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6-Max Cash: Top Pair, Top Kicker vs. Strong Opponent, Wet Board

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  • 6-Max Cash: Top Pair, Top Kicker vs. Strong Opponent, Wet Board

    Using FTR's converter for this one, since my computer can't really handle much more than text. Anyway, here's my latest hand. I quite enjoyed playing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

    It was one of my first hands at this table (so no reads yet) and I was dealt AQo while sitting UTG. I raised. Action folded to the blinds, and I got reraised by the SB. Action came back to me, and I figured that AQo was certainly strong enough to see a flop here. I did think the 3bet was pretty big and might have indicated a medium of high pair, so I sort of assumed right away that my hand wasn't a favourite, but I called.

    The flop was nice, because it gave me top/top. However, I thought that much of my opponent's range was now crushing me (I just evaluated my equity against what I guessed his range here might be. 99+ AJs+ AQo+ and KQs. Since that represents only 5% of hands, I think that might have been an overly tight range guess, so I might have been giving the guy too much credit. I also thought that his range was beating me, but after Stoving it I actually had 56% equity there. My analysis of my strength might have been skewed). Again, I had no read, but the bet sizing seemed too big for a marginal hand like ATo or 55. I did give myself some credit for strength, but I did so with caution. The wet board was also a problem. It had two spades, two cards to a straight, and it hit a lot of the guy's range.

    On the flop, I was checked to, and I decided on a whim to make a small probe bet. I figured that I was likely to get check-raised by a lot of what this guy would have, and I would probably always call with top/top. My typical c-bet would be a bluff a lot of the time, which would give the guy an excellent semi-bluffing opportunity, even if all he had was 23 of clubs. I made a smaller bet because I thought that I was either getting no action (from 55, say) or I was certainly getting action (AK of clubs, AA, QQ, etc.) and he would very likely raise with a draw or a better hand. Since I was going to call raises anyway and draws would not be likely to fold regardless of the size of the bet, I might as well bet small. I did, and I only got called.

    The turn completed some straights, but I wasn't that concerned. I got checked to again, which I read as weakness. I didn't think a set, straight, or overpair would check to me again when I showed a reluctance to put money in the pot on the flop, because that would usually result in my checking behind, which would be value lost. I especially thought that a made hand would bet, because it probably looked like I was drawing here, and why give the guy who's drawing to a better hand a free card? I decided that my opponent was drawing here, so I bet to price him out. I got called again.

    The river was a big problem, because it was an overcard to my Q that didn't improve my hand, and it put a four-card straight on board. Worse still, the villain bet at me. I honestly didn't think too hard about this one. I considered that I was getting bet at by a busted flush draw, but I didn't make much effort to reevaluate the situation. I decided that I was usually going to be beat here, so I folded. I actually had a feeling like the king was letting me off the hook in a lot of cases where I was actually beat pre-river, but I don't know if that's really true.

    Now, I'm going to make an honest effort to edit this down (675 words before these parentheses ), then I'm going to post and see what you guys think. Thanks for reading!

    PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.25 BB (6 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from

    CO ($28.69)
    Button ($14.43)
    SB ($30.56)
    BB ($27.65)
    Panicky (UTG) ($26.51)
    MP ($25.67)

    Preflop: Panicky is UTG with Q, A
    Panicky bets $0.60, 3 folds, SB raises to $2.40, 1 fold, Panicky calls $1.80

    Flop: ($5.05) Q, 10, 4 (2 players)
    SB checks, Panicky bets $1.80, SB calls $1.80

    Turn: ($8.65) 9 (2 players)
    SB checks, Panicky bets $4.20, SB calls $4.20

    River: ($17.05) K (2 players)
    SB bets $11.35, Panicky folds

    Total pot: $17.05 | Rake: $0.83

  • #2
    This is all hard to tell without any reads. I would venture to say the guy was at the top end of his range considering you opened from UTG and he 3 bet OOP from the SB, but the action in the hand seems contrary. Hard to imagine he has AA, KK, QQ, or AK of spades taking a check call line on the flop. IMO you should bet the flop harder when he checks, your beating his range a good amount and there are hands your crushing he can call with like KQ, JJ or 99, and if he has a drawing hand you might as well charge it, if he check raises your probably well behind or up against a big combo draw.

    If you felt your hand was best on the turn, which I think it probably was, I don't think 1/2 the pot was big enough to price out drawing hands. He could justify calling for $4.20 with 3:1 odds and $11 behind with a straight or flush draw. I would have made $5.50-$6.50 bet to charge the drawing hands. By the time the river hits his hand is polarized, and I would think he has most of the time. JJ is a likely holding, he may have felt JJ was to strong to lay down for $1.80 and turned an opened ended straight draw to justify calling the turn. Some suited J's that could have taken the passive check call line are a possibility as well AJ, KJ of spades. With all that said I think you made the right laydown, but could have done some things differently.
    Last edited by PaidInFull6; Wed Mar 23, 2011, 10:21 AM.


