Today’s question comes from Corey S. and Corey just wants me to look at a hand, a tricky spot he had with pocket kings. He said that this was played on Bovada Zone poker, so he didn’t have a good read on any of the opponents, so let’s take a peek at the hand.
This hand is from 5NL, Hero opens under the gun, gets called, gets called, and gets another call. Goes four way to it, ends up going here, flops an over pair and decides to continuation bet on the flop for a nice big size. So overall I’m very, very happy with this. This is the kind of texture where I assume that players, especially at these limits, are going to take single pairs way too far, at least until say an over card or a scary card comes later, which even more makes me love the fact that Hero is choosing a larger bet size right at this moment. The other reason is simply that players at these limits tend to be more inelastic, which means they’re going to continue at the same frequency regardless of the size, so this allows you to really, really maximize value the times that they can’t fold that second-best pair.
So far loving what I’m seeing here. End up getting a call, go heads out to the turn, which is another nine, Hero decides to check and faces a bet. At this point Corey notes that he was trapping on the turn and his plan was kind of to call here and then jam the river. I would simply ask, why not just continue betting the turn yourself? This is the kind of situation where I don’t think he has a tremendous amount of like floated stuff. If you think back to the flop, I don’t think he’s going to call on the flop with like ace, jack, king, queen, things like that, because there’s a lot of players left after him that could easily call and have him beat. Obviously it would be nice to have some information to confirm that, but that’s just my general estimation, that I’m not going to be looking at a bunch of unpaired stuff that’s going to want to stab the turn every time.
…Why not just continue betting yourself?
If that’s the case, then obviously that means that I’m assuming that he’s calling the flop with more things like spades and things like pocket pairs. If he has pocket pairs, I just want to try to hit the home run. I’m just pretty much going to enact a zeebo theorem here and that’s essentially the theorem that no one is ever going to fold a full house ever. In super micro limit online games, 2NL, 5NL, 10NL, etc., I’m definitely going to kind of assume that that’s really the case, that someone is just not going to fold a boat in this situation and because of that, I just want to keep maxing value myself. The worst thing that could happen here is we check and he checks back with pocket fours. Like that would be terrible for us, we’d miss so much value, it would be so difficult to maximize value on the river simply because there’s going to be roughly the six and change left, there’s less than two in the pot, very, very difficult to get stacks inside at that point.
Because of that, I’d really like to see Hero be betting here. If Hero thought that MP had a lot of floated junk with double Broadway hands that he needed to stab with, okay, this makes a little bit more sense. But even if that’s the case, jamming the river makes no sense because if you thought that he had a lot of bluffs here, you might as well check all here, check, give him the chance to hang himself on the river. So things aren’t really adding up with that plan.
Just overall, when you’re playing micro limits, you should really be in a value mindset most of the time, which means that when you have these kind of big hands, you just want to punish them with value bets and I’d really like to see Hero continue betting here.
As played, Hero ends up check calling, but gets a little bit stunted because the river is the fourth nine, he said it caught him off guard and at this point he actually expected that when he checks, that the river is going to go check, check, but to his surprise, he ends up facing this $6 shove from middle position.
This is pretty much one of the most uncomfortable rivers facing one of the most uncomfortable actions from someone like this. Now given the fact that we see all four nines, obviously it’s impossible for him to have quads. The kind of only things that really beat us here are going to be anything with an ace in its hand and then that’s it because we’re just playing quads with a king kicker, so the only thing that beats us is quads with an ace kicker.
Now in this situation, what I would be thinking is simply, okay, how many AX –type hands can MP have? Now, given the assumption that I thought that he wouldn’t float the flop a ton of the time with things like ace/jack off, I really think that he’s only going to have kind of like big AX spade-type hands, like ace/jack, ace/ten of spades, and that’s probably about it as far as that kind of stuff. If you think he calls all of them, okay, but we don’t have any information here. He is a middle position calling an under the gun open, I think it’s questionable whether or not he’s going to have all like ace/four suited and spades-type stuff.
Ultimately there’s not a ton of spade combos in what I’m assuming, so really at this point it’s just, okay, would he bluff enough for the time here? We are getting 1.6 to 1 on a call, we just need to be good at least 38% of the time. If you think he’s bluffing, at least a couple of combos here, you’re going to be just fine making the call, in my opinion.
Hero did end up making the call and Hero did end up winning against pocket sixes and that’s all well and good, but ultimately the river, in my opinion, isn’t as important, simply because the turn is the situation where the real decision was made and the real decision needs to be made better in the future, in my opinion, or at least the plan needs to be more concrete and better.
In this exact situation, again, whether or not you assign MP having enough bluffs on the river as played is certainly up for debate. Against someone who floats liberally, I could definitely put more Ax in their range and obviously him shoving the river with a nut makes sense, so I can’t really discount that. But when I’m playing against someone who just doesn’t really make sense for them to have a lot of Ax in their range, given the pre-flop actions, well, that’s definitely going to change the way that I view their shove and then it’s just, okay, do you ever turn something like sixes into a bluff, this, that or the other thing and if the answer is yes, then I’m definitely making that river call just like Hero did.