Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Poker Quiz Question #16

Q#16: You're in a $5/$10 NL full-ring 9-handed cash game. You have a tricky, tight-aggressive image. Everyone has about $1000 stacks. Three people limp in preflop. You are in the SB with 5c-7c. What should you do?

  1. Fold
  2. Call
  3. Raise
  4. All-in 2% and call 98%
  5. Big raise 50% and call 50%


A#16: Okay, let's try attacking this via my RED-M method and see where it takes us. (Yes, this is a simple quiz question that probably doesn't need this much analysis, but I'm going to walk through the whole thing anyway for fun.)

First, let's do the R is for Reading step. There are three limpers in ahead of you. You're in a $1000NL cash game, which presumably means the players are decent. When someone limp-opens, your antenna should go up. Most likely, either they're a weak player with a weak hand (small/med PPs, suited connectors, big AXo and a lot of AXs, etc), or they're someone with a monster that wants to limp-RR (AA-KK). The other two players that called behind also probably have relatively weak hands, like small and middle pairs and suited connectors and the like.

You also have one person left to act after you, and you really have no idea what they're going to do, as they can hold ATC (any two cards) here. You need to be mindful of them squeezing to take down the pot, but they also have to aware that the limp-opener has limp-RR hands in his range (albeit a small part of his range). For purposes of this question, we're going to assume they're not going to squeeze.

Next is the E is for Estimating step. There are four things we need to estimate: equity, fold equity, odds, and edges. (Astute readers will notice that I'm leaving out commitment from this step. I'm still tweaking and experimenting with the RED-M method, and I'm currently thinking that the commitment determination step is a subpart of D is for Deciding. Dunno if that's the best place for it, but we'll see...)

Okay, our first estimate should be of our Equity. We already know intuitively that a small one-gapped suited connector like ours does not have a lot of direct equity against 3 or 4 other opponents. Running pokerstove confirms this, with 5-7 suited having an equity of approximately 17% against the three initial limpers' ranges and the ATCs of the BB left to act after us. Not very good, but actually not horrible, either.

Next up is determining our Fold Equity. Said another way: what is the likelihood of everyone folding to a squeeze raise by us here? If our image was nittish, we would probably have a decent amount of fold equity. Unfortunately, our image is "tricky," which means the opp may not give a raise from us much credit. Ergo, I'd say our FE is poor.

Odds fall into two subcategories: direct pot odds, and implied odds. With $45 in the pot, we're getting 45:5, or 9:1 direct odds to complete our blind. This is pretty high, and in fact our 17% equity is significantly higher than this amount, so this alone says we're getting enough to limp in.

Our implied odds are also excellent, as everyone has $1000 stacks, so we're getting ~1000/5 = 200:1 to make this call.

Finally, we need to estimate our other edges in the hand. To my way of thinking, there are four types of edges we have when we play a hand of poker: skill or proficiency, hand strength, position, & discipline; see: We don't know anything about the opp, so we can't say for certain whether we have a skill edge or not (i.e., how easy is it to outplay the opp post-flop). Our hand strength edge is determined by our equity, which we already evaluated and found to be so-so. Our positional edge is very poor, as we will be the first to act on all subsequent betting rounds. Finally, our discipline edge doesn't really apply here, as it's a non-factor in the posed question. Said another way, we dont' have a lot of edge in this situation, so we need to proceed cautiously and keep pot control in mind as we move forward.

Okay, moving on to D is for Deciding, we have a choice of six basic lines: value, SDV, bluff, draw, isolate, or fold. From E, above, we can see we currently don't have much if any value or SDV at this point in the hand. We also said that our fold equity was poor, so bluffing is out. We're getting sufficient direct pot odds, plus very lucrative implied odds, so folding is clearly not the right choice, either. Isolating in a MW pot OOP also makes little sense. (Also, who exactly are we isolating?) This leaves the line choice of Drawing as the correct route to take.

The final step is M is for Maximizing. We've decided on a drawing line, so we have to ask ourselves if we should semi-bluff or just limp. Again, we have very little fold equity, so semi-bluffing would just result in a bloated pot with us OOP MW. This rules raising out. Therefore the correct answer is to simply limp in (and hope the BB doesn't squeeze).

Ergo: Call

All-in for now...

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