Roast My Line: Playing 9hJh heads up (1 Viewer)

JMC9389

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This one just happened tonight.

Admittedly, I have very little live experience playing heads up. I admit that this is a weak point in my game if I get to a point in tournaments where I'm in the final two. I entered heads up play with a slight lead. T40,000,000 starting stacks, I had about 140,000,000 in chips going into heads up play to villain's roughly 100,000,000 in chips.

First couple of hands are uneventful. I pick up 7/3 offsuit, 9/3 offsuit, and 10/4 offsuit the first three hands and surrender before even seeing any flops. I lose my chip lead from folding poor holdings to start out. We go back and forth, villain wins a couple of hands and I claw back, but before this coming hand, I'm at about 70,000,000 in chips and villain is at about 170ish, so villain just about has me on the ropes.

I start out on the button with :9h::jh: at 2,000,000/4,000,000 blinds, so I have just about 18 BB's left. I raise to 8,000,000, and villain smooth calls. Pot is 16,000,000

Flop comes :6c::5h::9c:. Villain checks, I bet 8,000,000, villain flat calls. Pot is 32,000,000

Turn comes a big card, the :9s: giving me trip 9's. Villain checks, and I have a little more than 10 BB effective. I bet 20,000,000, villain tanks for a minute and eventually calls. Pot is 72,000,000

River is the :kc:, completing the club flush draw. Villain downbets to 8,000,000. I'm at about 10BB's left, and villain knows this. From what I know about this villain, he's betting small here to set a trap. The line makes absolutely no sense, and admittedly I'm very confused. Instead of shoving, I flat call, and villain shows :ac::9d:, having me absolutely dominated by his kicker. I think that villain would have called a 10BB shove, and I would have lost right then and there, but I go out very next hand shoving K9 and running into AQ and having villain flop trip queens.

With a very connected flop with straight and flush draws, my thinking is that I bet all streets for value when checked to me, but grew VERY suspicious of villain's curious line on a small river bet. I feel like there are several places I played this poorly. Should I have bet more pre? Barrel the flop and then overbet the turn when my trips hit? Shove the river?

Eager to hear all of your thoughts and am overall open to any heads up pointers. Thanks all!

Joe
 

Geremie

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I don’t see any issues here. To be honest, I’m surprised you had any chips after this hand.

The 2x open is fine (that said, I don’t see villain folding to a 2x-3x…and he may potentially even call an open shove).

The post flop play kind of plays itself. Again, I don’t see villain folding top pair, top kicker on the flop and definitely not when hitting trips on the turn.
 

Jake14mw

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Firstly, the main thing is that you were fortunate to have any chips left after this hand. You were doomed from the start. I would have lost all my chips. I would have bet much higher on the flop and the turn. I'm a mediocre player, so congrats to making it one more hand.
 

FDLmold

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You made a mistake, but only in hindsight after seeing villain’s hand. As played it’s fine.
 

Eloe2000

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As others have said, you played it fine. It would t have gotten you out of the hand but I could have seen myself pushing after the turn to get a chaser out of the hand.
 

raynmanas

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agree with everyone that you played this hand just fine, and were lucky to get out with chips.
 

legonick

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Yeah, IMHO (I'm not great at poker yet), I like your line. The only variance would be, if the tournament was small stakes or the player was in a "I just want to go home" mood from it being late or he was just a nutty LAG guy, I might have shoved the turn if there was a chance he'd call it off to chase a flush draw and you put him on that.

Of course if you had done that it would have been all over. :p
 

JustinInMN

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Yeah no problem here. Villian has the case 9, nothing to be done.

This is the right way to look at it.
The club flush draw coming in was a miracle river to save your stack. Agree with all the others above - played it fine, this is just #poker.

Now even if the club didn't hit and villain still decided to lead with 3 nines on the river with a downbet, maybe hero can still just call and keep your stack.

But either way, I don't think hero can fold this heads up either way. I think it's okay to flat here so you can pick bluffs and possible value that doesn't beat three 9s. For example, hero did open the button, maybe villain is putting TT-QQ in hero's range and just made a K and will go for value? I would have to be super certain of a sizing tell to know this is strong value to lay it down.

Either way, I like the restraint on the river, flush or not. It's hard to put villain on something he would double hero up with, but unless you are super dialed on the history, he probably has enough bluffs/inferior value to force hero to call.
 

MrCatPants

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Yeah no problem here. Villian has the case 9, nothing to be done.

This is the right way to look at it.


Now even if the club didn't hit and villain still decided to lead with 3 nines on the river with a downbet, maybe hero can still just call and keep your stack.

But either way, I don't think hero can fold this heads up either way. I think it's okay to flat here so you can pick bluffs and possible value that doesn't beat three 9s. For example, hero did open the button, maybe villain is putting TT-QQ in hero's range and just made a K and will go for value? I would have to be super certain of a sizing tell to know this is strong value to lay it down.

