AQs in MP

DrStrange

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Playing $0.25/$0.50 eight handed, $20 buy in max. The is our Christmas game and has nothing to do with the crazy folks that Hero plays with in the 1-2 game I have posted before. This game is loose-passive. Hero has a fair amount of fold equity vs the table. That being said most of the players can be rather sticky. There is a special rule in place for tonight's game - win a hand with a red king in your hole cards and you get to draw a gift from Santa's bag. The gifts are worth $5 - $10. The best gift, a RC helicopter is already gone. (The Santa's bag give away was a huge success. We had 21 prizes and they lasted four hours. Everyone won at least one prize.)


Cast of characters:


Hero is MP with $225. Hero has been on a hot run, crushing folks again and again. It has been wonderful {for Hero anyway}. Hero has been able to raise preflop and take down the pot uncontested a few times tonight but Hero gets calls more than folds. Hero generally expects calls when he raises preflop, even though his raises are bigger than the table norm.

Main Villain {for now} sits UTG+1 with $70. She is reasonably close to TAG. Plays a little too wide a range and is not mindful of position. I'd say she raises 15% to 20% of her hands {that is close to any pair, any suited ace, any two broadways and a few "good" hands like 87s or A8o}

Almost everyone is potentially playing this hand. Stacks range from $20 to $150, mostly in the $30 to $50 range. We'll get specific later. It is notable that everyone has a huge amount of time together. We play once or twice a week for ten+ years.

The hand:

UTG limps, Villain raises to $1.50. One call and one fold brings us to Hero. Hero has :ad: :qd:. Should he fold, call or raise, if raising how much and why?

DrStrange
 

Mr Tree

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MP and unsure what a limp and an early raise mean from the two in front of me. I would like to bump it to see how they react. I also don't want to play AQ six handed or so which seems like a distinct possibility if you limp. I'd raise to $5
 

Ben

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Don't know about this villain, but against almost every villain I've ever played in a $.25/$.50 game (which is a lot of them,) a $1.50 raise, particularly after a limper, usually signifies a small pair or SC-type hand just looking to juice the pot/set a cheap price. With any reasonable holding I almost always reraise (especially IP,) and this would be no exception. Raise to $5.50.
 

DrStrange

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This villain is disciplined about sizing preflop. Her raise is almost always $1.50 even when it should be bigger (like in the BB vs a many limps). She would bet $1.50 on AA or 33 or AJo or 76s.

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mipevi

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Suited AQ is great multiway too. You have position to sticky people, call and profit post when you hit.
 

DrStrange

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*** on to the flop ***

I think the big suited ace can be played passively or aggressively. . . . but this time Hero raises to $4.75.

CO calls as does villain. Everyone else folds. Three way action with $17 in the pot.

Notes about CO - AKA calling station. She is playing $60. This villain is a calling station with a wonderful betting tell. She makes oversized bets when she has a good hand. The last six months she has been tossing in a rare bluff, but in general she calls with "a little something", folds air and raises with top two or better. Hyper loose, rarely aggressive calling station.

Flop is :as: :td: :5h:

Villain leads out for $5. Action on Hero. call, fold or raise? If raising, how much and why?

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Mr Tree

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I'm feeling pretty good. You have a calling station in the hand and a person who is known to overbet when they hit and is throwing a very small bet into this pot. AK is obviously in her range though so I would want to shake out the truth. I reraise to $20. If villain continues my aim is to check the turn to keep the pot from exploding if allowed.
 

DrStrange

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The calling station is the third player in the hand and she is the one with the betting tell. The original raiser is that Hero 3-bet is TAG preflop, though not as much post flop - still nothing like a calling station and she is the one donk betting.

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DrStrange

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The question for the moment - what kind of range do we put Villain (UTG+1) on? She raises preflop, flats the 3-bet, then donks 1/3 pot on a dry ace-high flop.

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MoscowRadio

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Hands in her range like AK-AJ make a lot of sense given your description on her. If she's not overbetting then we can probably safely take hands like AT, TT, A5, and 55 out of her range. It could even been a weaker suited ace like A9 or A8, but I'm willing to place bets that she has at least an ace in her hand. The donk bet is a little confusing to me though.
 

DarPodo

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TAG bets pre, gets 3bet and flats after one other caller.

Hands that beat you in their range: 5's, 10's, AK, A-10s, A-5s. I feel like the CO smooth calling gave villain a wider range to flat with weaker holdings like A-5, A-10, 5's. TAGs probably won't 4bet 10's, AK, especially out of position.

We can rule out A's, K's, Q's. J's might flat the 3bet.

You're ahead of AJ, Ax suited, J's, 6's-9's, lower PP's, and any paint combos. Hard to see a TAG betting most of that range first to act & up against a player like you.

I prefer a call >> fold > raise

I don't think villain leads out without some reasonably strong holding. Calling also gives us a chance to better range the CO. If the CO raises big we can comfortably fold based on their betting tell.
 

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Generally speaking (not considering the bet size, just the action) I would prefer a call here. But this bet is so small I don't think we can afford to let it walk with another sticky player still in the hand. We likely have the best hand, and letting the villains draw this cheaply would be a mistake. I raise to $22.
 

