PAHWM: Venetian LV 1/3NL, middle pair vs. action player (1 Viewer)

Moxie Mike

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Venetian 1/3NL
Hero (BTN): about $450
Villain (UTG): about $350

Preflop: UTG straddles for $6. One MP limp to Hero on BTN with :th::9h:, who raises to $25. Blinds fold, UTG calls, MP limper folds. (Note: Hero is surprised that we're seeing a flop heads-up. That was a rarity at this table.)

Flop ($53): :jd::td::6h:
UTG checks. Hero bets $40, Villain calls quickly.

Turn ($133): :jd::td::6h::2c:
UTG checks. Hero bets $75. Villain thinks for about 15-20 seconds and calls.

River ($283): :jd::td::6h::2c::3h:
UTG checks. Hero?

Just check it back. HERO isn't likely to be called by a worse hand and Villain probably isn't folding top pair to an all in bet. It would suck for her to turn over A-10... but she's probably not folding that either. Just check and hope it's good because any bet is lighting money on fire.

Edited to add that I just read the spoiler. Nice read and NH!
 

Schmendr1ck

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I do think it's too thin. But we've all made plays that were too thin and been rewarded.
This is precisely why I posted this hand. I think there's a good case for value betting the river, and there's a good case for checking behind. Obviously the results here were good, but I wanted to see if there was a consensus on whether or not that river bet was too thin.
 

Schmendr1ck

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Any speculation to what villain had? Maybe a mid or low flush draw with a low pair (6, 2 or 3)? Would you expect villain to have played a NFD much more aggressively?
She definitely didn't have a weaker ten, because she didn't seem to care what my kicker was.

I think she has a lot of middle pocket pairs and A-rag hands that paired the board, especially A6 and K6 as @Taghkanic said. Maybe some instances of 6x hands that have straight or flush possibilities, but I discount those hands somewhat.
 

Taghkanic

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So I guess my remaining questions are these, based on her call-muck:

Presumably she had some made or pocket pair below TT to call with, and wasn’t just looking you up with ace high.

Since she called beaten by a ten but folded without seeing the kicker, we can assume she would have also shown down with worse tens. So:

* If she had a ten, would she ever either lead out or check-raise your $120 river bet?

* Would she have played a flopped ten (better or worse than yours) more aggressively on an earlier street?

* If you had shown weakness on any other street by checking back, would this have induced bluffs/semi-bluffs?

* If she had a better ten (say, QT) and you had gotten to the river by the same path, would a river shove ever push her off it?

The reason I think it’s worth contemplating is to better understand how to exploit such players.

I think the hero’s play was smart and did have a strong chance of getting thin value because one can look back at previous streets and narrow her range throughout.

In particular, when Hero raised her straddle preflop from $6 to $25, and this type of Villain just flats out of position, that for me eliminates almost all pocket pairs JJ+ from her range, along with AT+ which she is likely to overvalue preflop, and reraise.

I think one can also rule out JT+ when she just check-calls the flop, for the same reason: this player profile would view any ten with a Broadway kicker as worth playing aggressively in spite of the presence of a J on the board. Ditto all Jx. She’s leading out on the flop, or certainly on the turn with those.

Her flop calling range then becomes T9 or worse, heavily weighted to 6x and draws, especially flush draws and some Ax.

The only backdoor draw which came in by the river was 45 (suited or unsuited) which likely would have folded the flop, but if not constitutes too small a part of her remaining distribution to worry about.

My guess is that if she had QT or another hand that outflopped you, or if she made some gross two pair (T3/T2/63/62) she would have saved you money by betting it aggressively.

So by the river the action ***for this player*** has collapsed her range substantially to almost only hands you beat—barring a suckout like a small pair catching a two-outer. Or 6x making two pair, somehow.

If she plays all better hands in an aggro way, and rarely or never bluffs, there is almost no danger posed by such a player. Maybe she could get you to fold with T8/T7/T5/T4 if she led out big at some point… But by barreling the whole way you effectively shut down her bluffs.
 
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Legend5555

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So I guess my remaining questions are these, based on her call-muck:

Presumably she had some made or pocket pair below TT to call with, and wasn’t just looking you up with ace high.

Since she called beaten by a ten but folded without seeing the kicker, we can assume she would have also shown down with worse tens. So:

* If she had a ten, would she ever either lead out or check-raise your $120 river bet?

* Would she have played a flopped ten (better or worse than yours) more aggressively on an earlier street?

* If you had shown weakness on any other street by checking back, would this have induced bluffs/semi-bluffs?

