Right Play?

Strategy & Advice by playinem Posted
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Another live 1-2 NLH game. I'm in the CO with 9s-7s. A MP player makes it $8. Another MP calls. The HJ calls. With four players in and good position I call with a stack of $172 behind my call. The Btn also calls. The SB folds and the BB calls. The BB is pretty loose but not super aggressive. I figure he could have almost anything. He has $79 back. The MP open raiser has only been at the table for about 10 minutes. He has $84 back and I really have no read on him but I figure he probably has me pre-flop just by virtue of his open raise, The other MP has $224 back. He has been involved in a lot of hands and has been really lucky. He could have almost anything. The HJ has $126 back. He seems fairly tight and I figure him for a pair or broadway cards. The Btn is capable of calling with almost anything here. He really plays the math and has $154 back. With $46 (I think) in the pot after the rake we went to the flop. It came Ks-6c-8s. BB checked. The MP open raiser bet $25. The other MP player folded. The HJ called. I have a flush draw but it isn't the nut flush or even very close and I'm open ended. I decided to raise here with $96 in the pot and 2 players behind me. I raised to $75. The Btn folded. The BB folded. The MP open raiser had $59 back. He shoved here. The HJ called and of course for $9 more I did too. Was my raise here a decent play?

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  1. The turn was the 5d which made my 9 high straight. The HJ checked and I bet $42 putting him all in if he called. He called. The BB flipped over the As-Qs and the HJ turned over the Kc-Qc. My spade draw had never been good. Nonetheless I faded a spade on the river when the Tc came. I won this pot but I have been questioning whether or not I was overly aggressive especially because my spade flush draw was dominated from jump street.

  2. @playinem I think the raise there wins the pot right there more times than it gets called. In a multi way pot like that, the chances of someone else having spades are decent. Trying to push that hand out,or the one pairs out is the best play more times than not. The bad news, you're probably only getting called by bigger draws or big hands there, so expect some losses from those plays. If you want to keep your variance lower just call there instead. Overall though, that's a winning cash game play. Just my thoughts.

  3. @Casper7285 Thanks Casper, at the time it felt right but after I discovered that there was a bigger spade draw I've been replaying it in my mind wondering if I was a little or a lot reckless. It worked out and that is good and I like what you're saying about fold equity here. I wouldn't have minded if everyone had folded after I raised on the flop but I had some doubts when there were still 3 of us in the hand. Ultimately though I think that when you play hands like 9-7s you are hoping to flop either a monster made hand or a really good draw with a plethora of outs. When I flopped what seemed to be that really good draw I went with it and committed to the hand.

  4. I apologize guys when I posted about what happened on the turn and river in this hand I screwed up and mistakenly mixed up the BB who was out of the hand with the MP open raiser who was the player with As-Qs.

  5. I think if the hand were heads up between you and the MP raiser, then a raise to $75 would be okay. At that point you are basically trying to get his remaining $59 ($84 before the flop bet minus the $25 lead) into the pot and you have flopped a huge draw. He has just bet basically 1/3 of his stack on a flop and so he is basically pot-committed. Therefore, you raise and get it in against him. If he folds, that is fine for you because you win a decent pot with 9 high and don't have to worry about making any of your draws. If he shoves, that's fine because with your draws you have excellent equity against any hand that he could have. That said, given that he only has $84 dollars after the preflop raise, I wouldn't call his raise with 9-7 suited without other calls in front of me. His stack just isn't deep enough to justify calling with a suited one-gapper. The other calls make it a more attractive proposition, but when calling with a speculative hand, you really want to consider the stack size of the initial raiser (as well as your own) when determining whether or not to call preflop.

    The call by the HJ and the stack sizes involved complicate things. The MP player has $59 behind after his flop bet and the HJ has $111 left ($126 after the preflop call minus the $25 flop call). So, a raise to $75 means that if the MP shoves, it is for $9 more and it does not re-open the betting action to you. Therefore, if the HJ just calls, you can't get his stack in on the flop. That's a problem because he could conceivably fold a hand like top pair if the turn is "scary" -- e.g., another spade to complete the flush. You described the HJ as tight and likely to have either broadway cards or a pair preflop. So, let's narrow that range once he calls the $25 lead on the flop. My estimate is that he either has top pair or a big flush draw. I discount a set of 8s or 6s because he is probably going to raise those hands given the texture of the flop. Assuming that your read is correct, that means he likely has A-Q, A-10, Q-J, Q-10, or J-10 of spades, or a hand with a king and another broadway card. I just ran that range through an equity calculator and your hand is a coin flip against it. So, you want to get the money in now -- the $ already in the pot provide you with a nice overlay which means it is +EV to take a coin flip in this situation. Also, a shove may induce the HJ to fold from a hand like Q-10 of spades that has really good equity against our actual hand, but has to be afraid that when we shove flop we either have a big made hand (like a set) or have a better flush draw than he does. If we can get that fold even some of the time, then it is a huge win for us. So, I would raise flop, but I would actually shove instead of making it $75.

    Dave

  6. Actually, maybe not shove, but at least raise enough that it puts the HJ all in if he calls.

  7. @Dap Poker Dave on the money again. With the effective stack sizes of all in involved (even us as the second biggest stack in question is less than 100 big blinds) far and away the best play is to shove which creates maximum fold equity and allows us to fully realize the equity in our hand. It's such a huge win for us when we get a slightly bigger spade draw to fold, or top pair with a mediocre kicker to fold.

  8. I will first tell you I am by no means a professional. You did get a ton of information with your raise. The information gained, tells me your opponent(s) have AA, AK, KQ, KJ, Ace of spades with a small spade or KK and you need to get lucky because you are behind with two cards to come, but you do have outs (17). 9s 7s is a marginal hand that puts you in positions as described unless you flop the world. On the other hand you did get almost maximum flop strike out of 9s 7s. Hitting a full house would optimal, but very rare. I am guess you lost the hand. Update if you can.

  9. At least one of the shorter stacks demonstrated a likelihood of being pot committed. Your assessment that spades would lead to second best is reasonable with so many hands in the pot. Discounting your spade draws to zero outs and just figuring to win with the open ended straight draws their stack sizes probably did not give you the best return for your money. Wagering an additional $75 for $96 even if they don't go all in doesn't bring the best odds. Probably any bet over half their remaining stack was going to get at least one all in and then you are going to be chasing the straight. Best advice I received early on was make the pot higher when you have higher equity and are likely to end up with higher equity. Otherwise exercise pot control or get out. In the situation you describe pot control wasn't likely to be in your control.

  10. Thanks to all of you who commented here. My focus right now is on learning to really think about this game because I believe it is played on so many levels. Incorporating stack size into that thinking is something I am just beginning to do so thanks again guys. I'll be playing this weekend so hopefully I'll have another one.

  11. Raise even bigger or shove. Too much equity, even vs. several players should be happy to get it in here while you have some fold equity to take it now or have a lot of equity vs. any callers... You're a favorite here VS. KQ/AK/KJ, etc.. If they did happen to both have K + Broadway card, you're a 56% favorite to win outright 3way here + a good amount of Fold Equity. Even if one did have a set, you're still @ 41% w/added dead money in the pot.

    An underdog to AQs yes, but you include this as part of their range + Kx + some other hands like 9T, possibly 89, A8, etc.

    Either way by shoving or making a large raise here you give the flush draw poor odds to call...

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