This hand generated some really interesting comments and discussion both at Thinking Poker and at Cardplayer. Thanks to everyone who participated. Some of you have seen the results already, but for those who haven’t, here’s what happened:
Hero (UTG) ($773.50)
Preflop: Hero is UTG with 8, 8
Hero calls $4, 4 folds, CO bets $22, 3 folds, Hero calls $18
Flop: ($50) 8, 4, 4 (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $28, Hero calls $28
Turn: ($106) 4 (2 players)
Hero checks, CO checks
River: ($106) 8 (2 players)
Hero bets $66, CO raises to $467 (All-In), Hero calls $401
Total pot: $1040 | Rake: $3
Hero had 8, 8 (four of a kind, eights).
CO had Q, Q (full house, fours over Queens).
Outcome: Hero won $1037
There are two important points in particular that I wanted to highlight with this hand:
1. You don’t have to check to induce a bluff or value bet. This is a spot where I will be betting a ton of semi-bluffs (semi- because I’ll often split the pot when called). Villain has plenty of incentive to raise both as a bluff and with any hand that beats the board. More passive opponents just won’t do this- it’s a big leak in their game, and you can exploit it with unbalanced ranges. But in this case I gave Villain credit for being capable of raising a wideish range.
2. Although it’s generally correct to target the top of your opponent’s range when you have the nuts, you do want to think about all of your options. In this case, I can stack the top of his range without overbetting, and this is often the case. When you have someone genuinely coolered, they will often do the value betting for you as long as you don’t tip your hand. A massive overbet or a check-raise would both turn a hand like QQ, that he is otherwise willing to play like the nuts, into a bluff-catcher. He may or may not pay off with QQ if we attempt something like that.
Thanks again for all the interesting comments!