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What’s Your Play? Straight on Three-Flush River

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Nov 19, '12

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What's Your Play?Sorry for the delay, new podcast episode should be up tomorrow. Here’s something to keep you busy in the meantime.

Shortly after dinner break at the $2500 Borgata Poker Open, re-entry period is over. Table is reasonably tough for this event, we’re ten-handed with three opponents I consider competent and three good. Here’s the cast of characters:

Hero (32K): I arrived at table a few hours ago. I’m definitely viewed as tight and probably weak-tight as a result of being card dead at a very active table.

MP (50K): Probably mid-40s, full head of slightly disheveled curly gray hair. Wearing glasses, jeans, and polo shirt, wouldn’t be shocked to learn that he majored in English but works in IT and takes his poker seriously. He’s been playing more aggressively than his image would suggest, involved in more than his share of pots and usually raising. Hard to say for sure since he hasn’t been to many showdowns, but he’s raised in a lot of good spots. I’m ranking him among the competents.

BB (100K): Mid-30s, athletic wear, probably from Jersey. Hasn’t said much but also playing better and more aggressively than his appearance would suggest. Caught him 3-betting A6s in middle position against a middle position opener for, as best as I could tell, no particular reason. Counting him as competent.

MP and BB played a hand against each other shortly before dinner that ended with MP bet-folding to a big overbet shove on an A999x board. I suspect BB had an Ace and forced MP off of a chop, but neither showed, so I don’t know for sure. MP seemed annoyed about it at the time, but it’s been like two hours and he doesn’t seem to be steaming or anything.

Blinds are 300/600/75. I open to 1500 with As Ts UTG+2. MP calls, BB calls.

Flop (5550 in pot): 9s 8d 7c We check it around.

Turn (5550 in pot): 9s 8d 7c 6d We check it around.

River (5550 in pot): 9s 8d 7c 6d 4d BB bets 2K, I think for 5-10 seconds and call, MP tosses out 15K and stares hard at BB, who folds without too much thought. Now MP swivels his head like a velociraptor who’s just caught the scent of Jeff Goldblum and gives me the staredown. I quickly pick up calling chips to see how he reacts, but he doesn’t flinch.

What’s your play and why? Post your thoughts and comments here, and I’ll be back with my own on Friday. Obviously my play on early streets was a little unconventional, mostly owing to my image and how aggressive the table was, but I’m happy to discuss those as well if you have thoughts or questions about them.

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Andrew Brokos is a professional poker player, writer, and teacher. He is also an avid hiker and traveler and a passionate advocate for urban public education. You can find dozens of his poker strategy articles at www.thinkingpoker.net/articles and more information about group seminars and one-on-one coaching at www.thinkingpoker.net/coaching.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

thereyougoagain
almost 2 years ago

at first he looks like nut or second nut diamonds to me, he cant bet any street but river due to board texture..however you say hes competant and very active raising in good spots. he prob woulda semi bluffed turn with diamonds after being checked to twice..this would be great spot to squeeze for 2 reasons,1. bb bet doesnt hmean too much and most likely cant stand a raise with u flatting his river lead..2. by making it 15k and u having 30k behind once he gets by bb you are in a tough spot, youre hand is virtually face up by flatting bb lead bet. you look like a str8, even with the checks, and itd be sooo tuf to call off half your stack.so it looks like a prime raising spot for our english majoring friend.im gona say the fact that he checked the turn, has raised in good spots earlier, and you only having 32k(making it a great spot to squeeze)you found a call...correctly...il put him on aj of clubs..lol just a guess..cant wait to read follow up!

 
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Foucault82
almost 2 years ago

Thanks for the comment. Why do you say he can't bet the turn with diamonds?

 
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thereyougoagain
almost 2 years ago

i didnt say he couldnt bet the turn with diamonds..i said he would have most likely bet the turn as a semi bluff with diamonds after being checked to twice and being in position, thats main reason i think hes bluffing, that combined with his propensity to raise in good spots, which this is for reasons mentioned above

 
 

NedtheBear
almost 2 years ago

My gut reaction is to fold. MP made a larger than pot size bet (13500 would have been pot) which seems more than he needed to risk to push BB and Hero off the hand. Seems unlikely that he's risking almost a third of his stack on a hand weaker than yours at this point in the tournament. I don't think he fears the flush given it was runner runner and no action on the turn and your no re raise on the river. I think he's holding either the nut straight or possibly the flush. I think he snap calls your all in.

 
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trentbridge
almost 2 years ago

If MP has the nut flush why the massive stare down and why bet 15K? That appears excessively large. If he sees you as weak/tight - and you only called on the river - this bet suggests he's trying to push you off a winning hand. Having said all that, you would have to look at 24550 in the pot and decide whether betting 13000 chips has a positive EV. As you only called on the river, he couldn't put you on a flush either and since you checked the turn, he probably can't see you having the straight either so, based on his behavior, it's more than likely that he's bluffing with a weaker hand. I'd call.

