This is part 2, the conclusion to https://www.pokerschoolonline.com/blogs/TheLangolier/the-overpair-s-dilemma-part-1 .  If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, I encourage you to click the link right now and do so before continuing with this second part.

There were some really great answers in the comments section.  There were a couple of points I was going for and those were hit on. 

First of all let me clarify something.    Some of the comments referred to the villain as a limper… the villain didn’t limp in, he was the small blind.  There were 2 limpers, I raised to $12, the SB and one of the limpers called the raise.  I think this distinction may affect some of the ranges people are ascribing to the SB but they are probably not that far off.

Sarphinius wanted to address the flop, suggesting that we can’t call the flop check/raise only to fold on the turn for an $86 shove.   I’m not sure I agree with that notion.   The flop check/raise is $26 to call into a pot of $110 and we have position on the turn.  I think this call is somewhat mandatory unless we have reads that the small blind is very nitty and only check/raises with monsters.  I have seen average players make this c/r with a wide array of hands at times, strong hands like sets, draws, top/top, etc… but will slow down when they get called and they hold a weaker hand with showdown value.  So I do think we can call this and still fold to a turn shove depending on how we range our opponent.

Now let’s talk about our range for a minute.   As we’ve raised preflop over 2 limpers, we will have a lot of overcard combos and medium to high pocket pairs on this flop texture.  I think it’s reasonable for us to have a set of 8’s or 9’s on this flop (we probably shouldn’t be raising it up with 33 preflop).  And all the overpairs.  We may have the occasional draw ourselves with JTs (again this may be a questionable raise over limpers as they will call preflop with a lot of hands that have us dominated).  On the flop we are not likely to continue in this manner with just overcards like AK.  For starters, c-betting ace high in a 3 way pot is questionable, especially a hand like AK which has some showdown value.   Second, if we did choose to c-bet we would be prudent to fold AK to the check-raise.  Even getting the price we are to peel the turn… there are just so many better hands in our range to continue with (like sets and overpairs) that ace high can be let go without much hesitation.   But personally as far as c-betting overcards we are probably better served doing it with some hands like KJ combos which we can fold to a check raise and has poor showdown value on it’s own. 

So, when we get to the turn in this manner, we are largely going to have sets and overpairs.   Clearly we are never folding a set to the shove.  And that leaves us with the dilemma of what to do with our overpairs. 

One of the things I was going for here was the thought that the extreme ends are mostly not good.  If we always call off with all our overpairs, then we are going to be calling this shove with almost 100% of our turn range and we will be paying off his big hands way too much.   And the times it “works out”, when he has a draw, he still has reasonable equity to river us anyway.  But when we are behind, it is always a low equity situation for us with 1 card to come… not good.   And the converse is true as well.  If we simply fold all our overpairs, then we are giving up with way too high a frequency.   There are 3 combos of 88 and 99 each that we can hold, and 30 combos of overpairs (6 each of TT-AA).  If we fold 30/36 times or 83% of the time, savvy players can exploit us just by taking this strength line and watching us yield pots to them over and over again.  Even average or weak players may get the better of us now, as we will just be folding too often and players may get a sense of “all I have to do is bet big and they won’t call me”.    So I think it’s important not only for balance, but to not be too easy to beat, that we call with some overpairs and fold others. 

That leads to the next part, which ones to fold and which ones to call.   The concept of blockers is very important when deciding how to divide up our range between calling and folding, it was nice to see a number of replies to part 1 mention this.  I think JJ and TT make the absolute worst calls.  Not only do they lose to a preflop slow played AA/KK (which isn’t probable but certainly not impossible), but they also block the primary draw in the opponent’s range, JT.   There are 16 combos of JT, 4 suited and 12 unsuited.   If we hold JJ or TT, that cuts the number of draw combos in villain’s range in half, to 8, greatly increasing the chances he’s got a made hand.   Remember when we call with an overpair here we want the opponent to be on a draw, as we are crushed by his strong hands.   One of the best overpairs for us to call with may be QQ, for a similar reason… it blocks 2 of the outs JT needs to catch to win the hand.  If I were going to fold 40% of my overpairs to this shove, JJ and TT are the easy and obvious choices.  If I were going to fold 60% of them, I would prefer to fold TT/JJ/KK, and call with QQ and AA.  Does that make sense?

These are the kinds of things I think are good to be thinking about during our decision points for big bets in hands.  Now I hope it is common sense that if we have specific reads that seem easy to exploit by adjusting, we go ahead and do that to maximize the value of our situation.   To give a couple extreme examples, if the small blind were a tight, conservative nit, I actually would fold all my overpairs directly to the check-raise on the flop probably, and certainly to the turn shove.   Nits don’t make check/raises in multi way pots with draws, and are unlikely even to be playing QQ or KK this strong.   Conversely, if the villain were a maniac who was playing crazy fast and loose, you would have to pry those overpairs from my cold dead hands to get them in the muck.  Sure they’ll have a set some times, they’re entitled to them as often as everyone else.   But they’ll have so many nonsense hands like J4s or A3o that they’re just losing their minds with, always getting in the overpairs is going to be quite profitable in the long run.

In the actual hand, I felt like my opponents range was rather polarized to the all the sets and 98s, or draws.  After taking not enough time to think it through, I made the call with JJ.   In retrospect, I think QQ would have been  a significantly better call, even though in relative hand strength they are basically the same (and the end result the same).  I would be happy with calling QQ and AA and maybe some combos of KK here, and folding all of my TT/JJ holdings.  The river fell an uneventful card that did not change the ownership of the pot, and all the money went to the villain’s set of 8’s.  I hope this 2 part blog series helps stir your food for thought, so maybe next time we both can get away from our jacks in this spot, knowing that we are not allowing ourselves to be run over, but rather we simply have enough better hands to call with.  Although the overpairs in this situation are all somewhat the same in terms of relative strength, they are certainly not all created equally when the rest is factored in.

Thanks for all the comments and participation in part 1… I welcome further comments below.