What’s Your Play? SCOOP Pre-Flop Results
by Andrew Brokos | Published: May 18, '12
Thanks for all the great comments on the first post in this series of street-by-street What’s Your Play? posts. I think the discussion of whether to 3-bet and why was one of the best discussions we’ve had. Not coincidentally, I also think it’s very close. When deep you generally have a lot of defensible options. More important than making the “right” decision here is understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing, what the advantages and disadvantages are, and what your plan will be going forward. Towards that end, let’s talk about the merits of 3-betting vs. calling:
Christoph makes the case for calling nicely:
3betting tells him a lot about your hand and makes it easy for him to play correctly.
Now if you just flat, he might decide to barrel some boards and you can call down, or he might value bet a worse TP strongly, etc. There are a few ways that you can make money by flatting, whereas if you 3b you’re usually not going to win a lot of money postflop.
When you have QQ, you’d like your opponent to have a slightly smaller overpair (eg JJ on a T52 flop) or top pair lower than a Q (eg AJ on a J52 flop). You won’t generally play a 150 BB pot in such circumstances, but you ought to be able to win at least two bets from such hands. To a good player, a 3-bet into an UTG raise is going to raise some red flags. Villain and the others behind you will probably fold hands like AJ. With the smaller pocket pairs, he’ll either fold or call mostly trying to hit a set. He probably won’t play even a medium-sized pot unimproved.
Cbeak also points out that, “If we are squeezed, depending on who it is coming from, I think our options are better than in the bet, 3-bet, 4-bet scenario.” Getting cold 4-bet is a disaster if we 3-bet here. Getting squeezed still isn’t great – we almost certainly can’t 4-bet – but at least we’ll have a disguised hand and odds to call.
As dsho says,
Building a pot and gaining initiative when you’re in position and have most likely the best hand is rarely a mistake. Flatting does disguise the value of our hand, but many players 3bet in-position wide especially at these stakes – so it’s not like we’re overly narrowing our range by doing so.
Neither a squeeze nor a cold 4-bet is very likely, as Shawn points out. What is likely is that, if we call, others will come in behind. Granted they will do so with hands against which we are huge pre-flop equity favorites, but post-flop they will have position and will generally be able to play well. In other words, we’ll be a big favorite when the first 2 BB go into the pot, a modest favorite when we choose to put money in on the flop, but then will be staring down some mean reverse implied odds on the turn and river.
Unimproved pocket pairs, even overpairs, are tough to play deep and out of position against good players. Opponents behind us will bluff and value bet very well. I wouldn’t be too concerned about dragging others into the pot – I might even welcome it – in a Low SCOOP event. In a High, though, most of our opponents will play well enough that we’d really rather they not overcall with 97s or whatever.
Raising, then, can both get value from Villain (he will call with worse even if you are in bad shape should he 4-bet) and ensure that you have position post-flop rather than a couple of tough players with wide ranges sitting behind you just waiting for an opportunity to abuse you with their position. Even if it hinders your ability to extract additional bets post-flop, it does get one bet into the pot right away while you still have the third nuts.
I re-raised to 360. As I said, though, I do think it’s close. For me it actually came down to the size of the original raise. If he’d 3x’ed it, my re-raise would look that much stronger, whereas if I flatted people would get that much worse of a price to come in behind me. Also his min-raise ought to represent a wider range than a 3x, such that I’m letting more hands that I dominate see the flop for no further cost by just flatting.
So I re-raised because the original raise was so small. If Villain had opened to 180, I think I would prefer calling, though it would still be close. Flop action coming soon!