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What’s Your Play? Street-by-Street in the SCOOP: Pre-Flop

by Andrew Brokos |  Published: May 14, '12

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After the popularity of the What’s Your Play? Street-by-Street in the WSOP Main Event edition, I’ve been on the look-out for another hand to present in the same way. In one of the first SCOOP events last Sunday, the $2100 SCOOP-2-H, I believe I found a good one.

I’m the Hero. Villain is a regular in the mid- to high-stakes 6-handed NLHE games on PokerStars. We’ve played together a fair bit, though I couldn’t tell you what he thinks of me. He’s active in those games, playing something like 25/22 with a 70% Fold to 3-Bet and 20% 4-Bet. Of course it’s open to interpretation how that would translate to the early stages of a 9-handed tournament. Overall he’s a smart player and good hand reader and almost certainly a winner in those rather tough games.

It’s still very early in the tournament, and neither of us has done anything too significant. The table isn’t soft, but it’s probably par for the course in an online $2K.

PokerStars – $2000+$100|30/60 NL – Holdem – 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4: http://www.pokertracker.com

BB: 9,290.00
UTG: 9,903.00
UTG+1: 11,228.00
Hero (UTG+2): 10,517.00
MP: 7,131.00
MP+1: 11,411.00
CO: 14,790.00
BTN: 6,490.00
SB: 9,240.00

SB posts SB 30.00, BB posts BB 60.00

Pre Flop: (pot: 90.00) Hero has Qh Qs

UTG raises to 120.00, fold, Hero ?

What’s your play and why? I’m going to accelerate the timeline on this a bit so that it doesn’t take a month to get through it. So post your thoughts, comments, and questions here, and I’ll plan to post my own thoughts along with the full pre-flop action on Thursday.

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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

Virginia Bob
over 9 years ago

It is way early in the tournament to go broke pre flop with a pair of queens. In this stage you still have 150+ big blinds. Because it is still early in the tournament the range the UTG raiser (since u know he is a good player) can be much wider than an utg raiser later in the tournament. I put his range as AK, pairs 10 or higher, and some suited connecter 9-10, 8-9, 7-8. I do not put him aon Ace quen or below beceause he is a god play and and should know better tnan to play those hands from UTG. I would make a reraise of at least 3x his raise (360) this is not a very large % of you stack. If he puts in another raise it defines his hand down to AK or a big pocket pair. I would then just flat his re-raise (although a fold is not a bad play either). If an ace or King comes on the flop you can easily get away from your hand when he c bets. I f he flat calls your raise it also defines his hand and just makes his range basically the range i described earlier. Depending on the texture of the flop will determine how

 
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popskull
over 9 years ago

First, I'm unsure of whether we're supposed to assume UTG is the Villain you have described. Clearly with 7 to act behind us someone else could get involved. If he is the villain, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that his deep-stacked style in an MTT would be very different from his cash game style, adjusted for the larger table size. Under that assumption, there's a good chance he'll fold to a 3-bet. That's not a great outcome here because that win will quickly become meaningless as blinds rise and it should lose you at least a small amount of fold equity for later 3-bets when you might want it. Finally, if he doesn't fold, he's likely 4-betting, and probably only with hands that you don't want to put so much into the pot pre-flop against.

If you flat-call, you're gambling a bit, because you don't get any more information on his range and you invite others into the hand with you, and QQ is not something you want to play multi-way. But if you get a favorable flop, especially if you hit your set, you have the potential to take down a monster for a small cost.

Folding is not an option, I think that's obvious.

So, of those choices, I think you should flat-call and gamble and be willing to toss it post-flop if you end up multi-way and the flop is bad. The real question is how to handle a 3-bet after you, and that would depend a lot on the person's position and what UTG does in response, late position 3-bet and a fold from UTG being the weakest, next to act and a UTG call/4-bet being a probable insta-fold.

If you weren't so strong a player yourself, the safe option would probably be best, which is 3-betting and highly likely taking it down pre-flop.

 
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Foucault82
over 9 years ago

Fair enough. UTG is indeed the Villain. Thanks for the clarification, and for a nice post.

 
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popskull
over 9 years ago

Bored and re-reading my post, I realized my language was a bit convoluted. Triple negative level, lol, and I'm not sure it's accurate even if read correctly.

To be clear, I'm assuming here that he plays deep stacked in an MTT similar enough to how he plays in cash games to make that previous experience relevant, though adjusted a bit for a larger table size.

It strikes me now on second thought that I'm not quite sure what that adjustment means. Does he A)Raise a tighter range and therefore fold to 3-bets LESS? or B)Raise a tighter range AND fold to 3-bets equally or more? I could argue for him making either adjustment, though I think A is a better player, B being a bit too nitty. I'm not sure it changes my final analysis too heavily, though, because the fact that he'll call with a stronger range isn't a good reason to raise, if anything it's another reason not to. It might, however, affect choices on future streets.

