This week, I posted the following hand on the blonde poker 'Poker Hand Analysis' board:
Event: EPT London Main Event £5,000+£200
Starting Stack: 10,000
Prize Pool/Runners: £1,960,000/392
Average Chips: ~18,000
Our Current Situation
I have managed to find myself on 28,000 and chip leader on the table. This particular table is far weaker than the tournament average so I have been looking to take advantage, the 3 players to my right are all tight aggressive, the 3 players behind me are weak passive and the only good player is the last of the 8 seats, he is an active Scandanavian but we have managed to avoid each other for the tournament so far. In general most pots are me or him vs. someone else on the table.
For the last 30 minutes or so you have been smacked in the face by the deck, although you have gone to no showdowns so your table image is extremely active, you have raised and won 13 of the last 30 hands.
You are UTG+1 and find
Adam Heller limps UTG, he has been playing a very tight aggressive game up to this point but you know he is capable of doing a whole lot more. You and he have played a long session of PLO cash before although it's likely to have escaped his mind due to the enjoyment of alcohol. During that session he showed he is capable of playing super loose aggressive.
He is playing a stack of 20,000.
I decided to raise to 1,400, everyone else folds when it gets back to Adam he flat calls.
The flop comes
Adam checks the flop, what action do you take from here?
All but a couple of respondents suggested continuation betting in this spot.
Boldie: "On the flop I continue to bet... 2-2.5k in this case."
LuckyLoyd: "That flop is obv good for you. Again, your image should be such that he is going to have a hard time believing you. I would bet 2,600 for value. And I would be reluctant to give up here if he check-raises."
TightEnd: "C-bet the flop 2,200 or so, not least because of the presence of two hearts."
Silo Graham: "I'd make a bet on the flop of around 2.4k."
MKKFISH: "On that basis I'm betting 3.2k and hoping that we don't see Q, J or T on the turn... if we get that far."
Longy: "On the flop I do c-bet even though I believe this flop is bad one for this range with the Ace on the board. I make it about 2.5k because of our image and his likelihood to disbelieve our bet and peel one off with a pair."
Interestingly people's response to a potential check raise was also fairly similar:
TightEnd: "Say you bet 2.5k and he makes it 7.5k. That's a tough spot as he could be contending that you are c-betting with air given your Vpip and general image. If he does CR, calling isn't an option for me unless I commit to calling a big turn bet (as you are unlikely to improve, and you'll see a lot of scare cards). Faced with the choice of pushing (3 bet is all-in in effect) or folding I'll widen his range here to reflect his view of your image and be prepared to go with it by pushing."
Boldie: "If he check-raises (which he can do with a massive range here) I'd be in there."
Silo Graham: "Yeah I think I'd be all-in if he check-raises. I'd hate it though, just not sure I'd be able to fold here."
RookieITB: "If he c/raises I dont think I can pass... But if he makes it 7.5k I think I just flat call it - if you shove the flop he doesn't fold his heart draw anyway with so much invested and if he is on a complete bluff he may think he can take you off it with a shove into you on the turn. Whereas if you 3-bet the flop he will fold a complete bluff."
I have to say that C-Beting here is by far and away the best play to make and we should do it nearly every time, however in this particular instance I was frustrated by not getting paid off in previous hands. I decided to mix my play up in order to try and generate a move from my oppo.
In a standard situation here with this image I would play as Rookie suggested, CB for about 2.5k flat call a check-raise and call a turn jam.
I felt that I could well be played back at on this hand, the timing seemed right and the player was very capable. I was also aware I could easily walk into a big hand in this pot, as such iI would have a lot of difficulty dealing with a check-raise, basically I would have no idea what I was facing - either a hand or a move. Given this situation I wanted to try to control the pot, but also still get action for my monster hand. To do this I thought a good line would be checking the flop to further under represent my hand and also keep the pot smaller. This meant I thought I could play the hand without risking all my stack and also yet again increase my opponent's bluff potential, a very desirable situation when we have 1 pair!
So when Adam checked I checked behind.
The turn card came
A perfect card keeping the board near perfect for A-K.
