Could I have done anything different?

PhilLaFond

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Frustrating hand from the Horseshoe Baltimore last night after the O's game:

Playing 1/3, stack size $350, couple other players around the same, few others $150 to $200.

UTG (Villain) limps, two other limpers. Hero is in the cut-off and picks up pocket queens. Raise to $35. Villain calls, rest of the table folds. Flop comes 4h, Kd, 8c. Villain checks. Been at the table about 3 hours, Villain seems to be a reasonable player, not too tight, plays fairly standard per showdown hands. No obvious tells. Couple semi bluffs during the session. Hero bets $45, Villain calls. Turn is 10h, Villain checks. Hero, being suspicious of the flop call, checks behind. No obvious draws, not putting Villain on straight or flush draws given the table history and his pre flop call. AK, AA and KK not in range with no re-raise pre, imo. Maybe he's slow playing a set?? River is 2s and Villain checks again. Hero being the nitty tight player that he is, checks. Villain shows Kc, 5h. Hero's profit gone...:(

Did I screw this up, or did this guy just make an insanely loose preflop call and get lucky?
 

MrBo

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Results suck but I would be happy to play with this Villain any day of the week, knowing darn well that things like this will happen every now and then. I think you played it fine. Raising from $3 to $35 here most of the time I'd think would just get you the blinds and limps unless you run into another big hand. I would be suspect though of those tight-passive regs who like to limp with AK.

I like your flop c-bet. Once called though it's pretty likely Villain has a King, maybe something like 99-JJ, or a hand like A8. Also 44/88 obviously. Likely not many draws in his range. Once called I think you have to decide whether Villain's range is weak enough to successfully triple barrel it. A big turn bet here may have done the trick, of course if Villain is a total calling station you probably would have lost your whole stack. After deciding to check back the turn I like the river check as well. You do have some showdown equity and after checking back the turn Villain is probably unlikely to fold to a river bet.
 

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Looks OK to me. Maybe bit too heavy with the $35 bet, but seeing the results I guess not.

We don't know Villain's stack size so it is hard to know what to think about further aggression. If Villain was playing $150 - $200, Hero did well not to bet the last two streets. Villain's stack is $80-$130 vs a ~170 pot so he isn't folding very often. If villain started with $350, maybe hero has enough fold equity for a shove but I don't think I would want to find out.

DrStrange
 

PhilLaFond

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Looks OK to me. Maybe bit too heavy with the $35 bet, but seeing the results I guess not.

We don't know Villain's stack size so it is hard to know what to think about further aggression. If Villain was playing $150 - $200, Hero did well not to bet the last two streets. Villain's stack is $80-$130 vs a ~170 pot so he isn't folding very often. If villain started with $350, maybe hero has enough fold equity for a shove but I don't think I would want to find out.

DrStrange
He was around $200. Had re-loaded $100 about an hour before
 

Chippy McChiperson

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$3 to $35? How many old-fashioneds did you have lol. The only thing you did poorly in this hand was telegraph your hand strength by the big over-bet pre-flop. Other than that, I have no issue with how you played your hand. If a donk wants to spew with K5 off, let him spew.
 

grandgnu

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Pre-flop raise should be closer to $20, $35 is too large. As played, there's around $80 in the pot on the flop and you fire $45. Looks ok. I think 45-55 is fine to bet there. After he calls the flop and with the information we have on him it's hard for us to continue firing.

Just note this guy is a HUGE calling station and make sure to take him to ValueTown when opportunity presents itself.
 

PhilLaFond

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$3 to $35? How many old-fashioneds did you have lol. The only thing you did poorly in this hand was telegraph your hand strength by the big over-bet pre-flop. Other than that, I have no issue with how you played your hand. If a donk wants to spew with K5 off, let him spew.
You know how these games play...a raise to 12-15 dollars gets you 3-4 way too often. There was $13 in the pot, so given the pulse of the table I thought it was reasonable. Either I win $13 or isolate a weaker hand. But I see what you're saying. Maybe somebody thinks I'm squeezing? What would you suggest - $20-22?
 

bmichaelhorn

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$3 to $35? How many old-fashioneds did you have lol. The only thing you did poorly in this hand was telegraph your hand strength by the big over-bet pre-flop. Other than that, I have no issue with how you played your hand. If a donk wants to spew with K5 off, let him spew.

There were three limpers plus blinds so $13 already in the pot. The traditional 3xbb + 1bb/limper would make the raise $22. I often open 5xbb+1bb/limper in live games though since . people are a lot stickier ...I dunno $25-30 is my raise in this spot and I don't think $35 is crazy.
 

