PAHWM - You know how this ends... But help me learn from it!

LotsOfChips

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Just need to know if I played this correctly:

The game: Cash Game NLHE .25/.25 ($20 Min $50 Max)
Prelude: Bought in for $40, table image is pretty tight, seldom makes big raises, slow played a few big hands
4 other players remaining
Stacks: SB $11.75, BB $166.25, UTG $8.75, CO (Hero) $22.50, BU (Villain) $116
Most PF raises at the table so far are in the .75-1.25 range
UTG Folds.
Hero looks down CO at KK, action?
 
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DrStrange

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Two lines to consider - a normal raise or a limp-raise.

Hero is close to short stacked, but not quite playing 90 big blinds. If Hero raises - say to a dollar and gets one or two callers - he ends up with an awkward Stack to Pot Ratio of roughly 7 to 9. Not a complete mis-match but not really good.

If hero makes a fancy play, limp then reraise, he can only do it if he is pretty sure that someone will raise AND they don't snap fold most hands. This line gets the SPR to something like 3 or 4 but turns Hero's hand face up.

I think the normal line is better unless there is a specific villain to be targeted.

So let's raise to a dollar and see what happens.

DrStrange
 

LotsOfChips

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OK, going to bed so I'll lay out the flop and resume things in the morning...

Hero has seen KK and QQ get beaten tonight by Ax hitting A on the flop. Most players will stick around for a 3x or 4x BB bet with any face card. Hero decides to bet a bit larger than normal to thin the field, build the pot, and hope for no overcard on the flop. Hero bets $1.50 (6BB)

BU calls, SB calls, BB calls. So much for thinning the field...

Flop comes 4c 7h 2s. No overcard, rainbow so no flush draw, straight draw possible but unlikely.

BB and BU are known to Hero as LAG, will play many questionable hands to the turn, but will rarely go to the river when faced with aggression if they think there is a strong hand in the mix, especially from a tight player. They will also raise or re-raise relentlessly if they sense weakness post-flop.

Pot is $6. $21 remaining in stack.

Check to Hero. Action?
 
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Eriks

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Pre-flop: a bit big, sure, but if you think that’ll get you the desired amount of customers, then go for it. My only concern would be if that’ll make them put your range at mostly value hands i.e. AQ+/TT+ (maybe these players don’t pay attention to this?)

Flop: Doesn’t really favor your range and not too many realistic potential draws to worry us - 56 and gutshots like A3s/A5s pretty much. I would normally bet smallish here to keep their medium strength hands in: 55/66/7x/88/99 and perhaps in this instance it makes even more sense (where you have a read that they might make plays against what they perceive as weakness).

I’d bet around 1/2 pot and take it from there. I am not looking for ways to fold at this point. A scenario where SB’s shoving his short stack over our bet and then BB shoving on top would give pause to concern though. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
 
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LotsOfChips

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Good Morning,

So I was thinking that the flop didn't hit me, but it probably didn't hit anyone else at this point either, so a continuation bet is in order. About the only hands I'm really behind are sets (22, 44, 77), slow played AA, and I suppose there could be an A3, A5 that has straight draw, or an A7, A4 or A2 that has a pair and an over-card. 2 pair seems unlikely, unless someone loves to play 72 for fun (I've met a few). My guess on most opponents' ranges are 88+, 87s+, JTo+, and maybe AXs or A7o+.

A half pot bet probably won't chase the under-pairs or the draws away, and in all honesty I wouldn't mind taking down the pot right now.

Hero bets $6 (pot size bet). BU (Villain) calls, SB folds, BB folds.

Turn come 3c. Board is 4c 7h 2s 3c.

So the flush draw just became possible, but would villain stick around with only 3/5 of a flush on a fairly large flop bet? With AcXc, or 7c or 2c with a face card, possibly. A5 just completed the straight, and a straight draw just became a whole lot more possible. 2 pair seems unlikely at this point, as does a set. as villain would probably have re-raised a set on the flop (unless he is being very sneaky).

Pot is $18, stack is $15.

Action is on Hero. Action?
 
