Early in Tournament - Flopped Top Pair/NFD 90 BBs deep OOP (1 Viewer)

Moxie Mike

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Scenario: Event # 6 of 6 of the Moxie Poker League (live).

If it's relevant, HERO is second in the points standings going into the last event. HERO needs to capture 4th place or better with the current first place guy finishing no higher than 8th in order to win the points championship outright.

The hand in question takes place during the 500/1000 level of the tournament (level 5). After running decent in the first 4 rounds and buying the add on (up to 30k chips for $30), HERO has a stack of ~90k.

Read on relevant Villain: Competent player but gets married to hands and often overplays strong-yet-vulnerable hands. Competent enough to have earned a min-cash in this year's WSOP ME as well as a $20k finish in the Crazy Eights event in what was his first ever WSOP.

12 runners in the tournament - 3 rebuys so 15 total entries. All but one player took the optional add on.

We're at 2 tables of six. Action folds to the Villain on the button, who raises to 3k. Stack ~75k.

HERO (SB) looks down at :as::9d: and calls. BB calls as well.

Flop comes :6s::8s::9s:. HERO checks, anticipating a c-bet. BB checks and Villain bets 6k with little hesitation.

Action is on HERO. Thoughts?

Button's c-bet comes as no surprise to HERO. HERO figures Villain's p/f opening range to be pretty wide, and this flop is unlikely to have hit his hand hard enough to continue while facing significant aggression, especially since HERO blocks the NFD (ignoring the probability of a flopped SF). If Button 3-bets, HERO is willing to play for stacks here.

Action is on HERO facing a 6k c-bet. HERO glances at BB, who appears disinterested and just waiting his turn to muck.

HERO decides there's too good of a chance HERO holds the best hand and raises to 19k, expecting to drag the pot uncontested.

BB predictably insta-folds. Button thinks for a minute and surprisingly calls. Pot = 57k.

Turn is the :3h:. Figuring to still be ahead, HERO bets 20k. Villain calls rather quickly. Pot is 107k.

What are we putting the Villain on at this point? What is our plan if the river blanks, pairs the board or is somehow otherwise not awesome, like a 10, 7 or a 5?

The river brings a lovely :4s:.

"All in", HERO said without moving a single chip forward.

Villain, after about 15 seconds says "I guess it's going to be an early night." Villain then proceeds to gather all his remaining chips into a single stack and slides them forward.

Hands are tabled and HERO's hand holds up. Villain turned over :ts::tx:.
 
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PokerDogDoc

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Not sure where Hero's stack size is vs the average at this junction (we don't know starting stacks) but I'll assume the Hero is somewhere near the middle or upper 1/3.

And you don't say if there is an ante (regular or BB), which would widen the playable range due to the dead money/bigger pot, so I'll assume there is NO ANTE.

Assuming the Hero is the one who needs to finish 4th or better, is the Villain the current points leader who needs to finish 8th or lower? I'll assume that's YES.

If Hero's goal is to win the points championship, the Hero is HIGHLY incentivized to accumulate chips and go deep into the tournament to finish higher. This is similar to MTTs with a very steep drop off in the pay outs from 1st to 2nd to 3rd, etc. You need to finish as high as possible (4th or higher) to reap the benefits. That means the Hero needs to play a bit wider in range and more aggressively to accumulate chips.

And, Hero needs the Villan to finish as low as possible (8th or lower)

Hero is also in the hand with the Villain, so there is the potential for a MUCH greater impact on relative standings by dropping the Villain's chip stack while simultaneously raising the Hero's.

But the Hero's got to be careful of the BB... I get it. You don't mention the BB's stack size... big? small? could they bust you? could they shove if very short? I'll assume the BB is somewhere close to Hero's stack size and won't be shoving pre-flop.

Villain would be raising with a very wide range on the button. He makes a slightly higher than "standard", but reasonable, raise of 3bb (I'd typically go ~2.5bb at 75bb stack).

Hero SB call is a bit loose given that the BB is still to act. If an A hits the flop you've got AA but a bad kicker. If the 9 comes, you've got top pair/top kicker, but 99 is very vulnerable.

BB calls.. he will also have a wide range as your call means he's getting great pot odds to see a flop.

