Hot Hand #7
Well, I had so much fun with Hot Hand #6 last week that I thought I'd profile a new hand today for your consideration and thoughts. Like with my other Hot Hand posts, I've got another hand here for you that I think is instructive and interesting, but also subject to reasonable debate and disagreement about the right way to play it, even on multiple streets. Since I "record" so many of my hands in screenshot format, I am able to review hundreds of hands to find the best ones to use for my Hot Hand posts. As I've mentioned many times here on the blog, the potential for immediate reaction and interaction through commenting is what I think makes bloggery so unique and useful as a media, and I have had a blast hearing from everyone and discussing the last few of these Hot Hands. Hopefully you have too.
Hot Hand #7 finds us in the first round of a $10 buyin multi-table nlh tournament on pokerstars. The blinds are in for 10 and 20, 3rd position has opened with a call as well, and the action is to you, holding 64s.
Question 1: What do you like to do here? Obviously there can be no argument with folding here. But what about an argument for calling? Anyone like to raise in this position? What's your move?
As you know if you read this blog regularly, I'm on kind of a kick lately with playing some sooted and (almost) connecting cards for cheap. In this case, one player was already in the pot, and the two blinds were sure to stay in for 20 as well since they'd already put up most or all of that bet. So, feeling confident that there would be at least three other players in this pot with me to be able to pay me off if I hit something with my sooted one-gapper (probably more, as our early limps make the pot odds better for others to call from later position and see a cheap flop), and for only a measly 20 chips, I decided to go ahead and call it and see what happens:
And keep in mind, I know going in that if this thing gets raised up preflop one time, even the dreaded minraise, I am folding the hand, so I know my maximum loss preflop is just the 20 chips. And I also know that I will have to be very careful postflop with this hand after the flop is out, because I can get myself into a world of trouble with a hand like this if I only kinda hit it, but then can't get away from it in the face of heavy action.
OK so, thanks partly to the increased odds from the first limper and my own limp-in to this pot, we end up with six limpers to see the following flop, which was then checked around to me:
Question 2: What's your play? Do you bet out with your third pair, backdoor straight draw and backdoor flush draw? After all, it has been checked around through 5 of 6 players to you, and there is that Ace on the board. Or do you check it and try to take a free card to hit further on one of those backdoor draws you're working on?
This is a point I will be very interested to hear your comments on. As with the choice to fold your 64s preflop from early position after a UTG limp, I do not think the decision to check here and hope for a free card can be questioned as a safe play that still lets you be in the hand. Obviously, you have nothing that is likely right now to be the best hand, and you're just one player out of six away from getting a free card. As I mentioned, with two backdoor draws working for you, getting a free card is especially good to see if you can maybe turn an oesd or a flush draw. So checking it on is a fine play in my book.
However, that's just not the way I play. After 6 players limped into a pot, and then the flop comes with a single Ace on it, and five of those players check it around to me, I am definitely tempted to make a stab at the pot. There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of these players has an Ace and a high card that they are willing to call a correct-sized bet with here, and the 120 chips in the pot is, to me, worth stealing right now if I can get this pot closed down quickly. Throw in that I already made third pair and the two backdoor draws on this flop, and I am definitely willing to make a play. So I bet 100 into the 120 pot. Unfortunately, the button called my 100-chip bet, and then the UTG player right in front of me called this flop bet as well:
Not good. OK so personally, I am pleased that I limped into this pot from up front for the measly 20 chips, and I am also fine with having taken a stab on the flop in what looked like a reasonable situation to take down a decent pot early in the tournament. So far I've lost only 120 chips into this pot, which isn't great by any means, but 1380 isn't so different from 1500 chips early on in an mtt, so I'm not going to fret over it. However, I also know here that I'm not going to lose any more chips into this pot, unless something happens and I really hit the turn card hard. If I had to guess, the button calling my 5/6 of the pot bet on the flop probably means that he has some kind of weak Ace and is willing to see one more card -- if he had a high Ace, he would probably have raised preflop or at least on the flop -- and the second guy just calling seems more like a draw of some kind. I only say that because his odds to draw to whatever he is drawing at just got better when I bet not so big and then the button already called the bet in front of me. And if the third caller UTG had a solid Ace, I assume he would be re-raising here. All that is subject of course to what their actions on the turn tell me about their range of hands, but from what I know so far, that's what I'm thinking about these two players' hands.
