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It Was a Crazy Game of Poker

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Feb 09, '13

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I arrived at my local card room expecting to play the usual loose-passive $1/$3/$6 game. Instead, there were two full tables of $5/$5 running with a substantial waiting list. I sat for over an hour in a $1/$3 game before a seat in the must-move game opened up. When I went over to claim it, there was the usual round of musical chairs as someone moved into the now-vacant seat for which I was headed, then someone else claimed his seat, etc. Just when things seemed to have settled down and I was about to sit, one of the regulars called out, “Ohh, wait, sorry, do you mind if I take that one? I want to be able to see the Heat game.” I obliged and bought in for $1000.

There were a lot of younger guys I didn’t recognize in the game, and while it was still decent, it was much more aggressive than usual. On my second hand at the table, I overcalled a raise with TT in the SB and flopped AQT. Everyone including the pre-flop raiser checked to an older, heavyset player I also did not recognize, who had me covered by a few hundred dollars. He potted it for 125, I called, and everyone else folded.

The turn was an offsuit 5, I checked and he quickly bet 350. I usually assume that players of his description are nitty when it comes to playing big pots, and that was bad for me. They also tend to overvalue/overprotect hands certain types of non-nut hands, though, and slowplay nutted hands in bad spots. I figured AA was very unlikely for him, and QQ and KJ could surely be in his range for seeing the flop though I wasn’t sure he would play them this way. Then there was AQ, perhaps the most likely candidate, and even AT/QT to consider, though I wasn’t sure which of those would call a raise. I shoved, he called with KJ, and I binked a 5 on the river.

A few hands later, I opened to 25 with AA in early position. I got one call, then one of the young guys three-bet to 125, then the guy who took my seat to watch the game cold 4-bet to 330 out of a stack of 1200. I figured the weakest thing I could do would be to make it 660, which could maybe give impression of leaving myself room to fold to a shove from the 3-better. The 3-better folded, but the 4-better guy shoved so fast I thought he probably had the other two Aces. He showed Ks, and in my first ten minutes at the table I was up more than 400 BBs.

The next few hours were a lot less eventful, and I lost one sizeable pot that was straddled three times, with the final $40 straddler waking up with KK, which was a lot better than my 54s. Eventually I was moved to the main game, where the Heat guy had already been seated. The game didn’t look nearly as good as the must-move, and I was getting tired anyway, so I decided just to play around to my blind and then call it a night.

On my second-to-last hand, the UTG player straddled to $10. I limped next to act with 88, there were a couple more limpers, Miami Heat completed from the BB, and the straddle raised $35 more. That’s unlikely to be a monster, and I should probably just 3-bet now. I wasn’t eager to play a big pot, though, and I also expect my implied odds with a set to be pretty good, so I just called.

Everyone else called back to Heat, who put $500 on top. The straddle tanked a bit before folding, and in that time I realized that I was going to have to shove. Nines or Tens weren’t completely out of the question for him, but his line really made no sense. Not that I was going to look terribly strong, but he might fold to a shove, and even if he didn’t we were probably flipping. I moved in for $1700 more on top of his $535, and he agonized for a bit before correctly deciding he was priced in.

The board ran out KQ7J5, and he showed J9s. I suppose losing a 1000 BB coin flip was an appropriate end to the night. I’m going to an independent regional professional wrestling match tonight, so that should make for an interesting night of a different sort…

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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
over 1 year ago

ha! great blog, sounds like a great game!..where or what state is it in? as for the hand, obviously you played it well, you shipped with fold equity against a range youre supposed to be ahead of..however i have 2 questions..1. i think limp backraising is usually a sign of a big hand..unless you have a player specific read on the situation why werent you concerned about running into aa,kk,qq, or ak? 2. if you think your opponents range is wide but hes got pot odds to call with the vast majority of his range, wouldnt a more optimal line for you be to flat the 500 in position and bet him off most flops when he most likely checks after he misses flop? in short, why not flat the 500 and bet when he checks..(remember, this line would only be optimal if you think hes a thinking enough player to call your shove due to pot odds and force you to showdown for stacks)..if he leads flop and theres no snowman on board you fold and lose 500 bux..what im saying is which line shows more ev? showing down 88 vs his wide range thats priced in or flatting 500 vs his wide range and betting any flop when checked to?

 
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Foucault82
over 1 year ago

1. It can be. In this case I also knew the player to be capable of raising without a big hand, it was obvious the straddle didn't have a great hand and everyone else looked weak as well (my own hand was in fact slightly underrepresented since I could and often would 3-bet it), and plotting a backraise from the BB is a lot less likely than from UTG since there was only one player left with the option to raise. I also didn't think he would make such a huge raise with a monster. BTW if he has AK folding my 88 would be a disaster. I don't have to rule out QQ+ entirely, just determine that his range is sufficiently wide to make up for the rare instances I run into a monster.

2. Just because he would be correct to call doesn't mean he would do it. If I can get him to make an incorrect fold preflop, that's great. Several people at the table were flabbergasted by the outcome and I'm sure would have folded J9s in his shoes.

You're right that if I knew he would check when he missed the flop and fold when he checked, calling would be better. In fact I could call with much weaker than 88, since I wouldn't be playing my own hand at all in that case.

I wasn't at all sure that was how it would play out. For instance had I called and then he bet this flop (KQ7) I would have folded the best hand. Although I have position, my hand is very tough to play unimproved postflop in a huge pot, which is an argument for getting it in pre. If I had something like 87s, there might be more of a case for calling and trying to play aggressively after the flop, though probably folding would be better.

 
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thereyougoagain
over 1 year ago

you make a good point, he's limp backraising with only one player left to act..that is WAY different than limp backraising utg with 9 players left to act(which is qq+ a ton of the time).. his limp with one player left to act, and then reraise looks like to me, is his awareness of the straddlers weak line, just trying to pick up the pot from all the limpers..therefore you can actually assume premium hands probably only make up 5% of his range, if that!...if he had premium cards he wouldve raised the limpers himself rather than rely on the last player to raise..itd be too risky to limp with big pairs there and have to play a multiway pot out of position..one last question though...when you shipped with all the variables we've mentioned, were you hoping for a call or a fold?

 
 

Foucault82
over 1 year ago

Your second post sums it up well. I was definitely hoping for a fold. Villain is getting roughly 2:1, so even though I expect to be slightly ahead of his range, I'm not so big of a favorite that I'm inviting action at that price. Most hands that will call me will have roughly 50% equity. The only hands I'd want a call from would be underpairs or something like A7s with only one live overcard.

 
 

trentbridge
over 1 year ago

Let me get this straight - by shoving you believed that the probability that he'd fold and you'd take down the pot then plus the probability that you'd win the coin-flip was greater than 100 percent so it was a positive outcome. Yet, you also state he was "priced in" to call you? If you're offering him the correct odds to call, then are you not wrong to do so? Do the chips added by the additional limpers make it logical for you both to act as you did?

 
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Foucault82
over 1 year ago

Yes, the fact that there's already money in the pot can make both of our play correct. To take an extreme example, there is $1000 in the pot, and you have $100 in your stack. The board reads QJ73. You have AA, your opponent has T9. You are correct to bet your last $100, and he is correct to call it.

 
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trentbridge
over 1 year ago

Thank you..

 
 
 
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