PAHWM: KK vs Backraise

Jimulacrum

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Interesting hand came up at one of the mixed games I play on Mavens.

Only opponent who's relevant is Villain; everyone else folds. I'll pick up the action at the backraise, since you already know that from the title.

Villian has been relatively quiet most of the night. Not super-tight, but generally passive, across all games in the rotation.

Hero has been very aggressive and has been getting hit with the deck to some degree. Villain has been to his right almost all night.

Table: LHE, Omaha/8, Stud, NLH, PLO
Game: NLH
Seat 1: SB (108.25)
Seat 2: BB (30.25)
Seat 3: UTG (66.65)
Seat 4: Villain (UTG+1) (91.80)
Seat 5: Hero (UTG+2) (245.80)
Seat 6: HJ (100.90)
Seat 7: CO (65.55)
Seat 8: BTN (85.80)
BTN has the dealer button
SB posts small blind 0.10
BB posts big blind 0.25
** Hole Cards ** [8 players]
Dealt to Hero :kh: :ks:
UTG folds
Villain calls 0.25
Hero raises to 1.50
HJ folds
CO folds
BTN folds
SB folds
BB folds
Villain raises to 2.75
Hero ???
 
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chicubs1988

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4 bet to $10. Stack off if he jams. Life is too short to fold kings pre.

Agreed. Raise of ~4x his bet and call if he pushes all-in. Poker is a marathon, and folding kings pre in a situation like this is a losing play. Only way I'd even consider a fold is if I played with the villain regularly and had repeatedly witnessed him playing Aces, and only Aces, like this.
 

upNdown

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I'm guessing Jim gave folding zero consideration.
I'm a terrible cash player, but I like flatting here and disguising strength.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Is the quiet, passive Villain really going to 5-bet a worse hand when Hero makes it $10? What is this quiet, passive villain's 5-bet range?

I'm probably not getting away from a shove, but a 5-bet to a "please call me" amount like $20-25 is really going to scare the crap out of me.

Folding KK preflop is so incredibly player-specific. I've only ever done it twice, both times against OMC types who showed me AA after I folded.
 

Taghkanic

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The limp-reraise is kind of worrisome. From the description this nitty villain seems to fit the profile of a low stakes player who likes to trap with huge hands.

The size of the reraise is curious and might be a clue. If he had a pair like JJ or lower, you’d expect him to go bigger to try to get folds.

The clickback feels like he either really wants a call (AA) or now just wants to see if he can either get a cheap fold, or if you call see if an overcard to his pair hits the flop. If not, then he feels safe putting a lot more in.

If you raise him again pre (5bet? I’m losing track) and he flats, that really narrows his range. Almost has to be AKs, KK, QQ mayyyybe JJ; it should rule out AA unless this person just plays weirdly. You block AK and KK pretty hard and again the sequence doesn’t seem like Jacks or worse. I might fold if he keeps going.

Weird to be 4betting almost just to see where you’re at, but that kind of feels like the necessary here.
 

DrStrange

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Hero is getting super odds on a set mining venture. Folding is not an option.

This hand is deep enough that Hero can / should be thoughtful. Maybe this hand can be played on autopilot less than 100bb. At least there is some point where the stacks are short enough to always stack off.

I am not so sure hero has much of a read on villain. It sounds like Hero has a could have just a couple of dozen NLHE hands to consider. I think it is debatable how relevant hand histories from limit games, stud and Omaha actually are in this situation.

I offer this plan. Hero flats $1.25 more. If he hits a set, Woo Hoo! If not, then let's use position and see how many time the passive guy bets into Hero. Ideally we get a cheap show down. If the bets get progressively bigger, well maybe Hero should consider letting the over-pair go. I am OK with not extracting the maximum in this situation. Defense is better than offense for now.

If Hero is playing a home game situation where information is more valuable for a longer period of time, he should be more inclined to pay off villain.

I do not advocate a "go to war" strategy for the preflop. This lets villain play his/her hand pretty accurately. I would rather see how the post flop plays out in an ambiguous setting and learn something.

