I played a couple of 400nl sessions this month and encountered a number of mediocre regulars there. The difference between the 2/4 and 10/20 regs is really night and day. I thought I would make an article showcasing one regulars’ leaks I saw and how I exploited them.

I’ll start by posting my graph vs this particular villain. I usually don’t like looking at the EV, but I thought it would look kind of silly using these hands as examples and then saying “look, I’m up 25 big blinds on this player!” So as you can see EV wise I’m up 4 buyins on this winning regular (I tablerated him) over about 850 hands.

Graph vs Villain
vs graph

Next I’ll post villains stats. The important ones are that he’s 29/23 with a very high cbet % (it was even higher before I started playing with him like 90%, but I think he lowered it a bit after playing with me) as well as a very high steal % like 60%+. Now before I go into how I went about exploiting him, take 5 mins and think about how you would take advantage of these leaks, and what seat at the table you would try and get vs this opponent.

Villain’s stats
villain stats


Okay well clearly we want position on this opponent as he is playing too loosely preflop and we will punish him for this by either

a) 3 bet bluffing him more or
b) 3 betting him lighter for value than we would most “normal 21/18 regs” (think 77+ and AJo+)

We would do a) if we think he will fold too often to our 3 bets and b) if we thought he would call too often or try to rebluff us preflop too often. Since I don’t know which category he falls into yet trial and error is going to be the only way to find out.

I start off by 3 bet bluffing him lightly to see how he reacts. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724513 He immediately 4 bets me and I probably just ran into the top of his range here, but I can’t be too sure as it’s still early. Also realize that 4 bets from loose villains with a very wide steal % range should be given much less credit than tamer more tight opponents because he will have premium holdings much less frequently. For example, a typical going all in range of the top 3% of hands is JJ+, AKo, AKs. A 60% stealer will have this range 3/60=5% of the time after opening whereas a 40% stealer will have this range 3/40=7.5% of the time. So the tighter stealer is 50% more likely to hold a premium hand than the looser stealer.

Later I 3 bet him lightly for value with pocket sevens and see he is calling 3bets out of position with 34s. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724519

I defend my BB lightly and see that he is opening his sb into me extremely lightly and capable of barreling with air. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724524

As a result of the previous hand, villain’s aggressive image gets him paid by a light call down by me. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724530

Now at this point we’ve discussed his preflop leaks and how to take advantage of those however we haven’t yet discussed his high cbet % and how to exploit that. In a spot where it’s folded to him in the sb and he opens I know he has 60% of hands. Now, if he’s cbetting 90% of hands, that means that if I choose to just call and see a flop, he bets and action is to me I now know his range is .9*.6=54% of hands. That’s a HUGE range. It also means that in a spot where I flat in position preflop there’s going to be 10-12 big blinds in a pot (3bb pf from each of us plus his 4-5bb cbet, plus the blinds) where action is to me headsup vs a hand range of the top 54% of hands. This is a good spot for me and I can take advantage of it a couple different ways:

a)call down lightly
b)raise the flop lightly for value
c)call the flop as a bluff and float
d)raise the flop as a bluff

I would do a) and b) a lot if I thought he would barrel a lot of with air (bluff me too much and call down too much) and I would do c) and d) if I thought he would fold too much. Again, the only way to find out is through trial and error.

I know that villain is opening my BB from his SB extremely lightly (remember 8To?) and I attempt to bluff him. Turns out he flopped top pair weak kicker and doesn’t seem to like folding. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724537

Next round of blinds and the exact same situation. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724547 All is not lost though, the 50BB I lose in these two hands alone will pay massive dividends later because I’m sure he views me as pretty crazy at this point, will be unwilling to fold to me in the future, and by spending this 50BB early on I gain this info and can now adjust by completely stopping bluffing him at all and raising him more lightly for value.

The first hand I try this on I really do run into the very top of his range. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724552 Note that this is definitely not the standard way to play AJo here but with our history, his high steal %, his high cbet% and his low postflop fold % it will become standard in the future.

I continue to widen my 3 bet value range vs him by 3 betting him with AQo, most likely not folding to a 4 bet vs him at this point. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724563

Finally I flop good and get paid. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724566 This is what it’s all been building toward. I get him to put in 125BB with a gushot and overcard with me having greater than 85% equity on the flop and turn. Unfortunately, the river is not kind to me, but results are irrelevant.

I continue to 3 bet him lightly for value and my image and our history gets me paid. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724573

At this point a really interesting dynamic has come into play where I’m willing to put all my money in with top pair good kicker and he’s willing to put it in with even less. I get value from his midpair on the flop and am 75% but I catch a bad turn card and end up putting all my money in with only 20% equity. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724579

This hand is really standard, but since I’m including all the big hands in chronological order vs this villain I’ll include it. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724593

I flop a set vs him and get paid. For most people playing my cards this would be the first time they’d be willing to put all their money in and chances are good they would not have cultivated an aggressive enough image to get paid off here. http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724604

I’m going to skip a number of hands here, but realize that you don’t have to play a raise or fold game on the flop. We were playing deep at this point and we play a few 3 and 4 bet pots where I call lightly, brick the flop and fold or call a few streets with a draw and miss or something. The final big hand we played was the following http://www.pokerhand.org/?4724629 where our villain finally starts adjusting by check/calling the flop with a mid pair type hand to control the pot size. You can see how this dynamic will develop where in the future his cbetting range may be more polarized to hands he wants to get in with, or air. You will have to readjust accordingly, I will let you figure that one out yourself however. When he is check calling only midpair type hands and never strong hands however, its going to put him in really tough spots where he is stuck completely check/guessing and we can valuebet or bluff him at our mercy because of position.

Again, I’d just like to add that a lot of the above hands would be VERY spewy vs a lot of villains, but vs this particular regular I believe it’s optimal to be raising the flop extremely lightly for value and getting it in. It’s all about making adjustments while you play to maximize your earn. I hope you learned something.

Bonus hand of the month: Observed hand of

kingsofcards vs omgclayaiken

37k eff stacks at 200/400nl

omg opens btn to 1200 koc flats
flop A95r koc checks, omg cbets 1600 into 2400, koc calls
turn is a rainbow ace, koc checks omg bets 3x pot (14.8k into 5.6k leaving 22k behind)

Pretty sick spot where omg knows the top of koc range here is usually going to be ATo and koc is kind of damned if he does call and damned if he doesn’t. It also leaves omg in a spot where he never has a tough river decision, if koc calls the turn it’s unlikely he’s folding the river imo so he could only value bet better (though I guess in a big leveling game if koc knew this he could call A7 on the turn and fold the river but that just seems kind of silly). Def an interesting hand nonetheless IMO.

Good luck at the tables.


5 Responses to “No Limit Hold’em: Exploiting a Regular”

  1. Bazclef says:

    10/10 post dude.

  2. malfaire says:

    probably my fav post that’s come outta your blog so far. thanks for putting a ton of work into it and getting the chronology right. awesome stuff!

  3. […] my September article was so hand history intensive I thought I’d make this month’s more qualitative in […]

  4. […] been awhile since my last no limit strategy posts Playing the Player and Exploiting a Regular and people seem to enjoy them so I thought I’d give another one a go. I’ve been […]

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