Interesting Poker Hand I Recently Played

Wanted to throw this one at SDMB’s poker denizens. I’m at the Fallsview Casino playing 2/5 NL. Bought in for $375 and I’m whittled down to $320, sitting in Seat 7. I haven’t really been playing long enough to ascertain the tendencies of any of the players just yet but nobody looks like a donkey and historically this can be a tough game at this particular time of day. Seat 10 is the button.

I’m dealt the red fours.

Seat 1 Small blind $2
Seat 2 Big blind $5
Seat 3, stack approx $500, raises to $20
Seat 4 folds
Seat 5, stack approx $300, calls $20
Seat 6 folds
RickJay calls $20 (I have a pocket pair. I’m set mining!)
Seat 8 folds
Seat 9 calls $20
Seat 10 folds
Small blind folds
Big blind folds
$87 in pot

FLOP Ah 7d 4s

Woo hoo! I hit my set. Let’s see what happens.

Seat 3 bets $45
Seat 5 calls $45

Well, that’s interesting. The UTG guy raised preflop and now raises again. I put him on this range of likely hands:
AA - Possible but less likely
AK - Very likely. Simply more statistically probably than AA and fits betting
AQ or AJ, likely suited - Somewhat less likely but still possible
Anything else - I guess he could be bullshitting with JJ or something but it’s not the likeliest possibility

I am drawing near dead to AA but think it unlikely. I want more money in the pot.

RickJay raises to $90
Seat 9 folds
Seat 3 calls $45 to $90 total
Seat 5 folds
Pot $312

I’m a little surprised Seat 5 folds here; he was getting excellent odds for another $45 but I guess the guy probably had a pair lower than aces and figured he might get into trouble. Anyway it’s heads up.


Whoa. I now have a full house. I believe this makes it even LESS likely my opponent has pocket aces; it’s still possible but Bayesian thinking (I read “The Signal and the Noise”) tells me it is no longer all that probably.

Seat 3 bets $75

Well, that’s a fascinating bet. Why? I believe he has AK and is trying to extract money from me. I decide that if I push he will call; I believe the Ac was a horrible trap card for him. He won’t lay down trip aces king kicker to the vague likelihood of a full house when he’s this pot committed. If he has quad aces, well, you can’t die on a higher hill. I wave in my remaining $230.

RickJay raises all in $230
Seat 3 calls to $230

Pot $772

Seat 3 shows AK - Three Aces
RickJay shows 44 - Full house, four full of aces

River 5c

So I win the pot.

Did Seat 3 err at any point here? I did not think so; I believe he was simply unlucky. (The table, which seems to be manned by decent players, seemed shocked at the result.) However, afterwards a friend argued that the turn $75 raise was unwise after a player in superior position had reraised his postflop $45 raise, and further felt I should have waited for the river to go all in.

Your thoughts?

Sort of a nitpick, but when someone puts money in the pot when they’re first to act or it was checked to them, it’s a bet, not a raise. It’s important to make that distinction so that people aren’t double checking to see if they missed a bet that was raised when you’re discussing it.

Seat 3 made a pretty obvious error in that there’s no plausible hand that he could put you on that he could beat, and given that your action seemed obviously intended to suck money into the pot, thinking you had nothing was pretty implausible, especially at that level of play.

Preflop is pretty standard. UTG raise at this level is usually a very strong indicator of a top tier hand.

Half bet pot on the flop is weakish but fairly typical in live poker. Seat 5 makes a poor play out of position - it looks like he was trying to float from the middle which ends up putting him in exactly the sort of situation he ends up in. He seems to realize his mistake (maybe has a mid-range hand like TT) and knows he’s beat by at least one person. Your minraise here is funky and looks like a free card/take the initiative sort of play normally, except it was a completely dry board and you don’t have any plausible draws. Which, especially given that the pot is three way, seems to indicate that you’re trying to get money in the pot and make sure no one folds. AA, A7, A4, 74 are implausible hands for you to hold here, and there are no draws, which means you’re either raising with nothing at all (and a min-raise in a 3 way pot with two players getting good pot odds is a very unusual place for that) or you hit 77 or 44.