Yes, I can find a fold with KK playing ~200 deep. But I don't want to -=- DrStrange
 

Jimulacrum

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Okay, so majority opinion here is to reraise, which is what I did. Some interesting observations here, considering what happens next.

Hero's next move:

Seat 4: Villain (UTG+1) (91.80)
Seat 5: Hero (UTG+2) (245.80)
SB posts small blind 0.10
BB posts big blind 0.25
** Hole Cards ** [8 players]
Dealt to Hero :kh: :ks:
UTG folds
Villain calls 0.25
Hero raises to 1.50
HJ folds
CO folds
BTN folds
SB folds
BB folds
Villain raises to 2.75
Hero raises to 15
Villain raises to 27.25
Hero ???
 

Jimulacrum

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Note: I've played a few sessions with Villain, all online, same rotation. Maybe 4 sessions in total, ~4 hours each.

I've never noticed him being particularly aggressive. He has flown under my radar across all those sessions, until now. I also don't recall him ever doing a backraise before. The min-raising is unusual too; I tend to notice when people do that with any frequency.

Also, his action here was almost instant. I don't recall the timing of his 3-bet.

That's more or less all I can provide with regard to him.
 

Legend5555

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I'm stacking off with KK pre for almost 400bb to an early pos limp reraise. Almost nobody 5 bets pre in this spot without AA or KK, and you have KK. I make a super tight for here and just wait for better spots in the limit games.

Where was this mix played at? This is the kind mix I want to play!
 

Eriks

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-Almost 400bbs deep
-early position limp/min 3-bet
-big 4-bet
-villian doesn’t care and click-it-back 5-bets it

As played I would seriously consider folding to his 5-bet. If we’re gonna 4-bet, I’d like to make it more like $10 to keep his range that continues wider and to leave some room to flat if he 5-bets.

I would assume your range for making that 4-bet is very narrow. I don’t really mind not having a 4-bet range this deep as it is hard to keep it balanced. It does seem a little too small ball to just flat in this instance though when facing such a small 3-bet. I don’t know
 

JustinInMN

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Oh boy. I usually try not to "put a player on a hand" and I would rather think in terms of ranges. But this read, with this line, really could be a range of one hand. But man you have to be sure. If villian has a range of 3 hands here AA - QQ then you don't beant to fold. If it's any wider than that, folding is a disaster.

What a spot, you could just take @DrStrange 's middle ground to get the info.
 

Forty4

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I think we have narrowed our range as well with the four bet. Maybe we are not giving enough credit to him and he thinks you’re Johnny Chan and capable of letting go of big hands and this is his chance to prove he can make moves.

There is a chance his three bet min raise was a misclick. Thing about this game is that even if someone plays perfect GTO 90% of the time there are individuals who 5% of the time can just go off the rails. I’ve seen people just decide they want to bluff a hand for fun.

But say he has some suited broadway Ace combo. He calls to see a flop you raise (with no other callers) he means to call but clicks min raise you four bet. He now says well he’s got QQ or KK as I block the A so let’s see if I can make it look like AA. So raise it again. His other approach could be to flat and bomb a flop with and A but if you are holding AK, that would backfire and you have position so better to pump it up now to get a fold, maybe. That’s all theories and I certainly don’t have the gumption to pull it off but as I said sometimes people just go way off the rails.

If you hadn’t made the four bet your range would be a little wider and easier to proceed post flop. What is your plan if there is an A on the flop? Are you calling off as @DrStrange noted above? On the off chance he has to check for you holding AK and the A on the flop he’s going to bet can you raise his bet?

Thanks for the post, interested to see the next part.
 

DarkHelmet55

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Yes as others have said i would insta four bet to $10. See how fast he 5 bets. You have the big stack at the table so he knows a 5 bet means he is at risk for the $90. if he 5 bets quickly then you have another decision based on how much or if its a jam.
 

Highli99

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Seems to make there are more hand combos you are tired or ahead of than behind.

