Tag Archives: Pokerstars

It’s Phil Ivey A Fish?

Phil Ivey is considered by many the best all-around poker player in the world, however, lately when he sits at an online high stakes table in Full Tilt Poker there is a growing number of players willing to play against him. And, perhaps counterintuitively, he will generally finish his session in the same fashion that your drunken neighbor’s night, at the weekly homegame, inevitably ends: with heavy loses.

In fact since poker’s own Black Friday Ivey has dropped a whopping 6.4 million dollars in 194,847 hands played over a span of less than three years, he is amazingly the big fish in this games only surpassed by “The Great Dane” Gus Hansen who is down a cool 17.5 million dollars since Black Friday. Maybe just “The Dane” will be more fitting?

So has Ivey suddenly become terrible at poker? of course not. He is just facing the same problem that many poker players suffer in casinos and poker sites all over the world: bad table election. Simply explained, if you sit the ninth best poker player in a game where the other eight best players happen to be seated, he is bound to lose his shirt.

Easily the biggest factor that comes in play at bad table selection is a poker player’s ego, and we’re not talking your regular nobody can beat me at “whatever silly sporty thing”, no, poker player’s ego is in a league by itself. It’s such a psychological conundrum that should need teams of doctors devoted to it, if not entire universities, just to get a shot at solving it.

So, next time you visit your local casino and find a hundred regular looking poker players, you can be quite sure you just found one hundred persons who feel sorry for the other ninety nine poor souls that are about to be torn apart by their superior poker skills. It’s easy to see then, why this poker masterminds can’t be bothered to take a minute to walk around the poker room looking for the most lucrative tables. But you should. Because in poker success is measured very easily: how much you win.

Of course there are benefits to sitting in a game with a bunch of players better than you. You’ll stand lo learn a lot of useful lessons on how to beat yourself, and all this for the mere prize of the contents of your wallet. Is it worth it? Phil Ivey thinks it is. Or is he just another fish?


Carter Gill Wins LAPT Grand Final

Poker News :: Nov 26, 2013 :: 

Tournament Tracker: Carter Gill Wins LAPT Grand Final


Carter Gill has a good day in Uruguay, winning the LAPT Grand Final.

Carter Gill has a good day in Uruguay, winning the LAPT Grand Final. (photo credit Carlos Monti/PokerStarsBlog.com)

Tournament Tracker heads out into the vast poker community once again, featuring results spanning four continents. This week’s featured result features a player who became a viral sensation for his reaction to a bad beat as he finally breaks through to win his first major tournament. The final table of the PokerStars Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final in Uruguay had Carter Gill was in a familiar position, holding a dominant chip stack at the start of the final table. When in this spot at the LAPT Main Event in Panama, Gill finished in 4th place and was in no mood to duplicate the feat. His domination of the final table continued until he was heads-up, holding a 19 to 1 chip lead over Ivan Raich. Victory temporary slipped from Gill’s grasp as Raich came charging back until he held a 3-1 chip advantage. Eventually, the tables turned once again and when Gill put Raich all-in on the final hand, the Argentinian couldn’t fold his straight as Gill made a flush on the river to take his first major title and win over $215,000.


The World Series of Poker Circuit made their first visit to the Casino Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec drawing many of Canada’s finest players. Charles Sylvestre, one of the Great White North’s numerous WSOP bracelet holders in 2013, added a WSOPC ring to his collection earning over $120,000. Continuing with the French accent, the PokerStars France Poker Series visited Paris. Bertrand (ElkY) Grospellier made the final table, eventually finishing in 4th. Rodolphe Dethiere saw his back account boosted by over $206,000 in triumph.

As the calendar closes in on December, several other tournament series concluded their seasons over the weekend. The GUKPT Grand Final in London saw defending champion Sam Grafton make a deep run before falling short of the final table. In the end, it was Kevin Allen picking up the biggest win of the weekend, earning over $257,000. The Heartland Poker Tour held their final event of their ninth season at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Ronald Bellhad his picture taken as the winner, earning almost $160,000. Allen Kessler earned the HPT Player of the Year title, finishing in the top 20 six times, including four final tables. The DeepStacks Poker Tour held their World Championship at Mohegan Sun Casino as Jia Liu cashes for just under $130,000 at a final table that featured 2012 October Niner Michael Esposito and 2013 WSOP bracelet winner Matthew Waxman.

Heading to the West, the second Poker Night in America tournament series headed to the Peppermill in Reno as David Miller defeated WSOPC Lake Tahoe winner Daniel Harmetz heads-up, collecting $70,000. The Commerce in Los Angeles concluded their LA Poker Open with a WPT Regional Event featuring a prize pool close to $1,000,000. A three-way deal had Mark Ketteringham earn the title along with over $150,000.

PokerStars LAPT Grand Final, Punta del Este, Uruguay

Buy-In: $2,500
Entrants: 508
Prize Pool: $1,133,340

  1. Carter Gill – $218,692*
  2. Ivan Raich – $172,568*
  3. Ariel Mantel – $106,300
  4. Andres Norberto Korn – $79,100
  5. Juan Manuel Perez Solari – $59,840
  6. Cesar Carlos Sanguinetti Guichon – $45,100
  7. Joao Divino Dorneles Neto – $33,780
  8. Walid Mubarak – $25,840
  9. Daniel Wilkinson – $20,620

*Reflects deal made heads-up

Notable cashes: Leo Fernandez (39th), Jose (Nacho) Barbero (42nd), Bolivar Palacios (44th)

World Series of Poker Circuit: Casino Lac Leamy

Buy-In: $1,500
Entrants: 371
Prize Pool: $556,500

  1. Charles Sylvestre – $122,435
  2. John Nelson – $75,656
  3. Dinara Khaziyeva – $55,283
  4. Sol Bergren – $41,047
  5. Mike Leah – $30,953
  6. Justin Dean – $23,690
  7. Bryan Moon – $18,398
  8. Adam Podstawka – $14,491
  9. Ioannis Pentefountas – $11,575

Notable cashes: Pratyush Buddiga (35th), Scott Montgomery (39th)

PokerStars France Poker Series – Circle Cadet Cardroom, Paris

Buy-In: $1,345
Entrants: 818
Prize Pool: $1,095,951

  1. Rodolphe Dethiere – $206,511
  2. Fangzhong Yang – $137,674
  3. Julien Kron – $91,216
  4. Bertrand (ElkY) Grospellier – $70,862
  5. Kevin Montagne – $56,014
  6. Thanh Huynh – $41,842
  7. Philippe Pertuisot – $29,694
  8. Sandra Modestine – $24,025
  9. Francois Creignou – $20,651

GUKPT Grand Final: UK Poker Room, London

Buy-In: $3,245
Entrants: 294
Prize Pool: $952,201

  1. Kevin Allen – $257,302
  2. Rudolf Fourie – $171,535
  3. Matt Davenport – $114,465
  4. Ben Jackson – $66,798
  5. Scott Margerson – $51,396
  6. Richard Kellett – $41,992
  7. Thomas Bichon – $32,426
  8. Will Kassouf – $25,292
  9. Pratik Ghatge – $17,997

Notable cashes:
 Zimnan Ziyard (10th), Sam Grafton (11th), Jan Sjavik (16th), Sergio Aido (17th)

Heartland Poker Tour Championship Open – Soaring Eagle Casino, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Buy-In: $1,500
Entrants: 472
Prize Pool: $678,120

  1. Ronald Bell – $159,353
  2. Andrew Beardsley – $98,327
  3. Charles Tonne – $64,421
  4. Benjamin Grise – $44,756
  5. Ardeshir Azadnia – $33,228
  6. John Drikakis – $25,769
  7. William Rogers – $22,310
  8. Tonya Provost-Hawkins – $18,309
  9. Dapreesch Scates – $14,919

Notable cash: Joe Cada (34th)

DeepStacks Poker Tour World Championship – Mohegan Sun

Buy-In: $2,500
Entrants: 247
Prize Pool: $551,057

  1. Jia Liu – $129,663
  2. Mike Nye – $90,980
  3. Charlie Hawkins – $58,522
  4. Jon Reinhardt – $43,313
  5. Justin Adams – $32,512
  6. Michael Esposito – $26,010
  7. Steven Karp – $21,601
  8. Matthew Waxman – $17,303
  9. Avdo Djokovic – $12,950

Notable cashes:
 Chino Rheem (13th), Tim Reilly (19th), Jamie Kerstetter (24th), Jason Strasser (25th)

Poker Night in America: Peppermill Casino, Reno

Buy-In: $1,100
Entrants: 260
Prize Pool: $250,010

  1. David Miller – $70,000
  2. Daniel Harmetz – $41,250
  3. George Kleinman – $27,500
  4. Vincent Remmel – $19,125
  5. Vince Cardinale – $14,250
  6. Joshua Atkinson – $11,000
  7. Kirill Tarasenko – $8,500
  8. Bill Watchman – $6,260
  9. Adam Bishop – $4,500

Notable cashes:
 Chip Jett (10th), Chad Brown (12th), Steve Brecher (15th)

LA Poker Open – WPT Regional Main Event – Commerce Casino, Los Angeles

Buy-In: $1,500
Entrants: 652
Prize Pool: $978,000

  1. Mark Ketteringham – $152,970*
  2. Jack Wu – $129,250*
  3. Lance Allred – $106,770*
  4. Brian Yoon – $60,340
  5. Heath Mendelsohn – $45,180
  6. Danny Illingworth – $36,480
  7. Derek Kwan – $30,220
  8. Tony Gordy – $24,060
  9. Dat Luu – $18,090

*Reflects deal made three-handed

Notable cashes: Mimi Tran (10th), Jeff Madsen (34th), Matt Salsberg (35th)

By: Kevin Mathers (283 Posts)Widely known among the poker community by his twitter handle “Kevmath”, many in the poker community consider Kevin a go-to source for news and information in the poker community.

