AA on paired board and very loose table

JJJGabriel

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Today I am in my hometown and decided to check it out on a poker club I had never been to. It’s not a fancy place, players are loud and somethings seem to be amateur-ish. And that looks like a great opportunity to play some cards.

Game is NLHE 1/1 (they only run 1/1 and 2/5 for whatever reason). I had been at the table for an hour or so, playing TAG and winning some good pots. Table is running ultra loose and somewhat passively. 6-way pots are very common. Pre flop opens are running anywhere from 4x to 10x. I don’t have any specific reads on the villain, besides the general table read. Didn’t see him too out of line, either. To the hand...

Effective stacks: ~$160
I have AcAh

UTG raises to $8
Villain calls $8
Fold, fold
Hero makes it $31
Fold all the way to villain
Villain calls

Flop: Td5s3c (pot: $70)

Villain checks
Hero bets $31
Villain tanks and calls

Turn: Td5s3cTs (pot: $132)
Villain thinks for 30 seconds and goes all in for $97
Hero???

How many tens are in his range? Does he ever do that as a semi-bluff waiting for the flush? Does he ever shove JJ-QQ? With the odds I’m getting, I need to win 30% of the time. Can I do that?

- - -

As a sidenote, they have what are probably the ugliest chips I have ever seen. Look at that!
1A955C78-3849-4A8C-9286-3DBDFCBF7A62.jpeg

- - -

After a few seconds I called and he showed ATo, and took the hand down...
 

kmccormick100

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These are tough player dependent spots at low stakes. Your standard straightforward tight passive regular probably has a decent amount of suited Tens there, JT, 9T, AT and maybe KT. AT odd is a pretty wide defend to a three bet. I also see a lot of crazy play at low stakes and wouldn’t be shocked to see villain shove the nut flush draw here, or shove JJ-KK. It’s probably pretty close, you’re getting 2.3:1, against a player capable of a semi bluff or overvaluing a hand. Against somebody who’s passive and only bets if they have it it’s probably not a terrible fold. I’m not losing sleep over this hand either way.
 

DrStrange

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Hero finds himself in a low SPR situation - $70 in the pot, effective stacks $160 - $31 = $129. So less than two. Hero is pot committed on this flop. I like the stout preflop raise that gets hero into this situation.

I am not a big fan of c-bets less than 50% pot. I know they have become common in tournament play. In cash games, there is some game theory optimal reasoning for a small flop bet or even a check. But this seems to me to be an exploitive situation where there is good reason to depart from strategies aimed at highly skilled villains.

I think a c-bet of ~$40 seems better. Though that likely doesn't matter much here.

Hero bets $31 and gets called, leaving $97 behind and a $132 pot. The board pairs and villain jams.

Obviously Hero doesn't like this. But is it so alarming that he needs to fold? < hint, see the first line where we see Hero is pot committed on the flop > Sure, villain could have a ten. Villain could have an overpair. Or a set. Or a strange backdoor draw. Or maybe some unexpected burst of aggression. Hero's hour worth of table time might not have yielded that many post flop hands from villain so the read might be off. Thing is, Hero is way too deep into the hand to be finding folds. Pay the villain off. If the news is bad, then use your "one time" to spear a river ace and inflict a brutal suck out.

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My first thought was the same as Dr. Strange. Would bet more post flop although with villain flopping top pair it probably doesn't matter.

Post turn I have a different take. I think pot committed is a bit over used. Hero still has a decent stack even if he folds. My line of thinking was along this line. I try and put myself in villains shoes. How does he see hero's betting. Hero bet fairly strong pre flop. Hero bets on the light side post flop. Is he trying to encourage a call with an overpair? Strong possibility. So villain hits the likely nuts on the turn (only 33 and 55 beat him). If hero was indeed betting an over pair he can likely be induced to call any bet.

So what would villain do? He could check his top set and hope hero bets then he shoves at which point now hero certainly calls. Or he could bet and likely get called which is what he did.

Now back as hero my thinking would be villain called my pre flop raise. Villain called my post flop bet. Now its starting to smell. Villain shoves post turn. Now it stinks. What hands could he have and play this way from the start?

For me it boiled down to these starting hands.

33, 55, 1010, JJ, QQ, KK, AA, A10 and K/Q./J10 suited.

I slightly discount the pocket over pairs since he didn't raise preflop. So that left me with 7 starting hands. 33, 55, 1010, and A10, K10, Q10, and J10. So he either is just flat bluffing or he has a better hand than I do. The only time hero wins here is when villain indeed held JJ, QQ, and KK.

Fold.
 

JustinInMN

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How many tens is hero 3 betting preflop here?