He can have JJ, QQ, KK, or AK. Yes, you block some of those but they still count. Some players also play small pairs this way hoping you have AK. Jam and embrace the variance.
 

upNdown

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It’s funny, normally we say that absent player specific reads, we’re not folding KK pre. And I can’t remember ever folding KK pre. But without the knowledge that this guy is capable of doing this without aces, without some reason to think he’s tired of being pushed around or ready to go home, or something, I’ll be damned if I’m going to piss away 350 big blinds with KK here.
Tough spot. I fold.
 

boltonguy

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In my limited experience limp re-raises are AA 85% of the time and KK 15% of the time. I'm calling the 3bet IP here and hoping to improve. Honestly this 5 bet is what I want to avoid.

5 bets are probably 100% AA. I'm folding. I 4 bet bluff with blockers (e.g. AKo, A5s) and get a lot of folds but every five bet I've seen has been AA. I don't think many people 5bet bluff or light (e.g. KK, QQ).

Last night full ring I had AKo in SB, +2 opens for 3BB, BN 3bets to 9BB, I four bet to 22BB (blockers! I hoped), +2 folds, BN 5bet jams 100BB, I call covering him. Yes he has AA and holds. Just wanted to let you know that I'm not a super nit! I would fold here as you don't block AA. Even calling with AK is light but hey, blockers right??!!
 

Jimulacrum

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Okay, I've given it about half a day, so time for results.

Seat 4: Villain (UTG+1) (91.80)
Seat 5: Hero (UTG+2) (245.80)
SB posts small blind 0.10
BB posts big blind 0.25
** Hole Cards ** [8 players]
Dealt to Hero :kh: :ks:
UTG folds
Villain calls 0.25
Hero raises to 1.50
HJ folds
CO folds
BTN folds
SB folds
BB folds
Villain raises to 2.75
Hero raises to 15
Villain raises to 27.25
Hero folds
Villain refunded 12.25
Villain wins Pot (30.35)

I hesitated maybe 5 seconds before I folded. Not sure it was even that long. I made the 4-bet with the plan to fold to a 5-bet.

Unfortunately, I didn't take a screenshot of the chat, but I chatted "aces?" after the hand, and Villain confirmed that's what he had. I said I folded kings, and apparently the small group of folks who were on Zoom weren't sure whether to believe me. I don't usually tell anyone that I've folded kings right afterward, but it's a friendly group, and TBH I was kinda proud of this one. (I also sent the host a screenshot to prove I had KK.)

I see a lot of comments here to the effect that KK preflop is essentially unfoldable in NLHE. Of course, this isn't the first time I've heard a chorus of "But you can't fold kings!" Seems like that's the majority opinion anytime this question comes up.

I couldn't disagree more, especially with stacks this deep. This is probably the 8th or 9th time I've folded KK preflop in NLHE, and for relatively few chips. I believe 2 cases were in tournaments, the rest in cash. One of the tournament cases was in the PCF league on PokerStars a couple years ago, and I believe I posted about that one here as well.

I will say that this was the thinnest fold of KK I've ever made. Usually, there is significant multi-way action, and some known tight player makes a move that really tips his hand in context. I believe this is the first time I've done it heads-up.

Villain is screaming to you at the top of his lungs that he has aces.
This is exactly the message I got from Villain's snap-reraise. Could I have been wrong? Sure. But I would (and did, basically) bet that my instinct, combined with analysis of the player, betting, and bet timing, was spot on.
 

Taghkanic

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Seems to make there are more hand combos you are tired or ahead of than behind.

He can have JJ, QQ, KK, or AK. Yes, you block some of those but they still count. Some players also play small pairs this way hoping you have AK. Jam and embrace the variance.

Note: I was about to send the following when results were posted. Gonna post it anyway.

---------------

I dunno. Would he just click it back *twice* with JJ? Both times he is inviting a call, giving Hero great odds. That seems like courting disaster for Villain with JJ, and maybe even QQ, unless he really has a great read on Hero and is playing some truly devious multileveled metagame... figuring that his min reraises will look super strong. Seems unlikely at these stakes.

