Sunday, August 12, 2007

King high flush on paired board...what to do

Most of us were there. I was out of the hand and will rely on others to fill in better details but the essence of the hand was that Player A is on a flush draw that gets there on the river. Board is paired. Player A bets 100. Player B raises to 300. Player A pushes. Player B makes the obligatory call. Player A shows King high flush. Player B shows Tens full of Fives.

I think at this point you really need to consider your opponent. The more experienced they are, the more they understand what a paired board REALLY means. To some n00bs, having three of a kind is such a gorgeous looking hand they will go to the mat with it, usually with no regard for their kicker. But when it comes to old salts, even having a house on a paired board is reason for concern. A while ago I made a crying call at Ryan's for the rest of my stack to call his raise of my river bet when the board pairs Eights on fifth street. His Eights full of Kings trumped my Eights full of Threes. I know Ryan well enough that I don't HAVE to call there. If he has trip Eights then he's smooth calling there if he calls at all. If he's raising then he has a boat and I had the nut low boat so what am I beating?

The problem is, even if you happen to read your opponent as a green player, there exists the possibility that they fell into a fluky full house or may have been sitting on a set the whole time. I've even run into a hand where I made trips on the river and a recreational player thought that she lost because she only had a set of lower rank which of course boated up when the board paired.

This is all of course passes over the fact that a King high flush isn't even the nut flush and that there may not even be any boats out there and you could still be behind Ax suited.

So anyway, Dr. Weak Tight says you check/call a value bet on the river.


Marshall said...

Just to throw my vote in here..

I don't fold full houses. I have never even fathomed the concept of a "nut low full house"

I guess if the board comes all terrible and I have the one card full house or something I could get away from it, but this is an exception and hardly worth noting.

If you get a better full house against me, you are getting paid off.


Bob Loblaw said...

Re: Marshall's comment above, the same might be said, for me anyway, if I’ve got the nut flush on a paired, three-suited board. Definitely hard to get away from.

Sushi Cowboy said...

@Mr. Loblaw
There is a difference between not being able to get away from a flush on a paired board by check calling a value bet compared to leading out then pushing all in after getting raised.

I guess I pay off hands when I have a full house also but they certainly are crying calls, depending on the player.

Ryan said...

Are we sure Player A led out for the 100? I thought maybe Player B led out for something, got raised to 100, and then reraised to 300...maybe I'm wrong. It almost doesn't matter, it would just make it an even worse play by Player A if Player B had led out.

Hands like this exemplify a big difference between novices and good players.

Player A in this case is a poker novice, at least in terms of his depth of thought. Not a total n00b, but has tons of leaks and holes, some of which lead to disaster hands like this one. I discussed the hand briefly with him later in the evening, and he seemed to have a, "What can you do?" attitude about it, as if losing his stack was inevitable given the circumstances.

I tried to give him the basic, "What are you beating?" lesson, but some players just aren't ready to process that. He hit the king-high flush he'd been chasing and treated it like the nuts without another thought.

Of course losing his stack was not inevitable. I'm not sure how much past the 300 he pushed in with, but even a novice doesn't need to lose anything past the 300. If you can't get away from the flush, at least recognize that you don't have the nuts, and should just call. I think most of the posters here would have folded to the raise to 300...maybe not instantly, but after some thought.

It's a What Are You Beating moment. What possible hand is Player B, a good player, going to raise with here that's losing to a king-high flush? Nothing besides an exceptionally daring (and ultimately ill-advised) bluff, and even then, that's only against another good player. Against a novice in this spot, there is simply no hand Player B is raising with that's losing to a king-high flush.

As for the remote "daring bluff" possibility against a better player...the reason it's such a "daring" move is that the bluffer can't know for certain their opponent has a hand they can fold. All you know is that the player liked their hand enough to lead out with a sizeable bet on that board. You might put them in a foldable, "What am I beating?" position with a bluff raise, but you may just have bet a huge amount into an unfoldable hand that's beating you. Any player who makes a habit of bluff-raising a good player's show of strength on the river is going to find themselves called or reraised too often by something unfoldable for it to be a +EV play.

That's the crucial part of the "What am I beating?" assessment that produces a fold from the good player and the all in from the novice. As a good player, you give the raiser credit for a hand that's beating you, because you know they know it's not +EV for them to presume you have one of the foldable hands in your range and run a bluff. Ah, levels.

This principle enabled Steven to fold the nut flush on the river with an unpaired board in Omaha. He led out, and was raised by Jay, a player who understands the huge difference between the nut flush and the second nut flush in Omaha. Why would he raise a river bet from a rock like Steven with a king-high flush or worse in Omaha? The only explanation was that he had the possible straight flush that was out there. Realizing this, Steve sighed, and folded face up. The table actually applauded when Jay showed the nuts and congratulated Steven on his laydown. Seeing it from outside the hand, it seemed like an impossible laydown for a moment, but once you ran the hand through, laying it down was clearly the correct play.

jtrey333 said...

Ryan was right... Player B led out for 20. Player A raised to 100. Player B, after complaining that Player A had raised to so much, re-raised to 300.

Now, keep in mind that Player B, in such a game as Saturday night's, where there were only 6 players and Player B didn't want anyone to bust out, would only make this big of a re-raise if he had something pretty nutty. In other words, he's not looking to bust a player because that would leave the game dangerously short-handed and in danger of making the game fold.

THEN Player A raises all in and Player B has no choice to call.

Ryan said...

Actually, a similar thing happened to me playing with Player B in Vegas. Several buddies were at the table, which is fun and awkward all at once. The guys I want to win from at home, I'd prefer not to win from in Vegas.


But I'm still going to play poker. I raised preflop with QQ, and ended up turning a boat that made Player B trip sixes. I can't remember the exact betting, but we ended up all in, and I busted him without really wanting to.

I wasn't looking for it, but I fired my warning shot and poker is poker. One of his holes seemed destined to cost him his stack anyway; it's just as well that it went to a buddy...

Ryan said...


I mean Player A.