Line check: .10/.20 NLHE with AA (Mavens)

JustinInMN

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Seems obvious now, I think the error was nobody assumed mid connectors in an open limping range. Even posters advocating for folding the river didn't suspect a seven.

Seeing the whole line now it kind of makes sense. Semi bluff the flop, but don't go to war since it's a gutter with a flush an no overs. Very different than having :ks::qs:

But I don't think bigger sizing gets a laydown at any point in the hand except maybe preflop. (Hey we are going to discuss that after all.)

I still like the river payoff here, but realizing more mid connectors were in villians range, I probably would have tipped to checking behind on the river.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Let's rate villain's play:

UTG, he limps with 97s then calls a raise. Bad position, speculative hand = dubious play mostly due to weak position.

Flop, villain flops a flush draw plus a dummy end gut shot. Villain makes 2/3 pot semi bluff and then calls Hero's raise. That seems pretty reasonable. Villain has something just under 50% equity unless Hero has a superior flush draw.

Turn, villain now has a pair + flush draw + gut shot. Hero bets less than 1/2 pot and villain calls. If anything the call seems a bit weak. Villain has a drawing monster, ~ 16 to 17 outs vs an over pair, ahead vs most flush draws. The lack of aggression by villain on the flop & turn is notable. Villain got a cheap price to try his draw. But even a full pot sized bet isn't enough to price out the monster combo draw.

River, villain makes trip sevens and sets a trap for Hero. Hero sets foot in trap and gets his leg snapped off. PAID IN FULL.

Aside from the questionable preflop limp, the play looked ok to me. Maybe too passive, but others would take that check/call line. More so if Hero is seen as hard to bluff.

Looks pretty ok to me. Good job villain -=- DrStrange
Hero definitely... dammit, I can stop talking about myself in the third person now.

I definitely didn't help myself with my too-small flop and turn bets, though the end result would be the same in this specific hand. Against Villain's ranges, if I go too large I just push more of his losing hands out and increase the strength of the range he continues with.

Again, I know I could have checked back as a lower-variance option, and I chose to take a higher variance path. Against this specific villain, the way this specific hand was played, and in the absence of knowing exactly what his two cards were, I don't hate the way I played it.

If nothing else, it's an expensive lesson that I'll use the next time I'm at the table with him.
 

Jimulacrum

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Even posters advocating for folding the river didn't suspect a seven.
Fold to river check-raise. Remember that Villain is capable of check-raising on the end. Try to talk him into saying what his hand was. My guess is a flopped set, TT or JJ (maybe 44), or even 7x of spades that chased a flush draw and backed into trips.
 

JustinInMN

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If nothing else, it's an expensive lesson that I'll use the next time I'm at the table with him.
Don't be too hard on yourself. You had the right line bad river. Guess the only lesson here is check river if villains' starting range is wide enough to have some :7s:-x :s: without the :as: or :ts:

It was admittedly a thin rainge we were trying to take to value town there so we wouldn't have had to come up with much else better than AA to justify the check behind.

If we knew that was in range then we know j-x is too thin to go for value.

And no, I don't put any stock in going for larger bets make any difference in the outcome.

I think flop and turn are fine, villain caught the two out to river that enabled him to get your stack. I think you can live with that without worrying two much.
 
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ChaosRock

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I like the line you took, Chris.

The only thing I would have done differently is not calling the river shove. From a range distribution, if you're bet/shove calling with AA, you don't have enough bet/folding and checking behind combos imo.

From an exploitative perspective, one can even shrink down the bet/shove calling range to less than optimal since Vs rarely check/bluff shoves in a spot like that. At least that's my experience. It's more frequent V lead shoves with his bluffs (and nutted hands). Yes, playing against a super good player, one can get exploited back if he sees a lot of river bet/folds but my default at these levels (when betting thin value) is the former personally.
 
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Eriks

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Yeah, I would have played it the same way. I am folding the river but it’s harder to do in game than when looking at the hand history like this. Maybe there’s an argument for betting the river smaller, like $8-10. That way we can induce more bluffs. I do think it’s more of a call if we don’t hold the A of spades though.
 

Steve Birrer

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I am just checking behind. After a good sized bet on the turn the only thing I see villain calling any post river bet are hands that have you beat.
I read things right so infrequently got to spot light this one. Checking the river just never gets us in trouble. Look at the potential outcomes.
1. Hero checks back and actually wins the pot. Good.
2. Hero bets and villain folds so hero wins the same exact pot. Good.
3. Hero bets and villain calls and hero wins the pot. Good and hero wins more than he would have if he checked.
4. Hero checks back and loses the pot. Bad but minimizes losses.
5. Hero bets and villain calls. Hero loses the pot. Bad and hero loses more than he needed to.
6. Hero bets and villain jams. Hero folds. Bad but hero loses less than if he calls. You don't know if villain is bluffing or hero really does have the best hand.
7. Hero bets and villain jams. Hero calls and wins the pot. Best possible result.
8. Hero bets and villain jams. Hero calls and loses the pot. Worst possible result.

