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You Decide #44

Now that I've received a decent amount of responses to You Decide #44, I would like to provide insight into why I made plays (i.e., what I was thinking at the time) and also provide the answer to what NewInNov had (by the way, he won the Hoy, so congratulations to him). In general, I got a lot of negative responses to my play. I've read all of your suggestions, but I think for the most part, playing the hand too hard would push out NewIn, when I really wanted him to keep calling with inferior cards. Hence, I priced him in the entire way, keeping the pot small in case he hit and allowing me to fold if I felt that he did, in fact, make his hand. Keep reading for my blow-by-blow anayises. All of my added comments will be Bold and Red.

It's been a while since my last You Decide. The hands I choose are largely hands that cause me to reflect on a particular style of play. Often the hands involve questionable plays, but this one is a bit different.

I was playing in the $20+2 Mondays at the Hoy last night, and we were still in the first level (10/20). I had not played a hand yet, and still sat at 1500 chips. I'm in middle position at a 7-handed table when I am dealt 33. Everyone before me has folded, so I decide to limp. The SB, NewInNov, calls, and the BB, Biggestron, checks.

The flop is 3h Ah Ks. NewInNov and Biggestron check, and I min bet 20. New calls, Biggestron folds. Now, here is the thing. The only players in this hand are the SB and BB. Neither have a strong Ace. So, at best, I'm facing a baby Ace, more likely I may be facing someone who hit the King, but realistically, I am probably facing two players that missed the flop altogether. Even if I am facing a King or weak Ace, a significant bet would scare away my opposition and leave me with a net profit of 40 after flopping a set. So I decided to make a min bet, because it looks fishy, I have a loose image, and I want to get a caller with Kx or a weak Ace. If a scare card comes, I'm still in position, and I'll act accordingly. However, if my opponent hits a set by turning an Ace or King, then I have them beat to a full house. I WANT them to call and "get lucky." Otherwise, if that flush card comes, I can fold if it looks to be going that way. I'm not worried about the straight because it would have to be an inside straight draw like 24, QJ, QT, etc.

Some people say I should have bet 3/4 or more of the pot. I ask you why? Do I really need the 60 pot? Certainly not. So I want to keep him in the hand. That's all I wanted to do. So, I bet small, in this case, a min bet ONLY because the pot is so small. Also, min bets look weak. Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll raise.

The turn is a harmless 4d. New checks again, and I bet 60 into the 100 pot. New calls. Next verse, same as the first! So far, I know that he has something on this board. My guess was the King, but a flush draw or a low Ace are possible. I still want him in this hand, because I know 100% that I am ahead. The pot is 100, so again, there is little appeal to winning the pot right now. Also, I've only invested 40 into the pot, so folding to a rivered heart won't hurt too much. I need a bet that will make me look weak, like I'm on a steal. If I bet 100 (pot), it might look like a steal, but it also might scare him off, like I'm saying, "Okay, bud, I have a good hand, and NOW I'm ready to get you off of your flush." If he's willing to call 100, he'll be willing to call 60, but if he is going to fold to 100, he still might call a weak looking 60. Also, on a psychological level a 2-digit number looks less threatening than that black chip 3-digit number. I'm investing 100 in the pot so far, and I'm still willing to fold to a rivered heart if at the time I read him as a flush. More likely, if he hits, he checks to me because I've been betting out, and I can check it down.

The river is a Jd, and New checks again. This time I bet 120 into the 220 pot and New calls once again. I win 460 from the pot when he mucks. A great card for me. Hopefully, he just hit two-pair. The flush didn't come. I've already ruled out the straight, but I'm slightly cautious. The pot is 220, and if he missed his flush, he's folding to ANY bet. If he had the weak Ace or a King, then he's only calling when he sees weakness. Once again, I COULD bet big to appear like a bluff, but I might be pricing out those weaker hands. Instead, I bet 120, a seemingly innocuous number. Maybe he thinks its my last weak bet at the pot with my underpair. Maybe he thinks I have it, but for 120 he's willing to find out. Now go to the bottom to find out what he had.

Now, as I wrote this, I originally included my though process throughout the hand. I also included NewInNov's cards. But I've cut both out and I will add it back later in the day because I don't want to merely justify my way of playing the hand. What I really want is someone else's perspective as to what the optimal play was. For me, this was really about getting the most value from my hand, but some people might see it different, or may have had a different way/read that would help them maximize their hand.

