Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Live Poker Hand Question -- Conclusion

Yesterday I posted about a hand that occurred early in a $400 buyin tournament in AC this past weekend, and asked what you would do on the river if you were me. As a reminder, here is the setup from yesterday's post:

The tournament started with 10k in chips, and late in the first hour I called a preflop raise from mp with T8s, and the big blind called as well which brought us a flop of T84 rainbow, three-handed. With 1250 in the pot, the big blind led out for 400 chips, and the original preflop raiser thought for a few seconds before just calling, and I smooth called as well with the flopped top two.

The turn card was an offsuit Queen, making a board now of T84Q. The big blind surprised me by leading out again, this time for 1000 chips into a pot of 2450. The guy to my right thought it over, for a little longer this time, and eventually slid out a purple chip as well for the call, and again I made the pot-odds call as well, a bit reluctantly.

The river card then brought an Ace. The big blind hesitated a bit and then slid out another purple and some yellows, a 1400-chip bet for his third lead of the hand. The guy to my right had a kind of disgusted look on his face, but after a few seconds he too slid out 1400 chips to make his third postflop call of the hand. The action was to me on the river to call 1400 to win 8250 in the pot.

Now of course, the answers I got in the comments were mostly well thought-out, but like any good "What would you do?" hand, almost nobody could keep themselves from critiquing my earlier play of the hand -- even though that's not what I asked -- in particular my not raising on the flop. As I mentioned yesterday, top two pairs is the only two-pair hand that I will generally slow-play, and I should re-mention that nobody gave me any credit for the fact that I wasn't checking here, I was calling a decent bet, building the pot by about 60% on that street while keeping two potentially weak players in the pot. Someone, I think it was Astin, mentioned that when your top two pairs are Tens and 8s, it is almost not like top two pairs at all. That is a semi-valid point, although the math I imagine would not bear out that statement in its extreme. The turn card will be a Ten or below still more often than it will not be, and even if a Jack or Queen falls it is hard to be too concerned with just the one non-Ace and non-King overcard on the board (I certainly would not be, given the action in this hand so far). Another commenter mentioned the many straight draws available on this board as a reason for the raise on the flop, which I simply do not understand at all. For my money, if I see a flop of T84 in a 3-way raised pot, that is one of the least drawy boards I could ever hope for. If T84 rainbow is scaring you away from slow-playing because of draws, then you just have a different view of math and odds than I do I guess. Sure, 732 rainbow would be even less drawy, but T84? Come on. That is almost ideal from a drawing perspective as far as maybe letting another card slide off.

This is all a long way of saying that I think I agree that with medium two pairs like this, and only because of the fact that this is a 3-way pot and not heads-up, some kind of a raise on the flop is probably the more +EV play over time (I'll have to check with Blinders on the EV calculation of course). Certainly in this spot it did not work, as the turn was an overcard that also completed an open-ended straight draw from the flop, and then of course the river brought the dreaded Ace, but taking the results-oriented viewpoint out, I think I buy that raising my hand on the flop was probably the better move against two opponents. I just don't think it is nearly as obvious as the commenters seem to think it is, as I think a couple of key considerations I mentioned above were overlooked in general by the commenters.

That said, this was really a question about what I should do at the river. The comments were split about 50-50 as to folding and calling, though even those recommending a call seemed not very confident, calling more for the pot odds than anything else. Well, I already had the alarm bells going off in my head from the flop when the guy to my right just smooth called, and when he did the same thing again on the turn, I was thinking either overpair or flopped set in a big way. When the Ace hit the river, I figured I was going to have to fold to any action since at least one opponent had at least one pair heading into this street, and the odds of one of them holding an Ace as a kicker are fairly good given that they called a preflop raise in this hand to begin with. So when the first guy led out again -- for the third time after getting two callers on both the flop and the turn -- this to me smelled like a very solid hand, at least an overpair himself if not two pairs or better. I mean, how many times do you ever lead out on the flop, get called (twice), lead out again on the turn and get called (twice), and then actually lead out still another time on the river? That to me just screamed of strength. Similarly, the player to my right calling all three of those bets also screamed out that it was at least strong ish -- more than one pair, say -- in which case it seemed to me that I had no option but to fold on this river. I was not sure that both of my opponents had my two pairs beat, but 3rd and 4th pair really could not reasonably be ahead of both of these guys the way I saw it.

And so I laid it down, even for the measly 1400 into an 8250-chip pot. I would only have to be ahead of both guys roughly one time in six to make always calling here profitable, and yet I relied on my reads sufficiently to figure that I'm not going to be ahead of both of these guys even that often to make the call worthwhile.

The big blind flipped up?

Pocket Kings. How he bets out a third time on that river after getting called twice on each of the flop and turn is utterly beyond me, but that's definitely the way a big-time donkey would play this hand.

And the guy to my right flipped up?

We'll never know. He took one look at the big blind's pocket Kings and he fucking mucked.

One pair FTW!!!

As an epilogue, although it took me a good hour to truly get calmed down from the tilt induction that was that hand, eventually I bounced back in the tournament with several big hands, mostly without having to show down anything, and in the end I took 3rd place when my short stack push with J9s got called by A8o and I could not catch up. Still, I won almost $1600 for my efforts, and overall I played great in my last live tournament tune-up prior to leaving for Las Vegas three weeks from yesterday. Make that two weeks and six days from now. Just two+ weeks baby, just two+ weeks.

But tell me, how do those two clowns both bet and call three times with just one pair?

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Blogger KenP said...

There are two things we do consistently wrong:

1. Give a guy too much credit.

2. Fail to give the guy proper credit.

Annoying isn't it?

12:05 AM  
Blogger BadBlood said...

Yep, giving a live donkey too much credit. At least you got to play turbo ninja later based on the fold and take 3rd.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

folding is horrible

not raising on any street is horrible

7:20 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Blood -- technically in this case it was giving two live donkeys too much credit. It was an extremely frustrating hand and I literally took an hour digging myself out of that funk, which in a turbo tournament made things needlessly difficult for me.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

LOL, I thought your hand was the worst of the after that river. Damn! I should be playing in AC. Need to play against some players like THAT.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Chad C said...

You need to raise the flop, thin the field and find out where you are at. Now Q turns, you have no idea what other guys have and you are handcuffed to just calling down, or even folding if OR grew a pair and raised the river...... How funny is it though that people still play poker so horrible? Who the F just calls in what level 1 with KK vs two other players out of position?????

Josie - You play against worse players than THAT three times a week in the BBT....

9:38 PM  
Blogger edgie212 said...

Depending on the blind structure, I don't know that I'd even call a PF raise with 108s that early in the tournment, but hey, what the hell do I know.

3:09 PM  

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