Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cash Game Question

Anybody wondering whether the steak of consecutive cashes in the 25k continued on last night? Well....It didn't.

I didn't play. Any poker. At all.

For the first time literally since long before I started blogging, I fell asleep really early. I mean like at 8:03pm, just after putting M down and winning yet another epic struggle to get her to close her eyes instead of trying to yell loud enough to wake up her already-sleeping sister. Always one of M's favorite games. I don't know if I'm maybe coming down with whatever the girls have had this past week, or maybe it's just the culmination of the last 400 days staying up too late pursuing this passion that I have come to love more than I ever used to when I was playing live in Atlantic City as a teenager, but I was dead out. I didn't even manage to stay up for an episode of Lost, which the Hammer Wife and I have been watching on DVD from the beginning for the first time, at a clip of probably 1.5 to 3 episodes a night. That shiat is awesome yo! Kudos to the Hammer Wife for not breaking down and watching the next one whilst I was in my slumber. If that isn't proof that poker bloggers marry up in life, then I don't know what is. Well, that and the fact that she wouldn't know how to work the DVD player if her life depended on it. Oh well, I choose to believe it's the former.

So, today I wanted to bring a question to you all regarding a no-limit holdem cash game scenario I faced this weekend during my epic $350 winning session on full tilt, easily the best individual cash session of my online career. To set things up, this was last weekend, probably somewhere past midnight, and I had been sitting at a $1-$2 nlh table on full tilt for about an hour, turning $200 into just over $400 by playing the tight, aggressive style that I know best. I had gotten lucky, hitting a couple of sets on the flop and getting paid off, and for the most part my aggression was pushing people off of pots, both pre- and post-flop. If you recall from my earlier posts this week, Smokkee had just sat down maybe 15 minutes earlier across the table from me, so there he is at the top of the screen as well, although (unfortunately) this hand did not involve him. What I'm really looking for is your recommendations on how to handle this type of a situation -- first preflop and then on the flop. Come on you cash game gurus, I really want to hear your opinions on this, as well as anyone else who has thoughts and has more experience than I in no-limit cash games.

So here's the situation. Blinds are at $1 and $2, and I am dealt AJo in the cutoff. Smokkee folds UTG, the next two players each limp for $2, the next player folds, and then action is to me.

I will just say up front here that I went ahead and limped along with these guys. They were early position limping, so I didn't exactly get the weakest of vibes from them, and with me holding only AJ, not even sooooted, I did not want to get too much invested preflop without even knowing if I am ahead at this point. I am betting most of you guys will agree with the limp here, but I'd love to know if you think a raise or a fold is the better play. Suffice it to say for now, I limped here and saw a 6-handed flop:



The pot has $11.40 after 6 limpers for $2 apiece, minus the rake. The flop comes out A63 with two diamonds (neither of my cards is a diamond). I have made top pair with a fairly good kicker, given a bunch of limpers preflop.

As I'm considering how best to move here, the first player to act bets out $6, a half-pot bet on the A63 two-suited flop. Then second position flat calls the $6 bet. Action is to me:



What would you do here? Again, given all the limping preflop, it is difficult for me to attribute too much strength to any of my opponents' hands. And I have just made top pair Aces, with a Jack kicker, so I'm basically ahead of most hands that would be limped preflop. But then not one but two different players are committing chips to this pot on the flop ahead of me from up front. What should I do here?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. I can tell you how it ended up, but it's nothing earth shattering I don't think. I am very interested in the right way to play this particular hand, because I found myself basically frozen in decision when actually faced with this situation the other day, even during a session where I was doing everything else right.

18 Comments:

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10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You shouldn't have limped preflop because you really have no idea what you are up against from the EP limpers. You can raise now to try to gain some type of information but really I think the first mis step of limping preflop is going to cause the problems on the flop and turn trying to play this hand.

10:51 PM  
Blogger L'artiste said...