As for AKo... I kind of doubt that. I would normally assume only AKs here, and even that seems speculative even before taking into account blockers. I thinkhe’d want to get to a cheaper flop with AK after you showed strength.

So really, after the second click back I am putting him on AA (6 combos), KK (1 combo), half of his QQ (let’s say 3 combos), very little JJ (give him 1 combo) and also very little AKs (normally 4 combos, but with blockers and the improbability of him playing it this way, I’ll say just 1).

So let’s say 6/12ths of his range is, charitably, beating you 80% of the time; 1/12th is tied; and 5/11ths are way behind you (with 4 of those 20% to win, and 1 about 30%).

My probability skillz are a little rusty—and of course, I’m not likely to put any of this detail together live—but let’s mash all that up and figure that Villain is something like a 60-65% favorite. Sounds optimistic for Hero, but I’ll go with that.

If that is in the ballpark, you’re getting the right price to call, I guess. See the flop, hope to win his whole stack if it plays out favorably.

My concern is that if you are putting all of the above combos in his range, you are still in a tough spot if any A, Q or J hits. The J is a small part of his range as I constructed it, but still—if he bets huge on any Axx, Qxx, Jxx or all-rags flop, you’re still in a perplexing spot unless there’s also a K.

Also: Since he now only has ~$64 behind, if you call he’s only going to have roughly a pot sized bet behind. He might shove with his whole range no matter what the flop is, unless he has an underpair and gets scare off by an Axx board. That could be good or it could be bad. But if you think it’s going all-in no matter what, that might argue that call is not an option — shove or fold to the second reraise.

Overall, I don’t like it. I think this is a spot for a disciplined fold. You have the table covered, so save the stack for a less tricky spot. Live to fight another day.
 
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Highli99

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Note: I was about to send the following when results were posted. Gonna post it anyway.

---------------

I dunno. Would he just click it back *twice* with JJ? Both times he is inviting a call, giving Hero great odds. That seems like courting disaster for Villain with JJ, and maybe even QQ, unless he really has a great read on Hero and is playing some truly devious multileveled metagame... figuring that his min reraises will look super strong. Seems unlikely at these stakes.

As for AKo... I kind of doubt that. I would normally assume only AKs here, and even that seems speculative even before taking into account blockers. I thinkhe’d want to get to a cheaper flop with AK after you showed strength.

So really, after the second click back I am putting him on AA (6 combos), KK (1 combo), half of his QQ (let’s say 3 combos), very little JJ (give him 1 combo) and also very little AKs (normally 4 combos, but with blockers and the improbability of him playing it this way, I’ll say just 1).

So let’s say 6/12ths of his range is, charitably, beating you 80% of the time; 1/12th is tied; and 5/11ths are way behind you (with 4 of those 20% to win, and 1 about 30%).

My probability skillz are a little rusty—and of course, I’m not likely to put any of this detail together live—but let’s mash all that up and figure that Villain is something like a 60-65% favorite. Sounds optimistic for Hero, but I’ll go with that.

If that is in the ballpark, you’re getting the right price to call, I guess. See the flop, hope to win his whole stack if it plays out favorably.

My concern is that if you are putting all of the above combos in his range, you are still in a tough spot if any A, Q or J hits. The J is a small part of his range as I constructed it, but still—if he bets huge on any Axx, Qxx, Jxx or all-rags flop, you’re still in a perplexing spot unless there’s also a K.

Also: Since he now only has ~$64 behind, if you call he’s only going to have roughly a pot sized bet behind. He might shove with his whole range no matter what the flop is, unless he has an underpair and gets scare off by an Axx board. That could be good or it could be bad. But if you think it’s going all-in no matter what, that might argue that call is not an option — shove or fold to the second reraise.