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GenghisKhan

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Well if this is my group (lots of chasers):

Check is the worst move: they either check back to get the free card and hit their flush or straight with Ace-rag. OR they perceive your check as weakness (your AK didn't hit) and put you all in. Cause they hit their 5 or 7.

With my group at least, I'd have to pot it here. A bet pre-flop, on the flop, and again on the turn is hard to call if you're still chasing.

9 times out of 10 here I'd pot it and take it down. The other 1 time out of 10, they're on tilt and call anyway or have a set.

So, do we see a river?
 

LotsOfChips

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If I check or bet small, I'm facing a certain bet or raise for my full stack, or possibly a check back for a free card (which I absolutely do not want to give away here). So I bet all in for $15, and am immediately called.

Villain turns over 6c7c for a small pair, gut-shot straight draw and flush draw. He has outs!

River comes 5c for a straight flush against my KK.

I'm done for the night
 

LotsOfChips

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This isn't supposed to be a bad beat tale, I'm more looking to see if and where I made any mistakes.
 

DrStrange

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Let's look at this from villain's point of view. Villain has the button and covers Hero. By the way, I wouldn't be so quick to label button as LAG. Looks more passive to me judging by a single hand. We would benefit from knowing more about Hero's post flop image. Does he bet pot with AK? Does he c-bet at all with AK?

Preflop - Hero makes a "stiff" raise. Villain hold a suited connector. Maybe villain made a small mistake calling due to Hero's shortish stack. But really, this is a pretty choice hand to play in position. I can't fault the call. Villain might consider a 3-bet, though that wouldn't be a good idea in this hand.

Flop - Hero c-bets pot on a rainbow seven high flop. We don't know much about Hero's post flop play. But if he is aggressive, this bet will have a lot of air in it. Could be hero has a betting tell where villain could know Hero has a made hand. In general vs a capable short handed TAG, this C-bet should be floated. Villain has top pair plus some backdoor draws. Can't find much to fault. Again, villain might find a raise here, but didn't.

Turn - hero jams all in. Villain snap calls with a pair plus draws. Villain likely has 17 outs - nine flushing, three gut shot, three sixes and two sevens. And that only if Hero isn't bluffing. It seems to me villain has plenty good odds here. This was not a mistake, not even a hard decision.

Did Hero make a mistake? Not in the hand, but I wonder about a macro mistake. This is short handed poker. Everyone should be making adjustments and expanding hand ranges. Villain took a perfectly understandable line and ended up winning the hand by hitting a pretty massive draw. That's poker. I didn't see anything too out of line line.

On a meta level, I wonder if Hero has betting tells? Betting big with made hands, c-bettting / bluffing with smaller bets. it looks a bit fishy, especially on the flop. Only Hero can answer this (well maybe some good villain can also answer). Hero should be trying to make his air look like his made hands. He will get slaughtered if the villains know one from the other.
 

upNdown

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Havent read the results yet.
(I’m a decent live Holdem tournament player. Lousy at live cash games, but I’m pretty sure I can play a home quarters game with anybody.)
Preflop:
With KK, I want to make sure I get a caller pre. Since it’s just the button and the blinds, I’d be betting 75 cents, maybe a buck. But it’s totally based on the crowd. either your $1.50 wasn’t enough for this crowd, or they all caught cards.
flop - flop looks beautiful to me. But I don’t want to take 3 others to the turn, so I’m probably betting 2/3 pot and hoping for a caller. Again, it’s crowd dependent. If these are a bunch of sticky guys, I wouldn’t mind betting the pot or even over betting. I think my considerations when betting here is narrowing the field, and if nevessary, I’d rather take it down, than have everybody come along.
Turn -
yeah, with one opponent and a board like that, I’m definitely jamming it, as you did.
 

LotsOfChips

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... By the way, I wouldn't be so quick to label button as LAG. Looks more passive to me judging by a single hand. We would benefit from knowing more about Hero's post flop image. Does he bet pot with AK? Does he c-bet at all with AK?
First of all, thank you for a thoughtful and insightful response. This is the kind of analysis I was hoping for.

