Thursday, September 07, 2006

Hot Hand #7 (Updated With Results)

***UPDATED WITH RESULTS....Scroll down to update at bottom***

Well, I had so much fun with Hot Hand #6 last week that I thought I'd profile a new hand today for your consideration and thoughts. Like with my other Hot Hand posts, I've got another hand here for you that I think is instructive and interesting, but also subject to reasonable debate and disagreement about the right way to play it, even on multiple streets. Since I "record" so many of my hands in screenshot format, I am able to review hundreds of hands to find the best ones to use for my Hot Hand posts. As I've mentioned many times here on the blog, the potential for immediate reaction and interaction through commenting is what I think makes bloggery so unique and useful as a media, and I have had a blast hearing from everyone and discussing the last few of these Hot Hands. Hopefully you have too.

Hot Hand #7 finds us in the first round of a $10 buyin multi-table nlh tournament on pokerstars. The blinds are in for 10 and 20, 3rd position has opened with a call as well, and the action is to you, holding 64s.

Question 1: What do you like to do here? Obviously there can be no argument with folding here. But what about an argument for calling? Anyone like to raise in this position? What's your move?

As you know if you read this blog regularly, I'm on kind of a kick lately with playing some sooted and (almost) connecting cards for cheap. In this case, one player was already in the pot, and the two blinds were sure to stay in for 20 as well since they'd already put up most or all of that bet. So, feeling confident that there would be at least three other players in this pot with me to be able to pay me off if I hit something with my sooted one-gapper (probably more, as our early limps make the pot odds better for others to call from later position and see a cheap flop), and for only a measly 20 chips, I decided to go ahead and call it and see what happens:

And keep in mind, I know going in that if this thing gets raised up preflop one time, even the dreaded minraise, I am folding the hand, so I know my maximum loss preflop is just the 20 chips. And I also know that I will have to be very careful postflop with this hand after the flop is out, because I can get myself into a world of trouble with a hand like this if I only kinda hit it, but then can't get away from it in the face of heavy action.

OK so, thanks partly to the increased odds from the first limper and my own limp-in to this pot, we end up with six limpers to see the following flop, which was then checked around to me:

Question 2: What's your play? Do you bet out with your third pair, backdoor straight draw and backdoor flush draw? After all, it has been checked around through 5 of 6 players to you, and there is that Ace on the board. Or do you check it and try to take a free card to hit further on one of those backdoor draws you're working on?

This is a point I will be very interested to hear your comments on. As with the choice to fold your 64s preflop from early position after a UTG limp, I do not think the decision to check here and hope for a free card can be questioned as a safe play that still lets you be in the hand. Obviously, you have nothing that is likely right now to be the best hand, and you're just one player out of six away from getting a free card. As I mentioned, with two backdoor draws working for you, getting a free card is especially good to see if you can maybe turn an oesd or a flush draw. So checking it on is a fine play in my book.

However, that's just not the way I play. After 6 players limped into a pot, and then the flop comes with a single Ace on it, and five of those players check it around to me, I am definitely tempted to make a stab at the pot. There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of these players has an Ace and a high card that they are willing to call a correct-sized bet with here, and the 120 chips in the pot is, to me, worth stealing right now if I can get this pot closed down quickly. Throw in that I already made third pair and the two backdoor draws on this flop, and I am definitely willing to make a play. So I bet 100 into the 120 pot. Unfortunately, the button called my 100-chip bet, and then the UTG player right in front of me called this flop bet as well:

Not good. OK so personally, I am pleased that I limped into this pot from up front for the measly 20 chips, and I am also fine with having taken a stab on the flop in what looked like a reasonable situation to take down a decent pot early in the tournament. So far I've lost only 120 chips into this pot, which isn't great by any means, but 1380 isn't so different from 1500 chips early on in an mtt, so I'm not going to fret over it. However, I also know here that I'm not going to lose any more chips into this pot, unless something happens and I really hit the turn card hard. If I had to guess, the button calling my 5/6 of the pot bet on the flop probably means that he has some kind of weak Ace and is willing to see one more card -- if he had a high Ace, he would probably have raised preflop or at least on the flop -- and the second guy just calling seems more like a draw of some kind. I only say that because his odds to draw to whatever he is drawing at just got better when I bet not so big and then the button already called the bet in front of me. And if the third caller UTG had a solid Ace, I assume he would be re-raising here. All that is subject of course to what their actions on the turn tell me about their range of hands, but from what I know so far, that's what I'm thinking about these two players' hands.

On comes the turn card: The 8♣, giving me a flush draw, an inside straight draw, and an inside straight flush draw to the 5♣. As I ponder whether this means I will lead out at this pot again or not, the first player to act, the original UTG player, leads out for 100 chips into the 420-chip pot.

