KK in SB, Shallow-Stack Cash Game (1 Viewer)

Jimulacrum

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Interesting hand went down at my regular weekly cash game last night. Game is 0.25/0.50 NLHE, max buy-in 20.

Game is generally very loose and passive preflop. There's a lot of gamboolage until stack depths create room for deeper play. Hero's standard preflop raise is 2–4, depending on limpers and position. Hero has a fairly loose-aggressive reputation.

UTG plays tighter than most and is very selective in his aggression. He rarely if ever bluffs.

I don't remember exactly all the details, but I will fill them in as best I can.

Hero's stack is 80–100. UTG is about 60–80. Other stacks are all in the 20–40 range.

UTG limps. Two loose-passive players in MP limp. Action folds around to Hero in SB.

Hero looks down at :kh::ks:. Hero … ?
 
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Jimulacrum

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2 to 4 bucks raise with a $20.00 max buy in? Shove
No one has raised. The 2–4 is Hero's usual preflop raise, for context.

It's 0.25 more to Hero in the SB. Hero is sitting on 80–100 with a player in the pot with 60–80.
 

detroitdad

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20 max buy in at a lose table? I still say shove lol. Then accidentally deal 4 cards on the next hand
 

Jimulacrum

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20 max buy in at a lose table? I still say shove lol. Then accidentally deal 4 cards on the next hand
That's a lot of my strategy when I'm sitting on 20. I raise 3 or 4 and plan to shove most flops that don't totally shit on me. Sometimes I shove over someone else's raise just because it's only 20 to shove and like 6 people have called for 4 already. I may get called, but it'll be with a ton of dead money in the pot.

When I have a meaningful stack, I still keep up preflop aggression but don't take huge risks for no reason with the whole stack. It's tough to build one! Having to start over from 20 over and over again sucks.
 

Kentucky

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I’d go large as I can within the bounds of “standard” considering 3 limpers and OOP. Would $6-8 work? I’m looking for big enough to fold out UTG given his limping range is capped, and big enough to tempt one of the short stacks to shove. Then we call and run the race.
 

Jimulacrum

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It's been about a day, and I don't see this first decision generating much interesting discussion. The idea to raise in the 6–8 range isn't bad. I can sometimes get action like that, especially if I've been varying bet sizing a lot that evening. This evening, I had raised almost exclusively 2 or 3, and I felt that going to 6–8 would just blow up my spot.

But I did raise, of course.

Hero raises to 4. BB folds. UTG reaches for his chips. His hand is noticeably shaking. I haven't logged as many hours with UTG as I have with the rest of the players, but I have played with him a few times, and I don't recall seeing this tic with any regularity.

UTG raises to 14.50 all day. UTG only rarely 3-bets; I used to be an admin in an online club where he plays, and I recall that his 3-bet percent was very low, like 5% or less. Whether this translates to live play, I can't say. I have not seen him backraise before, but I also haven't played very much NLHE with him (previous play was mostly other poker variants).

It folds back around to Hero.

There's 19.75 total in the pot, including UTG's entire raise. Working from initial estimates, after UTG's raise, effective stacks are about 45.50–65.50.

Hero … ?
 

kmccormick100

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I mean if his range is JJ+ and AK then I just jam. If he's only ever doing it with Aces, flat? I just don't see a way to get away from this unless there's an Ace on the flop.
 

DrStrange

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I think this hand is far from shallow - the $20 buy in has bloomed into a reasonable post flop game.. Not deep, but this hand is ~140bb effective.

UTG's limp / 3bet is pretty alarming. Let's remember Hero's villain read "UTG plays tighter than most and is very selective in his aggression. He rarely if ever bluffs." And now we see the shaking hand as some sort of tell. Some of us might see a bet sizing tell, but that is hard to read as it's meaning varies from villain to villain.

This is the point of no return. If Hero proceeds, the pot would be roughly $30 and effective stacks are $55. SPR less than two. Hero is pot committed on any ace less flop.

Me? I fold KK here. If villain has snookered us, well maybe he will show, But everything about the way preflop unfolds and what we know of villain suggests his range is KK+ Maybe only AA. Let's not pay off the obvious tricky play. And of course keep an eye out if this sort of things happens any time in the future.
 

Jimulacrum

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I think this hand is far from shallow - the $20 buy in has bloomed into a reasonable post flop game.. Not deep, but this hand is ~140bb effective.
Fair point. I meant mostly to refer to the game in general, since 2 of the 4 players in the pot as of the first decision are around 40 BB.

In general, I think of this game as a short-stack game with occasional medium- and deep-stack spots.
 

Frogzilla

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Well this is almost always AA as described, I don’t hate a fold, but if you call KK and fold QQ/JJ it’s still a massive exploit

Also, the adrenaline shakes while strong…if you play live, and find yourself shaking a little bit while bluffing, in my experience you get a ton of folds if you don’t try too hard to suppress it. Shaking bluffs crush.
 

BukNaked36

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If standard preflop raise is 2-4, you're basically playing more like a $.50 - $1 game.