His turn bet of $75 is funky. It would look at first glance like he’s trying to bet an amount that would still allow him to fold if you came over the top, but since you did, and he didn’t, that’s not the case. Pot control is a weird play to make, because you either have him crushed or he has you crushed - it’s very implausible that you have a hand here that would call down two small bets to see the river given your previous action. The only vaguely plausible hands are AQ and AJ, but that would be a really weird line you took on the flop and not terribly consistent with those hands.

So at that point you raise - you’ve indicated nothing here but wanting to get the most possible amount of money in the pot, that you weren’t trying to push out anyone on the flop, that you raised on the turn when it looked like he probably put himself in a position where he’d have the pot odds to talk himself into a call. Every indication screams that you have a hand you want him to call with, there’s no hand he can beat that is consistent with the way you’ve played your hand. So he has no way to win here except to catch a bluff - a very weird, advanced, atypical bluff that you wouldn’t normally expect from these limits, with a player you were unfamiliar with - or maybe a very outside shot of AQ/AJ if he thinks you’re kinda bad. He can’t be calling with the best hand here, and he doesn’t have the odds to draw for a boat. The flop raise and the turn raise tell the whole story, and he can get away from his hand here.

This hand actually seems pretty obvious and not tricky at all - I’m pretty sure I could’ve called it out precisely at the table before the hands were turned over. Him having AA (unlikely), and you having 77 (which is essentially the same hand) are the only alternate situations.

Holy fuck. It sounds like the black dudes on “Airplane!” to me.

Seat 3 practically told you he had AK or AQ/J suited when he raised preflop and then bet the A on the board. Trips Aces is too strong to bet there because anyone that doesn’t have an A or better will fold to his post-flop bet.

So he’s thinking you are out kicked. He probably decided you did not have A4 and that’s where he made his mistake. Betting half the pot especially with 2 others in the hand did not give him any information. All it does is sweeten the pot aka a suck bet and then he doesn’t flinch when you come over the top with an A showing. That shows me he assumed he had the hand won and was trying to maximize the pot and oblivious to what was going on around him.

He should have made a pot-sized bet or even over bet the pot because if no one can beat the Ace, they’re not going to call anyways. At that point, he need to make you think you can outkick him and he can do that by feigning weakness which paradoxically is done by acting strong.

Huh, you guys make good points. Perhaps the play was not as strong as I thought; as I said, the reaction of the table was one of genuine surprise. One guy said “who plays fours?” (I thought at that “A guy who knows sets pay off” but I didn’t say it, lessons are extra) and another said “Geez, it sure looked like a safe board.”

Still, it’s hard for a guy to lay down AAA-K.

SenorBeef, my habit of referring to an initial bet as a “raise” is a linguistic tic I absolutely cannot seem to shake. I do that all the time, and I don’t know why, because I’ve become very picky about poker terminology. If someone refers to trips as a “set” I have to bite my tongue to not correct them. But that bet/raise thing, I just cannot get rid of. I make that mistake probably once or twice every session I play, too.

“Raise $50.”
“Don’t you mean bet?”
“Yeah, I do, just take my chips, guys.”

Great analysis by SenorBeef. Read it again and then read it a few more times.

When you see these players again keep in mind that the AK guy is not doing any deep thinking – and watch what the guy who said he doesn’t play fours shows down to determine if he actually doesn’t play small pairs.

And quit calling a bet a raise. We’ve had that discussion before. :wink:

I was waiting for the reveal to be he had A-7 suited.

I thought his $75 bet on the flop was hinky too, but maybe that’s why he did it. Since you hadn’t had time to put him on a style of play, perhaps he wanted to make an off stride bet to make you uncomfortable in deciding if the bet is showing his weakness (take a cheap stab at the pot and run away if raised), or if it is bait to get you to go all in. (he has the aforementioned A7). But it strikes me as incredibly bad if he had what he had … a good, but easily beaten hand. And his call was even worse.

