Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting better odds than I thought with a set

Later on Friday night I call a raise with pocket Sixes. Flop is dealt and the good news is that I hit my set, the bad news is that it is all Spades, Ace high at that. I am in early position and throw out a 20 chips as a protection/probe bet. The typically very solid Royal bumps it to 40. Hmmm. Everyone else is out of the way and it comes back to me. I decide I need more information and I re-raise to 60 or 80 (I forget, I guess I should blog these things immediately after the hand!). Royal pushes all in for another hundred and change (116?). Now I'm stumped. I even say to the table that I re-raised to get more information and now that I have it I'm not sure what to do. I dismiss the idea of set over set because I don't see Royal having Pocket Aces here. The two hands that I see most likely are a strong Ace with a Spade kicker or KsQs. I mull over the hand for a while and finally end up calling. I am ahead as Royal shows A with Qc for top pair/strong kicker but no Spade redraw which is great because a fourth Spade came and the board didn't pair.

I threw the hand on the Poker Stove to see what was what and to my surprise, even if Royal flopped the nut flush with KsQs, I STILL was getting odds to call on the flop as a set is basically going to boat or quad up one time out of three. The numbers that were lingering in my head were 20% and 25% to improve on the turn and river respectively. The odd thing being that if you brick the turn, it actually gives you three more outs to catch a boat on the river. Needless to say, if I were up against an Ace with Spade kicker I'm more than priced in and actually ahead in the hand 70/30. So in retrospect, getting 2:1 on my call makes it a no brainer (as long as I am not up against set over set and even then the book says you just can't worry about that) since I am priced in even against the worst case scenario of the range of hands I figure I'm up against...even though I didn't know it at the time.


jtrey333 said...

As it is now quite late in the night and I must get up early, I will let Marshall talk about the subject of "using pot odds as justification when you've priced yourself in".

This is not to say that it was a bad call, just the thought process behind your actions is one that my mind wouldn't go through.

I myself would've done sort of the same thing... but for different reasons. I would've re-raised to simply jam the pot and shove Royal off of a spade draw (if he had one) or get my money in while I was good. Of course, I could've been up against a made flush, and in that case, would be counting on the redraw.

Once again, it's a contrast of styles, and in this particular case, I would've gone to top speed ASAP, regardless of what style I was playing. In my vision of Weak/Tight, you play weak *until* you get one of these hands, and then you jam it. But, that article is set for another day/time...

Sushi Cowboy said...

So you are saying jam the pot even if you are up against a made flush? That doesn't sound very EV+. In my case after Royal shoved I was getting priced in even if he had one but if we were both deeper stacked at the time, I very well may have been not getting correct pot odds to call a bigger re-raise or shove if I were up against a made flush.

Also, I didn't re-raise with the intent to price myself into calling. I raised to get more information an potentially save myself in the long run. The all-in seemed more of a "go away" bet than a massage bet to get more chips in. Granted, with the amount of chips behind at the time, any re-re-raise would have effectively pot committed him so he might as well have pushed but my read was leaning more toward strong Ace with a Spade draw.

jtrey333 said...

What I'm saying is that he *could* have a flush, and that it is in his *range* of hands. For my thought process, I'm putting my opponents on ranges of hands, and usually not on one specific hand.

For this hand, the way it went, I would never specifically put my opponent on a flush, and a flush only. A few hands come to mind: Two pair, a low flush (one that Royal wants to push people out with), Top Pair/kicker->flush redraw, a different set, and a nut flush draw with the K.

All those are possibilities to me, and I'm beating a lot of those things. If it happens to be the flush I'm going against, I have outs and win 1/3rd of the time anyways. If it happens to be an overset, well, that's just the normal set over set, as far as I'm concerned. The simple matter of it to me is that I'm ahead in many scenarios and I have a decent shot in the most likely scenario that I'm behind.

As for the "pricing yourself in" comment I made, I didn't mean that you consciously decided to price yourself in. I just mean that, yes, you did re-raise to get more information, but as you put it, "re-raised to get more information and now that I have it I'm not sure what to do". So the end justification was that you had proper odds to call, but that was the analysis after the hand, and when you paid for information at the time of the action, it didn't lead to any easier decision-making at the time.

What I'm just trying to say is, it seemed like you raised for additional information, got it, and then when it didn't lead to any easier decision-making, then the action was later justified by the pot odds call.

There's only 3 things that can happen here: Raise, call, fold. With a fold, obviously you win, and it doesn't matter what info you got. But what would've happened if Royal just called? I'm not sure if that really guides your decision-making any more than his all in, and in retrospect, the all-in probably helped you because it forced you to make a decision and put the chips in. What happens if Royal calls on the flop and the fourth Spade hits on the turn? If Royal THEN pushes there, do you read him as having a flush? Possibly, and then you might fold.

I'm just saying I would rather make it easier on myself and NOT have to make the tough decisions and laydowns in this situation, when I figure to be good much of the time, and put my opponent to the tough decisions. If I find myself in a situation where I'm ahead a reasonable amount of time and I can put the tough decision making on my opponent, I'd just rather do that.

Marshall said...

This is an interesting hand. I break it down like this: You flop your set and rate to have the best here. Sure you could be up against a bigger set (not likely) or a made flush (also not likely). But like you found out from pokerstove, on the flop you are only a 2:1 dog against the nuts here. Being that far ahead in most cases, and not that terribly out of shape given the worst case scenario, I think you need to play this like you are holding the winner, and defend it.

You did well to bet out for 20 I think, I am assuming this is pot sized-ish. Now he min-raises you. This is puzzling, but you have to stick to your guts that you are ahead here, or at least not totally fucked even if you are behind. Now the action is back on you, what do you do?

Well you decide to make an "information" raise. (It does seem curious that Royal would open the door to a re-raise here if he was holding A Xs.) But the raise you put in was not an information raise at all. If you made it 80, and Royal had ~160 to start, that is half of his stack plus a little more from preflop, he is now in a spot where he decides either to shove or call for the most part. If he does have a big nut draw, he might just call you. If he whiffs the turn and you put him in, he can fold and you don't get the rest of his money. (this is poor play of course, shame on you Royal). OR he can ship it on you and pray for some fold equity with his TPNFD. Then you get the money in good and call it a hand.

Instead of making an "information" raise that commits him, just commit him. Make him decide. You should concentrate more on making either value bets, or bluffs. Information raises are for when you are very deep stacked and also for when you can conceive of getting away from your hand. I don't think you were getting away from that hand at that point no matter what. So why try to get information? Also, when you are betting that much, you are committing yourself to this pot. You can't fold with a set once he shoves no matter what after you bet 60-80, so why do it? This are the "manufactured odds" I talk about.

Either bet it to try to get him to shove, or shove on him yourself. But don't commit yourself or him to the pot trying to get information.

Ryan said...

It was a perfect information bet! It clearly answered the question, "Am I pot committed?"

That's great info to have.


Bob Loblaw said...

If only Martin hadn't made his "information bet" and pot committed himself. Bah. I made a bad read and thought I was good. I thought there was enough on the board to get Martin to fold no matter what, as his betting didn't tell me he had the flush. I was trying to price him out of what I thought was a weaker A with a spade kicker. I didn't think he had AK due to the preflop action, but for whatever reason didn't account for the low-pocket-pair scenario. Martin could also have had two pair (A6), but with my big re-raise I was trying to convince him that he is currently beat and should go away. Obviously I was way wrong.

I don't have a good pot-odds understanding, and rely heavily on my poker instincts, and in this hand (and most other hands of the night) my instincts were way off.