Monday, August 13, 2007

Ah, the Slowplay

I don't slowplay much because it runs so contrary to my aggressive image that it is a big red flag for my regular opponents when I do it. Sometimes I find spots that feel right for a slowplay, though...but then, I'll often look back and see that I would have gotten more playing the hand straight up.

Case in point:

At SLP, I call a standard raise from Jay with 77, and the flop comes Q78, two hearts. Jay bets 7, and I smooth call. I'm hoping for a non-heart, figuring Jay will continue his aggression with any real hand if the turn isn't a scare card. The Ac comes off.

Jay bets 23, with about 45-50 behind.

I'm now thinking that ace is either going to get me all his chips or allow him to get away. I put him all in to find out which, and after much deliberation, he folds.

Later, he tells me he has kings. Now, if I raise his 7 to 20 on that flop, I think he's going to repop, probably for all his chips. Instead, I let a scare card come that gets him off the hook. It turns out in this case, there were basically 15 scare cards, with all the hearts, any A and any Q being potential action killers. Two cards stack me instead of him. However, I don't know that aces or queens are action killers. For all I know, they are gin cards for me, giving him a worse hand he can't possibly lay down for 40+ more chips.

I was at least correct that he would continue his aggression on the turn if he had a real hand and a heart didn't come (and maybe even if it did). If he doesn't have a real hand, none of this matters because he's going to be done with the hand as soon as his flop bet doesn't buy the pot.

I hate looking back and seeing that straightforward play would have netted me more than trickery, but I don't want to be all ROT-y and decide that I shouldn't have smooth called the flop because of the results. When you hit a flop like that, in position against an aggressive player, do you like the raise or the smooth call? If you like a mix, what kind of mix, and what factors send you in one direction or the other?


Austin said...

I'm of mixed opinions. It seems like there's almost no point to going over the top unless you have him on a flush or straight (not likely) draw. If he catches an ace, best possible scenario is that he had a Q also and now he has top two pair. Worst scenario is that he's got pocket Q's or A's and you're screwed at this point although either of those is unlikely (not too unlikely thought considering he had KK). So if you just call the turn he might think he's got you beat and bet again. He's also a little more likely to call a raise at the end than on the turn.

On the other hand, I'm a very big fan of getting your money without getting fucked, and there is a certain possibility that slow playing can get you in trouble. If you've already committed yourself to go all in on the pot and you don't think he's going for a draw, then it might be in your best interest to let that last card fall. The only way it helps him is if he hits a pocket pair, or the board pairs up on his A/Q to give him (and you) a boat. Neither of these scenarios are very likely, but then again, do you want to chance it?

The best way, and probably the way I'd do it with infinite time to think is to min raise his 23 which he's MUCH more likely to call than an all in. It gets more chips in and unless he really has something that's not going to last, he'll probably put the rest of it in on the river.

Sushi Cowboy said...

That's a tricky one. First of all, Ryan smooth calling is a red flag already. It is so clear what "should" have been done in retrospect. There are a lot of bad cards in the deck for you. The 15 you mentioned before, plus since you are only smooth calling, there are a bunch of middle/high cards that can complete an open ender that can slow the action down as well. If Jay puts you on a Queen, then a Jack falling could easily be a two pair. A King could also but he'd love for you to catch two pair that way of course. Plus you throw in the case Seven and three other sixes that pair the board, there are a LOT of potential scare cards that will limit how much you can pump the pot on the Turn.

With a two suited flop with two connectors, I think you have to at least do a min-raise to open the door to a pop. If Jay leads out and it's only a cbet then you aren't making any money anyway. You have to hope he has top/top or an overpair like he did. It also does some protection as well in case Jay is betting on the come for a Heart draw. He just named his price for drawing and if you don't bump him you may have let him get there for too cheap.

I just think there are sooooo many ways the Turn can hurt you in this situation that a smooth call is just too risky besides it being out of character for you. Someone else raising the flop (Steven) may look suspicious and kill action but I think a bump is what is in order for you and this scenario in order to build as big a pot as possible before an action killer comes along.

embeesea said...

I am a fan of the bump here as well but likely not an all in. You are Ryan, a player with an aggressive reputation. Bumping will likely lead your opponent to believe you have a Q or just getting pushy with mid pair. I doubt he will put you on a set and even if he does it would be a tough lay down with KK. There are a few hands where a cb bet will warrant a call. Ax, pocket 9's through J, There are just a bunch more hands that a bump will be better, multiple draw hands, an overpair, or a Q. The board is just too coordinated for a smooth call unless you are a weak/tight player where the bump will scare almost anyone off. Then a smooth call is appropriate.

By Jason, too confused to post as himself