Sunday, July 29, 2007

Playing Trips Extremely Deceptively

At poker Friday at Jason and MB's there was a hand I said I'd tell Jason about later, so I'll tell you all.

I can't remember the exact preflop action, but there were a lot of players to the flop, and I believe it was unraised. I have A4o on the button.

The flop was 443 rainbow, and I'm hoping for a bet, but it checks around to me. I bet about 8, figuring the other 4 is in the deck somewhere and I'll probably take this down. Jason calls, though, and everyone else folds.

The turn is a 2. I'm mildly concerned about A5, but I don't really think Jason would call my flop bet with that unless he had me squarely on position bet with weak holdings. He checks and I bet again, about half the pot this time, and he calls again.

Now I think it's likely he has something like 77, with a longshot that he's slowplaying a boat or a solid 4 that he got as a big blind special. I think he would have raised with a weak 4 by now to find out where he stands. Ultimately, he's just not betting like he has a 4, he's betting like he feels he's ahead if I don't have a 4 and he's keeping me honest.

The river is a T that makes a backdoor flush, and Jason bets out 31. Interesting...he either does have a boat, or he thinks his middle pair is good.

I check my cards, and see A5 staring back at me. A5? Oops. The bad news is I've misread my hand the whole way, and the good news is it's even better than I thought it was.

I raise to 100, which feels "standard" at 3x. Jason is mumbling about "two small bets and then a big one," trying to puzzle it out, but I remember my bets being in the 35% - 50% pot range, plus the river raise. Jason finally folds.

In retrospect, that bet was too big, "turning my hand into a bluff," as Joe and Andrew would say. He can no longer call with anything losing to me, particularly the middle pair I put him on, and I'm basically hoping that I've misread both hands, and he's actually on some kind of 4 that he's played cautiously and is willing to call with.

If he backdoored the flush or slowplayed a boat, he now gets to make a big raise that puts me to a tough decision. If I'd raised to 75 or 80, I think he would be priced into a lookup with a middle pair, and it would be cheaper to throw away if he comes over the top and I believe him.

At any rate, that represents the third time I can remember where I misread my hand, but it's the only time where my hand actually improved when I learned what it really was. Interestingly, it's the second time it has happened when I've played ace-wheel card, the flop came with a paired wheel card, and I put myself on trips with an ace kicker. Clearly I'm trying to will myself into a monster; I'll have to be careful with that.


jsola said...

Yeah, probably a little too big of a bet if you wanted to get called here. I'd probably just call the river down, honestly, because I don't know what worse hand he's calling you with. AA/KK/QQ I suppose but I would have expected him to raise somewhere in there.

The funny thing about your hand turning into a straight is that its value didn't really change at all. When you had trips top kicker, you were beating weaker trips and overpairs and losing to flushes and boats. Your straight is still beating trips and overpairs, and still losing to flushes and boats. The only difference is now you're tying the low straight.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Reminds of the hand where Hellmuth has the perfect read on Cloutier and had him weak. Hellmuth calls him down and Cloutier is about to concede the pot until he turns his hand up and realizes that he actually is stronger than he thought. Such is the power of not knowing what your hole cards are!

Ryan said...

Totally. I look down and see a completely different, better hand than what I expected, then realize it doesn't change anything--a five-high straight and trip fours with an ace are back to back on the nut scale at this point.

Yeah, call on the river is the correct play for sure. I was a little flustered by my changing cards, instinctively went with my read that I was ahead, and raised. Of course, the only way he's calling a raise with a losing hand here is if I min and he's curious enough. I'd have to be dead sure of my read to make that move correctly, though; Jason is certainly capable of slowplaying a big hand and/or smelling weakness and coming back over the top on a scary board.

jason said...

OK for those of you that say I never or rarely show my hand I'll break the ice a bit and let you know what I was thinking. For the record, none of you guessed my hand correctly.

I have a good hand in the blind and decide to not raise. Mix it up a bit. I check. The flop comes 4,4,3. Ryan in position bets about 1/2 the pot from the button. Ryan is very capable of stealing in position on a checked around board. So I put him on a total steal or a draw of some kind. I can't put him on low cards, Ryan hates low cards and always mutters things about EV from starting hands. So I go with my read and call.

The next card is a 2, now I have a draw, a very weak one at that and check. Ryan makes another smallish bet. I'm thinking now I am likely behind but I could catch a miracle and call.

The final card is a 10 making a backdoor flush draw. I don't have to worry about the flush, Ryan is not dumb enough to price in runner runner draws like I am. And this might be my miracle card. I have Ace 10 for top pair, top kicker, and 2 pair counting the 4's on the board. I am thinking I may actually be ahead and can put Ryan on tilt if I did catch a miracle card (I was really hoping for a 5 on the river) so I bet out 31.

Ryan looks at his card and fires out 100. Now I am thinking 2 bets, none of them big enough to make me go away and a big bet on the river as he senses some kind of hand from me. I now give him credit for the 4 or a possible straight that he lucked into with the 2 on the turn and fold.

Turns out my flop and turn reads were wrong but my river read was spot on. Ryan had both trips and a straight. Or at least he thought he had trips when he was betting and did have a straight with his actual hole cards.

Marshall said...

LOL@ Ryans hand reading skillz.

Ryan said...

At my ability to read my own, my opponent's or both? :)