On comes the turn card: The 8♣, giving me a flush draw, an inside straight draw, and an inside straight flush draw to the 5♣. As I ponder whether this means I will lead out at this pot again or not, the first player to act, the original UTG player, leads out for 100 chips into the 420-chip pot.
Question 3: It's getting near decision time in this hand. With the flush draw, inside straight draw, and longshot inside straight flush draw, and the pair of 6s, do I call this small bet here? Does the presence of one player still to act behind me, who I have previously put on a weak Ace, change the decision at all? Does a raise here make sense? Or should I just follow my own advice after I was called in two places on the flop, and simply place my cards into the muck, living to fight another day? How would you play this hand right now?
I spent a long time agonizing over this play myself. I went and counted my likely outs and figured what my opponents are likely sitting on. Nothing I've seen has changed my mind about my opponents' likely ranges of hands. The button hasn't acted yet in this round, so I still have him on a weak Ace for top pair on this board. More interesting is the UTG player, whom I had put on a draw of some kind before the turn card. Now here he is making an almost unbelievably small bet of less than a quarter of what is in the current pot. So, I had him on a straight draw of some kind before, and now a third open-ended straight card has fallen here, so I could be worried about that. But this 100-chip bet is just so weak, I simply cannot put this guy on a made straight at this point. Here we're already at the turn, and unless you had the nut straight (with T9 in your hand), giving such a cheap card here with a made straight, basically forcing people to stay in to see one more card, would be suicidal. And I can't put him on T9 here since he would have had to call my 100-chip bet on the flop with just the inside straight draw and two crappy overcards, which I am giving this guy too much credit to have done.
No, if anything this cheapo bet on the turn looks more like a weak lead bet than anything else, which in my experience is typically done when a player wants to slow down the action so that the weak lead bettor can see another card for just the cost of his cheap lead bet. And that my friends would only be done by someone who is still working on their draw. So now I'm thinking that in order for this guy to have smooth called on the flop, and still be on the draw now with the 8 falling, he probably has made some kind of an oesd, or maybe a straight draw plus a pair, maybe with 85 or 65 in his hand. Either of those holdings might explain the call on the flop with two other players already in for the 100-chip bet, as well as this incredibly weak lead at the pot here on the flop. If this guy is playing a made straight in this way, I guess he can have my money because I just can't put him on this hand. With that bet, my gut tells me this guy is on a draw. And it's not a club draw because then what would he have called with on the flop? It's gotta be the straight draw, and if he had some kind of a draw on the flop, and still on a draw now with the 8 on the turn, then he's probably on some kind of osed or maybe a low pair/draw combination of some kind with a 6. Either way, I think my 6, plus a freeroll to a flush and the open-end straight flush draw,is worth at least 12 or 13 outs for me to at least tie for the best hand, for odds of better than 25%. Easily worth calling another 100-chip bet here into a 420-chip pot to try to see the river card for way cheap. I call:
Then all hell breaks loose. Before I can even react, the button raises the bet up to 320 chips, and then UTG moves allin for his last 820 chips:
Question 4: Now what? Is this an easy fold? A call would cost me 780 chips to win a pot that is $1720, so the pot odds I'm being laid are just more than 2 to 1. Does my current hand have more than a 30% chance of winning this pot? Is that even the right question, with the button, who already raised once in this betting round, and whom I put on a weak Ace, still waiting to act behind me? What do you do now? And how did I ever get into this mess in the first place?
Let me know your thoughts. I will post the stunning conclusion to this hand later one people have had a chance to respond with their opinions to how this hand has played out so far.