May 22, 2006

Why you want to play aggressively

getting ready for the jump off of a four-day weekend, so without a lot to blog about, a semi-interesting poker hand: i was playing in a 6-player no limit hold'em sit-and-go the other night on full tilt when the following hand took place.
Seat 1: SSkterprep (1,220) Seat 2: Donald Leroy (2,000) Seat 3: smallchou (1,435) Seat 4: Kanill111 (2,135) Seat 5: yourgonnapay (860) Seat 6: hkyfrk (1,350) SSkterprep posts the small blind of 40 Donald Leroy posts the big blind of 80 The button is in seat #6 *** HOLE CARDS *** Dealt to smallchou [Ks Td]
under-the-gun, i picked up a very marginal hand, but here's some additional context: the table had been playing very tight and so i had changed gears, stealing a few blinds and raising a bunch of pots. the player on the button (hkyfrk) seemed like a relatively solid and aggressive player, but on the tight side. with such a marginal hand like KT, i would generally muck under-the-gun, but instead...
smallchou raises to 240 Kanill111 folds yourgonnapay folds hkyfrk calls 240 SSkterprep folds Donald Leroy folds
i made my standard 3x the BB raise and got a caller by the player on the button. that troubled me a bit because he was probably calling with a hand that was better than mine, such as overcards or maybe a medium-pair. he certainly wasn't the type of guy who was going to go nuts with AK in a big spot, so he could even be playing that for a smooth-call.
*** FLOP *** [Kh Qd 6s]
this seemed like a reasonable flop to me. a pre-flop raise and a continuation bet of about 2/3 the pot felt right as i might be able to take down the pot if he didn't hit it. with a marginal kicker like T, i would be happy to take the 500 chips and run.
smallchou bets 350 hkyfrk calls 350 *** TURN *** [Kh Qd 6s] [4s]
he smooth-calls there, which was an interesting decision (more on that later). i started thinking about the hands he would smooth-call with: he either a) thought i was overplaying the hand and he wanted to lock me up on my bluff to take it away later, maybe with a marginal hand (a Q, a 6, or a medium pair), or b) had a big hand that he wanted to milk at this late stage (AK, KQ, 66). i did feel like an AK or a KQ would have raised me in that spot though, so i had a feeling i was still good, especially when the blank hit on the turn.
smallchou bets 845, and is all in
with less than the pot left in my stack, i went ahead and put him in on the turn, thinking that he was likely to call it with a lot of losing hands. if he had 66 and trapped me with it, so be it. if he didn't call, then all the better as i was able to take down a large chunk with a marginal hand.
hkyfrk calls 760, and is all in smallchou shows [Ks Td] hkyfrk shows [Ad Qc]
obviously you all know how the hand ends, as he spikes a 5-outter on the river. but i think the really interesting part of this hand is thinking about it from his perspective, so let's walk back through the hand from his head: a frequent-raiser, who hasn't shown his cards lately but has raised about 3 of the past 4 hands, has raised to 3x the BB from under-the-gun. it's folded to me and i pick up AQ on the button. now seeing as there are only blinds left in the hand, i have a couple of options. i can re-raise here, but it might make a lot more sense to call as we'll probably be two-handed and i have position on the raiser. if the flop doesn't hit me and he continues with his bet, i can lose little on the hand. if it does hit me and he continues (or if i think he's on a bluff), i can put pressure on him with a re-raise. the flop comes QK6 rainbow. and he proceeds to bet out about 2/3 the pot. that's a relatively strong continuation bet. he could certainly have the K, in which case folding is a must. with 5 outs and 2 cards, i'm at least a 4:1 underdog. but he's been playing so aggressively, he could very well be on a bluff or semi-bluff. now here is where i think the player makes a mistake: his options should really be raise all-in or fold here. he's facing a big bet, with an overcard to his pair on the board. if he thinks i'm bluffing, he should really raise here to take the pot down. he has no reason to think that i'm a COMPLETE maniac who is going to bluff off all my chips, so raising will put the maximum pressure on me, which is vital considering that i've been raising a lot of pots. in fact, if he raised my bet on the flop, i would probably lay the hand down with my marginal kicker (KT). raising would allow him to represent a big hand to me (which i had started to put him on before the flop), making a perfect story to sell his bluff. and really, all his chips are getting into the middle after the turn anyway, so why not give himself some extra fold equity? instead, he chose to smooth-call me on the flop, meaning that he committed to calling off his chips after the turn. this is just another situation where raising your opponent, when you're not really sure what you want him to do, is the perfect play. i think he made an enormous mistake by never taking control of the hand and calling as an *cough* 11-89 underdog. then again, he's the guy who won the hand, so what do i know. oh, by the way:
*** RIVER *** [Kh Qd 6s 4s] [Qs]
poker = awesome.


At 5/26/2006 11:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good write up.

-Mike Lee


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