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You Decide #59

I stumbled across a tricky hand in a 45-person Turbo SNG on Stars.

I was sitting on 1440 chips with blind of 25/50 when I was dealt TT in the Hijack (one seat to the right of the cutoff; two seats to the right of the button). I had been fairly quiet with flurries of activity. When it folded to me, I decided to raise to 250. I had been experimenting with larger bet sizes and in this particular case, I wanted to limit my opponents and their potential holdings.

The SB, Oka, called with 1100 chips. Everyone else folded.

The flop was Ad Ks Jd. I don't think it could've been worse. The SB checks, and I have only 1190 left and my opponent has only 850. The pot was 550. I decided to bet 400.

At the time, my logic for the 400 bet was as follows: My opponent either hates or loves this flop. If he hates it, it's because he was calling me with an underpair (88, for instance), or he hit a pair but not top pair. If that is the case, I need to bet him off of his hand. If he loves it, he is checking with the expectation that I will continuation bet. In that case, I need to bet low enough that I can fold if he decides to come over the top.

400 felt like the right amount. It was about 80% of the pot size, left me with over 700 with blinds of 25/50 if I had to fold. It was also enough that it would pot-commit my opponent. In the past, I have advocated these types of bets, 50% of your opponent's stack. The logic is that if you do not want a call, the 50% mark will scare your opponent, but if they call or raise, they have a solid hand (they are willing to put themselves all-in), at which point you can fold for 1/2 the price (as opposed to pushing and hoping that they will fold). I figured the 400 bet was enough to push out a player who had missed the flop entirely or thought that I had an Ace to his lesser pair.

Naturally, if the bet worked, we wouldn't be discussing it. As it turned out, my opponent flat called, and we saw the turn, Kc. This is another horrible card, mostly because it emboldens the donkey playing a King who may've awfukit-called the 400 flop bet.

This time, Oka the SB bet 450, putting himself all-in. I folded.

So, could I have played this hand better? Should I have just check/folded once I saw the AKJ flop? Didn't I need to at least try to win this pot?

If I had to do it again, I am not quite sure what I would do. While I like my logic behind the 400 bet, I wonder if the 400 was too valuable to me (given my 1190 stack) to risk. Hence, I leave it to you to decide.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:37 PM,


At 12:14 PM, Blogger StB said...

I probably would have bet less, more like half of the pot to get a feel for where I am. It also appears you want to be called, that you are hiding a great hand.

At 12:44 PM, Blogger PokerNotes99 said...

Guess you have to think about what type of hands he would call a raise with out of position for such a large raise. For most people that will include two paint cards or medium to high pairs. Since he called your large raise I would give him some credit for a larger hand that probably included an ace or maybe KQ, etc. Thus I would have tried to see a free card otherwise be done with the hand.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger WillWonka said...

In my humble opinion....
Let's start with preflop raise? Why 5x from cutoff? no need for that when 2.5x or 3x will accomplish the same thing. Once you get a flat call and see that flop. You can stick a fork in me, I am done...

You still have chips to work with.

I thought about an allin push on flop; but you are probably only getting under pairs to fold... so in my opinion...

checking > pushing > betting 50-80%.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Littleacornman said...

You don't mention the entry fee which is important imo.

I like the preflop 5bb bet and disagree with Wonka that 2.5 or 3x will achieve the same thing.These turbos are bonkers and unless you want a family pot ,decent sized raises are essential.( even your 5 bb got 2 callers afterall)

I can see the point in check folding that nasty flop especially if it was a $12 or below buy-in as these guys love Ace rag and will play all sorts of rubbish containing Kings and Queens.

Despite the above I like your flop bet to try and take it down.Your preflop bet said you were strong and you've followed through with the same message.If they call or play back now you can be as certain as you ever can be in poker that your hand is beaten.If you had bet less and didn't try to defend the monster you're representing v the flush/straight draws then you leave yourself open to be bluffed off the hand.

Good stuff Jordan.Certainly got me thinking!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger lj said...

as played i'm checking behind and folding to a bet on the turn (unless i hit a Q or T), though as others have said i also would not raise that much pre, especially in one of these turbo things. if you're going to make such a large pf raise and 3/4 pot cbet, i just don't see how you can fold.

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...

I, like LittleAcornMan, want to know what the buy-in was. That's a big factor.

Was 3x or 4x the standard raise at the table? If so, it may have looked like you were trying to steal. Most people with two face cards or Ax soooted will call something like that from the SB, especially if they're a loose player.

I agree with your strategy, but making that large of a bet on that board is a bad idea, I think. If you had a K or a J, I could see making that bet, but any face card kicks your ass on that flop. I'd check on the flop and fold if my opponent bets on the turn.

Remember that in a turbo, for me at least, the most important thing to do is conserve chips in the early stages. That way, when you get to the "all in or fold" stages, you'll still have a stack that will scare other people when you jam. You gave away almost half your stack with a pair that is beaten by any card that hits the flop. Find a better scenario to get your chips in the middle instead of hoping that your opponent will fold (you didn't provide a hand range, so that's what I'm betting you did here. Correct me if I'm wrong). This is the wrong situation for that kind of play.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Some interesting comments. Let me add that it was a $11 tournament. Also, I wonder why some people would be willing to check/fold after your opponent checks the AKJ flop. Isn't that a scare-flop, and if so, wouldn't you want to use that opportunity to get your opponent (who may be ahead with a King or Jack) to fold? Even if you are in a dominant position (he has 99), why not take down the pot immediately, since the pot (550) is worth 50% of your remaining chips. I don't love the check/fold routine there, but I have to consider it.

