The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

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The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

Postby Belousov » Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:40 am

I have, for the greater part of three years, dedicated myself to three things. Sciences, Maths and Poker. The general consensus in non-linear dynamics, is that a reaction that can be performed should be performed with the least possible expenditure of energy materials money etc. Why? By expending the least amount of one's reasources, the dichotomy of success and failure is less absolute . This is also the reason for such mathematical paradigms as riemann sums etc. In poker the significance of success and failure is summed up in one word variance. You know the thing that stops phil hellmuth from winning every poker tournament in the world :P. The Minimum raise can significantly lower variance. Poker is a a game of incomplete information, but more information can be obtained as the cards come out, for the most part a the better player will gain advantage as a hand reaches a more complicated game state. That being said a minimum raise, in most circumstances allows for the better player to complicate the game state, as well as, gain advantage as the aggressor. At the lower limits I see one of two things happening when I min raise
A) My opponent puts me on a huge hand and folds mediocre holdings
B) my bet is taken and and will be re-raised or called lightly
(in both cases I have obtained more data on my player, thus I can make the more educated decision)
( If I must fold I have saved myself one BB, which can become crucial in the later stages of a tourney)
Here are the guidelines I use for the min raise.
Never Min raise before antes become a factor I usually wait until the blind are 600/300
If you play a small range of hands The minimum raise is not as effective
With an M<10 the minimum raise is not as effective as you range should be significantly diminshed
A minimum raise in late position will usually have a higher percentage of being called or re-raised than the standard 3'xs BB raise, be prepared to play better post flop than your opponent.

Hope this helps, see you at the tables. :ugeek:
Last edited by Belousov on Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise

Postby vaevictis » Tue Mar 25, 2008 1:45 am

In general a min-raise PF is a bad play in cash games (infact its bad for all NL games) cus you are always giving your opponents almost correct odds to call with any two cards and stack you (more so in NL). In terms of tourneys it will be very much a function of effective stack sizes, and it is also generally bad cus 1) when effective stacks are deep, you are offering insane implied odds for ppl to call your minraise. You will almost require super postflop skills to win the pot in almost all situations you min raise as you should expect your minraise to be called or even re-raised. 2) when effective stacks are shallow, you better be sure to put in the money postflop no matter whether you hit or not if your PF minraise is called.

e.g. considering only 1 minraise PF + blinds
bigblind gets 1: 2 + 1 + 0.5
1:3.5 odds

In another example of headsup pot + blinds preflop, (most general assumption)

a 3x bb early raiser and u min raise to 6bb,
initial raiser is getting 3bb to call : your 6bb raise + 3bb initial raise + 1.5 blinds
3: 10.5

which is about
1:3.5 odds

the odds will increase for the caller when more ppl are in the pot, which makes the odds even attractive.

Pstove anyrandom cards vs AK (suited or unsuited)
random : AK
35:65
1:1.8


Pstove anyrandom cards vs AA
15:85
1:5.7

By pure maths, calling a minraise when i know i am up aganist AA is mathematically wrong, implied odds in NL always guarantees that a call is correct.
So even with 1:5.7 actual odds when u minraise with AA, you are giving too much implied odds for anytwocards to call and stack u off in NL.

I really havent seen any good player who employ minraise PF strategy over tournaments/cash games in low limits as well as in higher stakes games. As well as postflop. Its a general rule in regular players in cash game (I consider myself a regular at small stakes) to see minraisers as weaker players and attack them accordingly.

