In the almost 20 years since poker skilled a increase because of Chris Moneymaker’s historic World Series of Poker foremost occasion victory in 2003, the technique surrounding the sport has developed at a tempo by no means earlier than seen. With on-line poker, the sport’s greatest gamers had been in a position to see extra arms rapidly and develop extra advanced methods to win. Bet sizing, aggression ranges, and even one thing as primary as preflop hand choice has modified drastically for the reason that recreation went mainstream.
Chicago native and Southern California resident Ping Liu has been enjoying lengthy sufficient to see most of those modifications. With his first vital money as a professional coming again in 2011 and expertise enjoying on-line earlier than that, Liu emerged as a real drive in 2018 as a contender for the World Poker Tour Player of the Year title. Not solely did he end fourth within the Five Diamond World Poker Classic for $599,147, however he additionally took fourth within the Rolling Thunder foremost occasion for an additional $97,510, and fifth within the bestbet Bounty Scramble for an additional $73,734.
Last 12 months, Liu picked up a win on the LA Poker Classic, whereas additionally remaining tabling the $10,000 tremendous turbo bounty occasion on the WSOP and ending third within the WSOP Circuit Planet Hollywood foremost occasion. He now has $2.1 million in profession event earnings, and is presently accepting college students for poker teaching and may discovered on Twitter @PingDotCom.
Liu sat down with Card Player to interrupt down a pair arms from the 2007 WPT Borgata Poker Open foremost occasion remaining desk, which featured Mike Matusow, Eugene Todd, Mark Weitzman, Haralabos Voulgaris, and eventual winner Roy Winston.
The Action: Roy Winston raised to 230,000 on the button and Mark Weitzman referred to as out of the large blind. On the flop, Weitzman led out for 400,000 and Winston raised to 1,400,000. Weitzman folded.
Steve Schult: Before we even get into the hand itself, the very first thing I observed is the ante dimension. The blinds are 40,000-80,000, however the ante is simply 5,000, that means there’s 30,000 within the center in antes on the six-handed remaining desk. Nearly all poker tournaments now use the large blind ante, which might put 80,000 in antes within the center. So how ought to the ante dimension dictate your preflop hand choice?
Ping Liu: It’s fairly easy, intuitively, that if there’s much less useless cash within the pot preflop, then you might have much less to win by elevating and attempting to steal the blinds. Therefore, you might be much less incentivized to voluntarily put cash within the pot, and due to that, you can be opening barely tighter ranges.
SS: Should it have an effect on how giant or small you elevate? In this hand, Winston raises on the button to 230,000 and these days you’ll see one thing between 160,000 and 200,000 on this spot.
PL: If there’s much less cash within the center, your elevate dimension ought to go down as effectively. If there’s much less within the center, and also you’re nonetheless elevating 3 times the blind, you’re risking extra to win much less. So, it’s type of related preflop the place you may simply consider what you’re elevating by a proportion of the pot.
Let’s say you had been in a money recreation and the blinds had been $1-$2 and also you’re elevating 2.5 large blinds to $5. That is 62.5% of the pot. And clearly with extra useless cash within the center, 60% of the pot will get larger and larger successfully. The larger the antes, the extra you have to be elevating preflop, since you stand to win extra if you happen to take the blinds down immediately.
That being stated, again within the day, folks actually did elevate near 3x as the usual and I’m not likely positive why that was. And I feel through the years, preflop elevate sizes simply began getting smaller and smaller all the best way all the way down to only a min-raise, which I feel began occurring round 2014.
SS: Winston raises to 230,000 and Mark Weitzman calls out of the large blind. Weitzman began the hand with 1.75 million, or about 23 large blinds. I bear in mind a mantra from this time interval with regard to stack sizes which usually stated that with round 10 large blinds you have to be open-shoving and with about 20, you need to discover spots to only three-bet shove your stack. Should Weitzman have a lot of a flatting vary?
PL: The very first thing is that you simply’re proper that 13 years in the past, folks often performed 20-big blind stacks much more such as you described. They would simply shove over an open. But through the years, [we have realized] there’s nonetheless much more play wherever between 10- and 20-big blind stacks. You can flat and take your hand post-flop.
But that can also be a operate of what we had been speaking about earlier than. If somebody is min-raising, and you’ve got 20 large blinds within the large blind, you may nonetheless defend and have an honest quantity of playability. But when persons are opening to 3x, and now it’s important to name two further large blinds as an alternative of 1, it does make a giant distinction.