Pot is $9k

Flop comes and ... Hero has top pair/top kicker and 4-flushed to the A-high flush... note that this is not the nuts since a straight flush is possible.
Hero should be feeling pretty good!

SB and BB check is standard play, as well as the Button continuation bet as this really hits his range. He'll have more of these cards in his hands than you, so he could have a 2 unpaired overcards (AK, AQ, AJ, KQ), 1 pair, 2 pair, over pair (TT-AA), top/middle/bottom set, straight, even a flopped straight or flush are all in his range. He's got a significant range advantage over you. You could have some of that too, but he'd have more of those hands than you would.

He is also more likely to have the nuts (nut advantage, NA)... you WOULDN'T have AA, KK or maybe not even QQ because you would have 3-bet preflop, while he would have played those hands exactly as he did. So you're playing with a bit of a capped range by calling preflop.

So Villain has RA and NA.

His $6k flop bet is 2/3 pot... pretty hefty... modern betting practice when in position (IP) with RA and NA depends on whether or not the Button Villain thinks the flop connects to SB Hero's range. If the flop hits both ranges, Villain should bet big (>50% pot) because Hero won't be scared off. If it misses Hero's range, Villain should bet small (<33% pot) to keep the Hero in the pot.

So I'd put the Villain on something stronger than just top pair here... it may be top pair with a straight or flush draw, a high overpair (TT-AA), 2 pair, flopped straight or flush, etc.

If so, you'll definitely need to improve... ideally you'd love to see that 5th spade come out to give you the effective nuts, or maybe an A (giving you top 2 pair, making it much less likely he has pocket AA (now a set) as there would only one combination of that possible).
You've got 9 spade outs for the flush and 3 A outs for top 2 pair. That's 12 outs (~25% or 3:1 to hit it on the turn alone) and you're getting better pot odds than that ($6k call to win $21k total or 3.5:1), assuming the BB folds.

The Hero needs to have a read on the BB here. I'd call ONLY if I think the BB would either call or fold... if he 3-bets big, you would be forced to fold because your hand isn't strong enough to continue and risk losing a ton when 3-handed... it's not the end of the world if this happens at the Hero's stack size, but definitely a set back.

Me, I'd call, hope the BB folds, and see the turn.

Pot $21k, assuming BB folds... effective Stack to Pot (STP) ratio based on the Villain's shorter stack of now $66k is right at 3:1.... he's pretty close to committed even now.

If I hit the spade, I check-call the turn assuming the Villain fires again ($10-$14k?), and then potentially fire a pot-sized bet on the river putting the Villain all in.

If the board pairs the 9, I check-call a turn bet with top set/top kicker (Villain could still have us beat with a full house, straight or flush), as I have significant value already, and I'll see what the river brings.

Similarly, if the A comes, I check-call with top 2 if I think he has AK, AQ, AT, A7, A5, KK, QQ, JJ, TT, 86, 87, T9, JT, etc.). AA is possible, but less likely given there is only 1 combination of that left. Remember he could still have a made straight or flush.

If the board pairs the 6 or 8, or brings 4 to the straight (not a spade), I either check-call or check-fold, depending on my read given his range and bet size, as I know it's pretty likely I need to hit a spade on the river for the flush to win.

How'd it turn out?
 
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PokerDogDoc

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will you be obtaining an ISBN for this post?
yeah, sorry…. I guess I kinda got carried away when I wrote this during a bout of insomnia-induced mania last night. I didn’t realize how long it was until after I posted it. ‍

Want me to go back and cut it way back?
 

upNdown

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Not to sound like Polk, but I think raising and flatting are both fine, here, and the more I think about it, the more it’s a coin toss. I’d do whichever felt right in the moment.
But for the sake of argument, a flat is fine here. If he’s competent and kind of sticky, you might be better off trying to out draw him than out play him - it will certainly be a lot cheaper, if you end up losing the hand.
 

boltonguy

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So I am blown away by @PokerDogDoc's analysis! Wow.
I dont play many tournaments - but heads up I would raise to 4x. Multi-way I'm calling and hoping to improve here.
 

utgtrash

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it's more correct to call in a tournament, you are hoping to realize equity. if it were me i would assume i had the best hand but even so, calling is still better than raising here. if you raise 3-4x he folds worse and calls with better, and if he calls with better and you do not improve, you are in the bad spot of having not improving in a now huge pot OOP. it's true that raising or jamming will fold out some better hands and you do have lots of equity when called but unless you have some incentive that measures up against going broke you probably should be a bit more risk averse.
 

