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Ok no dilly dally, blabbity bloobity intros and all that. Lets get to the hands.
You raise under the gun with AQ offsuit in a 9 handed tournament and the tight player two to your left 3-bets. The loose player on the button calls. Here is what you voted:
4-Bet Small 6%
4-Bet Big 7%
If you are reading these poll questions and claim you can’t answer because you don’t have enough information, always assume that if I don’t actually give you anymore information, that none exists. OK? Guys, it’s not that hard. We are looking for the “best” answers and understand that you won’t always make the same play and that other factors matter. What also matters is being able to answer all these questions with incomplete information to the best of your ability. Poker is a game of incomplete information. If I asked, “What do you do with KQ?” and the options are raise, fold, and call, you CAN actually come up with an answer to that question. In most cases, you would raise with KQ, sometimes you would fold, and other times you would call. The “best” answer here is probably raise. Get it?
OK, back to the hand. I like FOLD with the AQ best. The first player is tight and re-raised you from early position when YOU raised under the gun. The loose player on the button calling was mostly a decoy in the question because he isn’t all that relevant to your decision. AQ off suit, I didn’t say it was suited so that should imply to you it was off suit, plays very poorly post flop against a tight player raising from that position. Your “reverse implied odds” in this situation are terrible. If you flop the Queen, or the Ace, you are still going to be behind a decent amount of the time. When you are ahead, you probably won’t get much action. If it comes Queen high and he has AK or JJ, you may win a little. If it comes Ace high and he has Kings, again, not much action coming your way. ESPECIALLY in a tournament, this is NOT the kind of situation you want to speculate.
The type of hands you want to call a tight players 3-bet in this situation are pairs and suited connectors. A-Q is just asking for trouble. Dump it.
A tight player from under the gun raises to 450 with blinds at 100-200 with a 25 ante. A decent player in middle position calls, and you defend your big blind with 66. The flop comes T-6-5 rainbow. You check, the tight player bets 750 and the middle position player calls. It’s midway through the tournament and you have 12,000 in chips. Tight player has 25,000 in chips and middle position has 14,000. What is your play? You said:
All in 15%
Raise to 2200 36%
Raise to 4000 20%
This is another perfect example of a hand with limited information, where “it depends” is a fair answer. We are looking for the BEST answer, though, and the play you should make most often in this case is CALL with the intention of slow playing to maximize value.
I’ve said many times that being “balanced” isn’t all that important when playing tournaments, but this is the kind of situation where you may want to look for balance. If you check-raise that board, your range of hands is polarized. What that means is simply, you either have a monster hand, a total bluff, or maybe in some cases a draw. Would you check-raise a pair of tens in this spot? Doubtful. You would probably call, though, and if your opponents can beat a pair of tens there is a good chance they will put more money in the pot if you just call.
If you check-raise, this will set off alarm bells that you have two pair or better. Unless you plan on bluffing a decent amount in these spots, it’s not recommended to check-raise here. Now, if the board had a flush draw present it changes EVERYTHING! Now you could represent hands like a straight/flush draw combo, or a pair and a flush draw, or even just the nut flush draw. The more draw heavy the board, the more you can actually disguise the strength of your hand with a raise.
One last reason CALL is best, is it allows your opponents that are way behind to catch up a little so they can draw slim or dead. If the UTG player had just AK, he is folding to a raise on the flop. If he catches an Ace or a King on the turn, though, he might give you action drawing dead. If the other opponent has a hand like JT, you give him a chance to catch a Jack or a Ten on the turn. He hits the Jack and you are in great position to double up. If you check-raise the flop, though, you might lose him.
It’s HARD to flop sets! When you do flop them, your mindset shouldn’t be, “Better take what’s in the middle now and protect the hand from getting beat.” So many of you responded with that, especially those choosing the All In option and its terribly wrong I promise you! You need to maximize value with hands this strong, and part of that process sometimes includes giving players a cheap draw to beat you. Sometimes they will beat you. C’est la vie.
The second best play is clear: raise to 2200. The other two options are quite silly. Raising to 4000 on a dry board is pointless, and going all in could kill action you might otherwise get. With a raise to 2200, a player with an over pair will probably at least call to see the turn.
Everyone folds to the small blind and he raises. You defend your big blind heads up with 6-7. Yes, you should be defending with this hand and a lot worse in these situations against the small blind. Position is POWER, don’t let the small blind run you over. You are in a great spot with position and also the ability to represent a really wide range of hands.
The flop comes T-8-5 he bets, and you call with an open ended straight draw. It’s not the best draw as a 9 could be trouble for you if your opponent has QJ, but it still gives you more than enough of a hand to continue to the turn. You should also assume that catching a 6 or 7 on the turn will give you the best hand often enough to merit a call.
The turn card is a Jack and your opponent checks. You:
I know, I know, you want more info. Tough cookie, that’s all you get. Of course, this situation is player dependent and your history with this player would be a factor, but as I said earlier, assume you have zero information and have never played a hand against this opponent.
The best play is to BET. Frankly, this would be true in most situations that went:
SB raise, BB call
SB bet flop, BB call
SB check turn, BB BET!
Not always, obviously, this should go without saying by now. In this particular case the value of your straight draw is significantly diminished. If you catch the 9 the board will be 5-8-T-J-9 so any old Queen or 7 makes a straight. The 4 would still be nice, but the hopes of a big pay day are gone once the Jack hits the turn. You are sitting there in position with no pair, but your opponent doesn’t know that!
Let’s look at the decision from your opponents perspective. What does he do with any of these hands:
Every one of those hands beats you, but if you bet the turn when the juicy Jack hits, what the heck can he really beat? Pretty much the only hand he can beat is the one you happen to have!
Hopefully your opponent folds right here, but if doesn’t, there are still some cards that could come off to help win you the pot. Board on the turn reads:
If the river comes any of the following cards:
It would either mean they helped your opponent improve, or they could all be scare cards your opponent would fold to a river bet against. Let’s say he had a hand like K-8 and called the turn. If the 7 hits the river you’ve made a pair, but you lose in a showdown. If you bet the river, though, he would have a tough time calling you since its not at all unreasonable for you to have a 9 in your hand the way the hand played out. This is what we call turning a pair into a bluff, and it’s a good spot for it most of the time.
If you do bet the turn here as a bluff, you usually are going to want to fire off another bluff attempt on the river. I say this assuming you have NO INFO on your opponent. As you get a better sense of how your opponent plays, you can bet this turn and give up on the river.
That will be $2500 please. Send all checks to the “Mushu Doggy Treat Fund.”