What’s Your Play? Quads Full of Fours

Thanks to all the commenters who have contributed to some very good discussion this week. Let’s keep it going!

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $4.00 BB (9 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Button ($518.20)
SB ($490.30)
BB ($276.80)
Hero (UTG) ($773.50)
UTG+1 ($1109.10)
MP1 ($154.10)
MP2 ($1936.65)
MP3 ($943.80)
CO ($517)

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 ??

Villain is a decent regular, a bit on the tight side but smart and capable. What do you do here and why?

33 thoughts on “What’s Your Play? Quads Full of Fours

  1. As usual, I’d have played an earlier street differently…:)

    Having said that, I’d just about always bet here. Check is super polarizing and a smart player will figure that out and check most hands he might have called with, including a fair number of bluff-beaters. I’d probably bet about $70-$80 and let him try to sort out what that means, since I don’t think he has much of anything to go on.

    Or to put it another way, I think he’s more likely to screw up if I bet than if I check.

  2. I agree with Lin. He’s almost never gonna show down 99+ or 4x and I really can’t imagine him trying to bluff you off a split in this spot, because he’s not repping anything at all and he’ll realize that if he’s good. I guess it’s not impossible that he thinks he’s gonna split the pot the vast majority of the time anyway so he’s basically freerolling on a bluff, but I’d expect him to check back way too often with hands that might call a bet.

    So in short, I think betting is better because a ~70-80$ bet is gonna get called very often.

    • *What I meant in the first sentence is not that he’ll always bet 99+ on the river, but that he’ll almost never check the turn with those, so they’re not really in his river range.

  3. If 99+ isn’t in his range, your preflop flatting range includes enough hands that beat him that you have to make him believe your bet is meant to push him off a chop, right? I mean, you having 88 is only very slightly different than you having 99 in this spot. So 3/4 to PSB are probably just getting called, while and underbet might get shoved on and an overbet might get called enough times to make it profitable. I probably prefer an overbet here ($175 or something), but I don’t play poker.

    • I don’t hate the overbet, but the problem with that is that he’s going to call to split the pot and if all he can win is 1/2 of the pot anyway in a spot where hero could definitely have some 8x in his range, there’s probably a limit to the size of the bet that he’ll consider calling and I’d guess (somewhat randomly) that this limit is somewhere around a pot sized bet.

    • Well you should, because this is the most thorough response we’ve had so far! Just to add a few things:

      1. I’m surprised how quick people are to exclude 99+ from his range. I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t check overpairs from time to time on the turn.

      2. We definitely want him to think we’re trying to push him off of a chop. While I’m capable of limp-calling 99+ UTG, it isn’t something I do often.

      All in all, I think neither of us is particularly likely to beat the board, but I think he has more 99+ in his range than I do.

      • Shoot I read Christoph’s response to his own post and thought it was you 🙂 I was just trusting “your” read that he’s not checking 99+ OTT.

        Adding some overpairs to his range changes things a little, but I think actually increases the chance of an overbet being called.

        Shove? I don’t know how often capable regs at these stakes see shoves at split pots, but if he knows you at all and sees some of your other posts, he may be more apt to call 🙂

        Downside to shove? He knows that you know that he knows who you are and folds 🙂

      • Sayeth Andrew:

        “2. We definitely want him to think we’re trying to push him off of a chop. While I’m capable of limp-calling 99+ UTG, it isn’t something I do often.”

        You don’t think a smart, tight player will go, “Sigh. I’ve seen that play before a couple million times. That tricky SOB with the poker blog wants me to think he’s trying to push me off a chop.”

        • Either we’re betting for value or we’re trying to push him off of a chop. We certainly don’t want him to think we’re betting for value. At worst we want him to think we’re doing both in a balanced way. I guess blocking is the other possible reason why we might bet.

  4. How about shoving? This obviously depends on what he thinks of you. If he views you as sometimes a bit of a spew-tard, you can get max value. If you don’t have any history, I like the “mash the pot button” bet. I think he calls this just as often as $70-$80, if not possibly more.

      • Only that you described him as a bit tight, which could mean he will never pay this off w/o 99+ or a 4. If he isn’t calling occasionally to get half the pot, then it might not be as profitable. I’ll let someone else do the math on that… it feels as though a shove would be far more profitable.

        I don’t like the overbet/non-shove. That seems like it reps more strength than a shove. I think you get lighter calls with a shove than with a 1.5-2x pot river bet.

        • “I think you get lighter calls with a shove than with a 1.5-2x pot river bet.”

          Villain would have to be deviating drastically from GTO strategy for this to be true. His bluff-catching frequency ought to be directly proportionate to the pot odds that my bet offers.

          What could be true is that Villain calls a shove proportionately more often than he calls an overbet. In other words, he calls a shove less, but not enough less to make up for the less good pot odds he’s getting.

          Although re-reading this, I guess that could be what you meant all along by “lighter calls”.

  5. I like the 180 over bet. You said villain is on the tighter side so there aren’t going to be a whole lot of 4’s in his range. (A4s, 54s, 64s, 43s) Either way if he’s got a 4 you’re going to get all the money in.

    It doesn’t seem like he’s got an over pair. (99+) If he had an over pair wouldn’t he want to bet something on the turn to make it easier to get his stack in the middle on the river?

