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You Decide #57 and #58

I'm very frustrated by my online game of late. I lost a buyin at $100 max NLHE last night when I made some stupid calls. I lost a couple of tournaments to the same sort of issues. I can't justify most of my errors. Plain and simple, I am not playing my best, and really, I must play your best each and every time if I want to succeed online. Of course, that assumes I want to succeed online, and that I am not just playing through some self-flagulation ritual nightly on the computer.

I played in the Brit Bloggament yesterday afternoon after a friendly reminder IM from AlCantHang. Al and I made it to the top 5 before he went out 5th with me out 4th. Top 3 paid.

While I was playing, DP from WiredPairs and I were chatting, and we were discussing a couple of my hands after they played out. We had differing views, but with some time, I have come to appreciate his opinions on both hands. That doesn't mean I am 100% convinced, though, so I decided to use this wonderful resource call the Interweb to ask my readers if they can point me in the right direction. So, let's dust this baby off, as I offer you:

You Decide #57
So, we are in the Brit Bloggament, with blinds of 50/100, and I have 3248, good for the chipleader position at my table. I am dealt 22 on the button, and when it folds to me, I limp. LittleAcornMan, longtime blogger and pal, calls from the SB with 2515, and the BB, who is sittnig out, is forced to autofold. (Note: I just noticed from the hand history that the sitting out player was auto-folded, even though there was no raise and he already had his BB in. Weird, but I guess it makes sense.)

The flop was Qx2dTd, giving me bottom set on a draw-heavy board. When Acorn checks, I bet out 300, since I don't necessarily put him on any draw and I want to get some action for my bottom set. He calls.

The turn is Th, making the board, QT2T with two diamonds. Acorn checks again and with a full house, I check as well. Now I am hoping he is on a draw. After all, his flat call looks like a draw and he sure as hell didn't hit it with the Ten. I want him to hit his flush or straight, or for that matter, I want him to have a Ten and now suddenly think that he is slowplaying me.

The river is a Qs, making the board QT2TQ. Suddenly, I have the third-best fullhouse. Acorn bets 800 into the 900 pot, and I think it over before flat calling. He has Q2 and I lose. LEMON!

This is the conversation between DP and I after the hand:

Jordan: i had to call that river
DP: coulda maybe found a fold on the river imo
DP: but either way teh sickness
Jordan: there was too good of a chance that he was playing A strong
DP: i don't know that guy
Jordan: my flop bet was to appear like a position bet
Jordan: the turn check was to sell the story
Jordan: by the river, i was hoping he had a busted flush draw
DP: flop i don't think he called with nothing
DP: turn he checked b/c he thought u might have hit three tens
DP: river bet by him is very strong
DP: only thing you beat is A or K high
DP: well, only thing you really beat is a busted draw
Jordan: or pocket pairs
DP: one hand KJ
DP: or pure bluff
Jordan: nah,
DP: but the bet wasn't huge on the river
Jordan: exactly
Jordan: hence why it was worth the call
Jordan: his range is HUGE
Jordan: busted flushes, AK, AJ, pocket pairs
Jordan: based on the action, any of those except maybe the pocket pairs would bet out 800 on the river
Jordan: as would a Q or T
DP: naturally
DP: i think his range in that particular spot was very limited, that river bet he lead out with exuded strength, barring any blatant reads (i have none on that player; and have not been paying attention to the other players at your table)
Jordan: so i just called 800, leaving me 2000 behind
Jordan: i know the player
Jordan: but i still think you are off
Jordan: i should add he's teh type of player willing to stab at pots
Jordan: i suppose that's a big point
DP: well, it's good to get different views on hands, anyway
Jordan: cause he knows me, and i have a loose rep
DP: true
Jordan: absolutely
Jordan: and maybe i'm wrong
Jordan: btw, back to a nice stack
Jordan: brb
Jordan: going to enjoy this break
DP: barring any reads, i just had a terrible feeling about that card and how he bet that river
DP: and i'm not just saying that after seeing his hand and the result, that has nothing to do with my opinion of course
DP: obviously
Jordan: the more i think of it, the more i'm coming around
Jordan: i think you were right about that last hand
DP: yeah
DP: you go to Starbucks?

So, is DP right, or am I right? The way I saw it at the time, Acorn had a wide open range. The way DP saw it, it was pretty clear that I was beat by the river. I do see DP's point. So, should I have saved my river bet, or was my call correct? Keep in mind, I had about 2800 left before calling the 800, so I knew I had chips to play with if I lost.