Chippy McChiperson

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You know how these games play...a raise to 12-15 dollars gets you 3-4 way too often. There was $13 in the pot, so given the pulse of the table I thought it was reasonable. Either I win $13 or isolate a weaker hand. But I see what you're saying. Maybe somebody thinks I'm squeezing? What would you suggest - $20-22?

I would make it $15, like any other raise. Balance your range, and don't give away any free info on your hand. Plus, it lets you get away cheaply on say a AK flop.
 

bmichaelhorn

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I would make it $15, like any other raise. Balance your range, and don't give away any free info on your hand. Plus, it lets you get away cheaply on say a AK flop.
ImageUploadedByTapatalk1438616743.107370.jpg
 

grandgnu

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I'd rather have 5 people call then telegraph my hand, but if you want to telegraph all your big pocket pairs I'd love to sit down at a poker table with you.

You're right, guys who limp UTG for $3 and call a raise to $35 with K5 offsuit are clearly playing above Level I thinking and will consider the cards in your range. It's always best to play big pocket pairs against five players than against one.

Methinks you're turning into threadkilla now.
 

bmichaelhorn

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I'd rather have 5 people call then telegraph my hand, but if you want to telegraph all your big pocket pairs I'd love to sit down at a poker table with you.

Your point about balancing ranges is correct, I'm just saying that you can do that with a larger bet that will get you one or two callers instead of 5. I would raise the same amount with QQ as 78s or any hand that I wanted to play in that position (not saying 78s is a great hand to play there, just giving an example).
 

Chippy McChiperson

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You're right, guys who limp UTG for $3 and call a raise to $35 with K5 offsuit are clearly playing above Level I thinking and will consider the cards in your range. It's always best to play big pocket pairs against five players than against one.

Methinks you're turning into threadkilla now.

Really dude? I've tried very hard to be nice to you since your last little attention seeking temper tantrum, but if you can't even beat the "blue hairs" at 4/8 O8 I'd probably rate my poker skills at a (slightly) higher level than yours.
 

grandgnu

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Really dude? I've tried very hard to be nice to you since your last little attention seeking temper tantrum, but if you can't even beat the "blue hairs" at 4/8 O8 I'd probably rate my poker skills at a (slightly) higher level than yours.

Alright, well to keep it strategy based, $15 is too small given there are three limpers already before it gets to you. You should be raising at least 3x the BB + 1 BB for each limper. So that's $9 + $9 = $18. Given how people play at these stakes, you'll likely get looked up by EVERYONE if you only raise to $15 which is not what you want with a big pocket pair, you need to narrow the field, playing against five people even if we turn your QQ here into AA is a bad idea.

Which is why some of us are advocating making a raise larger than $15 (but smaller than $35, which is too high). Somewhere in the $20-24 range seems "right" based on my experience.
 

Chippy McChiperson

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Alright, well to keep it strategy based, $15 is too small given there are three limpers already before it gets to you. You should be raising at least 3x the BB + 1 BB for each limper. So that's $9 + $9 = $18. Given how people play at these stakes, you'll likely get looked up by EVERYONE if you only raise to $15 which is not what you want with a big pocket pair, you need to narrow the field, playing against five people even if we turn your QQ here into AA is a bad idea.

Which is why some of us are advocating making a raise larger than $15 (but smaller than $35, which is too high). Somewhere in the $20-24 range seems "right" based on my experience.

I understand the reasoning, but I think it's fallacious. You may get everyone to call, you may get only the donk playing K5 to call. Regardless, you're still playing in a bloated pot in position with the best hand hand that is not telegraphed, and still easy to get away from.
 

grandgnu

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I understand the reasoning, but I think it's fallacious. You may get everyone to call, you may get only the donk playing K5 to call. Regardless, you're still playing in a bloated pot in position with the best hand hand that is not telegraphed, and still easy to get away from.

Not sure how you view pretty common poker theory to be fallacious?

You seem overly concerned about telegraphing your hand while ignoring that you need to raise enough for your opponents to be making a mistake in calling the raise (we profit by having our opponents make mistakes)

The more players that call, the more players that are likely to call with speculative/drawing type hands, decreasing your equity in the hand and putting you in a spot with more difficult decisions to make as the pot bloats and hand ranges widen. As more players call your raise (which, with a smaller raise is more likely) the more "correct" other players decisions to call that raise become (i.e. they are no longer making a mistake mathematically when you factor in implied odds)

When I pickup QQ facing three EP limpers my focus is not on finding an easy way to get away from the hand, but a way to narrow the field, play the pot in position and increase my equity. You need to balance between raising too small (inviting more players into the pot, weakening your hands chances of winning) and raising too large (pushing out the players you want in that are dominated by your holding)
 

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I make it $20 pre. Betting the flop is a mistake IMO (that didn't matter in this particular case.) Board is dry as can be; flop bet is a pretty thin value bet and I think you make more money by checking behind and letting him stab. If he does have a K you lose one bet either way.

