Friday, May 8, 2015

Inelastic hand ranges and 2 interesting hands at the 'Shoe

Ever had a read so strong that you can't possibly get away from that read regardless what logic dictates?  I was having a good session at my first session back at 'Shoe since they've listed the curfew in Baltimore - all the hooliganism has settled down - and the players were as fishy as always.

Late in the session, I look down in my BB (I think) and see A2o.  I knuckle letting the dealer know I check my option and he deals a flop of 2 4c 6c to the ~6 limpers.

Looking around the table, I see no interest in this flop - so I lead for $20, 75% sure my 2's are good.  It folds around to a girl who had been having a break even night, who looked continually disappointed and bored (a look I've seen on my face a lot lately...) who immediately calls - no thought, just throws in her $20 instantly when the action turned to her.  The SB also comes along and I realize that maybe my initial read isn't good; I need help.

Turn is the Ad, and now I'm certain I'm good with my Ace's up.  Checks to me and I lead for $50 into the $75 pot - again, girl insta calls and SB thinks, then calls.  Of note, the girl has $75 remaining.

River is the Jc - $~220-230 in the pot.  A club or a 5 is the worst card to see IMO.  The girl based on her no-thought snap call on the flop has me ABSOLUTELY convinced she's drawing to the flush which just got there.  It checks to me and I check to the girl who instantly shoves her $75.  After much thought, SB folds and I think for a bit before mucking.  I'm getting 3 or 4-1 on the call here; I was [and still am] sick to my stomach having to lay that down.

I think the takeaway here is twofold: don't 100% stick to your read; consider other hands that are reasonable that could have the same action, but also, when you're beat on the river, you're BEAT ON THE RIVER.  Paying off $75 when you're beat is only exacerbating the problem.  Given the action, the snap call on the flop and turn (when players are making plays without any hesitation, they're almost always on draws), she's on a flush draw.  Fold whether it's $75 or $50.  $25, I can be convinced to call and "donate."

Second hand (which involves a little revenge later on):

Before I get into this hand, I believe I've come up with a new stereotype for a player: the guy who's sitting in a 1/2 or (in this case) 1/3 game waiting for a 2/5 spot to open.  His thought process is usually, "I'm too good for this table; I'm going to sit down & bet all these fish off their hands and take their money while I wait for the 'challenging game' at 2/5."  This player was one of those kinds of guys - Asian guy with spiked hair, late 20's, knew the dealers by name, etc.  He sits down and starts making larger raises, had 3 bet at least once, and indeed started dominating the table.  It's hard; you have to adjust to a player like this really quickly or he'll be out of there before you finally catch on to what he's doing.  I am basing my play and read on all of perhaps 15 hands here...  like I said, need to adjust quickly.  In this hand, I unfortunately did not adjust quickly and made an incorrect move, which cost me implied earnings plus immediate earnings...

I raise $15 with AQ, Asian guy flats and we're heads up to an Q 6 7 rainbow flop.  Not seeing ways to make money on this pot without giving him rope, I check and he throws out a large $35 bet.  I call and we see a turn of 8s, putting out a 2 flush.  $95 in the pot and he leads for $120.  What do you do?

I was not happy in this spot for many many reasons, mainly my hand strength is FAR underrepped.  That isn't a mistake; that was my intent on the approach to this guy.  However, this guy is either far overrepping his hand, bluffing, or wants to value pwn me.  The bet sizing just completely throws me off; overbetting $120 into $95?  I wound up folding my top / top and he shows me an 8 - tells me he was open ended + pair.  Goodbye, $55.

A few hands later, I raise AQdd yet again, and this time, emboldened from our prior dance, he 3 bets me to $40.  We're about $400 effective deep (he's up $100 from a mix of hands prior).  Odd small 3bet.  Undettered,  I 4 bet him to $120 and he [surprisingly] flats.  6 6 2 dd come out - I'm drawing to the nut flush + potential overs.  I lead for $175 and he auto folds.  My thought with this hand, now that I've seen him get all sorts of aggro and overvaluing hands, is that he wants to treat me as a fish, then I'm going to play my hand face up - like a fish.  What would AA / KK do in this situation?  4bet!  So I 4bet!  What would AA / KK do on a flop like this?  Lead!  So I lead!  Sometimes you gotta play fishy to win...  So he may have drawn first blood for $55, but I took back $65 additional.


  1. "when you're beat on the river, you're BEAT ON THE RIVER."

    Or, as I like to put it, the First Rule of Poker is, when you know you are beat, fold.

  2. Also, I loved your adjustment in that last hand. Play it face up, as though you have Aces, when your opponents think you are playing like a predictable fish. Obvious advice, but easily overlooked.

    1. Thanks Jordan - I kinda felt disappointed that I was bluffing a pot where I potentially had HUGE equity - AQdd on a 6d2d6 board... I probably could have gotten more money in by check / raising him, but I didn't want to give him any thought other than I had AA / KK - I intentionally did not want to get fancy with my play to make him double think my initial line...

  3. Only good players can fold when they think they are beat.

  4. Misplayed the 2 AQ hands hugely.

    TPTK is an easy cbet and go from there. Stop trying to play fancy and own the guy and play your hand/range.

    The AQ hand, a 4bet is pretty awful. Especially with position. Your hand dominates all of his bluffs and is dominated by all his value ergo easy call. You also have great playability given suited. As played your cbet should be small to induce him to continue (call or raise). You have a huge hand 2 overs+nfd, you want to inflate the pot, not have him fold garbage outright without putting in more money.

