Thursday, November 17, 2011

Poker Quiz Question #38

Q#38: You're in a $10/$20 NL cash game. It is currently 8-handed. Everyone has $2K stacks. You're in the small blind with Kh-Kc. A tight-aggressive player UTG raises to $80. A middle position player re-raises to $240. He's playing very tight and is very aggressive. It is folded to you. What should you do?
  1. Fold
  2. Call
  3. Raise
  4. Raise all-in
  5. Raise small


A#38: Well, the standard answer here for beginning micro- and low-stakes poker is to just re-ship it on the RR'er. As Harrington once famously said, "I'm not smart enough to fold Kings preflop, and therefore neither are you"......

....but, we're not beginners here, are we? More importantly, we're at $10/$20 NL, which means we're up against some good players. Let's work our way through this hand properly and see if REDi can tell us waht the maximum EV play actually is. (FWIW, my gut feel guess is to shove, but I'm generally wrong with my first impressions lately.... sigh.)

Reads: First off, a TAG open raises UTG at a full-ring game. This means he has a big hand. If we assign an UTG range of, say, 10% to this player, we get hands like 88+,A9s+,KTs+,QTs+,AJo+,KQo.

Next, a "very tight" MP player 3bets the UTG player. We're at $10/$20 NL, so we have to assume these players are very aware of positional hand strength. Said another way, the MP player knows the strength of the UTG's range, knows that he has a bunch of players yet to act after him, and he still 3bets. Most 3betting from a very tight MP player in this situation occurs with approximately the top 2-3% of starting hands. This corresponds to a range of: JJ+,AKs,AKo

Estimate: Our Kings crush the MP's range at nearly 63:38. We also dominate the UTG player's range at nearly 75:25. Finally, we're not pot committed at this point in the hand.

Decide: Given our multiple choice line options, we can rule at least one of them out: folding. No way are we folding here with this much hand equity. Our hand simply has too much value against these two players. Clearly we're on a value line.

Implement. Value lines generally mean raise, raise, and re-raise. The problem with re-popping in this situation, however, is that if we do 4bet, the only hands we're going to get called with by one or both of the opp are those that beat or tie us. Also, 4betting anything less than all-in here reopens the betting to the UTG player. If he has a hand like AK or QQ, we want him to 4bet us, but we don't want to give him a chance to 5bet as he would probably only do this with AA.* This means ruling out any kind of raise other than all-in.

Therefore, I think our choices boil down to calling (to induce a shove with a worse hand) or just getting it in and hoping one of the players calls with a worse hand. For most micro- and low-stakes games, I would suggest the latter option of re-shipping. But here in a high-stakes game, I like just cold-calling and trying to induce a shove. If you only get called by the UTG player, fine. You're not pot committed yet, and if an Ace comes on the flop and you get heavy action you can fold.**

Answer: Call

All-in for now...
*this is pretty serious Level-3 poker thought, but it's critically important at the higher stakes. You have to not only put your opponents on ranges, but you have to try to put yourself on their perceived range that they think you hold.
**this borders on FPS, but at the higher stakes games you have to actively work to get your opponents to make mistakes. At low stakes, players mostly make calling mistakes. At high stakes, however, they're more likely to make betting mistakes, so give them some rope and let them hang themselves. It's dangerous, but I believe it's also higher EV here than jamming.

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