$70 is effectively about a 70 bb stack.

Call preflop and see where the flop takes you. Check to villain and see what he does. Talk to villain see if you can get more of a read. You know - play poker.

If villain is nitty and your spidey senses are tingling, it's reasonable to fold.

And finally, talk about raising max buy-in to $40 or $60 as $20 just makes for lame push / fold short stack poker.
 

Kentucky

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Call 10 to win 20. Hmmm. Well V is repping the nuts with the classic limp/overbet trap and from his description I don’t think he bluffs 33% of the time, so I fold and look for a better spot. If he shows 72o, chapeau, but don’t pay off the nits.

If you think his range is more like <5% (QQ+, AK?) and you fancy a coin flip I wouldn’t think any less of you.
 

Jimulacrum

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If standard preflop raise is 2-4, you're basically playing more like a $.50 - $1 game.

$70 is effectively about a 70 bb stack.

My standard preflop raise is 2–4. It's a figure I've worked out over years of playing in this game. Most players raise a more "standard" size like 1.50 or 2 when there's no straddle on.

And finally, talk about raising max buy-in to $40 or $60 as $20 just makes for lame push / fold short stack poker.

The game used to be 0.50/1, max buy-in 20/40/60 depending on biggest stack size (0/100/200). Host scaled it down to 0.25/0.50 with 20 max because the previous structure was threatening to break up the game. Most of the folks who play in this game want to be able to slap down 20 at a time and play all night instead of busting out –200 at 9:00. It works out well.
 

Jimulacrum

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Gotta say I'm surprised at the number of folks suggesting a fold. Not that I disagree, but usually there's a significant mantra of "You never fold kings preflop!" even in spots that I find more threatening than this one.

Even with the margin of error in my memory of the stack sizes, I see two things:
  1. UTG has aces. He just does. Once in a great while he might show up with less than aces here, and in that case it'll be kings. With me holding two kings, aces are still far more likely. The app's 3-bet statistic is based on way more data than I have with him live, so I should take it seriously, and it indicates he has at worst kings, but pretty much always aces. Combined with the fact that it's a backraise, aces aces aces.
  2. Pot and stack odds are just not offering enough for me to set-mine. If stacks were much deeper, I'd be happy to take KK to the flop for 10.50 with my opponent's hand essentially face-up, but there's not enough of a potential win to take the risk here.
Hero asks UTG if he had raised coming in or if he called and then raised. (I've started interrogating people a lot in this game when they make big moves on me. I've found it's very useful for identifying reliable tells, if not now then in a later hand.) UTG almost starts to answer and then seems to think better of it. Instead he kinda mumbles his way out of answering fully and then goes quiet. (Happened in a brief moment, hard to explain.)

Hero pauses for a few seconds and verbally folds.

"Aces, huh?" Hero quips.

UTG tables :ah::ad:.

Hero … ?
 
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grebe

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Interesting hand went down at my regular weekly cash game last night. Game is 0.25/0.50 NLHE, max buy-in 20.

Game is generally very loose and passive preflop. There's a lot of gamboolage until stack depths create room for deeper play. Hero's standard preflop raise is 2–4, depending on limpers and position. Hero has a fairly loose-aggressive reputation.

UTG plays tighter than most and is very selective in his aggression. He rarely if ever bluffs.

I don't remember exactly all the details, but I will fill them in as best I can.

Hero's stack is 80–100. UTG is about 60–80. Other stacks are all in the 20–40 range.

UTG limps. Two loose-passive players in MP limp. Action folds around to Hero in SB.

Hero looks down at :kh::ks:. Hero … ?
3 limpers, and a monster guaranteed to be OOP. I raise an amount that I figure I can get 2 folds. $5 maybe?
 

grebe

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You are better than me. No way I fold KK....I have just seen too many bad players show up with too many weird hands.

Good fold. I wouldnt make it a habit, but it looks like you read his soul.
 

JustinInMN

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Gotta say I'm surprised at the number of folks suggesting a fold. Not that I disagree, but usually there's a significant mantra of "You never fold kings preflop!" even in spots that I find more threatening than this one.

I think this laydown is possible in no-limit, but only if looked at as an extremely player dependent exploitive play. And it looks like the stars aligned here. Looks like you benefitted from translating a HUD stat to live in a sense, but I think the case to fold in this spot is here.

The key is that hero must be confident villain's 3-bet range pre is AA and KK only (never QQ or anything else). This means hero blocks all but one combo of KK, which means villain has AA 6 times for every time he has KK, so the fold is logical. Hero will be an 80/20 dog 6 times out of 7 and a 50/50 flip the 7th time. Obviously, even getting 2-1 pot odds, the math doesn't add up.

However, if you even introduce QQ into villain's 3-betting range, then hero is getting 2-1 on what's basically a 50/50 proposition (6 villain combos make hero an rough 80% favorite, 6 villain combos make villain a rough 80% favorite, and one combo is a 50/50 spot), hero would have to at least call the 3-bet. (Probably could do a discussion about whether calling or raising is better here given this level of certainty of villain's range.)

