#3 - Raising for Information

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  Raising for information The main topic of the article can be translated into using position to garner more information; rather then a betting action, the sequence of streets to subsequent actions should tell you if you're good or not. Such as when I see a raise pf / auto bet flop / check turn, he can be moved off his hand, yet if it goes raise pf / auto bet flop / fire 2nd barrell, he has it, and I can fold. This is all good, but the main critique I have for your article is the fact that you shared your hole cards (99 in this case) is irrelevant.  The basic principle is not whether to raise for information, but raise to protect vs a possible 6 outer (An ace or king, we suppose) and take the pot down, or take it away on the next street where we dont have to worry whether we are best or not. The point of this is - If you show this hand down, having either raised the flop or put a bet in on the turn against said player, you will be shown a bigger pair. This leads me to... *Related topic but not my focus* Why bother doing this with 99? This is a great board for a call to bluff! Once again if you plan on raising 99 for info, you could do the same with JT (for example) which missed the flop completely. You outmanuever a hand which you have 6 outs against, and if he's the type to 3bet w/overpair (given 60bbs, I think is fine) you dont care folding a no pair no draw hand. Which leads me to: I dont think this is an appropriate example of when raising for information - solely - is or is not a viable option. Would I ever raise for informatin alone? Probably not, I try to incorporate several other reasons into why I do something (either for an action I WILL take later in the hand or ending all actions NOW, such as folding) But... When playing deeper stacked, lets say both players have 3000 rather then 300, (in example we will say we're at foxwoods) a raise here could pressure an overpair into shelling up; or, to put it mildly, may be smarter to see whether 99 is best on the flop rather then call the flop and make a guess on a turn when more money is at stake. I think the biggest problem with your article was your example utilized a case where the price of the information [125, or 25 bbs] was too great relative to stack sizes. [300, or 60 bbs] In a deeper stacked game, you alluded to this, which I want to mention - By seizing control of the hand, your raise also accomplishes: -Taking initiative, which for deeper stacked play, is so much more useful - when checked to on turn, you can make a big pot or small pot decision. Either decide you want to play a big pot and bet (lets say you turn a 9) small pot and check (and snap off a small bluff in a small pot) or big pot (lets say top pair pairs) to pressure TT+ into laying down. -Hand protection; vs given player, you have limited his hand range substantially preflop. If you raise, and he calls, from that point on you have defended vs a 6outer, because you know ace king wont be in there on the turn. And if he did, then he called a half pot raise for a 6 out shot, which is forcing him to make a FTOP mistake. Goody. The whole argument is: Is the information worth the price you paid? The easy answer, from your example and nicely demonstrated by your article, is no. However, deeper stacked, I think the answer is yes *Actually, the answer is it depends, but for arguments sake, I'm sticking with 'yes'* and I'll show why.   An opponent like mentioned calling to evaluate the turn is better then raising the flop for information, only because the times he has a 6out draw is not worth protection your hand. Thats a given. Rather, a raise for information is useful when an opponent will NOT REVEAL THIS INFORMATION. This is someone capable of firing a 2nd barrell, or possibly 3rd, with an unimproved AK. If you both have 3000, someone capable of firing 3 streets w/ ace high for example (and deeper stacked) by calling the flop the pot is 150. He potted the flop on a dry board, so if we assume he'll pot down with AK or JJ+, you now on the turn have to pay 150 + 450 = 600 to showdown your marginal overpair. Ignoring raising when we turn or river a set, or making a smart laydown when an ace or king turns, (*these will be considered, but for demonstrative purposes they will be done next)    He has AK and doesnt improve: 40% (% He has this hand) x 75% (% of time this will occur) x 600 (pot size from point 0, or flop on) = +180    He has AK and improves: 40% x 25% x 