Thursday, October 11, 2007

So you flopped a boat...

I wanted to dissect a hand that Austin was in at TuNP this week.

Flop was 8TT two hearts. Yuri checks (two hearts), Austin (88) checks, I (AT) make a middling sized position-steal kind of bet with the expectation that if someone had the case Ten and a side card other than the eight that they would check raise me and I'd be ready to go to the mat with my hand. Instead Yuri calls and Austin calls. OK, that makes sense to some degree since there is a straight and a flush draw out there.

Turn card is the third Heart. Now Yuri springs to life and bets. Doesn't take a genius to put her on a Flush. Then Austin smooth calls again with a glum "oh, okay" kind of look. Big ping on my radar. Flat calling a paired board on the flop and an apparent flush board? Obviously a straight draw is out. Flat calling the nut flush? Maybe but the nut flush is not the nuts on a paired board. And the begrudging call act is telling me I'm way behind. However, I know I can catch up. I need to improve to win this hand but I also know that implied odds are huge. Yuri's bet is callable so I move my chips into the middle.

I need the river to be an Ace, the case Ten, or to pair the Turn card. I hadn't pieced everything together at the time but I think I would have eventually figured out that the 8 pairing was not good for me either, not that I wouldn't have paid it off but at least I would have made a crying call.

River is a blank and Yuri bets again. Austin, sandwiched between both of us has decided it is better to try to real Yuri instead of trying to collect my chips too with a flat call. That was the right decision because I was done with the hand immediately after I didn't get a friendly river.

Yuri goes into the tank. I can see Jeh's gears cranking in his head trying to figure out the hands. Austin's push has cemented my gut feeling and I even silently mouth "snowmen" to Jeh since it is the hand that fits the action exactly. T8 is also possible though less likely since it is a less desirable starting hand than 88 and it would involve the case Ten which further decreases the chances that that was his hand. Yuri eventually thinks her flush is good and Austin scoops the pot. Austin got lucky that Yuri doesn't have the same appreciation of a paired board that we do.

Now contrast that with this chain of events. Yuri checks, Austin makes about a pot sized bet (which is small since it there was not a lot of pre-flop action) that I interpret as either a steal attempt, an eight, or a small pocket pair for a flopped two pair. I have to raise here in hopes he has a smaller Ten so I three bet him. Yuri would not be able to resist a trying to land that flush and take down a pot bloated up by the action. At that point Austin can smooth call and the pot is now about three times as large as it was than when he checked the flop. Now when the heart comes, Yuri's bet has to be much larger to be significant and is more likely to pot commit her later. Austin can smooth call that one and I need to decide if I want to chase my boat. I likely fold with an apparent flush and Austin flat calling a large bet. Blank comes on the river and Yuri has to bet an even larger amount, maybe even a push, and Austin pushes like he did before or insta-calls a shove. If Austin pushes, Yuri has so much more in the pot already that her decision is made much easier to throw the rest away.

Another reason to get more money in on the flop is this. What if Yuri doesn't catch her flush? You don't get her money. Or if she catches her flush and you get her turn bet then a scare card like a double paired board or a fourth heart (assuming Yuri doesn't have the Ah) on the river and she's not calling anything more.

Or how about this? Austin leads, I raise, Yuri calls, Austin now knows I have a Ten and and bumps again. In this case with AT, I'm willing to go broke with this hand and Austin could have emptied my stack plus a call of a three bet from Yuri. Oh, and my stack was larger than Yuri's at the time by the way I'm pretty sure.

Then there is always the embarrassing situation of giving a free card then getting a check behind from pocket Nines only to have a Nine fall on the turn. Austin gets all the action he can handle because he figures someone caught their gutshot straight when in fact he has a one outer to win the pot. Ouch.

My point is, there's a ton of reasons to bet your hand, even something as strong as a flopped boat because by building the pot you get more money in and make it easier to get all the money in before the board kills all of your business. Easier said than done? Someone please tell me the last time you saw me NOT put money in on the flop when I spike a boat. Sometimes I show and people wonder why I bet it. Because if there are no draws out there to feed the pot you aren't going to get any money from it anyway. True someone could back into a runner runner flush or something but someone could also back into a better hand than yours too.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Btw, Ryan had NOTHING to do with suggesting that I break my first uber-paragraph into smaller bite sized pieces. Nothing at all. OK, maybe just a little. Thanks Ryan!

Austin said...

So here's my analysis of what went through my head at the time.

