What’s Your Play? Out of Position With a Flush Draw

What's Your Play?Early in the $320 6-max WCOOP event. Hero has been an unremarkable TAG so far, and Villain even more so. Villain, over a small sample of hands, is 15/10 with 22% Attempt to Steal.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 320 Tournament, 15/30 Blinds (6 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

SB (t6351)
Hero (BB) (t3555)
UTG (t4362)
MP (t4782)
CO (t5125)
Button (t5922)

Hero’s M: 79.00

Preflop: Hero is BB with 8, 7
2 folds, CO bets t75, 2 folds, Hero calls t45

Flop: (t165) K, 10, A (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets t90, Hero?

What’s your play and why? Please post your comments here, and I’ll be back with my own thoughts on Friday. Obviously a lot could happen, but if you want to do anything besides fold, please give a general idea of your plan (raise once and give up if called, call and check-raise turn, check-raise and barrel non-spade turns and rivers, etc.).

15 thoughts on “What’s Your Play? Out of Position With a Flush Draw

  1. I am going to assume that Hero and Villain haven’t played many hands against each other. If they have, that would be good information to have. Villain is very conservative for 6 max, but this could be just a standard continuation bet. The question is do we want to start making a move against this player now? We can easily fold and keep our TAG image and wait for a better spot. If we make a move against them, then I think we need to follow through on the bluff, otherwise we ruin our image and look weak. I can see making a check-raise to 300 followed up by a bet off 555 on the turn (any card) if he calls and then possibly a bet of 1333 on the river if he calls then turn depending on how the board runs out and any timing tells we get. If he raises turn or river then we have to fold, but if he re-raises flop then we could consider re-re-raise (although I don’t think I’d have the guts to do it in real life).

    • Your first assumption is correct. What’s the harm in looking weak? Why do you assign value to preserving a TAG image? Just asking, not necessarily saying you shouldn’t. Why would you 4-bet a flop raise but fold to a turn raise?

      • Sorry – I can’t see the suits at work, so I was going on the assumption that this was a zero equity pure bluff situation. Gareth’s comment indicates that hero has a flush draw, so I was answering a different problem.
        Anyway, my point was that if we’ve earned a TAG image then we want to cash it in at some point by running a good bluff, so is that time, and if we run a weak bluff where we just fold at the first sign of pressure, then the whole table might start playing aggressively towards us. Maybe we could take advantage of that though…
        I was thinking that a 4 bet on the flop would be able to represent the nuts. I agree a three bet on the turn could accomplish that as well, but I think that will be dependent on what the turn card is.

  2. I like calling. We cannot represent too many value hands effectively to our opponent, who will discount TT, KK, AA, and AK, as they should. Whether we ever flat those hands isn’t that material. So then a check-raise is representing KT/AT/QJ only in terms of value. I am not a big fan of that. What’s more the range of hands against which we want to get value when we hit our flush will all have the option of three-betting the flop should we raise. That’s often going to result in us surrendering an amount of equity in the pot or bloating it out of position with deep stacks.

    When we check and call the easiest line to take when our spades do not get there is to bet the river for 60% of pot when the turn goes check-check. Our range will be healthily balanced by all the top pair or better hands we value bet in this way. Should the turn be a black, say a card under a T that is not a spade, I would still check and call. Villains of this type will likely have a strong range in order to bet the turn in this situation. For that reason I would check and call expecting to have a profitable check-raise on the river should we hit a spade, we could also lead out on spades that we would expect him to check back but would also improve his hand. The easiest ones to think of are the Js, Qs, Ks.

    In fact I would like to lead non spade jacks and queen’s in the flop x/c, turn x/c situation. Again, if anything, we will have it often enough that our bluff is ‘for free,’ or protected by the width of our value betting range.

    On spade turns we have a trickier time, but I think a default of x/c, to x/r/f river seems appropriate. I think the river being x/r/f is going to be the case no matter which spade we hit, even though his better combinations will be reduced on say the Qs.

