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Thread: Refining my C-betting strategy

  1. #1
    bambini's Avatar
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    Default Refining my C-betting strategy

    After busting out on my last 5 SNGs (bubbling on 3 of them ) I've decided to a) take a week off poker and b) have a think about my strategy. Whereas blind aggression has made it easy to push around the players in my 60c buy in games, the guys in the $1.50 games are proving to be much tougher customers. Blind aggression is just too, well, blind.

    So my refined strategy is simple: while I used to C-bet every hand if I was the preflop aggressor (and I mean EVERY hand, unless I'm up against more than 2 opponents), I'm going to be taking a more careful approach, and recognise that sometimes it's more profitable to give up the preflop initiative. After doing a bit of reading around, I am starting to see that when I miss the flop, C-betting into a coordinated board, or against a calling station, is as good as throwing my money away, so I'll do that less frequently. I'm also going to take the free card more often if I have position and I miss the flop.

    The problem I was facing was that in most hands, I'm the preflop aggressor. Most of my opponents are limpers. This means that in most hands, I was making a C-bet. While this might cause a donk to panic, to anyone with a bit of sense, my play is both predictable and exploitable with either a float on the flop or a reraise.

    So there you have it. A pledge. Call it a New Year's resolution. I will still C-bet the majority of the time, but if I miss the flop I'll do a little mental checklist and see whether I should REALLY be putting more money into this pot. And hopefully it'll give me better results.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  2. #2
    RyckyRych's Avatar
    RyckyRych is offline Retired Micro Grinder
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    Just five? Child's play. My longest streak is 13. Admittedly I often 6-tabled so it didn't generally linger over days or weeks but I've had "downswings" in SNGs that lasted that long.

    What I mean to say is don't panic over an 0-for-5 streak or really anything of short duration. I'm not sure five games is a reason to change the strategy too much. Did you play well in those games? Why are you targeting your c-betting? Just because it may not have worked in a few games doesn't mean you have to change.

    If you are looking at your strategy as a way to evolve your game and not due to a knee-jerk reaction, then great. I'm glad to see that you are willing to take a look at what you are doing. However, be willing to examine your game during the 5-for-5 streaks also. I was lucky to have a coach/mentor that I could constantly bounce thoughts and ideas off of. Peer review is an excellent way to keep your game in shape.

    To your specific post I believe you are right that blindly firing a c-bet at every pot isn't optimal (unless the table lets you do so!). In fact, this very concept was always one I felt I needed to improve upon, especially once I found myself against "regs" in the $10 and $20 games I used to play in. Eventually I picked up on a few things that did help with this area of my game but admittedly I stuck with a very-high c-bet strategy for a long time (and probably still c-bet way too much).

    If you have specific hands you want to show us, feel free. Might be a great topic to discuss.
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  3. #3
    bambini's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=RyckyRych;42561]Just five? Child's play. My longest streak is 13. Admittedly I often 6-tabled so it didn't generally linger over days or weeks but I've had "downswings" in SNGs that lasted that long.

    What I mean to say is don't panic over an 0-for-5 streak or really anything of short duration. I'm not sure five games is a reason to change the strategy too much. Did you play well in those games? Why are you targeting your c-betting? Just because it may not have worked in a few games doesn't mean you have to change.

    You're right that 5 losses isn't anything to get too het up about in and of itself, but since I'm on a fixed bankroll and that accounted for 20% of it, I figured it was time to take a look at my strategy and see what's going on. I'm certainly pretty happy with the way I've been playing, but of course there's always room for improvement. I've felt like quite often the reason for busting out in the last 5 games has been less about a cold deck and suckouts, and more about overcommitting to my bluffs too often. Truth be told, I've been struggling to turn a profit since I've gone up to the 1.50 buy in games, and this 5-in-a-row loss has been the catalyst to look at my strategy. It could be that over the Christmas period I had more free time and I've just overplayed poker, who knows?