0. Yuri is small blind I believe, I'm 2nd UTG, and Martin is three behind me.

1. Raised it up pre-flop (I was 2nd UTG) because 8's are good, but not great.

2. Flop comes, OHBOY! I have no idea what people have on the flop, but I want to try to maximize the amount I'm getting out of this hand. Yuri checks it, and I don't want to scare people away even to the point of me losing this hand if some scare card comes, so I check it. Martin puts out a stealish size bet that Yuri calls, so I figure calling will again maximize what I get since I'm probably going to be looked on as a flush/straight draw (although a straight draw with my raise in the position I was in would be suspect, as would 8T).

3. Heart card comes and Yuri bets out. Yay, she caught something, hopefully not too big! Now here's where I got a little tricky. Normally I'd re-raise the bet there, but I wanted Martin in for as much more as I could get out of him and I had several cases:

3(a). Martin had nothing and/or something not good enough to stay in the pot now that Yuri has bet on a likely flush. He goes away and wouldn't have put in any more money anyway.
3(b). Martin caught a piece of the pot, but not flush draw. Calling is exactly what I want to do because while it may give him draw outs, I wanted to maximize the pot even to the scary side of potentially losing it, especially if Yuri caught the flush because then there's even more incentive for her to call on the river when I put in a raise.
3(c). Martin also has the flush. He will either call or raise to see where he's at (hopefully). I have him dominated here, so I'm not worried.

Now here's where playing Martin in the past helps me choose exactly what to do. Martin LOVES to be a calling machine. If he thinks he has outs to dominate and the price is right, he'll call.

4. The end has come. I'm shipping (as I think almost anyone would). Nothing I've seen from either person indicates I'm beat, so hopefully at least one of them calls.

I probably didn't play it the best way I could. I think I would have slightly more than min-raised on the flop when you raised initially because you're going to at least call that (maybe more), and hopefully it would price Yuri in too. Other than that, however, I'm fairly happy with how I played.

Ryan said...

I like leading out for something a flush draw can call and a ten can raise.

I think you are actually vulnerable enough here to want to make sure to charge people something to continue.

You are going to want to see 2-7 on the turn and river to be comfortable, as any big card comes and you could be the one paying off the boat.

"If [Martin] thinks he has outs to dominate and the price is right, he'll call."

What, so your strategy is to give Martin the right price to chase dominating you in a hand you'll be unable to fold? His implied odds with the turn call were absolutely sweeeeet.

That river could have become awfully ugly for you.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Well there are absolutely no "right" answers but the fact that it worked out for you seems slightly ROTty. What if Yuri is on a flush draw and I had nothing? You slow play your way into taking down only the pre-flop action. You want Yuri to pay for her draw. You also want her to hit the flush but if she doesn't hit it you aren't going to get much from her after the river unless she bluffs something at it. She obviously is not going to call any raise with her busted flush.

As I mentioned, I don't think you're getting paid in full with a push on the river from other players unless it is a crying call and if they are fairly pot committed at the time...which they would be if you were feeding the pot along the way.

Just think of the last hand of the night. Jeh turns the immortal nuts. Does he slow play? Hell no! He RAISES Marsh's bet and ends up taking down a monster.

Like I said, there's no right way or wrong way but when you flop perfect like that it's a rare occurrence and you want to maximize the crap out of that situation. If you have Aces pre-flop, do you limp or raise? You raise, partially to thin the field but also as a value bet to get more money into the pot. You flop a boat, should you put the bare minimum into the pot (by check calling) or lead the betting and build a monster? I say build that mother!

Austin said...

So I just did the math and I wasn't nearly as far ahead as I had thought. Like I said in my post, I liked at the time how I played the hand although I won't ever do it again I don't think. I'm still not convinced that I like the raise pre-flop, but perhaps a check-raise instead? This way the flush has already committed to the pot and I get Martin to either re-raise me again or at the very least call. The problem with this, of course, is that Martin could very well check and then I lost the betting round.

I don't know, I mean, if the flush comes and Yuri bets it, do I call it or raise it again? It just screams boat at that point to me and I'm still trying to disguise my hand without giving Martin the odds to draw out on me.

Thanks for bringing this up Martin, I hadn't realized my play could have used some huge improvements :).

Ryan said...

Re: Math: exactly. You were thinking you had a situation more like this, which is clearly very different once you assess the numbers.

Austin said...

Yep, exactly right. I didn't realize how much of a difference it is.