Advice is, do it only when you know what you are doing. I'll use it when effective stacks are shallower, where even if my minraised is called, postflop decisions are almost automatic.
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise

Postby Belousov » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:19 am

For the most part, If you read my article, I want a call . As for cash games I would never min raise But I don't play cash games (THIS IS IN MTT section). In tourney play I assume min raises to be 2.2X's and below and With varying chipstacks odds do not mean everything. there are many Players who I believe to be very strong who utilize the minimum raise. So please read the article and I assume you don't play tourneys otherwise you would no a min raise gets through a decent majority of the time
CLARIFICATION
I only meant to use the minimum raise When Opening the pot.
Last edited by Belousov on Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise

Postby Belousov » Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:25 am

top players who use the min raise Roothlus WatchTheSea (damage1) Mr BigQueso ShaunDeeb and Andy Black to name a few
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

Postby vaevictis » Tue Mar 25, 2008 9:27 am

I leave it to seasoned MTTs to critically review on what we have both said.

"In tourney play I assume min raises to be 2.2X's and below and With varying chipstacks odds do not mean everything. there are many Players who I believe to be very strong who utilize the minimum raise"

Effective stacks and potodds do come into play more even when the antes kick in. Though I'm not a bigfan of harrington, his mantra of using pot odds to make their decisions, and it is made so much easier when you min-raise with the antes in. Effective stack do decide your postflop positional advantage, but that apparently is not a big factor for tournament players because stack sizes relative to blinds are always generally low that position amounts for little in later streets. How does this affect your PF raising amounts? that I leave it to readers to think about.


I can see why you think its an effective strategy because this will only work with passive, weak-tight players (that most non-regular tournament players are) who have no idea of pot odds, and no idea of the significance of min-raise. At higher stakes, I'm afraid you won't be able to see this working at all. (This statement is based on my observations from MTT Videos from stox,leggo,CR and miscs videos from the net). It is not advised to employ the min-raise strat excessively, that is, you do it only when you know what you are doing. I'm pretty sure the top players whom you have quoted don't do it all the time. And yes I don't grind tourneys as I did previously and so pleaase take the "oh-i-assume-u-don't-play so that means you-don't-know" attitude out of your post. All i did was to share the maths and effective stack size concept that all tourney players (even more so) should consider in their games.

Comments from other tourney players?
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

Postby Belousov » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:16 am

sorry about the post which seemed like a vituperative, that was wrong and I apologize. Maybe I did not make it clear that This was not meant to be used at all times but On more of a 30% 2 30% 2.5 40% 3'x basis. This also relies highly on the range of hands You will raise with in most situations with an M>20 my range is two gap suited connectors+ A9S+ AJo + and Any PP. This is only when I am opening the pot otherwise I use the standard 3 bet /4bet strategy re raising or post flop. Of the players that I mentioned only two uses the min raise constantly Roothlus and Damage1 these are guys who are winning nearly 80% of the pots they raise thus they want the calls, think of it as a more aggressive smallball tactic this was how it has been described to me. Again sorry if I was offensive I had a bad day at the tables and should have waited before replying.

I will post the maths later vindicating my thoughts.

Again sorry if I have been offensive and this is only for preflop raises opening the pot
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

Postby vaevictis » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:20 pm

No prob with that. I'm more than happy to see good discussion related to concepts of poker. Any form of disagreement is a sign that a player is thinking about the game and not just blindly following what others have put in stone.

again there is usually no fixed action for a particular situation in poker, however there are indeed situations where a certain decision is more correct than others (e.g. the decision to min-raise preflop can be correct/incorrect depending on position, effective stack size, tendencies of players to your left, your real reason to min-raise and table dynamics) Based on personal experience i just feel that in more situations than not, minraising PF is just more of a bad play than a good one. (newer/weaker players often think they are doing something tricky by min-raising, where in fact most of them just dont have a clue of what other considerations should be made prior to minraising.)

