Sunday, August 14, 2011

Poker Quiz Question #23

Q#23: You're in a $10/$20 NL Hold'em cash game. Nine handed. Everyone has approximately $2,000 stacks. There are four limpers. You're in the big blind with 7c-3c. You check. The flop comes 5c-Tc-9h. You lead out for a pot $100 bet and get three callers. The turn is the 6c. You lead for $200 into the $500 pot. The first caller min-raises to $400 and another cold calls the $400. You call the min-raise. The river is the Td. You check, the min-raiser bets $180, and the other player raises to $600. What should you do?
  1. Fold
  2. Call
  3. Raise


A#23: Reads: Four limpers preflop typically means lots of small and middle pocket pairs and suited connectors. The other players have to put you on something moderately strong, as you're leading OOP into a MW pot on the flop. They know this, and yet you still get three of them to come along. This means they also have moderately strong hands and/or draws. You hit your flush on the turn, but it's a very weak flush, so there is the possibility that someone behind you has hit a higher flush. This is particularly true when you lead out again and get min-raised and someone else cold-calls the min-raise. Generally speaking, min-raises on turns from decent players are scary, especially on drawing boards that just got there.

Next, the river pairs the board. You check to the min-raiser who fires what looks like a small blocking bet (or possibly teaser value bet). He then gets raised, and the action is to you. Yikes.

A key to making reads, especially as you move up in stakes, is to recognize that your opponents are not dumb. They see what you see, and they're also putting you on hands and reacting accordingly. Way down in the mini-micro stakes games, you can safely assume that many of the villains you face don't even know how to read board textures, let alone your actions, but this is not true up here at $10/$20. The board has paired, which means full-houses are possible. The board also front-door** flushed on the turn. Your opponents definitely all know all this, and yet they're still giving lots of action. Said another way: they each like their respective hands, so it is very likely they they have hands like boats and flushes.

Estimate: You have the seventh-nut flush on a paired, wet board in a multi-way pot. Your hand has some nominal showdown value (if the price was right), but it's far, far from being considered a true value hand in this situation.

There is $2490 in the pot, so you're getting 2490:600, or about 4.1:1. This sounds pretty good, as you would have to be right only about 20% of the time to make the call. Unfortunately, if you call, the action will not be closed. The first guy, who bet out $180 into the big pot could easily open it back up with a RR. And then the other guy could re-pop it up, probably all-in. Said another way, if you call here, you better be ready to get your whole stack into the middle. I.e., calling commits you to the pot. This means you're actually more likely to be getting 2:1 on your money, and this in turn means you have to be right more than 33% of the time to make this call.

Decide: If the board hadn't paired and/or wasn't multi-way, you might consider making this call.*** You might also consider making the call if you were already pot committed to the hand. But neither of these things are true. You're most likely beat here, so this looks like a crying fold.****

Implement: Muckeroo.

All-in for now...
* I think the reason you should call here is you have an inside draw to the straight flush. You might actually consider folding on this street if you didn't have this extra draw. Dunno; I need to give this a little more thought. ** I heard this term for the first time this week on a podcast. The guy was making a joke, but the term actually makes a lot of sense, and I have now co-opted it as my own. *** The board paired on the river. If it had paired earlier, I probably would have given up sooner in a MW pot. A good cash game rule to live by is to fold straight draws when front-door flushes get there, and to fold straight- and flush draws when the board pairs on the turn or river. **** Just because you hit your draw in a hand, doesn't mean you get to stop thinking. It also does not mean that folding is no longer an option. The key to poker is to maximize your EV, and this sometimes means folding strong-looking hands.

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