LOL bluffing. Even if you had x-ray vision and knew his cards, guys don't limp-call 12bb raises to fold top pair. [emoji12]
 

Ben

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$15 would be fine in a 1/2 game; at 1/3 its a little small with 3 limpers IMO. I'd still much rather make it $15 than $35...

That said, a lot of players live in fear of the multi-way pot too much. You'll be glad for those 5 callers when you flop top set (or just the overpair on a 9 4 2 board and get the guy with J9 calling you down.)
 

DrStrange

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Let's look at the raise sizing question differently.

Hero's goal is to get a low SPR situation with a big pair. In games with good villains or the same villains over and over, hero also wants to confuse villains by cloaking his hand strength by keeping the sizing constant or formulaistic.

Hero is playing in a casino with strangers. Most of the players are transitory. The player pool for a 1-3 game tends to be tourist and casual plus a few OMC types in the day. The better players are at higher stakes games.

A $35 dollar raise in this game is "safe". It might give up value because every one folds, but even if a villain gets a good read from the raise (say QQ+, AK) he can't outplay Hero because the SPR is going to be 2 to 4. If I had to choose between a small, standard raise or a big, over sized range, I would take the oversized range if the SPRs worked to be low and the smaller raise if the SPR is going to be big.

It is very hard to get out played heads up post flop when you start with the best hand preflop and get enough money in the pot that the stack-to-pot ratio is less than four. Note that Hero can still lose the hand any given deal, but over time the low SPR situation is close to printing your own money.

DrStrange
 

bergs

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$3 to $35? How many old-fashioneds did you have lol. The only thing you did poorly in this hand was telegraph your hand strength by the big over-bet pre-flop. Other than that, I have no issue with how you played your hand. If a donk wants to spew with K5 off, let him spew.

Yeah, this. He's putting you AA, KK, QQ, or JJ pretty much. He can discount KK with his K5 and K on the flop, so the hand sorta played itself after that. I haven't read the whole thread so I'm assuming that a $35 preflop raise would stand out and be unusual (e.g. You haven't 3 bet pre with a sub-premium hand in this session).
 

grandgnu

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He's putting you AA, KK, QQ, or JJ pretty much. He can discount KK with his K5 and K on the flop, .

I think you're giving a villain who limps for $3 and calls a raise to $35 with K5 offsuit from OOP way too much credit for putting Hero on a hand and discounting hands in hero's range.....
 

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I agree with most of the posters here who thought your pre-flop raise was too big. I do believe even at 1/3 that you are telegraphing your hand. If you follow the (3 +x)*bb (where x is # of limpers and bb is big blind) that many people here espouse, your would bet $18. This sounds about right to me. I don't think $15 is too terrible, as long as you are consistent in your betting size.

As far as your cbet, $45 into $80 is probably a little light for most stakes (I like 2/3 pot) so I'd put $50-$55 out there. At 1/2 or 1/3 though, must people just see the bet for the dollar amount and not as a % of the pot and think of the $45 in terms of dollars (a rather sizeable bet) so your actually probably fine there, again as long as you are consistent in your bet sizing.

After villain calls your c-bet I would have shut down as well, you showed good restraint in not firing another barrell, which he likely would have called if he called the 1st two bets, especially if he only had $120 behind and the pot at that point was $170.
 

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I think this thread brings up some good considerations when playing against a bunch of loose-passive players (and let's assuming similar effective stacks):

1) If we know we have a Villain or two who will limp-call large raises with a very weak range shouldn't we bloat pots pre-flop and create low SPR situations against them as much as possible? I agree with others that $35 in this spot is too big, but if we know Villain has a history of doing this and does not seem to give consideration to Hero's range, I think I'd be inclined to continue putting in large unconventional raises with QQ+/AK when given chances to isolate Villain. And I think I'd prefer playing a big hand head's up against one weak-ranged Villain (ex: 2x35 = 70 in pot where Hero has most equity) than multi-way against a few weak-medium strength ranges (4x18 = 72 in pot where Hero has much less equity).

