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The Fuzz Rule - Folding to Raises*

*Note: This article was written originally for HM1 and many of the reports/filters mentioned for HM1 were relocated, renamed or possibly removed in HM2 but the content was good enough in general that we wanted to copy it over from our HM1 FAQs to the HM2 FAQs for general reference.

The fuzz rule is basically when you get raised at small stakes up to 200nl or even 400nl you need to be frequently folding unless you have a very strong hand. In this analysis the filters won’t include 3bet pots or limped pots because that adds a whole different dynamic. Although the theory is obvious and well known the name “Fuzz Rule”, as I came to know it, evolved from the poker forum where Fuzzbox was an avid preacher of this advice and rightly so. The following article goes a long way to providing proof that Fuzzbox was indeed giving good advice. 

This article from 2+2 shows a study was done of a large sample of min raises which clearly shows that as annoying that they are, they usually have a strong hand and go to showdown a lot so there should be no “Well its only a min raise” excuses. Even though a lot of this is standard stuff I see a lot of HH’s where people call these too lightly especially with overpairs in non 3bet pots. 

Two plus Two post on facing a min-raise

Post Summary 

  • * take notes: Always important, but top pair would be easy to get away from if villain only min-raises with sets and you have no other draws. (Now I just got to find the time to enter all this data into my player notes).
  • * Not best hand: It's probably safe to say that when min-raised, your top pair hand is behind 75% of the time, or will be by the river without any draws. Maybe a little less than that for your overpair.
  • * No Fold Equity: 99% of the time the min-raiser will go on to see a showdown, so don't try to bluff him/her out unless you have a good read/notes.
  • * Great Implied Odds: This does give you GREAT implied odds if you have a good draw.

Calling a Flop CBet Raise Results

So if you’re not applying the fuzz rule properly then you should quickly see this in your results. Load the report: Plugging Leaks 03 - Flop Hand Strength. Now, click on the Filter button and then choose "Load" and load up the "Calling Flop CBet Raise" filter. This report shows a breakdown of results in hands where your were the only preflop raiser and your Continuation Bet was raised on the flop and you called broken down by hand and draw strength. You will probably see where you could be losing a lot of money calling with subpar hands in this spot. That is not to say that you should never call a flop CBet raise with a mediocre hand but just realize that anything under an overpair will rarely be the best hand in this spot.

If we simply fold every time to the raise the bb/100 would be somewhere around -950 bb/100. So, in theory, if we lose less than 950bb/100 over our sample we would be making an improvement on folding but some other things should be considered. We should be applying the fuzz rule and only folding the hands that aren’t strong so in reality we should only be calling here with strong hands that have good showdown value. If we have a negative return it means that were not folding enough weaker hands and paying people off light so in fact we should be making a profit when we call a raise here. 

In general we should be at least breaking even or profiting from this sample or else we need to review and replay the hands and see where were making our mistakes and work on plugging our leaks. For all future examples where it looks like you have a leak I highly advise scrutinizing your hands for that filter to see where you’re leaks are and to prevent further mistakes in the future.

What do the regulars have when they raise Flop CBet's?

Getting your flop CBet raised leaves you with a big decision. In the heat of the battle it is tough to make a decision although of course you could use Player Analysis to see how often he makes this type of move but that still does not answer the question of what he has in this spot. Before moving forward you might want to go into Options - Misc Options and uncheck the Auto Run Report on Changes. This let's you make a number of report / player / filter changes without having the report be regenerated with each change since on big databases some of these reports can take some time due to the amount of data that needs to be analyzed.

After making that change select the player you want to look at, set the Report to Plugging Leaks 03 - Flop Hand Strength and then edit the Filter. First click on "Clear" and then click on Edit. Go to the last tab in the filter form and find "PFR = False" and double click that. Then find "Raised Flop CBet = True" and double click that. Now you can Save and exit the filter and click "Refresh" to run the report. After it runs click on the Hands tab to sort by that - the largest one will normally be blank indicating that we don't know what he had. For the ones that are known look at the breakdown between big hands or good hands + big draws and weaker hands. Ask yourself how an overpair stacks up against that. For some players it may do very well and for others you might not have a hope. When you see things like this you need to take notes. Repeat this for a number of other players you frequently play against and notice how the breakdown's differ. Also look at the overall Won Hand % for each of these players when they raise the flop cbet.

