Friday, September 15, 2006

Re-Stealing in MTTs

The last couple days have been none too exciting. I haven't won much, I haven't lost much. Probably down about 50-100. I did try out the HORSE games over at PokerStars for the first time. I sat down at a 1/2 table, and was greeted with an awesome first hand. It was Stud Hi/lo, and my first five cards were AATTT. Won a nice $25 pot there. Bu then I gave most of it back on the first hand of Razz when I made an 8 low, but my opponents first five cards were A2345. Ya, the nuts. Must be nice.

I also played a couple SNGs this morning. I didn't place in a $30 speed SNG, but got 2nd in a $20 Speed SNG for a whopping profit of $5!

The NL cash games have been un-exciting. I won a nice pot with pocket Queens when a half stack dude at 200NL went to the rail with TP (jacks) and a straight draw. But of course, I lost a huge pot with Queens were I flopped top trips and Mr. Donk hit his Inside straight draw on the river. Yippee.

I plan on having a night of MTTs one of these next couple evenings.


So I ran across this post over at twoplustwo on re-stealing in MTTs, and it is so good, I have to share it here. The post was made by some dude named Ansky. I think he is a top MTT player online.


Resteals are about a number of important factors, and very often the least of which is the quality of your hand. The thing with resteals, is that all they REALLY are about though, is risk-reward. If someone with 80bbs opens and you shove for 80 behind him, obviously this is a bad play.

Also, resteals are a pretty straight foward mathematical decision. If you are shoving T9s for example with 15 bbs, into a lp raiser, there is a definite % that he needs to fold in order for it to be profitable. Assuming no antes, if you are in the bb with a hand that is 2-1 on average against a normal calling range, and you have 15 bbs behind your blind, your opponent raises to 3 bbs, sb folds and you shove, you are risking 15 bbs to win 4.5. When you are called you will lose roughly 5 bbs on average. Thus if you are called 60% of the time, 6/10 times you lose 5, 4/10 you gain 4.5, for an avg loss of 1.2 bbs I think. btw I am not a math person, I am just sort of improvising.

Ok, so in that example 60% is too high for it to be profitable. If he calls 40% of the time, you win 4.5 60% of the time, you gain 7/10 bbs. Hmmm, so somewhere in the middle is the % he needs to fold for it to be profitable.

Ok, but how do you determine that magical % threashhold that will tell you how often he calls? Well that's what reading players is all about. If it's Gobboboy raising your blind, you have huge folding equity, because he's a maniac and likely has crap. If it's rizen, you have much less folding equity because he is a fairly tight player, and doesn't auto raise the button like some others. If it's Comeonphish, don't try it at all because he will insta call with A4o (seriously).

Ok, so it's essentially a very intuitive and mathematical question of hand ranges and folding equity, and risk-reward.

The reason I used 15 bbs as a number, is because that is prime restealing territory for effective stacks. Realize that I say effective stacks-- if you are a big stack and a 15 bb stack raises your blind-- shove it in there pretty light obviously. Like I said it's about risk reward, so that's why 15 bbs is very often a good number. The villain will not be priced in with air, so you have folding equity against hands like a8o and KT, etc, but at the same time you aren't risking TOO much.

There are a few common mistakes that people will make though, (including myself) regarding interpreting folding equity.

1) They pick the wrong player to pick on. 12 left in the stars 150, comeonphish raises from the sb to 3x, i shove 14x with Q8, he INSTAcalls with A4o. There are certain people who just won't fold. They protect their raises so that people won't resteal on them, and it makes it nearly impossible to effectively resteal with air.

2) They push when no matter what they have no folding equity. If you are hovering aroung 10 bbs with an ante, you have very little folding equity. But at the same time this means you need to readjust what hands you are pushing. If for example you have A7o and someone raises your blind, you do have at least a little folding equity, and if you determine that you are neutral EV with the overlay versus his range, you should obviously push with any folding equity. That's where so much EV comes from late in tournaments of course- pushing those small edges when you are shortstacked. So as I was saying, when you are short and shoving with little folding equity, you need to be sure you are going to be ok against his calling/raising range. Very often you have more folding equity than you should however. The day Rizen won the 1m, I was also relatively deep. People who were watching might remember how often I restole from the idiot pansy 2 to my right. One round he raised my blind, I shove for 9 bbs with A6o and he folds getting around 2-1. Next round he raises again, I shove K4o for around 10 bbs this time (blinds went up and I stole a few times), and he folds again. Schaefar then writes in the chatbox "Welcome to pwntown. Population, you." ty schaefar. So clearly if you are restealing from the right people, what they "should" be doing isn't what they will be doing- in both senses. You need to realize when you have either increased or decreased folding equity.

3) Shoving for way too much. If someone who covers you opens your blind, and you have something like A9o and 25 bbs, it's ok to fold. You are ahead of his range likely, but that doesn't make it right to raise. Typically if you reraise but don't push you are comitted to a push, so for math purposes it is the same risk/reward. If you are shoving 25x he really needs to fold a huuuge % of the time, or be a total monkey and call with A2o and KQ.

There are certain situations which will affect your folding equity in huuuuuuuuuge ways obviously. Any bubble, money, final table, anything- will typically increase folding equity. Very obvious, but people don't resteal enough when it's just so easy to on the bubbles. The reasons are two-fold. 1) You will have increased folding equity against the weak tighties good hands, because they don't want to risk their precious "tournament life" and all that crap. And 2) The smart aggro players are going to be raising any 2 in position, and therefore you fold out a huge % of their range, and pick up the free mobneys.

For example, the other day in the 150, there were 60 or so left and 45 paid. I was at a pretty good table, no big names, and it was playing pretty tight. I had a decent stack of around 25 bbs. The 3-4 players to my left ALL had around 12-18 bbs, very good territory for restealing my raises, but they were all weak tight bitches so I was raising almost every button, CO, and hijack. These guys were literally passing up free chips because they have to realize my range is so wide that not pushing is giving up serious +EV.

There are situations (like above) which in my opinion are horrible if you aren't restealing. Back when ZeeJustin won the stars 500, I was watching with a friend, and there were 11 people left--(FT bubble...) and ZJ had a massive chip lead with around 3 million. Blinds were 25/50k and a guy with around 800k opens to 150k on the button. ZJ is in the small blind. I immediatly say to my friend "I'd bet any amount of money that ZJ resteals w/ any 2 here." sure enough he put the guy all in and he folded. Unless you have a very specific read on why it's a bad spot, a situation like that is perfect. The guy is a few places from more money than he has ever seen probably, and has just been put to a test for all of his chips. Obviously he isn't going to call off with marginal holdings there.

The value of your hand-

Despite what people say sbout your hand being irellevent, it isn't totally the case. Clearly there is a point at which if you have 20% equity versus a reasonable calling range, versus 40%, if you shove 20% with x folding equity it will be -cEV, but if you ahve 40% equity with that same x folding equity, it becomes +EV. The reason however that people will say things like "your cards don't matter" is because a lot of the time you are so clearly +EV to shove 42o or whatever if he's opening 100% and calling with 10%.

It's obviously a sliding scale, the later they open from, the wider their raising range is, but also the wider their calling range is. If you shove over an ep raise 10 handed, you better have a hand because people obviously will have a tight opening range here. But in late position, people are raising comparatively much wider and calling off with a smaller % of their opening range to a reraise. However, know the player- just because someone opens from the button DOESN'T mean they have A2o. People get real hands on the button as well.




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