Shoving A Pair And Draw

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As part of the Ask SplitSuit a Question series, a couple people did ask hand history questions and this one came privately via Facebook. Corey S. wanted me to look at a hand and he prefaces it by saying that it was played on Bovada Zone poker, so he didn’t have good reads on any of the players, so let’s look at the hand:

This hand is from 10NL Online, Hero opens out of the gun with A6s and he says that he was prepared to mix it up and hoping to get position on the big blind. In my opinion, this isn’t the greatest situation to do that, simply because it’s 10 No Limit and it’s Bovada Zone poker and I’m not even 100% sure that I’m going to get the big blind heads up to myself in a situation like this. There are still a lot of players to contend with and three of them can take position on me and it’s just a kind of situation where I probably don’t like this and I would just default open fold this. There are situations where I will open up my under the gun range, but I wouldn’t say that this is the exact situation and exact environment in which to do that.

As played, we end up getting called by the cut off, goes heads up to it and end a flop and top pair on this very, very wet connected board. Here are continuation bets and faces a raise. So in this situation Hero decides to call and I want to talk about this call for a moment because I think it’s kind of important and I think some players may hit but there’s a lot of issues that people have here.

So just looking at it, once we call pots about $3, we have about $8 going into the turn and river and when I’m in a situation like that, it’s very easy for my stack to get exposed, right? If he bets two on the turn, rest on the river, it’s very, very easy for my stack to get in the middle. Given the fact that he’s raising here, it’s realistic that that could come up from time to time.

If I’m ever going to put myself in a situation where I think my stack can realistically get exposed, I really want to create a plan for my hand. A lot of players will call here and then try to reevaluate on turn and rivers but in my opinion, that’s going to be kind of a junky idea. If we just think about what turn and river run offs are going to look like, they’re either going to be over cards to our hand on the board, they’re going to be four straight bakers, they’re going to be flush fillers, there’s going to be a lot of uncomfortableness going into the turn and river. If we face bets and any sort of pressure on those cards, I really want to have that plan right now.

…think about what turn and river run offs are going to look like…

There are situations where I’ll call this and I’ll feel comfortable. Say I thought the cut-off wouldn’t raise sevens plus and they would really only like be raising here with a couple combos of sets but more realistically raising with a lot of like busted over card stuff, like jack/ten and king/queen and that sort of stuff. It’s the kind of situation where I like calling more and my plan is definitely to get a little bit sticky or actually a lot stickier going into turn and rivers. But you notice that I’m calling with a range idea, with a plan going forward, and sometimes I’ll be wrong and I’ll run into a set and that’s all well and good, but I definitely want to have that plan before I just start calling every single flop raise and even more so when you’re out of position and it’s going to be more and more difficult to play those future streaks.

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Now in this exact situation, I’m not really sure that I love calling the raise simply because playing out of position in a relatively unknown environment is going to be very, very tricky to figure out when you should be calling down and when you shouldn’t and how you want to handle, again, all those really awful turn and river run offs. The other thing you want to keep in mind is that it’s something like 10 No Limit, I do assume he can be raising here a set, I do assume that he can be raising with flush draws and flush draws are going to have very, very good equity against our hand, at least with one over card most of the time, usually two.

The other thing is that at a limit like this, I’m not shocked if he raises something like sevens, eights, or nines, which again puts more and more reverse implied odds on our hand. I’m not really sure that I’m loving this exact spot. Hero did say that he thought he was ahead and okay, that makes me feel a little bit better but I’m not 100% sure that we can really think that we’re ahead enough of the time here, so this makes me pretty uneasy. I’d rather make maybe a little too tight of a fold on the flop than put myself in an exposed situation where I’m really unsure and it’s very possible that it could be negative.

In this exact situation, Hero does decide to call, picks up more equity on the turn, checks, faces a bet, and Hero decides to check shove. Corey said that he thought he was ahead here on the turn and I think that we can be ahead here, but I think that when we shove and get called, that we’re rarely, if ever, ahead. It’s a situation where we’re essentially semi-bluff shoving on the turn and it’s really, really important that when you’re making any sort of shove like this that you understand if it’s more for value or more as a semi-bluff. If you’re only ever getting called by hands that beat you, it’s definitely going to be more of a semi-bluff.

The good thing about semi-bluffing is that we can proof it very, very easy mathematically and there are two tools that we are going to want for that. We’re going to use our fold equity calculator—and remember we did a full video on this in the Quick Play Series, if you want to look that up—and then we also need Equilab. In our fold equity calculator, just need a couple pieces of info, need the effective stack, which is how much we’re shoving, and you notice here that we’re actually shoving for $8.41, but in real life, we’re actually not because the effective risk is only the starting stack that he had to start this streak, which was the $8.27, so we’re actually only risking that much when we make this shove. Then we need our estimated equity, which we’ll get in a second, pot size, which is 5.45, facing a bet of 2.32, and we just need our estimated equity, which we can get from Equilab.

So I plugged in our hand against a range that I thought was reasonable, which includes sets, it includes eightX made with diamonds, so nine/eight of diamonds and eight/seven of diamonds and that’s it. Evaluated that, we get 21%, plug that in here, calculate it, and you notice that we need him to fold at least 43% of the time for this to break even.

A6s Equilab

I don’t really think that’s going to be particularly good. If you thought that he were going to call here with worse flush draws, whether that’s in clubs or whether that’s in something like diamonds, well, that can certainly change matters quite a bit, but if you don’t think that he has that, then you have this really reduced chunk of equity where you’re really just hoping that outs when you get called and then it’s just one of those situations where does he really have that much junk in his range when he decides to raise flop bet turn? If he does, do we need to check raise that or could we possibly check call and again, continue with that check call download with our pair thinking that our pair is beating his range enough of the time.

Another thing to keep in mind here is when we shove, he needs 30% equity to break even. I’m assuming that most players are not going to call that with naked flush draws, which again is why I’m assigning the range that I did when we check, shove and get called on. Again, that’s the really strong stuff which has a severely reduced in equity, which means that we need more folds in order to make this a profitable all-in. Again, if we needed that many folds, is this necessarily the best line?

As played, it’s actually kind of a funny result. We actually do end up running into clubs and that’s all well and good and the result isn’t nearly as important as just understanding, again, what goes into it, thinking about how to face that flop raise, super, super important, so many people mess that up and again, don’t think about how they’re going to play turn and river run offs enough of the time. Then as played, again, understanding if you’re going to check shove that turn, what it’s really accomplishing. You could be ahead on the turn when he bets, but if you shove and only get called by a better hand, you’re still left in a semi-bluffing situation.

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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