Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Bill-paying, or not? Conclusion

If you haven't read yesterday's post describing the decision I had to make, you might want to go back and do so before reading the end of the story here.

After thinking for a while, I decided to push. This wasn't tilty desperation. It was an educated guess that my top-top was ahead of more of Bill's range than it was behind. The specific table dynamics made that more true than it ordinarily would be with me taking just top pair against the range with which Bill would be expected to play this aggressively back at me.

The shove was somewhat problematic, in that he would mostly call only with the hands that beat me, and fold the ones that I beat. (The exception was if I somehow persuaded him that I had A-A or K-K, he might fold J-J or Q-Q.) But as I said yesterday, I thought calling was the worst of my choices, because it would make subsequent decisions even murkier, and from out of position to boot.

He took less than two seconds to call, which triggered all of my "uh-oh" reflexes. I showed my A-10, and he showed his...

...pocket jacks.


I had misread him. Maybe I had overthought it. Maybe I had given too much weight to the situational dynamics being likely to broaden Bill's range, and too little weight to the simple fact that in years of playing with him, he had almost never been this pushy against me unless he had me beat.

But just as I was filling my brain with regrets and second-guessing, the dealer slapped down an ace on the turn, giving me top two pair, and leaving poor Bill with just two cards in the deck he could catch to win (the remaining two jacks). The river blanked, and I got a very lucky double-up. I wasn't proud of the win, but I wasn't going to give the chips back.

Sometimes in poker you do the right thing and lose, sometimes you do the wrong thing and win.


Anonymous said...


top/top always wins

Eddie said...

It may seem awkward to shove in a spot where you are only getting called by worse, but it's worse to fold in a spot where you are more likely ahead than behind given the pot and stack sizes.

You're putting your remaining ~175 to win the ~115 that's in the pot, so roughly 3:2. Excluding the unlikely 2-pair hands, he's only holding 28 possible hands that beat you:

If you can think of 42 combinations of hands which he might pull that move with, then your raise is the right one.

You could even make the list above smaller, if you are more convinced that he would have never played the hand that way with AA, KK or QQ.

The last thing I have to say is that even if you figure that he didn't have enough combos to make the raise, doing it will show the table that you won't back down, so if they are very nitty, they'll become even tighter, which will allow you to make that money back with more steals.

LOLfolding said...

Like I said in my earlier comment, I think this is an acceptable shove against many other opponents, but not against Bill. Against Bill, you're either winning the $45 additional from his raise (unlikely) or your losing the entirety of your stack (barring a suckout against his non-set hands). I can't see Bill raise-folding against you with the description of your play in that game. Old nits like Bill don't wait to trap the table aggressor with something marginal like top pair middling kicker.

Your plan to convince him to fold JJ or QQ is a fool's errand and I think you know that. Once he commits the money for the raise, he's getting the rest of it in 100% of the time. JJ is absolutely in his limping range and QQ might be although it's less likely.

It's always nice to find a little grace in the deck when we make bad decisions.

I'm sure I've read this before on your blog (longtime reader, onetime fist bumper at IMOP), but do you play deep like you would be after this hand or do you leave somewhat soon after? I feel like most of your hand examples involve $200 stack sizes. I don't know that I can remember a time where you wrote about playing $500+.

lightning36 said...

Great posts, Grump. I was one for two -- guessed that he had J-J based on your set-up details, but guessed wrong in that I thought you'd fold.

Rob said...

Ok, so two things. As others speculated, he limped with those pocket jacks KNOWING you were gonna raise with whatever you had, based on what you had been doing for how many hands in a row up until that point? So that's a good lesson for all of us and keeping in mind our own table image, and if you've done anything recently to revise that image, as you surely had.

Second, this is tougher....try to look back on this one and enjoy it and see if you can convince yourself that it makes up for the next time you do the right thing, someone makes a horrible play and then sucks out on you!

Anonymous said...

Shove is fine, given slightly awkward stacks. If we were deep, I'd probably raise to 150, fold to re raise. Check turn behind and reevaluate on river.

For what it's worth, I would probably just call here. You have a very strong hand out of your range. In the 1-2 and 2-5 games I play in, once we're 5 handed people would do this a lot with K-10, Q-10, J-10, 10-9, 10-8, but occasionally, people also do this with air. The call actually does not slow down x10 since they think you're floating/calling with overs (or even an underpair to 10s). This call is often follwoed by x10 villains with a 30-50% pot bet on turn on "safe" cards which you can then min raise. Bluffs bet bigger and you can call off. Ignore sets - TPTK vs set in this spot needs to pay off. In my game, I'd ignore overpairs because no-one is going to miss a chance to raise/3 bet pre flop. Esp ot with JJ/QQ (more vulnerable).

I find villain's J-J surprising given the lack of pre flop aggression. I think you played fine.

5 handed, variance goes up and I think you'll find exact same line (with final call by villain) often yields x10 showdows from villain (at least the higher part of that range). Of course, that final call is dependent on your table image not being too tight on big bet bluffs. This is also why I liek the call line better.