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You Decide #65

Hey hey folks. My poker diet continues with some decent success last night. I played one game, as planned, this time settling on a 4-player HU SNG. I once again won my first match, this time after a long and hard battle. On two ocassions, I was fairly short, about 500 or so with 3000 chips in play, but in both instances, I buckled down and fought my way back.

The second match was against a real chatty mofo. I had fired a three-bullet bluff with air, hoping that he would stop calling me down. There was an Ace on the flop and rags, so I wanted to represent the Ace. I assumed that he didn't have an Ace since he limped preflop and was very passive post-flop. At showdown, I had to show my J-high and he showed his A7 for top pair, weak kicker. He had to rub it in, typing, "Bluff machine, huh?" I replied, "Yeah, I guess the machine is broken." Obviously, on his end, he was either trying to get under my skin or just making idle conversation. What he really did was give me some info as to the way he is thinking. In return, I just decided to play it off as idle friendly chit-chat, rather than letting it tilt me.

As the game continued, I used my image as a bluff machine, not that I stopped bluffing. I worked my way back to even and then lost another big chunk in a hand where I was ahead the whole time until the four flush hit on the river. I had a strong hand up until that point, TPTK, but not an incredibly strong hand. Realizing that the four-flush screwed me (I lacked a flush card), I checked on the river when my opponent checked to me. I should mention that he had been talking a bit more smack in the interim. Whatever the case, at showdown it did reveal that I was ahead to his middle pair, but the river brought him the second-nut flush. My opponent typed: "Why no bet on the river there?" I replied: "After all that, now you are asking me for lessons?" That shut him up.

Amazingly, from game one to game two, my attention span went to shit. When I realized this, I forced myself to focus and think more. The key to my success from there on out was really river betting. I guess I had moved away from thoughtful poker. I recommitted to finding bet sizes that would be called by lesser hands and potentially induce folds from some higher hands. In the end, I just steadily chipped away at my opponent until he didn't have enough chips to put up a fight. The result was some easy money from the online bankroll at a much-needed time.

While I have your ear, I may as well share with you:

You Decide #65

I had looked through my archives to see if I had any hand histories not yet posted and came across this beauty. It's a hand that's all about the river bet, in my estimation. My question to you is simple, should I have made a value bet on the river?

The game is Pot Limit Omaha Hi. It's a Blogger Skillz game, so you have some fairly sophisticated players, as opposed to the usual PLO Hi donk-fest tournaments.

The blinds were still 20/40 and I had my complete 3000 stack. I was in the BB when I was dealt Ax 2x 5d 7d. The table was 6-handed. Preflop, lightning36 (3120) limps in the CO. The SB, PinkyStinky (3645, blog?) calls. I check.

The flop is Ad 4d 3h. I've already flopped the nuts with the wheel. I have a draw to a flush, too, but its a very weak flush (7-high). I am also mildly concerned about stronger straight draws. I may be currently ahead, but there is little guarantee things will remain that way. Pinky checks to me and I bet pot, 60. I'm trying to build a pot, which is crucial in PL games, but if I take down the pot uncontested, so be it. Lightning calls, but Pinky folds.

The turn is a Jc, basically a blank. I bet 120, still trying to build a pot, and Lightning raises to 240. I know I'm still holding the nuts, so I raise to 600. Lightning calls the 360. The pot, after this round, was 1380.

The river is a 5d. It completes my weak diamond flush, but my main concern is that I am facing a stronger flush. Lightning could easily have me beat here. Since we both put 680 into the pot, our stacks are in the 2400 range. This is where I need your help. I chose to check rather than bet. Lightning checked too, and we reach showdown.

Lightning showed Jh Th 3d Ah, for flopped 2-pair, turning into a better two-pair.

My check on the river was based on survival. If I were playing cash, I'd probably put out a value bet there. However, I only have one life in this tournament, so I don't want to risk all of my chips on my first hand. If I check and he checks, then I stand to win a decent pot. If I bet and he pushes all-in on top of me, though, I may be forced to fold, whether he has the goods or not. By not betting, I limit Lightning's maximum bet to 1380, leaving me with a 1,000 cushion. If he bets the max, he very well could be doing it on a bluff, so I am more likely to call him in that situation, but in any event, I'll have 1,000 left over in a worst-case-scenario, which is more than enough to work my way back up with blinds of 20/40.

So, take your best shot. Do you think the river warranted a bet or was a check the right move?

Until next time, make mine poker!

posted by Jordan @ 9:44 AM,


At 4:39 PM, Blogger BWoP said...

I think I would have value bet there.

Here's my rationale:

If Lightning did have the flush draw, my guess is that you would have seen a raise on the flop instead of on the turn. Why would I think that way? With a drawing hand, your odds are naturally higher to win with two cards to come instead of one (unless you pick up something else on the turn). As you aptly put it, the Jc on the turn was pretty much a blank. However, it was only when this apparent blank hit that Lightning raised - and it was only the dreaded min-raise, followed by a flat call of your re-re-raise.

IMO, PLO is a game that requires deeper stacks than NLHE. If you think having 3,000 chips in a Full Tilt NLHE is tough, having 3,000 chips in a Full Tilt PLO tournament is probably 3x tougher. That's right. My comfort zone (with buy-ins or M or any type of stack-count measure) tends to be 2.5 - 3.0 times higher in PLO than what it would be in NLHE. Amassing chips is *that* much more important.

I would also say that I would rather value bet this hand in a tournament situation over a cash game situation because the only way you can increase your stack in a tournament is to win hands (rather than reaching into your pocket). You don't get that many chances to take down tournament pots, so extract as much value as you can.

At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a bit tangential - you commented about "one life" being important in tournaments, moreso than cash games, which is true.

however; these days, i think pot size control (and folding marginal hands in from the get-go) is very important if you're a good player in NL cash games, especially live -- because everyone is too loose.

although in cash games you have to put out probe bets for value and information... still much moreso than tournaments -- primarily on the turn and river, if you compare the frequency -- than in all but the most deep stacked tournaments.

that's all i got, in the way of tangents.

At 2:08 AM, Blogger Gnome said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Gnome said...

I'm confused how you could have a flush.
You said you had Ax 2x 5c 7c on a Ad 4d 3h Jc 5d board. I assume you meant to write that you had Ax 2x 5d 7d to give you the 7-high flush draw, but then you have two 5d -- one in your hand and one on the board.
Regardless, if you have a weak diamond flush on the river, I don't think there's much value in betting.
Most halfway competent PLO players won't call a river bet without the flush, and most flushes are better than yours.
If you had bet, lightning should realize that his two pair is almost never good.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I'm with CK, for the same good reasons she listed. I bet there because I don't see him raising on the TURN with a flush draw. The flop, sure, but the turn, no way, and I think you'd be able to squeeze maybe a bit more out of him, tho maybe not. It's certainly not a bad check, tho, so don't worry about it too much.

Now, will you please ditch the green??? :)

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

Fixed, Gnome. Thanks for the heads up.


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