Review: Pokerstars


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Código: STARS600

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Información general

Nombre: PokerStars
Creación: 2000
Auditoría: PWC
Red: Independiente
Licencia: Isla de Man
Email: support@pokerstars.com


– Sunday Millon: Torneo con 1.500.000$ garantizado todos los Domingos
– Satélites a todos los grandes eventos en vivo
– Posibilidad de organizar torneos privados
– PokerStars Camp: Campus de aprendizaje con las estrellas de PS
– Batalla de los Planetas: 3.000.000$ en premios
– Copa del mundo de poker. Torneo internacional por paises con final en vivo. Programa de puntos de jugador frecuente (FPP): Puntos canjeables por torneos y artículos de la tienda PS. Freerolls semanales de $2000

Nuestra valoración

· Software 10
· Gráficos 10
· Atención al cliente 7
· Nivel de los jugadores 9
· Tráfico en cash games 10
· Tráfico en torneso 10
· Promoción bienvenida 4
· Promoción fidelización 7
· Opciones depósito/retiro 9


· Software en castellano
· Sitio web en castellano
· Atención en castellano
· Opción multimesa
· Mesas ajustables
· Estadísticas en vivo
· Historial de manos
· Mesas privadas
· Notas de oponentes
· Busqueda de jugador
· Transferencias internas
· Baraja de cuatro colores
· Avatares
· Vista 3D
· Compatible con Poker Tracker
· Compatible con Poker Office
· Compatible con MAC
· Compatible con Linux
· Jugadores americanos

Opciones de depósito:

VISA, MasterCard, NETeller, Fire pay, centracoin, ukash, paysafecard, Western Union.

Opciones de retiro:

VISA, MasterCard, NETeller, Fire pay, centracoin, ukash, paysafecard, Western Union.


Email: Sí, Teléfono: No, Chat: No

Juegos: Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, H.O.R.S.E., H.O.S.E, 2-7 Triple Draw, Five-Card Draw, Five Card Omaha, Courchevel and Razz
Límites en cash games Texas Hold´em

– Limit: Desde 0.2-0.4$ hasta 1.000-2.000$.
– NO Limit / Pot Limit: Desde 0.01-0.02$ hasta 200-400$

6 New Jersey Casinos Approved for Online Gambling


New Jersey today approved online betting at half a dozen local casinos.
Just days after the state completed its “soft play” testing, the Division of Gaming Enforcement gave the OK to six of the seven casinos that hold Internet gambling permits.
Each location was put through a five-day test to prove that its technology is up to snuff and ready for an entire state to log on and begin throwing their money around.
“At this point in time, the casinos are trying to gear up for larger play in the state,” division director David Rebuck told The Washington Post.
Casinos that passed include the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Tropicana Casino and Resort, Trump Plaza Associates, Trump Taj Mahal Associates, and Caesars Interactive Entertainment affiliates Bally’s Park Place and the Boardwalk Regency Corporation.
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City, however, was held back, and will need to continue its testing before being cleared for unrestricted play, according to the Post.
The setback isn’t a big deal for the casino, which is waiting another week to launch. “It is more important to be among the best” than the first, a company spokesman told the newspaper.
Though Rebuck did not specify why The Golden Nugget initially failed, he admitted that the test period exploited geolocation software problems that incorrectly placed many users outside of the New Jersey borders, therefore locking them out of the online games. Each casino is independently responsible for fixing those issues.
Free of restrictions that limit the number of players, there is no word on how many users are expected to sign in at a time. Rebuck revealed, however, that the five-day test period quickly surpassed 10,000 people.
New Jersey joins Nevada and Delaware as states that have greenlit Web-based gambling.

Promotion: Defeat New Tipster in Town in a heads up match and win 100 dollars in Pokerstars


To win the chance to play this NLHE heads up match you just have to make a coment in this post with your pokerstars nickname. Then we will ask different questions in new posts in the next days, the first to answer three correctly wins, is that simple!

*we recommend suscribing to this blog so you get an instant notification of the questions posted.

*answer the questions in the comments with the same nickname and email (this of course will be kept private) that you state in this post, so we now youre the same person an we can contact you, good luck and have fun!

LAPT Gran Final Uruguay: Ni la niebla impide un final feliz

Punta del Este recibe al Latin American Poker Tour con una ligera niebla, algo anormal en el comienzo de verano en esta parte del continente. Pero eso no es impedimento para que todos los jugadores se acerquen a la última parada de la Sexta Temporada del Latin American Poker Tour en los salones del Mantra Resort, Spa y Casino.

En La Barra, localidad de Punta del Este, el escenario está listo, las luces están a punto, y las mesas están alineadas para un final espectacular de la sexta temporada de este tour. Los jugadores están migrando en vísperas de un gran premio, una exótica ubicación y la gloria de PokerStars.

Los competidores clasificados hasta ahora de Perú, Colombia, Brasil y Chile estarán representados mañana, pero también los harán Panamá, Costa Rica, México, Bolivia, Venezuela y Guatemala.

nacho barbero chip leader lapt brasil 6.jpg

Dos veces campeón del LAPT Nacho Barbero, uno de los muchos argentinos que cruza el Río de la Plata


Esos no son los orígenes más lejos. Las eliminatorias en PokerStars traerá jugadores tan lejanos como Noruega, Rusia, Rumania, Lituania y Nueva Zelanda. Si devin12, radicado en Tailandia, ha hecho la peregrinación, será un punto fino de interés durante la primera jornada.

“El LAPT es mi segunda familia”, dice David Carrión, presidente del LAPT, en un cartel de bienvenida. Y es que David y su equipo ha hecho crecer, durante estas tres temporadas bajo su mandato, al mejor tour de poker de la región. Y faltan muchas por venir David!

El Mantra es un complejo integral de hotel, spa y restaurante en el edificio. La primera prueba seráe alimentar a tal vez cuatrocientos cincuenta jugadores en el primer día. Esos son los números pronosticados por los organizadores. Sería el mayor número de jugadores en un LAPT con un buy-in de $ 2,500 USD. El LAPT Uruguay, de la cuarta temporada, obtuvo 422 jugadores.

LAPT PUNTA DEL ESTE SEASON 3  0004-thumb-450x300-210331.jpg

El Mantra Resort


No se pierdan la competencia por el Jugador del Año del LAPT que está demasiado emocionante.Leo Fernández es el líder de la tabla, pero jugadores muy importantes incluyendo a los Team Pros Nacho Barbero y Christian de Leon se le acercan peligrosamente, y estarán tratando de ganar en los torneos de esta semana.

Este es el ranking actualizado de los primeros 10 jugadores:

Pos Jugador Puntos

1 Leonardo Fernandez 1,840

2 Amos Ben Haim 1,775

3 Rafael Guillermo Pardo Gonzalez 1,550

4 Marco Antonio Pessoa De Oliveira Filho 1,370

5 Julian Pineda 1,300

6 Miguel Velasco 1,250

6 Pablo Alexander Tavitian 1,250

8 Christian De Leon Angeles 1,245

9 Mayu Roca Uribe 1,170

10 Jose Barbero 1,120


Como siempre este blog en conjunto con Código Poker, les llevará todas las incidencias de las mejores manos y jugadas desde hoy y hasta el domingo. Solamente sigue este enlace.

El sábado y el domingo, tendremos la transmisión en vivo, livestreaming, en español y por este mismo medio. Ese día les tendré el link correspondiente a la transmisión en español, si quieren ver el streaming en portugués, desde hoy y hasta el domingo, pueden visitar TV Poker Pro.

Nuestros amigos de Intellipoker en Español (www.intellipoker.es) se encuentran en los alrededores del salón y se encuentran dando clases en vivo durante estos días. Emanuel Marso, el “coach” de Intelli, dará clases maestras con jugadores profesionales, y algunas celebridades estos días. Dales una visita y mejora tu juego.

