Saturday, July 21, 2007

Revisiting a hand

Holy cow... Work has been kickin my ass this week and as such, I haven't had a chance to post much. Instead, I've taken the easy route of reading and commenting on other bloggers' posts which tends to be come wordy... Seriously, I should make some of the comments I leave out there as one of my posts. It's long enough... and they're my words... anyways, that's neither here nor there...

One thing I do want to do though is revisit a hand that I posted before and I appreciate those that commented on the hand. Just to recap, I'll summarize the hand. If you want the original post, click here.

The hand happened against a villain that I knew from before at the lower limits. At a full ring table with both of us having $450ish (I had him covered), an UTG player raised to $12, Villain from MP reraised to $40 and was folded around to me in the SB so I called with 99 and the UTG player folded. Flop came Q-8-5 with two hearts. I check, villain checks. Turn comes an offsuit 10, making the board Q-8-5-10. I checked again, villain bets a weakish $46 into a $100 pot. I then checkraise him here but only bump up the minimum, making it $92. Villain called. River was a blank, I bet out $140 and took it down.

Now, as I reviewed my hand history and my thought process, I knew the river bet was bad. Unless the villain was reraising with JJ, it was clearly a situation where he had AK or QQ (again, for the more detailed analysis, visit my original post). So, if I checked, the villain may have bluffed at the pot so obviously, this was a very poor bet. It's a situation where the only time I will get called there is if I'm beat.

I didn't think much about this though. Apparently, a lot of you out there did not like the turn check-raise, esp the amount. And considering that the comments came from those of you that I really respect (you know who you are but here are the links anyways - MiamiDon, Fuel, Gnome, and Subzero) I gave it a lot of thought. And so, I decided to put down why I did what I did. (PouringReign, I did not forget you, just no link since you don't have a "blog").

The min checkraise. The more and more I think about it, I did that because I felt very uncomfortable about where I stood. In other words, after the check on the flop by the villain after I checked, it was evident that he either had AK or QQ. With two hearts on the board, I can't imagine him checking AA or KK there. Maaaaybe AA but I don't think he's that type of player. So, he either flopped a monster or whiffed. On the turn, when a card that clearly didn't help him came, I still checked, in case he was slow playing a monster. After two checks from me, he obviously felt compelled to bet so he bet out 50% of the pot. I think this bet is still consistent with either AK or QQ. AK because he wants me to fold and QQ because he wants me to call. AA or KK at this point would have had to bet a larger amount. So now I know it's one of the two.

So, since I could narrow it down to the two hands, why did I checkraise? Because I got scared. I had to know. I felt that by checkraising the minimum amount, if he came over the top of that, I would convince myself that he had the QQ and I would fold. If he had AK, he could only call, esp now that he has a gutshot straight draw and two overcards. So, I guess you could say I was betting for information. I also thought that maybe the min checkraise might look fishy as in I might have a monster... but now, I could see that it seems more fishy as in weakish...

Now gnome clearly pointed out that the min checkraise seems "like such a steal/information bet". Fuel was even more direct with the "turn CR was bad." But it was the next comment that really got me thinking. Fuel continues and says "You pick up so many outs and then risk getting RR'ed off the pot." So then I thought about that. I did pick up additional outs. Remember, the board on the turn was Q-T-8-5. A jack (4 outs) would give me a straight even though I would lose to AK since that would give him the nut straight. 9 (2 outs) would give me a set so if I'm up against AA or KK, that would help. But here is where it's tricky for me.

Let's say that in the above example, I don't checkraise. I call the $46 bet. And let's say the J comes on the river? I would obviously check but if he fires out a sizable bet, do I call? The donkey in me says yes, the playa in me says no. Probably depends on the situation on who wins that battle. But, based on the read I have, I should fold. Well, what if a blank comes? Do I check call? What if he fires out a substantial bet? In other words, if I called the turn bet, the pot now has $200. If he fires out $150 on the river, do I call that? His play is still consistent with QQ also. In other words, if I have no inclination of what's more likely QQ or AK in that situation, do I call $150 into a $350 pot? I guess pot odds dictate yes. But I guess I wanted to avoid that situation and thus I did the min checkraise for information.

Actually, as I type this, my thought is starting to veer off. In other words, now I kinda get it. In this situation, if I go the checkraise route, I think I need to bet bigger to make a statement on the turn. If not, I could also bet out on the turn. Check calling is clearly an option but I would pretty much have to fold to any face card falling on the river unless it pairs the board. The river bet is clearly silly and I get that. There was no point in that. The play on the turn is the crucial part of this hand I think and it appears that the general consensus is that I misplayed that. If I check call the turn, I still look weak and so if a blank falls on the river, I guess I would have to be prepared to call unless he overbets the pot. I think the max I can call is a 75% pot bet on the river. Anything more and I don't think I can make the call, thinking at that point, he's overbetting for value.

As I revisit this hand and think through, I can't help but notice one more critical thing. This is why position is soooooo important in NLHE. The fact that I have to act first is what's making this hand so difficult to play. If I had position on him, it would be so much easier. Even at a 2-4NL table, I'm lucky I actually took down this pot without hitting a set. Not many would've let me take it down like that. Like Don said, the villain was clearly weak-tight. AK in position against 99 should be dragging the pot... EVERY TIME.


AnguilA said...

Playing the river and deciding whether value betting or checking to induce the bluff has always given me headaches. I seem to make the wrong choice many times.

But when you bet and get the other guy to fold, at least you don't give away info on how you play a certain hand because you didn't show.

If we firmly believe this guy had AK, he checked in position on the flop, and then didn't come over the top of your raise, so his play actually indicates that he would most likely check the river.

I don't know of this ramblings are of any use, but I just wanted to point out that a hand won without showing also has some kind of value.

Poker Brian said...

I agree with your comment, anytime you win without showing a hand you do a little psychosis tap dance on their brain.

I dont think there is any feeling better by making an "obvious" bet like when that 3rd heart falls on the river and they check. Send out a little feeler and they fold. Even better if they follow the chat up with "catch that flush huh?" If middle pair is the flush, then yes!

RR see you tonight and we need to meet at the final table!