You Decide #58

We are in the same tournament. The blinds are now 75/150, and I made a minor comeback to 3048, good for 2nd chip leader at my table. I was dealt AKd on the SB, and after a limp by UTG, Cell in UTG+2 raised all-in for 630 total. I opt to flat call, chipleader Acorn in the BB folds, and the original limper with 1872 folds. It is now just me and Cell. He has TT and I flop a King, giving me the winning hand.

This is the conversation between DP and I after the hand:

DP: i insta-shove there preflop
DP: to make sure it's isolated unless they other two have a huge hand
Jordan: i'd rather have more players to pay me if i hit
DP: but that worked well
Jordan: its a drawing hand
DP: yah but you will whiff the flop 2/3 the time
Jordan: yeah, so i only lose 500
DP: you want it to be heads up with the short stack to maximize your chances of winning don't you
DP: and see all 5 cards
Jordan: but i see your point, actually
DP: it's all good

Is it all good? Really? Or should I have pushed to isolate. At the time, I did some instantaneous ranges in my head.

The pusher likely had a good hand. I figured him for a pair at least, but I suppose AK, AQ or even AJ is possible in hindsight, since the blinds were high and he was close to the blinds. In any event, I figured it for a cointoss, with a very slim likelihood I was dominating.

The problem came with the ranges of the players after me. I had no idea about Acorn, since he had not yet acted, but I was conscious of the fact that he had me covered in chips. The UTG limper didn't scare me as much, but there is always the chance that an UTG limper is AA waiting to re-raise. In any event, those players could have anything. Therefore, I didn't want to push. If I push, one of three things happens: (1) they fold, in which case, it is HU anyway, (2) they call, in which case, they may have mediocre cards worse than me since the all-in was for cheap OR they could have a pocket pair that has me beat preflop, and (3) they can re-raise, but only if they have a monster.

If they re-raise, I fold AK happily. I have nothing to prove. If they call, then I get a chance to see if I hit. If I do, then I can try to build a side pot. If I don't, I happily check it down with their mediocre hand.

My big fear is re-raising blind there. I don't want to push all-in because I am ONLY called by AA and KK, and possibly QQ, but that is still a cointoss at best. I want more players in the pot with my drawing hand (AK). DP's belief is that by pushing, I force lesser hands out (and possibly some pocket pairs) and allow myself to go HU againt the pusher.

It's two theories that both are grounded in logic. I just can't decide which one is more correct.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 5:12 PM,


At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How come you didn't raise PF with your small pocket pair? I'm not a big fan of open limping from the button.

On the AK hand, I would definitely jam that PF so that it is heads up. More than likely no one behind you will have AA or KK. With AK, I either want to see 0 cards, or all 5 cards.


At 2:37 PM, Blogger Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I agree with POKERFOOL and he said what I wanted to say with that 22...pop that MOFO with a big raise to protect.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Pokerwolf said...


Acorn misplayed the flop. Top/Bottom two pair isn't a hand you want to slowplay on a draw-heavy board. I think you risked too much too. You have bottom set on a draw heavy board. That means that when you hit the turn, you need to bet to find out where you are. It's entirely possible that Acorn would have called your bet on the turn if it was half the pot or less as well. When you have someone on a "huge range of hands", then something needs to be done to shrink that range. If the river wasn't a Q, he's folding to any bet because the board paired and he could easily be beaten by a set of tens.

I agree with DP that you really need to think about calling with the third best full house on the river, especially to an almost pot-sized bet from a formerly quiet opponent. If you fold, you still have 2800 chips.


Push to isolate with drawing hands. If UTG has TT or higher (or even something goofy like AQ or AJ), he might jam and then you're faced with a difficult decision. You need to hit the board to win a hand with drawing hands, obviously, and if you whiff, you're crippled if you're up against two stacks. You don't want your chances of winning the hand to go down by having more than one person playing against your hand. Use your big stack to your advantage in those situations!

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Nasty river. What does he have that can call a pot sized bet on the flop that you now beat? Middle pair or slow played overpair or a flush/straight draw, if LAM likes to draw.

That's so rough, but you're getting better than 2:1. If you're ahead over half the time, it is profitable. I think I plug my nose and call. Hard to fold boats in any case, even greatly weakened boats.

I jam AK to isolate.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Fuel55 said...

57 - I hate the check on the turn - its pot building time. I hate the call on the river. He leads says you are beat 90% of the time here.

58 - Shove and isolate every time.

