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Cash Game: Passive Line w/ Top Pair

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  • Cash Game: Passive Line w/ Top Pair

    I'd really appreciate some cash game expert advice on this one. Thanks for everyone who reads and comments.

    In the hand immediately before this one, the cutoff had gone all-in with pocket queens against my pocket pair of kings, and rivered a queen to double up their stack. I was pretty calm, especially since my starting stack was $4, but that hand made me wary to losing more chips. They seemed to be a pretty solid player, too, which also coloured my view of the situation.

    In this hand, I took an unusual line preflop and underrepresented my hand. Up until this point I had been pretty straightforward, betting out when I had a hand and folding when I didn't. Here, I definitely had a hand, and it occurred to me to stomp on the cutoff limp, but I took an alternate approach and just limped as well.

    When the flop came, I assumed right away that I had the best hand with TPTK, and I interpreted the villain's minimum bet as a blocking bet, so I raised just enough to price them out of a draw. When I was reraised, I rethought the scenario. Since I have seen a lot of solid players limp with weak pocket pairs preflop when I generally raise them (it's actually pretty obvious sometimes when these Silver Star players do it, limping UTG), I guessed that the villain might have a set. It made perfect sense, but I continued calling just in case it was a weaker top pair, or some other weird hand. Was that a mistake, and should I have identified my hand as a losing one on the flop? I'd like to hear what you guys would have done here.

    PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.10 BB (8 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from

    CO ($7.70)
    Panicky (Button) ($8.12)
    SB ($10.31)
    BB ($10.15)
    UTG ($9.15)
    UTG+1 ($10)
    MP1 ($6.61)
    MP2 ($8.70)

    Preflop: Panicky is Button with J, A
    4 folds, CO calls $0.10, Panicky calls $0.10, 1 fold, BB checks

    Flop: ($0.35) J, 2, 4 (3 players)
    BB checks, CO bets $0.10, Panicky raises to $0.35, 1 fold, CO raises to $0.90, Panicky calls $0.55

    Turn: ($2.15) 8 (2 players)
    CO bets $1.80, Panicky calls $1.80

    River: ($5.75) A (2 players)
    CO bets $2.20, Panicky calls $2.20

    Total pot: $10.15 | Rake: $0.49

  • #2
    A few comments.

    First, your read that villain is solid is probably off. I say that because he open limped in the cut off. This is usually a reliable indicator of fish. Most solid players opening the pot from the CO are raising it.

    2nd, examine your reason for raising the flop. The raise is for value, not to "price him out". If he happens to have a flush draw, you get value from it by raising. And the raise does not price him out anyway. he's got to call .25c more into a pot of .75c, so he's getting 3-1 express odds. A flush draw is about 4-1 against completing on the turn, so if he calls he only needs to extract an additional .25c from you on the turn or river when he gets there to make the call profitable. His implied odds vs. a player who's raised the pot playing $7.70 effective stacks, is well over .25c.

    Now all that being said, let's range him when he 3 bets the flop. Sets are certainly in his range, so 22 or 44, JJ is possible but less likely since we hold a J and he probably raises pre at least some of the time with JJ. Would he 3b with big jacks? AJ? KJ? What about QJ? Some will some won't. If he's fishy he might put YOU on the flush draw and be 3 betting QJ thinking he's got the best hand. There's also the chance he limped a premium pair to get cute and is playing it aggressively now to "protect his hand". And finally, can he actually have the flush draw? Would he play it aggressively? The betting looks off for a flush draw. Like if he had AdTd, many players semi-bluffing would bet less on the turn, he bets almost the size of the pot. And when they hit the ace they migth bet more, now he bets less than half the pot?

    The river bet is peculiar, his betting is very strong on the flop and turn, now on the river he can only squeek out slightly more than 1/3rd of the pot? Two possibilities. 1) He's afraid the ace will scare you away from paying a bigger bet. 2) The ace scares him (again, putting you on the nut flush draw that would be a scary card to him).

    So we have to figure out or make our best guess about what his range is, and act accordingly. If we think he takes this line with KJ and/or QJ, then we should definitely call this river. If on the other hand he's a chronically passive player, the flop and turn lines looks super strong from a very passive player and I'd probably fold right on the turn tbh. Already know he's not chronically passive though, seeing as the last hand you said he shoved on you with QQ.

    Given how you phrased the question, I assume he flopped a set. Your question "should I have identified my hand as a losing hand on the flop", the answer is NO, you do not identify your hand as a winning hand or a losing hand, that's impossible. You identify what the villains range of hands is, assess how your hand plays vs that range, and act accordingly.

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    • #3
      The reason the micro-stakes are so profitable is because of the calls.

      There is so much "fat value" that you just need to ignore the possibility of sets when you river top two pair with no draws and get it in.

      So many other hands are going to pay you off and take this line that it is always going to be valuable. The only exception is when you are up against a tight-weak player and he starts raising the flop and potting the turn.

      It is an extremely strong stance for him to take, but once you flat the turn you need to just get it in on the river.

      The only point at which I would consider folding would be to him betting the turn based on his style of play. Most solid players are potting here with maybe 99s/TT but certainly not potting with 77s or some mediocre hand.

      His range on the turn indicates air, or your jack is beat typically. Like Dave said, some villains are going to bet in this with QJ but not a ton.


      • #4
        arch, so you would ship the river here over his bet rather than just call? I know the typical micro-villain is bad but if we have a hand that was leading on the turn, the ace has got to be a terrible card for him, are we really still getting paid if we ship? idk it seems to me like raising all in on the river we're just value owning ourselves too often, unless the villain is just super bad (I know, micro stakeaments...).
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