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Pop Quiz, Hotshot

Busy busy busy.

I called my grandma last night to wish her a happy birthday. Like all of our longer conversations, we eventually got to talking about poker. She and my other deceased grandma taught me cards at a young age. While my deceased grandma wasn't much of a gambler, the birthday grandma sure is. Even today, she and my grandpa love to go to the local penny casino in Florida to win gift cards (which, incidentally, often get mailed up to NY).

While talking about poker, I mentioned my recent downswing, mostly from the $600 loss at Nice Look (permanently closed, according to rumors) and $400 loss at the Wall Street Game. Her response, "You should take a break." I'm already on it, grandma.

That may be why I have been so quiet here this week. Well, that and the pile of work I've been steadily attacking with all my might. But whatever the case, I'm playing tomorrow night at the I Had Outs September to Remember tournament (name made up by me), so my hiatus will be (as usual) short-lived.

While I'm not playing poker, I'm still thinking about it. Lately, I've been thinking about the psychology of numbers and bet sizing. I believe that changing the size of your bet by miniscule amounts could make the difference between getting a call or fold. Still, most of the time, these decisions on bet sizing are based on "hunches" which are more likely subtle subconscious decisions made based on what I've seen. What I would like to do now is test some ideas and see the results. I'm definitely going to need your help with this, so the more responses, the better.

You are playing online poker in an MTT. The blinds are 30/60 and everyone at your table is near their starting stacks. It folds to you in the SB and you call. The BB checks. The flop has an Ace. The pot is 120. How much do you bet if you want to induce a fold? Why?

(a) 80
(b) 100
(c) 120
(d) 140

You are in an online tournament and are dealt 89s in MP, with blinds of 50/100. You limp, along with one player before you and one player after you, and the two blinds come along for the ride (5 to the flop). The flop is K88. The pot is 500. The limper in EP bets 500. You want to raise and induce a call from the original bettor. How much do you raise and why?

(a) 1000 (500 more)
(b) 1250 (750 more)
(c) 1500 (1000 more)
(d) 2000 (1500 more)

You are playing live poker at a full cash game (1/2 NL). You are dealt AJs in the BB. Preflop, a player in MP raises to $13 and gets three callers including the SB. You call as well ($52 pot). The flop is A23 with no flush draws. You check and the preflop raiser bets $33. It folds around to you. Do you call or fold? Why?

Final question (3-parter): You are playing live poker at a full cash game (1/2 NL). You are dealt 66 in the SB. A loose player from MP raises to $7 (usual raises at this table preflop are $12). You call. The flop is KJ5. You check. He bets $13. Do you call, fold or raise? Assuming you called, the turn is another Jack. You check and he bets $19. Do you call, fold or raise? Assuming you called, the river is a 4. You check. He bets $27. Do you call, fold or raise?

Hopefully, this will all work out. Originally, I was going to give you some general thoughts, but I'm curious to see what people have to say about these scenarios. I know that I don't give you much information, but I want you to focus on the bet sizing, what it tells you, what it doesn't tell you, and how you would normally react under these conditions. Go with the flow, people.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 12:39 PM,


At 2:15 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Question 1: if you want to induce a fold and there's an Ace on the flop, I'm going to bet either 100 or 120. I think 80 is not designed to induce a fold, giving any draw proper odds to call and probably some weaker made hands as well, and 140 for the overbet just screams out weakness to me.

2. I like the 3x raise here. I think raising to induce a call is the right move here, and again the minbets just scream strength to me so I would avoid those. And why bump it up 4x if you know you want to induce a call. 3x (c) is the way to go here IMO.

3. I fold here in a heartbeat. You lose to any AA, AK, AQ, A2 or A3, and with four raise-callers preflop, one of whom is betting $33 into a $52 pot, I don't want to pay the price to find out that I am behind with what is essentially a subpar hand to begin with. F the JackAce and lay it down now, there is just no reason IMO to spend the money it will likely cost you to find out if you are behind of a preflop raiser and 3 callers on this flop. Easy laydown (I probably lay it down preflop in fact, for that matter).

4. Once the guy raises to 7, I've got sirens going off in my head. I probably call the preflop raise and try to flop a set, but once two paint overcards hit the board and my opponent bets, again I see an easy fold on the flop to what sounds like roughly a pot-sized bet.

Good questions. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

So you said you heard Nicelook is closed for good for now? That really blows!

At 3:25 PM, Blogger msbuss said...

3. Although I'd probably fold here becaue I'm totally weak-tight, might a check raise be a better play? His bet is only a little more than half-pot, which smells weak to me. He could have AA, AK or AQ, but he could also have KK-TT and be trying to find out cheaply where he's at. A check raise might make him think you have a set of 2s or 3s.

I dunno, though.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger ckbluffer said...

This is a total cop-out, Jordan, but it all depends . . . but here are some thoughts anyway to advance the dialogue:

1. If it's just you and the BB in an uncontested / unraised pot, do you really think you can get away with representing an A if you limped pre-flop? Maybe. Is it a true bluff or a semi-bluff? Any bet that is pot-sized or bigger probably looks fishy - unless the board is straighting and / or flushing. Any bet might result in a call from a player who flopped MP or has an ok draw. I would probably bet 80 here to see how BB responds to the bet, maybe 100 if I'm on a semi-bluff.

2. I like the standard 3x raise here. Could mean a whole host of things b/c of the "plain vanilla-esque" nature. I would vary the raise based on whether villain is a calling station or a rock.

3. I HATE AJ. With this board in particular, I hate AJ even more.

4. I'm not a big fan of checking in the first instance against LP. If you check the flop, you are giving license to LP to CB here. And you gain no information b/c LP could have ATC. But . . . if you do check and LP bets $13, I'd either raise or fold here. I don't think calling does you much good unless you have a great read on LP, or plan to lead out strong on the turn.

At 8:52 AM, Blogger surflexus said...

1) I would bet the 80 if I know this player to be uber-tight. Otherwise, I would probably bet 100.
2) I bet the 4x or (D). Looking like I want to stop it right here is probably my best chance of getting a weak King to play "All your chips are belong to us".
3) If I somehow get in to this hand, I check raise and get the info I need on the flop.
4) 75% of the time I fold to a bet on the flop. 25% I cold-call and lead bet the turn. With the turn card being another jack, I may check raise instead if I don't get over-bet out of the pot.

At 6:30 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

Whatever Surf said. Surf knows his stuff.

And here's one for you. I have recently read and seen some big MTT players make x99 bets. Raise to 299, re-raise to 1599, etc. I think those are so cornfusing. How does that play into your psycho analysis?


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