Monday, 25 February 2013

The Hero Call

Hand played on Pokerstars
Seat 4 is the button
Seat 1: Hero ( $5230.00 USD )
Seat 4: Villain ( $3770.00 USD )
Villain posts small blind [$100.00 USD].
Hero posts big blind [$200.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to Hero [  Qh Kh ]
Villain calls [$100.00 USD]
Hero raises [$350.00 USD]
Villain calls [$350.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 5s, 4s, 3s ]
Hero bets [$565.00 USD]
Villain calls [$565.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 4c ]
Hero bets [$685.00 USD]
Villain calls [$685.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Jh ]
Hero checks
Villain bets [$1970.00 USD]
Hero calls [$1970.00 USD]
Villain shows [8c, 6s ]
Hero shows [Qh, Kh ]
Hero wins $7540.00 USD from main pot

In this hand I’m up against a fairly poor regular. I don’t really have any killer reads on him except he is way too loose when it comes to defending pre-flop and won’t fold lightly post-flop either. He is aggressive enough and plays more hands than he should.


So my opponent limps and I’m dealt KQ suited in the BB. Against a limp this hand is way too good to check pre-flop so I must raise for value since I’m way ahead of my opponent’s limping range. This will also hand me control of the pot post-flop. Even though I'm out of position, I’m not too displeased about his call since his stats suggest he isn’t a passive player and is fairly aggressive so with the limp-call I can immediately remove any A, any pair and probably a couple of good Ks from his range as those hands will likely raise, especially with a HU raise of 34% in the small sample of hands I have on him for HU play. On top of that, my hand plays well post-flop and I should never be dominated here whilst dominating a fair chunk of his range.

FLOP: 5s-4s-3s

So I’ve completely missed but elect to c-bet, you can’t be raising it up pre-flop and check-folding post-flop when you miss otherwise that’s pretty exploitable. You can make an exception when up against a maniac but this guy isn't one, so a half pot bet looks good and he flats. At this point, I’m not overly worried – I think his range is fairly open to two random overcards with a flush draw, a straight draw, perhaps a pair of 5s and a flopped flush which is the least likely from all those combinations. I’m discounting a set from his range and the A2 wheel because those hands would or at least should raise pre-flop and a limp-call with a small pocket pair would be a very rare and unusual line from a regular given how poorly they play post-flop. I also don’t think there’s too many 3s or 4s in his limp-calling range pre-flop and one would imagine any 5s would raise for protection on this soaking wet draw heavy board (although I can’t rule it out), so my real concern lies with a spade hitting the board really.

TURN: 4c

Some people might just check and be done with the hand once called on the flop, but the 4 is actually a great card to barrel on, especially if we felt his range on the flop was weighted to overcards with a flush draw since if we didn’t think there was much chance of him having a 4 before, it’s much less likely now, so betting serves two purposes: to protect our hand the times we are ahead and extract value from draws.

I decide to bet 685 into a pot of 2230. I could potentially have bet a little more, my bet lays him pot odds of 19% whilst if he has a hand like 8-9 with a flush draw he’ll have around 30% equity with just one card to come, so if that’s the case I probably need to bet more to make calling with such a hand unprofitable; however, it’s better than betting nothing and allowing him the option of a free card and avoids committing myself to an all-in with just K high should he shove on a bet. This will also leave stacks deep enough for a river bluff should a non-scare card hit and I elect to check, although I would have no problem in scooping the pot up right now with an unmade hand. However, he calls and we’re off to the river.


So the Jh falls and I’ve got nothing but good ol’ K high. I did give quick consideration to shoving all-in at the time, but when I started to break down my opponent’s hand range from the information I gathered from his actions on each street, there didn't seem like a lot of merit to this line. We already eliminated the possibility of A high and a flopped set/straight from his range, so to decide what move will maximise our $EV we need to assign villain a hand range and work out what those hands will do if we check and if we bet.

First off, if we shove, any hand that has us beat here will call due to the nature of the board – if he has a flopped flush he’s calling, if I was wrong and he has 4s in his range he’s calling, an unlikely 5 will probably call with overwhelming pot odds, and if he’s hit that J he’s calling. Whilst, if we shove, any hand worse than ours will ALWAYS fold since we have K high (unless he’s some kind of Superman hero) so that includes many hands such as 7-8/8-9/10-9/Q-9/Q-10 to name a few that floated with or without a flush draw. Simply put, if we aren’t folding out any better hands from shoving and always folding out worse hands, then it means we can check and invite a bluffing range from some of those hands mentioned above that we are ahead of that can bet but cannot call a bet. This of course would be a disaster for our equity if villain were to ever show up with A high on the river as a bluff (assuming he were to fold to a shove) but in this instance we strongly disregarded the possibility of an A in his range given his tendencies and his pre-flop actions, so we must stick with our read. Against a more passive opponent, there’s no doubt betting would likely be superior to check-calling if they were to choose to bluff with A high in this spot. It would also be rather unfortunate if villain showed up with a J and value bet us, but there is no way to account for that and avoid check-calling out of fear if it’s just as likely he’ll shove 8-9o/10-9o and so on. Besides, with good pot odds of 2.83 to 1 we only need to be right more than 26% of the time to make money on the call which means we only need villain to be bluffing just over 1 in 4 times with his missed draws in this spot, and with a player with an AF of 2.5 and seemingly enough fold equity, I would say this is more than likely.

So, I do check and our villain makes a bet of 1.9k all-in into the 3.6k. My plan was to check and call a bet so I must stand by that and villain shows up with 8-6o for a busted open-ended straight flush draw, and the hero shows that he is indeed a hero in this hand.

Live long and prosper


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