The Red line
I once sat and thought about whether I should write a post about the red line? It appeared that it would cost almost nothing and I decided to sit down to write it.
Let's start with a broad perspective — somewhere I once heard an interesting opinion that the ratio of the VPIP and W $ WSF stats can to some extent be considered a measure of an NLHE regular's skill. For those who do not know what kind of a beast W $ WSF is, I'll explain. This stat, partly associated with the red line, stands for Won $ When Saw Flop. Actually, the name speaks for itself. Everyone knows that on average we hit the flop one out of three times and in the other two cases, it misses us completely. Suppose there is a duel between two bots, who take it in turn to make a pre-flop raise. The post-flop better can only be the bot who was the preflop raiser and only if they hit the flop. His opponent is always prepared to lay down his hand, if faced with a bet, in all other cases they will go to showdown. Consequently, over the longer term the W $ WSF of each bot should be about 33%. However, we have all heard about continuation bets, about double barrels, check-raising and other things and even if the level of play amongst the regulars at micro-limits is very low, this knowledge allows them to keep the value of the W $ WSF above 33%.
"And why should we care about this W $ WSF?" - you ask. And I'll tell you that the higher the value of this stat, the better, the regular. Do you think someone with a higher win rate wins 33 % of the pots on the flop, or 48%? Of course the second. In addition, the higher the stat for the regular, the higher the probability that he is a competent player capable not only of playing his cards , but also able to read hands, finely-tune value-bets, bluff and use other relevant tactics. However, I would suggest setting clear boundaries regarding what value of W $ WSF is normal and what is not. Everything from 39% to 44% is normal for straight players playing mostly from their cards. All who have W $ WSF from 45% to 50%-51% are dangerous comrades able to cause trouble on the flop. Anything over 50% -51% is a bust. W $ WSF over 50% you can see from agrofishey that make pot-size bets after each check from an opponent regardless of the structure of the board and hole cards. Yes, they win a bunch of pots without showing , but have a lot of problems in situations of their own making. Well, the number of pots that we steal the flop without showing is directly related to the red line.
"And why should we push up this red line?" - you ask. And I'll answer in short that profit consists of two parts — wins at showdown and non-showdown winnings. By default, on the chart in Holdem Manager showdown winnings are denoted by the blue line and non-showdown winnings by the red. If your blue line depends on your pocket cards and boards, because it is impossible to win at showdown, when your opponent has a stronger hand, the red line is more dependent on your level of play.
Here is a typical graph of a man playing a straight game based on their cards:
This graph is from a micro-limits player and the W $ WSF is only 39%. Sure, our anonymous hero from the first screenshot certainly would want to know how he can reduce the leakage of money that he loses without showing down. That's what I am trying to explain now.
If your own graph looks like the first example , you can boost your self-esteem , if you go into Holdem Manager and use the filter to look at your position, excluding therefrom the small and big blind. Our hero stats acquired the following form:
Cool, right? The red line in the black, and all because we removed those situations where we were caught in the blinds. But wait, let's include a filter for items when we were on the small or big blind, but when put money in the bank, that is, when VPIP = TRUE. Now you get this graph:
The red line is still in positive territory , hurray! So, the main problem with the red line is that we often find ourselves in the blinds when we are out of position, but still with good hands albeit less than our opponents. This Moron constantly gets dealt aces and kings, and we need to check-fold 72o and lose our precious blinds. But it 's all a joke , and most importantly, we have found the root of the problem! Now let's think how to solve it - how to win more without showing or how to lose less money without going to show down.
Point 1 — in the blinds with a suitable range of hands. To play profitably in the blinds we need to ensure that over the long term, we play a certain hand for a better result than -100bb/100 in the big blind and -50bb/100 in the small blind. If you have been in the blind with 78s many times and played them eventually to zero - I think that you will have reduced the leakage of money because even though you are playing a zero with this hand, you are not losing money on it. Experiment and expand your range of hands with which you protect your blinds and at the same time get rid of the hands on which you lose more than 0.5bb or 1bb per hand. Holdem Manager will help you, filter and report on the positions and report on "Holecards" in the "Reports" tab.