 
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uw_ima_legend
almost 2 years ago

I think that there's a lot of different things to think about in this hand:

Pre-Flop: My starting out the betting and given your "weak-tight" image, I' expect the table to put you on some kind of broadway A (possibly suited) or some kind of pocket pair. The call by MP suggests that he has a decent hand worth calling but nothing worth getting out of line. I'd expect that he'd 3-bet if he had a big A (especially so if suited) or a big pocket pair. I'd put his most likely holdings at something in the AJ to lower range (possibly suited), pocket pairs no higher than a pair of tens, or some kind of suited connectors. The BB is simply getting a good price on his money to throw in an extra 900 into a pot of 4,650 and really just needs any two cards that could play well against big cards (thinking low level suited connectors or the like).

Flop: Lots of danger on the board that you wouldn't want to see anybody drawing to a straight in place. If someone had a mid pocket pair and hit a set here, I'd expect a bet as to make someone pay to drawing to the straight. If someone hit 2 pair here, I think I'd expect a similar line. The primary person that I'd worry about here is the BB because this could have hit his pre-flop calling range. I could see him checking with the purpose of check raising. Obviously hero should check here and when MP checks that tells me that he's not sitting on a set at this point where he wants to put some pressure on the hand to eliminate people drawing to a free card. He's either very comfortable where he is sitting or willing to just let the hand continue and find more information.

Turn: If the BB had a 2 pair type of hand, this is a pretty horrible card for him and potentially limits his ability to get any value out of the hand as any player that would be willing to call him would have him beat (assuming that he doesn't have the high end of the straight here). If I'm hero, I've got 2 main decisions to make here. If I bet, I'm essentially turning my hand up that I have a straight to at minimum the ten in place. I may get someone to call, but the only further action that I'll get from the hand will be someone that either has me beat or is putting a bluff on me because they know that I know that they know what I have. That's a horrible position. If I check, I'm further playing with my "weak tight" image by suggesting that I'm just happy to let this hand go. This would be the best approach if wanting to play a big pot here. But to me, if hero checks, he's hoping to play a big pot depending on either the action behind by MP or what happens on the river. The MP check again suggests the same ... he's either really happy with the hand or waiting for something to hit as this isn't a great bluffing situation with 2 people that haven't defined their hands in any way.

River: The diamond provides a great bluff card as it not only beats a straight, but also beats all sets and 2 pair type of hands. BB at this point leading out doesn't make a lot of sense to me (particularly given that he snap folds afterwards). I really like the flat call by hero b/c the person that you are most likely playing the big pot with is going to be MP who you already have an inclination that he may be a little bent out of shape about having to fold a likely chop earlier and he may be looking to recoup those chips. When MP puts in a greater than pot sized raise, then it's time to look at the options available and how it fits his potential hand combinations:

1) Folding. There are only two main type of combinations of hands that beat hero at this point. Exactly JT OR some combination of diamonds that got him to the flush. When he called on the flop, my expectation would be that he either had something AJ or less (possibly suited), pocket pair, or some kind of suited connectors. He could have JT given his hand and how it played out as there was no real reason for him get super aggressive at the pot on the flop since he held the nuts. When the turn brings a diamond draw though, I would expect a bet to protect his hand against diamonds unless he held JT of diamonds. But on the river, I wouldn't be making a huge overbet to the pot w/ JT of diamonds at this point in a hand against two people that haven't really defined their hands in any way, shape, or form. It's not beyond expectation that someone could have a suited A (which hero has, just not in diamonds) and you are now putting a massive amount of money into the pot w/ a loser. Hero would have to have a soul read on MP to make the fold here ... and given the massive stare down that he put into place, that screams to me that he's trying to intimidate a fold. I don't think that that's the right play here.

2) Raise All-In: I don't like this play because the only way that you get called here is if you lose the hand. There's an outside chance that you could get a chop to fold the whole pot to you. But I'm not sure that that reward is worth the risk.

3) Calling: When hero checks the turn w/ the straight in place, I feel that he's making the decision that he'd like to play a decent sized pot if possible. MP has obliged by throwing in a nice re-raise to throw a lot of chips into the pot. If he ends up having a flush or the nut straight, then hero still has 15k in chips and given that it's a 10 handed table enough time to sit back and find a favorable situation to go all-in and recoup the chips. If hero picks off the bluff, then he's sitting at 50k in chips and in a relatively decent spot. The decision really depends on whether you give MP credit for having JT or diamonds. If hero thinks he does, then he should fold. If hero thinks he doesn't, he should call.

My gut tells me that MP has the A of diamonds and is leveraging that ... he may have A-10 offsuit and angling for pushing hero off of a chop. But I feel like he's representing a flush that he doesn't have.

 
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thereyougoagain
almost 2 years ago

the flop was checked around

 
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doodah
almost 2 years ago

I agree with trentbridge and uw_ima...the only thing I would add would be to emphasize the psychological angle--if he's acting strong he's probably weak. If you've been tight/weak-ish he wants to browbeat you into a fold. If he had the nuts he would bet something that would suck more money out of you and cut the drama.

Time to change your table image. I would go all-in.

 
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doodah
almost 2 years ago

Nice reference to Jurassic Park btw! Have a good Thanksgiving all!

 
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