Comment away! Until then, make mine poker!

As it turns out, he has A2o. I don't think he would've called some of those larger raises. I knew I was ahead, and I was right. I value bet the whole way, conscious of the fact that if the board got scary, I'd have to rely on my analysis and reads to work through it.

Some of you think I played this too passively. I would really like to get NewinNov's opinion, and I'll hit up his site and ask him. Frankly, the answers, with the exception of Woffles, though about this hand in a way that was 100% different than what I laid out. Honestly, the fact that Woffles gets what I was doing doesn't surprise me. The fact that no one else understood it does surprise me a bit. But then again, I definitely play my own brand of poker.

So, with my explanation, hopefully some of your opinions have changed. I do think I made some potential errors. In hindsight (always 20/20), I may've been able to bet higher on the river or the turn. Maybe even bet 40 instead of 20 on the flop. But overall, I'm confident in my play. I'm not results oriented, but in this case, my decisions were based on a particular goal, and that goal was met. Thanks for commenting. Feel free to drop more, while you are at it.

Until then, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 10:11 PM,

25 Comments:

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

it sort of depends on who your opponent is, how well they know you, and how well you know them to determine the optimal line in any hand.

One possibility is to check and see if someone else will take control of the betting. You can merely call the flop and go for a c/r on the turn, or even c/c the turn and lead out on the river.

Another possibility would have been to overbet the pot on the flop to make it look like a steal, hoping an aggressive villain raises.

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger WillWonka said...

Boy, I can't tell how much I don't like min betting on the flop here. It makes you know who cry. Two broadway cards, two hearts.. Yikes...

Alls well that ends well... I guess.... NOT!!!!!!

Again, just my humble opinion.

 
At 12:46 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Wonka, I want opinions, so heap it on. I don't get insulted easily.

Tom, you can say 'it depends' in every one of these situations. What I'm really looking for is an analysis with the information available. I was two-tabling and barely paying attention to this tournament. And this was within the first 10 hands. So, reads are de minimis here.

What I'm reading so far is that Wonka thinks I should have bet out more to protect my hand. Tom thinks I should fake a steal early or otherwise slowplay to get value late.

Any other takers?

 
At 12:53 PM, Anonymous dre said...

I agree with willwonka, I don't like the min bet on the flop. I'd probably bet the pot on the flop and then 3/4 the rest of the way. If the flush comes, I re-evaluate. I'd put him on an Ace-baby here.

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger Doog said...

I'm with dre and wonka - your set is pretty exposed to some strong draws, and the min-bet does nothing to make your opponent think twice about paying to see the next card.

The check-call on all streets makes me think that he has a hand with good potential, but one that just never got completely made. I'll say he held KJ hearts, or maybe K4 hearts.

 
At 1:13 PM, Blogger Iakaris aka I.A.K. said...

The other argument for betting out on the flop J is that it actually disguises your bottom set very nicely. It's possible it will fold out that's true, but I like it for deception, protection and value.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I do not mind your flop bet so much AS LONG AS you are willing to laydown to a scare card.. I might have bet a little more.. like 1/2 pot or something.. Alot of people "Protect" there strong hand here.. screw that.. easy way to go broke.. I think the key is being able to get away from the hand if something bad happens, instead of being stubborn and staying in it.

I think the harmless turn card is where I would say enough is enough.. I pot it here and if NevWin is on a Flush or Straight draw then I have A. Priced him out, B. Given him 1/2 the odds he had on the flop. I want him to pay if he really wants to make a mistake and draw a card here. The 60 chips does nothing.
Here again is why I bet a tiny bit more on the flop.. I am setting the pot to be a little bigger so when I pot the turn it can hurt his ass if he calls.

That is my thinking.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I agree with Iak that betting out disguises your hand on that board. I'd make a small-ish to half pot bet there.

That also allows you to make the turn and river larger "small bets" which can get you more chips.

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

Bet, bet, bet.

Excellent line, I hate slowplaying and very rarely do it.

 
At 2:20 PM, Anonymous dre said...

SirFWALGMan said...
I do not mind your flop bet so much AS LONG AS you are willing to laydown to a scare card.. I might have bet a little more.. like 1/2 pot or something.. Alot of people "Protect" there strong hand here.. screw that.. easy way to go broke.. I think the key is being able to get away from the hand if something bad happens, instead of being stubborn and staying in it.