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

57 - I raise from the button and take down blinds. This hand never woulda happened. But if it did happen, I bet the turn also. I don't mind the check but if he was on a draw, I'd bet an amount where it's correct for him to call. Otherwise, if he misses the draw, you might not make any more money out of it. Sure, he might fire out with a missed draw but he could do that even after he calls on the turn. On the river though, I fold. Basically, you just got counterfeited. The fact that he doesn't fear you having a Q means he's got a Q. If he bluffs you off that pot, who cares?

58 - I actually don't mind the call. I don't think it's always a no-brainer like everyone indicates. I'd reraise sometimes, I'd flat call at other times.

At 4:22 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

What Fuel said. word for word.

I love these hands. I hope you keep 'em coming.

At 5:22 PM, Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Regarding the first hand, I think you could've made that lay down after the counterfeit on the river. The 800 bet sure screamed a Queen to me. And not to rub it in more than it is already, but I would've raised pre, AND huge on that turn card... and would've taken it down well before the river.

Also, I'm with Alan on the latter hand... I don't think the shove is that automatic of a decision. You're all in is insta-called if BB or UTG has a monster. Why not try to get in without risking your whole stack. If BB or UTG then re-shoves, you can still laydown AK pre with a still-healthy stack.

Enjoyed the post! I like these!

At 6:03 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Jordan, did you think you were beat when he bet 800 into that shitty river card in the first hand? To me that is the question that would dictate my move. I thought you were beat, and with any single Queen or Ten suddenly beating you, I find that to be a pretty easy laydown myself. I just find it very hard to believe that he would be bluffing you there, knowing full well that any single Queen or any single Ten beats him. His 800-chip bet tells you to fold, and because you played this hand a lot slower on the turn than I would have, you really hadn't lost that much if you just gave up there.

On the second hand, I would almost surely jam with AK. Now, with AA or KK I would be more likely to just call, but with AK I'd like at least the chance to win unimproved or something against AQ, a lower Ace, KQ or something like that. Encouraging others to call me with the AK is not something I'm interested in in that spot with AK.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Interesting questions, Hoy. In the first hand, I honestly thought that I could be ahead. I thought that a flush draw with an Ace would think that we were chopping the pot at worst because of how I played it. I figured a busted flush draw might just bet out there because it was the only way to win the pot. And most of all, I considered my image and the fact that Acorn knows my game. But after it is all said and done, I misplayed that hand. So this is not an excuse, but rather my thought process at the time. I still thought he might have a Q or T, but I put it at a 50/50 based on the way he played it.

As for the second hand, I think Hoy is wrong. If I have AA or KK there, then I am trying to isolate against one player. I still think that AK is a drawing hand and I wanted more players in the hand with me so I could build the sidepot if I hit. If I have AA or KK though, I'm pushing because I want to go into the pot with as few crackers out there as possible.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Littleacornman said...

Great to read about a hand I've played in from your perspective Jordan.

If you had popped the mofo preflop obviously I would have folded, but I was aware that if I did fold to your limp, then you would take the pot ( with bb sitting out) and as I thought you knew that,I decided that I'd take the good odds the pot was offering and see if I could hit anything.

I was also aware you probably see me as tight and may think your limp alone could just win you an easy pot.The fact you were flying at the time as chipleader made that kind of move more likely from you too imo.

The flop may have been draw heavy and perhaps checking was a little risky but unless you had KJ/J9 or two diamonds I thought the check was ok,especially as I was almost certain you'd bet something if I showed weakness.Your bet did look like a position bet and you had me on the hook at that point for sure.

I hated the 10 on the turn though, and would have folded to any bet there, afterall I had the q2 and felt it unlikely ( how wrong I was) your range included a Q or 2 and far more likely that any hand with a ten was a distinct possibility.

Lucky river for me and I felt my value bet was about right there.

I hope your back for more donkery next week mate!

Oh and on hand 2 I shove that AK everytime to get heads up with the orignal raiser and see 5 cards.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger MattyEbs said...

Wow hate to be the minority but I like the majority of your play on these hands. I like the limp with 22 its a hand where if you hit you love garbage hands having a piece and hoping your on a move...if you miss one c-bet and ur done after that. The flop bet was good but the turn I play it the same way I play a small pair that hasn't hit a set. More because I want to put pressure on top pair and by betting and showing here I can steal more pots later...especially from the blinds...I feel that the river u have to get away from...he could be betting a scare card...but you need to be willing to sacriice that play...winning the pot isn't nearly as good as losing 800 is bad. The AK I like the smooth gives you the oppurtunity to control the hand on the flop...also with dry sidepots you may even get cards 4 and 5 for free.


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