Best guess on his hand?

Strategy & Advice by werdna720 about Bally's Las Vegas Posted

Hi everyone,

New to posting here, so I hope this follows proper etiquette (and is in the right place).

The following is a situation I came across playing at Bally's in Las Vegas recently at the 1-2 NL tables, and I was hoping to get some feedback on whether or not I am appropriately ranging other players' cards.

A quick set up for the situation is that this was a relatively fresh table. The only significant shift of money was during a 3 way all-in, and the two players who bricked it bought back in for about $200 each. Everyone was sitting at around $200, except for the winner of that hand. (I think this might be important for some perspective and bet sizing coming up.)

Anyway, so here is the hand (and feel free to critique my play if you wish!):

I am dealt K K in early position and raise $15 pre-flop.

One caller from mid position, and everyone else folds.

Flop is... 2 6 2

Decide to do a defensive c-bet for another $15 in (and in retrospect, this might be something I would adjust next time). Villain reraises to $30. Imagining that he is not playing a 2 after the pre-flop call, I call.

Turn is... 8

This time, I put my foot on the gas (at least, I think I do) and lead out with $60. Assuming he does not have a 2 (and the low likelihood of him actually having pocket aces), I felt it was safe at this point. Maybe he was even trying to chase the club flush draw? A possibility, but that idea gets thrown out with what happens next.

River is... 5

I see the card and make the assumption that I am in the clear (but could this be a false assumption based on his previous plays?). Doubt he hit the straight with the cards needed and the previous actions. Would you potentially be wary of a low pocket pair here that might have connected?

Anyway, between the board and his play, I didn't feel that concerned, and I shoved all-in for my remaining stack (Around $110). He insta-calls, but when I flip over my kings, he mucks.

Out of curiosity... What do you think he has? What was his possible range off of that?

He called pretty confidently, so a part of me assumes a pocket pair ranging from 1010 to QQ, and he probably thought, like me, that the pair was good since it was beating everything else visible on the board.

What do you think he mucked?

Thanks, all!


  1. Thanks for your thoughts on this, Goodshoe.

    After rereading the hand and the action, it is possible he assumed I hit the 8 on the turn and that his (potential) pocket pair was good. This does lend credence to the idea of a 99 to QQ range.

    If I had to pick something out of that range, I might point at JJ specifically. Those fish hooks can be fickle at times.

  2. Probably 99-JJ. There's nothing 'defensive' about your $15 flop c-bet, pretty standard on that dry of a board. Check-raising turn would be a much better play than leading played you have to shove river oop bc you can't check-fold and checking allows villain option to check back medium strength hands

  3. Queens....

  4. To be quite honest, I don't really like your play during this hand but I'm willing to shed some light and hopefully it helps you out.

    Raise pre-flop to $15 is okay since there wasn't any action.

    Flop bet was too small to do anything but show your opponent that you're doing the obligatory c-bet. You gotta at least bet $30-$45 here to at least try and block a check-raise with a weaker hand...that is, if you are going to bet anything at all here. Small flops like that can be tricky because you really never know what synapse is shooting off in your opponent's head pre-flop. Maybe he was calling your $15 with some bs hand that he was trying to trap you with if the flop came low (as it did). Seen that happen countless times so don't ever underestimate your opponents.

    So if you did end up raising in the $30-$45 range and you get re-raised, here's where you could have either mucked your kings and taken a small loss while mentally patting yourself on the back for making a "good" fold, or you can persevere with a call if it's a small enough re-raise. I think shoving on his re-raise is a losing play because you'll only be called by hands that beat you and at that point, you're probably beat unless you're playing a complete donk. If he jams on you (goes all-in) then you can muck kings every time because he probably has A2, AA, or maybe even pocket sixes (to name a few hands in his possible range).

    I really love your $60 bet on the turn - aggression is key. You are stating that you don't give a flying you-know-what if he has anything aside from a 2 in his hand.

    When the river comes and you go all-in, honestly that's normally a horrible move. It just so happened to turn out good in your favor this time. Normally, as I stated above, you'll only be called by hands that beat you 99% of the time. You must have been playing with a donk, someone who was emotionally trying to make money back, a complete imbecile or someone who just really misread the strength of your hand.

    In this situation on the river, I would have probably just checked because it's too risky to bet anything since he's followed you all the way to the river and all you have is a pair of kings through a really wet flop, straighty turn and straighty river. I mean, the guy could have realistically called you with 3 4 or even 7 9 and got there on the river.

    Either way, it's nice that you ended up taking the pot down, so kudos to you.

    Disclaimer: I'm no pro, but I've played for about 15 years and I just want to help when I feel I might have something to contribute. Other people's opinions may vary so take it for what's it's worth. Good luck!

  5. I agree, I think 1010-QQ. Couldn't have been AK or a lower pair with his call on the turn.

  6. Preflop your raise is perfect.

    Flop- why are you thinking about making a defensive bet? You have a huge hand. You need to be raising for Value. A good rule of thumb is to bet 2/3 of the pot here.

