Friday, September 14, 2007

Standards for Completing the SB

You bought in for 100BB at a ten-table NL game. You've been there for an orbit and don't know much about any of the players. There are a mix of stack sizes, but nobody with fewer than 70 BB. You are in the small blind and a limpfest started with 3rd position, and by the time it gets to you there are five limpers.

You peek down at J7o. Do you complete or fold?

What is the worst hand you would complete with, here?


Bob Loblaw said...

Prolly 10-6 off. That's assuming that any two suited cards aren't considered worse than 10-6 off.

Sushi Cowboy said...

It depends on what the mood of the table is. Are people joking around and friendly? Are people silent and serious? Has table action been hyper-aggressive or has first to stab taken down the pot? From the first orbit have you seen mostly tight play or loose play?

The tougher the game, the more likely I am to fold since it is off-suit, any Jack I catch is likely out-kicked by a Jack connector, too gappy to like a stright. Trip Sevens is probably good but as I say, if you are spending THAT much time listing conditions for a flop that you'll like then it's time to dump the hand. Plus you'll be building up a tight image for anyone paying attention - other player's thought bubble says "Hmmm...folding the SB when he's getting a zillion to one to complete? Who is this guy?" Or they will think you don't understand pot odds. Tight or a n00b, either of those could possibly help you later in the session.

If the table is not intimidating, I'm completing with ATC. If I am going to have to worry about someone bluff-raising me if I flop trips then I switch to LDP. And I shift to LDP. In LDP mode I think my worst calling hand is A2 suited or 23 or 34 suited. I'm not playing any big little combination unless it is an Ax suited variant. No two gappers or worse unless they are both Broadway cards.

Steph said...

Theoretically, and at the right game, raising to steal the dead money with a trash hand like this is better than just completing.

Like Martin says, it's going to be tough to win the hand with J7o unless you hit trips or a boat. Even two pair isn't going to make you feel great.

So, in classic 'do as I say, not as I do' fashion, I recommend dumping total trash or raising to steal the limpers money instead of completing.

As far as a range of hands to complete and feel good about, I like pocket pairs, suited connectors or one-gappers down to about... 64s :)

Ironically, I like completing from the SB less with higher connectors such as QJ or KQ. This is where flopping a single high pair is going to put you in an awkward spot and get you in trouble.

Marshall said...

Was that Joe or Steph dishing out the theory?

In general, I am very tight on the SB. I really hate just limping there, because being OOP for the rest of the hand sucks, and I just think if you have a hand there that you like, raise it up. So with an Ax suited or a small pair, limp in and see if you can hit big, but otherwise, raise or fold.

I think it's a really orange belt play to just play ATC from the SB. You can lose a lot of money doing that.

To address the OP, I would fold the J7 there, and it's not even close.

Worst hand I would complete with? A2s I guess. Like I said I think you should be raising there maybe 8% of the time and folding the 90% of the time. That leaves 2% for calling.

SB = marsh's least favorite spot.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Steph, you play just like Joe!

Sushi Cowboy said...

Also, I wouldn't consider raising with J7 in the SB. J7 is such a bad hand and raising with a bad hand seems so...dishonest!

Ryan said...

Yeah, so this happened to me in a Cake Poker microstakes session the second time I was the SB at the table. I instinctively wanted to fold, but made the call because it felt dumb to "fold for two cents," and then I felt even dumber for calling. I mean, the idea of the cakepoker experiment is that I attempt to treat this as my “bankroll for life.” That means that even at those stake levels, I need to be watching my EV closely, and not waste money on utter junk in these spots, even for $.02.

Anyway, It got me thinking about my standards for SB completion. I’m generally pretty tight in that spot, even when the table is limping a lot. You all have seen me fold to the complete with multiple limpers countless times at WNP, and they weren't all nine-deuce. Folding is correct; you just aren't going to hit hard enough and get paid off enough to make up for the 11:1 or whatever that you are getting on the call.

Raising here is a play that works at the right table with the right image and read, but I don’t think “within the first 12 hands at a full table of strangers” is such a spot.

Anyway, watch out for small-stakes thinking in the Cake Challenge. It's tough not to let the actual amounts involved take you off your A-game, like it did for me, here.