Either way, I like the restraint on the river, flush or not. It's hard to put villain on something he would double hero up with, but unless you are super dialed on the history, he probably has enough bluffs/inferior value to force hero to call.
Curious - as played until the river bet...let's say villain jams (even though it's a small jam at that point) the king of clubs - you calling or folding that in hero's position?
 

JMC9389

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The more I think about it, the more that I really have to tip my cap to the villain on how well he played this hand.

I doubled the big blind. A9 is an easy call but perhaps not good enough to three bet. Suited if it's heads up, maybe a three bet, but not here.

The flop really favors villain's range here over mine. Very unlikely that I have 7/8, overpairs are possible, as are low sets. A check call to a half pot value bet with top pair is the correct play.

Seeing the third 9 on the turn was a money card for villain here. He can reasonably assume that he has the best hand as he has any other hand with a 9 in it outkicked. A flopped straight on the flop either checks back or overbets the pot and doesn't bet for value. Sets or pairs of 5's, 6's, 9's, are just about the only hands betting for value there. Villain did well here to smooth call a pretty large value bet.

The flush gets there on the river. It's pretty hard for hero here to make sense of the line here. Hero understands in this situation with three 9's that he's really ahead or really behind. Villain here could have spiked the flush on the river and bet for value. He could have also boated up with 5's or 6's on the turn. This particular villain probably would have checked/folded to any river bet from hero with two pair. Hero got lucky and make a disciplined play and lost the minimum by only calling, as hero got the sense that the under bet was a trap.
 

JMC9389

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Curious - as played until the river bet...let's say villain jams (even though it's a small jam at that point) the king of clubs - you calling or folding that in hero's position?
If villain shoved to lead out after the river, I think I would have snap called. I'd have taken that as a bluff to try and steal it with a two pair or worse hand.
 

JustinInMN

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Curious - as played until the river bet...let's say villain jams (even though it's a small jam at that point) the king of clubs - you calling or folding that in hero's position?
It's a tougher choice, but unless I really think there is zero chance of a bluff, and zero chance he has kx then yeah, I think I am going to call it off here and lose.
 

UrLVguy

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This one just happened tonight.

Admittedly, I have very little live experience playing heads up. I admit that this is a weak point in my game if I get to a point in tournaments where I'm in the final two. I entered heads up play with a slight lead. T40,000,000 starting stacks, I had about 140,000,000 in chips going into heads up play to villain's roughly 100,000,000 in chips.

First couple of hands are uneventful. I pick up 7/3 offsuit, 9/3 offsuit, and 10/4 offsuit the first three hands and surrender before even seeing any flops. I lose my chip lead from folding poor holdings to start out. We go back and forth, villain wins a couple of hands and I claw back, but before this coming hand, I'm at about 70,000,000 in chips and villain is at about 170ish, so villain just about has me on the ropes.

I start out on the button with :9h::jh: at 2,000,000/4,000,000 blinds, so I have just about 18 BB's left. I raise to 8,000,000, and villain smooth calls. Pot is 16,000,000

Flop comes :6c::5h::9c:. Villain checks, I bet 8,000,000, villain flat calls. Pot is 32,000,000

Turn comes a big card, the :9s: giving me trip 9's. Villain checks, and I have a little more than 10 BB effective. I bet 20,000,000, villain tanks for a minute and eventually calls. Pot is 72,000,000

River is the :kc:, completing the club flush draw. Villain downbets to 8,000,000. I'm at about 10BB's left, and villain knows this. From what I know about this villain, he's betting small here to set a trap. The line makes absolutely no sense, and admittedly I'm very confused. Instead of shoving, I flat call, and villain shows :ac::9d:, having me absolutely dominated by his kicker. I think that villain would have called a 10BB shove, and I would have lost right then and there, but I go out very next hand shoving K9 and running into AQ and having villain flop trip queens.

With a very connected flop with straight and flush draws, my thinking is that I bet all streets for value when checked to me, but grew VERY suspicious of villain's curious line on a small river bet. I feel like there are several places I played this poorly. Should I have bet more pre? Barrel the flop and then overbet the turn when my trips hit? Shove the river?

Eager to hear all of your thoughts and am overall open to any heads up pointers. Thanks all!

Joe
You played it well and at no point, either pre or post-flop would your opponent ever have folded. You bought yourself one extra hand by just calling on the river.
 

JustinInMN

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Thinking about this from Villain's view, he has a tough spot on the river. In his seat, I would assume the :kc: is a scare card one way or the other. Either my opponent has made a flush and outdrew my 3 nines, or my opponent didn't make a flush but this card scares a lot of his range and will check back, meaning I will miss a lot of value unless I bet into the scare card.