But basically, we should consider passing kings here a reactive exploit to the fact villain doesn't 3-bet enough hands. And I do think there are players so tight that KK+ is their only 3-betting range, but it certainly isn't your "average" player or even an "average TAG" player. For this fold to be "correct" this villain has to be a particular brand of nit. On the other hand, if QQ is ever in villain's range, then you are making a very exploitable fold.

The fold is possible, but the line between brilliant and foolish is extremely fine.
 
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DrStrange

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UTG limped first and then 3-bet. Not a normal three bet but some sort of fancy play. Yes it is player / situation dependent. "UTG plays tighter than most and is very selective in his aggression. He rarely if ever bluffs." This guy isn't often taking this trappy line without basically the nuts. At least not in my view.
 

JustinInMN

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UTG limped first and then 3-bet. Not a normal three bet but some sort of fancy play. Yes it is player / situation dependent. "UTG plays tighter than most and is very selective in his aggression. He rarely if ever bluffs." This guy isn't often taking this trappy line without basically the nuts. At least not in my view.
Right, my point was to define the villain range necessary to make the fold. And that if villains 3-bet range here (or as you correctly point out limp-three-bet range) here is only KK+, the fold makes sense. However, if villain ever has QQ in his range in this spot, the fold instantly crosses the line from "correct" to "really bad."
 

upNdown

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UTG limped first and then 3-bet. Not a normal three bet but some sort of fancy play. Yes it is player / situation dependent. "UTG plays tighter than most and is very selective in his aggression. He rarely if ever bluffs." This guy isn't often taking this trappy line without basically the nuts. At least not in my view.
I'm trying to think of how many times I've seen UTG limp then 3-bet and it wasn't AA. It's probably happened, but none that I can recall
 

upNdown

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I did it once with tens.

The other player in the hand apparently doesn't read strat threads.
Yeah now that you mention it, I’ve probably done it like that too, in squeezing situations - like, limp middle type pair, next guy minraises, whole table flats - that’s a jam.
 

Jimulacrum

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I think this laydown is possible in no-limit, but only if looked at as an extremely player dependent exploitive play. And it looks like the stars aligned here. Looks like you benefitted from translating a HUD stat to live in a sense, but I think the case to fold in this spot is here.

The key is that hero must be confident villain's 3-bet range pre is AA and KK only (never QQ or anything else). This means hero blocks all but one combo of KK, which means villain has AA 6 times for every time he has KK, so the fold is logical. Hero will be an 80/20 dog 6 times out of 7 and a 50/50 flip the 7th time. Obviously, even getting 2-1 pot odds, the math doesn't add up.

However, if you even introduce QQ into villain's 3-betting range, then hero is getting 2-1 on what's basically a 50/50 proposition (6 villain combos make hero an rough 80% favorite, 6 villain combos make villain a rough 80% favorite, and one combo is a 50/50 spot), hero would have to at least call the 3-bet. (Probably could do a discussion about whether calling or raising is better here given this level of certainty of villain's range.)

But basically, we should consider passing kings here a reactive exploit to the fact villain doesn't 3-bet enough hands. And I do think there are players so tight that KK+ is their only 3-betting range, but it certainly isn't your "average" player or even an "average TAG" player. For this fold to be "correct" this villain has to be a particular brand of nit. On the other hand, if QQ is ever in villain's range, then you are making a very exploitable fold.

The fold is possible, but the line between brilliant and foolish is extremely fine.
This is all pretty much true, but with one additional wrinkle.

All the spots I've found to fold KK have been (a) this kind of extremely player-specific situation with someone who almost never 3-bets, or (b) a spot where there's a multi-way storm of action that includes multiple players who are usually tight—especially if they're generally non-aggressive.

I've folded it maybe, I don't know, 10 times lifetime? Once or twice in tournaments and the rest in cash. I've gotten to verify that AA was out the majority of the time (often goes to showdown or I gift-of-gab it out of people).

I've shown the kings twice that I remember. IIRC one of them was during a PCF tournament on PokerStars.

And that gets me to part 2: After UTG shows AA, does Hero show his KK?
 

Highli99

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I'm trying to think of how many times I've seen UTG limp then 3-bet and it wasn't AA. It's probably happened, but none that I can recall
I like pulling this move in casinos. I’m obv a rec and I’ve gotten many folds this way from nitty regs. I got one guy to fold AK and then I tabled AJ and he was broken the rest of the night.
 

CrazyEddie

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No need to be bashful about limp-3betting. You'll be out of position so you'll want to be stronger than a typical 3bet, but that doesn't mean you have to dial it all the way up to AA. You just need a hand that's ahead of the field's opening range, with a modest boost for being OOP. And you need some confidence that it's not going to limp around and ruin your trap. Plus, you can preserve your option - if early position opens (which is strong) then you can just call, if late position opens (which has a wide range) then you can 3bet.
 
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