I don't mind varying your bet size to change up your play, but I don't like your explanation here. The entire point of making a 3/4 to pot size bet on the flop is to cut down your opponents odds and giving them improper odds to draw out on you. Not sure how you can say it is an easy way to go broke. You almost definitely have the best hand here... so why wouldn't you want to get your money in here? Sure, they may draw out on you on the turn, but if they did... they almost certainly didn't have the odds to do so.

I agree with your second statement that you want to get more in on the flop to be able to make a greater follow-up bet on the turn and river.

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I say you played this hand a bit too weak on every street. The minbet on the flop is, as discussed above, pussy in my view. You've given up the chance to disguise some of your other continuation bets later in this game, plus you've made it exceedingly easy for anyone to call you, and you're barely adding any equity to the pot to boot.

60 chips into the 100 chip pot on the turn -- also pussy. Just over half the pot with those two juicy high cards that Newin has almost surely connected with in some way, this calls for a larger bet if you're looking to maximize your value from the trips you've hit. I'm not saying to bet 3x the pot or anything, but I'd probably go with a pot-bet there and see what happens, and be happy no matter what he does (raise, call or fold).

Same story on the river. 120 into a 220 chip pot is again much less than I think you could expect to get a call with. I would probably have bet the pot or closer to it on every street here once you hit your trips. I bet an aggro guy like Newin would have called them all, and you would have ended up with 300 or so more chips. And if he had folded on the river, say, you probably end up making just as much as you did by slow-playing it all the way and showing down.

In general, I do not agree that this was the way to get the most value from your hand. In fact I don't think slow-playing flopped trips on every street is almost ever the way to get the most value from your hand. It's the way to ensure that you get called all the way to the end, yes, but it's not actually going to maximize your value from the hand in my view. Unless he was slowplaying a monster like AK himself, I see you leaving 300 or more chips on the table by not being more aggressive here from the flop onward.

Nice hand though, way to outlast me in the Hoy last night. Who didnt?

 
At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On this hand specifically. A bet that doesn't give the correct odds for someone on a draw, disguises your hand almost as much as the minimum bet but still punishes the player who incorrectly calls with a draw. With 2 people to act after you, the draws are too real of a possiblity to give such a cheap card. Even with one to act I don't like the min bet.

 
At 2:38 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Maybe I am dis-illusioned by the Aggro-Aggro Hoy! Hoy! Hoy! Attitude of to small stakes online poker.. but if your going to lose 1:2x times to a flush chaser, and your playing low-limit no-Foldem poker, then I would rather invest a little less, see the next card, and then make my decision instead of pounding the flop when I know I am ahead, having some dickwad call me because he can not even spell odd's and having to fold the turn when a scary card comes.

Just curious from a personal perspective.. the flop has 80-100 in it, and you bet 100.. get one caller chasing something.. so now the pots 300.. can you fold if he bets 200 here? 5:1 to hit your 10 outs.. so your at least paying 200 more now that the pot is larger.. and if he makes a value bet on the river you probably have to call that too just in case he only has 2 pair or something.. So potentially you wasted 500 chips when you could have just said "Fuck it, I only invested 60 in this pot I can just walk away" otherwise OR call a much smaller bet on the turn to try and catch up with your ten outs..

I like keeping the pot smaller on REALLY SCARY boards on the flop and doing my pounding when the guy has 1/2 the outs he had on the flop..

If I am playing in a game where I know people CAN fold flush draws I might agree with hitting the pot harder.. but I know Jordon only plays nickle-penny shit and I like being more cautious here..

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Woffle, besides that nickle-penny comment (dude, you play peanuts compared to me, you turd-burger), you make some points that are right in line with my thinking. Do people ignore the size of pots in favor of just winning the pot straight out? What's the point of punishing draws on a 60 pot? I don't need to push him out if he is on the draw, and I don't need to "punish" him by letting him make the wrong call and hitting his out, thereby basically donating money. Keep the pot small, and I can choose my destiny. Push it hard and you either win no money, lose a lot of money, or, potentially, make some decent scratch ONLY if he is willing to call without the odds AND he misses his draw.

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous dre said...

SirFWALGMan, I'm not sure if we are misunderstanding each other or not. I'm not saying that I don't like your play, but rather the logic you are using to come to that conclusion.

