Sunday, May 29, 2011

The HU Challenge continues: 3 more hands to discuss


  1. I don't like my river bluff in Hand #2, and not just because it didn't work. I think the flop check-raise is good. With a weak one pair and a backdoor flush draw, I'm playing my hand as a semi-bluff. The turn is a great card for me. All of a sudden, I figure to have a ton of outs. And I definitely have at least the outs to the nut flush. I felt like bet sizing was a little awkward on the turn. I went with half pot, and that made my river shove a little smaller than I would like. But actually, I don't think I should be shoving blank rivers as a bluff in this hand, so maybe turn sizing doesn't matter too much. When I have so many outs going to the river, and it looks like Edgar has the kind of hand that he did, I can just shove the river when I catch one of my outs and give up when I don't. That would be very +EV. I really don't need to bluff when I miss here.

    Maybe once in awhile Edgar has KT, but then my pair of 6's is the best hand. Bad bluff.

    I considered checking the turn just because if I bet the turn and he shoves on me, it sucks. But I went with kind of a blocker bet instead. I think that's fine. But again, I can just give up when I miss here. My outs are pretty concealed. If a 6, A, or diamond comes on the river, can he really give me credit for it? I think I'd get paid off most of the time.

  2. In Hand #3, I missed value on the turn. The flop call is mandatory. Raising would be bad. If Edgar has an overpair, he'll continue to bet on the turn, and I'm very comfortable letting him do that. This is a good time to slowplay in position. However, when he checks the turn, I think I do need to bet. My thinking at the time was that my hand was a lock and he would likely fold to a significant bet, so I'd give him a chance to catch something or at least make it look suspicious when I bet the river. That sounds like it makes sense. But what kinds of hands does Edgar check that turn with? Exactly the kind he had: Big overcards, often with an A. In that case, if I bet the turn, Edgar has to think that he probably has a lot of outs. With his actual hand, I'm sure he would have figured that any A, Q, or 4 was probably an out, so he wouldn't have been inclined to fold at that point. That means that the turn was a great opportunity for value. When the river comes, and it's a blank, Edgar now only has A high. He still might have called. He timed down in this hand, if I remember correctly. But the turn was the better opportunity for value. I screwed this hand up by getting too tricky.

  3. I thought Hand #1 was no big deal because I figured that Edgar didn't have much. In fact, even when I saw the replay, I didn't recognize that he actually folded a straight. Apparently, my bluff was good.

    It's a pretty standard spot to go for an overbet bluff. I would overbet for value there also. It's such a coordinated board. Unless Edgar has a 9 or better, it's tough for him to call.

  4. The fold in hand 1 is a pretty ugly spot I get myself into. The button raise w Q4 suited is pretty standard but when he flats I have to think of a range he might be doing that with as Ian is NOT going to play out of position with complete garbage. The board comes with two diamonds, the ten and all kinds of possible draws, so I don’t thinks is a good board for me to cbet as I could be facing a check-raise quite easily and my hand has no equity whatsoever at this point.

    The eight completes some draws and Ian takes a shot at the pot, which I could expect quite often when he hits any piece of the board or as a bluff to take the pot down given that I checked the flop. I still have position and can see what he does on the river and my call on the turn has to make him wonder a bit.

    If he was just taking a shot at the pot on the turn, there isn’t too much he can bet on the river (I thought) given that the pot is not that big, so a lot of my marginal hands with showdown value will call him thru so he has to choose his action carefully on the river. To my surprise he goes for an over-bet, which was weird because he hardly ever does that, so his range becomes very marginalized and now, even though I made a silly straight there is no way I can feel comfortable making that call when there is all kinds of nines in his range and the possibility of a flush that wants to get paid handsomely sending any pot control I might have exercised on the flop out the window.

    My reverse implied odds all of a sudden are very attractive and I let go of a hand that cost me $16 instead of a potential loss of $80.
    Nice bluff.

  5. Hand number 2 turned rather nicely for me for obvious reasons, but I will give a lot of credit to Ian for being creative on how he played it. The thing about it is that I felt he was more likely to do that check-raise with a J then with the Q figuring I would give up missed flops that I am cbetting out of principle and representing that the board could have hit him. Of course he could do that same check-raise with a queen, but I can also see him betting into me with a Q to avoid a possible check-check to an uncomfortable turn.

    I did however felt I was ahead the whole time as better queens than mine (KQ or AQ) would have 3bet pre most likely and he wouldn’t want me to throw away weak hands with such an aggressive move if he had a set. If I re-raise him on the flop he can throw away his bluffs and I wanted him to continue with his story. I will say that with such a weak hand as top pair mediocre kicker it was a bit of a risk to play that the hand the way I did but once I pay the turn I am not going anywhere.

    When the turn comes another diamond but it’s a low card, I figured it more for a blank than something that improves his hand. The river doesn’t really complete anything and whatever he checked-raised me on the flop with didn’t really improved by the river so snap call the shove on the river is automatic.

  6. The only thing I like about hand #3 is that I don’t fall in love with my cards… kind of. When Ian calls the 3bet pre-flop his range can be narrowed to about top 10%-15% which will include many hands I have dominated, like high kings or high aces other than AK, which would likely 4bet pre anyway AND medium/small pocket pairs. The board comes low which can be a good and a bad thing for my holding because if he is holding AJ, A10, KQ and maybe KJ he will have a hard time calling a continuation bet since I will be likely and some of his outs may be tainted.

    Also, If I have a large pocket pair, he has position on me and although is a bit less likely he will float me with air, he can still see what I do on the turn. Chances are that with a big pair I will fire another barrel on the turn.
    I think that when he also calls my cbet on the flop his range will now consist almost exclusively pocket pairs that are not going anywhere at this point with such a low board that doesn’t really help my hand most of the time, but by calling the 3bet pre and the continuation bet I have no reason to believe he will fold if I bet into him again when the turn doesn’t change any holding I may have which was good enough for him to call two fairly large bets. I decide I am not going to get him to fold with that turn, and at this point my hand is essentially a bluff.

    He gets tricky by checking behind the turn and with the 9 being such a brick for everybody most of the time I still feel that I won’t get him to fold his pair and my hand is now essentially a bluff catcher. He goes for a pot sized bet which pretty much gives me a 2-1 on a call, which is pretty lame odds on this pot as he needs to be bluffing a pretty large amount of the time in that spot for the call to be profitable and I really didn’t think he would be doing this with air on this spot as often so I make a fold which should have been easier to do than I made it look like.

  7. The review and discussion you've got going here, Edgar, is awesome. Nice work!