Friday, September 19, 2008

Best-Laid Responses

The two hands I posted the other day received a few responses over at the Poker Academy Forums. I was intrigued by the comments, mostly, perhaps, because while some aligned with my strategy at least to some degrees, others didn’t, and, despite having seen this sort of play, in fact took a tact I wouldn’t expect to be +EV.

Loki9, a very thoughtful, strategic and aggressive player wrote:

"First hand looks pretty good. It's gotta suck getting check-raised twice in one hand. But I wonder if the risk in checking the turn is worth the reward. The turn card made both the straight and flush draws, I would lead here most of the time."

It seems to me that if I led out on the turn, and was called, I would be giving up some of my advantage. It would also mean that I would have to then reevaluate my position in the hand. In that my flop check-raise didn’t slow him down much, I would venture to say that he would indeed call a bet equal to the size that he made. By keeping the equal amount of pressure on the turn betting sequence, it forces him to consider a wide range that I may have. Again, with his preflop limp, I am betting on AJ as his best holding, but not ruling out a set. I need to demonstrate that I can beat these holdings.

"Second hand I don't understand the question. On the turn you hit your OESD and got all in. Villain had a flush draw + gutshot and decided to call off his stack with one card to come. Good work, on to the next hand.

What does the first hand have to do with the second? I don't see the set up. In the second hand, Villain can't even beat a bluff with his Q high. He's on a pure draw and doesn't care what you have. This hand would have been better if you had something like Ad2d and the river was the 4h, letting you own him with A high. "

Hypotheticals aside, the value of the first hand in relation to the second is that it sets the player up to think that my aggression is unwarranted, that I am working a stone cold bluff again. He may think that his Q high is good against my air.

"You've found a weakness in villain's game, by the way. While appearing fairly solid, he'll call off his stack on a draw way too often. "

And yes, he is looking at his draws as providing some sort of insurance. Very often we see a player over-commit to a draw, making the all-in an almost necessary conclusive bet. This is especially true in the case of short stack newbies and maniacs.

Pokergirl takes a slightly different approach:

"Seems like the point is he wanted to do to B what B did to him with Q9. Except he actually made his draw too. "

He may have wanted to do the same to me, get me to fold to his re-raise. His “mistake” was to call my all-in. This is the value the earlier bluff has. The hands are nowhere similar, yet his response is similar when a different strategy is called for. His pot-sized continuation bet on the flop may be representing a set, but when the same betting strategy is employed on the turn, and he gets re-raised, this betting clearly reads as a stereotypical made draw. A set may call, hoping against hope to pair the board, to re-raise again makes no sense whatsoever for a +EV result. I have no option but to go all-in at this point as there is no hand on the board that can beat me.

Biggus_Poppa, a player who I have yet to play against wrote:

"I think the mistake was showing your bluff if you want to take a psychological standpoint."

I left out an item in the previous post. When 986 folded the first hand, he flashed his cards. I did the same as I wanted to show the bluff and make it look like I was reciprocating. We were playing short-handed, usually a very aggressive game, and one which I do well at, usually by biding my time while everyone else goes nuts. An observant player would see that I am playing 18% while everyone else is playing 35%+. I want to leave a false impression.

"You said 986 was a solid player. A solid player is going to remember that, and induce action against you with a monster draw and get paid.

...and he did."

I guess the question I would have is this a monster draw? He has 11 outs. My experience has shown that a flush and gutshot draw, while nice, is still very much a long shot, not even 4 to 1; and running the hand at the turn, I am a 70% favorite to win. Yet some may think it’s stellar draw and this points to the possible flaw in my play of this hand. I should have jammed the turn. It would have signaled my actual hand strength and eliminated any odds to call.

In fact, in a conversation with 986 a couple days later, he said that had I jammed the turn, he would have indeed folded.

Oh well. As Loki9 says, “On to the next hand.”

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