Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Poker Quiz Question #49

Q#49: You're in a $5/10 NL cash game. Everyone has $1000 stacks. You raise in LP to $40. A LAg in the BB (who has been re-raising from the blinds a lot) re-raises to $130. You call. Your image is LAg. You and the BB have been in a few big re-raised pots so far, both of you have been bluffing and semi-bluffing relentlessly. The flop is: 2♣-6-T♠. The villain makes a $200 cbet. Which hand is best if you plan to reraise all-in on this flop?
  • 88
  • AK
  • A9
  • QJ


A#49:  Hmmmm. This is a weird question, and frankly I was a little unsure how to tackle it at first. But when in doubt, we always have old REDi to fall back on and see where it leads us, right?

Reads: our opponent is a bluffy (and semi-bluffy) LAg who thinks the same of us. He's also been reraising from the blinds a lot. This means that he range is very wide.  It would be great if the problem statement gave us a clue as to the types of hands he's been repopping OOP with, but it doesn't. Therefore let's assign a range that includes all pocket pairs, all suited aces, and most broadways (with the exception of the weakest ones, such as KJo, QJo, KTo-JTo. This means the top 15.8% of hands is in his range. This seems pretty loose, but the problem statement implies that this guy gives us zero credit for our LP open raise, so the ranges may actually be fairly accurate. We might even be able to throw in the remaining broadways and some middle suited connectors, like T9s-65s, but for now let's just keep it at: 22+,A2s+,KTs+,QTs+,JTs,ATo+,KQo

Qualitatively, the flop is about as dry and light as you can get. To quantify just how dry and light, let's employ a cool new software tool that I recently picked up: Flopzilla*. Per 'zilla, here's how the board hits our opponent's range:

As you can see, 37.5% of the time, he has just ace-high on this flop, and an additional 12.5% of the time he has absolutely nothing. Said another way, half of the time on this flop, our opponent has squadoosh. The rest of the time (except for sets, which he gets 4.7% of the time) he has some kind of pair.

When he cbets, it really means nothing, as this very typical of a LAg. In fact, we'd be more worried if he checked to us on this flop.

Estimate: Let's look at each of the multiple choice answers and calculate our equity for each.
  • 88 - According to Flopzilla, our equity with 88 against his range is 55% against his 45%. This sounds pretty good, except we need to ask ourselves why we would raise all-in on this flop with 88 (which is what the problem statement is requiring us to do). Remember, there are two primary reasons to get it in: value or bluff. When value betting all-in, we want the opponent to call with a worse hand. Is this guy going to do that? Mostly doubtful; he might do so with his bigger A-high hands, but pretty much everything else that we beat is going to fold. And when bluffing, we want a better hand to fold. Again, it's doubtful on this flop that he's going to fold overpairs. Remember that this guy gives us very little credit and considers us very bluffy.
  • AK - Our equity with AK is a worse than the 88 hand (45%) but if we're forced to jam all-in, this is a hand that might well get called by worse. For example, he may well call us with his bigger Aces, and we crush these. He will probably call with bigger pairs, but against those we still have some equity (probably ~25% or so). We might also get better hands to fold, such as some of his smaller pairs. This one looks like a contender.
  • A9 - Yikes. Our equity sucks with this hand (30%), and of the hands he's going to call our all-in with, most of them crush us. 
  • QJ - Yikes again, only worse. Our equity with this hand is a paltry 20%. And further, he's not calling with worse, and our bluffs aren't going to get many better hands in his range to fold.
I'm not thrilled with shoving with any of these hands, but if I have to make a stand with one, it looks like big slick gets the nod.

Answer: AK

All-in for now...
*Flopzilla is a $35 poker software tool aimed at helping users develop insight into how certain ranges hit certain boards. It allows the user to input a range and board, and will then show in what way and how often that range hits the board. I've only had a copy for a week or so, but it's a pretty nifty little tool. I've also heard that some well known pros (such as Dusty Schmidt) have used this fairly extensively to develop post-flop strategies as a function of board texture. Check it out.

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