    Now that you mention it, it's not so much the C-betting that's got me wondering, it's making a C-bet bluff and then getting called that is where I'm getting unstuck. I mean, I've already invested a chunk of my stack by the turn, so do I fire off a second barrel or check it down and risk having to fold to a bet? I think the underlying issue is that I felt I was bluffing too much and so tightening up on my C-betting strategy would reduce the amount of times that I'd end up in those difficult spots.

    And you're right that bouncing ideas off others is helpful - it's essential at work for me (particularly given the line of work I'm in) - but that's what you guys are here for, right? ;) TBH, I do kind of wish I had real-life buddies to geek up about poker with, and although I have a few friends who take the game seriously enough to know their fishhooks from their flops, I don't see them nearly enough to get my fill. Sigh, such is life I guess.

    Wow, that went off at a tangent, didn't it?

    Great idea with the hand examples, Rycky. I'm away with work for the next couple of days, but I'll see what I can dig out of my HH when I get back. I can think of a couple of hands that would warrant further analysis.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  4. #4
    RyckyRych's Avatar
    RyckyRych is offline Retired Micro Grinder
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    If you are losing 20% of your bankroll in 5 games and you can't replace that bankroll from you life money then you are playing too high.

    I'd go with a 50BI bankroll minimum if you do not want to deposit. 60BIs is better.
    I do a new thing now. Hidden Content

  5. #5
    bambini's Avatar
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    Sound advice as ever, Rycky. I'll drop down to lower BI games for the time being - the hit to my bankroll has been uncomfortable to say the least :) I've been working on the principle of 20BIs, which was fine as long as I was winning.

    Alternatively I could just put my entire bankroll on one MTT and win it. Sensible bankroll managment, no? ;)
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  6. #6
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    Well, I sank to 0 for 8 before I came 2nd in a 10-seater. Thank Christ for that. Luckily I've dropped down a level on the buyins, so the hit wasn't as bad towards the end. Anyhow, I thought I'd post up a few HHs to spark discussion about my C-betting strategy. I've picked hands out in which I've used aggression and perhaps my aggression was poorly judged.

    The first is a hand where, frankly, I had no right to even be in the hand (can't remember why I did, although I think it was to try and steal the blinds. I'm not happy about my C-bet here at all.

    Table #48292761 - STT # 27269671
    Starting Hand #2245236450
    Start time of hand: 31 Dec 2012 14:49:25
    Last Hand #2245236159
    Game Type: HOLD'EM
    Limit Type: NO LIMIT
    Table Type: TOURNAMENT
    Money Type: TOURNAMENT CHIPS
    Blinds are now 50 / 100
    Button is at seat 5
    Seat 1: badabingbambini - 9,600
    Seat 2: thedartman - 9,600
    Seat 3: LordMarty - 9,450
    Seat 4: peertiser7 - 9,900
    Seat 5: maryhope111 - 11,600
    Seat 6: 1892NUFC - 9,850
    Shuffling Deck
    Moving Button to seat 6
    badabingbambini posts small blind (50)
    thedartman posts big blind (100)
    Dealing Cards
    Dealing [4 h][9 d] to badabingbambini
    LordMarty folds
    peertiser7 folds
    maryhope111 folds
    1892NUFC folds
    badabingbambini raises to 300
    thedartman calls 300
    Pot sizes: 600
    Dealing Flop [9 c][Q h][J s]
    badabingbambini bets 400
    thedartman calls 400
    Pot sizes: 1,400
    Dealing Turn [3 s]
    badabingbambini checks
    thedartman bets 1,400
    badabingbambini folds
    Pot sizes: 1,400
    thedartman doesn't show
    thedartman wins 1,400
    Seat 1: badabingbambini - 8,900
    Seat 2: thedartman - 10,300
    Seat 3: LordMarty - 9,450
    Seat 4: peertiser7 - 9,900
    Seat 5: maryhope111 - 11,600
    Seat 6: 1892NUFC - 9,850
    End of Hand #2245236450