Seriously, what kind of hand do you need to put any real money into the pot? Quads? I have no probably underbetting a pot, but not for the reasons you are stating. It's as though you are saying you need the absolute nuts to get any money into the pot. If you bet small as a deceptive play, that's all fine and good, but to say you are doing so because you are afraid cause you don't want to get outdrawn on is just weak. You may as well never see a flop as you may get outdrawn.

One thing you can't overlook either is that he flopped a set. It's not as though he only has TPTK here. He has a good chance of filling up and therefore will not get outdrawn as much as 1:2 times, but much less as he has almost as many outs to improve as a flush draw here.

I don't know, maybe I'm way off on this. Just my 2 cents I guess.

By the way, I hope none of my posts are coming off as offensive to you SirFWALGMan as I'm just trying to debate my point of view.

 
At 3:46 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Not at all Dre.. I am enjoying hijacking Jordons blog for our conversation.. heh. I do not disagree with you at all. Traditionally you are supposed to bet pot, your opponent is suppose to fold, and you are suppose to win the hand.

I just know that point #2 never happens in low stakes NLHE. Which makes point #3 difficult to make happen. The funny thing is I probably would play a board with no-draws the exact same way, because I do not want to scare people out.. Same thing if I flop quads.

I guess in example #1 I want to grow the pot somewhat so I can put in a nice turn bet and also cut down on the odds any draw has by half. In my second example where there are no draws I do want to give my opponent a chance to catch up a little bit.. but then again slam the door on the turn.

I am willing to agree that I might be becoming a little wimpy in my old age but I like less aggressive lines sometimes.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Here's my problem with your approach Jordan:

You're assuming your set is the best hand.

That sounds crazy, but you're facing two big overcards in the first level of a tournament against the blinds. Lots of people (Especically aggro players, which you're a perfect example in this You Decide) LOVE to slowplay when they hit big.

On top of that, your style of play gets you 460 chips total. I agree with Hoy, if you pot just to the turn, and he calls, you're already at 540. If you pot the flop and bet 120 on the turn, you're at 420 going into the river. Do I think he'll call? Yup. It's the first level of the friggin tournament, so why shouldn't he? You might be betting with a King or a medium pocket pair, after all. If you "only" get 420 total by him calling the turn, that's 40 chips less than your slowplaying.

I can understand your desire to be tricky/trappy and such, but you didn't maximize your chips from where I'm sitting.

 
At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Tom said...

You should have said reads were at a minimum. It sounds like you play in a lot of blogger events with the same small circle so I made the mistake of assuming you knew the two people in this hand.

If I make a set, I'm thinking about how to extract the most chips from my opponent. I'm not making a min bet on that flop if I write a blog talking about how I play aggressively and loosely, because making a min bet is screaming good hand. Strong = weak, Weak = strong. Poker 101.

I pot this flop if either player knows me to be aggressive, because they may just make a play at you with a king or a baby ace here and now you're in a good spot to extract a lot of chips.

Min bet is terrible. Let's say another heart comes and the villain leads out for most of the pot. Are you raising? Calling?

What if he fires a third bullet on the river if the board doesn't pair? You can't feel comfortable calling.

Lots of things to consider here, even though it's the early stages.

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Wolf, and here is the problem with your approach. (A) If you think I'm not 100% ahead then why throw more money in. Besides, in this situation, I AM 100% ahead. There is no way he has a better set, and the best he could have against me is a flush draw. (B) You suggest I pot bet the turn, but I get Zilch when he folds. Why does everyone think it is a given that he will call. I'm in position and too much aggression will scare him away. Also, I didn't put him on a weak Ace. I figured he was more likely on a King. (C) I am not "slowplaying." There is a difference between slowplaying and stringing your opponent along. Slowplaying suggests that I am trying to trap him. That's not what I'm doing. I'm betting just enough so that marginal hands will call.

I have to admit that I don't see the points to many of the arguments made for playing it fast and strong. In this particular situation, the small size of the pot on the flop requires that I build it slowly. Betting too strong will get me nothing. I'm all for aggression, and I did lead the entire time. But I did so in a way that got me paid, instead of getting me a couple of blinds.

 
At 4:28 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Tom has a point. My image meant that betting big might get me some action. That is a valid argument. I did consider this, but the pot was so small that I was afraid he'd just let it go, since it was only a 60 pot and he had only invested 20. But valid point nonetheless.