Button and BB are both willing to play a very wide opening range (I've seen BB call w/ 72o in position with a stiff raise and multiple callers in front). Both seem happy to let someone OOP lead the betting if they think their opponent is ahead, but if they catch a real hand or sense any weakness, then a raise, re-raise or 4-bet are certainly possible (or probable).

Hero if anything is probably viewed a tight player, verging on nit. I will sometimes use position and tight image to steal pots, but have also have gone 2 hours without playing a hand at times (I was so card dead at the time against good post-flop players that waiting for better cards seemed a better option than bluffing away my stack). Post flop I will definitely c-bet (usually 1/2 - 2/3 pot) with AK, but try to maintain a bit of pot control depending on the board texture.

We don't know much about Hero's post flop play. But if he is aggressive, this bet will have a lot of air in it. Could be hero has a betting tell where villain could know Hero has a made hand. In general vs a capable short handed TAG, this C-bet should be floated. Villain has top pair plus some backdoor draws. Can't find much to fault. Again, villain might find a raise here, but didn't.
Hero's image is probably that a pot size bet means a reasonably good holding, almost never air. I spoke with villain later and he told me he had me on an over-pair here.

Turn - hero jams all in. Villain snap calls with a pair plus draws. Villain likely has 17 outs - nine flushing, three gut shot, three sixes and two sevens. And that only if Hero isn't bluffing. It seems to me villain has plenty good odds here. This was not a mistake, not even a hard decision.
Yeah, I didn't really put him on 56s. I knew he probably had a draw of some sort and a pair, but I didn't anticipate that many outs. I wanted to make him go away, or at the very least make him pay for the draw. I guess I accomplished the latter.

... I wonder about a macro mistake. This is short handed poker. Everyone should be making adjustments and expanding hand ranges.

... I wonder if Hero has betting tells? Betting big with made hands, c-betting / bluffing with smaller bets. it looks a bit fishy, especially on the flop. .... Hero should be trying to make his air look like his made hands.
Good points, ones I'll take to the bank.

Regarding bet sizing, I'm usually pretty consistent with same size bets of 3 BB (plus more for limpers) pre, 2/3 pot post. This was the first time betting larger than that in many games, and I thought that it would represent a strong holding. But yeah, I'll take a look at that more closely.

I'm not sure if KK was air, even though it didn't hit the flop. I was pretty much representing a big pair or a small set (there is no way given the pre-flop bet that anyone at the table would expect me to be holding two small pair), and that is pretty much what the Villain put me on. He knew he was behind, he knew he had outs, he chose to follow despite fairly substantial bets. If I could have done something different, I'd sincerely like to know what. (I know, Variance is a bitch, but this seems like something else - more like a learning opportunity)

I definitely get your message about expanding ranges short handed. Not sure how I would have played it a whole lot differently knowing that he might have had 6c7c in his range on the flop, except perhaps jamming then instead of the turn.

Once again, thanks for the analysis. Much appreciated! (and anyone else that wants to jump in here with their thoughts, c'mon in, the water's fine!)
 
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grantc54

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The best post flop were too low making it profitable to float everything. I also will take every opportunity to try and crack aces, kings and high pair with really crappy low cards.
 

Mojo1312

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Outside of not raising to $2 pre, nothing to really fault here. The hand plays itself. Is there more to the story? Such as Hero not finding his rhythm against this cast of Villains? Maybe a streak of run bad?
 

Moxie Mike

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So the fact that you've posted this for analysis makes me wonder if HERO wants to know if there's any way to avoid losing this pot.

Winning NLHE in the long run is about trying to realize as much equity as you can in any given situation, while also winning as big of a pot as possible. So I encourage you to think about why you jammed the turn in this hand. Your goal was to make the highest EV play. Let's look at the other action decisions you could have made.

If you open jam pre flop, you win 50 cents virtually every time. You'll get called probably 1-2% of the time in that scenario assuming your opponents aren't reckless. So jamming preflop has an EV of slightly more than .50.

If you'd jammed the flop, you'd have won $6 the majority of the time. If you were called by the button, you'd have been a 75% favorite in a $48 pot. But the villain isn't going to have a hand to call with very often and will usually fold any hand you're ahead of. To make the math easy let's say he calls 10% of the time with his hand. So 90% of the time you win $6. Of the times he calls 75% of the time you profit $33 and 25% of the time you lose $22.50.