I agree with the logic that Seat 3 messed up here. As I’ve heard it said, a new player plays his cards, an amateur plays his opponents cards, and a pro plays what his opponent thinks his cards are. With ten players at the table, I’d say betting four times the big blind is a fairly strong bet, which means not only does everyone at the table know he has a big hand, but he knows that they know he has a big hand. That means that he has to assume that anyone who calls at least has a big hand or at least a decent draw. In his position, I’d probably assume that Seat 5 has a large pair or something like AK/AQ. You, however, are in seat 7, you’re getting 5:2 on your money, so, while may not ideal, I could see a bit of a weaker hand, maybe Ace with a weaker card or a lower pair.

So, that’s fine, as him, with AK, I feel like I’m in a good spot going into the flop. When I see A74, I’m feeling pretty strong right now believing I have the top hand, since AA should have reraised me, and A7/A4 probably wouldn’t have called, but if it did, it was more likely Seat 7 rather than Seat 5. So, believing I have top hand, I bet. That pretty much broadcasts that I have an Ace in my hand, so I know that everyone who calls that either also has an Ace, at which point I have him outkicked, doesn’t buy that I have the Ace and has a smaller pair, can beat AA and I’m in a bad spot, or has a strong draw which is unlikely since there’s no reasonable flush draw and 56 would have already folded.

So now Seat 5 calls, that’s not unreasonable since I put him on a strong hand, I’m not too threatened since a larger pair or an Ace are no threat to me. Then Seat 7 raises, which is actually interesting. This means to me you have at least an Ace, even if it’s a weaker kicked, but you very well may have A4/A7, I probably wouldn’t put you on 77/44, but with decent pot odds I’d call. Seat 5 then folds, which makes sense since, he had, at best an Ace, and he knows Seat 3 at least has an Ace and probably figures Seat 7 has A4/A7, so he knows he’s beat and gets out.

Now it’s heads up, and the Ace hits. I have pretty much any hand beat except AA/A7/A4/77/44. AA is highly unlikely at this point, but I’ve got Seat 7 pegged on at least an Ace with at least a decent kicker, but A7/A4 are both consistent with the play and only 3 outs will save me if that’s there. Personally, I probably would have checked here to see if I could get some info on your kicker, but that’s really irrelevant since you raise all in.

So, why would you raise all in? Well, with a kind of weak bet on my part, it’s possible you have a strong kicker like AQ/AK, but I also know that you know from my betting that I have a strong Ace, so why would you go all in knowing I probably have AK? Really, that makes no sense, so I have to assume you can beat AK, and A7/A4 are consistent with your betting pattern in your position. That’s now my take on your hand, and I’m not going to call an all in with 3 outs. The clear call is a fold here.

Now, sure, I’d have pegged you on A7/A4 rather than 44, which admittedly is a weird with a bet UTG and a call in another strong position, but that’s really beside the point. If you had been holding A7/A4, no one would have said it was weird and that’s what he should have pegged you on. Thus, Seat 3 still played the hand wrong because he should have known he was beat. And, for that matter, I can’t really blame you for playing 44. If you can get decent pot odds and hit trips on the flop, you can sneak in against a strong hand.

Who plays 4’s? Anyone who is willing to take the 1/8 chance of hitting their set that is well hidden. Sounds like you were playing with a lot of donks. And I don’t think the $75 bet was to change up play but was classic Caro “when weak act strong, when strong act weak” tell and he didn’t think he needed anymore info than “I have Aces with King kicker.”

If he wanted to put RickJay off stride, you make a pot-size bet on the flop so RickJay has no clue if it is a continuation bet, shot to steal the pot, set up for a bluff or a semi-bluff. Any smaller than that (like in the OP and it is a simple smooth call* or fold) any bigger than that is a raise** or fold.