As for the 5x raise preflop, I am in line with Acorn's thoughts. Players are a lot looser in these turbos, so a regular 3x the BB raise probably would result in several callers. I would be happy taking it down preflop. Also, I think I'm ahead of everyone preflop, so I don't mind pumping the pot. That flop is atrocious though. A King, Queen, or Jack-high flop with the rest under 10 would put me in a great spot with LESS players, as opposed to raising 3x the BB, facing a Q-high flop, and worrying that one of the four callers has a Queen.

I still don't know what the end all is to this question. Maybe the preflop raise really did set up the rest of my problems, since it may've given the other player the impetus to check his two-pair, etc., causing me to bet out 400.

At 3:25 PM, Blogger lj said...

if a guy raises my bb that much and i call and hit the flop enough where i'm gonna get it all in, i think a check is a good move with those stack sizes. sometimes i like to lead out, but in that situation, with so few chips and 500 already in the pot, i'm expecting an auto cbet.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger WillWonka said...

Here's the thing. You are open raising from Cutoff which people will automatically at least think about this being a steal so your hand range has opened up (in their opinion). then you put a larger than typical bet. Again hand range getting bigger.

At these blind levels, do you really think there is a difference between 150 and 250? My answer is no. If I'm calling 150, there isn't much of a range of hands that I won't be calling with 250. Sure he could have Ax, lower pair.. suited cards... but more often than not, he has a face card.

I really agree that chip conservation is key in these things until the end stages. That is where SNGs are really won. At the most, you have 4 players here (button and 2 blinds and yourself) if you get called by everyone (which is highly unlikely at any raise amount).

You still have chips if you check fold and could use that tendacy again next time when perhaps you hit the flop.

There is NO shame in check folding.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger lucko said...

I would rather call a turn bet than bet the flop. Call turn, fold to a river push is better than bet\folding imo.

At 4:52 PM, Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Yeah, like LJ, when I see a larger-than-normal preflop open raise, I think there's a much higher likelihood of seeing the continuation bet. So putting myself in villain's shoes here, I would be aiming for the check-raise if I hit the flop at all. Therefore I think there's a much higher likelihood that you were gonna see the check-raise (or check-call... then raise, like in this hand.) So, this is why I would've been okay with the lame check/fold routine after that disgusting flop. But this is only given the 5x bb preflop open raise. I think the hand likely plays out much different with a more standard preflop play.

But as always with my two cents, take it with a grain of salt... I'm a donkey!

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Wlokos said...

I'd probably see myself check/folding in that situation. I figure, if I've already made a considerable raise preflop, the people who call me are probably going to be playing hands with face cards in them - so, when the flop comes up as an AKJ, it's nearly guaranteed that one of them hit something. If I bet small to try to assess the situation, it's not going to scare anybody, but if I bet bigger, like you did, it'll be a pretty big risk.

Besides, given that it was early in the game, I think that I'd be more than willing to hold off on making any big moves in such a risky situation.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

I've pretty much come around to agree that the preflop raise may've been too high early in a turbo 45-player SNG, mostly for chip conservation purposes. However, what I am having trouble accepting is the belief that when the opponent checks the flop, it's because he hit the flop. I think there are a lot of hands that call preflop and fold to a bet post-flop, especially because of my wider range, given the preflop raise. I didn't want to leave the abandoned pot, so I made what I thought was a well-calculated raise.

I don't mean to defend myself. I'm truly trying to get perspective on this. I am just curious why so many people are willing to assume that my opponent has a strong hand. Don't I need to bet on the flop in a way that doesn't overexpose me but does provide information and some fold equity?

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

"So, could I have played this hand better? Should I have just check/folded once I saw the AKJ flop? Didn't I need to at least try to win this pot?"

You never "need" to make a c-bet just because you've bet preflop. You raised smartly with pocket Tens, and got called by someone who almost surely held at least one overcard. Then every overcard in the deck fell on the flop, the worst possible flop for your hand (literally). No you did not *need* to bet here, and I think I would have check-folded this one all the way to the river if it were me.

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Littleacornman said...

Wonka wrote "people will automatically at least think about..."

See this is where I have a problem! These donks don't automatically think very much at all!

I don't doubt that if I was playing the hand v some of the quality players who have commented here I would not need to raise 5bb preflop or even make as large a c-bet post flop.( if I did c-bet)

My point is that unless you had sharkscope stats etc or a decent read, most $11 turbo players have to be treated as donks and imo most players who call a 5bb raise early in a turbo tend to be poor.

This means you have to adjust for them and make your "story" really obvious.5bb = I have a huge hand.Large c-bet = I have hit this flop hard.( you may get a King or Jack to fold on a good day)

Lucko's check/call is interesting but I think you give up pot control and have no idea if your hand is good or not if they bet the turn.

On reflection perhaps any c-bet on that board is very marginal considering the villains possible ranges but if your going to bet then I wouldn't bet less than you did.


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