So your EV of a jam on the flop would have been $7.80.

It's up to HERO to opine as to whether he feels he made any mistakes, but every street was fine and the money went in as a 61% favorite. Jamming in this spot shows a $21 profit in the long run.

From your opponent's standpoint, he was facing a $15 bet to win a $33 pot as a 39% favorite. His EV was $4 in that spot. Any competent opponent will call in +EV situations.

The truth is, both of you played your hands perfectly. This one didn't work out for you - which just means you landed on the negative side of variance. Better luck next time. Generally, the higher EV, the higher the variance.

So what could you have done differently? In this particular situation literally nothing... but there is one concept you can study in an effort to increase your EV, which is the point of any big bet game.

As played, your opponent will never fold there and I calculated the EV accordingly. You can't reasonably expect him to lay down his equity like that. But what if you had a bigger stack? I encourage you to play with the numbers and see if you think there's a amount you could have bet to make your opponent fold on the turn, denying him equity while preserving yours. There's no hard and fast rule to this and it's more of a thought experiment, and it comes down to your own risk tolerance as much as anything. Think to Sklansky's Fundamental Theorem of Poker:

Anytime your opponent folds when he should call, you win (in the long run).
 

LotsOfChips

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... The hand plays itself. Is there more to the story? Such as Hero not finding his rhythm against this cast of Villains? Maybe a streak of run bad?
No, that's pretty much the story. I do have a history with BU and BB, so maybe some frustration on not understanding their logic sometimes, but I've been sucked out on the river so many times that I'm starting to question my strategy.
 

shorticus

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Let's look at this from villain's point of view. Villain has the button and covers Hero. By the way, I wouldn't be so quick to label button as LAG. Looks more passive to me judging by a single hand. We would benefit from knowing more about Hero's post flop image. Does he bet pot with AK? Does he c-bet at all with AK?

Preflop - Hero makes a "stiff" raise. Villain hold a suited connector. Maybe villain made a small mistake calling due to Hero's shortish stack. But really, this is a pretty choice hand to play in position. I can't fault the call. Villain might consider a 3-bet, though that wouldn't be a good idea in this hand.

Flop - Hero c-bets pot on a rainbow seven high flop. We don't know much about Hero's post flop play. But if he is aggressive, this bet will have a lot of air in it. Could be hero has a betting tell where villain could know Hero has a made hand. In general vs a capable short handed TAG, this C-bet should be floated. Villain has top pair plus some backdoor draws. Can't find much to fault. Again, villain might find a raise here, but didn't.

Turn - hero jams all in. Villain snap calls with a pair plus draws. Villain likely has 17 outs - nine flushing, three gut shot, three sixes and two sevens. And that only if Hero isn't bluffing. It seems to me villain has plenty good odds here. This was not a mistake, not even a hard decision.

Did Hero make a mistake? Not in the hand, but I wonder about a macro mistake. This is short handed poker. Everyone should be making adjustments and expanding hand ranges. Villain took a perfectly understandable line and ended up winning the hand by hitting a pretty massive draw. That's poker. I didn't see anything too out of line line.

On a meta level, I wonder if Hero has betting tells? Betting big with made hands, c-bettting / bluffing with smaller bets. it looks a bit fishy, especially on the flop. Only Hero can answer this (well maybe some good villain can also answer). Hero should be trying to make his air look like his made hands. He will get slaughtered if the villains know one from the other.
Ok, this assessment is really awesome!
 

LotsOfChips

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So the fact that you've posted this for analysis makes me wonder if HERO wants to know if there's any way to avoid losing this pot.

Winning NLHE in the long run is about trying to realize as much equity as you can in any given situation, while also winning as big of a pot as possible. So I encourage you to think about why you jammed the turn in this hand. Your goal was to make the highest EV play. Let's look at the other action decisions you could have made.

If you open jam pre flop, you win 50 cents virtually every time. You'll get called probably 1-2% of the time in that scenario assuming your opponents aren't reckless. So jamming preflop has an EV of slightly more than .50.

