I was playing last night in a local casino with a player (our hero) whose game I have great respect for, and had a question about how he played this hand. We were playing 1-3 NL which is probably the only game running in the area which is probably why this guy was stepping down a level. I know the hero in this hand plays higher normally 2-5 and 5-10 NL and usually is a winner in these games. The effective stacks for this hand were $ 350 (117 bb’s) as that is what our Villain had and Hero had him covered. We are 9 handed and Villain (UTG +2) overlimps behind a UTG limper. I fold but 3-4 others limp around to hero in SB. He makes in $25, UTG folds, villain calls, and all others fold. Flop comes 10 10 4 rainbow. Hero leads for $45 into $55 pot. Villain makes it $145. Hero thinks not too long and ships for the remaining $200 in Villains’ stack and villain calls. Hero turns over 33 and villain AQ of hearts for two overs and backdoor flush draw. Turn and river brick out and hero drags the >$700 pot.
After the hand I asked the hero why he played the hand this way and he said. “We play together a decent amount and this guy has literally raised me 6-7 times in a row on a flop where the board is paired and he can’t have it that often.” The villain claimed that he knew hero didn’t have the ten or a big pair and thought he couldn’t call his raise. This is the type of leveling war you usually see only in online games or super high stakes.
Did hero make a sick merge all-in raise or was it just a frustrated overplay of a pair of threes? This was the best case scenario for hero to be up against 2 over cards and he was still only %56 due to the board pairing outs and backdoor draws. What is our equity against our villians range in this spot? With our only read being that he loves to attack paired boards. The reason I ask is that against some players I have had the same feeling in this spot and usually end up either folding on the flop, or calling and hoping for a turn of any card lower than 10 that doesn’t double pair the board. Against a player who nearly always attacks paired boards what should be our course of actions with our entire range? I usually end up doing some stupid pot control and play my hand as a bluff catcher but this hand made me wonder if there is a better course of action in this spot.