I know you’ve had high expectations of me after my two long blog posts on my first day. I’ve been at the tables almost nonstop since then. The nature of higher stakes cash games is such that sometimes I’ll have plenty of free time, and other times I’ll have none. I guess that’s my preemptive apology/excuse for the next time I’m gone a while.
I probably will go to bed soon and try to wake up for tomorrow’s games, but I didn’t wanna leave you hanging for too long, so I’ve decided to share a hand with you that I think some may find non-standard. For some, maybe it is standard, but perhaps for the wrong reasons:
Poker Stars $50/$100 Pot Limit Omaha Hi $20 Ante – 3 players
Hero (SB): $11465.00
Pre Flop: ($210.00) Hero is SB with K 7 J K
BTN raises to $300, Hero calls $250,
Both players are strong players, though their tendencies differ. The button opens fairly wide in late position, but I feel that calling the first time around with my KKJ7cc plays a little bit better for many reasons, even though I’m certainly well ahead of his range here.
Looking at my options facing the initial raise:
1) I can 3bet
The + side is that I’ll be well ahead of the button’s range, and he’ll often call with a hand that mine dominates.
The – side(s):
-The button is a strong player, and he has position on me. Although my hand is strong, I don’t think I’m making a ton of money playing a 3bet pot OOP to him. He will do a good amount of floating/bluffraising/slowplaying/etc. to make my life hard.
-BOTH the button and the BB are capable of 4betting light. They both, of course, will also 4bet AAxx. With my particular hand, I would be in an extremely tough spot facing a 4bet from either player, and this is a reasonably likely possibility. If they were both so reckless that I could count on a 4bet, it would be a different story: I just 3bet and happily jam over their 4bet, but I think they both have very “good” and balanced 4betting ranges in this spot.
Basically, I view 3betting as: Best case, I’m HU oop with slightly the better hand against a very strong player. Worst case, I face a 4bet and hate my life. I either fold the best hand too often, or get it in with 30% equity too often. The fact that I have specifically KK in this spot makes their 4betting tendencies a big problem for me.
2) I can call:
The – side of calling is that I don’t get more money in against the buttons loose opening range. If you want to look at it more meta: I don’t punish his loose opening strategy, and I “let him get away with” stealing light. I’m not super worried about this, as I still have plenty of hands in my 3bet range (as does the BB).
The + side of calling is that I have a hand that plays very well in a single raised pot, both HU or 3way. Sure, I have a hand that could be a profitable 3bet, but that doesn’t mean that a call isn’t as or more profitable. There’s still plenty of value in playing this hand for one bet.
Another benefit is…
BB raises to $1260, BTN calls $960,
The BB has a wide 3betting range here vs. a button open and SB call (both not very strong ranges, so he’s right to have a wide 3b range).
I now find myself in another interesting spot where I have some options. This is where I think my opinion differs from many of my opponents.
I have the ability to re-pot here and get in about half of our stacks with a reasonable equity advantage. This might not be true against some other opponents, but I believe that the Button has AAxx less than 2% of the time (and still has a good chunk of his stealing range hands), and the BB has a range of, I’d guess maybe 20%ish of hands, slightly less probably. Against those ranges I have:
Not bad at all.
The problem that I see with 4betting is that I’m pushing a very small edge in a spot where I think I can find a bigger one. (I should point out, that if I 4bet, BB calls, and button folds, that would be very good result for me as well)
When I 4bet with this hand, I’m going to be pushing a very small equity edge preflop, and essentially no playability edge postflop. What I mean by that is, my opponents aren’t going to be making more mistakes than I am postflop. For instance, it looks a lot like I could have AAxx when I 4bet. However, if the flop comes A87r, and one of them has AKT3, they aren’t folding with 1/3 PSB left.
This is how I like to analyze decisions on all streets between forcing the money in now or waiting till later: First, do I have an equity edge or fold equity? Second, who is going to have the advantage on future streets?
In this case, I’d say that I have a small equity edge with very little fold equity. I’d say that the Button has the slight playability advantage, followed by me, and then the BB, who will have to face my flop shove with the Button yet to act behind him.
Given those things, I can be sure that a 4bet is “profitable” in that it’s better than outright folding my hand. However, I think that calling has a lot of value that many people may overlook.
When I call here, I still am getting SOME money in good (just not as much). But what’s very important, in my opinion, is that I have a ton of playability postflop.
1) My hand is one that flops well very often.
2) Most of the time that my hand suffers a huge equity loss against their ranges is when an Ace flops. This is extremely easy for me to identify (just look to see if there’s an Ace on the board), and play accordingly. I call this having good “visibility,” which will allow me to make very good decisions postflop.
3) Even though I’m first to act, I actually have the BEST position of all three of us.
Very often, I’ll check, and the BB will cbet with a lot of his range. Now the Button is forced to make a decision (for his stack, usually), and I get to wait and see what he does. If the button folds, I can breakdown the BBs preflop range, estimate how often he’d cbet that particular board, and make an informed decision. If the button shoves, I can get away from a lot of marginal hands, or reship with my monster hands.
OR, the BB will check behind, indicating a weak range, the button will then bet a (likely) polarized range, and I still have a very good grasp of their ranges.
Looking at it from their perspectives, it should be obvious that the button will be in an awful spot on the flop – facing a cbet with me behind him. If you think about it, the BB is also in a pretty tough spot, deciding if he should cbet into two, knowing that if he doesn’t, he’ll give his hand strength away as weak (usually), and that the button is still behind him to take advantage of that.
Because of all that, I believe that calling is a better option than 4betting, even though we are “leaving” money on the table with the best of it.
Hero calls $960
As it turns out in this actual hand, everything came together perfectly for me. I flopped a very strong draw, the BB cbet, forcing the button into a VERY tough spot with his weak draw, and I was able to reship behind with way the best of it:
Flop: ($3840.00) 3 A T (3 players)
Hero checks, BB bets $3200, BTN raises to $13439, Hero calls $10185 all in, BB calls $5685.50 all in
Turn: ($33095.50) A (3 players – 2 are all in)
River: ($33095.50) 3 (3 players – 2 are all in)
Final Pot: $33095.50
BB shows 4 Q J 8 (a pair of Aces)
BTN shows 6 5 4 7 (a pair of Aces)
Hero shows K 7 J K (two pair, Aces and Kings)
Hero wins $2599.00
Hero wins $30495.50
Aaaaaand for my second hand, I’ll just whine:
Poker Stars $50/$100 Pot Limit Omaha Hi $20 Ante – 2 players
Isildur1 (BB): $64780.00
Hero (BTN/SB): $51263.00
Pre Flop: ($190.00) Hero is BTN/SB with 6 4 2 4
Hero raises to $300, Isildur1 raises to $940, Hero calls $640
Flop: ($1920.00) 4 9 3 (2 players)
Isildur1 bets $1400, Hero raises to $4350, Isildur1 calls $2950
Turn: ($10620.00) T (2 players)
Isildur1 checks, Hero bets $7850, Isildur1 raises to $34169.50, Hero raises to $45953 all in, Isildur1 calls $11783.50
River: ($102526.00) Q (2 players – 1 is all in)
Final Pot: $102526.00
Isildur1 shows 8 J J 7 (a straight, Eight to Queen)
Hero shows 6 4 2 4 (three of a kind, Fours)
Isildur1 wins $102525.50
Take care, guys.