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What’s Your Play? Quads Full of Fours

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: Oct 25, '10

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Thanks to all the commenters who have contributed to some very good discussion this week. Let’s keep it going!

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $4.00 BB (9 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from PokerSavvyPlus.com

Button ($518.20)
SB ($490.30)
BB ($276.80)
Hero (UTG) ($773.50)
UTG 1 ($1109.10)
MP1 ($154.10)
MP2 ($1936.65)
MP3 ($943.80)
CO ($517)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with 8, 8
Hero calls $4, 4 folds, CO bets $22, 3 folds, Hero calls $18

Flop: ($50) 8, 4, 4 (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $28, Hero calls $28

Turn: ($106) 4 (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks

River: ($106) 8 (2 players)
Hero ??

Villain is a decent regular, a bit on the tight side but smart and capable. What do you do here and why?

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

Chris Stoltzfus
over 11 years ago

I lead out for about $59 and hope to get a call or raise with a 4 or 99-AA.

 
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LoProPoker
over 11 years ago

I think you must value bet like 55 or 60 here if has anything he might call if he has nothing he will fold or bluff here. I figure he might have jj or maybe like aq ak , if you check in this spot he might check behind and you get nothing more out of your hand.

 
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notCIA
over 11 years ago

I think this is largely dependent on what you think his image of you is.
You've called him twice at this point.
By your description of him, I think he is going to be happy to just show it down, so what you can bet depends on what he thinks your capable of doing.

 
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rjwjr
over 11 years ago

Your limp-call preflop makes him think you have a medium to small pair, possibly smaller than eights. However, your check-call on the flop may make him wonder if you are taking one off with two overs...likely not AK, AQ, AJs since you didn't raise preflop...and he may expect you to lead or check-raise this flop with any pair. Your check on the turn doesn't provide additional info as you may still have a smallish pair and be controlling pot size or you still have two overs. A bet from him on the turn would provide him additional info, but he checks. Your range from his perspective (in my opinion) 22-99, KQo, KJs, QJs.
His preflop raise may not narrow his range much due to his position, although you state that he is tight. His flop bet seems a little smallish if he has a made hand, especially with 2 spades on the board, unless he has AA, KK (likely with the spade) and is looking to induce a raise so he can shove (doesn't seem like a "tight, regular's" style so I'd lean toward putting him on AK, AQ, AJs, or a smallish pair.. His turn check seems to confirm the overcard theory of his range while eliminating the smallish pair end of the range, although he might check AA (possibly KK) here, hoping you hit one of your overs or make a flush. Your perspective of his range (in my opinion) AK, AQ, AJ, maybe AA.
Based on these perspectives and potential ranges, I'd suggest a smallish bet of about $37-$39 into the $106 pot to either get a crying call in hopes he's splitting, or to induce a bluff raise or shove, which would be lovely. Betting too much, like the $60+ of previous posters would, I worry, not only lessen the chance of a crying call, but all but eliminates the chance that he'll bluff raise with air.
Interested in your critique of this thinking.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

Actually this pretty much was my thinking, well said! I think it's very important to give him room both to bluff raise and to try to raise for value if he does happen to beat the board.

 
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dc_
over 11 years ago

I feel like its somewhat close between value betting and checking to induce a value bet with big pairs... leaning toward betting.

The limp call utg, if he hasn't seen you do that much, could be representing some very strong hands. The check call on the flop reinforces the idea that you could have an overpair or a boat, causing him to check behind the turn to keep the pot size under control with hands like TT-QQ, AK. I doubt he could put many 4's in your range utg here on the flop. So by the river he probably is putting you on a boat that beats the board. Whether or not you're the type that floats AK out of position on the flop here probably influences whether he thinks you can be bluffing on this river. In my opinion, no matter what you bet you're not going to look like your bluffing.

If he managed to check behind the turn with QQ-AA then you will likely get a lot of value from a bet, although thats the same part of his range he will bet himself if you check but will check almost anything else and likely won't bluff, so I suggest that the right play is to target that part of his range and bet it big. A half pot or smaller bet will get flatted by his strong hands but still fold much of the rest of his range and you won't maximize your earnings. A check doesn't guarantee he has anything to bet with and if he does bet smallish you may get him to fold when you raise. I think a very large bet gets his strong holdings to make a crying call for maximum value, and a very large bet is the only size that looks bluffy enough to get called by some slightly more marginal holdings like 99+ or to bluff catch, even if it won't happen often.

I'd put in a very large bet here, 80% - 125% of pot.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

I agree with most of what you're saying here, but I think it's important to note that you don't have to check to induce a bluff or a value bet. This is a spot where I will bluff very often (you pretty much always should when both players are likely to play the board), so there's no reason why he shouldn't have a wide raising range.