PERU 2013-intellipoker stand.jpg

Durante estos días, el argentino Carlos Monti, captura los momentos mas tensos y divertidos de muchos jugadores. Todas las fotos son del “El pescador” Monti, así que dale los créditos correspondientes.

por Reinaldo Venegas el 21 de Noviembre 2013 12:15 AM




It’s easy to look at the monopoly PokerStars seemingly has on the online poker world, but to their credit they tick all of the right boxes. They are one of the few online poker companies that recognize the importance of listening to their customers, a point that was stamped down hard when they created the European Players Council back in August 2012.

Six members of that council traveled to the Isle of Man in late October to sit down with Stars representatives in their semi annual player meeting, and the output of that meeting has been posted in the 2+2 Forum.

Of particular interest is the introduction of Zoom Heads-Up Cash Game tables that are going to be introduced in December as a method of combating the bum-hunting problem that has plagued online poker over the past few years.

The release of this Speedy Gonzalez form of poker coincides with the release of a native Full Tilt Poker (FTP) Rush Poker App to replace the HTML5 version that received so many critics when it was released in May 2013.

The roll out of a Native FTP Rush Poker App is a great example of little sister following the lead of her bigger brother, so what remains to be seen is when they are going to do the same thing when it comes to the formation of the Player Council.

Feedback on the 2+2 forum regarding the meeting was positive to the extent that it makes you wonder if it’s a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ they will roll out a similar players council for the site that needs one the most – Full Tilt Poker.

Here are the main bullet points taken from PokerStars rep Steve Day’s account of the meeting.

VIP Program

  • No changes will be made to the VIP program in Jan 2014, but they are not ruling out the potential to make changes later in the year.
  • They do not expect to see any additional value offered to Supernova+ players in the foreseeable future.

VIP Store

  • They are looking to improve variety in the electronics and books department of the store.
  • Also considering changing t-shirt design more frequently.

Ring Game Rake

  • PLO rake is too high/ PLO rake is unbeatable.
  • Stars have been discussing this issue with their players for over a year.
  • They have compared PLO rake with other games in at least three different ways. Each analysis leads to the same conclusion: PLO rake is not too high and the games are beatable for a healthy profit.
  • A promise to continue to listen to the player’s council, and share their analysis with them, but no change is intended. The review did identify rake discrepancies in other games where they will now be lowered or increased where applicable. No mention of which types of games this refers to.


  • These are tailored more to the recreational players, but there have been some exceptions for regulars such as Happy Hours and Battle of the Planets. They plan to add more promotions in 2014.


  • Acknowledging the ascent of mobile and the need to tailor software to that area.
  • Players were able to play on the PokerStars 7 software. Although no feedback given.
  • Anti rat holing functionality has been developed and tested. Planned to roll out later this month for at least one stakes.
  • They are to continue to improve their ability to prevent data mining of the site. They acknowledged this was the most effective method of preventing the sharing of hand histories in violation of their terms of service and the inappropriate public display of results based on data mined hands.
  • Automated deal making in tournaments. This will get a priority.
  • Open Face Chinese will not be coming to Stars. Programmers have already developed very sophisticated bots that perform at a very high level in this game of perfect information, making it a poor choice to add to our selection of games.

Ring Game Seating

  • Ring game seating is easily the largest player behavior problem we are currently facing. Unfortunately there is no easy solution.
  • Players want seating scripts banned. Although Stars agree that this is a problem they don’t feel banning it is the solution. Enforcement will be ineffective and may even negative side effects.
  • Getting rid of seat scripts will not stop bum hunting.
  • It’s better for poker, and for PokerStars, if the primary focus of successful players is on play at the tables, not lobby gamesmanship.
  • They recognized that the important skill of table selection is now damaging the game. But they don’t have a desirable solution yet.

Ring and SNG Offering

  • They plan to launch HU Zoom as an alternative to traditional HU cash tables.
  • They don’t want to offer too wide a variety of SNG games because of liquidity issues.

The next player meeting is scheduled to take place in April 2014 and PokerStars players should check the thread periodically as more and more council members attach their own meeting notes.

Link to the thread here.


Open Face Chinese Poker: The Next Big Variant?

Doyle Brunson once famously called No Limit Hold’em (NLHE) the Cadillac of Poker, then along came Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) and suddenly NLHE had no more oomph than a three wheel Robin Reliant.

Poker games are continually evolving, and that’s the one reason that the game as stood the test of time as the most popular card game in the world. The repeated speciation and divergence of poker has brought us to Open Face Chinese (OFC); but is it a fad, or does it have the power to outrun the Cadillac and Ferrari?

“When analyzing whether a new derivative of poker is going to be successful you have to look at the standing of the fish in the game,” said Bodo Sbrzesny before continuing, “There isn’t a future in a card game if the fish aren’t going to like it…so does the game make the fish happy?”

Sbrzesny makes an excellent point and to answer that point you have to take a journey to where the fish spawn –  the largest online poker rooms in the world.

PokerStars held their latest player council pow-wow on the Isle of Man recently and taking pride of place on the player’s agenda was the potential to introduce an OFC format into the common suite of games.

“Open Face Chinese will not be coming to Stars. Programmers have already developed very sophisticated bots that perform at a very high level in this game of perfect information, making it a poor choice to add to our selection of games.” Said PokerStars spokesman Steve Day

Now that’s not good news.

If PokerStars are not going to allow the game to be played then it’s difficult to see any other site choosing to buck the trend. If OFC is not going to make an appearance in the online realm then the opportunities for the fish to increase the liquidity of the game diminishes vastly.

But does this mean it’s relegated to the role of fad?

“I don’t think it’s a fad, but I don’t think it’ll ever be as popular as PLO or NLHE.” Said Dave Nicholson. “For me, the game is more ‘gambling’ than ‘poker’. You can definitely have an edge over someone, so it’s not pure gambling and it’s fair to say the opportunity for edges is a lot bigger in OFC than it is in regular 13 card Chinese.

“Chinese poker has been around for years. I think OFC will definitely replace regular Chinese, for the most part, but I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay.”

Nicholson believes it’s a game for gamblers and that’s the vibe that I get when I travel on the circuit. Another vibe I got was that it was a very quick and easy game. It would seem my attitude would make me a fish.

“I think it’s here to stay but growth is/will level off as there is way more strategy than there appears, so it takes a high level-thinking mind to really pick up. So it has appeal to masses but mastery is for a few.” Said Jason Wheeler from his smoking hut in Amsterdam.

“The way I see it the old version of Chinese poker is very limited as far as skill goes, whilst OFC requires a lot more thinking and therefore skill. It also kills the reason why I enjoyed old Chinese as a social game to play with friends. When you play OFC everyone is taking forever to make their decision, counting outs, analyzing your setup etc.” Said Martin Jacobson.

So we have a game that is going to attract the gambler and you can gain a big edge in it because it is also a complicated mathematical conundrum that can be solved by a bot. Now I understand why poker players love it so much. Jason Wheeler believes there is another key ingredient as to why OFC will be around for a long time.

“You can always modify the rules or add bonuses, etc. This means you can gamble, gamble, gamble.” Said Wheeler.

And boy can people gamble when they play OFC!

“I’ve heard stories of games in Macau where people are winning/losing 1-2m US$ in sessions of OFC. And in Vegas this year people were playing $3k/point (200 point swings – $600k – being reasonably common), so I think as far as spreading to the recreational gamblers it already has, and it won’t have a problem that way. I think PokerStars decision not to put it online is actually beneficial for  this environment.” Said Dave Nicholson.

With high stakes OFC side events being held at the European Poker Tour (EPT) and World Poker Tour (WPT), not to mention the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Carnivale of Poker successfully trialing an OFC side event in the summer, that will likely lead to the first WSOP OFC bracelet in 2014, all the signs lead to OFC becoming a prominent fixture in the game; but the lack of online exposure that NLHE and PLO can glean will hinder it progression into the top tier of poker games for now.

So fad or the next big thing?

The answer, as always in poker, is ‘it depends,’ or as Little Dave so eloquently puts it.

“OFC is a game that you can  play while chilling over a few beers with your friends, or you can go to Macau and play 50k HK$ a point.”

That doesn’t sound like a fad to me.


Optimal Postflop Play in NLHE 6-max – Part 5

1. Introduction
This is Part 5 of the article series “Optimal Postflop Play in NLHE 6-max” where we’ll study optimal strategies for heads-up postflop play in NLHE 6-max.

In Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 we discussed postflop play heads-up in position after flatting preflop. This is an important postflop scenario for us, since our preflop strategies include lots of flatting in position.