Point 2 — get stealing. Let's say you are on the button and in the blinds sit two nits 12/10 with 3bet 2.6 % and cold call 5%. Their fold to steal is about 92% and you can open them with any two cards, that is stupidly profitable as they will put up resistance in less than one hand out of 10. But if you steal with 35% of hands from the CO 35 %, it is likely that there are some that you play unprofitably. Identify profitable stealing hands will the help of the same filters and the same report, mentioned in the last paragraph.
Point 3 - more 3bets. Let's say you are on the button again and in front of you there is a reg with 20/17 with a fold to a 3bet of 80%. You can quite often 3bet him with any two cards and he will rarely provide you with resistance, and 4 out of 5 times you will win 3 — 4BB without showing.
Point 4 - be careful to spot all passive actions and try to replace them with aggressive ones. Suppose you have JTs on the button. You open and are 3bet by the blind an unknown regular. If you call and play check-fold on a flop of A♥7♠2♦, your red line just hit a 9 - 11bb. Or if you have 67s on the same button, and you are raised by an unknown reg in the CO. If you call, because it's a pretty promising hand and passive drag draw on the board K♠4♣5♥Q♠, and then check-fold on a blank river - your redline lost 20 - 25bb and takes down your win rate with it. Your red line goes up when you steal the blinds when placing continuation bets and your opponent gives up, when you 3bet suitable opponents, when you fire the second barrel on the terrible cards, etc. At the same time, your red line goes down as soon as you start to call a raise pre-flop without a plan for on the flop, as soon as you start to drag, passively draw etc.
Point 5 - more stealing "dead money." Are you on the button multi-way with KQo, the flop falls 2♥5♠J♣ and all players check to you? Do not hesitate - make a bet and take these dead money here and now. Do you check behind on the big blind with A6o, in s pot where a reg in the SB has completed and there is a fish in any position and face a similar flop? Take a stab at the pot, because it is highly unlikely that someone has been hit by such a dry flop and these stabs substantially increase your winnings without showing.
Point 6 - try to make thin value bets. For example, we raise QJs in the CO, the BB calls. Flop: J♣6♣3♥. We set off for value on the flop, the opponent calls. We can assume that he will call on the flop with 77 -TT, AJ, KJ, JTs and some flush draws such as A♣T♣8♣9♣ etc. Turn is 9♦. Villain checks, we also check. River 2♠. Villain checks and we put half a bank or 2/3 of trying to portray missed draw. If he calls and has JTs, 77, 88 or TT - we got a hand worse than ours to call which is good for our blue line. If he just folds - we have not lost anything, but our red line came up.
Point seven - start thinking about your opponent's ranges and correlate them with different structures of boards. Here are two examples. First, we decide to protect our BB with JTs against a raise from a regulars on the BTN. His steal range from the button, is something like this:
We flop 8♠5♥2♣, he puts out a continuation bet. A continuation bet he puts out in 80 % of cases. Nothing can stop us from check-raising it and clearing the air of a whole bunch of its range, which caught the flop something like this :
There's a whole bunch of overcards, just aces and other high non-made hands. Or, for example, we call in the BB after a preflop raise from UTG, a tight regular, with AKo. From UTG our regular raises a range of hands :
The flop fell: J♦6♥2♠. We can safely make a steal because our opponent has not really caught on this board:
Analyse opponents' ranges, try to understand how they behave on different structures of boards with different hands and lift the red line.
Embodying these simple suggestions, I got the following form my red line on NL20- 25:
And this despite the fact that I am still growing :) Of course, do not need to a desire to hold the red line at zero or even positive territory turn into an end in itself by any means, but I think that striving to improve your win rate is always worthwhile. I hope to achieve this and also that you will guide your red and blue lines into the following form: