Rate Our Play

In an effort to blog a bit more often (about topics other than new podcasts), I’m going to try out a new sort of post that hopefully will be similar to but less time-consuming (for me) than a multi-street What’s Your Play?.

It’s called Rate Our Play. I’m going to post a hand featuring multiple decisions points for both myself and my opponent(s). Your job will be to comment on any mistakes (or choices that surprised you in a good way) that you think either of us made. I’ll participate in the comments as I can and return later in the week to post my own thoughts about the most controversial points.

The Game: $10/$25 NLHE at Maryland Live, fresh game. Villain has $2500, I cover.

Reads/History: Villain and I played together for an hour or so the previous night, with him on my immediate left. He made a nuisance of himself, repeatedly 3- and 4-betting me and raising my c-bets. He was playing less than $2500 that night; nevertheless, he did seem to be a serious, probably professional, player.¬†I gave up without a fight in something like five such spots and never really played back at him, so although I doubt he thinks I’m a fish, that history may color his view of me.

Decision Point 1: Villain opens to $75 with Tc 7c on the Button.

DP 2: Hero calls Qs Ts in BB.

Flop: ($160 in pot) As Ad Js.

DP3: Hero checks.

DP4: Villain bets $125.

DP5: Hero calls.

Turn: ($410 in pot) 7s.

DP 6: Hero bets $125.

DP 7: Villain calls.

River: ($660 in pot) 4s.

DP 8: Hero checks.

DP 9: Villain bets $525.

DP 10: Hero calls.

Leave a comment about any decision point(s) you find surprising or mistaken, and I’ll share my thoughts later in the week. Feedback on this format for a post is also encouraged!

10 thoughts on “Rate Our Play

  1. My expectation was that you would check-raise on the flop. I didn’t necessarily have an explanation for that play and now I’m thinking of why check-call is better. I guess we have very few aces in our range since we’re likely to three-bet pre-flop. Does that lead to check-calling any hand we’d continue with? If we have any aces in our range, are we check-calling them as well. I think I’ll go with yes to both, but I’m not very confident.

  2. DPs 1-4: Uncontroversial/good/standard. 10/10

    DP 5: Can consider a c/r to pressure Jx/underpairs, but I would probably c/c here as well. I would c/c almost all my Ax and Jx, so if I start check-raising here I think my range will be too unbalanced toward bluffs. We’re crushing many of the hands our c/r folds out. Even though we have decent equity, it’s a bad situation when we get 3bet on this flop (unless we think he’s very bluff-heavy and can comfortably 4bet rip). 10/10.

    DP 6: I think my default would be to go bigger here if I lead, like $275. But your bet size is probably better. When he has a “good” hand that you beat, his calling range is going to be insensitive to sizing between 1/4 and 2/3 pot. Whether you bet $125 or $275, Ax is continuing, worse flushes are continuing, Jx is probably continuing, especially with a spade kicker. KsX is probably continuing. However, his range should have a disproportionate amount of hands that may continue for $125 but will almost always fold to $275 (floats, underpairs, single spades, etc). After all, he opened the button and cbet flop. People do those things with wide ranges. And he may consider checking back Jx or other showdown value type hands on the flop instead of cbetting.

    As an aside, if I’m playing well I lead here instead of checking against an opponent who’s fighting for pots, but sometimes I autopilot check here. Pretty disastrous for this to check thru. 10/10 nice bet.

    DP 7: Optimistic, undisciplined call. Needs 19% equity based on pot-odds alone. If you have the 16 combos of one-spade KQ/QT/KT and all 45 combos of flushes, he only has 21% equity. Throw in a few combos of Jx or Ax or whatever and other value hands and it’s -EV to call even if river checks thru 100% of the time. But of course, river won’t check thru 100% of the time, or even close. Which makes calling worse. 3/10.

    DP 8: A bet is probably only getting called by worse when he has exactly the 9s or 8s. You might occasionally get raised off your hand by bluffs, and you simply might not get called by worse often enough to justify a value bet. Ks/boats never fold. Your hand is now a quintessential bluffcatcher, easy check. 10/10

    DP 9: He gets to the river with the stone bottom of his range and no showdown value, and decides to bluff it. Not unreasonable, especially because he can get to this spot with the Ks and maybe some boats where he just called turn because he had the board so crushed. Except if he called turn because he put you on a flush draw, should he now bluff when the draw gets there? Also, when you check river, it seems a lot like you have a bluffcatcher. And you’re the wrong guy to fuck with when it comes to folding out bluffcatchers. At the very least this bluff is consistent with his turn play, so 6/10.

    D10: Pretty near the top of your range here, standard call. 10/10

    Biiiiiiigggggg shocker a perfect score for our hero. NH!

  3. DP 6:

    Hard for me to evaluate this one as I’m not sure what hero’s assumptions are about how villain perceives this bet.

    -I’d be curious to see the EV of leading this sizing with almost all of hero’s range.