When we have position on the raiser it’s important that we defend enough postflop to prevent her from c-betting any two cards profitably on the flop. When we flat on the flop, we have to defend enough against her turn bets to prevent her from 2-barreling any two cards as a bluff, and the same goes for river play after we flat the turn. How often we defend on each street depends on the raiser’s bet sizing. The smaller she bets, the more hands we defend. This makes sens intuitively, since smaller bets means the raiser is getting a better prize on her bluffs (we should defend more), while we’re getting better pot-odds to continue (so more of our weak hands are getting the right prize to see the next street).

We have used the following standard bet sizes in the postflop articles:

– 0.75 x pot on the flop
– 0.75 x pot on the turn
– 0.60 x pot on the river.

If Alice raises preflop and Bob flats in position, Alice is getting pot-odds 1 : 0.75 on her flop and turn bets. She then automatically makes a profit if Bob folds more than 0.75/(1 + 0.75) =43% , so Bob has to defend at least 100 – 43 =57% against Alice’s c-bets and turn bets. On the river Alice’s pot-odds on a 0.6 x pot river bet are 1 : 0.60. She automatically makes a profit if Bob folds more than 0.6/(1 + 0.6) =38%, so Bob should defend the river at least 100 – 38 =62% to prevent this.

Bob’s total postflop strategy in position after flatting preflop is made up of of value raising, bluff raising and flatting on each street. But as we discussed in previous articles, it will be better for him to only defend by flatting on the driest flops (like 2 6 6 ) to prevent his flatting range from being weak and easy for Alice to read and play against on later streets.

Bob did not have this problem when flatting on coordinated flops (like J 9 3 ), since these flops hit his preflop flatting range much harder and gives him many strong hands/strong draws that he can raise for value. Furthermore, his flatting hands on this type of flop will often improve to strong hands on the turn. So Alice can’t assume Bob’s turn range is weak on a coordinated board, just because he flatted the flop. Therefore, it is on the dry flops that we often have scenarios where the raiser c-bets the flop, 2-barrels the turn, and 3-barrels the river, while the raiser is calling down in position with a weak range.

In these scenarios both players rarely have anything better than one pair. Forcing the other player to fold his weak one pair hands and good overcards is therefor an important value component in both players’ postflop strategies. For example, if the raiser c-bets A A on a Q 8 4 flop and the flatter folds 2 2 , the raiser has gained a lot.

The raiser out of position tries to achieve this by c-betting a lot as a bluff, and then sometimes bluffing again on the turn when called, and again on the river when called on the turn. And the player in position tries to win pots by calling down a lot with his one pair hands, but also sometimes floating with very weak hands, planning to bluff with these hands if the raiser checks and gives up on a later street.

We define a float as a call done either with a weak hand that can’t win a showdown unimproved (so we plan to often bluff on later streets if we get the chance) or a hand with mediocre showdown value that we are hoping to take cheaply to showdown (but we are too weak to call down if the raiser bets all 3 streets). Using this definition, calling with both T 9 and 2:heart: 2:spade: on a Q 8 4 flop would be floats.

In previous articles we have studies Bob’s strategies in position. In this article we’ll turn the tables and study Alice’s strategies out of position. We’ll start with the following model:

– Both players begin with 100 bb stacks
– Alice openraises preflop and Bob flats in position
– Alice c-bets her entire preflop range on the flop

This creates a turn/river dynamic between the two players those times Bob calls the flop. In this article we’ll only look at dry flops, since this lets us use two simplifying assumptions:

1. Alice begins by c-betting her entire preflop range (reasonable, since Bob’s preflop flatting range will be weak on dry flops)
2. Bob never raises the flop (reasonable, since it makes sense for him to slowplay his best hands on dry flops for reasons previously discussed)

Whether or non Alice should c-bet her entire range on dry flops is not something we’ll discuss here, but it is reasonable on dry flops. We’ll use this as an assumption in our model, since it can never be a big mistakes when we are heads-up against a preflop flatter that will often have missed a dry flop. Furthermore, we’ll limit our discussion to scenarios where Bob never has a hand strong enough to raise for value on any street. This puts him in a situation where he is either calling or folding on each street. This creates a postflop dynamic where:

– Bob needs to defend enough against Alice’s barreling on all 3 streets
– Alice needs to defend enough against Bob’s floats on the flop and turn

Bob’s task is to prevent Alice from having an automatically profitable bet/bet/bet strategy (3-barreling) with any two cards. Alice’s task is to prevent Bob from having an automatically profitable float with weak hands on the flop and turn.

Bob starts by calling Alice’s c-bet with many medium/weak hands that are not strong enough to call down. Alice’s job on the turn and river is then to play these streets in such a way that Bob can’t call the flop or turn with any two cards and make a profit. For example, if Alice c-bets 100% of her range on the flop, but then check-folds 2/3 of her range on the turn without ever check-calling or check-raising, Bob can call her c-bet with any two cards, planning to auto-bet the turn as a pure bluff those times Alice checks and gives up.

If Bob can call a flop c-bet with automatic profit with a hand as weak as 2 2 on a J T 4 flop, Alice is probably doing something wrong on the turn and river. Note that when Alice checks the turn and gives up after getting floated on the flop, she has in reality lost the hand. If Bob has floated with a worthless hand, he will now bet and Alice will fold. If he has a hand with weak showdown value, as in the 2 2 hand above, he can choose between betting it as a bluff or checking it to showdown (we’re assuming Alice isn’t planning to bluff the river when the turn goes check-check). If the hand get checked down, Bob will usually win, since Alice on average will have few outs those times she checks and gives up on the turn.

At any rate, Alice can not allow Bob to sit behind her and call c-bet and turn bets profitably with any two cards, so she has to make sure she defends her betting range on the current street by not giving up too easily on the next street after getting called. In this article we’ll show how Alice can build turn and river strategies, based on pot-odds and simple theory, that prevents a player in position from floating her with any two cards on the turn or river.

Alice does this by betting, check-calling and check-raising enough on the next street after betting the current street and getting called. This prevents the player in position from getting enough profitable bluffing opportunities, or opportunities to get cheaply to showdown with weak hands that have some showdown value. Precisely how often Alice needs to continue on the next street after betting the current street and getting called is something we can estimate using mathematics and simple assumptions.

We’ll use theory borrowed from Matthew Janda’s excellent game theory videos at /Cardrunners.com. Then we adapt this theory to the “model game” we have designed throughout the NLHE preflop article series and this NLHE postflop article series. We’ll use our default preflop “core ranges” as a starting point for out postflop ranges.

Before we begin building Alice’s postflop strategy, we’ll warm up by verifying that Bob’s calling strategy in position (discussed in Parts 1-4 in this article series) does what it was designed to do, namely prevent Alice from c-betting/2-barreling/3-barreling profitably with any two cards those times Bob doesn’t have a hand strong enough to raise for value on any street.

2. How Bob’s calldown strategies makes Alice’s any-two-cards bluffs break even
Let’s quickly repeat an example from Part 4 where Alice c-bets the flop, 2-barrels the turn, and 3-barrels the river. We’re only looking at the region of possible outcomes where Bob only has a calling hand on each street.

Alice (100 bb) raises her default ~25% range from CO, Bob (100 bb) flats on the button with his standard flatting range in position (“IP flat list”):

IP flat list after a ~25% CO openraise

KTs+ KQo

140 combos

The flop comes:

Bob’s preflop flatting range of 140 combos was reduced to 130 combos on this flop (card removal effects):

Bob then had to defend 57% against Alice’s c-bets on the flop, which is 0.57 x 130 =74 combos. We estimated Bob’s optimal flop strategy as:

  • Raise for value
  • Flat
    {88,55,33,JJ,TT,99,77,66,44,AQ,AJ} =77 combos
  • Bluffraise

Bob slowplayed all his strong hands on this very dry flop, and the reasons for this choice were discussed previously. Then the turn came:

The flop flatting range of 77 combos was reduced to 73 combos, given this turn card:

Again, Bob has to defend 57% of his range, which is 0.57 x 73 =42 combos. On the turn he will use a raising range of strong hands (some slowplayed monsters from the flop) and he balances this with bluffs in a 1 : 1 value/bluff ratio. The rest of the defense is done by flatting. We estimated his optimal turn strategy to be:

  • Raise for value
    {88,55,33} =9 combos
  • Flat
    {AQ,JJ,TT} =24 combos
  • Bluffraise
    {AJs,9 9 ,9 9 ,9 9 ,9 9 ,9 9 } =9 combos

we then moved on to playing the river after Bob had flatted the turn:

The river card had no effect on Bob’s range, and his 24 turn flatting combos were intact on the river:

Bob then had 24 combos in his river range, and he had to defend them optimally against Alice’s 0.60 x pot river bet. As calculated previously, Bob then has to defend 62% of his range to prevent Alice from bluffing profitably with any two cards. He has no hands strong enough to raise for value (he only has one pair hands to use as bluffcatchers), so he needs to defend 0.62 x 24 =15 combos by flatting them. We estimated Bob’s optimal river strategy to be:

  • Raise for value
  • Flat
    {AQ,J J , J J , J J } =15 combos
  • Bluffraise

What generally happens from street to street those times Bob finds himself inn a call-down process (those times he has medium/weak hands) on a dry flop texture is that he begins by flatting the flop with a wide range of almost any pair plus his best overcard hands. The overcard hands are floats that he doesn’t plan to call down with, but he has to call the flop with them in order to defend enough. Then he typically drops his overcards and lowest pairs to a turn bet when Alice bets again. And finally, he calls a 3rd bet with his best pairs on the river and folds his lowest pairs.

