Friday, March 19, 2010

What would you do? #70 - Facing river pot bet on a rivered 3 flush board

From Rush poker:

Full Tilt Poker $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

Hero (SB): $160.40
BB: $57.20
UTG: $55.65
UTG+1: $83.75
UTG+2: $40.50
MP1: $30.50
MP2: $45.70
CO: $57.95
BTN: $55.75

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with Kc Jh
4 folds, MP2 calls $0.50, 1 fold, BTN calls $0.50, Hero calls $0.25, BB checks
Going to limp KJ, a somewhat playable hand.

Flop: ($2.00) Kh Qs 7h (4 players)
Hero bets $1.50, BB folds, MP2 folds, BTN calls $1.50
2 heart flop + 2 straight. I know I don't have AQ nor KQ, but is a "standard" BTN at Rush poker limping AQ / KQ?

Turn: ($5.00) 8d (2 players)
Hero bets $3.25, BTN calls $3.25
Going to continue betting; no reason to slow down.

River: ($11.50) 2h (2 players)
Hero checks, BTN bets $11.50, Hero calls $11.50
The heart hits; What would you do?

I'm calling because of bet sizing here. Is BTN really "value" betting a full pot sized bet? If he makes it $8-10, I think it's a much closer decision. BTN has to figure that my radar is up and listening for a heart. He also has to figure I'm not going to call a big river bet.

I think this is probably a marginal call here, and I'm actually probably folding to an underbet or overbet.

Final Pot: $34.50
Hero shows Kc Jh (a pair of Kings)
BTN shows 9s 9c (a pair of Nines) - What an idiot. Position + good pair! In Rush, you have to either raise / steal in position. He could have folded me out EASILY pre flop. KJo can't stand an in position raise.
Hero wins $32.80
(Rake: $1.70)


  1. Meister, I'm starting to enjoy theses posts -- it is fun to think through hands. On some of them, you should wait to reveal the hands until the comments. It'd be interesting to see what consensus is without knowing the result.

    In this hand, I agree with most of your assessments. The only thing I'm not as sure about is the use of his bet size as a 'tell'. Basically, it sounds like you used his pot bet (vs half-pot) to determine that he was bluffing -- is that consistent online/in rush? Do people not typically do a half-pot bluff there?

    On the end, you can narrow down his range quite a bit. It is unlikely he has AK or KQ because he played so passively. So, he either has a weaker top pair, maybe a weak queen, maybe a middle pair (like the 99 he had), a made flush, a busted straight draw with JT, or a freak-two pair (unlikely though because of the 2 on the end). Your check on the end could induce a bluff from a number of those hands. He could also value-bet a weaker king on the end, but that is less likely.

    So, based on his range, it comes down to odds for me. I'd be calling any half-pot bet on the end because I'm getting 3:1 and the busted straight draw is there. If I pay off a flush, so be it.

    Full pot, yes, that is debatable. Maybe the larger bet is a sign of a bluff? Although, I know I personally will sometimes fire a pot bet on the end when I hit my draw.

    Food for thought: what about a blocking bet on the river (1/3-1/2 pot, planning to fold to a raise)? I don't expect a lot of players have the river bluff-raise in their arsenal, and that'd get you paid off by weaker kings, some queens, and possibly even the 9s in this spot. It would also ultimately save you money against the flush (or wacky two pair) if you are willing to pay off a 1/2 pot or full pot bet. Thoughts?

  2. I used to have a "reveal" button, but I don't think it was working for some browsers. I will try to start using that again in the future. The reason I don't have the reveal in the comments, though, is because you have to subscribe to the post in order to see the result (or check back frequently). I figure most people don't care enough.

    As far as the blocker bet, the reality is that the pot is somewhat small. If I half-pot bet out here, there is still plenty of room for him to raise and push me off my hand. However, by check / calling, his betting range is "limited" to $11.50, a reasonable amount.

    Don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of the blocker bet. For me, though, I asked myself what kinds of combos could a XhXh BTN limper have?

    Since I have the Jh, it takes away a lot of combos of his such as AhJh, JhTh, QhJh. If he has AhTh, I have to *ASSUME* (ass out of U and ME, I know...) that he's raising the flop / turn and he'd be correct in doing so; if he hits his 50% equity (overcard + ISD + FD), he wants stacks. Next, I drop down to suited connectors / gappers. Th9h is possible, but see above with AhTh - I expect a raise. 8h9h, 5h6h, 5h6h, perhaps 3h4h... and on - for the gappers. There are a bunch - but not a HUGE combination of heart cards that make sense in this spot.

    As for the set combos: Unless he's a total donk, he should have raised the flop or the turn. The river is not the place to value bet, particularly with the heart completing. He essentially turns his set / made hand into a bluff, which is not ideal for a flopped set.

    2 pair hands: Only one really makes sense in this spot: KQ - other than the random 2 pair hands.

    On the second time around with this hand (and some of these hands are old mind you - I have a backlog of about a month's worth of interesting hands :-) ), I am probably calling this bet all day, every day.

  3. I usually use Bloglines, so the reveal may not work for me, but I'm eager to try it.

    Yes, I agree that a blocker bet does open you up for a bluff, but my assumption is that most players at the $100 NL level will not be bluff-raising the river. You obviously have to fold if they raise, but it should have so infrequently that it won't impact your bottom line.

    My reasoning for the blocking bet is that you'll get paid in those times that you have the best hand. The check-call line is only good as a bluff catcher.

    For instance, let's say our opponent has a flush draw 20% of the time, a straight draw 20% of the time, and a weaker pair (i.e. a king or queen) 60% of the time.

    Check-calling will get us paid only when he has a missed straight draw or wacky bad hand, and that is only when he bluffs it. Based on the numbers above, that might mean winning a pot bet (PB) 60% of the time he bets and losing a PB 40% of the time he bets, but he'll be betting maybe 30% of the time, so our EV is maybe 0.06 PB. Note we should make the call even if we're only going to win 33% of the time, so the numbers above may be optimistic.

    Instead, suppose we made a 1/2 PB on the end. Obviously, the 20% flushes will raise us, so we'll lose the money then. But we'll get paid off by some of the 60% hands we beat, maybe 2/3 of them. So, 20% of the time we lose the half-pot bet, 40% of the time we win the half pot bet. This means we'll win 0.1 PB on average.

    Obviously, these numbers could be skewed either way, but my point is that if there are a lot of hands in our opponents range that they would call with that we beat, we should be betting, not inducing a bluff. I think this is one of those cases, since your argument that he is unlikely to have a flush is valid, and we pretty much have any reasonable top pair out kicked. Basically, his range has us totally slaughtered or we have him outkicked -- making me think it is a good time for a blocking/value bet.

    This is basically Ed Miller's concept of 'thin value' (sadly, you have to pay if you want to see the article now: linky).


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