Analyzing with Cardrunners EV and Flopzilla

People become very worried about using programs such as CardRunners EV and Flopzilla, especially when it comes to these multi-street analyses. However, if you can select or remove a hand in a hand range, and make proper assumptions about ranges, you can work with Flopzilla and make calculations. If you can make hand ranges and enter some bet sizes you can work with CardRunners EV.

Let’s start from the very beginning. Learning how to do triple barrels will help you score some huge pots in higher stakes games, so let’s really take our time to break it down. Triple barrels are fairly easily to program in CardRunners EV, compared with some more complicated trees you can make with wildly parting branches. This is especially the case when our opponent has a “jam or fold” stack.

First, we copy the hand history from our Hold’em Manager 2 database. So, we find the hand shown in Figure 112 in a list.


Figure 112

There are a number of ways to find the hand you want. As you can see there is a box you can click on to filter “Marked hands.” The easiest way to find your hand is by marking it conscientiously when it takes place for later review. You can also filter for the time or the specific cards used.

Once we have our hand we right-click and select “Copy.” This will take the raw hand history and put it on our clipboard. If the hand history format is not supported by CardRunners EV we can “Copy with stats” and then import it as a Hold’em Manager 2 hand history (Figure 113).

This was a PokerStars hand, so the hand history text was supported, and we just select “Copy.” We then go to CardRunners EV and select “Import” (Figure 114).

When we select that button a pop-up like the one shown in Figure 115 can be seen. We need to select the proper hand history type to the right and then paste it in the box.

We will then be asked how much of the board we want to read or randomize. Since we’re testing our particular line and not our play through a multitude of options we should have it read until the end (Figure 116),

The next pop-ups will ask you if you want to include any players who folded in the hand and if you want to add any additional tournament content. We are not exploring what to do with multiple players in the pot. That would complicate our tree incredibly, and we’re more curious about the actual line we took. We also do not need to enter the tournament data at this point. This is a large time investment, and unless we are close to a significant payout jump usually the chip EV will tell us what we need to know. Figure 117 shows what the read out will look like.

This can be daunting for many people when they first see it and it’s not even the entirety of the CardRunners EV calculation. However, this looks much more complicated than it is. Each arrow is simply an action by one player or another. All of the bets, calls, stack sizes, and chip amounts are already entered. All we have to do is enter the ranges we discussed in the previous discussion.

We do that by clicking on the button that says “edit condition” underneath each arrow that has an incorrect hand range assigned to it. As you can see, the villain automatically has “all hands” selected. Those need to be updated. Your nodes will never need to be changed because your exact hand is already entered. So let’s edit the first one, under “Raise 330.” Let’s put a range that we think our opponent was opening with. I thought he’d really opened up his game, so I had him opening up 40% of the hands. This also kept with his pop-up statistics on my HUD. First, we take our mouse and select “edit condition” (Figure 118).

We then get a hand range display, which looks much like Flopzilla. When we’re there we just select the hands we want till we get to our 40%. When we’re finished we select the button “done.” You can see it identified in Figure 119 with an arrow.

Now we will have entered his range. When he flats, remember to enter the range with which we had him flatting. It was 18.4% in our last section. Figure 120 shows what it will look like on CardRunners EV.

Your finished preflop section should like the calculation shown in Figure 121 on CardRunners EV.

When you get to the flop play the data entry becomes a little different, because obviously there are more cards in play now. Let’s go to where our opponent calls us on the flop (Figure 122).

You can edit the calling range where the arrow is indicating. However, we also believe our opponent has a jamming range and a folding range here, so let’s put those branches of the tree in (Figure 123).

If you hover over the line where it shows “Call” CardRunners EV gives additional buttons for other options. Select “Fold and Raise”. When you select “Raise” the program just puts a normal raise out there. Double click it, enter “9” repeatedly in the number entry form, and then enter the number. You’ve now caused the raise size to be all-in. This makes the tree simpler, as there are no more options. Figure 124 shows what that should look like.

Notice how when you hover over the last node you’re given all the options again, because your branch has not been explored to completion. There is still hypothetical action here because hero with the 10-9o still has chips. Hero is obviously going to fold here because he has 10-9o, so select fold and the tree branch will be finished. Now, from that point on let’s select “edit conditions” underneath the text that says “Raise 5172.” This will give us a box that allows us to decide what hands should be in hero’s raising range.

There are a number of ways to range your opponents but in my experience the easiest way to do this is to go in this order: raise, call, and fold. In the raise and call breakdowns solve for the minimum hand he is doing the play with, and select “At least…” that hand in every section. Once you’ve done that for raise and call everything else will be put into the folding range, which is great: these are all the hands that you wanted folding anyway.

