Pre-flop play in PLO 6max. Chapter 2. Entering the pot on preflop (introduction + UTG-AAxx hands)
I continue to publish this study " Preflop Play in PLO 6max".
In this chapter we will enter the game before the flop in a situation where all our opponents have folded to us. So we have a choice between opening the pot and folding our hands.
The decision as to whether or not to enter the pot depends on many factors:
- The mathematical chances of our hands against the upper ranges
- Whether we have (re)draws
- The position in which we find ourselves on the flop
- Type of opponents seated after us etc.
Anyway , these factors are closely related to our position in the hand. To illustrate the effect of table position on decision making, I will use a simple calculation.
Suppose we are in the SB, our hand is random. Behind us sits just one opponent. The probability that their starting hand is in the top 20% of hands is obviously 20% (we shall assume that the ranking of hands in strength is still possible, while avoiding the practical issues of defining hands).
Now let's calculate the probability of a similar case, when we are on the button and there are two opponents. The probability that at least one of them has a hand that falls into the top 20% of starting hands is calculated as 1 - ((1-0,2) x (1-0,2)) = 0,36.
Calculating this probability for the other positions, we obtain:
- UTG: 67%
- UTG +1: 59%
- CO: 49 %
- D: 36 %
- SB:20 %
Thus the probability of encountering an opponent with a hand in the top 20% varies depending on position from 20% to 67%. Roughly the same percentages apply from position to position with regards to the likelihood of being blessed by aces or getting another strong hand.
This example, despite the lack of given values, illustrates the importance of position before the flop. It is the primary factor in the decision-making on the basis that our position determines the order of play and by extension our starting-hand requirements.
In this section we consider the following key factors when taking decisions on the flop:
1.1. The probability of finding a stronger or otherwise dangerous hand.
1.2. Advantageous position after the flop.
1.3. Chance of a multi-way pot.
2. Our hand
2.1. The strength of our hand against different ranges.
2.2. The structure of our hands.
2.3. Ease of drawing on the flop.
3 . Character of the table
3.1. Opponents' statistical indicators.
3.2. Chance of a multi-way pot.
3.3. Effectiveness of blind stealing.
Positions is a key factor in the decision to enter the game, so the structure of the study will be built on our place at the table.
Choosing the hands to play in the earliest position requires great care. Ideally, a range of hands from UTG should be two to three times less than the range for the dealer position.
Since inappropriate choice of hand ranges for each position, has been ranked amongst the classic beginners' mistakes (stemming from lack of understanding of the role of position at the table), I will focus on this aspect of the game in detail.
There are several factors that reduce the effective range of hands when UTG.
First, we will see the flop in position only if all opponents except the blinds fold their hands. Playing out of position after the flop reduces the room for maneuver and requires a very clear understanding of the chances in an all-in situation.
Secondly, if the player UTG enters the pot with a hand containing no kings and aces, there is a probability of about 27.7 percent that they will be facing an opponent with an AAxx, KKxx hand. Even if we have a hand with an ace or a king, this probability is still rather high - 21.5 percent.
Third, opening the game in an early position increases the risk of a multi-way pot, especially when playing at the lower limits This factor greatly reduces the value of hands of KKxx type and makes Qqxx hands virtually unplayable.
Thus, when playing UTG, the ratio of two factors - the power of the hand when all-in and the ease with which the hand plays after the flop - shifs towards the second factor. Disadvantaged by our position on the flop and with a high probability of a multi-way pot, we have to discard some hands which have decent chances but are challenging to play. In this case, when choosing to play a hand, we should look carefully at its chances in a game against AAxx or KKxx.
Next, we consider the basic types of hands and analyze the appropriateness of drawing from early position .
Aces are always played, as a rule — with a raise. Periodically, you can see Aces played with a limp in the hope of being raised and then putting in a 3bet, this technique is particularly often used by players with a short stack of 20BB or players at low limits. I believe such tactics are questionable because there are not a lot of hands with which it is appropriate to limp UTG, and this in turn helps regular opponents in their task of reading our hands. In order to hide the presence of aces, it becomes necessary to limp with a wider range of hands, which reduces the overall effectiveness of the game.