Question 3: It's getting near decision time in this hand. With the flush draw, inside straight draw, and longshot inside straight flush draw, and the pair of 6s, do I call this small bet here? Does the presence of one player still to act behind me, who I have previously put on a weak Ace, change the decision at all? Does a raise here make sense? Or should I just follow my own advice after I was called in two places on the flop, and simply place my cards into the muck, living to fight another day? How would you play this hand right now?

I spent a long time agonizing over this play myself. I went and counted my likely outs and figured what my opponents are likely sitting on. Nothing I've seen has changed my mind about my opponents' likely ranges of hands. The button hasn't acted yet in this round, so I still have him on a weak Ace for top pair on this board. More interesting is the UTG player, whom I had put on a draw of some kind before the turn card. Now here he is making an almost unbelievably small bet of less than a quarter of what is in the current pot. So, I had him on a straight draw of some kind before, and now a third open-ended straight card has fallen here, so I could be worried about that. But this 100-chip bet is just so weak, I simply cannot put this guy on a made straight at this point. Here we're already at the turn, and unless you had the nut straight (with T9 in your hand), giving such a cheap card here with a made straight, basically forcing people to stay in to see one more card, would be suicidal. And I can't put him on T9 here since he would have had to call my 100-chip bet on the flop with just the inside straight draw and two crappy overcards, which I am giving this guy too much credit to have done.

No, if anything this cheapo bet on the turn looks more like a weak lead bet than anything else, which in my experience is typically done when a player wants to slow down the action so that the weak lead bettor can see another card for just the cost of his cheap lead bet. And that my friends would only be done by someone who is still working on their draw. So now I'm thinking that in order for this guy to have smooth called on the flop, and still be on the draw now with the 8 falling, he probably has made some kind of an oesd, or maybe a straight draw plus a pair, maybe with 85 or 65 in his hand. Either of those holdings might explain the call on the flop with two other players already in for the 100-chip bet, as well as this incredibly weak lead at the pot here on the flop. If this guy is playing a made straight in this way, I guess he can have my money because I just can't put him on this hand. With that bet, my gut tells me this guy is on a draw. And it's not a club draw because then what would he have called with on the flop? It's gotta be the straight draw, and if he had some kind of a draw on the flop, and still on a draw now with the 8 on the turn, then he's probably on some kind of osed or maybe a low pair/draw combination of some kind with a 6. Either way, I think my 6, plus a freeroll to a flush and the open-end straight flush draw,is worth at least 12 or 13 outs for me to at least tie for the best hand, for odds of better than 25%. Easily worth calling another 100-chip bet here into a 420-chip pot to try to see the river card for way cheap. I call:

Then all hell breaks loose. Before I can even react, the button raises the bet up to 320 chips, and then UTG moves allin for his last 820 chips:

Question 4: Now what? Is this an easy fold? A call would cost me 780 chips to win a pot that is $1720, so the pot odds I'm being laid are just more than 2 to 1. Does my current hand have more than a 30% chance of winning this pot? Is that even the right question, with the button, who already raised once in this betting round, and whom I put on a weak Ace, still waiting to act behind me? What do you do now? And how did I ever get into this mess in the first place?

Let me know your thoughts. I will post the stunning conclusion to this hand later one people have had a chance to respond with their opinions to how this hand has played out so far.

******** UPDATED Thursday 9-7 with Hand Results ********

Once again, a great suite of comments on Hot Hand #7. And once again, I generally agree with most of the commenters' points. The first comment I received to yesterday's Hot Hand #7 post was along the lines that I don't usually do Hot Hand posts about donkey moves. Ironically, it seems like most of the commenters think that I misplayed this hand. In fact, most of the commenters thought I misplayed Hot Hand #6 from last week too. I generally agreed with the commenters last week, and I generally agree with the commenters again today. I'm going to give you my explanation as to why I went ahead and played the hand the way that I did anyways (that's the point of the Hot Hand posts to me), but in many cases I'm actually picking these particular hands because I think I misplayed them. Now I don't generally think of myself as making "donkey" moves like Njile's comment suggested, so you probably won't see many of those posted up here (although regular visitors here know I certainly haven't been shy about posting all about when I've been playing like donkey either). But more often than not it's the hands I misplay that are the most interesting to me to discuss here.

