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:

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A Simple Hand

PezRez on the 8th April 2012

PokerStars Tournament $27.58+$2.42 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20)
Seat 1: Player 1 (1630 in chips)
Seat 2: Player 2 (1900 in chips)
Seat 3: Hero (790 in chips)
Seat 4: Villain (1740 in chips)
Seat 5: Player 5 (1630 in chips)
Seat 6: Player 6 (1310 in chips)
Player 2: posts small blind 10
Hero: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [7s 5h]
Villain: calls 20
Player 5: calls 20
Semi-Pro15: calls 20
Player 1: folds
Player 2: calls 10
Hero: checks
*** FLOP *** [4h 6c 7h]
Player 2: checks
Hero: bets 60
Villain: calls 60
Player 5: folds
Semi-Pro15: folds
Player 2: folds
*** TURN *** [4h 6c 7h] [7c]
Hero: bets 140
Villain: calls 140
*** RIVER *** [4h 6c 7h 7c] [Kc]
Hero: checks
Villain: bets 620
Hero: calls 570 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (50) returned to Villain
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Villain: shows [Td 9c] (a pair of Sevens)
Hero: shows [7s 5h] (three of a kind, Sevens)
Hero collected 1640 from pot

A simple hand to serve as a timely reminder that in these aggressive days, a simple check is often the best, and perhaps only, way to extract value from your opponent’s range.

Having checked the big blind in a 5-way pot, I find myself with a little baby-top-pair-no-kicker and a one card straight draw. It isn’t a monster hand, but as far as flops go it’s as best as could be hoped for with 57o. I clearly need to bet to protect this intensely vulnerable hand against the depredations of four other random-as hands on the turn. On the other hand, coming out with a pot bet or more isn’t the best way to go, because with four players out there the chances are not negligible that I don’t have the best hand. No need to dig myself a hole too deep, so I lead out for 60% of the pot, to see what’s about. One call is a great result. With my weak pair/weak draw combo, multiple players could have me destroyed, but against a single player it’s likely that I have one side of the hand working for me.

A seven on the turn is really the best card I could hope for. It is far better than filling the straight, which is non-nut, hugely obvious and possibly splitting the pot. With a mountain of draws he can still call with, and some made hands in there too, I need to bet. With 220 in the pot, I lead for 140, plenty enough to charge him the wrong price to draw with only one card to come, and small enough that he probably still will call anyway. He does call, and the stacks look perfect for a river all-in of 570 into 500.

Perfect indeed, but when the King falls on the river, it is clear that I am not the man to make that bet. Whilst pushing may get a call from a few stubborn sixes or pocket pairs that would have checked behind, a great chunk of his range on a board like this consists of failed straight draws and flush draws. A quick peek at his aggression factor (a considerable 2.2) and I have all the information I need. Those hands will not call, but an aggressive player with it’s-the-only-way-I-can-win-the-pot syndrome may be unable to resist the temptation to make that pot-sized shove.

I check, he shoves in it and after I call he shows me T9o for two over cards and a gutshot. I love it when they make it easy for you…


Monday, 13 February 2012

Putting on the Post-Flop Squeeze

PezRez on the 13th February 2012

Hello All,

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a hand... I have recently gone back to University to do a Masters, and between coaching and the course I haven’t had much spare time to play, let alone post hands. I’ll try to pull my socks up and post a bit more regularly...

Anyway, I played a session recently and had an interesting hand against a solid regular. He raised from UTG, a raise which I gave a lot of credit, and finding myself in a multiway pot with a tricky board found a nonstandard way of playing the hand, taking advantage of the squeeze my opponent would find himself in.

PokerStars Hand No Limit - Level II (15/30)
Seat 1: Player 1 (1710 in chips)
Seat 2: Player 2 (1245 in chips)
Seat 3: Player 3 (2086 in chips)
Seat 4: Hero (1170 in chips)
Seat 5: Villain (1094 in chips)
Seat 6: Player 6 (1695 in chips)
Player 3: posts small blind 15
Hero: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [9c 9d]
Villain: raises 60 to 90
Player 6: calls 90
Player 1: folds
Player 2: folds
Player 3: calls 75
Hero: calls 60
*** FLOP *** [8h Jh Ts]
Player 3: checks
Hero: bets 165
Villain: calls 165
Player 6: folds
Player 3: folds
*** TURN *** [8h Jh Ts] [2d]
Hero: bets 240
Villain: folds
Uncalled bet (240) returned to Hero
Hero collected 690 from pot

First of all, some of you may be tempted to 3-bet preflop, but I don’t like it much. As I mentioned above, I give a lot of respect to the UTG raise from this player, and give him a range of AQ+, 99+ (with maybe 88 and AJs thrown in, but maybe not). In any case, against this range - a) my hand doesn’t do so well and b) my opponent won’t fold much. With a medium pair generally you want to find yourself in a heads-up situation (relying on the strength of your pair) or a multiway pot (looking to flop a strong set). Here I’m already in a multiway pot with good pot odds, so I thought it most prudent to go down the latter route.

The flop is a tough one. I still have my pair, plus a straight draw, but the board is a very dangerous one in a four-way pot. The normal line would probably be to check-fold, except to a tiny bet that prices in our straight draw (which is particularly weak being a non-nut one-card draw - therefore obvious when you hit and not guaranteed to win the whole pot - not to mention the flush draw which cuts down your outs and could still hit the river when you hit on the turn). Looking back at my estimate of my opponent’s hand range -which also hits this flop quite nicely - maybe that would have been the best thing to do! But I knew that if I led into this opponent, he would feel himself in a really tough squeeze with two players behind on a board like that. I felt guaranteed that he would never make a play in that situation, not least because my lead on that board into the UTG raiser looks very strong. So I thought a lead here would be a great way of finding out where I am on this flop. I also felt guaranteed he would almost never slowplay, given a four-way pot and a board like that. As for the other two players, Player 6 who called in position appeared very weak/tight (with a VPIP/PFR of 16/0) so I thought it was very likely he would fold too. As for Player 3 in the small blind - he was a massive fish with a VPIP of 57%! He was the most likely player to call me by far, being so loose and closing the action, and I actually thought if he called I would likely have the best of it, especially considering that I had position on him in later streets. So I took the plunge and led 165 into 360 - a small bet to be sure, but one that would clarify my situation immensely.

And Villain flat calls. Well, he definitely had to have something there - but he definitely wasn’t happy about it. I was confident that if he had a set, he would have raised to protect it, and if he had a big pair which he was willing to commit with he would have done so immediately on the flop. I reckoned he was on a pair which he wasn’t happy about, or possibly an AQ double-gutshot and just maybe an AK.

The blank on the turn changed nothing, and I was sure that he would fold any AQ/AK type hand to another bet. As for the pairs, I didn’t count on it, but I considered it possible, given that I know my opponent is solid, capable of making a good fold and bound to read a lot of strength into my bets in this spot and with this board. I bet 240 into 690, another small bet - but around 30% of my opponent’s stack, making it look a lot like I was setting it up for a river all-in and trying to price him in. To my opponent, these two small bets must have reeked of strength - and after only a brief pause on the turn, he folded, to reveal immediately after that he had in fact laid down Aces:

Villain: aa obv
Villain: nice to have u back :/
Hero: :)

Although with retrospect my bet on the flop was a little dangerous given my estimate of my opponent’s range, it was a very cheap bet which I knew would appear very strong and make the situation much easier for me. As for the turn, when you can smell your solid opponent is uncomfortable, a ‘threaten-your-stack-bet’ of around 30-35% of his stack on the turn, even if it is a small proportion of the pot, will succeed in winning the pot more often than you’d think.