 
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Alex4
over 9 years ago

I guess you reraise for information here and see what he does to manage the pot. Probably go to about 360 and call a raise that's reasonable. If he calls, you have pot control; he folds, its and easy hand, and if he raises, reassess depending on raise size? If UTG really overbets a 4-bet here, I'm probably calling based on your description of Villain stats and calling a shove, although that sounds really unlikely in this spot.

 
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trentbridge
over 9 years ago

Everyone is suggesting a raise to 360 but, with seven to act after you, that's almost guaranteed to bring in other players, with pairs, suited connectors etc. You may be able to handle the villain after the flop but what if you get one or two callers in late position? I'm inclined to suggest a raise to 600. Make sure the only action is between you and villain. You don't want a multi-way pot - even if villain doesn't have an ace or king, your raise to 360 might allow the players calling behind you - to take down the pot should an ace or king come on the flop.

 
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Foucault82
over 9 years ago

FWIW I wouldn't expect to see people cold-calling 6 BBs very often at all, especially not with an UTG raiser left to act. I think 360 is sufficient to drive out suited connectors and small pairs.

 
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WPS22
over 9 years ago

You can make a standard sized 3 bet, hoping to get HU w/ UTG, with the likely intention of folding to a 4 bet (cold or from UTG). Either way it would be too strong to get it in that deep. 3 betting w/ the intention of folding to a 4 doesn't sound great here, but you want to try to get HU and be in position post flop.

You can also call with the intention of coming over the top of a late position squeeze. If no one squeezes, you play a small multi way pot post flop which isn't terrible. If there is a squeeze and UTG re pops, you'll probably have to fold but you haven't put much in. Weird spot would be if there is a squeeze and UTG just flats, have no idea what to do there.

I think I'd go for the call. I think if you call there are spots where someone will squeeze, then get it in w/ you somewhat wide. Where as if you 3 bet, a 4 bet from anywhere is likely to be on a very tight range. The only real downside to calling is the possibility of playing a multi way pot OOP on the flop, and that can easily happen if you 3 bet anyway.

 
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answer20
over 9 years ago

You certainly need to give him some credit knowing he is an experienced player. So his hand has to be somewhat legit as it really is of no use to steal here. QQ is a premium hand and is worth investing a portion of your stack with ... win or lose ... to see how a person is playing their hands at this stage of the tournament.

The decision is how you want to play the rest of the hand. Do you have the discipline to lay this hand down if you limp and a wet coordinated board hits in a 4/5-way pot. If you do, then a slow play can be an option here ... leave your ego at Flop!!

A raise here can possibly get you position for the rest of the hand heads up ... but there are a lot more boards that could hit what his calling range could be than what connect with Hero's QQ. Has a call of your raise really defined his hand? It could just means he's ready to play a hand. This could get checked all the way down regardless of the board and it's QQ v 1010.

You have to pick spots where you start to assert yourself with the table and lay ground work for later in the tournament. QQ is certainly a hand to 'play' with and could get you lots of credit if you choose to show when/if you fold for some reason. Raise to 400 and see if you get one of those 70% folds, no shame with little gain there. If not, play with as much caution as the board dictates as I think both players here know that a 1K pot right now is just fine and things shouldn't get crazy post-Flop unless the board is 'coolerized'.

If you get 4-bet, then you are still at a stack size where you could 5-bet or fold. Don't think we really want to set mine heads-up by calling a 4-bet. It's early, have some fun, lay some ground work for the future ... or just try to lay in the weeds in a multi-way pot.

 
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notCIA
over 9 years ago

I don't like that the villain, a quality player, min-raised UTG. Folding, at this point, is out of the question. Calling invites everyone into the hand, a horrible result for hero's hand. I'd like to do something just a little odd in reraising just over a min-raise, say to 270. I think that's big enough to keep the players behind me out unless they have a bigger hand than I do, but small enough to cause our villain some uncertainty and confusion unless he woke up with pocket aces. Ideally, hero ends up with position and villain thinks better of a 4 bet and just calls. If I do get 4 bet, I guess I have to ask myself if I feel lucky today.

 
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L2K4FC
over 9 years ago

His bet sizing for that position seems to be asking for a re-raise. Therefore call. If someone else re-raises and he re-raises them then you've paid the min to find out with high confidence where you are and can let it go. If you get to the flop then you are playing pot control unless you flop the set. But if you do, there is a high probability that he won't pay you off anyway unless he isn't as good a hand reader as you thought. Maybe you calling instead of re-raising disguises your range a bit too so when the board comes K Q 7 he has you on 6/7, 7/8 etc and you get a nice pot off his AK, though my gut says he probably has a better hand than AK.

 
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