Monday, July 18, 2005

I need to think faster

Limit hold'em looks like a simple game. Yet, there can be fairly interesting betting situations on the later streets.

Here is a hand that I had a high probability of winning if my mind had just been able to process the given data just a little more quickly. I was a little tired during this session.

hand #1
9 seated live $20/$40 limit hold'em game. I haven't been involved in too many hands yet. The SB is an unknown player. The BB does a moderate amount of thinking. I'm in seat 1, and SB and BB are in seats 5 and 6.
- preflop: I open raise in MP+1 w JhJs, folded to the blinds who both call. The SB only has 1 small bet remaining behind, and both I and the BB have deep stacks. (3 players, 6 small bets)
- flop: Tc4c2d: checked to me, I bet, both blinds call. (3 players, 4.5 big bets, SB is all in)
- turn: Tc4c2d5c: BB bets out, I think for a couple of seconds and notice that SB does not look particularly happy. I raise. BB calls. (3 players, 4.5 big bets in main pot, 4 big bets in side pot)
- river: Tc4c2d5cKc: BB checks, I check. SB shows AsQd, BB shows 4d5h, I muck. BB wins both pots, 8.5 big bets total.

Given the data available to me, I should have bet the river (and folded to a raise - although I don't expect to be check raised by any hand except one containing the Ac).

My read on the situation when BB bet the turn and called my raise is that he had a medium-ish club (maybe 7,8,9,J, or Q) and a T.

When the 4 flush came on the river, I just gave up on the pot. However, there were 4 big bets in the side pot. The SB looked legitimately weak, and there were 4.5 big bets in the main pot. I should invest 1 more big bet since I cannot expect to win a showdown with BB. With a small club, say 8 or lower, I think it is a difficult call for BB. Additionally, I think that the SB being all in should make the BB think my likelihood of bluffing to be smaller than normal (BB doesn't have a good viewing angle on SB because they are seated side by side, so he probably doesn't see how weak SB appears).

I would venture to guess that BB folds 25% of the time with a small club, and 50% of the time with any 2 pair, a straight or a set. I'm not sure how it would have affected BB's thinking if I had spent 15 more seconds thinking and then bet the river.

I just didn't put the pieces together fast enough to come to the correct decision. When I raised the turn, my reasoning (although incorrect) was that I wanted to get an extra big bet in on the turn if I was ahead; if I was marginally behind BB would call and then check unless he improved, and that BB would 3 bet the turn with a monster. When the 4 flush came on the river, it just didn't click in my mind fast enough that whatever I had thought on the turn was irrelevant and that I had a decent chance to win if I bet.

I probably should have been thought things out in advance a little more on the turn before raising.

Aggression was the key to the hand, and I would have been happy with my table image had I played the hand more aggressively. Regardless of the outcome, my bluff on the river would provide me with more action on my later legitimate hands.

A seperate question. What should I do if BB 3 bets the turn? I probably would have folded, but how weak does that look? I guess another way to ask the question is, what is the likelihood that I am drawing dead if BB 3 bets and how many outs do I reasonably expect to have if I am drawing live? I don't really care how weak it looks, I would fold if I knew I was drawing dead.


[update 7/22/2005]
I've gotten feedback from a number of players who opinions I greatly respect, and there is unanimous agreement that I cannot bet the river. In the words of CF, "It is like taking $40 and lighting it on fire".


Anonymous said...

I think you played the hand fine. The big blind might not fold his two pair even if you bet the river. Not only that, the small blind might look unhappy and still have the 3c in his hand by accident. So you're bluffing at the side pot, and to win your equity in the main pot. I think not bluffing there is perfectly reasonable, especially considering that I think there's a very small chance the big blind has a better hand than you AND that he will fold. Betting ouldn't have been bad, but I prefer checking.

It's not a difficult call for the BB with a small club. ANY club is calling you there. I promise.

As for the last question, if the big blind three-bets the turn, I think you can fold. I usually prefer to just call the turn in situations like this for that reason. I hate folding overpairs in Limit Hold 'Em. That said, raising is, of course, reasonable, especially against a passive opponent.

To sum up, you played the hand fine and got unlucky. Better luck next time.

WillWonka said...

I'm not a "mathie"; but I think Mr 2 pair is making the crying call if you bet. I think the pot is big enough to call the 4-1 shot.