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Exploititative line.... or prudence?

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  • Exploititative line.... or prudence?

    • The villain is a young lad that fancies himself as a local poker shark. Despite this, he is still playing in a small, soft £1/£1 game, rather than one of the bigger games in the area. He's been playing here for a few years at least, and doesn't seem to be moving up in stakes, despite tales of crushing left, right and centre.
    • He likes to think of himself as a LAG, playing a wide range of hands (he played 52s)- but has been folding to my 3 bets/c-bets most of the night.
    • He is aware enough to recognise that £40 is a pot sized bet, rather than a huge overbet.
    • Villain has been drinking.
    • 2 of villains poker playing friends have just joined the table (they both called), and 1 is drunk. More drinks are being bought, and the table is loud and excitable. There's a lot of fun being had.
    • Villain has added to his (already adequate) stack before his friend turned up, knowing he was coming. He now had about £400 in front of him, and was the big stack. I'm not sure exactly what to make of this. Either it was bravado- he couldn't lose it all in one hand, so the extra money was actually irrelevant. He just wanted to show off to his soon to be arriving mates. He might have wanted to put pressure on his drunk friend to match his stack, with a plan to get money on the table to win it off him. Maybe he just wanted to gamble.
    • The 3 friends seem committed to trying to outplay each other.
    • There's probably more, but that's all I can remember!

    All these factors suggest to me that he's opening wider than the "default" AA/KK. Very possibly significantly wider to be able to show us how he outplayed us all (but mainly his mates).

    I am confident that none of the callers will want to get involved if I raise.

    If I turn my JJ into a bluff, and shove, it needs to work 70% of the time. One of the few advantages of being 50 is I think he will assign me a very tight range for this range- possibly even making an exploititative fold against me.

    Even if I'm wrong in my assessment of his wider range, and he raises all AA/KK/AK (28 combos) then folds the AKo, he's folding 12/28 combos- or 42% of hands. Throw in roughly 50% equity against the 4 AKs combos and 20% against 12 combos of AA/KK and I'm far from dead even if he's strong.

    So, what's the right move?

    The prudent fold? A penny saved is the same as a penny won.
    Call expecting good pot odds? If so, what's your plan?
    Jam? High variance, but profitable spots must be taken.

  • #2
    Part of the reason you're in this terrible spot is that you made a "standard" raise. You should raise a proper amount, not a standard amount.

    If you're going to raise, it probably has to be all in, otherwise you'll be pot committed pretty much no matter the flop.

    Also consider that there are 4 people to act behind you. Given all the players behind you, if you call, you have to be willing to let it go if you don't improve on the flop.

    Considering your info on villain, I think I'd stick it in and adjust if he shows up with AA/KK.


    • #3
      I would jam. The string of callers are probably marginal and based on all the info on vilain and the table you're probably ahead vs BB. But lets actually look at the math.

      Say villain is 3betting something decent, AA-TT,AKs-AJs,AKo-AQo. Your jacks have 47% equity vs this range.

      Click image for larger version

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      When we plug the numbers into a spread sheet this is a +EV shove if villain NEVER folds. Of course as villains 3bet range gets wider and we start getting more fold equity a shove only becomes more profitable.

      Click image for larger version

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      Credit to Splisuit at Red Chip Poker for the spreadsheet. You can grab it here,


      • MrFuss
        MrFuss commented
        Editing a comment
        Also nice to show the table you're not messing around and won't be getting run over.

    • #4
      Thanks for the replies.

      I always leave these questions up a few days before coming back to them to see how the response goes.

      Mayday- you raise (no pun intended) an interesting aspect about the "standard" raise that I don't think I have really considered- it's impact on 3 bet situations and stack depth/spr. I need to give it some thought, but I will just mention that no one is folding anything for what I assume you mean as a 3X raise when you say a "proper" amount. Since one of the goals of a preflop raise is to get heads up- or close to it- then a 3X raise does not work. We still end up OOP in a big pot. This situation was unusual because 7X did seem to be getting people to fold- but the dynamics of the table (or an unusual card distribution) led to so many callers. But you are absolutely correct that a 3X open, then being 3 bet to, say 15BB, would have allowed me to call and set mine comfortably- an option I lost with my initial bet sizing.

      Interesting that you both said jam! This is the option I went for.

      I am aware of criticism of recreational players that they get a hand like TT, that gets 3 bet and they seem to over play it and force their opponents to play perfectly, folding worse and calling with better. This is the reason I posted the hand. I was unsure whether I had fallen into that trap, and simply justified it to myself; or whether my play had merit. I was genuinely unsure.

      As it turned out, I did jam. He tanked, and eventually called. He asked if I wanted to run it twice- which I took to mean he wasn't confident about his hand (but neither was I after he called), but I refused and we ran it once. He turned over QQ, but I spiked a jack on the turn for the win!

      The QQ was an interesting hand for him to call with.

      It makes perfect sense for his raise to £40. I'm not sure what to make of his call though. If he puts my 4 bet jamming range as AA/KK/AK (none of which he blocks) then he is 60/40 behind, and his call is very marginally +EV. The rake would eat most of his profit. As soon as I don't jam all my AKo combos his situation gets worse (he has 27% equity against AA/KK/AKs). The strange thing is I felt his opinion of me was that I would be very tight in this spot. As I said in the OP, I would have been less surprised to see him open fold QQ because he was such a good player he knew I would only make that move with AA and KK! So either my assessment of his assessment of me was wrong, or he just got stuck in a "I can't fold QQ" mindset and he is actually worse than I thought as a player. The final option is he recognised that a fold is a -£40EV play, but the 27% equity play is only a -£33 play, and he is actually a very skilled player since he knows he is in a loss/loss situation, but worked out the lesser of 2 evils (if this is true he is a much better player than me!).

      Nice to finally post a hand I won though- even if I had to suck out to do it!


      • #5
        Why is it a terrible spot? I just rip it in with Jacks there and don't worry about it.
        The BB will often have a nice squeezing range there to go along with Premium hands.
        They would probably call it off with TT sometimes maybe even worse pairs as well
        as AK and probably AQ. I wouldn't even be surprised if after putting $40 bluffing with
        like KQs QJs they go with those too.


        • Andy Watson
          Andy Watson commented
          Editing a comment
          It's a terrible spot because I am out of position, multiway, in a big pot. At these stakes a 3 bet of £40BB is often a very strong range, with nowhere near a balanced range of bluffs.