Moxie Mike

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Spoiler #1 posted.

I thought this was an interesting hand to post because of the stack sizes and the position elements. As the non-aggressor in the hand, it's less straightforward.

I'm actually surprised at the number of risk-averse responses. In this situation, there are a lot of turn cards that are either not awesome or are completely gross... any non-spade 5, 7, 10, J, Q or K has the potential to slow HERO down. That's almost 1/2 the deck.
 

JMC9389

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Spoiler #1 posted.

I thought this was an interesting hand to post because of the stack sizes and the position elements. As the non-aggressor in the hand, it's less straightforward.

I'm actually surprised at the number of risk-averse responses. In this situation, there are a lot of turn cards that are either not awesome or are completely gross... any non-spade 5, 7, 10, J, Q or K has the potential to slow HERO down. That's almost 1/2 the deck.
I think a flat call post flop is the most logical play out of position because button is simply not calling with worse than hero's holdings on a wet and connected flop like that. His preflop aggression and hero's read on this particular villain being sticky suggests that hero can punish this villain if they hit the NFD or if the board pairs.

I'm putting the villain on aces, kings, queens, jack pocket pairs holding a spade, a flopped set, a combo draw with jack ten with a spade. Hero may well be best with a pair of nines, but if the turn and river brick and the button still bets, very unlikely hero is ahead here. I try to see as many cards as possible as cheaply as possible if out of position here. Raising with just top pair on a wet board into a preflop aggrsssor and C-bettor and getting snap called would set off alarm bells. I check that turn and see what villain does. I just don't think you're being (snap) called by worse than what hero has there.
 

upNdown

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Even before the turn reveal, I was putting villain on an ace, with a barely decent kicker, like10 or J. I know we’re not supposed to put villains on specific hands anymore - we’re supposed to use ranges. But my range game isn’t strong.
Without more intimate knowledge or experience with villain, his 2/3 flop bet seems high, and suggests to me that he figures he’s ahead, but it’s not the nuts, and maybe no redraws?
Anyway, I think he’s got an ace and I think he’s got you out kicked. I feel like the only scare card that’s you’re going to be able to bet him off of, is the one you actually need - a spade.
 

upNdown

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Even before the turn reveal, I was putting villain on an ace, with a barely decent kicker, like10 or J. I know we’re not supposed to put villains on specific hands anymore - we’re supposed to use ranges. But my range game isn’t strong.
Without more intimate knowledge or experience with villain, his 2/3 flop bet seems high, and suggests to me that he figures he’s ahead, but it’s not the nuts, and maybe no redraws?
Anyway, I think he’s got an ace and I think he’s got you out kicked. I feel like the only scare card that’s you’re going to be able to bet him off of, is the one you actually need - a spade.
Oh shit. I was confused. There’s no on the board. Ha! Oh well.
 

Moxie Mike

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Even before the turn reveal, I was putting villain on an ace, with a barely decent kicker, like10 or J. I know we’re not supposed to put villains on specific hands anymore - we’re supposed to use ranges. But my range game isn’t strong.
That advice is for people who don't want to take their opponent-reading game to a level that gives them an edge. They'd rather establish a range and then calculate their equity against that range.

My strategy - especially with opponents with whom there is significant history, is to start with a range, and narrow it down to what makes the most sense. If you get good at it, you can put an opponent on a pretty specific range of hands that all more or less imply the same EV. Furthermore, you can play more perfectly against someone the more narrowly you're able to accurately read them.

For example, if we put the Villain in this hand on KK, QQ or JJ with a spade, they're all basically the same hand with respect to the situation.

Without more intimate knowledge or experience with villain, his 2/3 flop bet seems high, and suggests to me that he figures he’s ahead, but it’s not the nuts, and maybe no redraws?
This one was a bit more challenging given the dynamic of the Villain being on the button. He's not stealing with any two, but he doesn't have to have anything to c-bet here. 2/3 pot into two opponents is probably trying to induce two folds and is a standard bet in the Moxie League.
Anyway, I think he’s got an ace and I think he’s got you out kicked. I feel like the only scare card that’s you’re going to be able to bet him off of, is the one you actually need - a spade.
I'm almost always content to drag a pot even if I'm ahead. If all he has is big cards, I'd rather have him fold then have to navigate future streets in a bloated pot OOP.
 

