Thursday, August 9, 2007

Defending JSola

Bit of a misnomer as I consider Joe to be an excellent player. He commented to me that his raise to 50 was "bush league" but if we analyze the hand, it turned out to be a good play. To recap the action, the hand went as follows:

Chuck under the gun raises to 8, Martin calls behind, and I see QQ and raise to 28. Joe has the button, I really don't want him to call behind me and I figure my raise will entice Martin to try to bust me with action from Chuck unknown. Joe won't call unless he has a monster and I may be able to accomplish one of tonight's missions which is to steal Marsh's big blind of 2 chips.

Joe of course gets AA and raises to 50. Everyone folds to Chuck who also has QQ. No problem with Chuck's call as he also has QQ and right of first stab. In Chuck's mind he may be up against AK and AK from myself and Joe. If the flop is all low cards, he can bet and see if he gets called or raised. Martin has 88 and decides to call as well and set mine. A bit expensive to set mine in my mind for the 42 chip call. He is getting about 5 to one to call, assuming I call, but he is up against 3 other live hands with likely one or two higher pairs. His implied odds are also unknown as Joe is capable of making amzaing laydowns. Let's give Martin the benefit of the doubt and say his call was OK. I call of course with the extra 22 chips.

Now let's look at the hand from Joe's point of view. He has successfully built up the pot to 203 chips. The hands out there are relatively easy to deduce. Chuck and I can really only have big pairs or AK. I raised to 28 with UTG raising to 8, a caller in front of me and Joe and the blinds left to act. Chuck was the original raiser and then called a preflop raise of 50 with just 8 invested. Only Martin's hand is a true unknown but is likely a pocket pair set mining with an outside chance of suited connectors.

As it turns out Joe's hand is about an 87% favorite to win on the flop. Chuck and I are drawing dead on the flop and can only win on the turn or the river. Martin can hit a set which will likely put him in front unless it is set over set. 203 chips in the pot preflop and an 87% favorite to win after the flop is a fantastic result. Joe could only have built the pot preflop to 203 chips with the raise to 50. A bigger raise would have likely got Chuck and Martin to fold. An all in would likely had all of us fold. A smooth call would have built the pot to 129 chips.

Granted it was lucky for Joe that Chuck and I had the same hand. But even if I have we have Queens and Jacks, it is possible that Joe would be able to fold his AA on a flop with a Q or a J in it and an all in comes on the flop or on the turn. Joe will likely lose all of his chips if an 8 is on the flop but this is a chance worth taking, especially in this case as Joe is an 87% favorite after the flop.

The rest of the action is somewhat uneventful as Joe hits a virtually perfect flop where he can only lose to bottom quads on a flop of AJJ. Plus he would have the one outer suckout chance for quads over quads if someone does have JJ. There is honor in losing to quads so I am sure Joe is not concerned. I take my stab after seeing Chuck and Martin with their deflated checks after the flop. Joe calls and the hand is essentially over. I realize I really can't beat anything and Joe's call tells me that the 1 in 1000 chance that he raised to 50 preflop with 4,6os is not a reality.

I like Joe's play as given this set of preflop hands and the action before him, I see no other way to maximize more value.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Yes, it was probably the most expensive set mining I've ever done. Did I HAVE to call? Definitely! OK, no I could have gotten away for 8 chips. But here's the rationale anyway:

* Chuck opens for 8. Yawn, who doesn't. That can mean any hand from any one of us. Slightly less likely to be ATC from Chuck but nothing I'm going to fold to with freakin' SNOWMANS!!!

* I am stuck at that point after d0nking off half a stack early, losing set over set to Joe, and throwing a buy-in at Steven. So I'm ready to gamble and play a big pot.

* Do I think I'm ahead? Hardly. There has to be at least an overpair out there IMO. I'm hoping that there are two AKs taking each others outs as well. But I am actually counting on at least one big pair (which seemed fully likely given the pre-flop action) or else there are no implied odds if the flop works out correctly.

* If Chuck folds, I am not nearly as interested in playing. Chuck's call makes the pot 140, I have to add 42 more. As someone mentioned later Jason HAS to smooth call even with Aces or else he cannot take down a massive four way all in so I have another 22 implied behind me for the 5:1 odds to call *pre-flop*. I am most of the way to being priced in for set mining and we haven't even seen cards yet.

* If I flop correctly, I hit my set and cards all come out T or lower which virtually assures action from an overpair. After a bait bet and a re-raise, I have paid for the other 100 units that I need to pay for my set mining.