    -My guess is that not splitting range here will be better and easier to play.

    -There are good cases for ch/calling and possibly ch/raising. The big ones to me are….

    1) villain has a lot in his range he’ll fire a 2nd barrel with. Most of the time villain is just going to fold all the junk he would have potentially fired a 2nd barrel with. (I realize the turn may not be a natural candidate for his double barreling range but if he views hero as passive, he may deem it a perfectly good card to barrel). If I had to guess, I think the 7s is a pretty neutral EV card. As in, it doesn’t drastically favor OOP or IP. This could be totally wrong :)…but I didn’t cheat by running a PIO sim first!

    2) I think this line will allow us to build a bigger pot against our value targets

    3) The turn lead acts as a sort of blocking bet that puts villain in an awkward spot with a lot of the hands we’d like to build a pot with. My assumption is that most villains will just call with their non full Ax.

    DP 7: Calling seems fine to me, especially against a random, albeit competent, live player (which is probably how villain views hero).

    DP 9: If villain is trying to fold out single pairs, I think he can bet a bit less…something closer to 1/2 or 2/3 pot. Given the passivity he has seen from his opponent up to this street, I can’t blame him for bluffing here. Having the T isn’t too great as it blocks draws from hero’s range, but…YOLO.

  4. DP5: Doesn’t seem like a x/r spot to me at all. Doesn’t Villain have too much Ax? Also, there are very few bad turn cards for Hero.

    • Should have said ‘Too much Ax in his continuing range.’

      Villain has lots of weaker hands in his c-bet range but not so many we can get value from with a x/r

  5. DP6: I’m not so sure this card is so much better for us than it is for Villain. There’s good reason for Villain to do a lot of checking with Kxss on this flop, which would give more support for the idea of leading insofar as Villain will have some flushes that wouldn’t have bet the flop, whereas we’ll have all of our flushes since we’ll check this flop at 100% frequency. However, my guess is that at least some of the live poker player pool is going to automatically bet Kxss without doing much thinking about it. So, I’m not sure about building a leading range on this card (although, using a small sizing may mitigate some of these concerns as well since this implies that we get to lead a wider range).

    • It seems like the question you’re asking on the turn is “Who has more flushes in his range?” That’s not the same as asking, “Who has the stronger range on this turn card?” The really important thing here is that I rarely have nothing and often have trips or better, while Villain frequently has nothing or a weak pair, even though he too has plenty of flushes and Ax in his range.

  6. DP 6:
    This decision surprised me most, probably due to sizing. I guess I was wondering what story we are imparting to villain with this small lead? That we have a pocket pair we still think is best, therefore we value/block bet it? (A range like 88-QQ, minus JJ, although JJ would be a decent small lead to perhaps induce Ax to raise). That we ourselves hold a random Ax? That we have made a flush?

    DP 8-10: Dynamic well played with the check here at DP8! The element of inducing Villain comes to fruition when we’re able to check/induce and call a fairly safe river 4s, KXss notwithstanding. NH.

    • The point is not to tell some very specific “story” with the turn bet. The point is that this is a bet I could make with a huge chunk of my range, everything from no-pair to trips to flushes. It leaves Villain with no good options for big chunks of his range.

  7. Haven’t read other comments yet, but some initial impressions:
    1) Pre: standard open, standard BB defense (and not a hand that makes sense to put into a 3-betting range imo)
    2) Flop: drawy board that favors villain’s range somewhat (i think). larger bet sizing makes sense imo. andrew has option to checkraise or checkcall. both seem reasonable imo.

    DONKING FLOP? i suppose andrew could also create a donking strat. i wouldn’t generally donk any HU without the betting lead, but exploitively i would expect villain to tend to fold to andrew’s first donk given history (a good result for andrew). and villain raising a donk is a pretty good result for andrew also (as andrew can now 3-bet — say donk 120, villain makes it 400, andrew makes it 1000 with a ton of fold equity imo, and still has an easy decision to call-off if villain jams)

    3) Turn: ANDREW’s tiny DONK: card improves Andrew’s range much more than villain’s, so donk makes some theoretical sense i think. but i’m also not sure what it’s targetting (other than spazzes). villain will call, and be correct in doing so, with his trips and K high flush draws now. Free cards aren’t as dangerous as they might appear against a very wide villain range here (maybe he’s still on an ~35% range ), so I prefer checking and giving villain a chance to keep firing, even though I think villain checks behind a lot. If I did donk I’d donk larger to deny odds (maybe 55% pot, which is a size i like with my bluffs too).

    I HATE villain’s turn call. The bet is tiny and he has position, but he just got massacred by this turn if he wasn’t already.

    4. River: Andrew’s hand is mostly a bluff catcher now, but is a pretty strong one, so I like check-calling. I don’t hate villain’s bluff (maybe it knocks out Andrew’s Ax at this point?), i just hate how he got here.

Comments are closed.