DrStrange

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Just noting that this is mostly a way ahead / way behind situation. Hero is drawing almost dead to a set and drawing to three outs vs AK/AT/A5 {T5 is mostly out of the question} Villains are drawing to 4 outs for broadway, three outs with a weaker ace and five outs to Tx {plus a faint runner runner straight draw}

*** On to the turn ***

Hero flats $5, Calling Station calls. $32 in the pot, three way action at the turn. $51 effective stacks.

Turn is: < :as: :td: :5h: > :8s:

Villain bets $10, Action on Hero - fold, call or raise, if raising how much?

DrStrange
 

Mr Tree

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This is why I don't like flatting on the flop at all. Now we have NO idea where we are but we are strong enough that we still have to continue. If the stacks were deeper I would have felt much better about the play but as is any reasonable raise ($25 to $30) pot commits us if they move all in with an effective stack of $51 each. As stated previously we are either way ahead or way behind with no idea which. Since we don't know where we are and have no way of generating additional info (besides gifting an all in if they have a big hand) IMO the only play is to flat here. Folding is too weak with our holding and I am not a fan of shoving when I have no idea where I stand in the hand. If the stacks were deeper an informational raise could still work here but they aren't so it doesn't. Really feel we missed the boat with the flat call on the flop.
 

Ben

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Just noting that this is mostly a way ahead / way behind situation. Hero is drawing almost dead to a set and drawing to three outs vs AK/AT/A5 {T5 is mostly out of the question} Villains are drawing to 4 outs for broadway, three outs with a weaker ace and five outs to Tx {plus a faint runner runner straight draw}

Understood - however we are still giving 2 villains solid odds to draw to potential 4-5 outers against us, especially considering that we have no idea which 4-5 outers they might be, and there is no turn card they can hit which will stop us from putting additional money in the pot if we are behind. I don't think flatting will entice them to put enough more money in the pot when they are behind and stay behind to counteract this. Also when we are already behind, there are some scenarios where we may still be able to get away with some of our stack after a flop raise.

As played, we can no longer raise without it being an effective jam (very RIO here,) and with a turn card that offers some additional possibilities of beating us, I think flatting again is the play. We should still be able to make a decent play on the river depending on card and action.
 

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Ok . . . So lets say Hero had raised the flop. $17 in the pot preflop, villain bets $5 plus Hero's $5 ----> $27 in the pot just prior to the raise {$61 effective vs TAG villain}. $18 more is 2/3rds pot, $15 is as small as I'd go if we want to learn something. Let's make it $16.50 on top of $5. [ lets just assume the calling station goes away, if not that brings a host of new problems ]


Assume villain folds - OK hero had the best hand and won

Assume villain flats. Pot would be $60, effective stacks $45. Is hero pot committed now?

Assume villain raises, most likely a shove. Is hero calling?

Even if hero makes a $12 raise (less than half pot) that leads to a $51 pot with $49 effective stacks and two streets left. Does this pot commit Hero?

Should hero turn his hand into a bluff, make one serious stab at the pot and fold to further action?

DrStrange
 

Mr Tree

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Assume villain raises, most likely a shove. Is hero calling?

No. Unless we think the villain is a complete donk that has no problem shoving with a weak A. They've now told a story pretty thoroughly. And that story is hero is beat.

Assume villain flats. Pot would be $60, effective stacks $45. Is hero pot committed now?

Depends. Does villain flat and then shove on the turn. If so I feel like see above. The story then is becoming compelling that hero is still beat. If villain checks check behind. If villain shoves on the river the decision becomes tougher.
 

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*** And now the river ***

Hero calls as does the calling station. Three way action, $62 in the pot, $41 effective stacks.

River: < :as: :td: :5h: > :8s: :6d:

TAG Villain bets $15, less than a quarter pot. Action on Hero, fold call or raise? If raising it will be a jam.

What do we think is going on here? Is villain making value bets? Are the blocking bets? What is villain thinking? Three bets 1/3 pot or less. . . .

DrStrange
 

Mr Tree

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I call.

Villain is really hard to read here. If you put a gun to my head I would say villain likely has something like A9. They feel like there is something there and no one has pushed back. Also we did have information that the villain tends to overbet big hands. However, maybe the villain flopped two pair or a set and is trying not to lose us since we've called but never shown real strength. Too much uncertainty IMO to shove but a good chance we have the best hand.
 

MoscowRadio

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I'm just calling here. It's very possible that Villain didn't want to lose both players with a hand like two pair. We may have the best hand here, but if not then we lose the minimum.
 

grandgnu

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*** And now the river ***

Hero calls as does the calling station. Three way action, $62 in the pot, $41 effective stacks.

River: < :as: :td: :5h: > :8s: :6d:

TAG Villain bets $15, less than a quarter pot. Action on Hero, fold call or raise? If raising it will be a jam.

What do we think is going on here? Is villain making value bets? Are the blocking bets? What is villain thinking? Three bets 1/3 pot or less. . . .