Raise pre-flop. Top pair hands like AJ, KQ, and AQ don’t play well in multi way pots. If you can get this heads up or three handed, you’ll be in a much better shape. Your raise will either win the pot right there (unlikely but good) or at least lose some of the people who’d normally call the big blind.

Flop: Ugh... Your hand might be the best but with sooooo many people in there you might already be behind. I don’t really see the point of building a bigger pot with such a marginal hand so raising is out of the question. After a bet and a cold call in front of me, you pretty much don’t need to fool around anymore, fold.

11:25 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i'm in agreement with your early commenters here.

you don't want to be limping preflop there. you have a decent starting hand and a HUGE advantage of playing out the hand in late position. by raising it up pre-flop you either take it down or control the betting from there.

but, since you have limped, i think you've got to make a substantial reraise to try and take it down on the flop. most likely, neither of those two donks limped with a strong Ace. but, could be up against a weaker Ace or small pocket pair that outflopped you (for two pair or a set). if you get reraised, you should fold. if you get a call, follow thru with a bet on the turn if the flush doesn't come. but, if you get reraised on 4th or 5th street, i think you should let it go.

12:34 AM  
Blogger Wes said...

I very rarely limp in position, and I never limp with high cards. Raising just presents itself with so many more advantages. It gives you the initiative in the hand, you narrow down a person's range of hands, and you play a bigger pot in position to give a few off the top of my head.

Flop sucks with the way you played it. I think I'd call and probably fold if the other two players continued in the hand or others showed aggression.

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As said you have to raise that hand pre-flop. In EP you can try and get away with a limp but not from the CO.

If you don't think you'll encounter aggression make a hefty re-raise and try to take it down but with so many players on the flop I probably just muck that AJ and go on to the next hand.

2:01 AM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Preflop, I'd suggest a raise to $6, enough to keep some players with worse cards in to build a pot, push out players with entirely crappy hands, and induce a re-raise from players with significantly better hands. In this way, the $6 bet will get you info. It will also give you the lead in the hand, as long as you are not re-raised.

But, assuming the call preflop, on that flop, I'd fear someone playing Ax who hit two-pair. So, I'd actually raise it from $6 to $18, to induce the re-raise from someone with two pair, and also to make the flush draw pay to see more cards. If it's re-raised back to me, I'd probably fold, but at this point, calling would give you no information, folding is an option but a bit too conservative given the action so far, and raising is just the best possible choice.

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoy, that is a real tough one there. I don't like hands like AJo in fullring NL cash games. You will win a small pot or lose a huge one. In the situation you were in preflop I would have raised 4-5x to try to clear out the blinds and set up a c-bet from position agianst one/two of the limpers, or I would have limped like you did, but looking for a monster flop like trips/2-pair, straight... I think that decision would have been tough for me (say 50/50).

Post flop after the limp, you do not get the c-bet opportunity, and I would have been freaking out that 6 limpers were seeing the flop. You caught your Ace, but it is a draw heavy board. With the action in front of you, it is a real tough and borderline decision on what to do. You could make a case for anything you do at that point. There is a decent chance you are ahead, but a good chance you are behind as well. With all of the available draws, I doubt you are a 50% favorite against the field of 6 remaining even if you are currently ahead.

Personally for me, I am re-raising to try to clear people out, cut off all of the draws, find out where I am at, but am ready to release the hand against any subsequent pressure. Or, I am just going to fold and cut my losses. It is going to be hard to raise enough to clear out the draws, without risking too much, because you may already be behind. I would say it would be a tough 50/50 call between those two options.

2:48 AM  
Blogger jjok said...

Raise to $10 or $11 preflop and drive out 3 or 4 of the players.

Probably call the flop bet and see what they do on the turn.

3:14 AM  
Blogger BadBlood said...

Very hard as played. Zero information.

Raise pre-flop to $10-$12. Whomever comes along with the raise, you can at least narrow down their holdings a bit.