    It is worth thinking about how he plays his KXss, which for this player might only extend to KQ/KJ/K9ss. Players of this type are really liable to bet the flop and check the turn unimproved with these holdings, when they should perhaps be better served by checking the flop and betting the turn or betting both streets. Therefore if the turn blanks and we check-call to see a river spade that he bets, I would have to discount his combinations of the nuts, though of course QJss, Q9ss, and J9ss are still out there.

    We can talk about all the possibilities should we check and call, but I think we will have options, whereas checking and raising will create unnecessary problems out of position at this stack depth, on this texture.

  3. I don’t see the value in raising here; the pot is small, the blinds are small, the stacks are deep(ish), our flush draw is naked, and building the pot here only makes the turn and river harder to play. Further to this, we are not representing much and don’t rate to win the pot here or on the turn enough to make it worthwhile. If we are to continue in the hand calling to see the turn makes the most sense to me. I would check the turn again and fold to a sufficiently sized bet or call a smaller bet on nearly any card. On the river if it went check/check we would retain the right to bluff or to value bet if we hit the spade. Having said no harm in folding the hand either. Also, we can look back at the pre-flop decision and question if playing a raise or fold pre-flop strategy with small suited connectors would have been better than calling, while we reserve calling to larger hands like Ax suited or 2 broadway suited in which we will have over card outs and high card value to compliment any flush draws we hit.

    • Good post but “the pot is small, the blinds are small” isn’t really a reason not to raise, since the raise would be proportionately small.

      • I’m not sure it isn’t a good reason not to raise in this particular spot. Raising has the effect of making the later streets play bigger than otherwise allowing our presently small pot to turn into a big one – and I don’t think we want that OOP with a naked flush draw.

  4. A 22% approximate range mostly Ax (something like A6s+, A9o+), and broadway. I don’t think you have a lot of fold equity with a check raise. I don’t think bluffs on future streets are likely to work either, at least not enough to be profitable. But if you do continue with the hand, either by raising or calling, and you do hit your flush Villain will likely only continue to play in a big pot with a larger flush draw than you have.

    So in summary it’s early, the flop smacks his range hard, your out of position, and if the pot gets inflated too much there is a good chance you’re drawing dead. Fold.

  5. Big question would be if Villian would have expected you to raise pre-Flop with Broadway cards? Does a raise here have any credit other than drawing to strt or flush (or steal?) to inflate pot and get paid for our draw if it hits? If we get no credit then opponent may smooth call or re-raise and we will need to go through the same scenario after the Turn. Villian will probably shut down if strt card or spade come and they dont have either … This will let us barrel the River even if we don’t get our spade.

    If we raise then we almost need to lead out any Turn and be ready to fold to a raise unless we hit spade. We probably make more money check-calling Flop and Turn (if offered).

    If Villian checks behind on a blank Turn I don’t see much success in leading out on any non-spade blank River since he probably has show-down value. This is a pretty dangerous board with both of you fairly deep to try and run a bluff unless a non-spade strt card hits. You show first on a checked River and then your image takes a hit regardless of outcome .. could be a time for barreling Turn and River without too much damage to your stack if you want to show them a willingness to do so and create some action for future hands.

    In this case here I think we just call Flop a weak flush draw and see what happens on Turn. If Villian has a higher spade in hand they probably will call a small bet (30 to 40% pot) or bet out on a spade Turn hoping that they are still ahead with a better draw. Time to stick your foot in the water, not just a toe …

    Call Flop … lead Turn if strt or spade come … check if blank Turn.
    Lead River if strt or spade hit … check if blank River.
    If raise Flop, then lead any Turn and fold to raise unless 9 or spade and then make BIG decision on bluffing or value betting River depending on size of raise .. hope for no KQs!!