As it turns out, it is the worst flop ever. It actually doesn't even work well for Joe because the Ace alone is enough to make underpairs (other than JJ obviously) slow down. Jason makes a probe bet with his QQ but one call and he's done with the pot.

Not sure why Joe bet the turn though. The best thing that could have happened is to give a free card and let Jason catch a Q (which nobody knew was impossible at the time) and boat up. If he put Joe on AK, and Joe is known to play AK aggressively, then Jason would have to go broke with the third nuts because the range of hand for Joe pre-flop would be include AK as well as AA.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Also, I'd like to hear from Joe what the thought was bush league about his raise. Was it because it was essentially a min-raise? Then yeah, maybe it was kinda amateurish. I think a flat call would have been wrong. You were actually only min-raising Jason, it was a quint-raise to the other two players and that should have priced either one individually out. If you had bumped it more to something like like 60 or more then I think that would have done the recommended thinning of the crowd down to one. In this case Joe flopped perfect AND got extra money in after he did so as an added bonus. That flop could have come out way scarier for Aces so yeah I guess I'd agree that his re-re-raise did not do what it should have done and might merit the moniker of "bush league".

Steph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jsola said...

Yeah, I felt I had to reraise to thin the field a bit, since just calling means I get to play aces four handed. The problem was that Jason's raise was too big for me to put in a solid reraise without scaring him off.

That kind of thinking is what made it "bush league" in my opinion. The min-4-bet is so transparent IMO that it's way too obvious as to what I have there. I would have put in a bigger bet with AKs there so I have to put in a big bet with AA, otherwise big 4-bets can only mean AK from me, making that play transparent as well.

I bet the turn solely because I wanted money from AK/AJ/Jx and I figured those were the only hands that would pay me off. Jason most likely has a big pocket pair here and those aren't going to give me any money anyway so why bother trying to milk it? I tried to make it look big enough to imply that "I am buying this big pot please go away," he just didn't have anything to play back at me with.

Sushi Cowboy said...

I see the reasoning behind your comment.

As for betting the turn, I think it is unlikely that anyone is coming in with any Jack unless it is JJ and that hand is just going to play itself out to its natural conclusion. The second most likely way to hold a Jack is AJ which I would hope nobody is going to pay 50 for but if someone has AJ then I don't see anyone getting away from that either. If someone is loose enough to call 50 with JK, JQ, or JT on down then they are certainly going to give you action when they hit their trips especially if they catch their slower boat too.

I am all for getting money in when you are ahead and value betting big hands. But in this particular case I think you are SOOOO far ahead that you can afford to give a free river card that just might give someone a second best hand that they just can't lay down. Sure it may be utterly transparent that every single action you did was consistent with AA but if a someone fills their boat on the river do you really think that they couldn't call at least 60 to make sure you didn't have AK?

Ryan said...

I haven't read any of the other replies yet, so we'll see if my thoughts are mirrored above.

First, I like Martin's preflop call. Expensive, but appropriate. Straight 4:1 odds to set mine with the 6.7:1 odds of hitting it mean the implied odds are there. With 200 in the pot on the flop, someone is going to bet out there for 80 - 100 with their big pair, and 42 to win 280+, the low end of his theoretical implied odds, easily covers the set-mining fee.

One risk is that Jason has KK or AA and is just going to shove instead of call, but I think Jason is calling and not raising with most of his range. Another risk is, as Jason says, With three players that all clearly like their hands, there's the possibility of multiple overpairs. He can't be certain he's ahead if the flop comes with an 8 and paint, but he has to be ready to commit all his chips on that kind of flop if he's going to make the preflop call.

These risks justify folding as well, but the range of reward he can expect for hitting a set without an overset certainly validates the call.

As for Joe...I'm not changing my general tune about minraising with aces out of position against multiple callers, but Joe's play was definitely better than MB's minraise with aces discussed earlier. If I recall (and I'm definitely too lazy to go back and look), MB minraised in one of the blinds against several limpers. That is a play that, most of the time, will create a smallish multiway pot in which none of your opponents have clearly-defined hands. That's not good for aces.

In this case, even though it's essentially a minraise from Joe, it's still a play that should generate a large, heads-up pot most of the time given realistic hand ranges for the other three players. Chuck has to really like his hand to call, and will fold most of his "open raise" range to that raise. Martin has to have a pair of some kind to justify calling if Chuck does, and he has to have a premium pair to continue if Chuck folds. Since Martin didn't repop Chuck to begin with, he probably does not have a premium pair, and will also end up folding most of the time.

Jason, meanwhile, is going to call (or raise) the raise to 50 with almost his entire preflop reraise range.

