Saturday, February 23, 2008

So about this board lock thing

Last Friday Ryan and I were playing Razz at the lunch game and in one hand he filled his wheel early. Was it 5th street? 6th street? Regardless, there was short conversation between us afterwards where he said he had "board lock" on his opponent (I think that opponent was me by the way). I seem to remember looking down and seeing that I had two wheel cards showing and I took issue with him saying that he had board lock since I too could possibly have had a wheel. He replied that with the wheel there was no way he was losing the hand which I obviously agree with. He had the nuts and clearly could not *lose* the hand.

But for some reason, don't know why, I had always defined board lock as the state where, based on the upcards of my opponents, everyone else's best possible hand is worse than mine. In other words, it's that they must have losing hands, not that I have a non-losing hand. I think that board lock would realistically only apply for low hands since high hands could always end up being totally hidden Quads.

Furthermore another condition that I had assumed was part of board lock was that it is good for the remainder of the hand. If you have the Nut Flush on the Turn in Hold'em, your nut hand is vulnerable in case the board pairs. The way I see board lock, if you achieve board lock for low on 5th street (i.e. you have the wheel versus pair of Sevens and a Six) then you can jam at every opportunity knowing that there is no way that anyone can catch up to you since based on the upcards they cannot beat you or even tie you.

I think board lock would also apply to PtT when you are going for low with a crappy J high but you see the other two players in the hand showing pairs after the second flip. As soon as you see that happen you have a green light to raise knowing you are a lead pipe cinch for low.

Anyway, still doing research on the matter. The other thing I wanted to mention was that while Googling for "'board lock' poker" the TNP blog showed up in the #2 spot!


Ryan said...

I used the term "board lock" almost jokingly in that case because I had the wheel, it's not that I was reading the board and determining I couldn't be beaten.

I don't think it's so much that board lock means specifically, "cannot be beaten or tied for the rest of the hand" vs. "cannot be beaten for the rest of the hand," it's just that when you know via exposed cards that your low is good for the rest of the hand, there is simply no way to see that and have a tie be a possibility.

Does that make sense? Let's say there are cards to come and you have whatever non-wheel hand you want. Now give an opponent cards showing that puts you in a position where it is impossible for you to lose the low, but that you are either going to tie or win.

I don't think you can do it. "Board lock" by truly assessing the board vs. your holdings cannot mean "win or tie" simply because if the board shows that you can tie, then you can also lose.

Ryan said...

Hmmm, I think I have such a scenario to counter my own hypothesis.

I have 8732A as my low, and on sixth street, my opponent's exposed cards are KQ87.

There are cards to come, but I cannot lose the low, but a tie is possible.

I think in that spot I would feel comfortable using the term "board lock." The board has put you in a spot where you know you cannot lose the hand. If he has A23 down, you could tie, but that's it.

Maybe it feels wrong to you for a potential tie to be included under the "board lock" umbrella because it would only ever happen so rarely?

In the same way it's understood taht "I have the nuts" means "I have an unbeatable hand," I think board lock means the same thing, just based on up-card reasoning. You are describing a scenario in which you cannot lose.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Having the wheel would definitely count as "having the nuts for low" and you are guaranteed to at least a portion of the low.

I will do more research this week to find what book I read about board lock but my takeaway from reading about it was consistent with my earlier description. In other words, a true green light to floor it on all streets with a guarantee to take all of your half.

Sushi Cowboy said...

I stand corrected. It was Super System II, Todd Brunson's section on Stud Hi/Lo and he defines it as essentially the same as "the nuts" like Ryan has. Having board lock means "not losing" as opposed to "other hands being worse than yours" and it can be a temporary state as well and that you can still lose the hand after having had board lock.

So now I need to come up with a term for what I was describing. Where you have a hand that is guaranteed to win the entire low portion of the pot (or whole pot if playing Razz) no matter what other cards may come off the deck.

Super Nuts? Low lock? Temporally invincible low? Catbird seat?

royalbacon said...

How about "the legumes"?