Thursday, September 28, 2006

Hot Hand #8

This is a fun hand that happened to me recently during the first hour of the full tilt 20k guaranteed tournament, and it has a little bit of everything -- some preflop decisions, some drawing and pot odds considerations, and even some slow playing or other strong-hand possibilities involved. As I reviewed my mtt hands this week, this one jumped right out as a good candidate for Hot Hand #8, so I wanted to get this up here today for you all to consider and, hopefully, to comment on.

The Setup: First half hour of the large 20k guaranteed no-limit holdem tournament on full tilt. Blinds are 20/40. I am in the BB holding QTo. Early position limps in for 40 chips, it folds around to the button who also limps. The the SB limps for another 20 chips.

Question 1: What's your move here? To me this is fairly easy -- I check and see a free flop. I don't have a great hand, and in fact it's a hand that is fairly easily dominated on either of my hole cards, so I don't want to raise it here, especially with the early limper into the pot preflop. I could see very rarely (say, 10% of the time or less) putting in a standard 3x or 4x preflop raise here, purely for deception purposes and to help me win some nice chips when I do happen to pick up a monster preflop behind multiple limpers into the pot, but for the most part this is not in my view a good spot to do anything fancy. Just take the free flop and see if I nail it.

The flop comes KJ8 rainbow, giving me a naked oesd. There are 160 chips in the pot.

Question 2: Do you bet here, or check and hope to see a free card? In this case, I opted to check. Typically I don't like to bet at flops when I have nothing and when the flop contains two cards above a 9. Those just tend to hit too many hands that stick around to see flops -- one pair, two pair, straight draw, trips, etc. So, when my hand is weak and the board contains two high cards, I like to keep things as cheap as possible, especially where I'd like to stick around and see another card. I check.

The next player then leads out at the 160-chip pot for 40 chips. The button calls, and then SB folds:



Question 2a: What about now? Do I fold where I have only a draw and at least one of these two players has almost surely made something already? Do I call and try to draw cheap? Or is a raise a good strategic play here?

To me, this was another fairly easy decision. I have to call 40 into a pot of 240 right now, so I'm being given 6 to 1 odds to make my draw. My oesd is a 31% chance of filling by the river and around a 17% chance to fill on just the turn card. So, at 6-to-1, the pot is laying me more than enough odds to call even just to see if I can make my straight on the turn card alone. Folding is out of the question. And I don't like the raise, as my earlier comment still applies, and I am likely to be behind to someone with at least one pair on this board with two high cards, so I don't want to get too involved when I know I'm behind. I have a 2-to-1 oesd with 2 cards to come, and I can see the first card for 6 to 1. Gotta take it. I call.

And the turn card cometh:



Bingo! I've made my straight. And it's even the nut straight, as anyone holding T7 has also just made a lower straight than mine. No pair and no three of a suit on the board, so my nut straight is the stone nuts at this point in the hand.

Question 3: How do I extract the most value here? Do I check and let someone else do the betting for me? Will someone bet this hand now if I check it? Do I bet small and try to draw someone into raising me? Or, do I go for the overbet and assume someone who has hit this board hard will call or raise me further? How do you play it?

Given that the 9 on the turn was in the middle of the other straight cards out there from the flop, I didn't see it as very likely that any other straights were made by this card. Rather, I figured, an oesd is a more likely holding after the turn for my opponents, or even more likely, one pair or maybe two pairs. I can't even put much credence in the flush draw since there was only one club on the flop and I'm not sure why anyone would make or call even a minbet with just a backdoor flush draw on a high flop. So, I just didn't see there as being much realistic upside on this board given the 9 on the turn, and thus I chose not to go with a big bet that I might otherwise have put in here given the high board at this point in the hand. I also, however, did not want to check since I had something good, and since all the minbetting went down on the last round of betting, I was afraid this could be checked around since as I mentioned above I thought it unlikely that the 9 filled any straights other than my own. So, I went with one of my least favorite moves typically:



The dreaded minbet. I figured, let's just get another 100 or 200 chips into the pot on this round, and if I'm lucky someone will think I am weak and put in a decent raise, which I can then reraise and take down a nice-sized pot. And that's exactly what happened:



theboatman simply could not resist my showing of weakness. Again I am reminded of my mantra when bluffing -- I always strive to tell a consistent story from the beginning of the hand if I want to maximize my ability to slow-play a strong hand (or bluff big with a weak hand). If I had come out with a 4x raise preflop in this hand, then my weak lead on the turn here could be interpreted by an astute player as me trying to sucker some more bets in with a weak bet when I am holding a strong hand (overpair, trips, etc.). But here, I just limped preflop, and I checked and then just called a minbet on the flop. Then on the turn, I led out with just a minbet of my own, which I was hoping would continue to give the impression that I was still weak, probably even on a draw as a result of the 9♣, which made not only a number of straight draws possible but also the new flush draw on the turn. Having acted weak all throughout the hand, my weak lead on the turn was immediately interpreted by theboatman as another weak play with what was likely a weak or drawing hand on my part, so he went ahead with the big raise with what was likely some kind of made hand on his part.

Anyways, I'm sure you can guess how the rest of this hand went. I immediately reverse-hoyed the guy, still holding the stone nuts and with just one card to come:



and he called my hoy bet (actually he reraised the 1 more chip to get allin, which I of course called).

Any takers as to what this guy is holding here? Is he on a draw or a made hand? I'll post the answer shortly.

13 Comments:

Blogger Doog said...