So, it's quite reasonable for Joe to expect that this raise will create a heads up flop. Most of the time, giving that betting and those players, it will. Since that is your goal with aces, I don't fault the play the way I did MB's.

That being said, I think Joe can definitely expect the same result from a raise to 60--and maybe even to 70 or more. The real question is, how much can Joe raise to without losing Jason, given his range? The perfect bet here is whatever that number is, and it's definitely more than 50.

So, while it isn't even remotely the mistake that minraising with aces against a bunch of limpers is, I still would have liked at least a raise to 65 or 70, here. You get the same likelihood of a heads-up flop, but you generate a bigger pot in the process.

In sum, Jason and I both think it was at least a reasonable play: Jason because it resulted in Joe creating and winning a big pot, and me because his decision will produce a heads-up flop with his aces in most plausible scenarios.

jsola said...

When Jason bet into me on the flop I thought it meant that he had something and was interested in putting more money into the pot, so I thought there was a good chance I'd get paid off on the turn.

But yeah, I think you're right about being too far ahead to get paid off here, Martin. My big bet was probably a bit too optimistic, and a smaller bet of 80-100 would have been better. If he actually had a hand that was going to stack off against me here then he'd let me know by check-raising.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Like I said, I was in the mood to gamble. As Ryan points out, basically 99% of Jason's range is going to smooth call the 50 there. If he re-raises (which by that time I assume would be a shove since the pot would be so big by that time) then I'm probably coming along for the ride just to be a d0nk. If Jason pushed and it folded around I get to go heads up against one person, a presumed overpair and a surprisingly reasonable price to hit my two outer. If Jason pushes and either Joe or Chuck (or both) call then I'm throwing my money in just so we can play Lotto for a huge pot. Remember, I had SNOWMANS on that hand. Hard to believe they didn't hold up this time but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

As it turns out the stove tells me that I was actually 20% to win that hand thanks to Jason and Chuck taking each others outs and drawing super thin to win. But I had no way of knowing that and just got lucky to be a 1:5 shot.

jsola said...

Well, you were 20% to win if you get to see all five cards. You're folding most flops, though, which means you have to have really good expressed and implied odds to justify the 42 chip call. Do you happen to remember what kind of stack sizes we all had at this point?

There are a ton of ways that you can get screwed on this hand.
1) Jason re-raises. This is going to happen if he has AA here and that is a decent percentage of his 3-betting range (JJ,QQ,KK,AA,AK I think).
2) You call and miss your set. This will happen something like 6 out of 7 times (you can discount any of the other three players having an 8 in their hand, which slightly increases your set-mining odds). You could try to rep a set to make up for some of the times that you miss, but against three players it's not going to work ever.
3) You hit your set on a scary board. If the flop comes monotone, or something like AK8, you're going to feel really sick about putting your whole stack in there, even though you have to to justify your preflop call.
4) You hit your set and get drawn out on. Definitely possible, as AKs is within our ranges and it is perfectly capable of deliving a soul-crushing suckout.
5) You hit your set and everyone folds. Pretty unlikely given the number of players in the pot, but still a possibility. You also could have gotten heads up against me and forced me to fold to too much pressure. I'm not going to feel great about calling off my whole stack on a board like KsQs8s.

All of these scenarios are unlikely, sure, but they cut into your implied odds just the same. When you make a huge overcall for implied odds everyone involved needs to have a big, healthy stack, and the suicidal tendency to ship it no matter what happens.

I don't mind calling if you're in the mood to gamble, but I really don't think this is more than marginally +EV in the long run.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Yeah, the odds of me flopping perfect are not great. There are only marginally more 8 high rainbow flops than flops that come with an A and two pair. But if I DO hit an 8 with relatively low cards (I think T or lower is safe) in rainbow formation, everyone with overpairs is going to be lost as to where they are and anyone with AA or KK will likely be pot committed before people's hands become clear. I'm looking to take down a monster pot and the pre-flop action was part of the ingredients necessary. I would assume that my call pre-flop is EV- since as you point out, even if I spike my set I have to fade two or three oversets as well as potential flushes etc. If I were up or even treading water for the night, I don't need to throw in another two stacks set mining. But being stuck changes decision making. I guess that's a hole! ;)

Marshall said...

I agree 100% with joes breakdown on whether or not to call with the 88 there. Marginal at best.

That being said, I think martin summed hia play up the best when he said he was gambling. Please disregard martins other justifications for the call.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Please disregard Marsh's disregard for the fact that I was playing SNOWMANS!!! Da' Nuts!