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50NL 6-Max - Holding a Weak Ace, Getting Good Odds OOP

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  • 50NL 6-Max - Holding a Weak Ace, Getting Good Odds OOP

    So, here's a spot that pops up frequently for me, and I wanted to get some thoughts on it.

    Pretty simple: I get dealt a weak ace (suited or unsuited) in a blind, and there's one raise, and at least one caller in front of me. I'm not concerned about getting raised from behind. I've included the villains' stats (VPIP/PFR/3Bet, over about 35 hands) here, but I don't think they're all that important. What I'm curious about is, should I be taking these spots, and jumping in the hand with the good odds being offered and look for ways to take the pot down post-flop, or should I just be releasing the hand, and looking for OOP spots where I can 3bet and dictate the action? Certain opponents obviously call for one or the other, but against some pretty standard opponents who aren't all that tight, or all that loose, what should I be doing here?

    Thanks for your input guys. Two hands in one day! Wow me.

    PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (5 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

    MP (32/26/4.8) ($89.75)
    Button (37/15/0) ($14.45)
    SB ($197.40)
    Panicky (BB) ($73.75)
    UTG ($62.35)

    Preflop: Panicky is BB with 2, A
    1 fold, MP (32/26/4.8) bets $1.50, Button (37/15/0) calls $1.50, 2 folds

  • #2
    You've got a weak ace that has straight potential. You have terrible implied odds through button, but ~70 to 1 against MP. If you can make 2 pair or a straight you might be in for nice payout. Will he pay you with top pair or worse if you make two pair? Can you outplay him post flop?
    4 Time Bracelet Winner


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    • #3
      This is going to be very hard to play for value when you call here. You'll win a small pot or be forced to fold with a bloated pot with anything but 2pair +

      However, you could three bet here if your post flop play is strong and they play fit/fold post flop. As long as their AF is low I'd 3bet this 30% of the time and fold the rest.

      In a 3bet pot you can play a lot of flops strong with initiative and take down a small/medium pot with a much higher frequency not to mention the benefit of FE preflop.

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      • #4
        I think their stats are important, but the stats I'd be looking at too are CO steal and fold to 3B. Based on the LAGgy stats of the CO and the shorthanded table, it seems likely he's going to have a higher than normal steal % in this spot, and you have a pretty nice resteal hand with a blocker. I'm not a big fan of calling and playing post flop in a 3 way pot out of position with A-rag, implied odds aren't as good as their whole stacks because we'll rarely get it all when we hit the flop hard unless we're actually beat, and it's going to be very hard to play this well OOP when we flop just an ace. I would generally 3b or fold here. Given the info you laid out it's not a bad 3B squeeze spot I'd say, make it about $6 to go. Or fold is fine, and if the situation didn't look favorable for a squeeze I'd just fold personally.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by oriholic View Post
          You've got a weak ace that has straight potential. You have terrible implied odds through button, but ~70 to 1 against MP. If you can make 2 pair or a straight you might be in for nice payout. Will he pay you with top pair or worse if you make two pair? Can you outplay him post flop?
          Who's he? I figured that I was probably a better player than the button, but I wasn't sure about the cutoff (the opener in this hand) quite yet. I didn't think that either one would be likely to pay me off if I hit better than a pair, partially because their ranges (especially the cutoff's) would be wide enough to have seldom hit the board in situations where I did. Also, the button seemed to be on the nitty, unconfident-in-his-postflop-play side, so I didn't see him paying me off in any case where I hit big. Moreover, any board that gave me better than a pair would have to be scary in some respect. I think the only way I would ever get paid off here with two pair is if the opener had something like AK or AQ and only hit one pair, or if the guy had aces or kings, and I made my straight.

          If I called here, it would not have been with the intention of hitting two pair+ and then getting paid somehow. It would have been with the intention to control the pot if I hit small (like a split pair of aces), and feel out my opponents to see if either of them had a better hand, and if not, just sneak in some value. Or I would have looked for a way to finesse in some sort of convincing bluff. What I want to know is if flatting here is ever +EV. It would help to know from someone who's done it before, to hear their opinions.

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          • #6
            You guys would 3bet here? I never 3bet Ax in spots like this. I get called too often by bigger aces, and I have to c-bet most of the time if I 3bet. That often leads to me tossing $8ish down a hole when the other guy has an ace.

            I didn't really consider a 3bet here at all. I prefer to raise a much more polarized range. Interesting.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PanickyPoker View Post
              You guys would 3bet here? I never 3bet Ax in spots like this. I get called too often by bigger aces, and I have to c-bet most of the time if I 3bet. That often leads to me tossing $8ish down a hole when the other guy has an ace.

              I didn't really consider a 3bet here at all. I prefer to raise a much more polarized range. Interesting.
              Sometimes you'll run into a hand, and end up losing your squeeze + your flop cbet, that's one possible result. Other possible results:

              1) you win preflop
              2) you win on the flop with your cbet
              3) you hit a hand

              The opener has loose-aggressive stats, and is in a steal spot in a short handed game. How wide is his steal % here? Combinatorically, how much of his range includes big aces? The loose cold caller on the button, how much of his range includes big aces?