Adam sat and thought for about a minute and checked the turn, this time I decided now was the time to give him the potential to hang himself and I fired out 2.8k, he dwelt for another minute and then raised to 7k. Although i was making my play to optimise the chance he plays back at me it is still the first time he has done so all tournament and I am now still stuck with a decision. I was expecting him to pass here nearly all the time. So now the question is fold? (You can obviously guess this is not the line I took by my earlier thought process but it is still a possible course of action. A set is still possible) Call? or Raise?
There are strong arguments for both calling and raising now in this situation as it is not a very common spot.
JungleCat: "Whether you call or push all depends how likely he is to fire a 2nd barrel at the river. When you call the turn the pot has got to the stage where it is fairly hard for him to push you off most hands on the river as you clearly have something reasonable so I would lean towards him giving up quite often when his check raise on the turn fails.
As this is the case, I would probably shove the turn now. I guess it might mean he can find a fold with an ace, but I don't think that makes up a big part of his range. Shoving means you either get him to make a bad call with a draw, or fold out those hands that won't pay you off/bluff that often on the river unless they improve to a winner."
Silo Graham: "If you were going to push to a check-raise on the flop, I can't see how you can pass now. There's probably not going to be a better time to do it, so move all-in here."
MKKFISH: "This has to been seen in the context of the tourney....we're not in a $10 mtt fishfest here. TPTK is just so not what I'm gonna go to town with here. I'm folding and sit with still 33% better than average stack."
IFM: "This is the reason I checked the flop behind, because i think I'm ahead and I'm trying to induce the bluff.
So this is pretty much where I wanted to be (I would've reraised if he led the turn) so I can only shove here and be shown a monster!! Seriously the point is to show a dislike for the ace on the flop, show weakness to get into this spot. No point checking the flop if you're not going all the way now."
As I said previously, although I was maximising the chances that a check-raise could be a bluff I was still not wild to see one. The one good thing about a check-raise here is that I am pretty certain it is either a stone cold bluff or a better hand than mine, rarely is it a worse 1 pair or a flush draw. As such i knew there was yet again little value in a 3 bet all-in. Instead, I decided I needed to do my best to sell weakness, as such I did all I could to physically look weak as well as act as if I was about to pass.
After a couple of minutes of deliberation (I had already decided to call nearly instantly), i made the call. I thought this might surprise him and thus get him to rush into an action on the river, especially when he is bluffing.
The river card came the
Making the board
Adam now quickly bets 7k, this surprised me somewhat, I was expecting any bet on the end to be an all-in, the 7k bet confused me somewhat, surely any oppo who calls 7k on the turn is going to call 7k on the river, especially when the draw has come in. It was about this point of the hand I wondered what would have happened if I had just bet the flop and kept this pot simple!
The River Response
Longy: "Call - the pot is far too big to pass tptk here."
Boldie: "OK I've thought about it for a while now and his bet is confusing. It screams "call me"... or could be a stopper bet, the size of it throws me. The one thing I would not do is push (although that might be the right move here as he could be on a hand he lays down... arrrrrrrrrrghhh). As they say, "A worse hand will fold and a better hand will call" though that's not necessarily true on this board. Can I find a fold here? I don't think so, he might have had the A-K/A-Q of hearts, I dunno. In the moment, right now, I flatcall, though at the time I might be thinking fold... yeah a flat call will do for me."
IFM: "Scared play I think on the turn flushy, you've second guessed yourself when I think you should have stuck to your 'weakness' strategy. As said you really have to cross your fingers and call here."
MANTIS01: "If Villain is tuned in I think Hero is always behind here and calling the river is a donation."
Before i had called the turn bet I had already decided to call the river, there is simply no way I can play the hand this way on the turn and pass the river. I called his bet instantly on the river and he mucked just as fast. I guess I will never know what he had but given the draw completed board and the insta muck i am assuming something like K-Q/K-J/Q-J.
Although this hand worked out really well, I managed to overcomplicate a situation that should be very easy, this is ok to do some of the time but this should never be a standard line. It does however make a much better hand for analysis.
P.S. Dubai's analysis was spot on "Extremely thinly disguised "I played a £5200 event" post".
So until next week, good luck!