Be happy with outcome 1 and satisfied with 4. Unless villain is really a donk bluffing player hero is going to lose a lot more than he wins in the long run with the line of play taken at the river.

OP - thanks for an interesting thead!
 

Schmendr1ck

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I like the line you took, Chris.

The only thing I would have done differently is not calling the river shove. From a range distribution, if you're bet/shove calling with AA, you don't have enough bet/folding and checking behind combos imo.

From an exploitative perspective, one can even shrink down the bet/shove calling range to less than optimal since Vs rarely check/bluff shoves in a spot like that. At least that's my experience. It's more frequent V lead shoves with his bluffs (and nutted hands). Yes, playing against a super good player, one can get exploited back if he sees a lot of river bet/folds but my default at these levels (when betting thin value) is the former personally.
Yeah, I think I said earlier that my biggest mistake in this hand was not expecting the check-raise, and thus not having a plan for it on the river when the "blank" seven hit.

I still prefer betting the river given the way the hand played out. But I'm definitely torn about calling the CRAI, and starting to lean toward bet/fold. It's such a strong move at these stakes that one pair is rarely good, even with a Villain who seems to overvalue TP hands a bit.
 

Jimulacrum

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I still prefer betting the river given the way the hand played out. But I'm definitely torn about calling the CRAI, and starting to lean toward bet/fold. It's such a strong move at these stakes that one pair is rarely good, even with a Villain who seems to overvalue TP hands a bit.
I've waffled a little between checking back and betting the river, and the more I think about it, the more I like betting with this specific opponent.

Against a wild player who bluffs enough to make your decisions tough, check back for sure. Not worth reopening the betting. But against this guy, a bet seems good in this spot as long as you're prepared to fold to the check-raise. He's predictable enough that you can squeeze a bit of value when you're ahead and avoid paying more than that bet when you're behind.
 
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JustinInMN

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I still prefer betting the river given the way the hand played out. But I'm definitely torn about calling the CRAI, and starting to lean toward bet/fold. It's such a strong move at these stakes that one pair is rarely good, even with a Villain who seems to overvalue TP hands a bit.

I think AA is waaaaaay too good to bet-fold here. Especially with the read that villain an overplay one-pair hands.

We didn't have any 7s in villains pf range, and we should have (and we should have had 98 in there as well), that tips this to a check. I'm satisfied that's the entire error we made here in choosing to bet the river instead of checking.

If we should have bet-fold hands on the river, we should use hands that are bluffs where we miss. AA is the 3rd best hand in our range as hero. It's too good to use as a bet-fold. I would argue we should be bet-folding hands that have less to no showdown value. If we decide AA is in our checking range, then we are only betting JJ and TT (full houses) for value, six combos. If we are planning half pot sizing, we should have one bluff for every 3 value combos, so two combos of bluffs in total, that's it. I would suggest we should use no-pair missed straight hands for this end. So I would say maybe exactly :ks::qs: and :as::qs: would be good candidates for bet fold hands. Or maybe these hands in other suits if we think we can have them raising flop and betting turn without a flush draw. Or if we aren't going to play draws with aggression, surely we would be playing AJ in this manner, we could bet-fold two combos of that. (and check the rest)

The only reason betting AA on the river made sense is we seemed to have a clear range advantage when Jx was all villain could have. Since we obviously have to add in at least 98s, 97s, and 87s, then villain has a "value" range that beats us about as big as a "value" range that we beat, and we now have the data point that villain is willing to check the nuttier side.

But if we make all six combos of AA a bet fold hand, we are going to be overfolding when the only value we have when betting is full houses. Villains will challenge us too often on the river if they are observant.
 

DrStrange

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We make more money playing exploitive poker than we do playing game theory optimal (GTO). The trick is knowing when to exploit and when to be unexploitable.

Hero thinks Villain is sticky and bluffs less frequently than he should. That means Hero will want to give serious consideration trying to get one extra street of value on the river. And it also means Hero can more safely over fold assuming that he correctly evaluated villain as an "under-bluffer"

Know you villains well enough and you can exploit them rather than take the "safer" GTO lines.
 

JustinInMN

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Hero thinks Villain is sticky and bluffs less frequently than he should. That means Hero will want to give serious consideration trying to get one extra street of value on the river. And it also means Hero can more safely over fold assuming that he correctly evaluated villain as an "under-bluffer"

Know you villains well enough and you can exploit them rather than take the "safer" GTO lines.