*Call is how I would play it to hide whether I’m fishing or slowplaying. Also 3rd seat is out of position and so calling is not a bad play.

**The raise on a large pot is to knock him off a drawing hand or in this case a borderline kicker that could turn into 2 pair. Worst case is he folds to the raise, he doesn’t suck out and he probably would not have bet the turn/river anyways. In the OP’s case he could call a large bet and let Seat 3 continue to “bully” him. This is why you bet for information. If I put in a 2 x pot bet on the flop and RickJay calls, I am very scared and am at least thinking 2 pair or set.

Seeing as how that would make it 5 aces in the deck (the one in your hand, the two on the board, and the 2 in your opponents hand), I think “unlikely” is a bit of an understatement.

Blaster Master has a good analysis. I think that Seat 3 should have been having RickJay on an A4 suited make sense since a lot of players play that hand looking for the wheel or nut flush. The fact that RJ’s raise didn’t make him skip a beat shows 3 was not going to fold no matter what. Good job on RJ picking up on that and getting all of the chips in the middle.

Everyone in this thread (including the OP) is probably a better poker player than me so no doubt their (excellent) analysis is to be preffered to mine, but I thought the punchline was going to be seat 3 held 77. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to open with 77 UTG, because what else are you going to do with it? You’d have to be very tight to just fold (though that may still be the best play, out of position), calling simply invites someone it later position to raise you off the pot (though this strategy can work in a loose, weak game where every pot has 5 or 6 callers - you are essentially hoping to set-mine), raising on the other hand helps you control the pot size and you might win it there and then, build a decent pot to hit your well-disguised set, or simply be able to represent a bigger hand on the flop.

I thought the OP’s analysis was pretty good apart from not considering 77 as a possibility (or perhaps you did, but considered it even less likely than AA - I’m not sure that’s the case, given the above, but I accept the argument that if you start worrying about losing to a set over your set, you may as well give up playing as it’s much less likely than most alternatives). Seat 5 definitely sounds like a weak player and I would be looking to get involved in pots with him in the future.

I’m also not so sure that seat 3’s error was so obvious - it may be that it’s the type of game where someone in the OP’s position would be unable to lay down AQ/AJ. For less experienced players (like me and, apparently, seat 3) it may not be so obvious as it seems to be to you pros that a bluff by the OP in this position is so unlikely. I have certainly seen games where the OP’s re-raise of all-in could be a pure bluff, if seat 3 thinks there’s a reasonable chance of that then his call doesn’t looks so terrible. But basically, I have to agree with SenorBeef that seat 3 got too attached to his hand and couldn’t make the sensible laydown.

Rick, why did you only have 64 bbs? Was there some crazy max buy-in rule? It just seems like a really awkward stack: too big for efficient short-stacking, way too small to do much postflop maneuvering. Anyway, with 64 bb, I’m not worrying about set over set. If it happens, it happens; reload and try again. It’s also a low enough SPR that I’m not worried about raising at any point. Stacks should get in by the river without you having to raise. In fact, the click-it-back on the flop was a perfect excuse for UTG to get out of the hand. Glad he didn’t, of course.

I’m boggled that nobody at a 2-5 table was thinking about a set instead of stuff like A4s and A7s. I mean, really? That board was dry as dust. I guess everyone’s solid, and there’s no money to be made in live poker anymore.

From UTG’s point of view, A4s after the flop was at most 2 combos, A7s 2 more. Compared to 6 possible set combos. Did he really think you were clicking it back (into a bet and overcall, with another person acting behind you) with AQ or AK? I mean, I’ve heard of 1-2 players doing something like that “to see where they’re at”, but odds were you had a set. If you hadn’t been frisky earlier in the session, he’s got no reason to disbelieve you. Especially in a multi-way pot. Against a set, he’s deader than chivalry, so he should fold. We don’t want that, so we shouldn’t raise, if we think he’s a competent player. Me, I’d have called in your position on the flop (and I hate just calling normally), try to get the CO to hang around too, and see if UTG fires another bullet on the turn. Stacks are low enough that you should have been able to make a reasonable sized bet on the turn to get all in.

