Blind Stealing Consequences and Switching Tables | MED #2 Class 4 | Poker Podcast #102

I conclude my Steal MED by discussing some of the consequences of stealing more; facing resteals, developing a LAG image and getting to the flop with weaker ranges.  I also get into switching tables for profitability and the 3 Poker Advantages.

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In episode #101, I interviewed Brad Wilson of EnhanceYourEdge.com. He’s a poker pro and coach and founder of the interactive group training called EYE Think Tank.

3 Consequences of Increased Stealing (4:00)

Through this series, you’ve learned that stealing is profitable and so you’ve been doing it more.  But, you’ve probably encountered some consequences of increased blind stealing.

Consequence #1: Facing Resteals (4:40)

Your opponents will start to 3bet you more as your stealing frequency goes up.

How do you know if the 3bet you’re facing is likely a resteal?  Use your opponent’s 3bet Steal stat % in your HUD.  This is the percentage of the time that a player 3bet when faced by an open raise from the CO, BTN and SB.  You need to look at it by position to gauge the range they’re using.

Let’s say you’ve determined that you’re facing a likely resteal, you’ve got three choices:

  • Fold – If you’ve determined it’s a 3bet resteal you’re facing, you should’ve seen the likelihood of this happening.  Stealing with intent to fold to an expected 3bet isn’t a good play.  Doing this just burns 3 big blinds and any equity you’ve got in the hand.
  • Call – this is a valid choice, especially if IP. But, your call does cap your range to hands not worthy of 4betting. And calling is especially tough in the SB as your range is capped and you’re giving a positional advantage to your opponent.
  • Raise – could be a good play if you expected the 3bet resteal and he obliged with one. Maybe you have a value hand or a 4bet restealing hand.  Either way, if you knew the resteal was coming and have a 4bet plan, great!

If you steal and don’t like any of these choices, then you shouldn’t have stolen in the first place.  Make a plan before you click that raise button for what you’ll do should you get 3bet.

Calling 3bet Resteals

When flat calling the 3bet resteal, position rocks!  It makes your opponent’s post-flop decisions so much more difficult.  This is also a bread and butter situation when you call with a strong hand that can extract lots of value IP.  With position, you can take the pot when he checks to you or call the flop then bet when he checks the turn to you.  You can raise the cbet as a bluff or for value to look bluffy when you flop something strong.

So the key here: YOU WANT TO HAVE POSITION IN 3BET POTS.

It helps to know if the opponent is 3bet restealing.  Look at the 3bet stat and 3bet Steal stat to gauge how often they do this.  Be more inclined to call when IP and vs wide 3bet Stealers.  When OOP vs opponents who almost never 3bet resteal, then you’re almost certainly better off just folding to the 3bet.

If you call, it should be because it’s more +EV than 4betting or folding.  With every decision made you should seek the most +EV plays.

If you think your opponent only 3bets with the nuts, don’t call because you’ve got AK, AQ or TT.  You need to think about the range your opponent is 3betting with, not the strength of your hand.  AQ and TT is great against a player who 3bets every Ace, but not against the guy who 3bets only KK+.

Make sure you also have a plan for post-flop play before you call.  You know you’re getting into a 3bet pot as the caller, so how does your opponent play in 3bet pots?  Super aggressive or nitty and fit or fold?  Having an idea of how to approach post-flop play vs this opponent will make your call more +EV.

4bet Resteals

4bets for value are QQ+, but there are hands you can 4bet resteal vs the 3bet resteal.  Maybe you’ve got a good Ace blocking hand or a strong pp or something else with equity in case you get called.

A good sizing for 4bet resteals is 20-25bb’s.

Example: You open to 3bb’s, he 3bets to 9bb’s thinking he can steal it from you pretty cheaply.  Now, your 4bet at 20-25bb’s looks very strong to your opponent.  This sizing is a huge chunk out of a 100bb stack.  The smaller the effective stacks, the more scary this sized 4bet is.  But, be careful that you check stacks first because if the 3bet commits him to the pot, he’s less likely to fold.  He’ll often just call or shove with a 40bb stack.

If he’s got around 50bb’s in his stack, he can just do the good old stop-and-go play.  He’ll call your 4bet, so the pot on the flop is around 45bb’s.  He put in 20-25bb’s already and has maybe 30bb’s behind.  He’ll just donk shove his 30bb’s into the 45bb pot on any flop and expect folds from you unless you hit TP+.

You want to know before you 4bet that your opponent has a fold button and isn’t committed when they made the 3bet.

Many TAG’s and LAG’s are this way, as I assume most of you are.  Making the 3 bet doesn’t commit me to the pot pre-flop, and it shouldn’t for you as well.  Play the situation and if your steal or 3bet resteal gets re-raised, consider the opponent before you call or 3bet or 4bet.