 
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WPS22
over 11 years ago

Id make somewhere near a pot sized bet to make it look like you are playing the board and stealing. He'd most likely call you with 9's or better and may even make a hero call playing the board thinking its a chop.

 
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Mad-Irish
over 11 years ago

I would bet about 3/4 of the pot, the sizing could be taken as a bluff without making the call too expensive to consider if their hand is not overpowering. As Villain is characterized as a tight player a check will too often result in a check behind as they will not have a very good idea on your range here and will want to play it safe. It does not look like a value bet at this size so if they have AA, KK, or a 4 a raise back is possible.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

There's no question of him folding anything that beats the board. It's a matter of how to win the most from those hands and also how to induce him to call for a chop. I think you're right that betting too big will stop him from calling to chop.

 
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trentbridge
over 11 years ago

Check! Reason? Because everyone posting here says you should bet upto a pot-sized bet. Why would the Villain come to any different conclusion from them? He's a smart poker player!

Yes, he could check behind but he'll convince himself that you'd bet if you had an eight.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

Meh, we are smarter. You have to be careful about falling into the trap of assuming that your opponent understands everything you do or can see through everything you are doing. If you are choosing games well, then you should mostly be able to predict what your opponents will think or do better than they can predict what you are trying to do.

You're right that he expects us to bet when we beat the board, but he also expects us to bet quite often when we don't beat the board.

 
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Guest
over 11 years ago

Check raise flop villian is over 100bbs deep so we need to get in multiple bets on at least one street. Flop check raise will look weak majority of range he will prolly put us on are combos draw or strong FD's. So I imagine he will peel given his overall equity vs that range isnt good and hope for a safe turn card. Turn I like leading for 2/3 pot. And river I shove.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

I like this play in a vacuum. The only thing is that I think it's a difficult line to balance. I am check-calling a lot of marginal to weak hands in this spot, so I like to play my stronger hands that way as well, at least against relatively good opponents.

 
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TheFly
over 11 years ago

Villain does not have a pocket pair, at least one that beats the FH on the board, he might have 55-66-77, but most likely two big overs and is playing the board. I think he would surely check behind a check as he would assume you would call a bet with any FH that beats the board and he probably wouldn't bluff to steal a possible chop, based on your description of him. Therefore, I think you have to make some kind of small value bet hoping to get called by someone that doesn't want to get bluffed off a chop.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

I don't think it's safe to assume that Villain can't have a big pair because he checked the turn. Good players will balance their play and have a mix of betting and checking with such hands.

 
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clunker
over 11 years ago

106 $ pot not much incentive to call any pot sized bet or larger to win 53$ in a chopped pot unless guy is really bad player. Unless he has a pair bigger then 4's still hard call.

 
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LoProPoker
over 11 years ago

Andrew would you tell us what happend in this hand and how you played it and what went through your mind I am very curious to nkow how you played it, thanks

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

I will, but this is generating a lot of good discussion, and I want to wait until everyone has had a chance to get their opinions out there before I reveal what happened.

 
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BigJoeJones
over 11 years ago

I put in a pot sized bet. You get value from the hands that think they are ahead and are considering calling for the chop. To me, a larger bet looks more like a bluff and he may repop you with some of these hands because your calling range here to a 3b has to be really narrow. So essentially by betting large on the river, you are representing a hand that is very hard to have. You might even widen his calling and bluffing ranges by taking this line here.

Check raising has to the weaker option here. We show more strength and may not be able to get the same calls we would get if we just lead the river instead of c/r. Unless we are fairly certain that our opponent is at the top of his range and/or will call us fairly wide, keeping him guessing and in a situation where is damned no matter what he does is what I'm doing here.

 
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showtime629
over 11 years ago

Looks to be roughly $110 in the pot...What hands do you expect to get value from given the way the hand went down?

I think it comes down to whether or not your opponent is capable of firing a river bluff, or what hands he will expect to get value from in return.

I believe you can make the case for overbetting, value betting, as well as checking the river, hoping to induce a valuebet/bluff from his perceived range.

The only downside to checking the river, is that his stack is 517 to start the hand, so the question is will he be happy with AQ-AJ type hands where he thinks he has showdown value.

 
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cutsr
over 11 years ago

Overbet the pot for like $200. He is folding almost any Ace high hand no matter what you bet. He is forced to call almost any over pair and any four (but he doesn't have a 4). Often times an overbet looks weaker then a value bet of $60ish.

 
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uw_ima_legend
over 11 years ago

This was my thought process as well.

Opponent has somewhere around $450+ as we head to the river.

The problem I have with any value bet is that it screams "please call me please call me please call me." So let's say that you bet $50 on the river (about a 1/2 size pot bet), what hands can he call with there? The problem is here is that the size of a 1/2 pot bet just puts up the warning signs and makes me think that you'll never catch him trying to either make a bluff or raise for value.

