Poker blinds defense is a challenging topic. When defending blinds in a cash game, common poker strategy and pokering conventional wisdom says we should never just ‘complete’ when defending the blinds, especially in the Small Blind. Heaven forbid we should never over-limp, what a fishy crime! We should either 3bet or fold we’re told. This is a rather broad and frankly dated way to look at the situation. What we really need to know is ‘If I choose not to 3bet, can I overcome the cost of repeatedly folding this particular hand vs this/these opponents?’
Just the other day “Cinch” wrote a very compelling article on poker downswings. The argument was strong and I really enjoyed reading it. Let’s start off with what I really like about the article “Cinch” wrote. Instead of bemoaning his weak mental game during poker downswings, “Cinch” talks about being accountable and getting back to the basics. This is a great approach to take and is a bit like hitting the reset button for your computer when it freezes up. Too often players allow running good or bad to determine how they are playing. Getting back to the fundamentals can really help.
We’ve all been there. You sit down scared, expecting to lose. You can’t remember the last time you won a hand, never mind a session. You’ve endured endless weeks, maybe months of bad beats, set-ups and running into the top of everyone’s ranges… let’s not even mention that gaping hole in your account balance. The thought of playing poker makes you feel sick and you’ve likely scoured the web for any crumb of solace, anything to make you feel better… “Handling a poker downswing, Worst poker downswing, poker downswing help”… but the empty feeling remains. Why? Your confidence is shot.
We all know the concept of equity in poker and the more you have of it, the greater chance you have of winning the hand on average. So when we hold A♠K♠ on a A♥T♠6♠ it’s a turbo all-in as we have around 60%+ equity vs most ranges. Poker equity calculators like Flopzilla and Combonator can help us out here, but what they can’t tell us is the best way to realize that equity; choosing the most +EV line by combining the power of fold equity, position and your equity in the pot (or pot equity).
The above AKs example was fairly obvious, but most of the time poker has a lot of middle ground and thus making the best line unclear. In a minute I’ll show you a 3-step guide to help determine the best line, but first I’ll share how I refer to different amounts of equity:
5betting is serious business and normally involves getting all in. If 4betting is the new the 3betting like we discussed last time, well 5betting is certainly the new 4betting. It used to mean ‘always the nuts’, but in today’s games it could mean anything, certainly above NL100. Our mental game, history, 5bet odds, our 5bet shove range and equity when called all need to be considered for profitable 5bets.
If you’re the type of reg who gets in AQ+ and TT+ regardless of the opposition then I’d suggest you’re not paying enough attention. Like all bets, 5bets need to be tailored especially when 5bet bluffing.