He probably made the best of it by betting something, but probably stood to get hero's whole stack on a non-club, non-full house river.
 
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Moxie Mike

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This one just happened tonight.

Admittedly, I have very little live experience playing heads up. I admit that this is a weak point in my game if I get to a point in tournaments where I'm in the final two.

With a very connected flop with straight and flush draws, my thinking is that I bet all streets for value when checked to me, but grew VERY suspicious of villain's curious line on a small river bet. I feel like there are several places I played this poorly. Should I have bet more pre? Barrel the flop and then overbet the turn when my trips hit? Shove the river?

Eager to hear all of your thoughts and am overall open to any heads up pointers. Thanks all!

Joe
Joe, I encourage you to seek more heads up experience. NJ has online poker (I think) - I think the HU SNGs might be a great option to gain said experience. On Stars in Michigan, they consistently run for as low as $1 buyin.

An experienced player would know that flopping top pair in a heads up match where there's only 60 BBs on the table is a premium hand that they're not looking to get away from. It would take a very opponent-specific read to fold top pair in a heads up match.

After the turn card, you have to love your hand.

The more I think about it, the more that I really have to tip my cap to the villain on how well he played this hand.
Thinking about this from Villain's view, he has a tough spot on the river. In his seat, I would assume the :kc: is a scare card one way or the other. Either my opponent has made a flush and outdrew my 3 nines, or my opponent didn't make a flush but this card scares a lot of his range and will check back, meaning I will miss a lot of value unless I bet into the scare card.

He probably made the best of it by betting something, but probably stood to get hero's whole stack on a non-club, non-full house river.
I respectfully disagree with the assessment of Villain's line here.

A9 in a HU match with only 60 BBs (and a 2-1 chip lead) should be treated like A-10 in a 5 handed game and A-J in a 7 handed game. The less players that are at the table, the more hands go up in value.

But being OOP, Villain should be looking to avoid taking flops when you're still deep enough to do some serious stack damage. This is a clear jam here. Villain will drag a pot with 2 of your BBs with zero resistance most of the time... and even if called will only be in bad shape a small percentage of the time.

As played, Villain has flopped top/top on a heavily-coordinated board where there are a LOT of uncomfortable turn cards. And he just checks and calls? Again, this is a c/r jam all day in the Villain's position. If he gets coolered the worse case scenario is the chip positions are reversed.

Then he makes trip 9s on the turn and checks? Giving a free card on a board this wet is begging for a bad outcome. What can he expect you to bet with after the board pairs? And then miraculously you do bet the turn, leaving yourself only 10 BBs... and he just called? Why the hell isn't he trying to kill you at that point?

And then he bets 2 BBs into an 18 BB pot as a blocker bet? I mean - he's certainly not betting for value, is he? As if he's going to fold to a jam?

Without any reads on your opponent, it's difficult to range his hand. But as a generalization, I would read the situation this way:

Top pair is usually rock solid in any HU match. The fact that he called OOP after your C-bet tells me he probably has a draw or a second pair type of hand. Any sets, two-pairs, etc. should be expected to be much more aggressive given the board texture.

On the turn, he checks after the board pairs. You know he's probably drawing... I'd suggest betting much more than 5 BBs into an 8 BB pot. I'd probably jam and force him to risk doubling you up to continue chasing his draw.

Obviously, that line would have gotten you felted, but by that point if you didn't lose another chip in the hand you're going to be at a 7:1 chip disadvantage - better to go out on your sword than blind down to dust.
 

DeusEx

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I think the best opportunity to win was to push on the flop, villain has to evaluate calling a made hand, 87, trips, 2 pair for all his chips. If the villain wasn't a decent player its less likely he would be heads up with you, and if he isn't a good player, he couldn't lay it down.

This action has the virtue of winning the pot, but could also net 0 chips and a -1 finish. It highly depends on his perception of your play from previous hands.
 
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JustinInMN

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As played, Villain has flopped top/top on a heavily-coordinated board where there are a LOT of uncomfortable turn cards. And he just checks and calls? Again, this is a c/r jam all day in the Villain's position. If he gets coolered the worse case scenario is the chip positions are reversed.
I disagree with this on the river as played. If villain suddenly check-jams what is he hoping to get called by? Even moderately loose villains are going to think about throwing a king away. (Though villain's opponent would have to be really loose to get here with a dry king anyway) It's the other combos with the case 9 that are good, the flushes and full houses are bad. I don't think villain can collect enough on the case 9 that's not a full (even though we know that's hero's holding here) to outweigh running into full houses and flushes. Shoving will usually result in a fold, occasionally mean getting paid by the case 9, but often running into a made flush or full house among hands hero could call with.

