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[Tales From The Crib #3] Defensive Doofus

today32today32 Posts: 44Subscriber
edited September 2018 in NLHE Strategy Discussion
Background Info:

The Game
Blinds are $1/$1 with no rake, but it plays more like a $2/$3 game. Sessions are typically 5-6 hours long with stacks starting out at $100-$300 for 9 players. Towards the last half of the session there's typically 5-7 players left and $3500-$5000 on the table. We average about 27 hands/hr and have a $5 bomb pot at the top of each hour.

The Players
We have a rotating player pool of 12-15 players who play on a regular basis. The game has been going for about 7 years. Two of us are big winners, 2-3 are break even, and the rest are losing players.

The Play
Most players are super loose pre-flop and sticky post-flop. Certain players like to randomly straddle UTG for $5. Pre-flop opening raises range from $6 to $16, and can get as high as $26 by the end of the night. Pre-flop 3-bets are few and far between (maybe 2 to 5 per night) and are typically AK and QQ+. Pre-flop raises of under $10 will get 5-8 callers, raises of $10-$16 will get 4-6 callers, and raises of $17-$26 will get 2-4 callers. Players pay almost no attention to the size of the raise in comparison to their stack.

Week #3

Here are the characters in the hand:

  • Banker - mid-late 50s white female, big winner in the game, tight aggressive, when preflop raiser almost always c-bets flop for 60-100% pot, will only 3-bet Hero preflop with AA, KK and sometimes QQ (always flats AK), capable of full pot bluffs on the river, will turn mid-weak showdown hands into bluffs occasionally, will call/overcall preflop with weaker suited hands knowing chance of 3-bet squeeze from behind is really low.

  • Frush - late 40s hispanic male, losing player, extremely loose preflop, if in the mood to gamble will call with any two cards to a $25-$30 pre-flop raise, tends to get more aggressive later in the session and will overplay hands preflop by raising to $50 with (99 TT JJ AQ AK) or going all in on the flop for $100-$300 (5x to 20x pot), loves to do flips for $50-$100, will call light to flop bets, little more conservative facing turn bets, only calls river bets with solid hands, able to fold top-pair mid/weak kicker hands to a min raise on the river from Hero.

  • Artist - mid-late 50s white male, big losing player, plays a wide range, LOVES to call all draws, will check call a flop with nearly any piece, sometimes will bluff river with missed draws and/or weak pairs, bluffs occasionally in spots that make no sense at all, will call 3 streets with top pair weak kicker.

  • Hero - my assumed image: late 30s white male, tight pre-flop, raises premium hands, bluffs occasionally but mostly has the goods, never shows hands, thinking player, can be bluffed

I felt unsure about every action in this hand, especially my sizing on multiple streets. I knew in-hand that my thinking was off due to the fear of getting suckered into playing a big pot with a one-pair hand, and not being able to fold against players who might be over-playing their hands and/or bluffing.

We're about 4 hours into the session and playing 6 handed at $1/$1. Hero has been card dead and stuck most of the night, but had battled back to even by the start of this hand. On the previous orbit, Hero raised UTG to $16 and everyone folded.

Hero ($600) raises to $11 from UTG with A A. Banker ($375) calls from the cutoff, Frush ($150) calls from the SB and Artist ($475) calls from the BB. All players called in a timely fashion and did not look to be considering a decision (to 3-bet or fold).

SB - Frush ($150)
BB - Artist ($475)
UTG - Hero ($600)
CO - Banker ($375)

FLOP ($44): K J 9

Frush and Artist check to the Hero. This board stands to hit their calling ranges a LOT: Pair + straight draws, 2-pair hands, flush draws, flopped straights. My first thought was "oh crap, am I going to get raised here", but I knew I likely had the best hand and needed to bet.

Q1: Is the following thinking valid?
I wanted to make a bet size that would properly narrow down my opponents' ranges and for the most part keep them in two groups: A raise from an opponent would mean a monster combo draw or two-pair or better, and a call from an opponent would mean a one-pair hand or weaker draw hand. Then the way they respond to my bet on the turn would more clearly reveal their holdings. I wanted to bet large enough so that 1-pair hands would just call, instead of me betting too small and inducing a 1-pair hand to overplay their hand and raise me. Then I have to call the raise and deal with muddled ranges, not knowing if the player is over-playing their hand or if they have me beat.

Hero bets $25 into a $44 pot and everyone calls. At this point I'm praying for a brick on the turn...

TURN ($144): K J 9 6
Frush and Artist both check. Hero takes about 15 seconds and then bets $60. Banker calls, Frush folds in the SB and Artist calls in the BB. Neither player looked like they considered raising.

Q2: Poor sizing?
Again, in-hand my defensive mindset took over and I thought "bet the smallest amount possible that will prevent someone from overplaying a 1-pair hand". I have a feeling that I should have bet larger here... Get out your billy clubs and knock some sense into me.

After the turn action I felt about 90% sure I had the best hand. I thought Banker most likely had KQ, KT, J X, QJ, JT, maaaybe T9s. Artist almost certainly has a weak draw that will fold to any bet if he bricks the river (Banker recognizes this fact too). The dynamic between the Banker/Hero is one of respect and caution, we typically don't play many big pots together.

RIVER ($324): K J 9 6 4
Artist checks. Hero thinks for 30-45 seconds and then checks. Banker bets $150. Artist folds and Hero calls.

Given Banker's range and the dynamic mentioned above, I felt like KQ might be the only hand that I'm getting value from. All other hands in her range will fold to a $100+ bet. A $75 bet miiight get her to call with KT. Since the rest of her hands are likely missed draws or weak pairs and she has the ability to turn a J into a bluff, I decided to check and give her the opportunity to bluff.

Q3: Thoughts on the river play?

Thanks for your thoughts on Q1, Q2 and Q3, monster pots to everyone this week!


  • CycleV Posts: 1,024Subscriber
    You wrote, "bet the smallest amount possible that will prevent someone from overplaying a 1-pair hand," but I'd flip this on its head. If you have a value hand (and AA on this board counts as one, until you're raised anyway), I'd rather the thinking go, "bet the largest amount they will call." I would have made it 40 otf, now there's 200 in the middle ott for a bet of 140 or so.

    By betting larger, usually one of two things happen. Mostly, we're just getting money in the middle with the best hand, which is almost always a good thing. Occasionally the other thing happens, where we get one V to fold otf. That means the money in the middle is the same as your smaller sizing, but our equity went up in the process. That is also always a good thing.
    by 1today32
  • today32today32 Posts: 44Subscriber
    Thanks for the thoughts Cycle. That's pretty much what my gut was telling me was the "right" thing to do at the time, but my heart was to weak to handle losing a "big" pot and I got defensive.

    Here are the results:
    After I called, Banker calls out "one pair" without showing. Out of courtesy I show my hand first. I think she would have shown AK or KQ (instead of saying "one pair"), so my guess is that she had J with another (A,Q,T,8).
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