Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:22 pm Post subject: MY BASIC MICROS STT STRATEGY
What follows is a simple template strategy for micro limit 6 SEATER STTs. I have trawled through many hundreds of hands to see where I have lost and won the most (compared to the blinds) and where I have missed opportunities. I want to emphasize that this is a results based template… it mainly deals with cards and position based scenarios, matters of math and opponents are not given their rightful place in this strategy. That’s why this is a template.
One of the first things I found about my play was that winning hands tend to accumulate some chips, while losing hands hemorrhage too many chips. From this I can deduce that one should value bet more, while on the other hand put in a raise on the flop or turn, to find out where you’re hand is, rather than calling off more chips on every street.
In general, in the middle stages a 2.5 raise preflop will do the same job as x3 and a C-bet of just over half the pot will normally have the same effect as a higher bet. This risks fewer chips to make others fold and if called it still is a substantial pot to build upon on favourable boards.
Suited connectors are pretty, but I’ve found that they leak chips and should only be played in the blinds cheaply or in early levels… or in the final stages heads up.
Getting to see the flop with middle pocket pairs made the greatest gains.
LEVELS 1 -3
The big winners arose from: pocket pairs or strong aces, mostly played aggressively preflop and occasional traps post flop… a few weak aces seeing flop cheaply.. no suited connector type hands were big winners! Therefore call preflop raises with little – medium pairs, if you hit trips structure the betting so that foes are pot committed by the turn. If you miss, then get out of there, unless it’s an overpair to the board… ReRaise preflop with big pocket pairs (JJ and above).
Look out for those calling flops with top pair-rag kicker and don’t play easily dominated hands with them (i.e. play good aces or kings) and make them pay when their A6 soooted hits top pair…
With premium hands, don’t limp in an effort to trap, all this does is increase the chances of one of the fish catching something (usually 2 pair) with their trash. Often a raise preflop will save chips post flop by getting rid of rubbish hands and better defining the range of opponents. It must be better using the chips preflop to get the action heads-up than waste them post flop.
It’s rare to win any substantial pot with trash at the early stages, so why even try?
If you have 3-bet preflop then you have to C-Bet the flop regardless of cards and if you are first raiser then C-Bet most times.
Try and stay in position and when you hit a hand bet all streets to build pot.
Make them pay for their draws & don’t be afraid to value bet medium hands.
The turn seems to be the place to get the money in and making the opponent committed to the pot.
Use similar bet sizes for bluffs, monsters and value bets (@ 2/3 pot).
Float and don’t be scared to bet when weakness shown on the next street instead of wasting the chips invested in the move by replying with weakness.
Check or Call with 22 – 88; Suited Broadway cards; suited connectors and Ax suited (in other words see flops cheaply and preferably in position).
Call or Raise with 99 – JJ & AJ – AQ (position still preferable, but not so important, put in the first raise, otherwise call or consider folding depending on previous action and by what players).
Raise & ReRaise with QQ – AA & AK (regardless of cost and position).
If there’s a pair on the flop ReRaise any opponent’s C-Bet 9 outta 10
Identify player types at table and adjust rules accordingly depending upon their style.
I found plenty of hands that just were absurd with ppl calling down with bottom pair.. suffice to say – indentify and bet into the calling stations!
LEVEL 4 & 5
Moving onto the middle levels.. Quite often this will be down to 4 players (if not 3 by the end of level 5) and approaching the bubble due to a couple of other players being over aggressive or two big hands colliding..
At this point its ok to have around the starting stack… the majority of time a stack of 2000 – 2500 chips will make it to the bubble (in a 6 seater STT with 1500 starting stack)… notes are invaluable to identify what players will start changing gears..
Be aggressive with pocket pairs & don’t be afraid to ReRaise all-in, especially if it’s against someone who has loosened up and possibly on the steal.. Listen to others’ all-in and don’t get tied to a hand.. don’t go crazy with speculative hands such as suited connectors which are not worth much at this stage, (still useful if in BB in unraised pot or against a very tight player who will prob’ fold to a raise).. Punish limpers and use a big stack.. don’t let stack dip too low (IMHO 8 big blinds is the emergency push time) and don’t min raise unless holding a monster.. Move from a more reasonably tight/passive approach to tight aggressive.. It seems that some may start to panic and play weaker broadway hands etc too strong, take notes and identify these players and play back at them with strong hands…
At the mid – high blind levels try to steal as many blinds as you will get away with in late position with average hands (like sooted and connecting cards or better – hands you wouldn’t call with) Try to figure out how cheaply your opponents will let you get away with it. There’s no point risking a x2.5 bet if you will have to fold to a 3-bet if they will fold to a minraise… Don’t worry if you are caught out and the guy ReRaises… just fold and try again next time (unless you need to tighten your image)
Punish limpers, especially when big stack.
Steal blinds from mid stacks on bubble.
Figure out how cheap you can get away with it.
Don’t dip below 8 big blinds at worse.
When short stacked, try to push against big stacks with good hands and smaller stacks with lesser hands.
Don’t risk too much and react to the table dynamics.
