Sticking with Construction

Perhaps you are like me, always agonizing over which hands to play in which seat facing different kinds of action pre-flop, or trying to decide how on earth you should carve up your post flop range on different types of boards into check/folds, check/calls, check/raises, bet/folds, bet/calls and bet raises, across multiple streets. I find the latter part in particular to be hopelessly too hard, but let’s just keep it simple, and say I try.

So you’ve done something similar, and have decided on your exact ranges pre-flop, and on how you will play different hand classes on different board textures post flop. Are you also like me in that you always come up with excuses to deviate from construction?

I think a certain level of deviation is perfectly justifiable. If you alter your bet sizes because of some live exploit you think you’ve spotted, you also want to shrink or expand your ranges accordingly. If you have someone in front of you opening a nearly 100% range (raising pre-flop every hand), you definitely want to be expanding your 3 betting range. There are lots of factors that should cause you to tweak or even greatly deviate from construction.

But in this thread, I was mainly wanting to offer the thought that, for the most part, you want to keep these to very minor tweaks, where you know exactly why you are going outside of construction. In other words: mostly stick to your plan. Decide in advance how you want to play, and then execute. Even better if your plan includes some very clear thoughts about how it should morph in particular situations, but it’s hard not to run into spots you hadn’t really factored into your plans.

Sticking to a plan also helps give you a long term base line for how certain approaches work in a given environment. If you are constantly deviating, it’s that much harder to know if you had a good plan to begin with. And for me at least, I feel that I’m often getting into the biggest trouble when I launch into a leveling war, or in some other way make plays that are inconsistent with the plan I started with. Again, I’m not saying you should never do this… just try to keep it under control.

This may mostly be a sermon to myself, as this is a lesson I seem to need lately, LOL… but I’m hoping others are in need of the same reminder also.