Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Poker Quiz, II

Here's what I did on the hands mentioned earlier.

1. My read on the player was that he was tight, even nitty.  He wasn't a young stud; he didn't seem capable of making boldly creative plays.  Going on that, I put him on either QQ, JJ, 10/10, AQ, or AK.  Those are the hands that someone who plays his style would have opening UTG.  I don't think he had AA or KK because, given his style, he would have reraised my button raise pre-flop.  I also don't think he had a smaller pair because, given his style he wouldn't have raised UTG, he would have limped.

What that meant was that after the flop (10 J Q) I was almost certainly behind.  The only hand in his range that I beat was AQ.  For everything else, he had either flopped a set or made the nuts.  Again, given his style, I thought his opening check suggested a strong hand.  Most average touristy-type players will generally check huge hands on the flop, hoping to check-raise.  (This, by the way, is one reason I generally advocate leading out with a big hand.  Paradoxically, it often disguises the strength of your hand).  I felt, given my read, that my check was the right play.  If he had any of the hands I put him on, a bet would only amp a pot he was winning.  And if he had a set, I might unwittingly force myself to fold.  Since I had an up and down straight draw, seeing a free card could only help.  Right?

Yes and no.  The problem with the 9 (the turn card) was that it might have made me the second-best hand.  I'm beating a set, of course, but I'm still losing to AK.  And the more I studied this dude the more I believed he had AK.  Then, he lead out--for 200$.  Again, what hand could he do this with?  An eight?  Well, maybe--but I didn't think he'd called my preflop raise with 88, much less opened with it.  A set?  Again, possible, but I thought he would check a set or two pair, hoping to improve to a full house, or at least see a cheap river.  The fact that the 9 gave the board two spades lead me to believe he was betting to protect a flush draw.

I could have called here, of course.  But 200$ was almost half of my stack, and I didn't see the point of a call.  What was I going to do if I called and he shoved the river?  What was I going to do if the board paired?  The turn is often the point where you commit yourself (or not) to getting all your chips in.   That's why I try not to call large bets there.  Here it seemed like, if I called, I would be committing myself to getting all my chips in.  And, as I said, my read was that he had AK.  It hurts, but sometimes you have to fold the second-nuts.  Which is what I did (after a lot of agonizing).

2) My read here was that the player on the button was tight, and when he reraised I was worried.  He had called me preflop on the button--not raised.  To me that meant he couldn't have KK.  QQ was possible, but wouldn't he just call my flop bet with QQ, worried that I might have him beat?  (I had played very tight to that point, and I had, after all raised from very early position).  The raise worried me.  Again, I don't see the point of me calling here.  Either I'm way ahead, or way behind.  There are no draws to speak of; if he has QQ he's probably going to call a shove here (assuming he thinks it's good enough to raise with).  If he has a set, he's going to bet the next two streets, and, again, I'm going to get further and further into a pot.  To my sometimes detriment, I try to play raise and fold poker much as possible.  Calling is always my least favorite option.  So, convinced that the player had a set of 4s or 10s, I folded.  Because good players make good laydowns... Right?


The first player did indeed have AK.  Everyone was impressed by my fold (I had showed my neighbor my kings).  I was elated: I felt like I had just saved myself 500$.  Because in poker, it's not that hands you win, it's the hands you don't lose....  (Postscript: the same player got all his money in against me an hour later with two pair to my nut flush, and drew out on me on the river to win a 500$ pot.  Oh well).

The second player had KK.  He had decided to trap me before the flop by merely calling raise, figuring I had QQ or JJ and would go broke on a board of low cards.  A situation where his unorthodox play totally fooled me, though not in the way he intended.  I just did not put him on KK--I assumed he would reraise that hand preflop with two players in the pot already (and one a maniac).  Had I gone all-in, he would have called in a heartbeat and I would have won (assuming it held up) a big, big pot.

The problem with having 1000$ behind you.  You have to be willing to make big laydowns, and sometimes they are bad ones.

So, one good laydown and one bad one.  Oh well.

1 comment:

JMW said...

I don't feel quite as stupid as I thought I would, though where I was right -- on the first hand -- I think I was right for the wrong reasons. In any case, your thinking about poker is on a level eight or nine floors higher than mine.