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, 31 March 2011

Will he risk all that Equity?

md261 on 31st march 2011

PokerStars $23+$2 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100)
Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: Hero (5427 in chips)
Seat 3: Villain (2253 in chips)
Seat 4: Player 4 (1320 in chips)
Player 4: posts small blind 50
Hero: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [7c 7s]
Villain: raises 120 to 220
Player 4: folds
Hero: calls 120
*** FLOP *** [Kd Th 8h]
Hero: checks
Villain: checks
*** TURN *** [Kd Th 8h] [Kc]
Hero: bets 200
Villain: raises 480 to 680
Hero: calls 480
*** RIVER *** [Kd Th 8h Kc] [5c]
Hero: checks
Villain: checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Hero: shows [7c 7s] (two pair, Kings and Sevens)
Villain: mucks hand
Hero collected 1850 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1850 | Rake 0
Board [Kd Th 8h Kc 5c]
Seat 1: Hero (big blind) showed [7c 7s] and won (1850) with two pair, Kings and Sevens
Seat 3: Villain (button) mucked [Ah 6d]

The middle-stacked Villain in the above hand is a decent lower-stakes break-even player, although he does not play often enough to be considered a reg.

Pre-Flop: The Villain puts in a small raise from the button. Being fairly deepstacked the Hero elects to just call, the Villain is not going to be raising super-wide here, and reraising may encourage a stack from a large part of his range. You generally don't want to bloat the pot Out Of Position with a hand like 77.

Flop: In previous hands the Villain has had to fold often when the Hero has used the bubble situation to force the Villain off weak holdings by check-raising his c-bets. Consequently the Hero checks this wet board, reasoning that the Villain will be afraid of the 'inevitable' check-raise, so if the Villain bets, it is an easy fold.

Being Out Of Position, betting is not an attractive prospect for the Hero, as many hands can call a bet here and 77 is unlikely to improve on later streets. The Villain checks behind. This strongly indicates he does not have a hand he is willing to get all-in with, as he surely would have bet AK and KQ, assuming he could reshove over the 'inevitable' check-raise. Furthermore, he is unlikely to slowplay vulnerable made hands on this draw heavy flop.

When the Villain checks, his range will mostly consist of Pairs lower than a K (including JJ=QQ), A high, and a large variety of drawing hands.

Turn: The offsuit K on the turn is the perfect card. It is highly unlikely he has a K now. It is now time for the Hero to bet since his hand is liekely best, and it is a draw heavy board. The Villain raises, an unusual and unexpected move. He is a good enough player to have bet the flop if he had a K, but would probably just call with QQ-JJ for pot control in this bubble situation. QQ + JJ are possibilities, as is AT, but one would still expect him to flat call here most of the time. It is most likely that the Villain thinks the Hero is trying to steal the pot. The Villain is therefore very likely to be raising here as a bluff or semi-bluff. The Hero calls with a plan in mind, folding to a river bet.

River: The pot is now 1750, the Villain has 1250 left, as much as the 3rd player on the bubble. the river card is a blank. From his previous analysis, one could expect he Hero to check with the intention of calling an all-in. THere is a competing logic however. The Villain is no fish, he is unlikley to bluff off his remaining stack at this point on the bubble, especially when he will be giving such great pot odds to the Hero.

Furthermore a large % of the Villain's range including weak pp's and A high would be beating the Hero's hand if the Hero has a missed draw. Consequently the Hero called the turn bet with the intention of folding to a river bet. For the Villain, this is a prime spot to get value with AT or JJ, but most players will be too afraid to squeeze value here, and will be happy and relieved to check behind and take down the pot.

The Villain's range here is very likely behind the Hero's after the river, but if he bets, it is hard to see how the Hero cannot be beaten.
The Villain checks and shows A high.


Monday, 14 March 2011

A Cautionary Tale

PezRez on 14th March 2011

PokerStars Game $46+$4 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100)
6-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: Hero (3704 in chips)
Seat 4: Player 4 (1500 in chips)
Seat 5: Player 5 (1585 in chips)
Seat 6: Hyperbowl (2211 in chips)
Hyperbowl: posts small blind 50
Hero: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Jd Jh]
Player 4: folds
Player 5: folds
Hyperbowl: calls 50
Hero: raises 150 to 250
Hyperbowl: calls 150
*** FLOP *** [Qh Th 4d]
Hyperbowl: checks
Hero: bets 200
Hyperbowl: raises 200 to 400
Hero: calls 200
*** TURN *** [Qh Th 4d] [Kd]
Hyperbowl: checks
Hero: checks
*** RIVER *** [Qh Th 4d Kd] [4s]
Hyperbowl: bets 600
Hero: calls 600
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Hyperbowl: shows [9d Qc] (two pair, Queens and Fours)
Hero: mucks hand
Hyperbowl collected 2500 from pot

This is a cautionary tale about understanding the level your opponent is on. I’m in the Big Blind with a pair of Jacks, which, for all that rubbish you read about JJ being ‘a classic trap hand’, is a great hand to hold. To make it better, I’m playing in position against a sole opponent. And not just any opponent. He’s not just a fishbowl, he’s much worse than that. He’s what md261 and I call a Hyperbowl; a player who is just so terrible, they should be played with at any opportunity.

I need to raise with my hand, for value and to stimulate the future flow of chips into the pot. I make it 2.5x, which is my usual preferred raise size in the Big Blind in blind-on-blind pots, as I find my out-of-position opponents rarely call raises of 3x or higher once the blinds are bigger. (On reflection however, I clearly should have raised to 3x or more; my opponent is a hyperbowl after all and will not dwell on his position. Since he’ll call bigger bets more frequently, I could have gotten some extra value).

The flop brings one overcard, a Queen. Hyperbowl checks and I bet 200 into 500. I don’t feel the need to check for pot control; my opponent is so bad there are many worse hands we will call with here, so there is a lot of value to be seized. I make my C-bet a little smaller than usual both because I want a little room to manoeuvre later in the hand and I’m not too worried about outdraws against a single opponent with such a wide range. Unfortunately I got minimum check-raised. Hmmph. Well at this stage, I still have a good hand, good pot odds and good position. And my opponent is a hyperbowl! What more do I need to say?

When I pick up a straight draw on the turn, the sensible way to respond to his check is to check it right back. I can take a free card with my draw whilst now exercising some pot control, with my opponent having shown some strength previously.

The river is where the big decision comes in. The pot is 1300, and my opponent bets 600. I look at the board, and I am thinking: what can he value-bet here? He check-raised me on the flop, indicating he probably had a piece then, perhaps a Queen. He probably checked the turn because he didn’t like the King. So why would he bet this river with a Queen? What could he expect to call? It doesn’t make much sense. I find it hard to picture a plausible hand my opponent would bet for value here, so call expecting to see a busted draw, complete air or something strong like an AK or straight.

Oops. My opponent held a Queen after all, value-bet me nicely and took down a good pot. So where did I go wrong? As some of you may have noticed, I lost sight of the fact my opponent was a hyperbowl. On the river, my reasoning relied on me putting him on a thought-process, when in fact I should have been hesitant to put him on a thought. My decision should have been just about the absolute strength of my hand and my pot odds. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have called; I may have done. Sometimes you need to pay off hyperbowls. But for sure my reasoning was wrong.

Like I said, a cautionary tale. Always pay attention to your opponents and consider their level of thought when you play. I lost sight of this here, and it may have cost me.