Consequence #2: Seeing flops with weaker holdings (11:30)

Because you’re stealing a lot more, you have a greater chance of seeing flops with weaker hands like T8o, Q6s and 54s.  Not bread and butter holdings, but you can make the most out of these spots.

You need a plan in case you get called and are forced to see a flop.

Let’s say you stole with that Q6s, and the BB called you.  Great questions to ask yourself:

  • What kind of hands can you flop and go for value?
  • What kind of flops can you bluff at given what you think of the callers range?
  • How fit or fold is your opponent?

Once again, position is king here.  Stealing from the CO or BTN and getting called by a blind is great, but stealing from the SB and getting called by the BB makes things tougher on yourself.

Take what you know about your opp’s post-flop tendencies and start to develop a plan before you hit that raise button to steal.  You know you’re going to see flops with weaker holdings, so make that plan, baby!

Consequence #3: Developing a LAG image (12:55)

Now that you’re getting more aggressive with steals, your VPIP, PFR and RFI stats are all going to take a hike.  You could start to get to LAG territory, and your opponents might pick up on this. Your lifelong TAG play style and your 20/16 stats can now become 28/22 or 32/25 or even higher.

Holy cow, your image is now that of a LAG!!!  What do you do?

Most likely it’s just a VPIP and PFR increase, and not your 3bet stat.  But some players might not notice this.  You could be a 32/25 with a 5% 3bet, and your opponents might only see the 32/25 and assume you 3bet very wide.  This is great for you, because your value 3bets will get more action.

But, it could mean your bluffs will be less likely to work.  The Fold to 3bet stat in your HUD will help you deal with opponents who call 3bets too frequently.

Less Respect

Another consequence of this is your open raises, your isolation raises and even your post-flop c/r and donk bets will get less respect.  Think about your own reaction to a LAG’s aggression.  Less respect, right?  A NIT’s or a TAG’s aggression often means strength, but a LAG’s could be anything.

You can take advantage of this when you’ve got a value hand and you play it like a bluff.  Maybe you can make smaller, weak looking raises or even over-sized raises to look bluffy, then sock it to them when you re-raise or get called and turn over the nuts.

This does mean that you’ll get called and looked up more often, so you need to be more judicious in your bluff bets and raises.  A good look at your opponent’s stats and taking history into account can help you here.  Make sure you make note of any really weak hands you played aggressively and showed down.  Knowing your history with the opponent and what they’re capable of will help you bluff or get value in the future.

Think about how you react to LAG’s to give you a good idea of how others will react to you.  Also, now that you appear to be a LAG, you can do those things that you hate seeing LAG’s do.  You can profit from your opponent’s unwillingness to call aggression or to fight with greater aggression.

Switching Tables (17:45)

The table you’re sitting at determines how much you’ll be stealing.

Like I said in the Rejamming Like a BOSS Webinar, you want to be aware of the three people to your left when you’re stealing.  The more they’ll let you steal, the better.

There are some characteristics you’re looking for in the 3 people to your left:

  • High Fold to Steal (75%+) – this is the most obvious of course
  • Low 3bet vs Steal (<5%) – this stat is good to look at because it tells you when they 3bet vs a CO, BTN or SB open raise. Sometimes you’ll encounter players who never 3bet in the SB and those who 3bet like 15% or more from the SB.
  • Low 3bet (<5%) – this stat looks at 3bets vs all open raises.  Comparing this with the 3bet vs Steal stat will tell you if they resteal a lot or not.
  • Low Flop Cbet (35%) and/or High Fold to Cbet (65%) – You want to steal against opponents who are fit or fold post-flop, and these two stats tell you that.
  • Low Check/Raise (<10%) and low Donk Bet (<10%) – these are bluff aggression stats. High numbers here are likely post-flop OOP bluffers, and your weaker and wider stealing ranges might not be able to counter these all too well.

Target specific players

Ultimately, you’re looking for players who play straightforward vs aggression and rely on card strength.  If you’re facing a lot of resteals, or the BTN 3bets or calls every steal and you never see the flop IP, you may want to switch tables.

Conversely, if you’re at a table where the players to your right steal a lot, you might want to leave.  Why would you stay at a table that constantly puts pressure on your blinds like you put on others?  If you start to defend vs these aggressive players too much, you’ll be playing too many pots OOP on the flop and that ain’t all that great of a situation to be in.

The idea of table selection is important at every level of the game; from the micro stakes to the high stakes.  If you’re at a table where you just don’t know how to make money, or your opponents won’t let you get away with your shenanigans or they put too much pressure on you, then leave it.