This makes sense intuitively, since Bob needs to balance two factors:

– He has to prevent Alice from often bluffing him out of the pot with any two cards
– But he has to avoid paying off her better hands too often

The optimal call-down strategy outlined above makes sure Bob isn’t giving Alice a big opening for bluffing profitably with any two cards on any street. He calls down enough to prevent this, but he also folds enough to prevent Alice’s strong hands from extracting a lot of value from his bluffcatchers.

We’ll now use mathematics to show that Bob’s optimal call-down strategy prevents Alice from running a profitable any-two-cards bluff against him. We’ll assume that:

– Bob has a bluffcatcher that always beats Alice’s bluffs
– Alice has a pure bluff that never draws out on Bob’s hand
– Alice decides to run a 3-barrel bluff with her worthless hand
– Bob calls down optimally

Bob’s defense on the flop
Let the pot size on the flop be P. Alice now c-bets 0.75P with her worthless hand. Bob calls 57% of the time with his bluffcatcher (he can use a randomizer to determine when he calls and when he folds) and folds 43% of the time. Those times he calls, the pot grows from P to P + 0.75P + 0.75P =2.5P. Both players have now put 0.75P into the pot postflop.

– % Bob folds the flop: 43%
– Alice’s profit when Bob folds the flop: P

Alice wins the flop pot when Bob folds.

Bob’s defense on the turn
The pot is 2.5P on the turn. Alice now 2-barrels 0.75x pot with her worthless hand. Bob calls 57% and folds 43% to this turn bet. When he calls, the pot again grows with a factor 2.5 and becomes 2.5 x 2.5 x P =6.25P. Both players have now put (6.25P – P)/2 =2.625P into the pot postflop.

– % Bob calls the flop and folds the turn: 0.57×0.43 =25%
– Alice’s profit when Bob folds the turn: P + 0.75P =1.75P

Alice wins the flop pot + Bob’s flop call when Bob calls the flop and folds the turn.

Bob’s defense on the river
The pot is 6.25P on the river. Alice now 3-barrels 0.60 x pot with her worthless hand. Bob calls (and wins against Alice’s bluff) 62% and folds 38%. When he calls, the pot grows from 6.25P to 6.25P + 2 x 0.6 x 6.25P =13.75P. Both players have now put (13.75P – P)/2 =6.375P into the pot postflop.

– % Bob calls flop and turn, and the folds river: 0.57×0.57×0.38 =12%
– Alice’s profit when Bob folds the river: P + 2.625P =3.625P

Alice wins the flop pot + Bob’s flop call + Bob’s turn call when Bob calls the flop + turn, and then folds the river.

– % Bob calls the flop + turn, and then folds river: 0.57×0.57×0.62 =20%
– Alice’s loss when Bob calls down: -6.375P

Alice loses her flop c-bet + turn bet + river bet when Bob calls down.

Total EV for Alice’s 3-barrel bluff
Below is a summary of all the possible outcomes, with Alice’s profit/loss for each of then in parentheses:

  • Bob folds flop: 43% (P)
  • Bob calls flop/folds turn: 25% (1.75P)
  • Bob calls flop/calls turn/folds river: 12% (3.625P)
  • Bob calls flop/calls turn/calls river: 20% (-6.375P)
  • Total: 100%


EV (3-barrel bluff)
=0.43(P) + 0.25(1.75P) + 0.12(3.625P) + 0.20(-6.375P)

Bingo! Alice’s 3-barrel bluff project is exactly break even when Bob sits behind her with a bluffcatcher and calls down optimally. His call/fold percentages on each street are functions of Alice’s bet sizes on each street. If Alice had changed her bet sizes, Bob would have adjusted his call/fold percentages correspondingly (smaller bets =Bob calls more, bigger bets =Bob folds more). For example if Alice had bet the pot on each street, Bob would have called 50% and folded 50% on each street (since Alice’s pot-odds on a bluff are now 1 : 1 on each street). You can easily verify that Alice’s 3-barrel bluff EV would have been zero with this bet sizing scheme as well.

This verifies that when Bob is inn a call/fold scenario that stretches over multiple streets, his optimal postflop strategies will prevent Alice from running a profitable any-two-cards 3-barrel bluff against him. So Alice can’t exploit Bob by bluffing aggressively, but note that Bob isn’t doing anything to exploit Alice’s bluffing either.

To exploit Alice’s any-two-cards bluffing strategy (if she is in fact using such a strategy) Bob needs to call down more than optimally to exploit the opening Alice is offering him. For example, he can choose to call down 100% with his bluffcatcher if he believes that Alice is betting 100% of her range on every street in an attempt to bluff him off his weak hands.

This should be profitable for him, since there should be many more bluffs than value hands in Alice’s range on a dry flop. However, by doing so he is offering Alice an opening for exploiting him back by stopping to bluff and only betting her value hands. But Bob can always return to the optimal call-down strategy if he isn’t sure whether or not Alice is bluffing way too much, or if he suspects she will quickly adjust to his attempts to exploit her bluffing.

Now we have warmed up, and we move on to the main topic for this article:

3. Optimal 2- and 3-barreling heads-up and out of position
We’ll now look at the scenario where:

– Both players start with 100 bb stacks
– Alice raises preflop and Bob flats in position
– Alice c-bets her entire preflop range on a dry flop, and Bob flats
– Alice then uses a turn/river barreling strategy designed to prevent Bob from floating profitably with any two cards on the turn or river

We’ll do this in to steps:

1. Study a simple mathematical model
2. Implement the theory working through an example

3.1 Modeling barreling out of position
First, let’s define barreling. This is simply to keep betting on the next street after you have bet the current street and gotten called (and it doesn’t matter whether you’re weak or strong). So if Alice raises preflop, c-bets the flop, and then bets the turn, she has done a 2-barrel. If she also bets the river after getting called on the turn, she has done a 3-barrel.

When Alice is out of position versus Bob, c-bets the flop and gets called, it’s important for her to have a balanced strategy for turn play in order to prevent Bob from exploiting her by floating with any two cards on the flop (planning to steal the pot on later streets). If Alice checks and gives up on too many turns, it will be profitable for Bob to call her c-bet regardless of what he has, planning to auto-bluff the turn when checked to (for example if he floated the flop with a gutshot straight or overcards), or planning to check down a hand with marginal showdown value (for example, if he floated the flop with a low pair).

Alice can counter Bob’s floating strategy with random weak hands by 2-barreling enough on the turn and we’ll see how often she needs to do that in a minute). But Alice can’t only defend her flop betting range by 2-barreling, since this makes her turn checking range transparent and easy to exploit (since Bob then knows that Alice is always weak when she checks). So Alice needs to mix in some check-calling and check-raising on the turn as well.

The same logic applies to river play after Bob flats Alice’s turn bet. She has to 3-barrel/check-call/check-raise enough to prevent Bob from floating the turn with any two cards, planning to steal the pot on the river, or win a showdown with a weak hand that has showdown value (but not strong enough to call both the turn and the river.

We’ll use a simple model and a bit of math to estimate how often Alice needs to defend on the next street after betting the current street and getting called. We use our standard postflop bet sizing scheme:

– 0.75 x pot on the flop
– 0.75 x pot on the turn
– 0.60 x pot on the river.

When Alice c-bets 0.75 x pot on the flop, Bob is getting pot-odds (1 + 0.75) : 0.75 =1.75 : 0.75 on a call. If Alice never check-raises or check-calls the turn, Bob can float a random weak hand with automatic profit if Alice checks and gives up more than 0.75/(1.75 + 0.75) =30% on the turn. Therefore, if Alice defends against Bob’s flop floats by only 2-barreling, she needs to 2-barrel 100 – 30 =70% of her flop betting range on the turn. We can express this as:


This is a mathematically acceptable defense strategy against flop floats, but Alice can make things easier for herself by also check-calling and check-raising some on the turn. This makes it more expensive on average for Bob to steal the pot (which means Alice can get away with less 2-barreling). It also makes Alice’s turn checking range much harder to read, since she isn’t always ready to give up the pot when she checks.

