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Chen in his book stated that seeing the opponent's hand (mostly during a showdown) is the best information to gain. I want to know how to apply that practically.

What I'm doing now: I have the action ranges of the opponent and plot that on a distribution:

0 - 50 Fold
51 - 75 Check
75 - 100 Bet

and I use that to narrow down my opponent's range. Let's assume the above opponent bets. I then put him on a strong hand. During showdown I notice his hand was crap. So what? Does it even matter?

Since I use his average behaviour from a lot of hands, and assuming that he bets his best hands, I do not understand how to change my distribution of that opponent in any meaningful way.

Considering if he bets more crap hands his betting range will increase, which will enable me to call more; and thus my play adjusts. Currently I do not see how to incorporate his pocket cards - any advice?

  • 1
    How does your 0-50, 50-75, 75-100 system fit in here? Are you modelling that your opponent folds 50% of the time, checks 25% of the time and bets 25% of the time? Or is this tied to hand strength and you mean that they fold with the bottom 50% of hands, bet with the top 25% and check the rest? You need to find a way to consider and model the behaviour of opponents who can have a polarized range (made up of strong and weak hands), is that what you're asking? – 3N1GM4 Dec 9 '16 at 13:26
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I would look at this another way

Opponent bets the pot so you are getting 2:1
You are not sure if it is a bluff and you can beat a bluff

If your opponent is bluffing 1/3 of the time or more then you should call
lose 1
lose 1
win 2

You need include calling bluffs in your play or you will get killed

Range and bluffs are not really the same other than bluff is part of the range. You could have a very tight pre flop range and still bluff 1/3 the time. You could have wide range and not bluff very often.

  • Oh and only call if you can beat a bluff (bluff catcher) – paparazzo Dec 22 '16 at 20:27
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What are these numbers you put actually mean? Seeing your opponents hands in showdown is taught in every good book not only Chen's, and yes it is very important because that gives you an important information about your opponent's range. For instance, if you keep constantly seeing only 66+, AJs+ hands - you know this opponent is tight and very selective with his hands. If you see someone calls on river with Q5o on 2AQTQ board you know this guy is not very selective with his hands and plays any two cards. Based on that, you start to play you future hands, you can understand whether board hit a villain, or it is profitable to bluff him out if you think the board doesn't fit within his range. It might need a bit more experience though.

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" (I) put him on a strong hand. During showdown I notice his hand was crap. So what? Does it even matter?"

Of course this matters!

Take for example an opponent that you perceive to be "tight and straight-forward", meaning when they bet you believe they always have a strong hand... We see the river in a multiway pot and he bets. We fold, but another player calls and we see that he was bluffing.

Well obviously our idea of his overall strategy was wrong and we need to adjust by calling him light in some spots.

"which will enable me to call more; and thus my play adjusts. Currently I do not see how to incorporate his pocket cards "

You just incorporated his "pocket cards" into your strategy by increasing your calling range.

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