How To Play 2 Pair In A Multi-Way Pot

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In this hand, we’re in the big blind with T6s. There’s a limp, another limp, another limp. And hero decides to check his option. In the write-up, Jay says this: “People here know I play really tight. If I make a decent size raise, most fold. So I wanted to mix it up.” So keep that in mind as we’re going through the rest of the hand.

We started the hand with only 30 big blinds, definitely not something that I would suggest doing, unless you have a really super, super strong strategy at 30 big blinds and you think it’s more profitable for you to play 30 big blinds than it is for you to play a hundred or two hundred big blinds.

A lot of players that do the short-stack thing, they do so because they’re trying to keep their buy-in more minimal and they’re trying to not have these huge swings. And, honestly, if you’re really, really good at short-stacking, okay, maybe, but more often than not, you’re better off buying in deep, learning how to get better at deeper stack play, rather than trying to play this really, really short-stack game, because really, really short-stack games are, one, they’re really quite boring and they’re just super, super mathematical, there’s really not a lot of decision making, and it doesn’t force you to grow as a player. I’d always rather see you guys grow as players, rather than sit here, play a really boring, easy game, and stagnate as a player.

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With that little rant out of the way, here we go. Flop bottom two, awesome, and hero decides to check. So this is a limped pot and, yes, I understand your logic of people know you play tight, so you’re scared about making big bets, big raises, because everyone’s going to go away. But you don’t have a lot of money here. It’s very, very easy to get stacks inside if you start betting here. Bet, bet, bet, and money is all in. It’s pretty easy. The thing you have to remember is that most people are much more apt to call you than they are to call your check-raise.

So if you stab here for 7, Tx, Ax, all that stuff is going to continue much more liberally. Whereas if you decide to go for a check-raise, it’s very easy for something like Tx to get away from, and even possibly a weak Ax. Mind you, no one raised preflop, so really strong Axs are probably not in here.

I’m not sitting here trying to find some creative mix-up. I just want to play really, really straightforward, really, really value-injected, and just bet here. And I would honestly just bet it out for pot. If you want to bet $8, cool, if you want to bet $10, awesome. It’s life, it really doesn’t matter all that much, and just start pounding from there. I don’t like going for the check in this situation. In this spot, it ends up getting checked through. Okay, 9 on the turn, hero decides to bet, and hero decides to over-bet.

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This kind of conflicts with what you said earlier where you said, “People know I play tight and if I make a decent-size bet or raise, most people fold.” And then you decide to over-bet in a situation where you never have bluffs. And this card is not excellent for trying to get something like Tx to continue, unless it’s T8 or maybe T7.

This is just one of those where you missed your opportunity by not betting the flop, and now you’re desperately trying to get that opportunity back. Sometimes when you miss an opportunity, it’s not best to get your shovel and dig back and try to hopefully get yourself out of it. It’s make the best decision you can as played, where we are right this moment. Now it’s time to readjust and recreate a line and strategy.

So in this situation, I don’t particularly love $15. I think you just need to fire the flop, and, as played, just bet here for pot. I don’t think it has to be $15 here. We luckily end up getting a call, which is awesome, but then we only end up betting $25 on the river when we boat up. I don’t really care if it’s a 6 on the river or anything 5 or lower. I think we have the best hand a super, super large chunk of the time. But my question is this: Why not just shove? Villain called an overbet on the turn, which means he’s probably sitting there with Ax or Tx that they’re comfortable with, or possibly a draw on the whiff. But if they have a draw on the whiff, they’re not going to call $25, they’re not going to call $45, they’re not going to call $15. It doesn’t matter.

Your whole goal here is to maximize value against Ax or Tx if it’s really, really sticky. In my opinion, there’s really not a huge difference between going $25 and $45 and trying to get that call.

Now, in the write-up, Jay said that on the river, he was hoping that villain would re-raise him. And I don’t think there’s any reason to think that villain is going to re-raise you. He doesn’t have a strong hand. He doesn’t have aces, he doesn’t have tens. He probably doesn’t have the things like 99s. All that stuff would have either raised preflop or raised somewhere along the way or bet somewhere along the way. He doesn’t have a strong hand and it’s very unlikely he improved on the 6 in any meaningful way, other than he improving a 2pair with a decent kicker.

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This is the kind of scenario where punish inelasticity and understand when your opponent’s range really has nothing in it that you can induce a raise from. This is one of those situations. There is nothing you can induce a raise from here. So it’s your pure responsibility to bet as large as possible, maximize value the times that they’re inelastic and can’t fold Ax or Tx, whatever it is. It’s on you to do that.

Again, I don’t think there’s any difference between going $25 and $45 here. I think you just leave money on the table when you go $25. If this person called $15 on the turn with QT, I think they’re calling $45 on the river with QT as well, so I think we left money on the table here. This is just part of what I’m talking about when you’re playing really short-stack play is it’s so technical. And any mistake you make when you’re playing short-stack is just crushing your hourly.

So I challenge you for the next little while to try and buy in full, try to work on that strategy, rather than working on a $30 big-blind strategy. Also in this situation, I think you’re way over-thinking it. Just play really straightforward in these live $1/$2 games, bet flop, go from there as played. If you’re going to play it this way, definitely make sure you go for the full thing on the river and punish that inelasticity.

SplitSuit

My name is James "SplitSuit" Sweeney and I'm a poker player, coach, and author. I've released 300+ videos, coached 500+ players, and co-founded the training site Red Chip Poker. Contact me if you need any help improving your poker game!

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