Those times Alice 2-barrels the turn and Bob folds his random flop float, his loss is limited to his flop call of 0.75 x flop-pot. Now, assume Bob always bets his floats as a turn bluff when Alice checks to him. His plan is to fold to a turn checkraise, and give up his steal attempt if Alice check-calls Bob is then prepared to check down the hand and lose a showdown). Bob’s turn bet is 0.75 x turn-pot, and the turn-pot is 1 + 0.75 + 0.75 =2.5 x flop-pot. Bob then invests 0.75 x 2.5 =1.875 x flop-pot with his turn bluff.

Then his total risk for trying to steal the pot with a flop float + turn bluff is (0.75 + 1.875) =2.625 x flop-pot. When Alice check-calls or check-raises the turn, Bob’s expense is then 2.625/0.75 =3.5 x higher than when Alice 3-bets (so that Bob only loses his flop call of 0.75 x flop-pot).

To make Bob’s steal attempt break even, the following equation needs to be satisfied:

2-barrel%(-0.75P) + check-continue%(-2.625P)
+ (100 - 2-barrel% - check-continue%)(+1.75P) =0

In words:

The amount Bob loses by floating the flop and getting 2-barreled (-0.75P each time), plus the amount he loses by floating the flop and getting his turn bluff check-called or check-raised, plus the amount he makes when his turn bluff succeeds, should sum to zero. That makes his float flop + bluff turn strategy break even, which is what Alice’s wants her turn strategy to do for her.

We simplify this equation to get:

2-barrel%(-0.75P) + check-continue%(-2.625P)
+ 175P - 2-barrel%(1.75P) - check-continue(1.75P) =0
2-barrel%(-0.75P - 1.75P)
+ check-continue%(-2.625P - 1.75P) + 175P =0
-2.5P x 2-barrel% - 4.375P x check-continue% + 175P =0
2.5P x 2-barrel% + 4.375P x check-continue% =175P
P x 2-barrel% + 1.75P x check-continue% =70P

And the above equation for Alice’s turn defense strategy against flop floats can be generalized to:

2-barrel% + 1.75 x check-continue% =70%

The term check-continue is the label we use for all of Alice’s check-calling and check-raising. We have here assumed that Bob always loses the hand when he bets the turn and Alice doesn’t fold. Note that we are ignoring the equity of Bob’s hand, and we assume that he never wins a showdown after Alice check-calls the turn. Bob is always behind when this happens, he never improves to the best hand on the river, and he never bluffs the river. These are simplifying assumptions, but this is fine when we’re modeling a situation. Also, keep in mind that sometimes Alice bets or check-calls the worst hand, and then she draws out on the river. So as a first approximation we can assume that these two effects cancel out.

We’ll now put the above equation to work by studying an example scenario heads-up with the raiser out of position on a dry flop. On these flops we’ll often get a call-down scenario where the raiser c-bets any two cards on the flop, and then the preflop flatter sits in position with a medium/weak range of mostly one pair hands and overcards. usually the caller is not strong enough to raise anywhere along the way, so he will often be faced with a call/fold decision on every street those times the raiser fires multiple barrels.

What typically happens when two good, thinking players clash in this type of scenario is that both will be playing wide ranges on the flop (the raiser c-bets a lot and the player in position flats a lot). Then both players drop many (but not all) of their bluffs, floats and weak one pair hands on the turn, and then again on the river. And both players are trying to prevent the other player from bluff-barreling/floating profitably with any two cards on any street.

3.2 Example of optimal c-betting/2-barreling/3-barreling heads-up and out of position on a dry flop
Alice raises her default ~15% opening range from UTG:

~15% UTG-range

A9s+ AJo+
KTs+ KQo

194 combos

Bob flats on the button. At this moment we’re not particularly concerned with Bob’s flatting range or postflop strategy, but we can assume he uses his standard flatting range outside of the blinds (“IP flat list”):

IP flat list after ~15% EP openraise

KTs+ KQo

162 combos

The flop comes:

We’ll now focus on Alice’s postflop strategy from street to street. She begins by c-betting her entire preflop range on this dry, low flop, since it mostly misses Bob’s preflop flatting range, and she expects him to fold a lot. We don’t know what Bob has, but we can assume his range is weak. Alice must now have a strategy ready for the turn, so that Bob can’t exploit her by floating the c-bet with any two cards.

We saw previously that Alice can achieve this by 2-barreling, check-calling and check-raising the turn so that the following equation is satisfied:

2-barrel% + 1.75 x check-continue% =70%

The turn comes

Before Alice builds a turn strategy, we take card removal effects into consideration and count the number of combos in her turn range, given the cards on the board. Since she c-bet her entire preflop range on the flop, her turn range equals her preflop range minus the combos that are eliminated due to card removal effects:

There are 168 combos remaining in Alice’s range. If she only 2-barrels and never check-calls or check-folds, she needs to bet 70% of these combos, which is 0.70 x 168 =118 combos. If she also check-calls and check-raises, we can rewrite the defense equation as:

2-barrel-combos + 1.75 x check-continue-combos =118

Alice now uses a turn strategy where she:

– Check-raises a few of her best hands
– Bets the rest of her best hands for value
– Check-calls with some medium strong hands
– Balances her value bets with some bluffs in a 1 : 1 ratio
– Check-folds the rest of her hands

Here we’ll not go into detail about which hands are good enough to check-raise, value bet or check-call, and we’ll use good poker sense when putting hands into different categories. Furthermore, we haven’t shown mathematically that 1 : 1 is the best value/bluff ratio to use for Alice’s 2-barrels, but we’ll assume this is reasonable (and it’s easy to remember).

Let’s estimate a reasonable total turn strategy for Alice and check whether or not this gives her enough protection against floats according to the defense equation:

  • Check-raise:
    {JJ} =3 combos
    Value bet:
    {99,66,33,J9s,AA-QQ,AJ} =41 combos
  • Check-call
    {KJs,QJs,JTs,TT,A9s} =18 combos
    {QTs,AK,AQ,KQs} =40 combos

So Alice 2-barrels 41 + 40 =81 combos using an approximate 1 : 1 value/bluff ration, and she check-calls/check-raises 3 + 18 =21 combos. She makes things simple and choose top pair/top kicker or better as her value hands, check-calls with the remaining top pair hands + the best of the lower pairs, and bluffs with an open-ended straight draw and the best overcard hands.

The defense equation gives:

2-barrel-combos + 1.75 x check-continue-combos
=81 + 1.75 x 21
=118 (optimal =118)

Our estimate of Alice’s turn strategy satisfies the defense equation exactly. Now we can go back to our ranges and do some polish if we want to, particularly for the hands in between the obvious check-calling hands and the “air hands” (our 2-barrel bluffs). For example, we chose to check-fold T9s since we had enough better one pair hands to use for check-calling, and we preferred to bluff with draws and overcards, since these on average have more outs than marginal one pair hand.

Here it’s important to note that T9s will win some showdowns, since Bob will sometimes check the turn and give up. So check-folding these marginal one pair hands does not automatically mean they lose, since the player in position will sometimes be willing to check down weaker hands. And of the turn and river goes check-check we’d rather have T9s than two overcards. So it makes more sense to check turns with our weakest one pair hands, instead of turning them into bluffs. And then we pick our bluffs from hands that can’t win showdowns unimproved.

At any rate, when we’re building a mathematically sound total turn strategy this type of marginal decision making is not very important. For the moment we’re only concerned with building a reasonable turn strategy for Alice, and then we can polish it later.

Now we let Alice bet her turn 2-barrel range, which is a 1 : 1 mix of value hands and bluffs (note that top set JJ is not a part of our range, since we put it in our turn check-raising range):

  • Value bet:
    {99,66,33,J9s,AA-QQ,AJ} =41 combos
  • Bluff:
    {QTs,AK,AQ,KQs} =40 combos

Bob calls turn turn bet, and the river comes:

Alice’s 2-barrel-range of 40 + 41 =81 combos is unaffected by this river card, and she still has 81 combos on the river:

We remember that Alice’s bet sizing is 0.60 x pot on the river. Now there aren’t any more cards to come that can change hand strength, and only one round of betting remains. we can now calculate the exact optimal value/bluff ratio for Alice’s 3-barrels. When she bets 0.6 x pot, Bob is getting pot-odds (1 + 0.60) : 0.60 =1.60 : 0.6. Alice now wants to bluff exactly so often than Bob becomes indifferent to calling or folding with his bluffcatchers (those of his hands that can only win if Alice is bluffing, for example a marginal one pair hand).

The logic behind this is that if Alice bluffs less, Bob can exploit her by always folding his bluffcatcher and save money (since he isn’t getting the right pot-odds to call). But if she bluffs more than optimally, relative to her bet sizing, Bob can exploit her by calling with even more bluff catchers (since he is getting better pot odds than he needs), and Alice now loses money.

