Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Quickie Update

OK no time today for a big post due to work tiltobligations, so today I will just mention an idea that David Sklansky highlights in Holdem for Advanced Players that I had really never thought of before, but one which I think is highly relevant and really on-point as far as holdem poker (both limit and no-limit) is concerned. In his chapter on play on the flop, Sklansky mentions almost in passing that, if there was no raise before the flop, it is therefore more likely that your opponent has flopped top pair if the flop comes something like 45T or J93, etc. -- i.e., without a King or an Ace on the flop.

Sklansky's point here is predicated on the premise that, as a general rule, good players tend to either raise or fold before the flop if they have at least one Ace or King in their hand, depending on what their kicker is. Thus, if nobody raised before the flop, argues Sklansky, it is more advisable for you to bet out with a hand like, say, JT, if the flop is something like KT4, giving you second pair decent kicker. This is because someone with a King would either have raised preflop if he had a good kicker to go along with that King, or folded preflop is he did not have a good kicker. Thus, with no raise preflop it is more likely that no solid Kings or Aces are out, and thus your JT has a better chance of being good on the KT4 flop than, say, your 98 would be good on a flop of T82. The thinking being, of course, that it is more likely that a preflop caller (not raiser) will have some kind of a Ten in their hand, having simply limped preflop, than they are to have if the flop has a King or an Ace as the high card.

I'm not sure why this point stuck out to me so much, but I think it is similar to a point Dan Harrington makes in Volume 3 of his Harrington on Holdem series that I wrote about here last year that says that in a unraised pot preflop, a flop of all middle cards like 557 or 689 can actually be very scary since those are exactly the kind of cards that people tend to limp into pots with, especially pots that look like they are going to be multiway pots. It is just something I had never explicitly thought about before, but in general I think I agree with Sklansky's point here. Betting out (or raising) with a hand like second pair makes a lot more sense in an unraised pot if the top card on the flop is an Ace or King than if that top card is something lower, because it is that much more likely that another player is in the pot with that top pair since the pot was not raised.

That's all for today, I know it ain't much although I contend that the principle I've described here today has a lot more usefulness and applicability in holdem than most people probably realize. I just love it when I read a poker book and somebody presents an idea to me that I honestly have not conceived of even after thousands of hours of playing poker at many levels and across many different games.

Mookie tonight, 10pm ET on full tilt. Password as always is "vegas1". Then of course there is the Dookie at 11:30pm ET after that, which is typically a smaller, limit tournament of some kind but is always a fun time. I am already an early registrant for tonight's Mookie tournament, as I still seek just my second Mookie cash of all of 2007 (yikes!), and I'm looking forward to it tonight in its own right as well as a nice tune-up for Thursday night's rescheduled BBT Freeroll with its new, improved $2500 prize pool. See you then!

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Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I agree and I disagree. Just like any other situation in poker, this one depends. I know plenty of players who would limp EP with a hand like AK or AQ as well. And I know you're not generalizing but that general rule of thumb could be pseudo costly (pseudo because it obviously wouldn't cost you too much with a bet here and there). Ax sooted is exactly the kinda hand that someone might limp in late position after a few callers as well.

1:54 AM  
Blogger mcSey said...

Interesting point.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Dr Zen said...

Against good players, it's a good rule of thumb. But the only pots you are likely to apply it in are going to be heads up, where middle pair is probably ahead anyway, simply because a/ there are many more unpaired than paired hands preflop and b/ unpaired hands mostly miss the flop.

9:19 AM  
Blogger 2dollarjack said...

I agree,to the extent of not overdoing it. I always try to personally remember that a lot of the time people enjoy limping with connecting and one-gapped suited cards, and often when all the cards are low and reasonably connected, even a fairly large post-flop bet will get a call or two, where they will re-evaluate on the turn.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

I would also agree with the point in premise - but the reverse also applies to your opponents. They know that if you had an A or a K that you would have raised preflop and that a re-raise with air could take the pot.

3:54 PM  
Blogger Patch said...

It strikes me that there are a number of issues with this idea. The BB is certainly going to play a weak A or K if it limps around. The SB may well complete with a similar hand if there are several limpers. It's probably worth shooting a bet out there anyway.

The other thing that bothers me even more is that this only holds true if you're at a table full of good players. I would suggest that in this case, unless it's a tournament, you should be spending your time looking for a table full of bad players, not worrying about taking down small pots with second pair.

10:15 PM  

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