    Turn- The turn is your last best chance to build a big pot when you are ahead because you can still get called by draws. You bet $60 which is about the size of the pot and as played the right bet. If you had bet more on the flop you could have bet more on the turn. It turns out it didn't matter but if v has AC-Xc and misses the river this is likely your last chance to make money in this hand.

    River- I like the shove. Another option would be to check raise but unless you have a good read on him i don't think that play succeeds enough to be profitable.

    The only hand that makes sense for V is a pocket pair.

  7. you are missing the most important part of your question, what does he put you on? You raise big like that pre flop in early position at a 1/2 looks a lot like 10's to kk's and AK/AQ. you should have some read on what he plays and his tendency if you've been there long (and he).

    just my 2 cents worth

    I think it was a bit of an over raise preflop at a 1/2. the higher your bet pre-flop the more tied to the hand you are going to be, making it much harder to fold to AA or a made hand.

    its a good flop for you, baring he has a crazy hand which is ALWAYS possible.

    your bet, what were you trying to do with that $15 bet? were you trying to block a bet from him? where you just trying to see if he would fold to half pot bet? where you trying to induce a bluff (which worked apparently), where you trying to stop drawing hand (clubs) which you bet too little to do. where you just trying to see if he had a 2? (he said he did!)
    small chance he has a 2, better chance he has pocket 66, better chance still he has larger than table pair, ok chance he now has a draw to the flush, possible he has a nothing hand.

    he raises you.
    well, he says he doesn't believe you have much (or you missed) and/or that he has something you should be afraid of. what does he put you on?

    if he is bluffing he is putting you on a drawing hand, AQ-AT possibly a small pair. its a really bad bet if he's bluffing, unless he thinks that you will think that and its really a suck bet.

    if he is not bluffing, then he is putting you on the same hands but also some middle pairs. he could be trying to knock out a big Ax of clubs.

    if he thought you had AA he would only do that with a 2 or 66, if he thought you had KK he would only do that if he had AA a 2 or 66. with his smooth call pre flop you have to almost rule out AA (baring any tells)

    so, unless he got really lucky with 2x, 22, 66, you are good, but you don't really know what he has, and if he's bluffing its because either he wants you to fold (unlikely here with size of bet unless he's a moron), he wants you to just call him and check the turn (giving him a reduced cost on the turn), or he wants you to re-raise him, there by defining your hand and he can either fold if he has nothing, or shove / call if he has the nuts.

    you can either call (not defining your hand), re-raise - defining your hand and testing to see if he wants to claim he actually does have the nuts, or shove - saying you have the nuts (not believable)

    you call is not a bad play on the flop.

    on the turn betting is not bad if he was trying to block your bet on the turn. but why bet out here when you could have done that on the flop? checking and giving a free card is probably not the best idea unless you have a good read. betting says that you really do have a good hand, but maybe not one strong enough to get it all in on the flop. unless he has 88 nothing has really changed in the hand. betting here is good, sizing your bet correctly is a whole other story, which is based on what you want him to do / think.

    he calls you. he would do that with either a drawing hand, or a monster hand (in his eyes). so here you can further dwindle his hands down to suited connectors or Ax suited, a 2, 66, 88 or higher pair. he's a little worried you called his raise, indicating you actually did have a good hand, he still thinks he could have the best hand or get the best hand by the river. he no longer thinks you have a drawing hand. you have defined your hand much more than he has. (nothing wrong with that).

    on the river comes a 5, interesting card.

    are you playing a good player or a donk? or somebody on tilt?

    if he had 34c he made a hand, if he had 25 he locked it up (in his mind). if he has a bigger pair, he thinks he's good. if he has nothing, he is ready to bluff or throw it away.

    so here comes your decision (this is why being out of position is so costly, you loose money when you win (smaller pots) and loose more),

    do you bet or check? Depends, you put him on a medium hand and you check, that is telling him you've got a good hand but you are scared you are beat, almost forcing him to put more chips in in the hopes he can win a hand me might other wise loose.
    if you bet you are telling him you still have the best hand, and his hand is no good unless he's got it made. in which case you are screwed.

    do you go all in? who is calling an all in here? you've strongly said you had the best hand the whole way, so the only way you get a call (other than something crazy happening which does occasionally) he is calling with at worst, AA, trips, straight or boat. if he doesn't have that, he is probably folding 95+% of the time (unless he has some read on you and your table presence).

    best play here? if you think you have the best hand, check it, let him try to bluff it. if you think you are beat, check it, he might also check.

    great thing about poker, if you do all the right things you can still loose and if you do all the wrong things you can still win. And really, i don't think there is anything 100% right or wrong in poker. there are so many angles and aspects, setups, and so forth, that what loose wrong or right to everyone else could be the opposite. that's why i like the game!

    ask yourself these questions, if i bet $$ what do i expect him to do, and why would he do it? (what hands does that define).

    good luck!