Thursday, August 16, 2007

Should you fold once you know you are beaten?

Sounds really simple. Of course you should fold once you know you are significantly behind in a hand and someone is betting a decent amount at you right? I think a lot of us at WNP find ourselves in a situation (usually on the turn) where they pretty much have to be beaten, but call anyway, then fold the river.

I offer an example: It is WNP, midway through the session. All the players left have about have about 1.5 buy-ins or about 360 in chips. You are in MP and pick up the 6c7c. There is a modest raise ahead of you to 6, and you call along with 3 other players. There is a new player at the table that is a combination of Steven and Martin named Marven. He is tight and plays straight forward poker.

The flop:
7s 7h Kd

Lovely, you have flopped trips on a safe board and you feel like you have the best hand for sure. Marven is ahead of you and leads at the pot for 15. You put him on a good K like KQ or something similar, and decide to raise to build the pot. You make it 45 to go. It folds around to Marven who smooth calls. There is now ~110 in the pot, and you both have 300 behind.


Now action is to Marven who bets 100, slightly less than pot sized, into you. This is where things get interesting.

You are at a decision point here, where you need to decide if you hand is best, and you need to decide now. When you look at the range of hands Marven could bet with here, it's very limited. Your original read was a strong K, but now it doesn't seem likely as Marven never goes broke with one pair on a paired board. You can't really put him on KK or AA or really any big pairs, and he wouldn't bet an underpair with an over card and a paired board out there. ALL signs are pointing firmly towards he has a 7. There are just no realistic hands that you are ahead of.

Yet you call.

Now the river comes the Jh, and he ships his last ~200 on the river. If you call, it's a crying call at best and you fully expect him to table a better 7 or a even a boat.

This brings me to my point: should we be folding this turn in this spot against Marven? I don't know how many times I have seen (and done myself) this situation. You have a really strong hand (this also happens with flushes and two pairs a lot), but you just can't help but call that turn bet of 100. Then the river bet comes and we can lay it down. I think a lot of us at WNP are good enough to lay down the hand on the river, because now we have figured out that we are beaten for sure and have to save that last bet.

But not that many (none) of us are laying this down on the turn.

So my question is: Should we be laying this down on the turn? All the signs point to the fact that we are beaten, and right there we should get out of the way and save the turn and river bets, right?


Austin said...

I hate hands like these (and they're certainly my weak point). I had a VERY similar hand a week or two ago when I caught trips with a random big blind of 6,8 (with the 6) and so did someone else. I raised it up a ton, he reraised, Dave stupid called with the third card (K if I remember), and I call. Turn gets raised, up huge again, and I eventually say that he must have something larger than an 8. Turns out I would have taken it since his 2,6 was losing barely to me.

Still though, that's probably one of the hardest things since you KNOW you have a good hand and yet you're pretty certain you're beat and don't want to add to an already massive pot.

One question though, was Marvin the initial raiser preflop? If so, I wouldn't put him on a 7. I almost think I would bet into the pot on the turn and river smaller amounts and hope he doesn't reraise just so that you can see the finish without having to commit your entire stack of chips. You could very well be ahead and just have an incorrect read.

God I hate those hands.

Marshall said...

Austin, first it's MarvEn, do not disrespect him again by misspelling his name.

Marvin was not the original raiser. He called the raise like you did.

Also, you have position on Marven, so you can't try to do blocker bets, he is betting into you. You can only call, fold, or raise.

Chuck said...

>>Austin, first it's MarvEn, do not disrespect him again by misspelling his name.

>>MarvIn was not the original raiser. He called the raise like you did.


Marshall said...

I was trying to ease the learning experience for young Austin...

Chuck said...

Whatever. On topic, if Marven(/Marvin) really is that tight, I would say the laydown on the turn is the right move. I wouldn't make it, but I think it's the right thing to do (I'd put Marven on 8's, most likely).

Marshall said...

why wouldn't you make the laydown chuck?

Ryan said...

Paired boards on multiway flops after mild preflop action frequently produce what is, in my opinion, the quintessential "What am I beating?" moment in hold'em: when two people catch trips. I've laid trips down in similar situations on several occasions, and from what I've been shown and told after the fact, I've done so mostly correctly. Some conditions need to be true for a laydown to be possible at all:

1) My opponent is someone who will recognize that my betting represents trips or better.
2) My opponent is someone who understands that it is -EV for them to try and bet me off what I'm representing as trips or better.
3) My opponent is someone who recognizes the vulnerability of a crappy kicker in that spot, and won't blindly treat any trips like the nuts.