Results Analysis for Calling a Flop CBet Raise

Now we go back to the 6 max cash data mined database and see how often people are calling CBet Raises and how that correlates to actual results. To do this on your own database simply go to the playewr tab, set the appropriate filters (I am setting # players between 4 and 6, No Limit only, Min 5000 hands with a min date of Jan 2007) and set the Report to "Post Flop Actions". From the second drop down choose "Flop as PFR" and we are looking for Bet Call %. On a huge database this one could take a while - the Post Flop Action reports are loaded with info but they do take some time to go through on big databases. When it does come up click on the Bet Call % to sort it and then look at the bottom right to see the Results analysis. In my database the average breakdown against a Flop CBet Raise is:

Call: 36.1%
Fold: 46.7%
Raise: 17.2%

Here is the winrate breakdown for the ranges of Call% and as you can see, calling here too much is an obvious leak

Median bb/100
Call Cbet < 28.3 3.07
Raise 28.3 to 33.9 3.12

34.0 to 40.0 2.66

40.0 to 48.1 2.87

48.1 + -1.66

Calling a Flop CBet Raise and going to Showdown

Ok, back to self analysis. Select your player name again and load the "Calling Flop CBet Raise" filter but now go in and Edit the Filter. Go to the last tab and near the very bottom of the More Filters list you will see "Saw Showdown = True". Double click that, save and exit the Filters form and run the report. Take note of the number of Total Hands right away. The amount of hands here should also be close to the total amount you had before applying that showdown filter because when we are raised on the flop, unless someone min raises, we don’t have the odds to call with almost any draw so any hand we call a raise with should be strong enough to get to showdown with almost always. Of course there will be occasions where the turn possibly improves the villains hand or the board turns sour and we have to fold before showdown and times when we call and villain folds the turn but again there shouldn’t be too many of these occasions.

Calling a Flop CBet Raise and not going to Showdown

Next we should be ensuring that the hands we called a flop raise with and didn’t get to showdown with aren’t just a case of calling to see a turn with a draw or weak hand and if there are some hands in there where we made a bad call, now is the time to realize this and realize it is a big leak. Go back to the Edit Filter section and double click on the "Saw Showdown = True" on the left hand column and then go back to the right hand column near the bottom and select "Saw Showdown = False" and also select "Won Hand = False" to remove hands you won on the Turn or River. Obviously this entire result will be losing hands. What you really want to do here is look at the Total Hands and you should also be replaying all of these hands (especially those in the Top Pair Weak Kicker or Worse with a weak / no draw) to determine why you chose this line since generally speaking, calling a Flop CBet Raise with marginal hands you don't intend on showing down is a very big leak.

If you only review one part of this section then id recommend this is it. Every Hand in here should be scrutinized heavily to see if you could have folded to the flop raise. Let’s say we have 10 hands in here, if we correctly folded to the raise in the case where we didn’t have a strong hand then we should have only lost 950bb/100. Remember any call in here by a draw or weak hand is basically burning money and you’ll probably see a minimum of an extra 1,700bb/100 lost per hand when you call the raise and fold on further streets. That’s an average of 17bb per hand. You should have folded the flop with your weak hands and lost 950bb/100 instead of the min of 2650bb/100 you probably lost when making an incorrect call with a weak hand. I’m sure that would look a lot better in your bankroll than in some donk’s bankroll so the next time you’re faced with a raise on the flop with a weak hand as yourself do you like money and if your answer is yes then fold.

