PezRez on 11th June 2011
PokerStars Game $70+$6 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100)
Seat 2: Villain (4067 in chips)
Seat 3: Player 3 (1200 in chips)
Seat 5: Player 5 (1383 in chips)
Seat 6: Hero (2350 in chips)
Hero: posts small blind 50
Villain: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Kc As]
Player 3: folds
Player 5: folds
Hero: raises 150 to 250
Villain: calls 150
*** FLOP *** [Qd 9s 7d]
Hero: bets 300
Villain: calls 300
*** TURN *** [Qd 9s 7d] [Ah]
Hero: bets 550
Villain: calls 550
*** RIVER *** [Qd 9s 7d Ah] [Kd]
Villain: bets 2200
Hero: calls 1250 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (950) returned to Villain
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Villain: shows [4d 4c] (a pair of Fours)
Hero: shows [Kc As] (two pair, Aces and Kings)
Hero collected 4700 from pot
First of all, I must offer my sincerest apologies for not having posted any new hands for over 2 months. I spent the time in Spain, brushing up on my Spanish, and so took a holiday from poker and posting. I’m now back and raring to go, albeit in a poker world which seems very different from the one which I left in April, after Black Friday, the repercussions of which are still being felt and I’m sure some of which remain to be seen. But ho-hum. [Some of you may notice that this hand is an old one, as the buy-in is no longer offered on Pokerstars (all these changes, sigh). This is in fact an interesting hand from several months back, which I had saved (with several more where that came from). ]
So this post is all about recognising your opponent’s perception of your range. My opponent in this hand is an excellent player who just loves to get all up in your grill. Contrasted with my opponent in ‘A Cautionary Tale’, who I needed to recognise had no thoughts/expectations/brain, this player is very likely to read the sequence of the hand in a certain way, which I was lucky enough to be able to exploit with the hand that was dealt to me.
So first things first: I’m second in chips, with the big stack, an excellent player, to my immediate left in the big blind. And I have AK. Contrary to how many people might feel about this situation, I’m not thrilled with my hand here. AK can be hard to play out of position, especially with this stack size and especially against a player of this calibre. I don’t really see any other options, however, than a standard-sized raise. My opponent calls. Uh-oh, here we go.
The Q97 flop is not good at all. Generally flops with a JT,QJ,J9,T9 etc combination are bad to continuation bet on, and I feel like my big-stacked opponent is highly likely to float me here. Nonetheless, I feel I probably have the best hand, he could fold, and it would just be too weak a way to play AK to check-fold when I miss here. I put out a grudging C-bet with my fingers crossed and my opponent quickly calls. Well, I did see it coming.
The turn brings likely salvation. A shiny Ace of hearts gives me top-top. You might think the thing to do now would be to check and allow my opponent, who is likely floating, to represent the scare card, then BAM! – hit him with the check-raise. However, I need to think how my opponent will perceive my various actions. True, when I check he will likely bet. But a call or raise will give away the fact that I definitely have a piece of this board here, and my action is likely to stop there. What if I bet? Well, my opponent would have expected me to C-bet with the majority of my range on this flop. The Ace would appear to hit my range solidly, but he knows I know this. When I bet strong, it’s probably not a middling Ace (A7-A9, for example), as I might prefer to check these hands, let my opponent bluff and avoid difficult situations. So it’ll be a big Ace (exactly what I have), OR... a bluff. He knows that the Ace looks like a tremendous scare card for me to bluff with. So when I bet, I think the range he will put me on will be big hands (big Aces, two pairs, sets etc.) or a shit-load of bluffs. In fact, since most regulars reliably bluff scare cards too often, the bluffs far outweigh the real hands. I think my tenacious opponent, with a mountain of chips, won’t be able to lay down any hand here, as he will think there is just too good a chance he can take this pot away from me. He calls.
The river gives me top two-pair and I feel pretty confident I’m ahead. The pot is 2200, and I have 1250 remaining. Perfect to push all-in, right? That would be the plan if I thought my opponent was value-calling me. But as I elaborated previously, I think he is quite possibly itching to make a move, and I need to give him an opportunity. So I check, he snap-pushes, I snap-call and he had pocket 4s! At least this time my estimation of my opponent was spot on.