I like all the commenters' opinions who suggested that I not even limp with this 64s hand from early position in the first place. I have no disagreement with that as the general rule, and it's a rule that I generally follow no doubt. But recently I have also found it important and useful to inject just a bit more uncertainty into my game and the cards I play. Remember, I'll only play these kinds of hands for a minimum bet preflop. I like Joanne's commentary to the effect that she only plays hands like 64s when she is ensured of 4 other callers. For me, that number is 3 or 4 other callers, and in this case, I felt fairly certain that, assuming no one raised from behind me, I already had 3 other callers guaranteed with the first limper and the two cheap blinds, plus the increased likelihood of more callers behind me due to the pot odds to see a flop. Either way, to be clear I think my position was poor enough here that I certainly could have and probably should have folded. No doubt the commenters are right that this type of hand is much better played from late position and as the first person in the pot than the way I played it here.

It is also pretty clear from the commenters that you think it was probably wiser to have checked along on the flop, rather than put in the 100-chip bet. In the original post I already anticipated that response, probably because I know in hindsight that checking was probably the right thing to do. While I agree that checking was certainly the safer play and probably the more +EV play overall, I will say here for the record that do not believe betting out was a bad move, just not as good of a move as checking. But I'm not killing myself for the bet out on the flop. I know why I did it, it was a small bet and I felt I had a decent chance of taking it down right there. The best argument I read in the comments for checking instead of betting was Joanne's point about my position. Position was not working for me in that hand, and probably that point should have been enough, when combined with the weakness of my holdings and the situation at the time, to get me to check.

Now on to the turn card. When the 8♣ came on the turn, the first player made the weakass 100-chip bet into the 420-chip pot, seems like most of us agree that I had to call that kind of a cheap bet. And I agree. It just screams "Drawing!!" so loudly that even my made pair of 6's looks good to me there. But, when the button reraised, and then UTG quickly moved allin for just 500 chips more, here my commenters generally felt this is an easy fold. Some predicted UTG has two pairs or trips, many predict two pairs from the button, all of which are obviously ahead of me and my drawing hand at this time. There was just one problem with that analysis:

I didn't think that's what these players had. I've said consistently throughout this post that I believed the button was on a weak Ace. I think his preflop limp with several others already in on the action, then his smooth call of my 100-chip bet on the flop, and even his medium-sized raise on the turn card, all support this prediction. As I look at the screenshots in retrospect, given that this was the first time he had raised the pot during the entire hand, I might have put the button on two pairs with Aces-up, probably Aces and 8's, but at the time I definitely had him on just a pair of Aces, that he felt strongly was good from a look at this board and the action thus far.

Now, when the second player suddenly moved allin, my instincts did not tell me to suddenly change what I thought he was on. In other words, I thought he was on some kind of a weird draw on the flop. Then his 100-chip weak lead out on the turn card all but iced it for me that he was still drawing, probably open-ended thanks to the 8♣. I just thought his weak lead was so clear, that I never wavered for a second that he was on a draw, even after he reraised allin there on the turn. Now, based on what I've seen from these guys over many, many blogger tournaments, if this was a guy like Iakaris or SoxLover, I would have to (and certainly would) worry and consider that this was just a slowplayed monster that has now been let out of the bag in hopes for a big call from UTG. But this is just an average pokerstars fish as far as I'm concerned. It's the first round, he hasn't done anything yet to show me he is capable of that kind of advanced deception. And all things being equal, the average pokerstars joker is not in fact capable of this kind of deception. Again, keep in mind I freely acknowledge going in that he realistically might have been slow-playing a big hand. But laying reads on people and putting them on hands is all about making an educated guess. It's a guess. If you're waiting until you know you're right about what an opponent is holding, then good luck with all that. I am acting on my reads, using what I've seen and what I think that means about what these guys have in their hands. And in this case, this guy was on an oesd, period. The quick allin push looks to me like a guy who has somehow dumped more than half of his stack into this hand on just a draw, and now in desperation just wants to make one last stand here. It's a bad play, but this guy is obviously a bad player, given that regoddamdiculous weak lead bet to starting this betting round already.

So, what do I do here, given what I think I'm facing? I've got the button on a weak Ace who is raising because he believes he has the only Ace here. But he didn't raise huge, because he knows all he has is top pair. And I've got UTG on just an oesd, now reraising the button allin. I've got the flush draw (which I'm sure no one else has a part of since there was only one club on the flop when they both called my lead bet), I've got the straight flush draw, and I've got an inside straight draw that I figure at least ties me for the pot, depending on what exact straight UTG is drawing to. But of all these things, the pair of 6's I've got was probably the biggest driver to my decision here:

