Thanks for the comments on this week’s WYP, everyone. You all seem to agree with my thinking during the hand, which was that Villain’s line just doesn’t make sense. People often use that as an excuse to call, since they can’t put their opponent on a value hand, but in this case I couldn’t put him on a bluff either.
Thereyougoagain makes a good case for why Villain won’t see the river with many Jacks:
“as a player who rarely raises pre flop, villain has now raised under the gun..imo the only jack in his range is jj..on that flop i cant see villain leading with jj into 3 players on a flop that absolutely smashes his opponents pre flop calling range.(especially being loose passive in small pots)”
Even if we do put some other Js in his pre-flop/flop range, I’d expect a slightly larger raise on the river.
The size of his river raise is more consistent with thin value from a non-straight hand, but I agree with WPS22 that it doesn’t really make sense to check those hands on the turn and then raise them on one of the worst river cards in the deck:
“Why would villain check back 2 pair on the turn, when it’s still a relatively strong hand, then raise a bet w/ it on the river, when it’s relative strength has decreased significantly?
Not to mention that regardless of the turn action, a raise w/ 2 pair otr just makes no sense. You are folding out the vast majority of worse hands and getting called by the vast majority of better ones.”
I don’t generally expect to see river bluff-raises from this sort of player. The size of his raise seems like he expects to be called, and I just don’t see him having a lot of hands that need to bluff in his range after the pre-flop and flop action. Eric makes the best case for how Villain could possibly show up with a bluff:
“Without the waitress I think it is a fold.
With the waitress I think it is a call.
He might think you are too busy and will just fold to a raise without thinking.
Plus if you had a good hand (as good as you have or better) he might think you would be more interested in seeing what he does (and how he does it) in case you have a decision to make when he makes a possibly large raise.”
What About Raising?
The award for most thought-provoking comment of the week goes to eldodo42, who suggests,
“The only really interesting move is shoving:
1. his range practically doesn’t contain AJ (both because he checked behind OTT and because he raised too small OTR: he should expect you to call a larger raise when you have Jx)
2. your range can contain AJ (which you meant to c/r OTT and are now trying to suck some value from weak hands)
3. we know he has a fold button.
Thus, we expect him to fold Jx a non-negligible fraction of the time, and to fold anything weaker than that almost all the time (he would have weaker stuff than that since he’s aggressive in bigger pots, so he might be bluffing here).”
To be honest, this isn’t something that I considered at the time. Generally I pride myself on thinking through all of my options, even the unconventional ones, so I was chastened by his comment.
That said, I don’t think raising is good here. To be correct, it would need to be not just +EV but more +EV than calling. The fact that Villain will fold his bluffs isn’t actually an argument for shoving, since we can beat those by calling anyway. If most of the merit in shoving comes from beating bluffs, we can just call.
To make a case for shoving, then, we have to think about whether we can get Villain off of better. I’m immediately skeptical of a plan to make Villain fold the second nuts. Although Hero’s line isn’t entirely inconsistent with AJ, it’s not exactly standard either, and players with the second nuts, especially when it’s a draw that just came in, aren’t going to do mental gymnastics to find a fold.
I do think Villain would fold non-straight value hands like sets, but that’s actually the category of hands I’m most comfortable excluding from his range based on the action prior to the river. If these were a bigger chunk of his range, I could see shoving, but I just don’t think he checks the turn and raises the river with them very often at all.
This is one of those WYPs where I was hoping to get some insight from you all, because I’m still not sure what the right play was based on the information I had at the time. It’s hard not to be biased once you know the results.
There was one bit of information from my first post that no one seemed to latch on to: “ we don’t have a lot of experience playing together. From what little I’ve seen he seems to be…”
My reads here were very tentative. The further you venture into exploitabile play, the more confident you need to be in the reads you’re trying to exploit. I don’t have to be good terribly often to warrant calling, and since his line didn’t make a lot of sense as a value hand either, I have to be pretty damn confident he wouldn’t bluff before I decline those odds and fold.
In the actual hand, I thought for a while and then folded. Villain showed me 97o.
We played together for several hours after that, and I never again saw anything that contradicted the reads I gave here. Sometimes people just do spazzy stuff. Should I expect it 17% of the time from this guy? I’m still not sure.
An Addendum Concerning Shoving
Later in the night, Villain and I played a big pot where he check-raise-called about 150 BBs on the turn with 33 on a 9h 4h 3d 7d board. Granted there were a number of draws on the board, but he was still pretty unlikely to get his money in good with bottom set and that action, which makes me doubt his willingness to fold the second nuts in this hand.