Concept - Shania (Range Merging and Balancing)

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Concept - Shania (Range Merging and Balancing)

Postby vaevictis » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:18 pm

I can't help myself but to conceptualize this great idea into my own games. Posted on my blog:

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I've read a great post here about Shania. I believe the first person who have really thought deep into this is Aejones and he is the guru in terms of merging ranges.(http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showt ... =143451and the discussions that spurned from it.) Shania is probably the conceptualized idea of how game theory really works in poker. How Shania really works is that it makes your game less exploitable and more balanced as a whole.

This article will be my conceptualization of what Shania really is in Poker. It will be an attempt to put Shania in simple in an understandable lingo and the purpose is to show the importance of balancing/merging of ranges in Poker.

To quote the OP Bobbosfittos (who is an excellent coach in leggopoker):
"Shania in short is having a range of hands rather then a particular hand for an action, so that it's possible to get further paid off and not be read easily.". In simple terms, its about having a merged range of hands doing a particular action compared to having a polarised range of hands performing the same action.

Examples of Shania
Do note these examples are not exhaustive, they are just my interpretations of Shania.

Preflop : Raising junk hands preflop as a semi bluff is Shania. You do so to allow raising your big hands (AA, KK, AK etc) more profitably and getting paid off in the other streets. If you are only raising quality hands, then its not Shania. Your range is polarised, because observant players know that when you raise preflop, you hold mostly the nuts. The same idea goes with reraising preflop as semi bluffs, this is Shania as it allows you to profitably reraise hands like AA and KK and getting them paid off more.

Flop : Cbetting (when you are preflop raiser) with nothing is Shania. When you Cbet on A-high flop as a bluff because all books say you can represent AK in your range, it allows you to profitably bet with AK on A-high board. (and they become more profitable). Likewise for checkraising flops as bluff and for value(Shania). You checkraise with the goods as well as air so that you become less readable and straightforward, people will have a harder time understanding your ranges for checkraising.

Turn : Double-barrelling bluffs on suitable turn cards (broadways etc) is as well as double-barrelling for value is Shania. You are merging your ranges when you are betting (bluffs as well as value).

River : Same as above, when you are betting thinly for value and when you are bluffing.

The Gist of Shania

The main gist of Shania is to be aware of your own poker game, such that you play a balanced one, instead of a non-balanced one. Your range is highly polarised when you perform action X when you only have Y. This makes your game highly exploitable and probably less profitable.

Against a skillful and observant player who understands about range merging, when you balance your bluffs and value betting aganist such players, you will be playing in a less exploitative manner. (Assuming the skilled observant players knows how to exploit your tendecies) When the assumption is non valid, then you can play the same way as you do (balancing your ranges/merging) aganist them and still be less exploitable on the whole.

Aganist a weak, poor player who doesn't understand about range merging, usage of Shania allows you to profit more from them. Poor players tend to overgeneralize and have skewed perceptions of your ranges and tend to overcompensate by adjusting too much. For example, if you are betting the nuts on the river and get called down by a poor player, (and he knows and believe you are only betting the nuts on the river) you can profitably bet with bluffs on the river on future occasions because they tend to overcompensate by thinking you have the top end of their perceieved polarised range (the nuts). Likewise if you are caught in a bluff on the river, poor players will usually assume that your bluffing frequency is higher than normal, allowing you to value bet thinly and profit more on future occasions.

The actions of Shania are not limited to river bets only, try thinking of other streets (infact all actions taken by you is part of Shania). The above example reflects the idea of game theory optimization, and how you can make use of this optimization to increase your profitability in the poker games you play. We all know that poker is a game of bluffs as well as value betting. The whole idea of Shania is to have a balanced form of both in your approach to poker.
vaevictis
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Re: Concept - Shania (Range Merging and Balancing)

Postby ayasak » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:41 pm

just some thoughts, not sure if its correct though...

with the ability to merge ranges, one of the other skill that comes with is good bet sizing. This will allow you to bluff with a smaller bet into a large pot, risking less for more and thus making it more profitable.
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Re: Concept - Shania (Range Merging and Balancing)

Postby vaevictis » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:44 pm

your betsizing when you are betting for value as well as for bluffing should be about the same range.

You don't bet less when you bluff and bet more when you have value. This makes your game obvious aganist observant players in the higher stakes. In micros-small stakes, ppl fold way too often and the simple act of just betting (no matter the amount) accomplishes the same purpose.
vaevictis
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