    My 2c, good luck

    1. With the TPTK hand, standard for me is the cbet (against any other player), but there's not much that this guy can show up with to own me. There's also not much that can turn that I'm hugely concerned about. If I lead here, he's going to fold most of his range, but if I check, I don't expose any weakness other than him assuming I missed. His bet sizing is simply so large that I feel I have to get away from the hand.

      For the AQdd hand, though, I don't have position. I am in UTG, UTG+1 or something. I thought about checking / raising but went for the most straightforward play because he already thinks I'm a fish. I figured this is how a fish would play it.

      Now why is the 4bet awful here? I can directly rep AA, KK, even QQ - and have blockers to him having AK, AA, QQ. I guess I had a plan in mind here, regardless the flop texture, and didn't change the plan when it came very favorable to me.

  5. If you're going to FPS the TPTK hand, you should NOT be folding. You accomplish getting him to spaz and then you fold. Your hand looks like 99-JJ, don't fold tptk - especially with your read that he thinks he's god's gift to poker and going to move you off marginal hands ie the perceived 99-JJ type hand.

    Wrt to the AQss hand, I would be flatting pre and c/c'ing the flop with the nfd. Let him keep barreling away. C/R makes him fold air - that's a big no no. You're AQ high may be a good a decent % of the time.

    I don't mind 4bet bluffing in this spot. In fact I would do so with the likes of worse suited aces. I guess if you're UTG you're not opening many suited aces. If you think he's an FPSY type player and your UTG range is narrow, I might adjust by calling a lot of 3bets oop rather than 4-bet bluffing.

    1. @Josh (Pokerarb) Good discussion and thank you for the constructive responses. Here's my dilemma on the first AQ hand: I don't have him pegged to any stereotype to start the hand. He's a fairly new player to the table (15 hands in), and fairly aggro. Also, he's made a pot sized bet on the flop and an overbet on the turn. It's easy to say "easy game - call down," but when you see such action like what he's doing at the low stakes, you're usually facing a set or overpair. The reason I posted the hand was exactly that - it struck me as out of the ordinary, particularly with the overbet turn. It's apparently generated some good discussion.

      For the AQss hand, given the prior action, I'm going to feel a lot less confident calling down a naked AQss as a plan for the flop - assuming he has similar bet patterns to the first hand. Yes, I'll be good in that spot a good portion of the time, but putting in that much money (potentially up to 125BB) with just A high is generally pretty bad. Going back to the hand, I think I would have liked a check / raised flop, but only if I can be sure that he bets the flop - I get him to commit additional money. However, I got him to commit more than 35BB PF - why shouldn't I continue my story and threaten stacks when I know he's missed this flop like 90% of the time (pretty hard to hit a 6 6 2 board)! If I start going away from my story and "fancy play" it here by check / calling him down (which is what you noted in your first response for the first hand), I'm afraid he's going to pot commit himself to calling with 33+,AK when I want him to be folding all of that range.

      The next logical question is (disregarding the first hand), what range do you have him on that he's calling a 4bet to $125 in position? What range can he call off 35BB with ~100BB behind? Logically (and the whole hand is kinda stupid to be played on his part - he should fold to my 4bet with most of his range) he has to have 33+ and AK hoping to get lucky on with a set or flopped TPTK. I've clearly repped ~QQ, but definitely KK+ at this point and he can't continue with his hand given my small range here.

  6. WRT to the AQo hand, if you're looking to play a pot readless, why deviate from standard balanced play? Just c-bet an extremely wide range here on the flop and double barrel quite wide on the turn (I don't mind a cbet flop cc turn with the 99-JJ type hands, but AQ should be a slam dunk value DB in a vacuum against almost everyone). I'm all for mixing it up, but you can't say you're going to mix it up to induce something then chicken out with a hand that has so much post-flop value just value-betting. Just keep bet/folding. Players are going to perceive a check call as weak - they might bluff more. If you just c-bet, they're less likely to bluff raise readless as it appears you have a strong hand.

    The AQss isn't quite as bad given a second look from me. I think his 3bet range is probably JJ+/AK and if he's competent (likely not) a few bluffs. His call 4bet range IP is probably JJ-QQ, AK maybe some KK. I think he likely folded JJ-QQ, AK on the flop which is obviously a good result. And certainly I'm not advocating a 4bet then a c/c. I meant if you had just called the 3bet oop I prefer a c/c on the flop with nfd and overs - not a c/r. I think in a vacuum though, a 3bet of your UTG open at these stakes is super duper strong and you should in fact be folding a lot preflop.

    1. @Josh (Pokerarb) Both of the points are spot on: the AQo hand - yes, I need to continue to c/c down and/or bet the flop / turn and take control. The deviation and chicken out on the hand is the heaviness of his betting. You simply don't see pot / overbet pot on a raised and then checked hand by an opponent at these stakes. It was so off-norm that I folded what I believe is the best hand. The standard line of bet bet may work better here - then checking the river to induce all bluffs.

      The AQdd - now you're seeing it the way I saw it; my 4bet PF looks even more super duper strong. The two approaches in my mind are if he is super duper strong by 3betting my UTG open, then I'm repping even stronger, and I want to continue to rep that strength on the flop no matter the flop texture. It happened to be a shame that the flop was awesome for me with the NFD + at least one overcard :-).


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