Therefore, Alice wants to bluff just enough to make Bob’s EV zero when he calls with a bluffcatcher. Then she has a guaranteed minimum profit from betting the river. If Bob tries to save chips by not paying off with his bluffcatchers, Alice will steal some pots with her bluffs. If he tries to snap off a possible bluff by calling with all his bluffcatchers, he will mostly be paying off Alice’s value hands.

Alice now makes her value/bluff ratio for the 3-barrel equal to the pot-odds Bob is getting, namely 1.60 : 0.60. Alice then bluffs 0.60/(1.60 + 0.60) =27% of the time and value bets 100 – 27 =73% of the time. She then needs 27/73 =0.37 bluff combos per value combo.

In addition to the requirement of optimal value betting/bluffing on the river, Alice needs to 3-barrel/check-raise/check-call the river so that:

3-barrel% + 1.75 x check-continue% =70%

This follows from her 0.75 x pot turn bet, which gives us the same mathematics as her 0.75 x pot flop bet, and the same defense equation (she has to play the river in such a way that Bob can’t flop her turn bet with any two cards). Alice’s 2-barrel-range on the turn had 81 combos and she still has 81 combos on the river. 70% of this is 0.70 x 81 =57 combos. The defense equation can be written as:

3-barrel-combos + 1.75 x check-continue-combos =57

The range Alice brought with her from the turn to the river after c-betting and 2-barreling is {99,66,33,J9s,AA-QQ,AJ} + {QTs,AK,AQ,KQs} =40 + 41 =81 combos. Below is a suggestion for a total river strategy that satisfies the defense equation and also has the optimal value/bluff ratio for her river 3-barreling range:

  • Check-raise:
    {99} =3 combos
    Value bet:
    {66,33,J9s,AA-QQ} =26 combos
  • Check-call:
    {AJ} =12 combos
    {10 AK-combos} =10 combos

Alice check-raises one of her sets and value bets all other sets, two pair and overpairs. She check-calls top pair/top kicker, and bluffs with 10 of the 16 AK combos (for example all AKs and the 6 remaining A Kx and A Kx). She 3-barrels a total of 26 + 10 =36 combos with a bluff% of 10/(26 + 10) =28% (close to the optimal 27%), and she check-calls/check-raises 3 + 12 =15 combos.

We plug these numbers into the defense equation and get:

3-barrel-combos + 1.75 x check-continue-combos
=36 + 1.75 x 15
=62 (optimal =57)

We see that it’s easy for Alice to defend enough on this river when she starts out with a strong UTG range preflop and then gets called on the flop and turn on a dry board. She has enough sets and overpairs in her barreling range to comfortably get to showdown with only top pair or better, without giving Bob any opportunities to float her profitably with any two cards anywhere along the way. Note that Alice does not need to make crying check-calls on the river to defend optimally. But as we shall see in the next article, Alice’s opening range is an important factor. The tighter her opening range, the more of our range will be made up of top pair or better postflop, and the easier it becomes to defend optimally out of position.

For example, had we opened our default 25% range from CO and gotten the same flop, we would have had a much larger percentage of worthless hands in our postflop range after c-betting our entire range on the flop. Compared to a 15% UTG open range we would now be forced to defend with a much weaker range on the turn to satisfy the defense requirement of 70% 2-barreling (or the equivalent amount of 2-barreling, check-calling and check-raising, according to the defense equation). We would have carried this problem with us to the river, and we would have to defend a weaker range there as well. We’ll talk more about this in Part 6.

So what can we learn from the work done in this article? For example, we see that out one pair hands drop steadily in value from flop –> turn –> river. At the river top pair/top kicker became a check-calling hand in this example. Further more, all worse one pair hands (if we had had any) would have been put in the check-folding range, since we don’t need to check-call these hands to satisfy the defense equation.

Does all this make sense intuitively? Yes, since we can’t expect to win many pots by betting or check-calling a mediocre one pair hand after we have bet for value on the flop and turn and gotten called twice on a dry board. Villain will often have a better hand, and we will pay off a lot if we insist on taking all our mediocre one pair hands to showdown.

So the ranges we build based on pot-odds, mathematics and principles from game theory correlate well with our intuitive understanding of the situation. But of course, if you’re at the river in such a scenario and you expect Villain to bluff enough to make check-calling profitable with a mediocre one pair hand, by all means go ahead and check-call. The main point of the optimal strategy is that it gives us a good starting point for playing correctly.

If we follow the optimal strategy, Villain can’t exploit us by loose floating, that’s the big picture idea here. If we have additional information that tells us he is likely to bluff way too much if we check the river, we can exploit him by check-calling more than optimally.

Therefore, if the strategies above seem to loose or too tight to use as a default at the limits you are playing, you can view this as a sign that you usually have additional information that allows you to build exploitative strategies that are better than the optimal default strategy. But you will still benefit from training a good understanding of what the optimal strategies look like, so that you know where to start when you adjust to individual opponents’ mistakes. You will also have a solid default strategy to use against unknown players.

4. Summary
In this article we moved from postflop play heads-up in position after flatting preflop to postflop play out of position as the preflop raiser. We used simple mathematics and modeling to estimate an optimal c-bet/2-barrel/3-barrel strategy for the raiser.

We assumed that the raiser began postflop play by c-betting her entire preflop raising range on a dry flop texture, and the player in position called. On the turn and river the raiser used strategies that prevented the player in position from floating the flop or the turn profitably with any two cards- The raiser did this by barreling/check-calling/check-raising enough to make it mathematically impossible for the player in position to make a profit from floating a street with a weak hand, planning to bluff or sneak cheaply to showdown when the raiser checks the next street. We worked thoroughly through an example to illustrate how the theory can be implemented at the table.

In the next article we’ll continue with this topic. Some of the things we’ll talk about are:

  • More about the consequences of choosing to bet a street
  • Show mathematically that the raiser’s optimal turn/river strategies defends her against any-two-cards floating
  • Study the effect of the raise’s opening range on her postflop strategies

The plan for the rest of the article series is to move on from heads-up play in singly raised pots to heads-up play in 3-bet pots (which new players tend to find difficult). But before we move on to 3-bet pots we will gain a lot of insight from studying play in singly raised pots both as the raiser out of position and the flatter in position. The mathematics and models we use will come in handy when we learn about play in 3-bet pots later.

Good luck!
Bugs – See more at: http://en.donkr.com/Articles/optimal-postflop-play-in-nlhe-6-max—part-5-821#sthash.0OkTQEBC.dpuf

Top Players: Patrick Antonius


Es el jugador europeo con mayores ganancias en el poker online y dominó las mesas de cash, especialmente en Omaha, durante años. Patrik Antonius ha tenido la carrera soñada que, sin embargo, no parece que vaya a extinguirse pronto.

Patrik Antonius es una de las leyendas del poker online. Pero hubo un tiempo en que no lo conocía casi nadie y él tampoco sabía que jugadores se escondían detrás de cada nick. Pero eso no le importaba: jugaba contra todos pues estaba seguro que tenía ventaja. Por ello, a mediados de 2005, no sabía que su rival en varias partidas de Limit Holdem con ciegas $500/$1.000 era Daniel Negreanu. Tampoco le importaba saberlo: lo único que le interesaba es que había alguien que estaba dispuesto a jugar contra él por cientos de miles de dólares.

Antonius descubrió quién era su rival durante la primera sesión pero eso no le impidió seguir jugando. Después de un par de días tenía ya beneficios por $400.000 dólares y la satisfacción de saber que Negreanu, según había confesado, sólo seguía jugando contra él porque estaba aprendiendo muchísimo durante la partida. Eran clases caras pero valiosas.

La carrera pokeril del finlandés es envidiable: desde que descubrió el poker a los quince años se ha dedicado a destrozar las mesas y es uno de los jugadores más exitosos de la actualidad. En torneos en vivo ha ganado más de seis millones de dólares mientras que en Full Tilt Poker, sala que representó durante muchos años, es el segundo jugador con más ganancias en la historia: casi quince millones se ha embolsado desde el 2005 aproximadamente.

1. De las canchas a las mesas

Patrik Antonius nació en 1980 en Helsinki y, contrario a lo que muchos pudieran creer, su infancia no fue sencilla. “Nunca tuvimos mucho dinero”, declaró una vez, “Mi papá era repartidor de pan pero perdió su empleo y entonces mi mamá tuvo que conseguir un trabajo en una guardería”. Antonius, mientras tanto, canalizaba toda su energía infantil en los deportes y pronto descubrió que era realmente bueno en el tenis. Tan bueno que sus entrenadores sospechaban que tenían en sus manos a un futuro campeón de Wimbledon.