Let’s use the ranges that we thought were jamming in the last section. Remember, that was specifically 8-8, 9-9, and the nut flush draws. Let’s enter them here. First, we have to enter our selections in the “Made hand” section. In this case, let’s say we wanted to say over-pairs and better were what was going to get check-raised. We’d enter this, then select the button “Add condition to list.” If that was all we wanted to enter for the range, we’d then select “Save and close.” You can find these buttons through the bottom arrows (Figure 125).

Here, we have a special case, since we are only selecting specific hands. So we need to select the exact hands by using the button which looks like a Rubik’s Cube. You can see where it is based on the upper arrow. Figure 126 shows what the pop-up looks like. Here, I selected the 9-9 and 8-8 combinations. When I’m finished I select “Done.” You then have to edit the flush draw portion.

You want to make sure you get exactly the combinations you want. You’ll notice we have selected “At least” “nut flushdraw” “Both holecards” (Figure 127).

We then select “Add New Condition To List”. We’ve now entered the two range portions that we wanted to enter for the raising range.

It is extremely important that you remember to hit “Add New Condition To List” between these entries. If you don’t do this CardRunners EV will combine the ranges together. I’ve seen many people, including myself, gloat over a “successful” bluff, only to later realize they had their opponents only raising with a top pair or better that also had an open-ended straight draw and flush. As you can imagine, when playing a player who is only defending those exact hands, even 2-7o will show a profit. When you exit from this pop-up you will be met with the warning shown in Figure 128.

Make sure you select “Yes.” As previously discussed, CardRunners EV puts in “all hands” as the obligatory condition. If you don’t remove it the “all hands” condition will override all your work and include everything. Figure 129 shows the result. You’ll notice there are now abbreviations on the node, which shows what range you assigned to the particular action. Let’s now select the “edit conditions” tab of our opponent’s calling range.

We have to enter what we had as his calling range in the last section. Remember, the worst hands in that range were ace high and gutshots, but the gutshots had to have an ace high with them. Figure 130 shows how we’d enter that range.

Notice how we had to select ace as one of the values, so the high cards are tethered to the ace high and better. We add this new condition to the list and head to the draws. To add any flush draw we’d need to select it in the section “Draws” and then select “Add new condition to list” (Figure 131).

Now we have to get the gutshots with ace high in there. So separate from the flush draws (otherwise we are only including combo flush and straight draws) we select gutshot along with an ace in the hand (Figure 132).

We then need to put the “8 out straight draw” separate from the gutshots, because they do not depend on an ace (Figure 133).

Now we save this final condition, make sure we’ve deleted the “all hands” condition.

On the turn, the entry becomes a little more simple, because we start dropping off with the draws that do not have an additional value. So, we would hit “edit conditions” and add any pair, the nut flush draw, and open-ended straight draw. Figure 134 shows how those inputs would be entered, separately.

The river becomes even more simple because we just have to enter value hands. Obviously, no more flush draws are calling down. Figure 135 shows what the result if we wanted any three of a kind or better to be calling us on the river.

And if you wanted the Villain only calling with specific flushes you can choose the flush section and select to the right (where the arrow is indicating) at what strength flush you want his range to bottom out (Figure 136).

In this tree we assume our opponent is calling with fourth nut flush or better on the river. Now we can hit “EV Calculate” (the button at the bottom to the far left on a menu of similar buttons) and we find out whether our play shows a profit overall (Figure 137).

When you select “EV Calculate” the program runs a preselected number of Monte Carlo simulations and will tell you what the average profit or loss is at the

end. In these multi-street analyses the overall profit is not displayed under the preflop action, as it would be in other CardRunners EV calculations. It is shown under the flop node because future board cards are known.

What you just did was one of the most complicated data entries you can have in CardRunners EV. Usually, you simply choose a couple of “At Least…” entries and then you’re done. It doesn’t matter if you agree with how I ranged anyone. The key is just to understand the process, and how to make some of the more special entries that go beyond the easier data entry.

When you start mastering these programes you can set up models that are incredibly revealing. Figure 138 shows one that I found very intriguing.

In this equity calculation you’ll notice that I assigned random cards to the turn and river. That’s because I 3-bet a gentleman in a heads-up tournament, he flatted me preflop, and then flatted me on the flop. I wanted to know if, when his range is capped at one pair, I could fire any turn and river. I had him calling down with middle pair by the end, an extremely optimistic calling range, and as the arrow indicates we still would have made a profit.

Presumably, you’re going to play better than firing any card, so we should often pursue this situation. Creating baseline ideas such as this one allows us to see how bad it is to shut down after one or two streets if our opponent is calling us down on those cards too loosely. Getting the ideas cemented with the aid of mathematics allows us to make the more daring bluffs.

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