Monday, January 21, 2008

My 2 cents on Deepstack AA

Cmitch just posted this hand history where it involved him and another deepstack. Go to his site for the full hand history. I left him a fairly lengthy comment but the situation was so good that I wanted to discuss it more.

Basically, the situation was that at a 6 max 2-4NL table where the max buy-in was $400, Cmitch had everyone covered and the villain had a little over $1,000. Cmitch finds himself AA in the small blind. They were playing 5 handed and UTG+1 (the villain) puts in a standard pot sized raise of $14. Cmitch reraises the standard pot sized amount to $46 and gets called by the villain. The flop comes J high with all clubs. Cmitch has the A of clubs. Pot is now $96 after the flop.

So, here's what happened on each street and my thoughts on them.

Flop : J-4-5 with all clubs and Cmitch has AA with a A of clubs. He bets out $65 and the villain smooth calls.

To me, this bet is a little small. I really want to define my hand here to the opponent. Of course, one may argue pot control but on a scary board like this, I think it's important to let the villain know that you are willing to go to war with this hand in this situation. Keep in mind that even the villain (without much data) doesn't want to tangle with the only other guy who could totally stack him of his initial buy-in and his winnings so far. So, having said that, I think a bigger flop bet was in order. I probably would have bet around $81. Well, either way, let's say the villain still smooth calls. That brings us to the turn.

Turn : off suit 9. Board is J-4-5-9 with 3 clubs still. Pot $226. Cmitch bets $125 and gets called by the villain again.

The turn always seem to be a defining moment in NL hold'em cash. Maybe tourneys too but I don't know that for sure. The reason why I think this could be the turning point is that this could be the place where you can really build the pot with one more card to come or you choose to give up control to the villain. Here, Cmitch bets about half the pot. I'm not sure about that bet (and it seems like he's not either). He mentioned that maybe he could have bet more there. That's one thought but then the only hand that he could possibly get to fold is a guy holding top pair here. But this is where in his comment section, I suggested a check/call route on the turn. And here's why.

At this point in the hand, if I'm Cmitch, I don't even know if my hand is good here anymore. It would be very hard for me to put the villain with top pair because quite frankly, I'm not exactly sure what holdings he could have that would involve a J. Why? Because he raised from UTG+1 then called a full reraise. Unless he's stupid, he wouldn't call a reraise from a big stack with a hand like AJ, KJ, QJ... the only reasonable holdings for a hand that would raise with a J. He's better off raising/calling with a hand like 67s or something like that where it's unlikely that he's dominated and if he hits the flop hard could double through the largest stack at the table. With a hand like AJ, KJ, or QJ, unless you hit two pair, you won't know where you stand even if you do hit. So, in my mind, I'm eliminating any J from his holding except for one that has me beat. JJ. Other possible holdings from him would include QQ or KK with maybe a club but those, you already beat and I think this board is so dangerous that I'm not quite sure I want to go to war in this situation. I think I would prefer giving the villain control of the pot by checking to him to see what he does. Again, I'm just not a big fan of playing a big pot against a big stack when I'm out of position. Maybe I'm a little too passive when I'm OOP but I'd rather be that than stack off with an overpair.

Now the downside of checking is that you now look like you are giving up so that may be an incentive for the villain to try to take the pot away. But this is where your reads and your feel become very important. Let's say you check and the villain tosses out a similar sized bet to what Cmitch did. I would call. What does that tell the villain? It tells him that I got something. Sure, it could be a draw to the nut flush or it could be top pair. But again, it sends the message that I have something and that he has to decide what I have. This is useful information to have going into the river. Why? Let me explain after the river card.

River - J. Board is now J-5-4-9-J. Pot $476. Cmitch posts the question here for what the readers would do.

Very interesting spot. But in all honesty, I guess as a tight passive player that I seem to be in this situation, I check and decide depending on what the villain does. If the villain bets half the pot, I would be compelled to call. Could it be a value bet? Sure. But again, it's really hard to put him on a J here and if that's what he has, I'll pay half the pot. However, if he shoves, I would fold. Because if he shoves on a board like this when it's checked to him, 9 times out of 10, it's an overbet for value. Even a potsized bet, I think I would fold. Why? Because what would he do that with? In other words, why bet so much in a situation like this unless you wanted a call? If he is shoving/pot betting, I have to assume he has a boat. I mean if he had QQ or KK, there's no way he would put in a pot sized bet because based on the action, he's gotta be scare of the J. Also, that's a typical situation where the only hand that calls you will be the one that beats you. So, a bet in this situation would generally indicate a monster, hoping you had the flush and can't fold to a paired board. The only reason I would call the half pot bet is because I'm getting 3:1 and even though I hate that call, I just couldn't find the fold button there. Call it a leak of mine. But anything beyond that, I would find the fold button.

Now let's say we took the check/call route on the turn. With the J coming out, now I would fire out a bet for approx 30-50% of the pot. Basically, this would be a blocking bet but now, unless the villain has a monster, he can't raise here. Now of course the argument would be that at this point, the only hand that calls you will be the one that beats you. That's very true but at least you're not the one being put to the test for a much bigger bet amount. There's still a chance that you are ahead and so I'd rather try to keep the pot small and go to showdown than have to fold to a bigger size bet by checking again on the river.

Either way, the bottom line is this. The pot is very big so it's worth fighting for. Having said that, you only have one pair against another deep stack on a very dangerous board and you are out of position. I mean it's just like that saying "lose a battle but win the war" or something like that right? If you get too much heat, just let it go and find a better spot. At least that's what I would do.

3 comments:

cmitch said...

FWIW - I made the smallish flop hoping that he would raise me with a hand like KxKc/QxQc. I had seen him flat call and re-raise cont bets a few times. (I think that he did it once to me and I folded.)

I was thinking that I should have bet a lot bigger on the turn. If he has a set, then he is probably shoving or re-raising if I show a willingness to commit a good amount of $$.

"Unless he's stupid, he wouldn't call a reraise from a big stack with a hand like AJ, KJ, QJ..." I disagree just based on this player. I think he was capable of calling with AJ, AJs, KJs, QJs, J10s.

RIVER (as the hand played) - "I check and decide depending on what the villain does. If the villain bets half the pot, I would be compelled to call. Could it be a value bet? Sure. But again, it's really hard to put him on a J here and if that's what he has, I'll pay half the pot."
Wouldn't it be better to just fire out a half the pot size bet if you are planning to call a half pot size bet? This way you are deciding how much to put in on the river. He can't raise with a worse hand, so if he raises you are pretty much beat. He probably isn't checking a better hand behind either. (Basically, the same thing you said you would do if you check called the turn.)

I definitely agree with you on the comment "If you get too much heat, just let it go and find a better spot."

I posted the hand on the Cardrunners Forum and I'll post some of the responses tomorrow.

Miami Don said...

Question Alan on your scenario of check/call turn and a 30-50% river bet.

What do you do if villain does fire a massive reraise at you?

You mention no way he can raise without a monster but I think that would be an ideal spot for a monster bluff.

I'm basing this on the fact that a check/call on the turn looks weak and a 30%-50% bet on river looks exactly like you said it was, a blocking bet.

Great hand to analyze btw.

lj said...

love the hand analysis by you and cmitch. keep it up!