What’s Your Plan? Overpair in 3-Way 3-Bet Pot Results
by Andrew Brokos | Published: Jul 27, '12
I take responsibility for the dearth of comments on this week’s What’s Your Plan?. Not only did I initially fail to include Hero’s hole cards in the post, but I also left off the actual action from the list of possibilities for which I requested your plans. I do think this was a pretty interesting tournament spot with some complex stuff going on, so hopefully my write-up will make up for my earlier mistakes.
Gareth correctly identifies that Hero is more or less in a reverse implied odds situation with regard to Cliff:
This spot really sucks and the intersection of ranges with this board really sucks. So do the possible turn cards for villain’s ranges. We aren’t ever going to get two or three streets from Bax here. We aren’t going to check it down and be able to show down our hand. Pretty much every time the flop checks through I feel like we lose the vast majority of the time.
We’re out of position on a volatile board with a medium-strength holding that’s not likely to improve and not likely to get to showdown against a second-best holding in the hands of a tough player. He’s too good for us to try to play a check-call game, basically revealing the approximate strength of our holding and praying that he’ll let us show it down cheaply when we’re ahead. He won’t.
If we’re going to continue with the hand, it’s better to keep our range wider by betting. I still think we can be in OK shape against the Russian if he shoves, so betting will ideally get it heads up with him and get Cliff out from behind us.
The bet would not need to be large, because we have two objectives: (1) get Cliff out of the pot or find out that he likes his hand; and (2) get it in with the Russian now when we’re in the best shape against his shoving range. Even a small bet can provide a lot of information about Cliff’s hand because it leverages the Russian’s stack. Cliff has to assume a substantial risk of the Russian check-shoving, so he can’t call idly even if our bet offers juicy odds. He has to assume, once we bet, that we frequently have a hand good enough to call the Russian. The possibility of the Russian shoving also increases the likelihood that Cliff slowplays a strong hand that he would ordinarily raise in a heads-up pot against a single, deep-stacked opponent.
So if Cliff calls even a smallish bet, I think we’re beat often enough to give up on the pot. I’d fold if the Russian shoves into both of us (there’s a non-trivial chance that he beats us even if Cliff doesn’t). I’d also shut down and check-fold most turns and rivers to Cliff.
All of that is if Hero decides to continue with the hand. I’m not sure that he should. Everything I said above about leveraging the Russian’s short stack applies to the pre-flop action as well. Cliff needs a good hand to cold call a 3-bet from a tight player in early position, especially with an aggressive UTG raiser sitting on a live hand and a stack that could easily shove.
A few people suggested that Cliff would have 4-bet AA or KK, but this is actually quite a good spot to cold-call those hands. For one thing, a cold 4-bet here would be extremely strong and might well drive out second-best hands as strong as TT and AQ. If he makes this play, he’d hope UTG would re-open the action but the Russian is short enough that it’s not a disaster if he sees the flop with a suited connector or something.
I don’t see Cliff showing up with suited connectors, and even medium pairs of the sort that could flop have flopped a set here are iffy though not impossible. It’s hard to imagine he would fold AK, but he might prefer to 4-bet it rather than cold-call. That’s a close one and it was one of the major sticking points for me in deciding whether to put out a little bet or just give up on the flop.
What I’m saying is that Cliff’s cold call looks extremely strong and given how unideal a situation this is for Hero already, I seriously considered just checking and folding.
As an early subscriber to Poker X Factor, I watched a lot Cliff’s videos back in the day. It’s been years since I’ve seen one, so for all I know he’s changed his game a lot and my read that he “sometimes gets a little too tricky for his own good,” may be dated. I felt like I’d seen him make enough speculative calls in strange situations that it was worth taking one small shot at the flop, but I’m still far from certain that was good.
As played, Gareth called it almost exactly. I bet about 2400 (forget the exact amount) and Cliff went into the tank for a bit before raising to 9000. The Russian folded and went off to dinner, and then I tanked for probably 3 minutes before folding. Cliff showed me Aces, which I told him I had a feeling he had. He told me, “Nice fold”, which suggests he thought I was contemplating calling, but really I was thinking about whether I could make him fold a better overpair. I decided I couldn’t, because sets, straight, and two-pair simply aren’t an appreciable part of my 3-betting range in this spot.
Thanks to the stalwart few who commented, and sorry for a somewhat botched job on my part. I’m going to be more diligent about double-checking these before clicking “Post” in the future.