    • #3
      I really need to work on making these shorter.

      Here's the thing with the flop scenario. I expect to be check-raised by iffy draws. Since I'm going to have missed the flop about two thirds of the time, and I'm the preflop aggressor in position, it makes total sense for a flush draw to check-raise me here. It also makes sense for a lot of stronger hands to check-raise me, because of the board coordination. Putting that another way, I expect my opponent's check-raising range to be really wide here. I don't think my bet sizing mattered much, because drawing hands had reason enough to stick around, and strong made hands weren't going away.


      • #4
        He took control of the pot by 3 beting you OOP from the SB, I would expect him to C bet most of the time with hands like AA, KK, QQ, AK of spades. If I was in his position on that board im not risking giving you free cards to out draw me very often. However, sometimes I may try and check raise QQ or AK, AJ of spades. It's difficult to tell with a player when you don't have any reads or stats on them.
        Last edited by PaidInFull6; Wed Mar 23, 2011, 10:48 AM.


        • #5
          If you were really worried about a check raise here and don't think your hand could stand up to one, you could have check the flop back and bet a safe turn.


          • #6

            mornin panicky-- bear with me here- as i tend to think of hands in a tournament style- yet i like doing this - so when Dave comes along and gives his opinion I learn tonnes about my own game--

            Your 2. raise from UTG tells the table you want action- want to see a flop- obv. not a blind steal- So the SB 3-bets you huge- 4x your original raise or 10x the BB- obv. to make the BB fold and iso you- that tells me he either has a monster - or is trying to take this pot (0.95) right there with air-- so to be on the cautious side - lets say he holding the former- 99+

            Its hard to put him on AA or QQ as you are holding 1 of each- but AKs,KK,JJ,10 10, even 99 are def. posibilities--

            That flop hits you decent -giving you top top- sure there is a flush draw out there- but his check after such a large 3-bet leads me to believe he crushed that flop- maybe hit a set 10 or does have KK- - me thinks if he on the nut flush draw he is betting that flop for value-

            I not much like the 1/3 pot sized bet after he checks- as i think you are either way ahead- or way behind- if he is floating- 1.80 is 4-1 on his money to see the turn- seeing as how we have polarized his hand into a monster or air- me thinks you have to check that back-and engage in some pot control using your position- and get to shodown as cheaply as possible-

            Turn is essentially a brick- sure KJ got there- but are we really putting him on that the way the hand has played??-

            So villain checks again and you half pot it-- oops i think- worse hands are not gonna call - so there is no value there-- you are essentially turning your hand into a bluf-- he flats again- me thinks you had to check that back again for pot control- as now you are pretty much screwed- even if he is floating with the intention of stealing the pot on the river- he is first to act and he certainly isnt checking the river with $17.00 in the middle-- he is either betting it for value - or raising big to put you to a really tough decision- either you have to call a big bet on the river with 2nd pair-or your beat- shytty spot 4 sure.

            So in my opinion- the 1/3 pot, 1/2, pot - fold river- line isnt that great- i think check,check, call/fold-for a MUCH smaller pot is the more prudent play here--again, only my opinion--as, the more i learn about this game, the more i learn how much more i need to learn!! is quite maddening actually-- lolo--

            Hagd-- and gl-- monk..
            Last edited by monkeyskunk4; Wed Mar 23, 2011, 02:33 PM.


            • #7
              Hey Panicky,

              I think you’re confusing terms… you’re not the preflop aggressor, this is the player who took the final aggressive action preflop which is the villain in this case. And you can not c-bet, a c-bet by definition is a continuation of the aggression on the prior street by the preflop aggressor.

              Most preflop 3 bettors will c-bet most boards, unless you have stats to the contrary you can expect them to c-bet. When he fails to do so, it is usually going to signal a medium strength made hand. Strong hands like sets he’s usually going to bet on a wet flop. Draws he’ll usually semi-bluff. Air he’ll usually bluff… as the preflop 3 bettor it’s going to be profitable to do so. When he checks it typically indicates a made hand with showdown value that he’s trying to exercise some pot control with… he doesn’t think he’ll get worse hands to call and doesn’t think he’ll get better hands to fold. The hand that fits specifically with his actions on all streets is JJ. So as played I think you made a good laydown. Although the K is a perfect bluff card for him to fire at, I’m having a hard time seeing what he got to the river with that’s a bluff taking a c/c line on the flop and turn. Draws are out, he’d semi-bluff. AJ is possible but 3b with AJ pre from the SB vs. an UTG raiser is pretty loose, and this is in the category I’d expect him to c-bet. Small pairs don’t make a lot of sense as he’d probably want to cbet to get us off of tens and other high card holdings that have equity but can’t really continue facing a couple barrels. JJ makes perfect sense, he thinks he’s possibly still good but if he bets the flop he’s not getting called by much worse, and better is not folding. You bet after his failed c-bet which doesn’t mean much as you might try to take the pot away with anything in this spot, so he calls. Turns open ended now he’s not folding for sure. And value bets the river as your 2nd barrel indicates you probably don’t have air, but with a 4-straight on board you are very likely to just check down most of your range if checked to on the river.
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              • #8
                I second Langoliers conclusion. JJ makes perfect sense. AJ would make sense to me as well. Unlucky river for you in this hand. I think you would have won the hand had a blank hit.

