PezRez and md261 are two of the poker world's most consistent 6-max SNG players. Together they run, which offers coaching and staking services. Here they dissect hands and games they've played. Also found at:

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Overshoving for Value

PezRez on 23rd September 2010

PokerStars Game $36+$3 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20)
Seat 1: Player 1 (1500 in chips)
Seat 2: Player 2 (1500 in chips)
Seat 3: Player 3 (1500 in chips)
Seat 4: Villain (1500 in chips)
Seat 5: Player 5 (1500 in chips)
Seat 6: Hero (1500 in chips)
Player 2: posts small blind 10
Player 3: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Td Jc]
Villain: calls 20
Player 5: folds
Hero: calls 20
Player 1: calls 20
Player 2: folds
Player 3: checks
*** FLOP *** [Kd Ac 3s]
Player 3: checks
Villain: bets 20
Hero: calls 20
Player 1: calls 20
Player 3: calls 20
*** TURN *** [Kd Ac 3s] [2c]
Player 3: checks
Villain: checks
Hero: checks
Player 1: checks
*** RIVER *** [Kd Ac 3s 2c] [Qd]
Player 3: checks
Villain: bets 20
Hero: raises 1440 to 1460 and is all-in
Player 1: folds
Player 3: folds
Villain: calls 1440 and is all-in
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Hero: shows [Td Jc] (a straight, Ten to Ace)
Villain: shows [Qh Ks] (two pair, Kings and Queens)
Hero collected 3090 from pot

It’s the first hand of the tournament, and Villain limps UTG. As he is one of the biggest reasons I’m playing this table, a chance to mix it up with him cheaply with a speculative hand should not be missed, and I limp behind with JTo. We take the flop with four players.

When Villain minbets, I have 5-1 pot odds with my gutshot. On a rainbow flop, I have four clean outs to the nuts; trouble is, I only hit on the turn about one time in 11.5. However my implied odds look good. Only 20 to call, with 1460 behind, means that the potential payoff is huge. It’s my favourite fishy villain doing the betting, so there is a good chance I can get some decent value from him if I hit. And the turn might get checked round, in which case I get two chances to hit my hand. Even though I don’t close the action, this looks like a call to me.

Sure enough, the turn was checked round, and I hit my miracle card on the river. Villain now minbets again. The first thing to note is that the players behind me won’t be giving me much action – they have shown no strength and so I am better off trying to maximise my value against Villain. He bet the flop, which suggested he had a little piece, checked the turn perhaps from lack of confidence in his hand, and now he is betting the river. He might have very little, but he might just be betting because the Queen has made him two-pair.

I don’t believe that Villain is ever capable of folding two-pair. If I make a pot-sized raise of about 200, I might just get some value from a raggy Ace or even a King. But if I make the drastic all-in for 1460 into 190, if it gets called any significant percentage of the time, it will be the superior play. Even if he calls the raise of 200 80% of the time and the all-in only 15% of the time, it still works out to give me a higher cEV. As it is, I don’t think there will be a huge difference in his calling ranges for the two bets, so my choice is clear: in it goes!
As I suspected, Villain just couldn’t lay down two-pair.

Any time that you have the nuts and there is a hand your opponent may just not be able to fold, you should consider moving in, even if it is a ridiculous overbet (as in this case). Other examples would be a full house or nut flush when an opponent may have a lower flush; or to push a straight if you think your opponent may have flopped a set. In the long term, it will help your bottom line, even if you don’t feel very sophisticated shoving 1460 into a pot of 190...


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

"I can't fold trips!!!"

md261 on 15th Sept

PokerStars Game $70+$6 - Level V (75/150)
Seat 1: player1 (1360 in chips)
Seat 2: Hero(3170 in chips)
Seat 3: Villain(4470 in chips)
player1: posts small blind 75
Hero: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero[7s 6d]
Villain: raises 150 to 300
player1: calls 225
Hero: calls 150
*** FLOP *** [5c Ad 3h]
player1: checks
Hero: checks
Villain: bets 150
player1: folds
Hero: calls 150
*** TURN *** [5c Ad 3h] [4c]
Hero: bets 525
Villain: calls 525
*** RIVER *** [5c Ad 3h 4c] [Ah]
Hero: bets 2195 and is all-in
Villain: calls 2195
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Hero: shows [7s 6d] (a straight, Three to Seven)
Villain: shows [As Tc] (three of a kind, Aces)
Hero collected 6640 from pot

Hero somehow finds himself on a particularly juicy bubble, against a couple of enormous fish. Player1 is a standard big fish, and Villain is a classic Loose Passive hyper-fish. Villain Raises on the button; although he is chip leader, he is not raising to put pressure on, he is playing his cards, and raising with at least a semi-decent hand. The pot odds due to the Small blind calling combined with the fact they are both fish makes it a mandatory call with unsuited low-medium connectors.

The flop comes down and it is bad news for the heroic Hero, with a raise from the passive player, and a call from the Small blind, it is very likely that someone has hit the Ace. It gets checked round to the original raiser who min bets, the SB folds, and Hero calls. The fact that the Loose Passive Villain bet at all strongly implies he has an A, and the fact that he min-bet suggests he wants action with his "monster top pair". The other effect of the min bet, is that it gives enticing pot odds to Hero, the implied odds are such that if he hits his gutshot he may well be able to extract some serious value from the Loose Passive Villain.

Hero has his prayers answered, and the miracle gutshot hits on the turn, giving him the Nuts. It is now time to extract value. Given the chip stacks, Hero intends to put in 2 resonable size bets which Villain will definitely call, and will leave Hero as big stack.

But then another A hits on the river. This should actually make no difference, because from the Villain's point of view, it is unlikely that that card turned his hand from a loser into a winner (Hero would have to have a low 2pair like 34o for the A to make a difference). However, true fish find it hard to lay down Big hands on paper, you just can't fold Trip Aces! They are just too good a hand! If you get beaten when you hold trip Aces then it just wasn't meant to be, right?
Obviously this is wrong, but Hero takes advantage of this common line of thinking Big Fish have, and ups his river bet into an overpot stack, safe in the knowledge that Villain will suspect he's behind, but will be unable to make the "big laydown". Thus Hero extracts maximum value from his hand.

On a side note this approach has the opposite effect on quality players, if you stack rivers when you have monsters and suspect they also have a pretty hand, most will correctly work out the situation and chuck their hand into the muck. However, you can counteract this making the occasional big river bluff, safe in the knowledge that they will fold any big hand that it is obvious that they might hold (such as a staight when a flush comes out). Unless they are clairevoyant, they will be faced with a tough choice between calling to catch the occasional bluff they know you are making, and paying you off all those times you are not bluffing.