PokerDogDoc

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HERO figures Villain's p/f opening range to be pretty wide, and this flop is unlikely to have hit his hand hard enough to continue while facing significant aggression, especially since HERO blocks the NFD (ignoring the probability of a flopped SF)
I respectfully disagree with the LAST part of this statement.
It’s exactly that his range is so wide that he’s much more likely to have hit it hard with more of his range than yours.

Sure you could have hands that connect with this flop, too, but he has more in his range than you do, AND more likely than you to have all the top hands except for the nut flush/draw (2 pair, sets, straights, flopped second nut flush which blocks your nut flush draw, and SF draws,).

If he’s married to a big over pair (KK, AA) then you have a chance to suck out, but you’re still way behind.

there are a lot of turn cards that are either not awesome or are completely gross... any non-spade 5, 7, 10, J, Q or K has the potential to slow HERO down. That's almost 1/2 the deck
EXACTLY. This is why on a connected, wet flop that strongly connects to your opponents range you need to play with a little caution and not fold, but not inflate the pot. Name of the game here is pot control.

What would you have done if when you check raised the flop he re-raised or shoved? You’d be forced to fold as there’s no way you’d put your tournament life at risk with a pair of 9s.

As it turns out he called your pre-flop raise (ie. he’s got good equity here so far), AND your lead bet on the turn (which obviously wouldn’t improve your hand), signaling he feels that he’s likely still ahead at the moment, or has a lot of draw equity and implied odds.

The Villain’s range from the Button is still all the hands mentioned previously. You’ve not been able to significantly narrow his range from pre-flop to the turn.
 

JMC9389

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I respectfully disagree with the LAST part of this statement.
It’s exactly that his range is so wide that he’s much more likely to have hit it hard with more of his range than yours.

Sure you could have hands that connect with this flop, too, but he has more in his range than you do, AND more likely than you to have all the top hands except for the nut flush/draw (2 pair, sets, straights, flopped second nut flush which blocks your nut flush draw, and SF draws,).

If he’s married to a big over pair (KK, AA) then you have a chance to suck out, but you’re still way behind.


EXACTLY. This is why on a connected, wet flop that strongly connects to your opponents range you need to play with a little caution and not fold, but not inflate the pot. Name of the game here is pot control.

What would you have done if when you check raised the flop he re-raised or shoved?
You’d be forced to fold as there’s no way you’d put your tournament life at risk with a pair of 9s.

As it turns out he called your pre-flop raise (ie. he’s got good equity here so far), AND your lead bet on the turn (which obviously wouldn’t improve your hand), signaling he feels that he’s likely still ahead at the moment, or has a lot of draw equity and implied odds.

The Villain’s range from the Button is still all the hands mentioned previously. You’ve not been able to significantly narrow his range from pre-flop to the turn.
Thank you for saying in two sentences what I tried to articulate in a long winded post above in the bolded. Pretty much this is what I was trying to say. I tend to ramble in these strategy threads!
 

PokerDogDoc

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For example, if we put the Villain in this hand on KK, QQ or JJ with a spade, they're all basically the same hand with respect to the situation.
… I agree. He’d play it exactly this way and you’d be way behind looking for 12 outs on the river.

The way you’re setting this story up (you win over a sticky Villain), I’m gonna guess that it turns out he’s got pocket 7s7x that calls your big river bet when you miss the river spade (made flush) or A (Aces up)… you rake the pot with 99.

I mean your screen name is Moxie Mike, after all, right?
 
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Moxie Mike

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I respectfully disagree with the LAST part of this statement.
It’s exactly that his range is so wide that he’s much more likely to have hit it hard with more of his range than yours.

Sure you could have hands that connect with this flop, too, but he has more in his range than you do, AND more likely than you to have all the top hands except for the nut flush/draw (2 pair, sets, straights, flopped second nut flush which blocks your nut flush draw, and SF draws,).

If he’s married to a big over pair (KK, AA) then you have a chance to suck out, but you’re still way behind.