Obviously my instinct is AA is too high in our range not to at least show down, but if I were to make a case for making it a bet-fold hand, the above is absolutely the right reasoning. It relies on the read that villain is going to both "over-call" and "under-bluff" the river in this spot. But in those conditions, I agree bet-folding can be a profitable line.
 

Jimulacrum

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Obviously my instinct is AA is too high in our range not to at least show down, but if I were to make a case for making it a bet-fold hand, the above is absolutely the right reasoning. It relies on the read that villain is going to both "over-call" and "under-bluff" the river in this spot. But in those conditions, I agree bet-folding can be a profitable line.
GTO-wise, sure, you shouldn't make a habit out of bet-folding AA on this river against everyone, especially not if they're observant and will adjust their play to exploit you.

But "in this spot" is a very important qualifier. With a different player profile, the river decision is tougher. Against a player who check-raise bluffs with any frequency, for example, you need to estimate his range that gets to the river, estimate his check-raise bluffing frequency with the busted draws, and then consolidate that information and compare it to your pot odds. Good luck ballparking all that at the table. Fortunately, our Villain likely doesn't check-raise bluff more than once a decade, so it tips his hand a lot when he check-raises here.

Even with someone who might be on a bluff, to make this call I feel like you've gotta be up against a habitual bluffer who really loves check-raise bluffing, enough to do it even when it's a pretty dumb play. Opening with a bluff shove would make a lot more sense than checking and hoping that (a) Hero doesn't check behind, (b) Hero bets little enough that a shove is viable, and (c) Hero actually folds to the bluff despite getting decent pot odds. Meh to all that.
 

Senzrock

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Interesting hand, thanks for posting. Unfortunate river, but I think you played it reasonably well. My main piece of constructive criticism, and I know others have pointed this out but this is a good hand to drive this point home: You have to work more seriously on your bet sizing.

Your flop raise into 2 other players is not just a little small, it's really much too small. His lead here is SO weak (players RARELY do this with the nuts ie. sets) and so clearly a J + variety of draws that the raise from 1.50 to 4.50 is literally just welcoming him to come along. Again on the turn. You are so often ahead of his range here that you need to bomb this turn. If you had raised adequately on the flop (I Think $6.25-$7 is ideal here, and not being results oriented), then the turn sets us up for a very nice (bigger) barrel. We could even get fancy and overbet the turn if we wanted to, but at least we need to bet bigger on the turn. This allows us to do several things, among them, it actually allows us to check behind the river if we want to (the pot would have been a significant amount of BB's given our two pair holding and what we can get called by) but it also allows us to shove for value this river vs a hand like KJ, QJ etc. In this specific spot, he's probably not going anywhere, but we can't look at this outcome in a vacuum. Bet bigger, get your value while you are ahead, punish the chasers and the donk leads!
 

Senzrock

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We make more money playing exploitive poker than we do playing game theory optimal (GTO). The trick is knowing when to exploit and when to be unexploitable.

Hero thinks Villain is sticky and bluffs less frequently than he should. That means Hero will want to give serious consideration trying to get one extra street of value on the river. And it also means Hero can more safely over fold assuming that he correctly evaluated villain as an "under-bluffer"

Know you villains well enough and you can exploit them rather than take the "safer" GTO lines.
I have seen too many bad players overplay AJ, KJ, KK, QQ etc to fold AA in this spot. I think, especially at the smaller stakes, we would do well to try and stick to GTO as much as possible because it prepares us to call more formidable bets at the higher stakes (assuming we think we have the best hand of course).
 

Zr1

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I have seen too many bad players overplay AJ, KJ, KK, QQ etc to fold AA in this spot. I think, especially at the smaller stakes, we would do well to try and stick to GTO as much as possible because it prepares us to call more formidable bets at the higher stakes (assuming we think we have the best hand of course).
A check raise jam on the river is almost never a bluff here. One of the most underrated skills to learn is bet folding rivers. Hero didn’t play the hand that great with bet sizing etc. Calling jam on river is definitely never +ev
 

Senzrock

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A check raise jam on the river is almost never a bluff here. One of the most underrated skills to learn is bet folding rivers. Hero didn’t play the hand that great with bet sizing etc. Calling jam on river is definitely never +ev
Agreed that folding is an amazing skill to learn.. Took me a few years to learn to fold for sure. But it's taken me many more years to call in spots where I'm usually wrong, but getting the right price to call anyway (and realize that there are a ton of bad players with weak logic systems out there - everyday I'm still surprised by river bluffs).
 
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