                I don't really like that you called his 3-bet. It was very big. If you have reason to believe he was making a move with AJ, you could 4-bet him. Otherwise fold. Calling with AQo is not a profitable option. Like you said, 2/3 the time your going to miss the flop. The only thing going for you is that you had position. You can make looser 3-bet calls when your in position, but this call was way too loose in my opinion.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RockerguyAA View Post
                  I don't really like that you called his 3-bet. It was very big. If you have reason to believe he was making a move with AJ, you could 4-bet him. Otherwise fold. Calling with AQo is not a profitable option. Like you said, 2/3 the time your going to miss the flop. The only thing going for you is that you had position. You can make looser 3-bet calls when your in position, but this call was way too loose in my opinion.
                  Good point. Calling the 3b with AQo is marginal at best, and quite possibly -EV over all. And I say this understanding we have position in this hand. If we were out of position I'm pretty positive it would be -EV to continue with AQ unless the villain were a fish or frequent light 3 bettor.
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                  • #10
                    I did some filtering on my database to look at this situation. First I selected 50nl and 100nl last year, which was about 140K hands.

                    Then I set filters to:
                    Main filter: Position of 3b is SB or BB
                    Hole Cards: AQo
                    Filter by actions: Raise Call
                    Called preflop 3b = true

                    This should give me results for all the times I raised with AQo, was 3b out of the blinds, and called the 3b.

                    There were 37 hands that fit this criteria, and my win rate was atrocious in this spot.

                    The biggest problem I think, in looking over the stats, was when I improved in some way AND got to showdown with the villain, I was often in a big pot AND fared poorly in those spots, only winning 41.7% of the time at showdown which is really, really low.

                    I know 37 spots isn't definitive, but believe me, after looking at this specific scenario I am inclined to be extremely selective about whom I continue against with AQ going forward in these spots.

                    Edit: I added the filter Saw Showdown = false

                    Turns out 25 of these spots didn't make it to showdown. My win rate was much better but still -22 bb/100. So obviously this means that 12 of these spots did in fact go to showdown, I won 5 of those 12, but over all in those 12 hands got destroyed money wise. This isn't surprising since when we improve AQ it will usually be by flopping a Q or an A, and when we get action that proceeds to showdown vs. a preflop 3 bettor, we'll expect to be up against stronger hands, either hands that started stronger than us or hands that improved to be stronger. Looking at the filters really puts it in perspective. Thanks Panicky.
                    Last edited by TheLangolier; Wed Mar 23, 2011, 09:29 PM. Reason: added non-showdown info
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PanickyPoker View Post
                      ...I'm the preflop aggressor in position...
                      Another case of forgetting the hand as I type.

                      I'm interested by the fact that you guys think that calling the 3bet preflop was bad. I thought it was the best choice to take, because there are a lot of hands the guy could be 3betting OOP. If he was willing to play with the 99+ AJs+ AQo+ KQs range I guessed at earlier, then I shouldn't be folding here. And like I said, I think that's a tight estimate. I figured 4betting would be bad because it folds out every single hand that I beat (and perhaps some that I'm flipping against), but it induces a 5bet from a few of the hands I'm flipping against, and probably everything that's beating me. I thought I could retain the most value to the hand by just calling in position, because I figured I'd get 5bet here too often, and there's no way I could call a 5bet. I can see how calling here might be -EV, but raising also seems -EV to me.

                      Thanks for the comments so far.

                      And I just caught that last post. Calling a 3bet out of the blinds w/ AQo = not something I plan to do anymore. Those stats are really interesting information. Thanks, Dave. Still makes me wonder what the right decision is though. AQo just seems too strong to fold. Maybe that's a fallacy of mine.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PanickyPoker View Post
                        If he was willing to play with the 99+ AJs+ AQo+ KQs range I guessed at earlier, then I shouldn't be folding here. And like I said, I think that's a tight estimate.
                        solid regs are never 3b you with this range, they would only flat most of these hands. Passive players aren't 3b with this range either. Only LAG's and poor aggressive players will have this range.
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                        • #13
                          If you felt like 4-betting with AQo was not a good idea in that specific situation, then fold. Calling is the worst option.



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