Most of you know that I am very active on YouTube. I manage ThePokerBank’s YouTube channel which hit 1M views within 18 months and continues to grow…and in that time I’ve answered over 100 questions sent in by poker players around the world. This was came across my desk recently and it was so unique that I didn’t feel a video would give it justice.
So this is going to be back-n-forth between Michael B’s situation and my responses to each part. Michael’s original text is tabbed
I really need help on a hand I experienced last night during a 9-handed 1-3NL game with a 3 raise max per round. VERY FIRST HAND I sit down and I get Pocket Queens on the button. I’m not even really mentally prepared to play at this point, which is my fault, but I was still pleasantly surprised to wake up with Queens for my first hand. I bought in for $500 and I was sitting in seat 1, again, in a 9 hand game. I know BB very well and I try to avoid pots that he’s in… he has roughly the same stack size that I did.
It’s awesome that you recognize that sitting into a game without being in the right mental state is a leak. If this is a recurring issue for you, consider picking up The Mental Advantage video series and start taking the mental part of your poker game seriously too (hint, there is a ton of winrate won and lost in the mental game)
Also, I don’t suggest avoiding players. There just aren’t players who are THAT good in smaller games…so you’re better off learning how to handle decent players than trying to implement a strategy that avoids them. This will prepare you for moving up into higher games…
Action comes to me pre-flop and I make it $16. BB calls and so do set 6 and 7 (who has about $125 behind).
After two limpers you want to make it bigger than just $16. Make it $20 or $23 and go from there.
Flop comes J 10 3 Rainbow. Everyone checks to me and I bet $35. BB raises (and I know him well enough to understand he’s doing this with 2 pair or better). Seat 6 folds. Seat 7 pushes his stack in.
You mentioned earlier that the BB is someone you avoid, but then you assume that his raising range here is just 2pair+. A player who is only going to get aggressive with big hands isn’t someone you need to worry much about since hitting strong hands is such a rare occurrence.
That being said, let’s operate under the assumption that the BB only has 2pair+ (FWIW, I’d wonder why he didn’t lead the flop with that range…but I digress)
At this point, I only care about BB. I want to see another card but I know that I’m WAY BEHIND at this point. I specifically ask the dealer how many Raises there were because I wanted to do a protective min-raise to prevent BB from shoving all-in. The dealer says that there have been 2 Raises. So I take the 3rd Raise (or so I thought) and make it $180 total. BB announces that he is all-in and the dealer verifies the bet.
I don’t believe I’ve ever played in a game with this rule (where raises are capped at the third raise)…but that’s OK. Because the question really shouldn’t be “should we 4bet the flop to cap the betting?” The question should be “why would I want to pile in a bunch of money when I feel I have the worst of it?” Even if we did go to $180 (which puts in another $145 after our original CB) and it capped the action…we are putting in more money with the worst hand and likely only a 1 card draw since if we miss the turn and he jams…we can’t call and just ended up setting $145 on fire.
If you really think his range is just 2pair+ (and maybe it is), then you should be focused on implied odds or getting away from it if the IO are incorrect. One of the biggest things here, that likely went overlooked in the heat of battle, is if the action is capped. Since you said you min-raised which implies the BB went to ~$100. If he did, then seat 7’s shove of $125 total caps the action and the BB has no further chance to re-raise (assuming the room doesn’t have unique rules about these sorts of things). Don’t believe me? I asked the man who knows all poker rules, Matt Savage:
@SplitSuit: Cash game. A bets 35, B raises to 100, C shoves for 125. If A calls, can B re-raise?<~No, only if it was $165
— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) July 31, 2015
Meaning you could have just called $90, the BB would only be able to call the remaining $25, and we’d go to the turn. At that point you’d be calling $90 to win $125+$35+$125=$285. You don’t have a ton of equity vs a nutted range (especially when you factor in the main pot)…but it’s important to explore this and there is still $350 left in the effective stack against the BB.
That all being said, I’d still fold. If you call and the BB calls, he’s shoving all turns imo. So you only get a 1-card draw and that’s just not good enough when you assign a purely nutted range.
Now, at this point, I should have called the Floor over so that everything could be cleared up but I didn’t (again, my fault). The dealer said the all-in didn’t count as an official raise. I was shaking I was so mad. I asked him, “why the hell do you think I was asking how many raises there were? I did a small raise to prevent BB from shoving??!!”. And all the dealer did was say, “Ohh, sorry, I misunderstood you” and said it was my turn to act.
100% call the floor if something like this ever happens again.
Again, I should have called the Floor over but instead I simply mucked my hand. I knew I was WAY BEHIND and because it was my very first hand, I wasn’t mentally prepared to lose my stack. BB and 7 both turn over J 10. The turn predictably puts a Queen on the board and I watch them split my chips. I’m still angry just thinking about it.
It sucks that you would have ended up scooping it…but don’t beat yourself up over it. Just slow down next time, and call the floor since it seems like the dealer made a big mistake in this hand.
I still left the night up $1,200 but all I can still think about is that first huge pot which I felt cheated out of. Any advice would be great.
I wouldn’t say you were cheated out of the pot…rather the dealer made a big mistake and we made a bigger mistake by not calling the floor. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve also lost tons of value in the past by not calling the floor over…just remember to slow down in the future exercise your right as a player to get the floor involved if you feel the dealer’s ruling was incorrect. That’s why the floor is there =)