on outdrawing them as much. On the other end of the spectrum there are players who cannot outplay their opponents and must rely on variance. Whenever making a decision about shoving, make sure you know what type of player you are shoving into.
True, the casual players don't make much of an effort to study the game. But most of them aren't stupid, and they learn things from their own observation and personal experience. Collectively their play evolves as the game evolves. This process will continue as long as the numbers playing the game declines and the average experience level increases. When the population of players eventually picks up again, the overall skill will once again decrease and life will be good for those of us who study.
You can always find really poor players. But overall as long as the poker population decreases the average skill of average regs will improve some.
I haven't been around poker long enough to observe this for myself. I'm speaking from my experience in blackjack tournaments over many years. I've had to adjust my approach to that game to keep ahead of the player pool over the years.
@monkeysystem - in general I think you are correct. However the ratio of winning vs losing players has stayed pretty steady over the years, despite the overall increase in the level of play. ~90% of players are long term negative - this is true today and it was true 10 years ago and 20 years ago. Most people who have ever played the game are not good at it. At some point most of these people quit but they are constantly being replaced by newer players.
Much of the overall improvement has come from the availability of online games and from training programs / analytic software. Today, online players at 50NL are generally far better technically than the live players at 200NL or even 500NL. Its really quite amazing just how large the skill gap is.
Many people have observed that while the level of play for cash games has increased online, live games are not evolving nearly as quickly. Also worth noting is that the rate of evolution seen in tournament play has lagged behind their cash counterparts, both live and online. All of these are generalizations of course but have been observed by enough people to have some merit. Most people simply aren't going to put in the time or effort to achieve more than a basic level of competence in the game. These people represent the vast majority of players out there and probably always will. Therefore I think the lowest level of players will always be about the same in terms of skills. The highest levels of players will be widening the gap between themselves and almost everyone else at the same time.
I think it is just a fact of life that the lowest levels of the game are always going to be populated by poor players. Anyone who has any skill with the game will eventually move up from micro-stakes online or 200NL live. Those without the skills to beat these levels will either quit or remain there, losing money. New players come in and replenish the ones lost because they moved up or quit. The cycle repeats itself over and over but while most of the players change, the player pool remains about the same in terms of skill levels. 200NL is like basic training in many ways - you either make it through or you don't. No one stays there forever if they have the ability to move up. Even the rake structures at these levels makes it imperative for people to move out of them at some point.
Just to note - I've been playing long enough to have seen much of this for myself. I've played from low stakes home games to some decent stakes live. From pub tournaments to WPT Main Events as well. I'm newer to online cash (less than a year now) so haven't seen nearly as much there as many others have. I've also spent time analyzing casinos and got to see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes from that side of the table as well. I was lucky enough to have spent time with Denis Gomes when he was 1st CFO of the Trump Casinos and then CEO of Aztar. I'm not calling players "stupid" by any means but I do recognize the same behaviors and patterns many exhibit over many years. As a player I did this to make money. As an analyst I did this to understand how the house makes money
That's reassuring to know. Maybe it's a sign that poker as a whole has a bright future. It's one reason why I'm working to add poker to my repertoire. The stakes, player population, quality, and availability of games in tournament blackjack has been on a downward trajectory for a long time. If I want to play card games, it has to be poker.