Then he makes trip 9s on the turn and checks? Giving a free card on a board this wet is begging for a bad outcome. What can he expect you to bet with after the board pairs? And then miraculously you do bet the turn, leaving yourself only 10 BBs... and he just called? Why the hell isn't he trying to kill you at that point?
I agree with this completely. The reason I perceive the river as a "tough spot" is because he hasn't taken the lead on the turn or flop and has kept all of villains' drawing hands in play because of it. He should have shoved on the turn for sure just to get the commitment before the river. It's almost impossible to get paid on any river unless villain has exactly what he has.

My greater point is "usually the best hand" isn't a good reason to shove on the river unless there really is enough the opposition can call with to offset the downside of running into a flush or full house. On this board, A9 partially blocks a lot of hands we would want available to villain to call with. It does not block flushes or the flopped sets that are now full houses. If the club doesn't hit the river, then the two club holdings don't matter and the calculus changes. If villain is loose enough to get here with a dry-king (hard to see how) and pay off, the calculus changes and the river shove is clearer.
 

Moxie Mike

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My greater point is "usually the best hand" isn't a good reason to shove on the river unless there really is enough the opposition can call with to offset the downside of running into a flush or full house. On this board, A9 partially blocks a lot of hands we would want available to villain to call with. It does not block flushes or the flopped sets that are now full houses. If the club doesn't hit the river, then the two club holdings don't matter and the calculus changes. If villain is loose enough to get here with a dry-king (hard to see how) and pay off, the calculus changes and the river shove is clearer.
Let's talk a little meta-game, shall we? This conversation seems to be shifting to a discussion of risk tolerance.

When you're heads up and not very deep like almost all HU situation tend to be, it's just not feasible to wait for the perfect opportunity to get your chips in. Think about how most tournaments end... one player gets short and the final hand is always one where all the chips go in pre.

But in every heads up match, there's always a pivotal hand where the chip stacks are relatively close. The outcome of that hand pretty much determines the outcome of the tournament. In other words, HERO needed to drag that pot or he probably wasn't going to win the tournament.

So I encourage you not to be results oriented when analyzing this hand. HERO's passive lines saved him a few chips to fight with but trip 9s heads up should show down a winner most of the time.
 

JustinInMN

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When you're heads up and not very deep like almost all HU situation tend to be, it's just not feasible to wait for the perfect opportunity to get your chips in. Think about how most tournaments end... one player gets short and the final hand is always one where all the chips go in pre.
I think we are talking past each other a bit here.

My argument is not about waiting for the "perfect opportunity," my argument is that if you are putting chips at risk, make sure the upside is there. There is no disgrace in losing chips if there was something to be gained. But it's a total leak if you are doing it without a chance to gain something. Hold this thought for a moment.

Also, my last post was about villain's perspective, this comment seems to be more about hero's perspective, so yes, let's talk from that side. Hero has shown strength on his whole line, and facing a donk in the river I think is rightfully polarizing. And I do think shoving over the donk is problematic for finding upside. The flush got there, full houses are possible, is this villain really bet-calling off with a dry king? Put in these terms, the flat actually makes sense.

I think your point about the meta game is that losing this pot probably eliminates hero anyway. But it does leave hero with a slim chance to come back. Especially in a shallower game, one double up and it's close again, and hero did get it as only a 40-60 dog in the next hand. (I would definitely be moving in with 10BB on K9 heads-up here.) If saving those 10BB gives me a 40% chance to get back in the match instead of 0%, I will take it.

Hero could still beat a bluff or an overplayed k on the river, combined with the pot size, I can see the argument for calling here. The problem with hero shoving here is if villain has those holdings, it's hard to imagine villain paying off the shove. This is the point I was making above. If villain does not have a second-best holding that can call the shove, it has no upside, only downside when villain has a better hand.

Back on villain, I may not have been clear what I meant when I first said "villain has a tough spot on the river," it's a tough spot of his own making. He probably should have gone for the CRAI on either the flop or the turn when it would have been much easier for hero to call not only with three 9s, but with many other holdings. My point was this particular river makes any aggression on this street pretty polarizing, and makes it possible for hero to flat with a hand as good as three 9s.
 

Moxie Mike

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I just re-read my 2 posts in this thread. I never said a word about HERO's action on the river.

FWIW it's worth, yeah calling the river bet is the best option.
 

JustinInMN

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I just re-read my 2 posts in this thread. I never said a word about HERO's action on the river.

FWIW it's worth, yeah calling the river bet is the best option.
Then the misunderstanding is from my direction as well :).

As villain, I surely would have gone for it all sooner in the hand than the river, I think we agree on that.
As played, I can see why villain donks because hero can check back a lot of stuff on the scare card that could pay a bet. As villain, I probably would have gone for a little bigger sizing, but still small enough that I could be called by hands as weak as TT, otherwise it feels like I am only going to get called by the superior hands unless hero happens to have what we know him to have, an inferior 9.
 
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