Multiway action can sometimes make it easier to hand read.
When you are playing against predictable opponents sometimes the nature of multiway pots makes their bets more honest. Let us review a hand that I played at the Commerce $5-10 NL game last week.
Overall the game was very good and I was deep into the session. I had worked my stack up from the buy-in cap of $1500 to over $4000. Fortunately for me there were many many recreational players at the table whose style were extremely loose passive and they were also very deep—some having over $5000. It was about 1am when the following hand went down. I was in the big blind with 4♦ 5♦ and the pot preflop was folded around to the HJ, a young decent winning player who raised it to $35, with a $3500 stack. The button, a very tight, older gentlemen who had just coolered someone for a $4000 pot called on the button, $4500 deep and I decided to also call. Now I have preached here in this column and on my training site CrushLivePoker.com the dangers of playing suited connectors from out of position but being this deep and with what I thought was a good grasp on the players calling was better than three betting, I thought. The flop came out K♠ 3♠ 7♦ and I checked with my gutshot straight draw. The preflop raiser bet $70, and the button called quickly. Even though my draw was not all that powerful I thought that in this particular situation that the preflop raiser could very well have been cbetting as a bluff and might check the turn. I also thought that the button was so tight that he might check through with a king giving me a free card. Lastly with my overcall on the flop, I thought that in the right scenario I could represent front door spades.
The turn brought in the 2♥ giving me now an open ended straight draw. I checked and now the preflop raiser also checked. At this point I knew that the preflop raiser was most likely bluffing on the flop, as there was no way he would check such a blank turn on a wet board with a strong value hand. At this point I was hoping for that check through that I talked about earlier from the button but instead he bet $175. However, because of this action I was almost 100% certain that the button had a king, only. Once he bets, especially with what live players perceive to be rather large sizing, he almost always has a value hand. This was also not the type of player to slow play a set on the flop with the possibility of draw out there as he would have been scared of the bad beat. So, I put everything together and realized that the preflop raiser most likely had nothing and was giving up and the button had the real hand. Not only did the additional equity allow me to call now but I really thought that this would be a great situation to represent the front door spade draw if it came as I was able to figure out that no one else also had a flush draw. So, with all of this information I decided to call. As predicted the preflop raiser quickly folded.
The river brought in the 5♠ bricking out my draw, pairing my five but most importantly bringing in the front door spade draw. I thought that this was a great spot to bluff and fired out $450. The button did not think too long with it, flashed me a king and folded. Usually I am not in the business of running large bluffs against recreational players but the multiway nature of this pot and the bet into two people on the turn easily allowed me to deduce that the button had a king and that my line through the overcall on the flop and bomb bet on the river looked so much like a flush that it would be hard for the older man to call allowing me to win the pot.