EXACTLY. This is why on a connected, wet flop that strongly connects to your opponents range you need to play with a little caution and not fold, but not inflate the pot. Name of the game here is pot control.

What would you have done if when you check raised the flop he re-raised or shoved? You’d be forced to fold as there’s no way you’d put your tournament life at risk with a pair of 9s.

As it turns out he called your pre-flop raise (ie. he’s got good equity here so far), AND your lead bet on the turn (which obviously wouldn’t improve your hand), signaling he feels that he’s likely still ahead at the moment, or has a lot of draw equity and implied odds.

The Villain’s range from the Button is still all the hands mentioned previously. You’ve not been able to significantly narrow his range from pre-flop to the turn.
I think you're confused. HERO was not the preflop or flop aggressor. Reread the OP.

What would you have done if when you check raised the flop he re-raised or shoved?
You’d be forced to fold as there’s no way you’d put your tournament life at risk with a pair of 9s.

HERO holds much more than 'a pair of 9s'. HERO holds top pair, an overcard, and the NFD. HERO is a favorite against any other one-pair hand other than aces (~50/50 in the unlikely event Villain holds bare aces). HERO also holds the nut blocker, which is a significant equity denier. HERO is willing to play for stacks in this spot for a couple key reasons: 1) HERO is ahead a large percentage of the time (remember this is a 6-handed table); 2) getting it in now negates the positional disadvantage HERO finds himself in.

Think of it another way: HERO is never very far behind in this spot. Only a flopped SF is problematic, which is extraordinarily unlikely.

The flop action eliminates all junk from Villain's range. Villain's call of HERO's flopc/r came as a surprise, but HERO should still expect to be +EV here a large percentage of the time. Villain probably holds a 2-pair type hand, or perhaps an overpair with or without a spade. HERO believes a set or a flopped straight would jam in this spot. :ks::9x: or :qs::9x: or :js::9x: or :ts::9x: are all possibilities - as are hands that contain a 7.
 

Moxie Mike

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… I agree. He’d play it exactly this way and you’d be way behind looking for 12 outs on the river.

The way you’re setting this story up (you win over a sticky Villain), I’m gonna guess that it turns out he’s got pocket 7s7x that calls your big river bet when you miss the river spade (made flush) or A (Aces up)… you rake the pot with 99.

I mean your screen name is Moxie Mike, after all, right?
The point of this isn't to tell a success story. I thought this was an opportunity to cultivate a discussion about the various lines available, and opponent reading.

Fun Fact: A while back there was a movement to change my screen name to the PKoPCF, but @BGinGA, @Beakertwang, @doughboy63, @AK Chip, @toynoob, @shorticus - among others - strongly objected :)
 

PokerDogDoc

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I think you're confused. HERO was not the preflop or flop aggressor. Reread the OP.
Hero IS the flop aggressor because of the check raise… sneaky, but aggressive.

HERO holds much more than 'a pair of 9s'. HERO holds top pair, an overcard, and the NFD. HERO is a favorite against any other one-pair hand other than aces (~50/50 in the unlikely event Villain holds bare aces)
You’re not that strong… any over pair to the board without a spade is basically a coin toss on the flop, and actually WAY ahead of you on the turn
19F5B8B5-6934-430E-BAC5-364CD144819A.jpeg2CF33FB0-92D0-4403-B65B-D0824B82B510.jpeg

… and if he does have an over pair WITH a spade, you are even further behind
E5A53551-26E6-4119-A766-C2EB8A9856BF.jpeg297BC383-DC41-46A4-9444-3739362E8A25.jpeg

… and he doesn’t even need a pair… if he has ANY 2 spades (not that he’d actually be playing all 2 spade combos), he’s got the rare 11% flopped flush. Even with your NFD you are very behind on the flop (70% to 30%) and WAY behind on the turn (85% to 15%)
430CC06C-FE2A-450B-92A4-334585B18534.jpegCAC4B2E9-06CB-4EEB-9BF0-B55AF95B20F3.jpeg

26F5E59E-3550-486C-8CDC-4EC10C3797C7.jpeg1894C3D7-2390-4EFE-8F10-8C084BDC88EE.jpeg
 
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upNdown

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Final spoiler posted.
I’ll say this - my overly simplistic read on villain’s flop bet was on target. His 2/3 pot bet after it checked around can be a tell that he’s ahead but he doesn’t expect to stay ahead.
I’m not sure how much I love how you played this hand, knowing the villain was sticky, and that you were probably behind, especially after he called your check raise.
 