    What do we limp with UTG? How many 8’s or 4’s do we limp with UTG? (A8s, 98s, 87s, A4s, 54s, 43s, 22-99)

    With our limp, check call on the flop I would think villain would put us on a small PP like 22-88, unless we’ve shown that we like to float OOP with overs. But if we had overs like AK/AQ wouldn’t we have raised pre-flop UTG? By over betting the pot I think it looks more like you’re trying to push him off a chop. Also if he’s got the case 4 or 99+ I think he shoves or maybe min-raises it back trying to induce a shove from you, which he has to call because it would only be like another 170ish into a 700ish pot after your 3-bet shove.

    If he has total air I think you still make more money by betting then checking. He might simply check it back and I think he’s less likely to call if you check/shove. Not saying that a check/shove looks less bluffy just I think people get more suspicious when it goes, limp/call, check/call, check, check/shove.

    But I don’t play at these stakes, so take what I say with a grain of salt. (sorry for the fragmented. I’m posting from work.)

  6. I don’t see much difference between betting $70 and $150 here. So might as well bet $150, if you are going to bet. The problem is that I’m not sure he calls $70 that much, given any 8 beats him and (at least) some overpairs. I don’t like shoving, or more than $150 (=$300 left), because that stops him from bluff raising (however unlikely it is).

    Does betting <= $30 get more calls/bluffs … I'd guess yes, but I'm not sure it's enough better than betting $150 (and I'd really hate to turn over top quads vs. JJ+ and have only got $58 out of it :).

  7. I think Shawn has villian’s view of your ranged pegged pretty well.

    Villian’s range is more weighted towards two high cards that didn’t hit, but may include other pocket pairs.

    You also described villain as smart and capable, so he probably knows that calling for a chop isn’t a great idea. Combine this with the fact that the pot is small (ie: he doesn’t have much invested), I don’t think he will call a large overbet.

    So how to get him to make a mistake? Without knowing of any history between you, or his view of you (like does he read this blog and know what you are capable of), I would make a bet that he would view as weak and try a bluff raise you off of. Say $50, it looks like a blocking bet.

    As an aside, if we put him on a slow played overpair, then a slightly over pot size bet would be my choice.

    • This was pretty much my thinking. The one critical thing you didn’t mention is that he may also raise for value against a smallish/blocking bet, whereas he’d probably just call a larger bet.

      I bet $66, and he jammed for $400+ with QQ.

      • Maybe I’m missing something but I find it really weird that he actually checked back on the turn with 99+. I mean you’re limping UTG and c/c a flop bet so you’re most likely hand as I see it isn’t two unpaired overcards nor a big pair, but rather a small pp or some 8x hand, so I really don’t get why he’d check back the turn vs that range. That’s why I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t get to the river with 99+ like this very often. Guess I was wrong…

        • I think it’s important to do both in a spot like this, especially against someone like me who has a wide flop calling range.

          • What I don’t get is what does he think you are calling his shove with?
            Is he just hoping that 10-20% of the time you call for a split and since all the other times you are folding anyways he mind as well shove? or is he just praying you have 99 or 10 10?

            • I’d have shoved as well. It’s just so unlikely that he’s beat. It’s a great spot for him to shove as a semi-bluff (“semi” since he’ll get half the pot back if I call for a chop) and therefore a spot where he can shove QQ for value as well. TT and 99 probably make up the biggest chunk of my calling range anyway.

            • Wide in the sense that includes some Ax and possibly even KQ/76/65. I’ve been known to float players like this from out of position 😉

              • Hmm, not sure i’m a huge fan of floating here when you’re range is pretty capped, but I guess if people don’t punish it too often it can be ok.

  8. I like check shoving more than open shoving. I think he calls with a similar range and it gives him a chance to bluff. I think the best play though is to bet as much as you can without shutting out the possibility of calling for a chop, since he does play the board most of the time. About pot seems right, maybe more if you think he would expect you to bluff often here when you play the board, less if the reverse is true.

  9. I’d just bet pot and hope he calls playing a chop.

    You really cant jam here – he basically never has 99+ cuz he’d certainly v-bet the turn vs your perceived 8x, pair 22-77 and A high range – and on this particular river if you openjam it looks a lot like 8x so he’s just gonna fold his whatever.

    If we could actually put 99+ in his range openshoving river would be best – but we cant. Pot isn’t big enough that a ‘tighter’ player is gonna pay off huge – he’s just gonna put you on 87s and fold if you openjam.

    I also think this villain as described won’t bluff this river that often. If he does, he’s gonna b/f to a C/R almost always – so you make the same amount by just leading out yourself.

    I’d pot it

  10. If he has an over-pair and checked the turn then I think he is in “cautious mode” so maybe less likely to spew. Why not bet $120 make it look like you are trying to make a cheap bluff. I doubt he folds an over-pair for that amount very often and it gives him a lot of room to do something silly. He might even be more likely to call for a chop then if you bet 70$.

  11. I prefer a shove as well. It looks bluffy and I think it will also get more calls than a 1.5-2X PSB. It’s also good because we can shove these kind of boards as bluffs to balance and pick up some chopped pots later (if we get called).

    I have a question about the flop play. Since it really looks like we have a small-mid pair, why didn’t you lead flop? I think that if we lead 1/2 pot on the flop it really looks like 55-77 which is unsure and wants to see a cheap turn and depending on the player, I think you will often get your donk bet raised (even with hands like AK). Obviously we also get value from his A high floats and other random hands.

    • Good question. I do like leading the flop here, and I kinda wish I had done it. I think it’s something I don’t do often enough, though I’m trying to work on that. Thanks for the very good suggestion!

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