Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Using Your Holdem Manager for Ultimate Domination

I have felt it and I know you have too.  There's that one guy who you know, you just KNOW has been 3-betting you light and stealing your blinds more often than your HUD would lead you to believe.  This of course brings us to the inherent flaw of using one: it can only give us average statistics, and quite often says little, if anything, about how a foe is playing against you in particular.  But what if we could just take a little extra time to dig a little bit deeper into our database to find out the exact answers to these otherwise simple little questions?

Thus began my quest to find such answers.  Don't get me wrong.  Although I have railed against using a HUD in the past, I have since jumped this hurdle as I began to realize that using one is not something you do, but rather, something that you learn.  Helpful as they are, I was still craving these answers and knew that I could never be EXCELLENT as a shortstacker until I found it out.  Many people are reading this and surely believing that you can just tweak the filters and voila, there you have it.  Nope.  The "Vs Player" filter will only give you basic information such as total winnings and show you hands where said player is sitting at the same table as you.  Even if you try to get clever and filter it further for only hands where the action was unopened and you raised on the button and the big blind 3-bet you, the first thing that you will likely see when you replay a hand is that the villain you were looking to get a read on had already exited the hand.

I tried posting on forums, collaborating with confidants, and even writing to the actual programmers to find out how to do this.  Perhaps I was not explicit enough in that I was looking for actual percentages, but I got the same information over and over. It was simply not functional and led me to the same dead end.

Then the news broke on Pokertableratings about the 40putts/Kinetica/Littlezen shortstacker softplaying scandal.  A member of the esteemed DeucesCracked training site playing under the name NoahSD had taken extensive time to write a long and detailed report using statistical analysis to break down the 3-bet ranges of these players when playing against each other.  Aha!  So there is somebody out there who actually knows how to do this!

I thought for a while on how best to get this information from him, but then just decided to simply ask.  Lo and behold, in less than an hour's time, here is what he replied:

Hi Lorin,
Unfortunately HM isn't really designed to do this. I've been told that they plan to eventually add the stat "Player A's 3-bet % vs. Player B", but I think it's likely to be far in the future.

I used custom software to get my own answers, and frankly I have no idea how it works.  The only way I know how to do this without hiring a programmer to do it for you is with this tedious method:

To get Player A's 3-bet % vs. Player B:

1) Select player B in HM.
2) In the filter menu, go to more filters and add "PFR = True".
3) Run the report.
4) In the bottom half of HM, select the "All" radio button next to "last 500". Right click and select "export all hands to hard drive" and choose a spot to export those hands.
5) Options -> Database Management. Create a new database.
6) Import the hands that you exported into that database. This is a database of all hands where player B raised preflop.
7) Select Player A and run a report with no filter. The 3-bet % that the report shows is Player A's 3-bet % when Player B raised.

If you make a database with all the hands where you raised preflop, you should be able to quickly look at the 3-bet %s that various players have against you.

Hope that helps,

This was just awesome to me.  Though he might consider this tedious (and technically it is), I am no stranger to tedious work as I have spent countless hours running simulations using Stox EV that could often top 5 minutes for just a single, detailed run.  So what is one to do with such information?

Use it to completely dominate and control your opposition.

That statement being rather vague, I will give an example using a player whom we will term "KaySmash" to show you just how we can put this into practice.  On the HUD, it says that KaySmash opens the button 44% of the time.  I filtered out all hands where I was on the big blind.  Then I created a new database per the instructions and when I loaded it up, I set my filters to "Unopened" and "Button" and set it to run the report against KaySmash.  True to form, he actually was raising that frequency.  All that victimization was just a figment of my imagination!  More importantly, I can now see that he is folding to my 3-bet 44% of the time.  Since I am now armed with the information that he is not attempting to exploit my folding tendencies and just playing by a script, I can hereby assume that he will be treating me no differently when I am in the small blind as well.

While this information is excellent, it allows to me play a perfect shove or fold game against him, but doesn't really allow for much room for true exploitation since he is calling rather frequently.  So digging a little deeper, I then follow NoahSD's plan to find out how often KaySmash is 3-betting me by filtering out the hands where I raise the button and then running the report with KaySmash in the big blind and the small blind has declined to enter the pot.  Here is where it gets really interesting.

KaySmash is 3-betting me approximately 18% of the time, and never, ever just flat calling.  Though I was quite sure of this, since I am dealing with a rotating base of players on any single day, it is often easy to confuse them.  The fact that he is unwilling to get tricky makes him extraordinarily easy to beat.

I will give you guys a chance to digest this information for a few days and then in the next post I will show you precisely how we can use this information for an optimal strategy against this particular opponent.


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