  6. I think check call and then lead on turns that improve some other hands in your check-call range to 2pair+ (i.e. A,K,Q,J,T)

  7. Call.

    By process of elimination:
    Fold: Too tight. If we fold after flopping this much equity w/87s, then why did we call the raise pre-flop?
    Raise: Too dangerous. If villain is TAGy, this flop hits her range strongly. Facing a 3b, we are left with only unattractive options. Namely, giving up our equity by folding, calling with a lower SPR and turning our draw face-up, or making a hyper-aggro flop 4b*.
    Call: Just right. If villain *has* hit the flop and we make our hand on the turn or river we stand to win a medium-to-large sized pot. If we wiff on turn and villain bets large (3/4 pot+) we can fold. If we wiff on turn, and villain checks we see the river for free. If villain makes a bet we view as weak, such as <1/2 pot, we have the option of either check-call-leading the river (even if we wiff yet again on the river) or simply semi-bluff check-raising the turn.

    Observation: villain can't have AsXs since the As is on the board. While there are a few better FD combos (most dangerously QsJs which, on this flop, has us drawing dead excepting a perfect runner-runner 9s, 6s) there are far more combos of AK, AQ, AJ, AT, AxXs, that we have good equity against.

    *As Andrew describes her, we have no reason to believe this is a maniac villain. Accordingly, a slightly insane flop 4b on our part would likely work against some of villain's value holdings. However, villain will be willing to "go with" many of her value holdings. The strategy of a flop CR which is predicated on an anticipated light villain 3b, which we would then semi-bluff 4b seems to flawed fancy-play-syndrome.

    • “If we fold after flopping this much equity w/87s, then why did we call the raise pre-flop?”

      Maybe pre-flop was a mistake? Then we’d just be digging the hole deeper with this logic.

      Good observation about the As.

  8. I would usually call (maybe 75%), raise 25%. So, say I call this time. I should check raise more often, need to work on that.

    I bet a spade turn 80%, check-raise 10% and check-call 10%, and bet a non-spade turn 50%, check/call 40% and even check/fold some of the time (assuming 10%). Now the (non-spade) bet is more of a bluff.

    Then river is read specific. If I have a spade turn and not river, I would 90% bet river. If no spade on turn, but spade river, I would bet 90%. If no spade on turn or river, I would bluff about 1/4 of the time (I know that is probably not often enough – I need to work on that).

  9. Pre: it is somewhat questional call. We are against unknown, reasonable tight range and oop.we are 115bb deep, so not that much room to out play post. When we call, we plan to outplay in some point. It is god to consider already now in which point in a hand we have the highest leverage value given the stack sizes. This should giude decision making considering line choosing.

    Flop: i see hands that do not cb this board like mp+cutter. Then most ax hands do cb and some have pair to go along and air, bp cb board too. Willain can well have hit 2p, set, straight on this board, so he has reasonable value range to rep too. Now what line to take, if we raise now he folds weak+ air, continues with most of the range, 3bs strong range top2+. Then maybe sometimes he bluff 3b f w air. Considering stack sizes 3b from him uses high leverage force and we have to decide for whole stack. If we raise now we also miss the additional information we gain on turn when see his action. On the other hand, if we just call flop, it is much harder for us to represent strong range later. This is pretty tough decision to make and good example due to which pre might be a fold or 3b. We have the best leverage opportunity on turn, if he bets. If he checks behind it is ok too as we get free card to draw and bluff opportunity on river. If we call flop he is going to barrel a lot of turns, so we will get our chance to outplay w turn raise. I see hands like aq, aj, ax, that are folding on turn to raise.

    It seems none of the options is good and we probably should fold. If we play despite the fact it is somewhat more difficult to rep strong on many turns, i make a move on turn. He seems nitty, so maybe he does not realize that deep weakening effect calling flop has on our range. We have max leverage on turn, so it is best line of worst alternatives. this way we have also chance to catch him equity wise if fc falls.

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