Overall, I don’t like it. I think this is a spot for a disciplined fold. You have the table covered, so save the stack for a less tricky spot. Live to fight another day.
You case is well made, mynligic would assume slight more combos. I think in general we overly narrow our opponents range which is why I favor a jam.
 

boltonguy

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As for AKo... I kind of doubt that. I would normally assume only AKs here, and even that seems speculative even before taking into account blockers. I thinkhe’d want to get to a cheaper flop with AK after you showed strength.
I think with AK he is incented to jam blocking AA & KK and to fold out QQ- that he is behind. V's min-clicks seemed very interested in a call given the especially since H's action suggests premium pairs that V is well ahead of.
 

Jimulacrum

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You case is well made, mynligic would assume slight more combos. I think in general we overly narrow our opponents range which is why I favor a jam.
In general, I agree with you. Planning all moves on the basis of ranges, as much as possible, is the way to go. I make a lot of range-based plays in all games, especially limit poker (which most of this rotation is). And ranges are kinda the basis on which someone can claim that folding KK preflop is almost always wrong, because most people are capable of making wild moves with a lot of hands.

But sometimes that AA is just screaming so loud that it makes the rest of the potential range only a marginal possibility. Between the backraise, the 5-bet, the speed of the raises, the fact that they were both min-raises, and all the other details I can muster, I'd be surprised if he turns up anything other than AA more than 5% of the time.

Aside from the fact that Villain is almost never aggressive, I don't think I saw a 5-bet during the NL/PL orbits the whole night. It's possible there hasn't been a single 5-bet since I started playing in this game, to give you a sense of how jarring it was to have someone swing back at me so strongly. Even the limit rounds very rarely see capped betting on the openers.

All of a sudden, it went from that relatively passive table texture to me getting backraised and 5-bet by a guy who seldom raises. The only reason I even hesitated to drop the kings was because the 5-bet was such an odd amount.
 

JustinInMN

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The hard thing about folding pre to this line is that you litter have exactly one calling hand you are not folding and it's AA. That said, if the limp reraise is really truly that rare (rare to the point that you may be justified in believing villian's range is one hand and never even QQ or JJ) then play accordingly.

It's hard to have a sense of whether villian is doing this once every 200 hands or once every 100 hands which makes a big difference in the decision.

I am not saying this fold is wrong, but be careful about big laydowns like this, it does invite bluffs from observant players.
 

Taghkanic

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The hard thing about folding pre to this line is that you litter have exactly one calling hand you are not folding and it's AA. That said, if the limp reraise is really truly that rare (rare to the point that you may be justified in believing villian's range is one hand and never even QQ or JJ) then play accordingly.

I agree, but would add that the decision to fold seems to have been pretty Villain-specific (though apparently the whole field is not 5betting). If a more active, aggressive player took the same line, maybe the Hero plays it differently.
 

Legend5555

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The hard thing about folding pre to this line is that you litter have exactly one calling hand you are not folding and it's AA. That said, if the limp reraise is really truly that rare (rare to the point that you may be justified in believing villian's range is one hand and never even QQ or JJ) then play accordingly.

It's hard to have a sense of whether villian is doing this once every 200 hands or once every 100 hands which makes a big difference in the decision.

I am not saying this fold is wrong, but be careful about big laydowns like this, it does invite bluffs from observant players.
Let's face it though, most people just aren't that observant. And how often is someone going to know hero was laying down KK here unless they were told.

If you are playing against the same players that are decent competition regularly, then maybe this becomes a thing. And at this stack depth with equilibrium ranges, someone is probably suppose to just call and see the flop instead of getting it all in pre.
 

Jimulacrum

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Let's face it though, most people just aren't that observant. And how often is someone going to know hero was laying down KK here unless they were told.

If you are playing against the same players that are decent competition regularly, then maybe this becomes a thing. And at this stack depth with equilibrium ranges, someone is probably suppose to just call and see the flop instead of getting it all in pre.
Of course, I did tell them in this case, so now I ought to be slightly more suspicious of anyone in the game taking this kind of line against me in the future.

Also in the future: If I find myself against this same player backraising my kings again, I will probably flat the 3-bet for the cheap set-mining opportunity instead of testing him with a 4-bet.
 
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