If you'd jammed the flop, you'd have won $6 the majority of the time. If you were called by the button, you'd have been a 75% favorite in a $48 pot. But the villain isn't going to have a hand to call with very often and will usually fold any hand you're ahead of. To make the math easy let's say he calls 10% of the time with his hand. So 90% of the time you win $6. Of the times he calls 75% of the time you profit $33 and 25% of the time you lose $22.50.

So your EV of a jam on the flop would have been $7.80.

It's up to HERO to opine as to whether he feels he made any mistakes, but every street was fine and the money went in as a 61% favorite. Jamming in this spot shows a $21 profit in the long run.

From your opponent's standpoint, he was facing a $15 bet to win a $33 pot as a 39% favorite. His EV was $4 in that spot. Any competent opponent will call in +EV situations.

The truth is, both of you played your hands perfectly. This one didn't work out for you - which just means you landed on the negative side of variance. Better luck next time. Generally, the higher EV, the higher the variance.

So what could you have done differently? In this particular situation literally nothing... but there is one concept you can study in an effort to increase your EV, which is the point of any big bet game.

As played, your opponent will never fold there and I calculated the EV accordingly. You can't reasonably expect him to lay down his equity like that. But what if you had a bigger stack? I encourage you to play with the numbers and see if you think there's a amount you could have bet to make your opponent fold on the turn, denying him equity while preserving yours. There's no hard and fast rule to this and it's more of a thought experiment, and it comes down to your own risk tolerance as much as anything. Think to Sklansky's Fundamental Theorem of Poker:

Anytime your opponent folds when he should call, you win (in the long run).
Thanks for the insight. I thought at the time that I played it as well as I could, and it turns out so did he. Variance, yeah. But I wanted to review this as I'm starting to wonder after a bit of a skid whether it is the cards or my play. Probably my play in many cases, but perhaps not on this particular hand.

Your point about stack size is a good one. Both BB and BU bought in for the max, with another $50 behind in reserve (I limit total buy in to $100, as there are a bunch of other players in my group who would quit playing if it cost hundreds to remain competitive). I brought $40 to the game, mostly as a stop loss method after draining the max a few times. But stack size does matter, so maybe I need to suck up the losses, fix some leaks, and buy in with more behind me.

Thanks again for the response
 

JustinInMN

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All right, I have read through the turn there are my thoughts so far.

6x is a pretty big sizing, but you can't argue with results, getting called in 4 spots almost surely means someone is calling light, might as well make them pay if they are willing.


The 7 hi flop is good for you. I agree about not using half pot sizing in pots with a lot of players, I think the 5-6 is the right size on the flop and sets up a pot size shove on the turn of you get a caller.

This is still a pretty safe turn, and I think I favor the shove, both for protection (folding out the dry aces) and because I think you can get value from lesser pairs and draws. If you have run into a slow played monster, sobeit. If you check you are giving too many free cards away and they won't pay you off on misses. Get it in now.
 

JustinInMN

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All right, having seen the results you didn't make a mistake. Villian had too good of a hand to fold, not to mention beating any two -overs type hand from his perspective.

This isn't supposed to be a bad beat tale, I'm more looking to see if and where I made any mistakes.
No, that's pretty much the story. I do have a history with BU and BB, so maybe some frustration on not understanding their logic sometimes, but I've been sucked out on the river so many times that I'm starting to question my strategy.

If you think about, if you get drawn out more than your opponents after getting the money in "good," it's a sign that you are playing well. Players that don't get drawn out on aren't getting the money in "good" often in the first place.

This hand is just part of the game and shouldn't frustrate you.
 

JustinInMN

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I brought $40 to the game, mostly as a stop loss method after draining the max a few times. But stack size does matter, so maybe I need to suck up the losses, fix some leaks, and buy in with more behind me.

This also is a bit revealing too. Truth is you can't really play your best poker if you are one buy in and done. You will have to play a scared strategy. Personally I am always ready to go three buy ins into any game I emter. So if the game is good. I don't lose the EV from being a favorite in a game, but unable to continue because of one pot.
 
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