Once they begin tripling the blind, your threat/reward for simply shoving turns into so much higher. If they fold pre to your jam, you’re going to win one other large blind plus what’s within the center. I feel there was extra play post-flop just lately on the shorter stack sizes, however that’s additionally a operate of the elevate sizes preflop happening.
SS: Weitzman calls and the flop comes jack-high with two golf equipment. He then donk-bets (betting from out of place into the aggressor) for 400,000. Can you clarify the rationale of why you’ll wish to donk-bet?
PL: The rationale behind donk-betting is that you simply related with that specific flop stronger than your opponent did. You’re saying that you’ve the vary benefit on that board. Usually, if somebody is the preflop raiser, you’ll have the strongest arms in your vary. You’ll have A-A, Ok-Ok, Q-Q, A-Ok. And if you happen to simply flat the elevate preflop, then these arms aren’t going to be current in your vary as a result of you almost certainly would’ve put in a three-bet.
So fairly often, the participant who defends from the large blind, gained’t have a giant hand. Because the highest of their vary isn’t going to be current. There are sure, fairly particular board textures, the place the large blind theoretically may have a spread benefit, however these are going to be on the decrease board textures.
Something like 4-5-6 with a flush draw. That’s a board the place it’s extra theoretically optimum to assemble a donk-leading vary out of the large blind, since you’ll have much more of the 4-5’s, the 4-6’s, the 5-6’s, and in addition extra straight combos than the button. The button most likely isn’t elevating 4-6 offsuit, however from the large blind, you could possibly defend it.
In phrases of what I truly assume he’s doing right here, I might guess that he simply has a hand that he’s seeking to go together with at this level. He’s simply attempting to guard it and take the pot down immediately.
SS: How have you ever seen the donk-bet technique change all through the years? Is there kind of of it now than if you began posting outcomes a decade in the past?
PL: I do assume the quantity of donk-betting has gone down through the years fairly considerably. Most reasonably studied gamers know that if you defend out of the large blind, the most typical play is to verify to the preflop raiser after which react accordingly.
That’s one thing that every one the solvers have confirmed. Checking your vary goes to be the most effective play. Back then within the pre-solver period, folks didn’t perceive how ranges interacted and so they simply began donking on boards the place they shouldn’t have a number one vary on it.
The foremost downside with doing that’s it turns your hand face up. Let’s say you’re enjoying with a comparatively weak participant and so they donk on this board and you don’t have anything, so that you simply fold. Then the subsequent time you play a hand with them and also you get an identical board texture, and now they verify. Because you understand they’ve a donking vary and so they put their sturdy arms in it, their checking vary turns into unprotected. Every time they verify, you may simply c-bet (continuation guess) every part and anticipate to get a variety of folds as a result of their vary might be considerably weaker.
SS: Weitzman had 14 large blinds behind, and there was one other participant with about 18 large blinds. Is this a great spot for Winston to use ICM (Independent Chip Model) strain or does he often have a hand right here?
PL: I feel he has to have some fairness. He can’t simply do it with air as a result of I feel the large blind is displaying a major quantity of energy by donking so large on this board with out a lot behind. He shouldn’t anticipate him to guide this large and fold. More seemingly than not, he’s acquired a powerful prime pair.
The Action: The motion folded to Haralbos Voulgaris, who accomplished the small blind. Weitzman checked his choice from the large blind. Both gamers checked the flop and Voulgaris guess 155,000 on the flip. Weitzman referred to as. Both gamers checked the river and Weitzman gained the pot at showdown.
SS: Action folds to Haralabos within the small blind, who completes. Open limping remains to be considerably prevalent in right this moment’s recreation, however what had been the forms of arms you’ll usually see folks limp with?
PL: Open limping is unquestionably a part of a reasonably viable preflop technique, even in 2020. And you’re going to see it much more when you get to a sub-20 large blind stack depth. You can have some open limps from the cutoff with like 15 large blinds or so. And the identical factor for the button.
But particularly, on this spot, blind vs. blind, the optimum technique does embody a variety of limps from the small blind. Especially with an ante within the pot, the small blind is getting such a great quick value to finish, they are surely going to be incentivized to play a variety of their arms. And as a result of their ranges are going to be so broad, typically occasions, the small blind will typically play a limp-only technique after which reply accordingly if the large blind does select to lift.
