Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

July 23, 2007

An Interesting Hand: Part 2

Last week I posted the details of an interesting hand and asked for input from all of you as to how you would have handled it. Several bloggers weighed in on the hand, with varying opinions. Now you get to see how the hand actually turned out.

The responses I received were evenly divided between folding and calling on my opponent's pot sized river bet. OSU and Hoyazo both felt that I should call here on the river. They both placed my opponent on a pocket overpair here or possibly two overcards with diamonds for the flush. I'm ahead of all of that range except the flush, dictating the call they suggest.

Hoff and an anonymous reader both suggested that I fold on the river here. Both of them were leaning toward my opponent having a flush or a boat, both of which are very possible on this particular board. However, I didn't think this was the case, and I ended up calling my opponent. I'm going to run through my thought process here as to why I called on the river.

The action opens with my opponent min-raising pre-flop. I hadn't seen him do this before, but I also hadn't played a whole lot of hands with him yet. To me, this usually screams a big hand. This player is inviting action by only raising the minimum from UTG+1. My immediate read at this point is QQ-AA and AK. I live to crack those kinds of hands with crap, so I called from the small blind with 5h7h.

The flop came 4d 4c 6d. This is not a very scary board for my opponent. At this point, I know that I am behind, but I have the open ended straight draw for possibly huge implied odds if I hit. I check on the flop because I am almost certain I will be raised if I lead out. My opponent bets $3 into a $5 pot. I'm slightly less than one in three to make my straight, and I'm getting not quite three to one odds to make the call here. Making this call is definitely a "mistake" mathematically, but only slightly so. I feel that my implied odds are good enough to make the call here.

The turn is the 3d, which is both good news and bad news. The good news is that I have made my straight. The bad news is that there is now a flush on the board. If my opponent was playing a suited ace of diamonds, I am now toast. However, given the range I put my opponent on, my straight is ahead here the majority of the time. Since this board is now very scary for most hands, I choose to lead out for $7 into the $8 pot.

This is where my opponent starts to act strange. He chooses to min raise me here on the turn. Now, what hands are going to min raise me here? If you have a boat, why raise here? Wouldn't you rather flat call in position and give me a chance to fire a bigger bet on the river so you can raise there? If you have a flush, why are you just min raising? This will give you no new information if you're looking to see if I have a boat because a boat will most likely not reraise here, choosing instead to put out a large bet on the river. At $100NL, I have found that the min raise on this type of board is sometimes a scared raise. The person is no longer sure if they are ahead, but they want to see if their opponent will fold. Unfortunately for them, raising the minimum is only going to chase off a complete bluff or an extremely weak hand (sometimes not even those) and give decent odds to hands that are still drawing.

I chose to call here to control pot size. It is still possible that I am beat, but I do have a made hand. If I'm going to lose this hand, I'd like to lose the minimum possible. There's no reason to go crazy with a straight on a paired and three-flushed board.

The 7c was dealt on the river, and I'm pretty certain that this card didn't help my opponent. If I'm beat, then I was beat on the turn. I checked here again to control the pot size, and my opponent suddenly decides to represent real strength, making a pot-sized bet of $39. To me, this bet just doesn't mesh with his action during the rest of this hand. Let's take a look at the options.

If you have a made hand with the boat, you're going to want to make some kind of value bet to extract some money from me on the river. There's always the "overbet for value" consideration, but the way this played out, I didn't feel that was the case. If he has a boat, that means he min-raised with 33, 66 or 77 from UTG+1, which makes a little sense, but not much. I doubt very much anyone is raising with 64, 34, or 74 if they decide to play those hands, so throw away the boat as an option here.

The only hand that should really worry me is a flush. It's possible that he min-raised with two diamonds, but that didn't make much sense to me either. Why would he min-raise on the turn with a made flush? Wouldn't he just want to flat call so that I can maintain control of the hand and make a bigger bet on the river, which he can then raise? The flush just doesn't seem to fit either.

The more I thought about it, the more I was certain that he had an overpair to the board, so I made the call. I was pretty sure that he was in the range of QQ-AA and that I had him beat. The chips went in the pot, and the cards were flipped over. My opponent showed down...


That's right, my opponent did have an overpair to the board, but it was not nearly the strength that I believed it was. This guy played his hand horribly from the get-go. As I've stated in Matt's Musings #3, "The only thing min-raising does is slowly build a pot that you will not win." He min-raised with a mediocre starting hand, which invites almost any two cards to come into the hand against him, giving him no information about their holdings.

He lead out on the flop, which is good, but I do not believe his bet amount was correct. He bet $3 into a $5 pot, when he really should have bet the pot or a bit higher. He has an overpair to the board on the flop with 88, a situation that is not likely to improve as the hand goes on. If he had bet $5 or more, I am most definitely folding there.

The min-raise on the turn just didn't make sense for any of the hands that were ahead of me, but now that we've seen what his hole cards were, we know that this guy just didn't make sense period. I made a note on him that he'll min raise middle pairs, but I wouldn't put it past this guy to min-raise with a wide variety of hands. He's definitely someone that I'll need to be cautious of in the future, if only because he's a landmine.

As for the pot-sized bet on the river, it was a valiant attempt to get the pot, but as I explained above, I just didn't feel like it fit with the rest of the hand. I felt like I was ahead, made the call, and it turned out I was right. But seeing the 88 he had made me a little nervous. He could just as easily have had 66 or 77. Why you would min raise preflop with those holdings is beyond me, but apparently that is how this guy plays. I doubt the betting would have been the same if he had made a boat, though, so speculating on that is a bit pointless.

In the end, my read was correct, although my range was off. I think I got pretty lucky here that this guy had the hand he did. The only thing I see myself doing differently is possibly folding the river or maybe folding pre-flop, since I was out of position; I think I played the rest of the hand as well as it could be played.

I hope you found this hand to be interesting. It's definitely a good example of how odd the play can be at $100NL. Good luck to you in your poker efforts, and until next time, I'll see you on the felt.


  • You are correct, his betting patterns are a little odd for snowmen. Looking back at my comments on the last post, I see my philosophy is holding your first instinct. So of course I didn't! Interesting hand, and be sure to watch out for him. It's not so much that he's an ATC player, but he's an ADD bettor. GL.

    By Blogger iamhoff, at 7/24/2007 6:12 PM  

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