I actually like his c-bet, about 1/2 pot, though I might make it a touch bigger to make it a mistake for 65s to draw once. Big enough to get people out if they think you have an ace. I might do it with a PP too, though trying to bluff three people is usually a poor idea. I don’t see where UTG betting full pot on the flop gets him anywhere.

This is a much more interesting problem if you guys were say, 200-300 bbs deep. As it is, from his POV or yours, I’m probably going broke with TP/TK or bottom set with only 64 bb effective, unless someone gives me a reason for me to think I’m crushed. Like minraising the flop into a bettor, overcaller, and a player behind them.

Congrats on the score.

Personally I think the play of Seat 3 is awful. Forgetting RickJay’s perspective and looking at it from Seat 3’s perspective I can’t fathom what he was thinking.

He bets 4BB with AK and gets 3 callers. What does he think they are calling with after UTG raises to 4BB? If I’m in Seat 3 I put everyone bar Seat 9 on weaker Aces or pocket pairs. Seat 9 with 3 in the pot ahead of him could play good suited connectors.

When the A comes on the flop it is both more likely that he trails a weaker Ace, that made two pair, and that someone playing a small pair made trips. Seat 5 has called his post flop bet (what did he have) and will play after he calls RickJay’s raise.

I would fold there.

Because I had bought in for 75 BBs and lost 11 BBs to that point.

I had $375 on me. I actually wasn’t intended to play 2/5, just some 1/2, but the wait at 1/2 was intolerably long.

Certainly 77 was a possibility, just a very low one. I am not arrogant enough to ever assume I can put a person on a hand for sure; it’s always a range of hands. 77 was just really unlikely. Kudos to anyone who’s gutsy and skilled enough to raise UTG with 77, but that would have been a very aggressive and unusual play and seemed, to me, so unlikely it wasn’t worth mentioning. After his $45 raise on the flop I’d guess his range as:

AKs or AKo: 65%
A-something-else-with-paint: 20%
AA: 10%
Everything else, like 77 or something idiotic like KK: 5%

After the A comes and he bets I take 5% away from AA and 5% away with A-something-else and give it mostly to AK.

Your comment is essentially correct in that absent some really compelling evidence someone really does have a superior set, I’m not going to panic too badly about the possibility of set over set. It will happen, and it has happened, but if you’re not willing to die on that hill from time to time you’re not going to win at poker.

Agreed, that’s all fair enough. If you don’t mind me hijacking the thread slightly by asking, how do you play small pairs (i.e. any pair below, say, TT) UTG?

As I implied above, I generally don’t like calling and hoping for a cheap flop, unless it’s the type of table where family pots are a common occurrence (and I have played in games like this at 1/2 - live, of course, you wouldn’t often get that kind of table online). Folding seems totally cowardly, but is probably correct at certain types of table, and early in a freeze-out tournament. Certainly calling and then re-raising if anyone raises can work, perhaps that is the best strategy in the general case. Assuming you don’t get 3-betted (when the sensible course is to fold), you can represent a lot of hands on the flop. And of course the higher the pair, the more hope you can have of still having top pair after the flop.

I don’t think the $75 bet was a mistake. I think making the $75 bet when he wasn’t going to lay down the hand to a reraise was a mistake. It’s easy to get into a headspace when you are only playing against one other guy. I tend to assume the first caller to my raise has a pair and any following callers have draws. I don’t know why.

I was also waiting for the “and he turns over A7” punchline.

Assuming you have a stack where your open would be 1/15 to 1/20 its size (while the odds against hitting your set are 8.5 to 1 against, you need a margin to account for all the times you get set-over-setted, or where they get a straight+.) I don’t see a problem with opening even 22 in EP. Especially at a table as set-mining unaware as the example table was shown to be. The problem is that you’re not going to be able to reasonably defend it if someone 3-bets you. Then again, I understand light 3-betting is pretty much non-existent at LLSNL, so when they do it, you’d be toast whether you had 22 or TT. Their 3-bet would probably kill your set-mining odds too.

