Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Interesting Hand of Poker: What would you do?

Ace of spades.Image via WikipediaAn Interesting Hand of Poker: What would you do?

I am playing in a $15-$30 live cash game of limit hold'em. It is a full table of 10 players.

In this hand, I am on the button with As-Ts.

Everyone folds to the player in the cutoff. This player is winning tonight and he has been super aggressive with many pre-flop raises.

As expected, he raises.

I already had decided that whenever he raises first in a pot in late position, I would re-raise him with a calling hand or better. My objective is to get heads-up on the flop.

I re-raise here.

The small blind is a selectively aggressive player. He has been having a losing session, though, and he may be a little on tilt after the last few pots he lost. He calls-which is a little surprising

The big blind is straight forward in his play. A little too conservative and predictable. It surprises me when he calls as well.

The Flop

The pot is $180.

The flop is Ad-7h-6h.

The player in the small blind bets out. The big blind calls. The cutoff folds.

I raise..Why? I think I am ahead, and this raise will help me to find out more on where I stand in this pot.

Well, to my surprise the small blind re-raises and the big blind caps it!

What the heck is going on here?

Would you call two bets with your hand here?

I take some time to think this over. I put the big blind on a flush draw since he didn't raise the first time the small blind bet. I put the small blind on top pair. The question is does he have me out-kicked?

Well, I take some more time to think about the small blind. If he had A-K or A-Q, he would have re-raised me pre-flop. That means that he either has A-J, A-T or worse. I doubt he flopped two pair or a set.

I make the call.

Three of us take the turn.

The pot is now $360.

The Turn

The turn is a 6c, pairing the board.

The small blind bets out and the big blind calls.

Okay, what should I do here?

What would you do?

I could raise--but I doubt I will slow down the small blind or get anyone to fold given the pot size. And, I won't necessarily get a free card either.

The pot is too big now, but I really don't want to see a river bet from my opponents. How can I get the small blind to stop from betting on the river?

I say out-loud ..."I'm either way ahead or way behind."

I figure that if the big blind misses his draw, there is no way that the small blind will bet as he has to believe that I may have A-K or A-Q now.

I call.

The pot is now $450.

The River and the Results

The river is a 2s.

My opponents check...should I bet here?

Well, given what I said on the turn, I check.

The small blind shows A-8. The big blind mucks.

I win with my A-T!

What a seems so clear now.
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poker affiliate said...

I think in limit-hold'em you want to find out where you are on the flop since that is the cheapest street. Its pretty surprising that selectively aggressive player out of position would have played A-8 the way he did with that board texture and a pre-flop raise.

Anonymous said...

Is there a way to systematize the process that you go through in order to put people on hands?

How do you figure it out like that?

Absolutely love your writing Mitchell! Nobody is better at explaining poker matters with such clarity.

Any chance of a PLO 101 winning moves book in the future? Maybe not your game but I bet you could knock it out of the park just the same!

Mitchell Cogert said...

Thanks for the kind words.

1. I have never played PLO, but I have been playing middle limit holdem. Frankly, I could write 101 winning moves for limit holdem but right now I am focused on winning the money.

2. As to a systematic process to put people on hands. It is a combination of your experience of seeing how someone plays their cards (table image), the mood they are in based on if they are losing or winning (and last hands played), and some common sense. The common sense is simply based on an overall accepted way of thinking about the game.

Example: Last night at the $15-$20 game, I was on the button with A-3 offsuit. 5 people limped in ahead of me, I limped, and the SB called.

Now, the BB raised.

The players who limped could have almost anything, but the BB would not raise in this situation unless he had AA, KK or A-K.

Everyone called this raise.

The flop came down 3-5-8 rainbow.

The SB checked and now the BB checked. With so many players in the pot, he had to have A-K. He was not going to check with AA or KK.

Everyone else checked to me. Now, when players limp into a pot in limit they usually have cards in the playing zone of A-9 or small to middle pairs.

Since no one showed any strength, I bet. A general rule of poker: If your opponents check, hold your nose and bet.

Did I expect everyone to fold? No. But, I figured I was ahead in the hand, and maybe I could get out a few players. Also, my image is of a tight player--which makes my bet look stronger.

The SB, BB and only two other players called.

What would these other two players have to stay in? If they were solid players, they would be getting the odds to call with two overcards.

The turn was a 9. Everyone checked to me. I did not love that card but...

I followed my rule and bet again.

Only the blinds called.

In this situation, I was sure I was way ahead of the SB with A-K, but what about the SB? What could the SB have?

I guess this is systematic thinking, but if he had a 9, he would probably raise. That means he has to have either a draw or he hit a pair on the flop. After all, he was in the SB and his range of hands here is very wide.

The river was an 8. That was either a very good or very bad card for me.

The blinds checked.

What should I do?

This is a situation where the pot is so big that I am going to get called by a better hand.

Therefore, I checked behind the blinds.

The SB showed 6-4, the BB A-K, and I won a nice sized pot with A-3.

The player to my right told me he folded a 9 when I bet the flop. I replied, "thank you."

I don't know if this helps you in how I think about putting players on hands. I guess it is a logical least to me.

I hope this helps you. Best,

Mitchell Cogert said...

I meant $15-$30 limit holdem.

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