Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hand Analysis: TPTK OOP Against ABC Player

You're in a deepstack $50 NL cash game against a table of solid ABC players. In this hand, you're OOP with A♣-Q♦ against one player. You've bet the  flop and turn, only to be called on each street. The river pairs the rainbow board, which now reads Q-T♠-8-4♣-4. What do you do?

Reads: You've have TPTK on a coordinated board. You got called two streets by an ABC player. Sure feels like a weak pair or a straight and/or flush draw to me. He could have a made straight (J-9) but he probably would have raised somewhere along the line, probably on the turn. Because he didn't (and we're this deep), I'm assuming he has a busted draw; i.e., he probably would have raised the turn to try and build the pot with the nuts. There's also a chance he has a Ten.

Estimate/Decide: Against his range, we very likely have the best hand (read: Value).

Implement: Here's where a lot of beginners go wrong, IMHO. They think they have the best hand, are afraid of not getting any more money out of the villain, so they lead again and hope their opponent calls. But do we really think the bad guy will call with worse here on the river? Answer: probably not. If he does have a busted draw, he's not going to call any bet from us here, as even a lowly pair of deuces beats him; ABC players may be straightforward in their actions, but they're also not idiots, and this guy should be well aware that we have something. He might call us with a Ten if we lead, but he has seen us fire two barrels and isn't stupid, so he has to put us on either a Queen (or better), or a busted draw ourselves. Therefore, the only way we're going to get any more money into the middle is to check and try to induce a bluff. The more aggro a player is, the better the chance of this succeeding. If the player is super passive and/or a fishy calling station, we might consider leading small here... but we have no reason to suspect he's a fish.

The trick to poker is slowing down to think before acting. When you get to the I-is-for-Implementing step, you should know what it is you want to do with the hand (e.g., build Value, Bluff, SDV, etc), so you need to then figure out the best way to achieve that goal. In this case, we want to build more Value, but leading out will look really strong AND it's unlikely we'll get called by worse unless we bet really tiny, which doesn't really add much value. Checking, on the other hand, looks to an ABC player like we missed and/or have marginal strength and might fold. Said another way, checking looks weak, so it could very possibly get the villain to bluff into us.

Answer: Check and call.

All-in for now...

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