MED Add-on: The 3 Advantages (20:35)

All this talk of switching tables when the situation isn’t good leads me to a greater point about choosing the best tables to play on.  When you enter a hand, you’re looking to have 3 advantages over your opponents.  All three is great, two is good and 1 or 0 is bad.  And how often you have all three, two or 1 or 0 of these advantages should be a factor in the tables you choose to play at.  The three advantages are 1) Card Advantage; 2) Skill Advantage and 3) Positional Advantage.

I discussed this a bit back in episode 25 when I talked about poker leak #1: playing weak hands OOP.  That was a heck of a long time ago, so I think this is a good time to hit it again and relate the 3 Advantages to table selection.

1. Card Advantage

Having stronger hands or ranges than your opponents is an incredible advantage at the tables. There’s a few different ways you can have a card advantage:

  • Your open raises are getting called by weak, fishy opponents with much worse hands.
  • Your open raising steal range is wide, but your opponent caps his range by just calling.  You’ve got all the premium pp’s and AK, and your opponent who just called likely doesn’t.
  • You’re 3betting only a strong range and your opponent calls with much worse.

When thinking about these different card advantages, you don’t want to be the person at the other end. You don’t want to be playing with appreciably weaker ranges.  You don’t want to cap your range to mid-strength hands, and you don’t want to be calling 3bets with weak ranges.  If the players are such that they often have a card advantage over you, then you need to change your ways or find a better table.

2. Skill Advantage

Having a skill advantage over your opponents is incredibly important. You’ve all heard the saying, “If you can’t point out the mark at the table, you’re it.”  Well, you don’t want to be that mark. There’s a few different ways you can see if you’ve got a skill advantage:

  • The opponents are playing a fishy and passive style that you know how to capitalize on and profit from.
  • Your LAGgy opponents are easily beaten and re-bluffed off of hands.
  • You can spot glaring pre-flop or post-flop weaknesses that you can take advantage of.
  • You can put together a plan for the entire hand pre-flop and your opponents seem to be flailing street by street.

If you can honestly look at the table, and see that you’re the weak link here, then it’s time to leave.  Don’t play at unprofitable tables.

3. Positional Advantage

We all know that playing IP makes your decisions easier and it puts more pressure on your opponents.  In real estate it’s location, location, location.  In poker, it’s position, position, position. 

  • The BTN is the ultimate position at the table.  But, just because you open raise from the button doesn’t mean you’re profiting from that open.  If you’re easily blown off of the BTN by 3bets, then you’re giving up your advantage and all your equity in the hand, as well as your 3bb open raise.
  • The CO is a great position as well.  You can often steal the BTN’s position by open raising, getting them to fold.
  • Never limp into the pot. Limping almost never leads to having positional advantage.  You’ve got to come into the pot for an open raise, so those yet to act have a good reason to fold, giving you position.
  • If you find yourself calling too much from the blinds, you’re giving your opponents this positional advantage.  Tighten your blind calling ranges to avoid this, and throw in some more 3bet resteals and bluffs vs the right players to take away their positional advantage, and their equity, by getting them to fold.

The 3 Advantages are key to bread and butter situations.  The more of these you have, the more likely you’re going to make money at the table and in each hand you play.  If you find that you often lack one or more of these at your table, it’s time to get up and find a more profitable table.

STUDY: PokerTracker 4 Facing 3bet Resteal Filters (24:55)

In episode 99, I gave you the filter for facing 3bet Resteals.  Hopefully, you used this filter and you saved it as a quick filter for easy reference.

What I recommend you do to study this week is to filter these hands, and really think about the ranges that 3bet you.  If you saw any showdowns, use this info to help you gauge what hands your opponent’s 3bet you with.  You should create some saved ranges within Flopzilla for resteal ranges.  Take these basic %’s and try to develop a range that fits the %:

  • 3%
  • 6%
  • 10%
  • 15%

Once you create these ranges, see how your opening ranges fare vs these, and see how well your calling ranges and 4bet ranges fare vs the different resteal ranges.  Tweak your 3bet calling and 4betting ranges to give you pretty good equity, and toss in a couple 4bet bluffs into your 4bet resteal ranges.

This range work will help you to understand your opponents more.

Challenge (26:20)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  I just told you how to filter for hands where you faced a resteal, and gave you a great study technique of creating and analyzing resteal and calling or 4betting ranges.  So whatcha waiting for?  This is your challenge this week.  Get in there, filter for facing 3bet resteals, then dissect your opponent’s ranges and devise strong ranges with some bluffs built in to counter your opponents 3bet resteal aggression.

Up Next…

In podcast 103 I’ll do another Q&A.  Then in episode 104, I’ll begin an epic 3 or 4 parter on MED #3: 3bets.  Don’t miss out.

Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.

Sky Matsuhashi