Number 2 is particularly important. We talk about "Xth-level thinking" all the time, the, "I know he knows" syndrome. "I'm going to make a c-bet." "He c-bets a lot, so I'm going to raise." "He raised my c-bet, but he knows I c-bet and might be trying to steal, so I'm going to reraise him." "I know he knows I know he c-bets, so he's just protecting his c-bet against c-bet steals, and I'm going to re-raise him..." theoretically, this can go on for as long as their stacks can support reraising.

The thing is, in each chain of thought like this, there is a point at which you are risking too much on your read that you are facing a multi-level move and not simply an unfoldable monster. That's the point at which continuing your aggression is just -EV, even if it sometimes is a multi-level move. In the long run, you are going to run into too many legitimate hands to make continued aggression profitable.

On multiway paired flops in a raising war against a quality opponent, you reach that point very quickly. Marven sounds like the kind of player who knows that I'm saying "trips," and he gets that it's way too risky to continue trying to bet me off my hand, so I think he only makes that turn bet if he is not afraid of a random 7. He likes his hand a lot, here, and I will probably fold to that turn bet.

I say "probably" because this is still hypothetical. The tipping point depends on the range of hands I can actually put him on by his turn bet, and of those, what percentage of them I'm beating. Let's assume I consider this opponent good enough to not be on anything that can't beat 72, here. What range is he going to call with from that position facing a preflop raise? Is it a tight range like KK, A7s, 87s, and 76s, or a looser range like 75s, 76s, 76o, 87s, 87o, 97s, T7s, J7s, Q7s, K7s, A7s, A7o, and KK? It can be hard to work that through in the heat of the moment, but you have to try. The $60 question you ask yourself after they bet 100 on the turn is consistently the most important question in hold'em:

"What is his range in this spot, and what percentage of it am I beating?"

If the answer doesn't look good, I have no problem letting my trips go, here.

This is also a great example of a hand a good player feels more comfortable playing against another good player. If I'm in this spot against an erratic player who doesn't meet any of the three criteria above, I'm pretty much not folding, and a lot of times will lose to an inferior player with better trips or a boat. Still, if the erratic player's range includes hands like 73s and KJo in this spot, it's +EV in the long run for me to go to the felt with my trips and take my chances.

This post also brings up what is for me, the second-most important question in hold'em: why am I blogging my playbook philosophies for viewing by the guys I play against?

I'm still working on an answer to that one...

Sushi Cowboy said...

First of all, let me say that EVERYONE is welcome to show me their hole cards and I will tell you whether or not you should fold or call.

If you're sure you are beaten then yeah, just fold. If it is a value bet on the end then pay it if it will make you feel better.

In this case, once the 8 peels off on the turn I'm pretty much done thinking I'm ahead here. Sure I'll call value bets depending on the player but I'm only ahead of a) a bluff b) an unlikely 7 with a worse kicker or c) possibly someone with AA or possibly QQ acting weird (see other post about red flags).

If the turn had come higher, then that increases the likelihood of a chop but I have really started to develop a disdain for pouring a lot of money into pots in hopes of just getting it back.

I guess an option is to push on the turn and at least get some fold equity even though you may be drawing dead but at least it is better than flat calling the turn and calling off the rest of your stack on the river if you don't feel like you can get away from trips.

Marshall said...

So Martin, when you say you will call value bets, does that mean that you are folding to the turn bet that Marven makes? How much would you call?

Sushi Cowboy said...

I think I'd have to let it go for 100 on the turn if the flop played out like it did. If I flat called the 15 on the flop then the turn and river will be smaller and something I am more likely to stomach. But by three betting the flop and getting a call I can't see putting in any more unless I boat up.

Ryan said...

One thing to mention is that the story is a little strange, here. Smooth call of my raise on the flop, then a lead-out on the turn when a fairly harmless card comes off?

Why not reraise on the flop if Marven thinks he's good? If he's slowplaying it, why not check the turn?

If he has 87, it's possible that he wasn't super thrilled about his kicker on the flop in the face of your raise, and is now taking the "lead out/reraise is the new check raise" approach on the turn.

Maybe now he's afraid of a club draw getting there?

Anyway, I stand by my previous post, but wanted to note the oddness of a smooth call on the flop followed by a lead-out on the turn...

jsola said...

I think my normal thought on the turn in these spots is "maybe he'll check the river!"

Then the river comes and he shoves, like, every time.

I do agree with Ryan though that his line is really fishy, but given that he's a straightforward TAG player I'll let it go and just make it back from bluffs later on.

And re: shoving, I don't think you have much fold equity on this turn against a tight ABC player when your image is LAGgy and donktastic. Anyway, I rarely want to turn a good hand like this into a bluff, I'd much rather call him down since he's more likely to bet KQ/AK/AA than call a huge raise with it.