* If she had a better ten (say, QT) and you had gotten to the river by the same path, would a river shove ever push her off it?

The reason I think it’s worth contemplating is to better understand how to exploit such players.

I think the hero’s play was smart and did have a strong chance of getting thin value because one can look back at previous streets and narrow her range throughout.

In particular, when Hero raised her straddle preflop from $6 to $25, and this type of Villain just flats out of position, that for me eliminates almost all pocket pairs JJ+ from her range, along with AT+ which she is likely to overvalue preflop, and reraise.

I think one can also rule out JT+ when she just check-calls the flop, for the same reason: this player profile would view any ten with a Broadway kicker as worth playing aggressively in spite of the presence of a J on the board. Ditto all Jx. She’s leading out on the flop, or certainly on the turn with those.

Her flop calling range then becomes T9 or worse, heavily weighted to 6x and draws, especially flush draws and some Ax.

The only backdoor draw which came in by the river was 45 (suited or unsuited) which likely would have folded the flop, but if not constitutes too small a part of her remaining distribution to worry about.

My guess is that if she had QT or another hand that outflopped you, or if she made some gross two pair (T3/T2/63/62) she would have saved you money by betting it aggressively.

So by the river the action ***for this player*** has collapsed her range substantially to almost only hands you beat—barring a suckout like a small pair catching a two-outer. Or 6x making two pair, somehow.

If she plays all better hands in an aggro way, and rarely or never bluffs, there is almost no danger posed by such a player. Maybe she could get you to fold with T8/T7/T5/T4 if she led out big at some point… But by barreling the whole way you effectively shut down her bluffs.
From my POV, I just don't like making assumptions based on one a few hours of playing. If we had more time with this villain other than what we've seen in a single session, then sure. Use that solid read. But after only a few hours and I'm assuming only a few showdowns, I'm not going to put that much faith into a read on a player.

The overwhelming majority of the recreational player pool is just not going to call with worse here that often. It's great that it worked out in this instance, and it's a great days point for this session. But on average I think this was too thin. We don't even know if she plays like this every day or if today is something of an exception.

Again, I'm not saying we CAN'T bet thin here. Just that in general, without much info, it's very likely too thin. It's important to realize we can make a play, be right, win extra money, and still be wrong in the long term to have done so.
 

Taghkanic

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From my POV, I just don't like making assumptions based on one a few hours of playing. If we had more time with this villain other than what we've seen in a single session, then sure. Use that solid read. But after only a few hours and I'm assuming only a few showdowns, I'm not going to put that much faith into a read on a player.

Unfortunately, unless one plays exclusively in private games, it seems like this approach would mean never applying reads vs recreational players in casinos.

While I will often stay 6-10 hours at the same casino table, it’s not common for unfamiliar recs to last more than 2-3 hours without leaving or switching tables.

So there is little chance to get a truly solid read on these players just from volume observation of their play.

*But!*

You can extrapolate (carefully) from limited info, especially with certain player types.

A thinking player (whether good or bad) can be hard to nail down in 3-5 orbits.

But some whales/fish show their colors/stripes very quickly.

If someone overlimps from earlu position ten handed with trash like 83o, and somehow gets to showdown with fourth pair, you’ve learned a lot from a single hand—because almost no one but a really bad player is doing that. Or else a very skilled pro, who is sure they can outplay the table postflop… who wouldn’t be found in a 1/3 game.

Certain behaviors fall pretty squarely onto certain player types. I might not have seen enough to be 100% sure they fit a type; but once I see enough behaviors that indicate that type, I’d rather use that as my lens onto their play than just assume they are a generic tight-passive rec. If something happens that changes the picture, revise the assumption.

I play much more in private home games or social hall/firehouse games than in casinos, and in those venues I tend to know 95% of the players. So we all have reads on each other (and the better players try to play metagames using their image in the group, mixing it up).

I think those reads and player profiles come in handy when dealing with unknown recs in casinos. I can watch the action and after a few orbits say, “OK, this guy plays like my friend Brian, but maybe a little tighter” or “This one’s like Mary, but slightly more reckless.”

Not at all perfect… But better than flying blind. As long as I stay aware that the profile is not exact, it is usually helpful.

On top of that, I avoid playing stakes in unfamiliar territory where losing a couple buyins is going to tilt me. I play at a level where if my read is wrong, and I get stacked, it’s fine. Reload and try to work back to even.

In this case, it seemed like Hero had observed enough to put this Villain in a familiar box. I felt good about the way the hand was played (I would have played it more aggressively even) precisely because this specific type is a lot easier to spot and exploit than others.
 
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