I'll say he was slow-playing (limp PF, min-bet on the flop) and the turn card scared him into trying to push drawing hands out of the pot. My guess is he's holding KK.

BTW - I hope you don't mind, but I've added the Hoy to my repertoire. It messes with some people's poor brains far more than a simple push ever would.

3:39 AM  
Blogger PeteM said...

I believe he has KJ soooted, and is making you for a draw defensive bet, or a defensive bet with middle or bottom two pair.
However, doog could very well be correct with the KK or JJ, I think kings are more likely.

3:44 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I think doog's guess is a very strong possibility, but I think it's reasonable to assume that if going to limp in with a big pair like KK, that he could have limped in with JJ or 88 as well. Just for argument's sake, I'm going to go with 88, with his idea being that he'll limp for set value, min bets the flop hoping someone hit top pair and reraises, and then applies the pressure on the turn (unfortunately against the only realistic hand that can be him at this point).

3:56 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Whatever he has, you are ahead. I'm not so much concerned about what he has, since that's all that matters. The thing is, I'm not sure I like your play on the turn. Ignoring the end results, I think you would be better off betting 3x-4x the BB instead of the min bet. The bet would still appear small compared to the pot, but also appear more like you are trying to bluff or bet with a weak hand (maybe you hit your 9?) after the weak flop action. But even after you bet, he re-raises you and you push, which I also don't particularly like. It doesn't fit with your consistent story. Instead, to me it'd appear that your min bet was made to induce action, and your push was made because you had the best of it (which in fact is true). If you sincerely think that he is not on the flush draw, then I'd prefer re-raising him back the minimum. It still looks a bit scared, and he's likely to push all-in after you. If he just flat calls, then you can bet out on the river with a pot-sized bet and hopefully he'll call then. Actually relooking the hand, he only had 570 left, so he was sort of pot committed. I'd still probably min bet it, just to make sure he feels like he is still in control. Nice hand regardless.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Donnie (aka Shadowtwin) said...

I'm putting the guy on two pair. Probably J-8. That is a very limpable hand and he did bet on the flop, albeit a min bet. Or the 9 could have made his second pair. Either way he would have probably played it about the same. He wants to end it now because the 9 has just made too many hands that beat him possible.

Yeah, I'm going with him holding 8-J and wanting to bet enough to scare you out of it without seeing the last card. Of course I don't think he is all that confident that his two pair is ahead or he would likely have raised all-in, being early in the 20k. But calling the Hoy makes me think that he thinks his two pair is going to hold up against your draw -at least I am assuming he thinks you are drawing to a straight, not holding it already.

4:09 AM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

Even though I still can't see the screenshots (why is that again?), I will say that he made a set of 9s (just to have a different answer

4:13 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Wonka -- not sure why you can't see the screenshots. My best guess, since there is no reason I can think of why they would be invisible on your system but visible on everyone else's, is that for whatever reason the blog just loads very very slowly on your pc, and that the screenshots are simply not coming through in the time you are looking at them. Maybe you can verify by loading my blog and just walking away from the pc for 5 minutes and seeing if the graphics are there when you come back?

4:40 AM  
Blogger Joanne1111 said...

Q1 - I agree 100%
Q2 - typically I would make a value bet here to see where I'm at in the hand, but I dont hate your play either
Q2a - Had I played Q2 the way you did, I would raise here, they showed enough weakness.
Q3 - Again, assuming I played the hand the way you did to this point, I would check raise here. But again, I like your small bet, it was obviously enough to entice him to come over the top of you

Q4 - I am guessing one pair on the flop, two pair on the turn.

5:45 AM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

It is strange; but I have a newer PC so that shouldn't be the problem. I just get a red x. I can't even click on the screenshot as then it gives me a page can't display error.

Very strange.

7:59 AM  
Blogger jeciimd said...

not to sound like a suck-up but i like the way u played the hand throughout.
Im going to go with kj suited in clubs.

11:33 AM  
Blogger AnguilA said...

KJ is a good guess, but I like better 88. If he's betting so weak on the flop he must hace a truly powerful hand.

I don't like such a weak bet on the turn. "Weak means strong" applies there and I'm always cautious of an out of the line small bet.
I think I would have played a straight forward check raise, although some times I like mixing it up with an overbet.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I'm going to go way outside of the norm of everyone else and suggest that he limped in with K8s and hit two pair on the flop.

His bet on the flop (40 chips into 160 pot) is a probe bet to get more money into the pot. He raised you big to push you off of your draw or scare you away from the two pair he thinks you have.

9:39 PM  
Blogger slb159 said...

Q1: Check, of course. Easy.

Q2: Most people, early on in these tourneys, will make some kinda of weak bet which you can call to see another card. Your stack size easily defends this play. So yes, if you bet there, someone will prolly minraise and then you'll be left with question marks, rather than just checking like you did and seeing a cheap turn card.

Q2a: Agreed, your math explains it.

Excellently played Hoy. For once, I called your plays without seeing the answers. Nice work. Btw, as wonka said, "just to be different", I'll say the guy had KQ. He's got top pair on the flop, but might be worried about someone playing AK or AQ pf. (I've seen some weak tables early in these things, and he's in EP, so KQ isn't so very appetizing at this point to him.) He bets weakly on the flop to see where he's at, and once you make your turn bet, he figures he has the best hand since he wasn't reraised on his flop bet. Plus he picked up an inside str8 draw. Thus his large turn reraise. Typical play for any novice (myself included) in these types of tourneys. Just my thoughts.

Well played sir, well played.

9:48 PM  

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