2) How should we play our medium-strength hands against loose-passive limpers? Hands like 77-TT, AJ, AQ, KQ, etc. 3-4 loose-passive players, some of whom may call over-raises with K5o and the likes, limp in front of us and we're on the button. A raise to $15 will probably get called by all players plus maybe a blind, $25ish may get 1-3 callers, and $35ish may get 0 or 1. Are we limping along and hoping to hit a flop or get away cheap, or raising to build a pot where we likely have an edge but will be unlikely to barrel bluff successfully when we miss? If raising, how much?

3) Same question as #2 but when limped to and Hero is in the blinds.
 

grandgnu

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1) If we know we have a Villain or two who will limp-call large raises with a very weak range shouldn't we bloat pots pre-flop and create low SPR situations against them as much as possible? I agree with others that $35 in this spot is too big, but if we know Villain has a history of doing this and does not seem to give consideration to Hero's range, I think I'd be inclined to continue putting in large unconventional raises with QQ+/AK when given chances to isolate Villain. And I think I'd prefer playing a big hand head's up against one weak-ranged Villain (ex: 2x35 = 70 in pot where Hero has most equity) than multi-way against a few weak-medium strength ranges (4x18 = 72 in pot where Hero has much less equity).

You have to factor the skill level and tendencies of all the other player at the table (to ensure this strategy won't be exploited) but there's nothing wrong with adapting to your opponents and the situation at the table, even if it goes against traditional thinking, provided it makes sense in the context of the situation.


2) How should we play our medium-strength hands against loose-passive limpers? Hands like 77-TT, AJ, AQ, KQ, etc. 3-4 loose-passive players, some of whom may call over-raises with K5o and the likes, limp in front of us and we're on the button. A raise to $15 will probably get called by all players plus maybe a blind, $25ish may get 1-3 callers, and $35ish may get 0 or 1. Are we limping along and hoping to hit a flop or get away cheap, or raising to build a pot where we likely have an edge but will be unlikely to barrel bluff successfully when we miss? If raising, how much?

You can raise to reduce the field a bit with position, but I'm also fine with limping along. The implied odds against players like this can be huge, and since we play better post-flop than they do, we'll lose little when we limp, and could win big when we hit and they don't know enough to fold.

3) Same question as #2 but when limped to and Hero is in the blinds.

Lean more towards the limp in these spots than when on the button. the players we're up against are prone to give away information more readily and not put us in difficult situations, so it's beneficial for us to have position post-flop so we receive that information before we act.
 

MrBo

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You have to factor the skill level and tendencies of all the other player at the table (to ensure this strategy won't be exploited) but there's nothing wrong with adapting to your opponents and the situation at the table, even if it goes against traditional thinking, provided it makes sense in the context of the situation.

Right, though if we only size this way with a very narrow range (AA, KK, QQ sometimes and AK sometimes) that we are willing to get 100BB or so in almost every time I think it's hard for decent or better players to exploit successfully over time by either calling or raising. Of course it makes our hand pretty face up and allows them to play perfectly, but the loose-passive limper is our target here anyways. I think it was in the Professional No Limit Hold'em book that I remember reading about sizing bigger with big hands - basically whatever Villain will call to see a flop - to get max value pre-flop, bigger pots post flop, and low SPR situations. The authors seemed to think the possibility of telegraphing your hands through pre-flop raise sizing was less important at your average 1/2 or 2/5 table against a bunch of unknowns, and this is probably often true but just the opposite in other situations.

You can raise to reduce the field a bit with position, but I'm also fine with limping along. The implied odds against players like this can be huge, and since we play better post-flop than they do, we'll lose little when we limp, and could win big when we hit and they don't know enough to fold.

I think I tend to play the stronger hands (TT+, AQs+) more aggressively and hope to thin the field, but ride the limp train with most weaker ones. I will definitely open raise ($10-15 or so) all of the weaker and stronger hands from any position though. And against one 1 or 2 weak limpers I will often try to isolate in position, but once it gets to 3 or more I know my standard $10-15 open (at 1/2) is only likely to create a $40-60 pot where I'll have less equity and less likelihood of making a small-medium c-bet to steal away.

Out of the blinds I'll tend to check along, even TT and AQ sometimes, though that sounds terribly nitty. Maybe it's just the nightmares from this one session where it limped to me in the BB with TT, JJ, QQ, and AK at least 8 times, I raised over several limpers each time, from $2 to something in the $17 - $22 range, got called by at least 2 limpers but usually more, and whiffed every flop, c-bet some but had to give up or commit to the 3-barrel bluff, did not win a single one of those hands.

Any time the limptrain rolls in to me in the blinds with a big hand now I just think "oh faak, here we go again..." :rolleyes:
 
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