And if that flush card comes and he leads out, it's an easy fold, depending on how much he bets. After my min bet, I only had invested 40 in the hand, and the pot was only 100. It's an easy fold if he raises anything significant. In that regards, I think it odd that people suggest I push hard on the flop to scare away the flush. I think there is some value in a small pot situation to keep the draw along for the ride, as long as you have the ability to fold.

BTW, if I sound pissy, I apologize. This stuff just gets the juices flowing.

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I think this is a bad example Jordon.. It is a 60$ pot.. and honestly, I could pot the flop here and be done with it.. show me the next hand.. If we are talking more chips than that then mmkayy..

 
At 10:19 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Howdy, got your note. I didn't remember that particular hand but once you told me what hand I had, I can recollect my thought (donkey) process. In my opinion you have a loose image but not crazy loose so I will give you respect, but not overly so. Before the flop, playing A2o was a no brainer with only one mid position limper and having an Ace. Call 10 for a probable 60 pot (BB hadn't checked yet), 6 to 1. If BB raises, I'm gone.

I like the flop as now I have top pair but of course my kicker is super weak. The flop bet of 20 is very suspicious. Alarm bells. You want to keep me around. You probably have an A with a better kicker or maybe a K but I sense you are playing around. If you had a K you would have bet higher to see where you were at. Calling 20 to a 80 pot, 4:1, still very reasonable and I have a backdoor straight draw as well. Also trying for the two pair. Now the turn comes and I get the outside draw and still have top pair. The bet of 60 should have been my clue to leave as it was now getting expensive. But I didn't because of the strange betting pattern and your loose image. Now I'm thinking, what if he only has a K or even a middle pocket pair? This was a mistake on my part and your nice sized value bet made me want to continue for the implied odds although the pot odds should have seen me fold. This was a very loose call on my part. Anything more than 60 and I would have folded. After the harmless river card, it was all over. I had several ways I could win: 5 for the straight, 2 for the two pair (so I thought), or a heart that I could use as a bluff. With a clear head now, I don't know why I called except that the betting pattern confused me and the bet amount was just enough or the amount that someone would use with a King. A small part of me thought that this donkey move would be a great advertising play and show everyone how bad I play so that I could use the same style of play later to better effect. But I believe you played this hand very well and you could easily have gotten off the hand if a heart fell without losing many chips. Don't the pros always say to keep the pots small? I probably wouldn't have bet 20 on the flop with the flush and straight possibilities but it worked out well for you and like you wrote, you wanted to get some more value out of your flopped set. I can't fault your play but can definitely fault mine. Before you told me my hand, I thought I would only play that way with a straight or flush draw but not the case. Nice "You Decide."

 
At 10:30 PM, Blogger NewinNov said...

Just read all the comments. Interesting discussion. Any more than a $40 bet on the flop would have seen me fold.

 
At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Tom said...

(B) You suggest I pot bet the turn, but I get Zilch when he folds. Why does everyone think it is a given that he will call.

This is a great point, because turn aggression is so much different from flop aggression.

My contention was to play the flop fast in the hopes that someone with a king or an ace calls a bigger bet.

I mean, it's a three way unraised pot and I made a set, so I won't be pissed if the blinds don't come for the ride on my flop bet.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I usually raise 2.5 BB any time I enter a pot first.

Anyways, my line might have been to bet the flop strong, and if called, bet the turn weaker to make it look like I was just trying to steal on the flop, hoping to get check raised.

I dunno, though. I'm always tinkering with my own game. I think you have a couple options here, and obviously your line worked well because the hand went to show down.

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

You suggest I pot bet the turn, but I get Zilch when he folds. Why does everyone think it is a given that he will call.

Incorrect. I said pot the *flop*. Do the math. 60 (pot) + 60 (your bet) + 60 (his call) = 180. Then I said bet 120, which is around a 2/3rds pot bet.

What I'm advocating is a stronger "stringer bet". The min-bet on the flop gets the least amount of chips into the pot (and sets of alarm bells for New as he said). Even if you bet 40 on the flop you're getting more chips in which means a bigger pot on later streets.

Why does everyone think it is a given that he will call. I'm in position and too much aggression will scare him away.

I'm not knocking your play, I actually like it. I just think you should have bet more chips to win a bigger pot. No min-bet on the flop = more chips to nab on later streets.

Slowplaying suggests that I am trying to trap him. That's not what I'm doing. I'm betting just enough so that marginal hands will call.

That's an interesting distinction. Do you mind making a post giving me more details on the subject?

 

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