Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hand of the Day

On behalf of Steven:


This is from the usual SLP – NL, 1/1 blinds, you all mostly know the deal by now. The setup: 7-handed. Ryan limps UTG, Jay limps UTG+1, and I limp in MP with pocket 6s, hoping to catch a cheap flop. Nick to my left raises to 5 from the button, and it folds to Ryan, who calls. Jay folds, and I come along, putting 18 in the pot preflop. I hit the jackpot: J64 rainbow, about as dry a board as you could ask for with your middle set. Ryan leads out for 9 and (here's the key decision point) I call, slowplaying my monster in the face of two other hands. Nick makes it 27, Ryan thinks for a little while and pops it to 65. I come over the top all in for another 50ish, and Nick and Ryan both fold; Ryan jokes about whether he could get back half his money by guessing which set I had.

The last decision is meaningless, at least IMHO; I'm obviously not going away there, and either a flat call or a push effectively turns my hand face-up. Either all the money is getting in, or no one is putting anything else in the pot, and that'll happen regardless of what I do there. The interesting question to me is the first post-flop play, after Ryan leads out for 9; should I be calling or raising (presumably to about 25ish, like Nick did) there? What's the right play here?


sstadnicki said...

And for the record, here's my answer to the question: as far as I'm concerned, the right answer is that there is no answer; the premise of the question is wrong. Optimal poker is a mixed strategy, not a pure one, and this is a perfect example of the kind of spot where you really want to vary your play. You can talk about what the balance of plays should be here -- but if you say either 'oh, the right play is to call and string 'em along' or 'the right play is to raise and try and get action back', you're doing yourself a disservice -- the right play is to do both, with some random means of deciding between which you'll do on any given hand.

(And for the record, I think I probably flat call a little more often than I should in this spot; heads-up, I suspect the right ratios are somewhere in the range of 25-75 to 35-65 (i.e., 25% or 35% flat calls, 75% or 65% raises), with the addition of a third player bumping those to somewhere around 35-65 to even 50-50. A slight skew in favor of raising, but not a very strong one; both plays should still be made regularly.)

jason said...

I like the flat call followed by the flat call. This board is so dry there is nothing to protect against, except 5,7. An unlikely but possible holding. Let the turn come and maybe you can get more money out of these guys. Suppose Ryan has a jack and hits 2 pair. Suppose Nick has Ace, high card, and hits one of them. Either one may then call a turn bet or lead out. It is unlikely given the preflop action that there are higher pocket pairs out there so these guys are pretty close to drawing dead. Even if there is a higher pocket pair, they are drawing to a meager 2 outer.

For analogy sake, let's say you flop quads. Would you do anything but play them passively? Same thing hitting trips on a super dry board. Passive play is the best play here flopping the monster.

Ryan said...

I agree with Steven that calling or raising my raise to 65 is nearly irrelevant. There is simply no hand Steven plays that way other than a set, and both Nick and I knew it.

Limp/call pf, followed by either call/raise or call/call with a board that dry from Steven can be nothing but a set. I actually really wish I'd had a set of fours there; I could have put him squarely on the set of sixes and made the coolest face-up laydown evar...and believe me, I would have made it.

Hell, the pot was offering me...let's see...230:45, or about 5:1 and I still let top pair go there. Steven wasn't getting another cent out of me after he doesn't fold to my 65.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Interesting hand...wish I were there to see it.

Very good point about mixing up play and how you should not always to the same thing there.

This is clearly a case of players knowing each other as well. Steve's image is such that a flat call is, as he says, turning his hand face up. Whereas someone else calling could definitely be a 57 drawing (though with those stacks likely not). A shove from a different player could also have been a semi with an open ender.

Given the action of the hand I think it was "more right" to flat call and let yourself get in the middle of a Nick/Ryan pissing match.

A raise to 20 might have been interesting to see if there would still have been a cascade of raises would have still followed. If Nick had an overpair, a raise might force him to make a steep raise but Ryan would likely have to get out but it would probably pot commit Nick to make a crying call and chase his two outer.

I think you are netting out about the same unless you shoved on the flop.

jason said...

Is there just no way that Steve could try to sell a hand like AJ with the 2 flat calls, then a small bet or a shove on the turn?

jason said...

Is there just no way that Steve could try to sell a hand like AJ with the 2 flat calls, then a small bet or a shove on the turn?

Marshall said...

Have you ever played with Steven?

Ryan said...

Steve isn't going to limp/call with AJ pf. I mean, I don't really think that's just a Steve thing--it's going to be hard to put any SLP or WNP regular on AJ with a limp/call in MP with two limpers, there.

Ryan said...

My comment brings up another point I was discussing in IM with Jason. Who of the regulars *would* I call getting 5:1 with top pair in that spot after that action?

I'm not sure there's anyone, not even jtrey. By the time any of the regulars has flat-called a bet on the dryest board ever, and then shoved over the top of a raise and a reraise, what are you beating?

I suppose maybe I call Jeh since 75s tells a reasonable story for his general style there, and maybe there are some others. It would probably be a heat of the moment kind of decision. What percent of the time is this player on an open-ender here, and what percent of the time am I just crushed?

And of course, if it's someone else besides Steve making those plays, it potentially changes what Nick does as well...

Sushi Cowboy said...'s going to be hard to put any SLP or WNP regular on AJ with a limp/call in MP with two limpers, there.

Really? I can think of at least one.

Ryan said...

Spell it out...are you suggesting my play from UTG means I could have AJ in Steven's seat?

UTG is vastly different from MP(cutoff seat, actually) with limpers...

Ryan said...

Maybe you are talking about yourself?

I suppose I can see you limp-calling in that spot as your limp-call range is so wide, but I don't think I can put you on AJ after a flat call on the flop. Not exactly a slowplaying hand, even for Mr. Station.

I guess if you are the player there instead of Steven, I could sorta keep AJ in your range in a long shot kinda way, but I would still have you primarily on a set with that action.

Marshall said...

It's actually captain station FTR. He got promoted.

Sushi Cowboy said...

No, I'm not talking about your limp call with AQ UTG.

Yes, I AJ is in my range of limp/call (especially suited).

Yes, you are correct that I am *probably* not flat calling the flop though I have before if I'm worried about being up against QQ but I thought we were just talking about pre-flop.

Ryan said...

You are right, my statement was about a WNPer limp-calling pf with AJ in that spot, and that is in your playbook for sure.

Ultimately, though, my question is: Is there any regular player I can call after all that action? I wouldn't put you on AJ there, and that's beating me anyway (I had KJs).

It's very tough...75/53 tells a convincing story for several SLP/WNP regulars. But it's not a good story for Steven, that's for sure...

royalbacon said...

In the future, please count on any time I’m giving you 5:1 odds on a dry board with a call/raise and you have top/top that I definitely have you beat.


Ryan said...

Let's be clear Mr. Bacon: you are making the third raise of the betting round...the preflop aggressor, a top player, has raised the flop bettor, and the flop bettor has put in a reraise.

If you are willing to come over the top in that spot without holdings that can beat top/top, then congrats, you are going to induce a fold from me when I have top/top (or in this case, top/second).

That play is -EV though. Too often, you are going to be running a bluff for all your chips against a hand that can beat top/top, and you will get called and destroyed.

Not to mention that to set up this bluff in the first place, you are going to have to call UTG's flop bet with nothing.

So yeah, if you have the balls to get yourself in the position to even have the *option* to shove in that spot with a sub-top/top bluff, I'll respect the shove and fold. After all, if you make a habit of attempting such a play, I'll be the one making money off it in the long run.