What’s Your Play? Turned an Underfull Results

In retrospect, I think that What’s Your Play? Turned an Underfull was a poor choice for this feature. The things I have to say about it are much too specific to a certain type of player, and to make matters worse I didn’t establish very well in the original post that Villain was that type of player. But here we are, so I’ll go ahead and say what I have to say about it.

Hero has a pretty good hand, as long as no one shows much interest in the pot. It is definitely not good enough to 3-bet and probably not even to call a raise. Hero’s options are either betting for kind of thin value and folding to a raise or bluff-catching.

It’s difficult for Hero to represent a bluff here, because this board smacks his range for calling a relatively large 3-bet out of position pretty. There are a lot of combos of trips and full houses in Hero’s range, and when he doesn’t have those he probably has some showdown value against the range he might hope to bluff Villain off of – I’m thinking here of KQ or JJ. Even if Hero turns decent pairs like 99 and 88 into bluffs, his range for firing turn and river is pretty strong, and Villain really shouldn’t do a lot of bluff-catching. Assuming Villain checks back some full houses on the flop, he can probably even folk AK to multiple bets.

This makes it hard for Hero to extract much value by betting. If you’re going to bet the turn, I agree with those who advocate small bets of 1/3 to 1/2 the pot on turn and river, with the intention of folding to a raise.

I’m a little more optimistic about bluff-catching than some commenters. Hero’s tentative read is that Villain has a wide 3-betting range, so he should be seeing the flop with a lot more air than Hero. Given the strength of Hero’s pre-flop call, I definitely don’t think Villain is betting anywhere near 100% of his whiffs on the flop. Among other things, it’s a good spot for a delayed c-bet precisely because he will also be checking some full houses and some pretty good trips and pairs.

Basically I see two big advantages and one small one to a turn check:

1. Induce bluffs, which will often include multiple big barrels.

2. Induce lighter river calls if Villain checks again. Villain is going to be conscious of defining his hand as probably-not-the-nuts after two checks, and he’ll probably be willing to call a big river bet after doing so. I can see Hero getting nearly as much value with a river bomb as with two small bets, so I don’t think he loses terribly much, if anything, from Villain’s bluff-catchers relative to a bet-bet line.

3. The smaller advantage is that it strengthens Hero’s check-check range. It’s hard to check strong hands multiple times, so when I think it’s close I like to err on the side of doing so just to strengthen that range and make myself more unpredictable. One potential upside of this is that Hero may occasionally get Villain to value bet worse on two streets.


PokerStars – $2 NL FAST (6 max) – Holdem – 6 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4: http://www.pokertracker.com

BTN: 103 BB (VPIP: 21.02, PFR: 18.47, 3Bet Preflop: 11.43, Hands: 161)
SB: 100 BB (VPIP: 20.21, PFR: 15.96, 3Bet Preflop: 6.41, Hands: 191)
BB: 93.5 BB
UTG: 27.39 BB (VPIP: 48.00, PFR: 20.00, 3Bet Preflop: 17.65, Hands: 25)
MP: 107.66 BB (VPIP: 26.15, PFR: 24.62, 3Bet Preflop: 3.70, Hands: 69)
Hero (CO): 271.68 BB

SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB

Pre Flop: (pot: 1.5 BB) Hero has Tc Td
fold, fold, Hero raises to 2 BB, BTN raises to 7 BB, fold, fold, Hero calls 5 BB

Flop : (15.5 BB, 2 players) Ah Ad Qh
Hero checks, BTN checks

Turn : (15.5 BB, 2 players) Th
Hero checks, BTN bets 11 BB, Hero calls 11 BB

River : (37.5 BB, 2 players) 8h
Hero checks, BTN bets 26 BB, Hero calls 26 BB

BTN shows Ac Qs (Full House, Aces full of Queens) (Pre 43%, Flop 100%, Turn 98%)
Hero mucks Tc Td (Full House, Tens full of Aces) (Pre 57%, Flop 0%, Turn 2%)
BTN wins 88.1 BB

8 thoughts on “What’s Your Play? Turned an Underfull Results

    • Probably would have lost less with a 1/3 pot, 1/3 pot and fold to any raise line, but I don’t think minimizing losses should be the goal here. Until raised, I think we can expect to be ahead of Villain’s range, so getting money into the pot should be the priority.

  1. I made the mistake of assuming that villain would bet the flop because he would want to get stacks in with a hand this strong. I guess he’s good enough to know that you are good enough to never get stacks in here.

    Against most people, I am betting this flop expecting to get called by Ax, KK, QQ, heart draws, and maybe even TT-JJ or KJ. Checking back looks very strong.

    What I dont understand is that this turn card was sent to this guy by an angel and he still didnt get max value from it. I am at least going pot pot if not pot shove expecting to get called by K high flushes and smaller boats. You’re not going to get called by too many worse hands anyway, so why not go for the max vs the hands that will call you?

    • Yeah it’s really not that easy to stack someone here. I don’t have a lot of heart draws in my range, and most of the pairs you mention aren’t going to the felt. I think balancing whatever Villain is going to do with the rest of his range is more important than maximizing with this hand. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t bet though.

      • Agreed. I think knowing your villain is key. In the 1/2 games where I play, people have more Kx of hearts in there range after this flop and I don’t think they are ever getting away from a bet-pot-pot line with it and certainly not with any boat. I think they are mostly the “I put you on AK” type.

        I do understand why balancing is more important in tougher games though.

  2. I didn’t want to launch a diatribe in the pre-results discussion with what is essentially a single axiom “If there was a time to pot control a full house, this would be it.” I’m certainly no judge of if your play was optimal or not but my actions would have mimic’d your own in this spot.

  3. This must be the hand of the ‘month’ … I have seen this very often lately and read each player in each case correctly for their holdings. The lower FH over-valued their hand in all but one case including a called 4-bet shove!!

    Can we get away from this hand on the River? V totally disregards 4th heart on board and bets out into this board. What does he think Hero has that would call a bet here … not that he is going to check it through but how much can we narrow his range BECAUSE the River is a heart, if any?

    Possible results oriented comment … I think we shouldve bet out on the Turn so we might be able to talk ourselves into a c/f on some Rivers. By betting the Turn we show our interest in the pot and perhaps put us into position to lose less on the River since I think V would bet smaller trying to induce c/r. Of course we want to ‘allow’ V to get more into the pot when we are ahead … but what Im getting at is does V give away any additional hand strength by betting out on this River if we bet Turn and check River or is it the opposite where V is more likely to b/f Rivers with weaker holdings so we ‘have’ to call more Rivers if we lead Turn and check River.

    Slow down bessy … Does V range widen or narrow if we bet Turn and check River with this board?

    Or are we just calling all bets and no raises with this hand no matter what hits the board? GL

    • Don’t let the results bias you – my primary objective here wasn’t to lose the least if I was behind.

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