600 = -60    He has JJ,QQ,KK,AA and it holds up: 60% x 92% x 600 = -331.2    He has JJ,QQ,KK,AA and you hit a set: 60% x 8% x 600 = +28.8    Net of -182.4$. Clearly then calling down pot bets with a marginal overpair and not making smart folds (when an ace or king appears on the board) or value raises (when you actually hit the set!) is a terrible idea. Now, lets say we are able to fold when an ace or king turns, and we're able to ellicit some value from a turned or rivered 9. An ace or king appearing on the turn is approximately 13%, and 14% for the river. And if we hit a set, if we get paid off by raising the river for full pot (probably overly optimistic, but it is easy to factor in) the EV calculation becomes...    When he improves, he now only wins: 40% (times he has AK) x 13% (times he improves on the turn) x 0 (you fold to turn bet) + 14% x 150 (money put in on the turn) = -8.4$. So smart folds save us ~51 in real dollar equity.    When we improve, we now win: 60% (He has JJ,QQ,KK,AA) x 8% (you hit a set) x [ 1800 (full pot raise) + 600 (money in the pot already) ] = 115.2$ (So we make about 100$ more when we hit a set)    EV of not improving or Ace or King falling stay the same, so the net is still -44.4$. Raising the flop, however; (from mike's article) Quote: Thus, the expected value of raising is: 40% × $100 + 60% × -$87.40 = -$12.44  So the lesser of two evils is raising now! Interestingly though, this means folding is the right case vs said player. (Who only has this hand range but is maddeningly aggressive post flop) However, what about this same foxwoods game where srcinal raiser has a WIDER range? This is when raising for INFORMATION can be a viable option! Because, when deepstacked, and not as narrowed hand range preflop, you can make many more mistakes for more money on future streets!!! What do I mean by this? Well, lets say solid / good slightly loose player in said foxwoods game opens for 20 in MP. You have button and contemplate popping it up with 99, but call anyway. At this point villain's hand range is NOT just AK, AA, KK, QQ, JJ but premium hands, maybe 88+, AK, AQ, and an occaisonal suited connector. So same flop comes - 7 5 2r - and villain makes a pot bet. Is raising for information more viable now? The answer is yes. You have a vulnerable hand which rates to be good on this board, but also can be way behind (bigger overpair) and his occaisonal raise of a suited connector could give him an oesd, or a pair (and you dont know which cards hurt) or just overcards. In this example, if you call the flop, on the turn you need to basically only see a 9, or perhaps a T or J. Any other card could give him potentially the winning hand, if he doesnt have the best hand now. Now, if he checks the turn, and you bet now, and he folds all worse hands, clearly you didnt need 99 to make the play. You could have JT (as referenced earlier) and be making a call to bluff  However, on the flop, because his hand range was wide enough where you werent sure if he fired again if you had the best hand (vs ace high bluff, 88, 76, etc.) or drawing slim vs better hand (overpair) this is a case where getting the information (for 125, for example) rather then calling down 150 + 450 (pot bets on turn and river) is better. ala, fold out a bunch of the hands which can move you off your hand or draw out. Interestingly, vs a slightly looser open raiser, raising the flop, and if called, putting them on bigger overpair or perhaps smaller underpair or top pair or oesd cause the hand to play much easier and more profitable for you. Now you can make the better turn play - often check for pot control - and now have a higer frequency of picking off a river bluff (as more cards could bluff, such as 56 or 34) or perhaps sliding a value bet from a call / check / check vs A7 or something. Err... So anyway. very good article mike, I liked it, and although I wouldn't necessarily raise for information, when shallow stacked (such as your 60bb example) in a deeper stacked game vs a guy who doesnt limit his hand range before the flop so much it becomes an option. ***I guess I should put up EV calculations of raising for information in the deep stacked game (to prove that the raise would be more pos EV then calling turn) but this ran kinda long, so I'm just going to leave my hypothesis out there for someone else to defend. Which is, raising the flop now for information (and technically protection) is better then floating till the turn***
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