Hand Ranges (Part II)
So, back to Thursday's Hand Ranges question, here was the scenario:
So a stealy guy with a big stack open-raises from late position early in the Mookie. I don't put him on much there necessarily, but probably a top-half hand or so. Then I smooth call from the cutoff. Obie can't put me on a whole lot there either, although as I said, I would put myself on a top-third hand or so, as it is unlikely I just call there with a pile of shizz like 92o or something similar. Now, when Obie reraises to 450, what does that say about his hand?
First, the fact of the raise itself. He is raising a preflop open-raiser and a caller of that raise. That generally speaking is a fairly strong move. Not saying it's the strongest of preflop moves, but it is generally an aggressive move made with a solid holding to reraise not just a preflop raiser but someone who called that raise. So in my mind this narrows Obie's hand range down quite a bit. Before he raised, Obie was the big blind, so you knew absolutely nothing about his hand. With just his one reraise, he narrowed his hand range in my book from every hand in the deck down to only the strong holdings. I don't see him reraising both PL and myself there with a hand like 88 or a lower pair, nor do I see him doing that with KQ, AJ or lower. Not even sooooted. Arguably he might do this with AQs, but even that to me would be a questionable play. In general, I'm thinking his range to reraise the two of us there is probably only AK or AQs among the Aces, and otherwise probably only TT-AA among the pairs. That's it.
But there's one other aspect of Obie's raise that interested me, and that was the size of the raise. Take a look up at the screenshot -- it's a small raise. The bet at the time was already 150 chips, and the pot had 375 chips in it. To me, if I'm raising here, I would normally be aiming for something at least 3 times the current bet. With the raiser and a caller in there, I would probably go for closer to 4 times the current bet or so. But Obie bumps it up not even 3x, giving each of PL and me express odds to call of 250 into 775 or basically 33%. Given PL's raise and my call, I would suggest that it is likely that at least one of us, if not both, will call, and since I thikn Obie recently won a Mookie tournament, he is obviously a great player and therefore I have to assume he understands this bet is not likely to win him the pot right now. If I have a hand like TT or JJ in Obie's spot and I decide to raise (I might fold, call or raise, personally, depending on various other factors), that raise is going to want to be big enough to chase players out, not to entice calls from hands like AQ and KQs that have overcards to my pocket pair. Obie's raise was clearly not one designed to chase us out, so for me that eliminates as well the TT and JJ from the bottom of the range I had put him on. So to me, that one reraise from him to 400 chips tells me he probably has QQ-AA, or AK.
Now let's look at PirateLawyer. Seeing this action ahead of him from Obie, he puts in the re-reraise to a number large enough to commit him and Obie here. First things first -- this is now the third raise in the hand, and in the experience of myself and many others, the third raise usually means Aces, and pretty much always means Aces or Kings. If PL re-reraises here with AK, he is just itching to race or be dominated. Now in my experience, PL is a fairly aggro player, so I cannot take AK out of his range in this spot. But that's it. PL's re-reraise in this spot tells me he either has AA, KK or AK. That's it. He's not folding here with Aces or Kings for sure, and I like to think he would lay down AK or at least just smooth call and try to hit the flop. It's really Aces and Kings, with a slight chance of AK, probably soooted. I just don't see any other way it can go. Not when a guy small-raised a preflop raiser and a caller. If PL is playing his hand right and analyzing hand ranges himself properly, then he cannot be re-reraising this amount here without Aces or Kings.
In the end, I think this was a pretty easy case where just a few actions from two players before the flop can make it fairly easy to narrow their holdings down to one of just a very few possible hands. One of these days I will post some more hand situations like this one, where I think it is a little less subtle as to how exactly to narrow someone's possible holdings based on their actions in the hand.
Don't forget Mondays at the Hoy tonight at 10pm ET on full tilt! Once again it is a $26 buyin, and the game will once again be a shorthanded no-limit shootout. See you then!