    PS. I've not used replayer before, but it seems that for PKR it doesn't show the hole cards or the cards dealt on the flop Hence the text HH. If anyone knows what I'm doing wrong, let me know!
    Last edited by bambini; Jan 11th, 2013 at 02:19 PM.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  7. #7
    bambini's Avatar
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    Here's another hand where a C-bet was probably unwise:

    Table #48294590 - STT # 27270576
    Starting Hand #2245319388
    Start time of hand: 31 Dec 2012 16:53:38
    Last Hand #2245318647
    Game Type: HOLD'EM
    Limit Type: NO LIMIT
    Table Type: TOURNAMENT
    Money Type: TOURNAMENT CHIPS
    Blinds are now 100 / 200
    Button is at seat 2
    Seat 1: simplyred - 12,200
    Seat 2: badabingbambini - 12,750
    Seat 3: MissyC3 - 7,300
    Seat 4: takisarg - 17,950
    Seat 5: Guelders - 9,800
    Shuffling Deck
    Moving Button to seat 3
    takisarg posts small blind (100)
    Guelders posts big blind (200)
    Dealing Cards
    Dealing [4 s][4 h] to badabingbambini
    simplyred folds
    badabingbambini raises to 600
    MissyC3 folds
    takisarg calls 600
    Guelders calls 600
    Pot sizes: 1,800
    Dealing Flop [6 c][8 s][7 h]
    takisarg checks
    Guelders checks
    badabingbambini bets 1,000
    takisarg raises to 4,800
    Guelders folds
    badabingbambini folds
    Pot sizes: 3,800
    takisarg doesn't show
    takisarg wins 3,800
    Seat 1: simplyred - 12,200
    Seat 2: badabingbambini - 11,150
    Seat 3: MissyC3 - 7,300
    Seat 4: takisarg - 20,150
    Seat 5: Guelders - 9,200
    End of Hand #2245319388
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  8. #8
    bambini's Avatar
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    Last one. This one i've picked out deliberately, as it's stuck in my mind a little. I think that I was happy with the C-bet, and more or less OK with calling the small raise on the flop. However, I should definitely folded the turn. I put the villain on a draw, but with a fairly weak 2-pair I think I should have been more careful. Hey ho.

    Table #48377147 - STT # 27305893
    Starting Hand #2249274852
    Start time of hand: 05 Jan 2013 20:32:39
    Last Hand #2249273362
    Game Type: HOLD'EM
    Limit Type: NO LIMIT
    Table Type: TOURNAMENT
    Money Type: TOURNAMENT CHIPS
    Blinds are now 50 / 100
    Button is at seat 4
    Seat 1: jeff005 - 9,300
    Seat 2: badabingbambini - 11,250
    Seat 3: jnealon - 9,600
    Seat 4: unluckysteve - 9,800
    Seat 5: rajkodr - 8,450
    Seat 6: fullbiscuit - 11,600
    Shuffling Deck
    Moving Button to seat 5
    fullbiscuit posts small blind (50)
    jeff005 posts big blind (100)
    Dealing Cards
    Dealing [8 h][A s] to badabingbambini
    badabingbambini raises to 300
    jnealon calls 300
    unluckysteve folds
    rajkodr calls 300
    fullbiscuit calls 300
    jeff005 calls 300
    Pot sizes: 1,500
    Dealing Flop [9 d][8 c][9 c]
    fullbiscuit checks
    jeff005 checks
    badabingbambini bets 1,000
    jnealon folds
    rajkodr raises to 2,000
    fullbiscuit folds
    jeff005 folds
    badabingbambini calls 2,000
    Pot sizes: 5,500
    Dealing Turn [J s]
    badabingbambini checks
    rajkodr bets 5,500
    badabingbambini raises to 8,950 (all-in)
    rajkodr calls 6,150 (all-in)
    Returning 2,800 to badabingbambini uncalled
    Pot sizes: 17,800
    badabingbambini shows [8 h][A s]
    rajkodr shows [J c][T c]
    Dealing River [6 c]
    Pot sizes: 17,800
    badabingbambini has Two Pairs: 9s, 8s
    rajkodr has Flush, Jack high
    rajkodr wins 17,800 with: Flush, Jack high
    Seat 1: jeff005 - 9,000
    Seat 2: badabingbambini - 2,800
    Seat 3: jnealon - 9,300
    Seat 4: unluckysteve - 9,800
    Seat 5: rajkodr - 17,800
    Seat 6: fullbiscuit - 11,300
    End of Hand #2249274852
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  9. #9
    J_Verschueren's Avatar
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    Hand 1 : while one could make an argument for not folding a button unless you're given a reason to do so (though probably not in sit&go's ), I would personally shy away from the total junkers BvB. As played, however, I don't hate the c-bet. Yes, it's a wet board, but he could have an underpair or a draw, so we need to charge that. Then, when he just calls and a total brick hits on the turn, I even advocate firing a second barrel. 900 chips should do the trick at least some of the time and if he does call we'll have to see what the river brings and go from there. Alternatively, if you're feeling particularly brave and you have a note saying this player often flats just to see if the OR continues aggression on the turn, this is a spot for a c/r all-in (thus pricing out the draws).