SS: Weitzman checks his choice and the flop is A-Ok-J with two hearts. Both gamers verify and the 9 comes on the flip. Voulgaris decides to take a pot-sized stab together with his deuces. I bear in mind a limp-stab technique being carried out in these spots. Is this only a delayed limp-stab?
PL: With deuces, these days, the usual play preflop could be simply to shove when the large blind has 20 large blinds and also you cowl him. The low pocket pairs don’t play significantly effectively post-flop, particularly in opposition to the large blind.
As performed, most gamers would take a stab immediately with deuces on the flop. On an A-Ok-J board texture, when the large blind checks again, he’s going to be actually capped and never have any of the sturdy arms in his vary. Those are the arms he would’ve raised or shoved preflop.
It’s unlikely that the large blind has an ace in his hand, whereas the small blind can nonetheless have among the stronger arms in his vary that was going for a limp-raise. It’s a greater board texture for the small blind, so I feel the higher play could be to stab the flop. Even only for one large blind could be fantastic. If the large blind has two unders, they aren’t going to proceed no matter what dimension he chooses.
When we get to the flip, he’s most likely pondering the identical factor. The large blind most likely doesn’t have that a lot, and he’s simply going to guess his hand and deny some fairness. I feel the pot-sizing is just not tremendous efficient. What he’s attempting to get him to do is get him to fold an air hand, win the pot immediately, and shield his low pair. But for the reason that pot is barely greater than two large blinds, then all he must do is guess the minimal.
The large blind will fold one thing like 7-5 offsuit, or no matter rags he has. And if the large blind does have a pair, he gained’t fold no matter whether or not Haralabos guess one large blind or full pot.
SS: I do know you’re speculating right here, however do you assume Haralabos was planning to limp-shove on Weitzman preflop?
PL: I feel it ought to simply be a shove each time, so I’m undecided. From the small blind, there’s much more limping, however the deeper you might be, with extra antes within the center, the extra you need to play a limp-only technique since you’re going to be enjoying out of place and deep-stacked.
The shorter and shorter you get, the extra open elevating or open shoving you’ll see. At the 20-big blind stack depth, there’s a significant slice of your vary that’s going to wish to open shove preflop, and probably the most prevalent a part of that vary goes to be the small pocket pairs and low, offsuit aces that don’t play effectively post-flop. And even some low suited aces may shove preflop. You may shove some suited connectors for stability. He could have some limping in his vary and could have raise-calls in his vary and a few raise-folds. The shallower you get, the extra choices you wish to have from the small blind.
SS: Weitzman truly had Q-J offsuit. Should he be elevating? What do you consider his choice verify preflop?
PL: Did you say he was the shortest stack at this level?
SS: At this level, he’s the second-shortest stack. There was one participant on the desk who had about seven large blinds.
PL: Given that there’s a vital quantity of ICM consideration as a result of he’s going to get a fairly large pay leap if he simply folds and lets the opposite man bust, that may make me wish to verify again his hand somewhat bit extra typically.
He may simply shove over the limp. And if he is aware of that Haralabos goes to limp one thing like 2-2, then I actually like shoving as effectively, since you’re most likely going to get him to fold some stuff that he shouldn’t. I feel his two choices are both to verify again or shove.
I don’t assume elevating is an effective technique as a result of I feel there’s a portion of Haralabos’ vary that might be limp-shoving, and I feel 2-2 could be a part of that vary. You don’t wish to elevate one thing like 3x after which face a shove.
SS: Weitzman referred to as the flip guess and each gamers checked the river.
PL: I feel the river motion is fairly customary at this level, but it surely simply type of goes again to what I stated concerning the flip. Haralabos didn’t must guess so large on the flip as a result of he would’ve completed what he was attempting to with a one large blind guess. When he does guess flip and verify river, it does appear to be his plan was to only take the pot down immediately. Weitzman performed his hand completely fantastic.
The Result: Weitzman completed fourth, taking house a payday price $380,240. Voulgaris was in a position to outlast him by one spot, incomes $434,560 for third place. It was additionally only one spot shy of Voulgaris’ profession greatest, when he completed runner up within the 2005 WPT LA Poker Classic foremost occasion.
Winston went on to win the event and safe the $1,575,280 first-place prize. The doctor-turned-poker-enthusiast made a deep run in that 12 months’s WSOP foremost occasion, ending twenty sixth for $333,490, and in addition gained a preliminary occasion on the Five Diamond World Poker Classic for an additional $230,365, however largely deserted the event circuit after 2010. ♠