About this Much, Fiddy

Fiddy-dolla-uba-balla takes a break from rakeback grinding and wonders:

Can you write a post that discusses the relative value of the fold equity we receive from being an early position opener with a large c-betting range versus the value we receive from having position on our opponents? I think this is an under-discussed aspect of value creation in poker since position is a sacred cow.

There are a couple facets to this question.  First, we have to clear up the perhaps obvious point that defending and attacking options are not explicitly connected.  Consider a football team which not only has different players for offense and defense, but a different philosophy for each side.

FDUB’s central question is a strategic one, and as with all important poker questions, to answer it we can look at the relational nature of the game.  A wide cbetting range is useful only so far as opponents will make more folding errors than calling errors.  A robust defending range will only be useful so far as our villains make attacking errors. The answer rests with our opponents, not as any abstract absolute.

So that is the main point: value comes from what exploitable tendencies our opposition offers.

However, there are some leftover tidbits from FDUB’s query.

It is possible that it is easier to create a wide attacking range than to precise a positional defense. This does not mean better. Perhaps position is a sacred cow to some, but in my opinion it is not sacred enough. For instance, as much as Ed “Dr. Fantasy” Miller is known for his well crafted static opening range, helping thousands of players clean up their game, can anyone name his ranges and strategies for calling in position?

Related to this, I’ve noticed more and more that players tend to think position is its own advantage, and do not realize that it is merely an opportunity to play with more information.   In other words, many players misuse position unwittingly, and that lends weight to the value of being the attacker or continuation bettor.

Another, deeper facet is that the attacking philosophy and the defending philosophy may start out as wildly different animals, as suggested above, but the tougher the game, the more the two converge, in order to win the war of reciprocity. This is most simply demonstrated by blind versus blind math where it may become imperative to defend a proportional range when the SB or button relentlessly attempts to steal.  In a harder to see, hazier way, a full ring NLHE game can also be affected by this dynamic, and you will be giving up real dollars if you allow yourself to be run over in position or are not taking good spots as the aggressor.

Finally, player preference and comfort matters.  Clearly FDUB, from his tone, prefers the initiative.  So long as his game makes inherent sense and he can correct the errors of his own limitations, there is no reason for him not to continue in this path- until something forces him to change.

2 thoughts on “About this Much, Fiddy

  1. Great blog post. Inspired question.

    Good observation that it is really an issue of recognizing how to capitalize on the error types that our opponents tend to make as well as an compensating for our own skill or lack of skill.

    I suppose that if one is not able to glean the advantage from having position, then the benefits of having it are obviously diminished. If this is the case, then the situation might justify revisiting how to use the information of position.

    Essentially it is possible to isolating a strong late position game from a strong early position game and cultivate the ability to adapt either for the dynamics of the table.

    Thanks for the post!

    Can we get some interpretation on the previous post? A bit of author commentary or voice over might make that text exchange valuable reading.

    1. The prior post will have to speak for itself, except that a soundtrack of a smartphone vibrating and my half awake groans might make it more dynamic.

      I will comment on one interesting thing. Confector is a wonderful Latin word because, as in many things Roman, it had multiple, competing meanings that were best derived from context. The Latins had a paucity of vocabulary but did not suffer from it. In this case, Confector means both creator and destroyer, working well with the genitive plural of acervus, or “heaps/piles/stacks/objects/treasures.”

      Your comment on the profitability of certain tactics being relative to our own skill level, not just our opponents, is very much on point. Too many players assume they are doing something right, or as I have written before, that the game owes them something.

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