Loblaw limps, Joe limps, TJ limps,
The flop is 4c 5x 8c, 10 in the pot.
I bet 5, Matt folds, then Loblaw, Joe, and TJ all call. 30 in the pot.
The turn is a non-club ace.
I bet 20, Loblaw calls, Joe and TJ fold. 70 in the pot.
The river is a non-club ace. Sweet! The board paired, just like I asked for!
I bet 40, Loblaw raises to 100, and I have about 250 behind. 210 in the pot, offering me 3.5:1.
I had been hoping for the call, and my gut reaction was that a raise was even better, but that quickly turned into worry. Time to break it down. What is his range, and what percentage of it am I beating?
Stuff I’m Not Beating
AA: Actually possible he’d pull the UTG limp with aces, but not possible that he’d just call with them on the flop.
55/88: Again, he wouldn’t play them that passively, especially on the turn with two potential club draws behind.
A8: A chance, but I think I can take him off A8 since he didn’t raise on that flop. Nothing suggested that anyone had pocket nines or better (Martin wasn’t in the hand, after all), and I think he would raise with top/top in that spot to protect and define.
A5: Definitely in the range, with six possible combinations. Flop non-top pair with top kicker, face a small bet relative to stack sizes, just call it, then runner-runner into a monster.
A4: Same, although only two combinations, here.
Stuff I’m Beating
Air: I’m betting the whole way, and it’s an oh-so-callable min-and-a-half raise on the river. It’s not a bluff.
Less than trips: I have shown nothing but strength; he is not raising me on that river with a hand that can’t beat a random ace unless he has me on exactly a counterfeited two pair. While that might be in my range, it’s not something he would bank on to the point of a raise.
Straight: 23 or 67: I can’t imagine Loblaw limping UTG against an aggressive group with 23, and even if you suggest he might smooth call my 5 after flopping some extremely vulnerable nuts with 67, there’s no way he smooth calls again on the turn. He would raise out the two players left to act that could easily be on flush draws. Straights are out.
Ax-not-clubs-that-didn’t-boat: Nope. He would raise the big ones preflop, and the small ones would have folded on the flop. You could argue a small chance of Loblaw deciding to call 5 with no pair, no draw on the “strength” of his ace-high, but we’ll say it offsets the small chance he played A8 and didn’t raise the flop with it. I really don’t see either one, though.
AKc, AQc, AJc, ATc: Also would have raised preflop. ATc is borderline, but we’re six-handed, and he’s UTG. I think he raises with ATc if he’s gonna play it.
A9c, A7c, A6c, A3c, A2c
Ace-rag of clubs that didn’t boat is plausible, so I can tighten his range down to 13 suit-specific hands, eight of which are beating me, five of which are not. This raises the $64K question in this hand: does Loblaw raise from 40 to 100 on that river and that action with ace-rag of clubs that didn’t boat up?
This is a tough question to answer, and is the difference between a crying call and a fold, here. If the answer is no, his range is reduced to eight hands, 100% of which are beating me, and the correct thing to do is fold the boat.
Lots of players with the ace-rag of clubs on that turn would think, “Great! Now I have three outs to trip aces in addition to nine clubs!” With that mindset, when that third ace hits on the river, lots of players will go to the felt having “hit their trips” without really considering that they are beat by a straight, a boat, or a better ace.
Loblaw is reasonably cautious about such things, though, and my gut tells me that Loblaw would smooth call with trips there, for the standard, “Don’t open doors on the river if a reraise all in would be a tough decision” reason. I think Loblaw makes the “I think I’m good but I’d better just call” decision with trips, here.
If Loblaw wants to offer up his thoughts on his probable action with trip aces in that spot, great, but what about you junkies who have played against him for many hours, now? Can you put trip aces in his range with that raise?
My conclusion now is, no, I can’t. I can narrow his range to eight hands, all of which are beating me. If I’d managed to process it all in the heat of the moment last night, I could have made the sickest laydown of my life instead of a crying call (I don’t think I’ve ever folded a boat with only one pair on board).
Loblaw shows A4 of spades for aces full, and I show my underboat. The table compliments me on "just calling," and I immediately start processing whether or not a fold was 1) possible and 2) correct...