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25/50 is just awkward sometimes: Revisited

By on Feb 22, 2010 in Poker, Team Moshman | 0 comments

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In a previous entry, we looked at an all-in decision one of my students faced during the 25/50 level of a DoN.


Here’s the hand in question:


PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 5.2 Tournament, 25/50 Blinds 5 Ante (9 handed)

SB (t2595)

BB (t1515)

UTG (t1770)

UTG+1 (t1435)

MP1 (t1795)

MP2 (t1450)

MP3 (t1667)

Hero (CO) (t1450)

Button (t1323)


Hero’s M: 12.08


Preflop: Hero is CO with Xx Xx

5 folds, Hero bets t125, 2 folds, BB raises to t1510 (All-In),  Hero ??


He ended up folding his AQo to the shove (a correct decision given how tight the BB had been and his equity against the likely shove range) but ended up losing 125 chips in the process.


Often you’ll hear that it’s not worth going after the blinds early because there isn’t much there and it doesn’t add much to your bottom line.  But is that really the case?  So the question we need to ask ourselves is this, is it worth the risk to try and steal the blinds this early?


Let’s run some numbers.


If we fold this hand our equity in the tourney will be about 10.16% of the prize pool.


The pot currently stands at 120 chips (50 BB + 25 SB + 45 in antes).  If we successfully steal the blinds and antes our equity will be about 10.78% of the prize pool.


Adding the blinds and antes to our stack in this situation is worth about .62% of the prize pool.  That’s an increase thats nothing to sneeze at.


So let’s say we decide to bet out in an early level when there is no action in front of us.  We make a raise and then the action continues around the table.  Three things can happen at this point:


1)      Everyone folds and we take the blinds.

2)      Someone (or multiple someones) calls our raise and we see a flop

3)      Someone re-raises us


The first situation is clearly a good (+EV) situation for us.  Situations 2 and 3 may or may not be that good for us.  They are less clearly defined as to if they are +EV or not.  If we have good post-flop judgment, they may in fact be +EV.  If we don’t they could be –EV.


Our EV equation would look something like this: Equity from folds + Equity from getting called + Equity from getting re-raised.


So let’s imagine a scenario where if we get called or re-raised we always lose the chips used to attempt to steal.


If we lose the 125 that we used to attempt a steal in this spot our equity would now stand at 9.55%, or a loss of .61% of the prize pool.


Our EV equation now looks like this: (% of the time we successfully steal * .62 equity gain) + (% of the time we don’t successfully steal * -.61%) or (x*.62) + ((1-x)*-.61), which simplifies to .62x+.61x-.61.  Set that equal to 0 and solving for x gives us a value for x of .4959.  So in this spot with a 2.5x raise, we only need to be successful 49.59% of the time to break even. Again this is assuming the highly unlikely event that we ALWAYS lose the chips we invested if we get called or re-raise, which we know isn’t always going to be true.


So if we can successfully steal the blind about 50% of the time in this scenario, we show a profit.  And that number could go down if we can actually play profitably when we do get called or re-raised.


Now the question becomes, how often am I stealing the blinds successfully at this level.  Let’s turn to Hold Em Manager and find out.


Click on the reports tab under Tourney and then click on the filter and click on edit.


From the Main Filters tab we want to:


1)      set the Tourney BB equal to BB50

2)      Check SB, Button and CO on the position and then select unopened from the Preflop Action Facing Player

3)      Click Save and Close




With the position report selected this will tell us how often at 25/50 it’s folded to us in each of the 3 positions selected (Cut Off, Button and Small Blind).


Let’s take a quick look at one of my students.  In a HEM Dbase I have for him there are 5210 DoN tourneys and at the 25/50 level it’s been folded to him the following number of times in those 3 positions:







We’ll set that number aside for a moment while we continue playing with HEM.


Go back to the filter in reports and click edit again:


1)      select the Filter by Actions tab

2)      click on the Filter by Preflop Actions tab

3)      select everything that starts with Raise

4)      Save and Close

















This will tell us how times we raise when it is folded to us.


Here are the numbers for my previously mentioned student







Jot those numbers down and let’s go back to HEM.


Now we want to see how often everyone left to act folds when we do raise.


Go back to the filter and the Filter by Actions tab:


1)      on the Filter by Preflop Actions select just the Raise option

2)      then click Filter by Flop Actions

3)      select None

4)      Save and Close















With this filter in place we get these results from my student.








Now we can tell how often he’s successfully stealing the blinds at the 25/50 level from late position (or the SB).  Here we can see that my student is stealing the blinds with a success rate of 60.71%.


What about that first number that we went digging through HEM to get?  That shows us how often it’s folded to him in LP (or the SB).  With that we can quickly calculate that he’s raising 15.53% of the time that it’s folded to him.


So here’s the question I’ll leave for y’all:  Should this player increase his attempts to steal at this level (in similar situations, given our assumptions regarding getting called or re-raised)?  Why or why not?  And what possible reactions are the other players going to have in the long run and how is that going to effect what we can do?


I’d love to hear what you all think.


Now I can go back to watching Curling.

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