Moxie Mike

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I’ll say this - my overly simplistic read on villain’s flop bet was on target. His 2/3 pot bet after it checked around can be a tell that he’s ahead but he doesn’t expect to stay ahead.
I’m not sure how much I love how you played this hand, knowing the villain was sticky, and that you were probably behind, especially after he called your check raise.
Yeah I was kind of in no-man's-land after the flop action but I couldn't stop telling the story at that point. Obviously, I wasn't moving him off his hand with any size bet on the turn.

The problem with check/calling the flop is there are so many unpleasant turn cards. What do I do if I check/call the flop, then check the turn and he bets $15k? I'm probably going to have to release.
 

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Math is not the strong suit here.

Pre flop, 3 players @ 3k each = 9k pot

HERO decides there's too good of a chance HERO holds the best hand and raises to 19k, expecting to drag the pot uncontested.

BB predictably insta-folds. Button thinks for a minute and surprisingly calls. Pot = 57k.

Pot = 9k +19 +19 = 47k. Unless the pot got a bonus of 10k


Turn is the :3h:. Figuring to still be ahead, HERO bets 20k. Villain calls rather quickly. Pot is 107k.

Even if it was the 57k you stated above. 57k + 20k+20k = 97k
However, it was 47k+20k+20k=87k

By the river, villain has 33k remaining. I would like to play games with both of you please :D
 

upNdown

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Math is not the strong suit here.

Pre flop, 3 players @ 3k each = 9k pot

HERO decides there's too good of a chance HERO holds the best hand and raises to 19k, expecting to drag the pot uncontested.

BB predictably insta-folds. Button thinks for a minute and surprisingly calls. Pot = 57k.

Pot = 9k +19 +19 = 47k. Unless the pot got a bonus of 10k


Turn is the :3h:. Figuring to still be ahead, HERO bets 20k. Villain calls rather quickly. Pot is 107k.
Even if it was the 57k you stated above. 57k + 20k+20k = 97k
However, it was 47k+20k+20k=87k

By the river, villain has 33k remaining. I would like to play games with both of you please :D
Honestly, I think that kind of math is overrated, for the same reason I always want to fall off my chair when somebody asks the dealer to spread the pot - you’ve been playing in this hand; even if you haven’t been keeping exact track of the pot, you should have a pretty strong feel for how much is in there.
And if you need an exact total, you should be able to rebuild the hand in your head, as was done above, but how often does a 10% to 20% error in estimating pot size really matter?
 

Racer96

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I've never asked the dealer to spread the pot.

I can generally reconstruct the hand in my head for any hand that I am involved in. A small error doesn't matter too much, until it does. :p

Honestly though, I don't rely on math when making decisions. I have just always liked playing with numbers in my head. Helps to keep me focused.
 

Moxie Mike

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Math is not the strong suit here.

Pre flop, 3 players @ 3k each = 9k pot

HERO decides there's too good of a chance HERO holds the best hand and raises to 19k, expecting to drag the pot uncontested.

BB predictably insta-folds. Button thinks for a minute and surprisingly calls. Pot = 57k.

Pot = 9k +19 +19 = 47k. Unless the pot got a bonus of 10k


Turn is the :3h:. Figuring to still be ahead, HERO bets 20k. Villain calls rather quickly. Pot is 107k.
Even if it was the 57k you stated above. 57k + 20k+20k = 97k
However, it was 47k+20k+20k=87k

By the river, villain has 33k remaining. I would like to play games with both of you please :D
What is this intended to contribute to the discussion exactly?

Yeah I wasn't paying attention and got the math wrong. I'll pay more attention next time.
 

Racer96

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What is this intended to contribute to the discussion exactly?

Yeah I wasn't paying attention and got the math wrong. I'll pay more attention next time.
It’s a strat thread. My comment was meant to say that paying attention to the numbers does mean a lot. Otherwise why bother at all.

Also, I am baffled that villain would essentially give up in the tournament. They still have 33bb in early/mid stage. Plenty of play left. Unless villain’s history with hero is that he never believes them. In which case, value bet the hell out of your made hands vs villain.
 
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