Wow, right? Here was my thinking at the time (flame away, commenters!): I believe I am ahead right now of the UTG player, and I also have several better draws than him. My pair of 6s is probably ahead of the oesd he is holding in his hand (possibly with a pair of 5s in the hole), and he is drawing to a straight while I am drawing to a flush and a straight flush (and a straight as well, for that matter). If I can isolate with just the UTG guy, who is already allin so he can't charge me any more chips on this round, then I believe I already have the better hand and the better draw. And as far as isolating with the UTG player, I also believe I can get the button to fold pretty easily here if I move in. In my head he has just top pair with a weak kicker, and there are three open-end straight cards on the board, and plus since we all limped in preflop there could easily be two pair or better out there as well. I would go so far as to say that, even though he likely has the best hand at this time, the button would be a damn fool to call UTG's allin reraise plus my own allin re-reraise if he is holding a hand like A3 or A4. In my head I was sure he would fold that kind of a hand to my allin re-reraise.

So I went ahead and moved in. Now I know this was a very aggressive move to make, and certainly was not necessary given how early in the tournament this was, but as I try to show again and again here on the blog, this is how I play no-limit holdem. I make a read, and I try to stick with it, all the while of course refining that read every time I get more information from the other players, like how they've chosen to act on later betting streets, etc. In fact, I'm going to be honest here for a minute. As I slid the bar over to the right to "allin" and clicked the "raise" button, I was thinking that I am just about the greatest poker player who ever lived. I'm thinking this move is so advanced these guys are never gonna forget the day that Hoyazo slammed them into a brick wall with a pair of 6's in a 3-way pot with an Ace coming on the flop and three medium straight cards on the board. I was so proud of myself, I couldn't wait to see the button fold and then this fidiot UTG show me his shitcards.

To my extreme surprise, the button called the allin raise UTG and the allin reraise from me fairly quickly, and then the players showed me this:

Wow. And Dammit! So I was almost right in my reads, but I had skipped over an important piece of the puzzle with the player on the button. When he raised it up on the turn card, I wish I had foreseen at least the possibility that he had made two pairs with his "weak Ace". When I put him on a weak Ace right from the getgo, I was not necessarily thinking A2 or A3. I was thinking of a range from, say, A2 to A8 or so. A9 or better and he might have played this whole thing a little harder, even from the preflop or more likely from the flop when he hit his Aces and still had another overcard as well. So I basically had him on one of seven hands -- A2, A3, A4, A5, A6, A7 or A8. The thing I think I overlooked here was that, by the time the 8♣ fell on the turn, at that point nearly half of the seven hands in my range for him had become callable at the end. He would be very likely to lay down A2, A3 or A4 to the two allin raises on the turn. Those are easy hands to get away from. But if he had had A5, then now he was open-ended and might well have called the extra thousand at poor odds just because he was open-ended. And if he had held A6, A7 or A8, he now had a very strong-looking two pairs, and he was more likely than not to call the two allin raises there as well. So in 3 of the 7 hands I had assigned him to all through this hand, he was more likely than not to call even my allin re-reraise with two pairs, and in another 1 of the 7 hands in that range he was also a realistic threat to call. So that, to me, was my biggest effup in the way I played this entire hand. I had him on a weak Ace all along, but when three cards hit the board with the Ace that would all have helped his "weak Ace" range hands, I should have thought twice before putting this move on the way I did.

And the guy on the button....What a phucking idiot. Enough said. Now you know why he's also the type of player to make that idiotic weak lead on the turn when he became open-ended. And please don't waste any brain cells trying to figure what he was calling the 100-chip bet on the flop with. Your head might explode.

The kicker to this entire story? Here was the river card (any guesses? I'll give you some space here to take a stab at it):

Yeah boyeeeeee! God I love being right.
Now was that a cool hand or what?!

Btw, don't forget to enter your picks for the first game of the NFL season tonight in my Yahoo! NFL Pick'em league, if you're playing. Also, don't forget, if you want to participate in the money pool, you have to transfer $10 to my pokerstars account (Hoyazo, in New York City) before Sunday morning, September 10 at 10am ET. I will post a list of money players this weekend so everyone knows who is in the money pool. So far there are close to ten people in for $10 apiece. All of which is all coming right back to me, of course. Just pick my Eagles every week with a 16 confidence rating, and you'll be good to go too! Right?


Blogger Donnie (aka Shadowtwin) said...

Jesus. How does anyone even limp into a hand with a 2-5o? UTG, no less. The mind, it boggles.

10:19 PM  
Blogger MHG said...

I definitely understand the "feeling" aspect of poker, but in this hand you seem to contradict yourself.

"I stick to my reads, but allow for some change when more information comes my way" is basically what you say. There is a raise *and* a reraise behind you on the turn--I'd say that is some information to take notice of!