DrStrange

I don't really see value in raising, but how can we classify this opponent as TAG when they're making 1/3 pot bets on drawy boards??? I expect to win at showdown. Villian is not playing TAG by any definition I apply to it.
 

DrStrange

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I wouldn't describe this board as "drawy" or "wet" or any other term that implies a board that hits drawing hands - this is a WA/WB flop and the turn doesn't change anything unless someone paid to draw for a runner-runner chance. {well KQ/KJ/OJ of spades would have backed into a nice river draw.}

TAG translates to tight-aggressive. It doesn't promise that the player makes good sizing decisions or plays position well, just that they would rather bet than call. I don't know other people's expectations but this villain took aggressive action four out of five times this hand which seems kind of aggressive to me.

DrStrange
 

grandgnu

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I wouldn't describe this board as "drawy" or "wet" or any other term that implies a board that hits drawing hands - this is a WA/WB flop and the turn doesn't change anything unless someone paid to draw for a runner-runner chance. {well KQ/KJ/OJ of spades would have backed into a nice river draw.}

The flop presents a broadway draw. The turn adds a flush draw into the equation.

TAG translates to tight-aggressive. It doesn't promise that the player makes good sizing decisions or plays position well, just that they would rather bet than call. I don't know other people's expectations but this villain took aggressive action four out of five times this hand which seems kind of aggressive to me.

DrStrange

My view of a TAG is someone that makes larger bets to obtain value from their holdings and cause opponents to make mistakes by drawing for incorrect prices. The continual 1/3 pot-sized bets just doesn't strike me as particularly aggressive
 

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*** Finish ***

Hero calls, Calling Station folds.

TAG shows :ah: :th: for top two pair and the winning hand.

Villain's play of her hand was pretty much ABC, raise preflop with the suited ace, flat Hero's three bet, bet three times on a safe board with what looks to be the best hand.

Her bet sizing was way too small. It looks more suited to a tournament setting rather than a cash game (and the bet sizes were a little small even there).

DrStrange
 

grandgnu

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Hmmm, I'm wondering I this is the type of villain who would fold top two to aggression, convinced you've gotta have that set of 5's :p
 

ChaosRock

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The bets were definitely on the smaller size for top2 and she was probably hoping to keep calling station and hero in the hand with less than a good A in a dry flop, action on other streets was kinda the same though I think since turn and river were relatively safe... She would have heard of a set earlier...

What it doesn't make sense to me is the donk bet on the flop in a three-bet pre with two callers... Was she inducing a re-raise squeeze from hero?

Yeah, it's kinda smallish ABC minus the donk me thinks...

Why do u think vilan donk the flop doc?
 
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Mr Tree

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I was afraid either two pair or a set were a distinct possibility. As action wound down the only way to figure out where they stood was to stick a jam in there which would have only cost hero more money.
 

DrStrange

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Both villains in this hand are very sticky. Perhaps Hero could get the TAG into call-down mode by raising, but there is no way she is folding even AK. {I'd expect a round or two of value from AJ/AQ maybe stacks} I find the TAG villain's flop play inexplicable - it leaves a ton of value on the table vs Hero.

At first glance, this looked like a trivial hand (thinking Hero should raise the flop). I didn't spend much time on it for a week, but one day at the pool I got to thinking about this harder and decided it was a messy situation.

The key moment for me is Hero's flop decision. Folding is out of the question - call or raise? I range villain with Ax, 55, TT with some faint chance of KK/QQ/JJ. The calling station could have about any two cards.

Let's say Hero raises. First thing is Hero needs to be quite careful not to get mentally pot committed. I expect Villain to always call with a better hand and fold most worse hands except AJ/AQ. So Hero can learn a lot about the relative value of his hand but will get no more money from weaker hands (even vs AJ since hero isn't betting again). Hero is going to have a river problem if villain flats the flop raise because Hero's turn check will induce a bet from the TAG most of the time with AJ or AQ. I like having the information gained from the raise, but the cost might be too high. Hero is risking a lot more by raising than calling because villain is going to make 'more perfect' decisions vs Hero's raise than a call.

Let's say Hero calls. If the Villain were thinking more critically, Hero is going to be all in on the river rather than have half his stack left. Hero gets lucky when villain bets her top two pair like it is ace-rag. Still, hero gets to collect bets from both the calling station and the TAG when his TP/GK.

So when Hero is ahead he makes $22 by raising and $62 by calling { $5 + $10 from the calling station and $10 + $15 from the TAG}

When hero is behind he loses $15 extra by raising {-$45 if villain takes a passive line until the river} and Hero loses $60 if he takes a passive line to the river assuming the villain bets enough. (The $5 call on the flop is obligatory and is not part of the evaluation.)

As I see it, Hero's wins and losses are magnified by taking a passive line. The passive line needs to be adjust downward a bit because sometimes the calling station hits when Hero was ahead.

I can not decide which line I like better even now. Villain's bet sizing looks blocking rather than value but I don't like playing a hand blind/passive. Calling station is not normally the profitable line.

<shrug> -=- DrStrange
 
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