Monday, November 16, 2009

Betting on the end.

As a regular reader on this blog, you have probably seen a lot of "What would you do?" hands where the aggressor is betting into me on a checked river. The aggressor, more often than not, bets an unusually strong amount - inconsistent with the action of the hand prior. I understand what my opponent is trying to do: muscle me out of the pot. However, I think there is a sensible way of going about the river bluff. Granted, these hands are far different; I am not suggesting that you bet into represented strength against an opponent who is clearly sending a message that he has a hand and wants value by betting the streets. However, here are a few examples where small bets take down sizable pots, because the read I make is correct; my opponents are on draws.

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $29.00
SB: $8.00
BB: $38.00
UTG: $50.00
UTG+1: $34.25
MP1: $69.75
Hero (MP2): $85.45
CO: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is MP2 with 7s 6s
1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $1, MP1 calls $1, Hero calls $1, 3 folds, BB calls $0.50
Standard suited connector call. Seeing a flop with a lot of players, while holding suited connectors is a good thing.

Flop: ($4.25) 4s 9s 5h (4 players)
BB bets $2, UTG+1 calls $2, MP1 folds, Hero raises to $7.50, BB calls $5.50, UTG+1 folds
BB's cbet is like 100%. This guy had been aggressive. In addition, I flop an open-ended straight flush draw. It is well-concealed by my raise. This hand is a monster draw.

Turn: ($21.25) Kc (2 players)
BB checks, Hero checks
I have half of the equity now. I want to control the size of the pot - but at this point, I am putting BB on a draw as well - likely the spade draw.

River: ($21.25) 4c (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $5, BB folds
The spade draw doesn't get there - the BB has all but shut down, and I make a small bet, which I don't think he'll call because he didn't hit his overs or spades. For $5.00, I win the $21.25 pot.

Final Pot: $21.25
Hero wins $20.20
(Rake: $1.05)

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $13.00
UTG+1: $11.40
MP1: $21.60
MP2: $18.60
CO: $71.55
BTN: $58.50
Hero (SB): $55.90
BB: $11.10

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with 3s Ac
1 fold, UTG+1 calls $0.50, 4 folds, Hero calls $0.25, BB checks
Ace connector limp from SB.

Flop: ($1.50) Js 8s 5s (3 players)
Hero checks, BB checks, UTG+1 checks

Turn: ($1.50) Qc (3 players)
Hero bets $1, BB folds, UTG+1 calls $1
I'm going to take a stab at this with the innocuous Queen of clubs. If I get callers, I'm going to assume they're looking for an additional spade. However, given the prior action, none of the players have tried to build a pot, nor tried to stab at it. In fact, A high may even be the best hand to this point.

River: ($3.50) 6d (2 players)
Hero bets $1.25, UTG+1 folds
Given the lack of aggression, a non-spade river card, and a non-overcard to the Q, I'm going to make a small "value" bet on the river, which I expect the UTG+1 to fold. It works, and for $1.25, I win $3.50.

Final Pot: $3.50
Hero wins $3.35
(Rake: $0.15)

1 comment:

  1. I think there is a key point that you didn't mention specifically. The reason to bet small on the river is not only to pick up the pot, but also to avoid over-exposure. There are two possibilities, generally speaking: he has it or he doesn't. Your bet is really a bet that he does not have it. Now, with that said, if you bet $5 into a $25 pot and he has it, he's going to call or maybe raise, at which point, you fold and lose $5. If he doesn't have it, he folds and you win $25. That play only has to work 1/5 times to break even, and as you noted, this should only be done when you have a real reason to believe that your opponent has nothing. Therefore, its a good play.

    On the flipside, you could've bet $25 to take down the $25 pot, but in that scenario, you have to be right 1/2 of the time to break even, which is a lot more than 1/5 in the $5 into $25 pot scenario.

    In these situations, a small bet will get the same reaction as a big bet, and since you are not trying to build a pot, small is the way to go.


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