I definitely think this hand is a good one for analysis, and I'm glad you picked it.

I think it is pretty funny that you and UTG played this hand basically the same way on the turn. He leads weak trying to keep the pot small to see the river, you call trying to see the river cheaply, Button raises because he's got the best hand and doesn't want you guys to see a cheap river, UTG tries to squeeze you (or both you and the Button) out, You try to squeeze the Button out!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Meanhappyguy, you're right that the raise and the reraise on the turn certainly gave me a lot of new information to absorb and work into the hands I put these two players on. The problem was, the button raise didn't change my read of his hand, because (1) I was blinded at the time to the possibility of him having made the two pairs and (2) the reraise in that situation is more or less exactly what I would have expected from him with the Ace in his hand. And, the UTG player also just confirmed for me that he was on a draw by making what I perceived to be a desperation push. So it's not like I chose to ignore the additional information I was being given; rather, I felt that the additional information supported what I already thought these two players had.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Nijle. thanks for the comments. I assure you I have spotlighted several hands on the blog where I have ended up losing, and there will definitely be more to come. I bet even some of the Hot Hand posts don't end with me winning (maybe I'm wrong about that, I'm too apathetic to go and check them all out now).

And yes, I still play hilo regularly -- just won some at $3-$6 hilo on full tilt late last night, this morning actually), and I have toyed with the idea of doing a hilo Hot Hand. Suffice it to say, I have tons of great hilo hands recorded and filed away.

For you nijle, the next Hot Hand post will be stud hilo cash. I've got lots of good ones to choose from.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh that 5c2c hand wasn't in clubs?

That's just horrible how does that come up the buy in?

Good job realizing the difference between a normal Stars donkfest and if they were better players. If you got squeezed like that normally I'd bet on set/AcXc/or the nut straight.

1:31 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

mr. suckout,

glad to see you finally discovered the power of the MIGHTY 6-4.

you got me with it last night in the mOOk.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Nijle, one last point of clarification from your comment above -- I did not actually move allin on a draw when I knew I was beat (at least not in a vacuum). I moved allin where I knew the button was ahead of me but I had good reason to believe he would fold, and I believed I was definitely ahead with my made pair of 6's of whatever tripe the UTG player was pushing on me. So when I pushed in on the turn there, I wasn't doing it so much to be a "gambler" as I was doing it because I believed I would be ahead (and with the better draw as well) of what the only player who would stay in the hand had.

1:53 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I don't see how you could put the button on two pair there, honestly.

Congrats on Riverstars giving you a break for once! ;)

10 people for the Pick 'Em buy-in, eh? Sounds good to me!

Sorry, but I can't pick the Eagles at 16 every week. When they get a consisitent running game, I might consider picking them higher for the rest of the weeks (I picked them high this week because they're playing the friggin' TEXANS, so it's a duh choice).

1:54 AM  
Blogger Doog said...

Excellent Hot Hand post as always.

I know that I didn't post before the hands were revealed, but I remember thinking yesterday that Button could well have flopped A-high two-pair. The smooth call on the flop was my first key - if he's got two players betting into him on a relatively non-threatening board, save for the possible straight draw, why shoudl he broadcast the strength of his hand just yet?

The 1/2-pot raise on the turn is exactly what I would expect from this sort of hand as well. The turn card was definitely a scare card, since it potentially made someone's straight and also opened up a flush draw (which you held). It seemed to me like he was trying to play a little defense to find out where he was at, or maybe he knew he was ahead and was now trying to extract value. He probably sniffed the desperation in UTG's push, but then YOUR push gave him 3:1 pot odds. Personally, I don't like his call with 2-pair with those odds given the board, but maybe he thought that he could rebuild his +/-T400 left behind if he was beaten, especially since the blinds were so low this early in the tournament. Or, maybe he was an oblivious donkey who was blinded by the magnificence of his own hand.

If it was me, I would not have even been in this hand. UTG+1 with those cards is just not something I would even think about. Then again, my game is tighter than a (insert inappropriate female genitalia simile here).

BTW - I found this today and thought you would be justifiably offended:


3:35 AM  
Blogger Doog said...

Well shoot, let's try that URL again...


3:37 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

Thanks so much for playing in the Tanner tourney last night.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Njile, I agree. I think the biggest problem with this play, other than missing the likelihood of Aces-up once the turn card was out, was that it's all just too fancy and too crazy to be doing in the first few minutes of a large tournament.

But I enjoyed it, that's got to count for something.

8:13 PM  
Blogger denny said...

you made a terrible play. i'm reading your blog and i can read you very well. u got lucky and try to pretend that you are a "poker player" for me you just a poker junky...

3:09 AM  

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