Calling a Flop CBet Raise and going to Showdown with Top Pair good kicker or worse

Now load the filter "Called Flop CBet Raise with less than TPTK" and then go in and Edit the Filter and set "Saw Showdown = True" and scrutinize these results. Generally there should be fewer hands in here than there is in the similar category “Called a flop raise with TPTK” which we’ll come to soon because we really shouldn’t be getting here too often with a weak hand and TPGK or worse is a weak hand when facing a raise. You can mess around with the Flop Hand Value in the filters section and gradually decrease the value of your hands to see how many hands you’ve called with weaker hands like Middle Pair or Bottom Pair etc. The weaker the hand the less hands you should have. 

Occasionally we will be playing a maniac and TPGK will be good enough or we might have a combo draw plus pair type hand but you should again scrutinize the hands here in detail using the Hands TAB especially the bigger pots and don’t try to rationalise a call because you really need a good reason to be calling a raise with this type of hand versus a decent player. Another occasion where you might find a call is versus an aggressive TAG that habitually raises flush draw flops with draws, sometimes I like to call and push on his turn bet if I have position and the flush doesn’t hit but like I said you need a good logical reason for any hand you find under this filter. Again if your reasons are logical you will be at least breakeven here or positive and if not then you definitely need to scrutinize your hands.

Calling a Flop CBet Raise and not going to Showdown with TPGK or worse

Now go back and edit the filter and remove "Saw Showdown = True" and replace with "Saw Showdown = False". You should not have many hands listed here and each should have a good reason when you replay them to justify this line otherwise it is likely that you found yourself a costly leak.

Calling a Flop CBet Raise with Top Pair Top Kicker

Now load the filter "Called Flop CBet Raise with TPTK" and see your results. You might be surprised at how poorly top pair top kicker does against a typical CBet Raise. If we have a negative return here were probably overvaluing TP and not giving the villain’s raise enough credit or more to the point probably not giving passive villains enough credit because when passive villains raise TPTK usually isn’t enough so we need to be having a minimum of 2 pair or better in this case. So in summary we should be showing a profit when we occasionally call a raise with TPTK and the best way to do this is to obey the Fuzz rule and not call a raise with a draw or weak hand unless we’ve strong notes or reads to suggest otherwise. This doesn’t mean always fold TPTK to a raise on the flop. Say we’ve TPTK against a very aggro TAG and get raised on a drawy board, if were confident he’s range is heavily weighted towards draws we might decide to call in position and push on he’s turn bet if no draws come in or we might 3bet him on the flop but we just need to be careful were choosing the right times and villains to make a stand with TPTK as its another hand that’s overvalued too often. Bare in mind this is in a raised pot, not a limped or 3bet pot where the dynamics are quite different so in most cases when someone raises the flop they will have strong hands in the scenario where they were the preflop raiser with hands like sets, 2 pairs, Overpairs etc and TPTK just isn’t usually strong enough to call a raise.

Calling a Flop CBet Raise with an Overpair

Now load the filter "Called Flop CBet Raise with Overpair" and see your results. This should be quite a bit better although you might have thought before reading this article that overpairs were generally safe against a CBet raise. When we get raised in this scenario we should play overpairs more conservatively than we would in 3bet pots because you need to be asking yourself what you beat when a solid villain raises you. Consider his range, your image, board texture and don’t be afraid to fold overpairs if you think you’re beaten. If a TAG has called in the blinds we can rule out other overpairs a lot so if he’s raising you on a 359 rainbow board he’s range is heavily weighted towards sets and unless we have reads or notes to suggest otherwise our overpair is probably not good and we should be folding a lot. Of course against some bad opponents were never folding overpairs because they have a huge range for calling in the BB and they’ll raise and stack off with a wide range such as TP or smaller overpair’s so again villain and situationally dependant but if you don’t have a very positive return here you have a serious leak and need to review all your big pots in the Hands TAB.

That draws this article to an end. For a lot of people this information will be extremely valuable and I encourage everyone to explore this further. Try evaluating Turn CBet Raises the same way by tweaking the filters. Replay all of your suspect hands looking for better ways to play this spot and of course check out the regulars and see what a raise from them on the flop really means.


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