Monday, November 2, 2009

Calling for value?

This is somewhat of a sick hand. This was my absolute first hand at the table... I've never played against the villain prior to sitting down. OMGITSJOSH & I had a nice discussion over the phone on this hand, and we agreed to disagree, while both settling on the fact that this is a marginal play.

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players -
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $19.50
CO: $18.25
BTN: $22.60
SB: $49.50
Hero (BB): $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BB with 7h 7s
UTG calls $0.50, 2 folds, SB raises to $2, Hero calls $1.50, UTG calls $1.50
UTG is flatting, and SB shows tremendous strength against an unkown (me) and an UTG limper. What range can I put him on? AA, KK, QQ, JJ (sometimes) TT-22, AKo, AKs, (sometimes) AQo, AQs.

Flop: ($6.00) Ts Th 3s (3 players)
SB bets $3, Hero calls $3, UTG folds
Pretty good flop for me; No real scare overcards and I still have position. I can fairly well eliminate TT from the list above. This is a very dry flop for both him and me. What is truly beating me here? AA, KK, QQ, JJ.

Turn: ($12.00) Jc (2 players)
SB bets $5, Hero calls $5
Not a hugely scary overcard. I think, given the lack of information I have given on my hand, and the fact that I am an unknown, SB *HAS* to slow down. I can easily have AT, AJ, JJ, and any pair that beats him. If SB has AT, AJ, good game - but I don't think he's raising pre flop in the SB with such weak holdings; particularly AT, AJ. Moreover, that range is simply not a common play at this level. AA, KK, QQ, JJ are well within a SB raiser's range, but is he pressing with them? Perhaps...

River: ($22.00) 9h (2 players)
SB bets $15, Hero calls $15
Okay. So now he makes basically a pot sized bet into an unknown opponent (me) on the river. He has absolutely NO IDEA where he is in the hand because I have called for 3 betting rounds. Definitely, KQ gets there, but I'm not accepting that he runner-ed a straight. Otherwise, the 9h is a blank; the above analysis is still valid. Again, is he going for value here, or is he trying to push me off the hand? I think a better value bet from him in this spot is $10-11.00.

Final Pot: $52.00
SB shows Kh Ac (a pair of Tens) - It's weird that he doesn't give up on the river. He fires 3 bullets with a semi bluff nut non-paired hand.
Hero shows 7h 7s (two pair, Tens and Sevens)
Hero wins $49.40
(Rake: $2.60)


  1. This is why I take issue with this hand:

    1) No history with the Villain. I don't think you can make generic assumptions about what a player does or is capable of with no prior history. How do you narrow a player's raising range [moreover to exclude AJ and A-10] without any history?

    2) Assuming he wouldn't bet all three streets for value with 10's-AA's. If I were him I probably would look for 3 streets of value. If you do have a 10 you're raising no matter what, but if you don't than he has good equity in this hand. So why slow down until you're raised?

    3) Three-Barreling. How often does a player raise from the SB and then 3-barrel and not have 77 beat on this board at showdown? This goes hand in hand with point #1 above. If you made the statement that his raise pre-flop represents a big hand, then you must also realize that he doesn't have a wide three barreling range that doesn't beat 77 at showdown.

    4) Taking control. I understand the flat before the flop and maybe on the flop, but at what point did you decide that you weren't going to raise if you felt you had the best hand, while in position, and elect to call down?

    5) The key question here is: How often does a complete unknown three barrel from the SB?

  2. And we go back to two schools of thought:

    Is he a. A thinking player or b. a maniac?

    If he is a., any "reasonable" player *HAS* to slow down by the river. I have called two less-than-half-pot bets already. I have position on this player, and I can easily have a T (I can call a raise with AT, but I'm not raising from the weakest position on the table with AT) - having smoothed the flop and turn. Unless he has a three of a kind or better, he cannot continue his hand. By the river, I don't believe his hand has showdown value, because he's betting so strong. If his hand has showdown value, I think he's checking it on the river and hoping for a check behind. I think his river bet has him polarized quite well - he's got air or he's got a monster. And with the cards that are out, I can't fathom he has a monster (any T, KQ, JJ, 99 - by the river, are we to believe he was betting strong the whole way with 99 or KQ?) with such a raise from the SB.

    If he's b. Then he potentially has me crushed. Simple fact. However, I'm not going to assume every to be a maniac until proven otherwise - I'm going to assume they're a weak typical player until proven otherwise.


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