              Having an ace blocker decreases the chances of running into AA or a big ace as well, which aids in the squeeze effort. This is still part of a polarized range, A2 is a bluff here. Granted ace high may actually be the best hand, but you're not squeezing for value, you're squeezing as a bluff in a situation where it should be profitable to do so long term. A good way to select hands for this is to take hands that are just outside of your profitable calling range, which A-rag is imo. It still has some measure of value in #3 above so even though you can't quite call proftiably by taking the initiative you can turn it into a profitable spot (understanding that some of the time you will be forced to fold later in the hand).
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              • #8
                Whoops, I thought I unchecked the "evaluation completed" box...

                I mean the MP. Button has a small stack and seems to be pretty passive. I'm almost pretending he's not there. How are their fold to c-bet stats and how often is MP stealing here?
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by oriholic View Post
                  How are their fold to c-bet stats and how often is MP stealing here?
                  I didn't have enough info for a fold to c-bet read, but the CO was stealing 57% from that spot.


                  Originally posted by TheLangolier View Post
                  Sometimes you'll run into a hand, and end up losing your squeeze + your flop cbet, that's one possible result. Other possible results:

                  3) you hit a hand
                  This is the one I'm afraid of. I get that the opener is really LAG here, but they could easily have Ax+ as part of their range if they're playing that many hands. I don't like playing bloated pots with potentially dominated aces because I don't really know how to not stack off if I hit my A, but they have a 7 kicker that plays. I typically stick to hands like suited connectors for my 3bets, because with initiative, they have a lot of bluff potential when they don't hit, but when they do hit and my opponent doesn't want to go away, I stand to gain more money in one hand than I made at work that day.

                  Do you think I should try 3betting my weak aces against laggier players? I guess part of the reason I haven't is because I avoid domination like the plague. It's nitty, but it's kept me from losing a lot of big pots.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PanickyPoker View Post
                    You guys would 3bet here? I never 3bet Ax in spots like this. I get called too often by bigger aces, and I have to c-bet most of the time if I 3bet. That often leads to me tossing $8ish down a hole when the other guy has an ace.

                    I didn't really consider a 3bet here at all. I prefer to raise a much more polarized range. Interesting.

                    We're not 3betting here for value, we're three betting as a bluff. Polarized means bluffs or strong hands, not hands with decent equity. A2-A6ish don't have decent equity when called, so this is not for value.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by archide View Post
                      We're not 3betting here for value, we're three betting as a bluff. Polarized means bluffs or strong hands, not hands with decent equity. A2-A6ish don't have decent equity when called, so this is not for value.
                      I get what polarized means. I just like to make sure my 3bet bluffs play well post-flop in the very specific case that I'm called. When I bluff-raise, I'm leveraging fold equity, which means that my hand strength is irrelevant if my plan succeeds. But if the villain doesn't fold, then I need to have post-flop equity. Same goes for if bluff #2, the c-bet, doesn't work. Villains don't always fold, and if they have a solid hand like AA, or they hit the flop and make a solid hand, like top/top, they're winning the pot regardless of what I 3bet with, unless I flop a hidden monster. When I 3bet with hands like 24s and hit two pair, it's ace-cracking time. That's why I don't include Ax in my 3betting range. I don't consider it to be a polarized hand. There's virtually no hidden monster potential to Ax.

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                      • #12
                        Then you need to fold this 100% of the time, because it's only a bluffing hand preflop.

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                        • #13
                          If you 3 bet, then your c-bet gets called on a flop with an A, SLOW DOWN. Check the turn, and if he bets out get out of the hand.

                          When your turning Ax offsuit or Ax suited into a bluff by 3-betting here, being suited doesn't really matter. You are making a bluff, so the small chance of making a flush later in the hand doesn't mean much. Being suited gives (some) added value, but your not looking for value here. You should consider Ax and Ax suited as the same hand when 3-betting or folding here in my opinion.

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                          • #14
                            I agree with you Rocker. The point I'm trying to make is that I can hit an A on the flop and be confused about where I stand (does the other guy have AK, or a high pair?? What to do...). It's that sort of confusing situation that ends up losing me two streets of value. When I 3bet 57s, though, and hit 78J with two cards of my suit, or A75, or AK2, I know exactly where I stand, and I have a solid, straightforward way to play the hand from that point on that will either win the max, or lose the min. It's pretty hard to stack off with 75s if you know what you're doing. I don't like Ax, because when I play it, I honestly don't know what I'm doing.

                            The fold 100% of the time is basically what I've been doing in this spot. I started this thread looking for other people's experience that might convince me that flatting here, with the pretty good pot odds I'm getting, is actually +EV some of the time. The answer I seem to have gotten is that 3betting is +er EV than flatting, and worth considering against some laggy opponents. I guess I'm a bit confused by that though, because if they're laggy, I don't get why this should be a bluff. If they're laggy and my blocker adds even more value to my hand, then it's conceivable that I'm ahead of their range a lot, in which case bluffing seems awkward to me.

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                            • #15
                              It's a bluff because you want a fold. You'll get some better aces to fold to your 3bet, and some mid pairs. You're also flipping with pretty much any two cards (slightly a fav) and you still want them to fold.

                              It's good vs laggy players because their fold percent to 3bet is typically going to be higher, but you create a situation where if you flop an ace instead of trying to get to a showdown cheap you can rep a big ace easily.

                              If you flat and the flop comes A62 rainbow and you lead in, you're going to get floated by a ton of PPs. If you had 3-bet pre all those go away to your continuation bet.

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