Sin embargo, Patrik tuvo que alejarse de las canchas a los quince años debido a una fuerte lesión en su espalda que sufrió a causa de los duros entrenamientos que realizaba. Tuvo que alejarse un tiempo del tenis aunque, cuando volvió, intentó ponerse al mismo nivel de sus compañeros. A los dieciocho años, mientras realizaba el servicio militar obligatorio, Patrik continuaba practicando pero sufrió otra lesión que, esta vez, lo dejó fuera de las canchas para siempre.

Patrik conoció el poker a los quince años y o jugaba con sus compañeros de tenis durante los descansos. Al principio inventaban sus propios juegos hasta que un amigo descubrió las reglas del PL Omaha y entonces se volvió su partida de cabecera. Cuando cumplió la mayoría de edad, y ya sabiendo que su futuro no estaba en el deporte, visitó el casino de Helsinki y ganó el primer torneo de poker en el que participó.

Tras terminar el servicio militar, Patrik comenzó a frecuentar el casino una vez por semana. “Todavía estaba jugando por diversión, simplemente tratando de ganar algunos dólares”, recuerda Patrik, “No sabía que se podía ser profesional de poker. Mucha gente en Finlandia piensa que el poker es ilegal y cuando yo empecé nadie lo conocía, no había programas de TV ni nada”.

Tras regresar de Italia, país donde hizo sus estudios y trabajo como modelo, Patrik depositó sus primeros $200 dólares en una sala de poker online y comenzó la verdadera aventura pokeril. En menos de tres meses los había transformado en $20.000 dólares aunque él mismo admite que realmente “no tenía ni idea de lo que estaba haciendo”.

Su modalidad de cabecera era PL Omaha. “La gente era muy mala”, recuerda Antonius”, Yo simplemente apostaba todo el tiempo, subía preflop, apostaba en el flop, en el turn y en el river. Si me resubían siempre podía foldear…”. Con $20.000 dólares en su cuenta el pensamiento mágico no tardó en aparecer.

Patrik Antonius iba a ser un jugador profesional de poker.

A Antonius le gustaba medirse contra los mejores, sin embargo. El dinero lo hacía contra los jugadores malos que no hacían otra cosa que foldear sus cartas pero siempre tuvo algo muy claro: “Era más importante mejorar mi juego enfrentándome a mejores jugadores que ganar constantemente en límites bajos. Es en nivele superiores donde está el dinero de verdad”.

En el 2004 el desconocido Antonius, con su ya clásico nick “Finddagrind” disputaba legendarias partidas contra los mejores de la época, entre ellos el sueco Erik “Erik123″ Sagstrom. No pasó mucho tiempo antes de que Antonius pudiera no perder en esas partidas, después comenzó a tener una pequeña ventaja y pronto se convirtió en el mayor ganador de las mesas.

El mayor ganador de poker online en Europa.

Donde sea que haya acción, está Patrik Antonius, Ya sea en forma de un gigante cash-game, un torneo High Roller, una prop-bet o un partido de tenis donde haya que apostar algo, el finlandés estará listo para jugarse algunos cientos de miles de dólares. Y esto, más o menos, siempre fue así: desde el 2005, el año en que empezó a ser regular de las mesas de High Stakes en las salas online hasta el tiempo en que se convirtió en uno de los mejores regulares del Bobbys Room en Las Vegas.

“Si en el Big Game del Bellagio jugarán sólo PL Omaha nadie tendría ninguna oportunidad contra mí”, declaró en una ocasión. Pero a finales de 2005 tuvo otro roce con el éxito cuando descubrió que los torneos eran, contrario a lo que creía, muy divertidos.

2. Antonius todo terreno

En agosto de 2005 Antonius puso su nombre en boca de algunos europeos al ganar el Main Event del Scandinavian Poker Open que le reportó el equivalente a $66.000 dólares. Esa victoria lo animó a seguir probando los torneos y lo que no se espera fue la buena racha con la que lo recibió esta modalidad: Un mes después finalizó tercero en el European Poker Tour de Barcelona, una de las primeras paradas del circuito para aumentar su bankroll en €117.000.

Su revancha llegó en el EPT de Baden apenas un mes después. Antonius llegó al evento con bastante retraso y había perdido la mitad de su stack sólo por las ciegas y antes pero eso no le impidió poner en uso su juego agresivo y antes de terminar el día ya poseía una enorme pila de fichas. Un par de jornadas después las tenía todas y por ende se convertía en un nuevo campeón del European Poker Tour ganando €288.000 en el camino.

Por si fuera poco, antes de terminar ese año, Antonius viajó a Las Vegas y disputo el World Poker Tour Five Diamond Poker Classic, uno de los torneos más caros del circuito (buy-in de $15.000 dólares) donde se las arregló para finalizar en segunda posición por delante de grandes estrellas como Doyle Brunson, Phil Laak y Darrel Dicken. Esto le significó un millón de dólares más para su ya abultadobankroll.

No pasó mucho tiempo, quizá motivado por sus buenos resultados en torneos y también por su destacada actuación en las mesas de cash de Full Tilt Poker, antes de que Antonius decidiera comprar una casa en Las Vegas y establecerse ahí. Curiosamente, nunca imaginó que daría ese paso ni mucho menos que sería regular del Bobbys Room. “En Europa, cuando tenía un bankroll de $30.000 dólares”, recuerda Patrik, “Ni siquiera sabía que existía esa mesa ni que se jugaba la WSOP“.

Pero en el 2007 ya era un ganador consistente en la mesa y había aprendido a jugar las más de diez modalidades que a diario se disputaban en el Bobbys Room. “Son los límites más altos y muy pronto tendré una sesión positiva de dos millones de dólares”, aseguró en una entrevista de aquella época.

Durante la World Series of Poker de 2008, Patrik tuvo, sin embargo, quizá uno de sus mejores momentos como profesional: ya era reconocido por la comunidad de poker como uno de los mejores del mundo y sus nicks eran conocidos por todos los fans. Pero el primero de junio tuvo que cambiarlos ya que firmó un contrato con Full Tilt Poker para pasar a formar parte del Team Pro de la sala, un exclusivo club en el que contaba, entre otros, con Phil Ivey, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, John Juanda, Jennifer Harman, Erik Seidel, Andy Bloch y Gus Hansen.

Con el parche de Full Tilt Poker, Antonius terminó séptimo en el evento de $10.000 dólares de PL Omaha y unos días más tarde se quedó cerca de la mesa final en un torneo mixto de Holdem. El finlandés, sin duda, seguía imparable.

Uno de los pocos tropezones en la carrera de Patrik Antonius llegó a principios de 2009. En enero de ese año Tom Dwan lanzó al mundo un reto en el que ofrecía pagar $1.5 millones de dólares al jugador que, después de 50.000 manos, le ganara dinero multitableando cuatro mesas en PL Omaha o NL Holdem. El “durrrr Challenge” como se le llamo en la prensa generó mucha expectativa y el primero que saltó a la cancha aceptado el duelo fue, por supuesto, Antonius.

Patrik estimaba que la partida tardaría entre tres y seis meses para completarse pero nada más lejos de la realidad: aunque ambos comenzaron con muchas ganas, los enfrentamientos se volvieron cada vez más erráticos y breves hasta que, después de un par de meses, simplemente el proyecto se diluyó y ninguno de los dos rivales volvió a decir nada sobre él. En febrero del próximo año se cumplirán cinco años del inicio del reto y, desafortunadamente, no parece que se vaya a terminar jamás,

De las 50.000 manos que debían jugarse se disputaron poco más de 39.000 en modalidad de PL Omaha y  lo cierto es que a Antonius quizá le vino bien que no se continuara el desafío. En toda la partida Dwan estaba arriba por dos millones de dólares y en diez mil manos restantes era complicado que Patrik consiguiera remontar.

Sin embargo, a finales de 2009, con la aparición de “Isildur1″ en las mesas de Full Tilt Poker, el duelo de “durrrr” quedaba relegado por la acción que el misterioso sueco generaba en las mesas. Uno de sus múltiples rivales fue Antonius con quien protagonizó el que, hasta la actualidad, se mantiene como el pozo más grande en la historia del poker online. En una mesa de PL Omaha con ciegas $500/$1.000, Patrik ganó un pozo de $1.3 millones de dólares. El tercer pozo más grande en la historia también lo disputaron ambos jugadores y volvió a ser para Antonius: $879.000 dólares en total.

Antonius ha disfrutado de un enorme éxito en las mesas y se ha ganado el respeto de sus pares. Considerado como uno de los mejores en PL Omaha, desde la debacle de Full Tilt Poker y el Black Friday ha mantenido un perfil bajo en las mesas online pero sigue disputando enormes partidas en vivo tanto en Las Vegas como en Mónaco, ciudad donde actualmente reside.

19/11/2013 por Samuel Albores