C-bet half pot as bluff and with made hands.. Be prepared to fold the bluffs, but rarely fold above average made hands..
Use bubble to put pressure on folks C-Betting with air & ReRaise them.
Steal from short stacks relentlessly, first couple usually get through because you have been so tight up to now, by the time they realise what’s happening, they are either too short to do much or you’ve actually got a hand, or you get lucky…
Notes notes notes
LEVEL 6 & UPWARDS
High blinds.. Bubble time.. It’s all about putting pressure on with half decent hands in position and again knowing your foes.. Raising limpers gets a bit costly from here, so best to limit it to decent holdings or against players that are capable of folding or have the chip stack to fold or would be worried by your chip stack.. Some may limp with ace rag cos they don’t really like their hand, but will end up then calling all-in raise preflop with it!
One profitable scenario is, with a decent stack.. 3 handed with a short stack at table… 1st player min raises or calls, short stack folds.. Put the other guy all-in… will he really risk his place to the short stack to call this bet? Only with premium hands.. So notes on if he will slow play monsters at this stage is beneficial..
Punish a limper with decent holdings.. Otherwise call or check and have a stab on flop, as they will often call a ReRaise preflop, but fold to a bet on flop when they miss.
Bully with big stack.
If the opportunity arises and the small stack folds preflop then put pressure on remaining player as he will not want to give the small stack a free ticket to second place unless he has good hand, or is loose (notes).When offered good odds against a small stack all-in, take them with rags.
Don’t go below 5 big blinds & push with suited connectors; pocket pairs, Q high and better and may the poker gods be with you.
Don’t slow play pockets pairs or good aces/kings regardless of stack sizes.. Get as much money in preflop as possible.. Takes the pressure off if you miss the flop and face a bet tempting you to fold, but when all-in you will see all 5 cards and may hit..
Heads up can become push or fold… but not as quick as a lot of players will make it.. See how cheap you can steal, don’t play rags unless there’s a decent chance of getting a fold.. If short stacked, push with any two (any two unpaired cards are often @ 40% to win against any two higher unpaired cards).. if the levels are relatively low and the foe is rarely raising preflop then see how he reacts to a raise.. see flops and take a stab then & tend to fold out of position to his raises… don’t slow play.. bet any pair on the flop..
Against aggro players push with strong hands and call/push with better than average hands.. Prob’ sooted, or indeed any aces , pocket pairs and broadway etc when the blinds go through the roof… attack on the button with hands that you cant call on the big blind…
In heads up, level 4 or 5 – don’t panic, there’s loads of play left and enough time to wait for reasonable hands to call the maniacs all-ins with.. If he is a maniac then minraise and call his all-ins with reasonable hands..
level 6 there’s still ability to minraise steal or slow play (though not slow playing by calling or checking!) and also scope to fold BB..
Level 7 & 8 – never fold BB.. maybe you might be able to fold 23o once if on SB.. If going to call an all-in, then do it first instead
Don’t slow play any worthy hand.
One last thing… my favourite tip again: at any stage, (especially when there’s only one foe still in the hand) if he open bets into a paired flop.. RAISE regardless of what you have, but be prepared to fold to strength..
I later tweaked it a little and thought about how it alters 10 handed (but loosened 6 handed) and used more from what I have read:
More patience is required here as opening hands need to be a lot better to yield results as theres more cards out there and more chance of one of the other players having a better hand. However a tighter preflop hand selection means more confidence to be aggressive post flop.
As before, the game is separated into 3 stages, Early, Middle and Late, using the blinds as the guide. In the early stage your stack usually has at least 25 Big Blinds. The Middle stages would be where you have at least 14 Big Blinds and finally the late stages where you have less than 14 Big Blinds. The change between stages are blurred, but it’s a rough guide. This refers to the table stacks in general, but also to your stack idependantly from your opponents. The positions at the table are relative to the number of players in the game. In a six seater, or when a few have been knocked out of a 10 seater, the early positions are removed from your thinking. So with 6 players you are really in early/middle position being UTG.
For the early stage you want to sit back, watch the other players and take notes. Do not take any unnecessary risks, you can not win during this stage, only lose, you do not want too many tough decisions. Wait for premium hands and with luck you might a big hand and amass a decent stack for the final act.
Preflop with Queens or better you should open raise or reraise and 3bet shove with Aces or Kings, regardless of position. If someone 3bets your raise then shove and may the poker gods be with you. With AK then open raise or call a raise but if there has been a 3 bet before you act then tend to fold.
With 10s or Jacks limp in early position, call a raise in late position and tend to fold to 3bets. With other pairs limp or call a weak raise in late position.
With AQ or AJ open raise in late position and fold otherwise.
Suited connecters etc sometimes limp in late position.
Make your betting standard ie 2.5 or 3 x Big Blind + a further Big Blind for every player that has limped into the pot before you. A ReRaise should be 3 x the opponents raise.