If hero never has AT here then AA is the best possible hand hero can have in this spot outside of quads. Folding this hand opens hero up to getting bluffed every time the top card pairs. So that alone from a game theory standpoint means it's a call.

Now I think game theory is a good starting point, but in my opinion it is okay to make deviations (aka exploitive plays) if there's reason.

If villian is a never bluffer, then your hand matters less, he has what he's representing, and if he's never bluffing, he won't be taking advantage of what is a GTO overfold. So hero can make the fold if sure. By folding hero would be exploiting villian's never bluff strategy.

I think @kmccormick100 is asking the right questions on these lines that might reveal the answer. With how many tens is he defending the 3 bet? If it's just AT then it's harder to put him on a never bluff than if he has a longer list.

Could villian have 66-99 just trying to charge missed overcards? Possible if villian assumes hero never has a ten?

Hard to believe villian had JJ-KK without getting all in on the flop, but it's possible, that leans me toward a call.

Could villian have overs in spades and be on a semi bluff? Hero does not have :as: so there are a number of these combos.

Unless I can answer no to those questions and really put villian on a decent list of Tx holdings, I think it's a call, even if I expect to be shown a T a decent amount of the time.

I am open to folding if the read is super certain that villian is a never bluffer.

But I say this is typically a call, sometimes take the lumps, but collect more than your share when you are ahead.
 
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DrStrange

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Hero has an hour of table time with villain. That is likely something between twenty and thirty hands. Sure, hero has some ideas about the villains especially if he is observant. But he doesn't have a lot of post flop information about villains. This likely is one of only a few three-bet pots - it helps put Hero in uncharted waters.

Hero sees the table as passive. Take that with a grain of salt. Passive preflop doesn't equal passive post flop, though it is a clue. We can't assume villain would take aggressive action pre-flop with a big pair - it certainly is possible but I know plenty of players who's preflop raise range is AA only or KK+ on a frisky day.

These are casino players at the lowest staked game in the house. The skill levels at such tables are typically quite low. Not that Hero can't apply advanced poker logic, but he can only go so far in assuming the villain is logical and/or observant. Building a poker logic case for a course of action based on villain's deep understanding of the nuances of the game is likely unwise. It could be true of course. But it is also true that villain might not even remember that Hero 3-bet or that villain would ponder what kind of hand hero might hold to bet like that.

This is one of the reasons why Hero is pot committed on a low SPR situation and a dry flop. Villains do strange things. They often aren't observant, even clueless. The price hero is getting for the call is too good - Hero needs to be really sure of villain's nature to properly fold and he can't be that sure based on two dozen hands worth of observation.

I have sympathy for Hero's predicament. Hero is going to lose more than half the time. But Hero need only win 30% of the time to profit from a call.
 

Moxie Mike

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On paper this is a 'hold your nose and call' type of situation given everything @DrStrange detailed. Folding AA in any circumstance is probably one of the most difficult situations a player encounters in NLHE. So let's segue just a bit and see what it would take to fold in this spot.

We know the results, so let's reverse engineer this player's tendencies so you can recognize similar patterns in the future.

Two decently reliable generalizations that often hold true at low stakes NLHE games are:

  • A player's bet sizes are often proportional to the strength of their hand;
  • One-pair hands JJ and below are often played very passively irrespective of board texture or other factors.
Considering that this player cold called $8 then another $23 preflop supports this. With what hand is it ever appropriate to play preflop this way? Calling the $8 to see a flop is fine, but calling another $23 OOP after the initial bettor folded should tell you a lot about how he plays. He was determined to see a flop regardless of price (within reason).

Flop: Td5s3c (pot: $70)

Villain checks
Hero bets $31
Villain tanks and calls
Now ask yourself, what was he pondering? He is obviously not considering folding - he found one of the very few flops that's perfect for his hand. So it's raise or call situation for him. Eventually, he calls - the logic for this is that he isn't sure if he has the best hand or not so he doesn't want to raise while he's behind.

Turn: Td5s3cTs (pot: $132)
Villain thinks for 30 seconds and goes all in for $97
So again - what is the villian pondering? Now he's confident he has the best hand - so is he pondering whether to check or bet? Or is he just pondering how much to bet?

So he figures he might as well bet as much as he can, because he's not worried about being coolered.

Lastly, you can ask yourself after the :ts: hit the turn and he shoves, 'after playing the hand this passively, why isn't he worried that I might have a 10'?

Now having said all of this, I'm probably not good enough to fold AA here considering the stack sizes and the stakes. But if you look for these types of patterns in other players, you can also identify who the calling stations are and understand how to play profitably against them. Over time, you'll win enough small pots by extracting extra value when the opportunity presents itself that it will finance thin calls such as this.
 
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