I may be wrong so I'll be glad to hear comments from other seasoned tourney players on this issue.
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

Postby Belousov » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:57 pm

My Min Raise is never meant to be tricky, although as I have said before some players will read it as a sign of a huge hand, that is their fault though :P. When I min raise I do it mainly based on effective stack sizes, previous history of the players to my left ( I never min-reraise), and my table image. The only reason I deploy the in raise more frequently than other players is the amount of pots that I open, Especially around the last three tables when I open nearly 25-35% of the pots. The object of my min raise is not so much to take the pot down preflop but to build a pot. In later stages of the tournament blind 1500/3000 antes 300 on a full ring table Lets say I raise to 7777 in the hijack and the BB calls thats approximately 19K in the pot as opposed to the~10K that I may have taken down pre with the Standard 3x's. In order for the min raise to be more profitable than a standard raise I should win that pot 1/1.9% of the time which I assure, I do ( IN fact those numbers are not precise but I do not feel like opening pokerstove to calculate all sorts of goofy equity etc. :P). Note (over the past 350 tournaments ranging from 10$ to 100$ buyins , i know its a relatively small sample size, my min raises are called only 18% more often than 3'x BB raises)
I know you stated the that This is a +ev way to play against passive player, in fact I have found it to be a very Profitable way to play overly-aggressive players, while in position of course. By complicating the game state, I create a paradigm in which their bets have to create a cohesive story which they somewhat rarely do.

IDK I feel as You are writing me off as some amateur donkey that has put little or no thought into this. When in fact poker is something I study fervidly.

Small note the min raise in live tourney buy ins < 500$ receive way too much respect, gotta love tourists :)
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

Postby vaevictis » Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:42 pm

I think your definition of min-raise is somewhat broader, raising 7777 when BB is 3000 is more than 2.5x which is close to the standard raise size in tourney games.

A min-raise is just a minraise, 2x of BB as said.

I can see why (even though your raise is not a minraise, but assume you do make a standard min raise of 2x BB) it is working in tourneys for you:
1) tight passive players on your left when you raise in position (obviously +EV)
2) aggresive players who know what they are doing (they just don't call out of position aganist a minraise because firstly, tourney stacks are often shallow (if you raise intending to get called, do note your M doesnt matter, it is the effective M that matters), calling OOP is -EV, a better play is to resteal/reraise having higher equity, this I can assure you higher stakes regulars could do, they can just pick you off using PAHUD and PT)

I'm sorry to say that in cash games, and i believe that in higher stakes tournaments, any regular seeing an unknown player min raising (2x BB) open raise is going to automatically assume that he is a weak player and adjust accordingly. This assumption is horribly true. It is just too obvious, that if min-raiser has a super strong hand, he is making the fundamental mistake of offering too good of an odds to call, thus his hand is pretty obvious, a marginal/good hand that just wants enough folding equity PF to fold out other marginal good hands, and hope to play a pot in position. Do note that if you intend to employ a strictly min-raise strat, you gotta balance it with your monster hands, which you risk losing them due to the insane implied odds you are giving to be called. Yes you build a bigger pot when you get called PF, but infact you are the one making the glaring mistake preflop by min-raising and offering implied odds to potential callers. In all I think its a fundamental PF mistake, unless proven otherwise that it is +EV strongly. If its +EV, then i wonder why no books as well as reputable online training sites recommend this strategy. There has to be a reason for this.

I agree there are times to do this, see point 1 and 2, when you know ppl on your left are often folding and your min-raise has high steal values. When you min-raise and expect to be called, do remember that their calling range is often the higher end of their range. Your min-raised marginal hand vs their marginal hand which has decent equity aganist you postflop. You better be sure that when you are called, you are winning more pots postflop in position than not.

A better player will balance his standard late position raise size (and not min raise) to steal as well as for value, see my post of shania on general forums. Watch replays of sunday millions, you will be able to understand why and you won't see any player min-raising effectively.
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Re: The Power of the minimum raise pre-flop

Postby Belousov » Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:23 pm

my minimum raise Is maybe a little more general I usually bet 2.2 times the BB. And yes I understand that this tactic will not be as profitable against better players, yet the average player and the fish, whom I have been taught to exploit, This to me seems to be +ev as they will call with an inferior oop which I know is profitable. I also believe you can not deny that you will gain information about your opponent at a cheaper price. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree

Respectfully
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