Middle stages, you should increase your aggression and start utilising your notes to gather the chips, again with the aim of building your stack for the next stage. I like to introduce my favourite hand around now and play it like a premium hand to widen my range a little (but not risk too much with it) My favourite hand is *ahem* Q9. You also want to gather the blinds and can do so by using your notes and identifying suitable players who will either fold preflop with lesser hands looking to hang n in the game, or will fold to CBets when they miss the flop. Target these players and raise them with decent suited aces, broadway cards and lower pocket pairs. You want them to fold, but if called you still have the chance to win the hand by betting the flop or by hitting your hand. Pay attention to the texture of the flop. If you are 3Bet holding these hands then tend to quit this try and wait until next chance. Similarly, by using notes and building a good picture of your opponents you may be able to identify who will be trying the steal or trying to put in feeler bets, or being too loose. Target these players by waiting until they are the only preflop raiser, with no calls prior to your move and push you chips in to ReSteal. To do this you should probably have or better. Otherwise play your hands similar to below:
Preflop with Jacks or better, 3bet push but consider folding Jacks and AK to a prior 3bet depending on notes and relative stack sizes. With Queens or better, icluding AK push if you are ReRaised.
Preflop with 10s or AQ: open raise in late position or a limped pot.
Consider folding otherwise.
Once the flop lands, and this applies to all stages, if you raised preflop then you should be betting top pair or better. In the early stages, do not semi-bluff and only chase draws very cheaply. C-Bet bluff against single opponents on the flop but close down (unless your notes state he floats often, and even then the early stages aren’t the time or place for this). Keep an eye on the texture of the board as the streets progress.
If you did not raise preflop, then post flop you are looking to have made two pair or better before becoming aggressive and always be aware of the board and draws available. Again only chase draws for free or very cheaply and do not often semi-bluff at in the early stage. Tend not to bluff (which will give your later bluffs more chance of success) unless your opponents has shown weakness and you have the right notes on him.
Keep your bet sizes standard for all types of bet (bluff, CBet, Made hand). Between half – 2/3 of the pot. Raising after the flop should be in the region of 3 x the bet. If you think there is a good chance you have the best hand then push all your chips in the middle before betting or calling a bet worth more than half your chipstack as you are now committed to the hand.
In the Late stages It’s a push fest, be the aggressor or get out. Push or Fold! If you have less than 14 Big Blinds OR the players in the pot before you AND those yet to act have less than 14 Big Blinds then it’s a matter of shoving your chips in or folding your hand preflop. As with the other stages, the decision to push or fold may come down to your position and the action before you act however stack sizes now play a greater part. It comes down to the Independent Chip Model (ICM) which I haven’t really got my head round, but I think most players will use it unconsciously at some level. Again its similar to the middle stage steals and better, but personally Id wait until the blinds are biting harder before pushing with worse hands, unless you have good notes on the opponents.
When the bubble bursts and/or its heads up then readjust a little, you may be able to ease off the pressure a little it to reassess.
Again this is only a template strategy so do not become predictable. Recognise the variables, not least of which are the opponents (so keep making notes) and adjust and mix up your play accordingly. And good luck at the tables..
totally.. i sometimes find it hard to C-bet.. but you will be surprised how often it works. And when you find someone who floats too much or calls with bottom pair, then you have the notes and hopefully the position on him to amend your play accordingly.
joined ladborkes, hope to play in the monday night game, depends on whether i get the baby to bed early enough!!
played about 10 £2.50 sngs, 2 at a time, up around £11, so quite happy with that
took some of your advice, position makes a big difference when it comes to pre flop raises and c-bets, sometimes they come back over the top, but thats to be expected i suppose
also, i used to hold off till i was down to 5 BBs befor shoving, which in hindsight was to low and easier for the chip leaders to call, i took your suggestion of doin this with 8 BBs, and you can generally pick up the chips quite easily, nobody calls unless they have a monster.
so up about £11, and it could have been more, had JJ busted by K10o, to put me out on the bubble in 1, and something similar on the bubble in another,
so far so good, I'll keep you updated anyhow, and thanks again for posting the guide
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Yeah you're going to get reraised with C-Bets (I tend not to make them as often on textured boards, when Ive missed. I dont want to build a pot with a villain who is calling to draw and I have nothing ). But if you only bet 50% of the pot with your C-Bet you only need to win it there and then 1 out of 3 times for the move to break even, with about 2/3 pot bet it has to work about 2 outta 5 times to break even. Beyond that its all profit - course there will also be the times when you are called but have a hand; hit your draw; bluff with the best hand; hit runner runner... so its a must really, despite being uncomfortable. _________________ Play poker with us - win the monthly league to get a €60 tournament token at Ladbrokes!
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Nice thread Burr. I like your open raising charts. One thing id like to add, you have to be so tight if you arent the initial raiser. You see people calling raises with KQ/KJ/KT/AT/A9, this is -EV poker. I fold AJ and worse early/middle stage to a raise, (obviously there is certain situations where i have to play these hands), not worth getting involved with though really.
If heads up to the flop im c-betting like 80% of the time, 3way or more just got to check.
My raise amounts get smaller and smaller as the blinds increase, you will notice who knows what there doing by the way they adapt to the rise in blinds.
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