    Hand 2 : nothing wrong with the open. Again, don't really hate the c-bet as the board is not two-tone, but the plan with the small pair was probably to take the blinds, flop a set or rep an ace, so, against two opponents, I wouldn't have hated a check either. Notice you also have 6 outs to a possible winner (and blockers for someone holding a 5). Getting check-raised, however, I agree it's a fold. Shit happens.

    Hand 3 : I usually muck these non-suited aces which can't make straights using both hole cards UTG (and in position after a limp). Nothing good can come from raising with these hands in no-limit other than as a blind steal, imo. (yes, yes, I know... that flies in the face of a whole generation of online ballers, call me a square if you like). Again, I don't hate the c-bet. Wet board, yes, but also a hard one to hit, so you need to protect your hand from random shit like KdJd. Getting minraised, though, should have set off alarm bells. I call it "the fishy minraise" and it's another thing I look to note on a player. It almost always means one of two things: 1) this player is such a noob at online poker he hasn't figured out how the betslider works (or doesn't understand what a "bet pot"-button means) and just hits the raise button whenever he wants to raise (for value or as a bluff), which should be easy enough to deduce from his other plays. 2) a monster or a monster draw (see notes).
    After you call, villain proceeds to make a pot committing bet on the turn. The problem with raising all-in here is it accomplishes nothing as villain is forced to call with his entire range considering the price he is offered on his remaining 650 chips. That was probably just a knee-jerk reaction to expecting to get pushed around, i.e. tilt.

    Notes:

    1) note that this sort of situation is different from people reducing their opening size to a minraise at the higher blind levels. This may or may not be fishy. It is fishy if they minraise when they should be shipping really wide. If you want to run that AQs in the BB into a monster, just ship over the 8BB minraiser on the button who's previously been punishing limpers/stealing.

    2) there is a rare exception where a player who is primarily used to limit expects the mere act of raising to shrink his perceived range in his opponent's minds (conciously or not). I saw that a few times on Everest as the beginner games were limit hold'em there, but I think it's uncommon enough to ignore for the sake of this discussion.
    Last edited by J_Verschueren; Jan 12th, 2013 at 04:11 AM. Reason: better English

  10. #10
    bambini's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback, J. Much appreciated. With hand 3, I put the guy on a draw and by the turn the draw hadn't come in. My plan with the raise was to put him off chasing it to the river, but I agree that I didn't really have fold equity in that spot because he was pretty much pot committed.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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