I wouldn’t open-limp, though I understand it can have a place as stacks get small in tournament play. Certainly if the table is passive, and you feel you can get your stack in when you hit your set, then why not limp? I guess you could bluff by limp/re-raising (repping AA) but I understand the money is generally not won at LLSNL by that kind of aggressive bluffing. You’re playing the low/medium PP exclusively for set value, and c/f any flop you don’t hit. However, if you can get heads up, and you don’t think the board hits their calling range, I don’t see why you couldn’t rep the top of your range. Whether that would be best done by leading out for 3/4 pot+, or check-raising, I don’t know.

At the turn in Rick’s hand, the pot is 312 and Rick has 210 back. It doesn’t matter what is bet here, 75 or a shove, because at least one player’s stack should be going in with the succeeding bet. There’s the concept of the “commitment threshold” in NLHE, the idea that, once this much of your stack goes in, you really should expect to shove the rest of it in on this hand. From what I remember from Professional No-Limit Hold 'Em, this value is about 1/3 of your stack, and the authors mention that committing 10% of your stack should get you prepared to face a decision later in the hand for the rest of your chips. For an effective stack of 320, when 32 bucks go into the pot, the thought should be that the next bet will commit you to go all in. Certainly when (90+20) 110 goes in, it should have been obvious to UTG that Rick wasn’t going anywhere. That said, I’ve seen villains fold hands after committing 50%-75% of their stacks, which absolutely confounds me.

You’ll notice this 10% threshold comes near the amount of opens for a short-stack (~30-40 bbs). This allows a good short-stacker to play a tight range, and have greater equity in the hand than their stack when they get it in, while larger-stacked players can’t really do much about it. A good short-stacker can exploit larger stacked players, who can’t adjust to the short-stacker without losing more vs the other players at the table. So, if you only had 375 for that session to buy in at 2/5, I’d choose to split the money into two buy-ins, and try to play an efficient short-stack game with 35-38 bbs. Assuming the casino allowed this minimum buy-in; a lot of online poker rooms have instituted minimum buy-ins to try and counter this tactic. If you managed to double through on the first buy-in like Rick did, top off with the second buy-in. This would allow you to avoid the 50-80 bb middle I mentioned in my earlier post.

General rule of thumb, the opposite of the table. If the table is tight play loose and if the table is loose play tight. Also, don’t call a bet preflop unless you’re willing to call a raise. So tight table = raise; loose table = fold.

Depends on the table. Bear in mind I play 1/2 live and sometimes 2/5 live, where (especially at 1/2) you will see very passive, limpy play. Seven, eight limpers. At such a table, I’ll often limp with any pocket pair in any position in an effort to set-mine, assuming the stacks at the table are big enough to merit it. You’ll often get many-limp hands or maybe even a bunch of limps, someone makes an $8 raise, and then six people call that too, which makes a pocket pair still a profitable item. Hell, with 99 I might make a standard raise just to mix things up.

But sometimes there will be strong players. It doesn’t take more than an orbit or two to identify the people who, in late position, will attack a many-limper hand with a big raise. In that case I’d avoid playing low pairs way out of position, you’re going to be raised off the hand too often to be worth it.

So yeah, short answer; it depends.

Well, as God is my witness, the opposite thing almost happened last night. Playing $1/2 at the Toledo casino I was dealt AK suited two from UTG. I raised to $10 and got two callers; the gentleman in the cutoff, and the gentleman immediately to my right. Flop A-9-5 rainbow. The gentleman to my right bet $20. I decided based on his previous play he might be making a c-bet with a hand worse than mine, so I put in $40 to win the pot right there.

Guy in the cutoff bet $80.

After the guy to my right folded I tossed my AK face up and said “Nice set.” He took his money and showed his set of fives. Presto.