Post flop, I would predict it would get checked to you (if anyone called) and a standard continuation bet is appropriate.

Once you're played back at under those conditions, you can better tell if anyone hit a set, is on a draw, etc.

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pretty much agree with Blinders preflop. Its about a 50/50 split depending on how I'm feeling considering the circumstances (how I'm running, my read on the limpers, how they're running, recent flop texture, et al) on whether or not I'm raising AJo there. AJ suited I raise for sure.

Again, going along with Blinders comment, if I *do* limp, I'm looking to hit the flop harder than an A. I'm actually happier to see a J because my kicker means something, but I'm more after 2 pair, trips, or something else big. Yes, you've got position, but when you flop a mediocre hand on a weird board, what good does position do you.

Preflop aside, with where you're at after the flop, you absolutely have to raise, and raise big. Make it $18 or just hit the "pot" button. I'm scared of some idiot with ace-rag who hit two pair, some PF limper who hit trips, or a donkey slowplaying AK or AQ, and you also have to make a flush draw pay to take one off. If you can induce some folds, then the turn is a whole other monster, and like most commenters say, if someone reraises you, you're done for. You even have to be extremely careful with callers as the hand progresses.

This is one of the situations I used to lose a LOT of pots on. I used to think AJ was a strong hand, but anymore I'm looking for reasons to fold it moreso than reasons to play it.

4:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of your opponents has AQ... probably the caller. I am going to ignore the urge to discuss the preflop play ....

hope you got away from it on the turn or you hit your J on the turn.

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

forgot to say that for cash games it would be helpful to have poker tracker numbers on your villians...

that usually helps us narrow down hand ranges.

4:49 AM  
Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Yeah I don't think raising 6$ gives you any information.. where 10-12$ might..

tough hand on the flop.. I would probably cold call to keep the pot small and see what the donks do on the turn.. although I am not sure that is the best move..

Be careful of that EP guy.. he either has a crappy hand and does not want to lose a lot or a REALLY good hand and does not mind seeing another card and betting a little bit bigger on the turn..

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AJo is a REALLY bad hand to go to war with post-flop with 5 other players in on the action.

I would agree with the previous posters that a raise of $10-$12 may be appropriate here to gain information.

My best guess is that the limpers in front of you are either on a flush draw with a Kd or Qd or has hit two pair with A6 or A3, which is why they limped in the first place: a weak Ace hoping to hit.

I would probably either raise to get the other people left to act out of the pot, or let the hand go, and let the other two+ go to war (this all depends of course on the information you've gotten from playing with them).

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make it $10 pre, if you get a caller play the flop cautiously. If he checks bet like 3/4 of the pot. If he calls check the turn and check/call any reasonable river bet. I would bet 7/10 times you will win this hand on Full Tilt :) Just my two cents, take it for what it is worth. I also hate cash games and have never really studied them so I am clueless anyway :)

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Hoy dont think this is that tough of a situation personally but im a max 6 player so take my opinion w/ a grain of salt. First I'm not thrilled w/ the limp but its not a terrible play either. Raising to see where you are is a huge philosphy in my game so by limping your not sure. However once the flop comes you and you get a bet and a call on the flop I WOULD RAISE to about 20$ to see where i stand. That bet screams to me either two pair or weak ace from one player w/ a 45 hand or draw from the caller. If you raise on the flop then get RR you know right there you are up against two pair or a set. However if u just get called chances are you got the Ace weak calling you or the draw and you play ur hand accordingly from there.

Gl at the tables

7:41 PM  
Blogger smokkee said...

too many of you guys are scared of the boogeyman.

i really don't like "calling to see what they do" on the flop. i would reraise to $20. it's more than a 3x reraise and it will tell you if you're good or not. AJ is not the nuts here. but, it's not an auto-fold either. it's worth taking a serious stab at the pot.

the $6 bet/call is weak. you have position in the hand. use it to your advantage.

1:32 AM  

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