His pre-flop play, combined with your description of him as a player, suggests that he's holding a strong starting hand. Very logical holdings here would be AK, maybe AQ, and many paired hands. The action on the flop to me really doesn't tell much. It could be a standard continuation raise or it could be a situation where he's got a decent pocket pair and is trying to build the pot. Given hero's action pre-flop and on the flop (combined with what would either be a harmless board for the opponent or a disaster board), the following streets tell the story. The turn check/check to me could be a sign of pot size control. Your check would seem to indicate to me that you have a medium pocket pair that you think may be good against a hand like AK but you don't want to go crazy stacking off your chips against a superior pocket pair. His check would either indicate to me a sign of a white flag or an indication that he feels very safe with his hand with the turn card and wants to give you a chance to throw out a bluff on the river.

The river is obviously gin for hero. The key at this point isn't getting some of the opponent's stack. The concern is getting all of his stack. As I mentioned earlier, the value bet screams of a warning sign. If the opponent does have a decent overpair to the board, a re-raise in that spot would have to be folded if hero came back over the top (which hero would). Such a play would give the opponent an out to fold and while you'd get some of his stack, you wouldn't get all of his stack.

So, given the opponent's chip stack and the size of the pot, I'd start with the above logic and think about if I bet 1/2 the pot (say $50), the best I could hope for would be for the opponent to re-raise to somewhere in the $150-$200 to go range. At that point, when hero shoves his stack the hand is over. If instead, hero leads out for an overbet of say $150, this has more of a likelihood of being seen as a bluff by the opponent and trying to take down a board where a chop is very possible. While I don't think that the likelihood of this $150 bet being called is very high, what I do think is possible is that the opponent shoves $450 in that spot. By doing so, the opponent basically requires hero to have an 8 (or in this case 2 8's), a 4, or maybe something like KK or AA (but that would seem unlikely since there was a flat call 2x pre-flop). Anything less and I'd think that a call of the shove by hero would be highly suspect.

The question to ask here is whether or not such a line of play would result in the opponent shoving his stack 1 out of 9 times or better. If so, then the overbet and crossing the fingers for a shove is the way to go.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

I don't follow your logic for why Villain would be more likely to raise a large bet than a small one.

 
 

uw_ima_legend
over 11 years ago

As I mentioned, my logic is based on trying to figure out how to get the entire stack - and in some regard I may have muddied my intentions with how I described my thought process.

I'm not sure that I'd disagree with you in saying that villain would be more likely to raise a small bet than a larger one. But I guess my question is that if I put a 1/2 pot bet in, I'd expect the raise from villain to be in the $175 to $200 range. I doubt that villain shoves. If that's the case, I expect villain to fold hero's 3-bet shove.

That makes me think that the odds of my 1/2 pot bet being called = decent, the raise to $175-$200 = some smaller percentage, calling my 3-bet shove = only if villain has a 4 or maybe AA, KK. I'm not sure that I'm smart enough to put odds on what the EV of that play is.

On the other hand, if I lead out to the $175-$200 range, while I don't think I'm going to get called too often, what I'm hoping is that enough of a percentage of the time I can get the villain to put me on a bluff (in this case trying to steal a chopped pot) and have villain represent something that is better than playing the board. With that bet range, the only possible raise for the villain in all honesty is a shove. While I'd agree that the fold is more likely in this case than a smaller bet, and I'd agree with the call of my bet less likely than the call of 1/2 pot bet (and most likely less than the raise of the 1/2 bet above to $175), can I get the villain to shove enough times to my overbet to make the EV of this play greater than what my expectations are for the 1/2 pot bet?

 
 

oldmanriver
over 11 years ago

check raise small on river

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

why small?

 
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JohnnyOnTheSpot
over 11 years ago

I'm just glad no one has commented with, "Dude, this hand is such a stupid hand to discuss. Whoo, let's talk about how to play the nuts! So dumb. You can't lose, what's to talk about?"

I say that because people have commented on this sort of hand before in that way. It's as if people don't understand that poker is fundamentally about only two things: 1) Minimizing losses and 2) Maximizing profits. That's ALL. How to play the nuts falls nicely into No. 2.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

Well said.

 
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showtime629
over 11 years ago

After thinking about it a bit more, I like a check-shove on the river...If we are going to be happy value betting small on the river, than balancing your range with a check-shove with the nuts is a +EV move, correct?

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

What do you mean by "balancing your range"?

 
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notCIA
over 11 years ago

You can't check on the river.
This is a smart, tight regular. He is going to check behind at least 80% of the time.

 
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Foucault82
over 11 years ago

Actually I think he's going to bet almost 100% of the time. My concern is that even with huge hands he may not pay off a check-raise.

 
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