Pocket 4s 1/2 nl cash

Strategy & Advice by dacoach1122 Posted

Here is the scenario please let me know if I made the correct decision. I've been playing for 2 hours, started with $100 and have about $70 left. UTG raises to $ 11. He has been consistent with his raises so I put him on mid to high pocket pair or high suited connectors. I look at my hand and have 44. I figured it's a coin flip or I'm beat. I told. 3 players call. Flop Comes 4, J, 7 but all spades. Bb checks, raiser bets 20, utg2 calls, bb calls. Turn comes A clubs. BB checks, UTG $40, UTG 2 all in for about 90. BB FOLDS and Utg calls. River is 9 clubs. UTG has KQ spades. UTG 2 had 2 pair A spades, 9 hearts. UTG takes it down. As it turns out I would have been bamboozled. However, did I make the "correct or proper fold"? I'm the low stack. UTG had about $250 to start the hand. Any thoughts?


  1. UTG raised to $11 and there are no calls to you with $70 in your stack. Easy fold. At minimum, you need to be getting 9 to 1 odds to call a raise and set mine because you are only going to flop a set about 1 time out of 9 that you have a pocket pair. You are getting 7 to 1.

    But, to take it even further, realize that some of the time you can flop a set and still lose (like you would have here). So, 9 to 1 really isn't good enough odds. Also, not everyone will stack off with an over pair or top pair, you need to increase those odds even further. I've heard debates about what is best, but those seem to settle on somewhere between 12 to 1 and 20 to 1 to profitably set mine against a preflop raise. Personally, I use 15 to 1 since it's in that range and is a fairly easy figure to calculate. Remember, those odds should be against the original raiser and you have to figure them based on the shorter stack between the 2 of you. So, if the raiser has $2,000 in front of him and you have $70, or if you have $2,000 and the raiser only has $70, then you have to use $70 to calculate the odds.

    It gets a little more complicated if there are calls between you. But, basically you need to figure the odds against the original raiser only because the chances that someone who just called preflop is going to stack off if you flop a set are pretty slim (basically they have to flop a set, 2 pair, or some kind of big draw). That said, the calls do improve your odds a bit. So, say in this case that you were on the button and had $140 instead of $70. In that case if UTG raised to $11 and there were 3 calls, you are getting almost 13 to 1 odds against the initial raiser, which isn't quite good enough. But, the 3 calls already in the pot make that 16 to 1, so you can now profitably call.


  2. @Dap Poker thanks for the detailed input. I've only been playing 1/2 nl for about a year. I usually play tourney poker.

  3. Hi,

    Since you have pretty few left (35bb incash game is few), and you have a 5.5x open, in fact you are in a push/fold situation a bit like in a tournament. I'm sure you can profitably push here since you still have some fold equity pre-flop against hands that crush you (55-88), hands that you are flipping against that won't call (KQ, A7-T), and you can also be against flip hands (AJ+) and be slightly favourite. Sometimes you will be snapped by 99+, oh well it's 70$.
    Something even better, 3-bet to 25$, it will show so much strength to 3-bet 1/3 of your stack that you will probably get more folds as if you were pushing pre.

    fold pre is good anyway.

    my opinion: 3-bet>fold>push>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>call


  4. I am with Dap here (and on many other hands). Clear fold. Not to repeat some of his great points, but to add a few more comments:

    I think raising all in here, pre-flop, is a huge mistake. There is $14 in the pot (a $11 bet and the blinds) and you would be risking $70 to win $14. Although you will get some hands to fold that you'd be raising against, I don't like risking $70 to win $14. When your shove is called, you are generally behind (praying to be an almost even coin flip with A-K or perhaps slightly worse).

    Raising with 4-4 is interesting, but what do you do on the close to 90% of the flops that you don't hit (on those times that you are called). By the time you have raised to $25, you are almost compelled to bluff on all flops. Maybe this line has thin merit, but I sure feel sick when I get all $70 in there by the flop and get called (assuming I have not hit my set). I'd rather save my bigger bluffs for more outs than two.

    Calling has the pot odds problem mentioned by Dap. To expand a bit on this. In a really loose passive games (where there is rarely a three bet and 4-5 people seeing a flop is quite common), I might find a call close to okay, especially if a bunch of calling stations are yet to act. Here is want to have solid surety there will be at least 3 or 4 opponents (and be fairly sure there will be no squezzing/re-raising except the rare case where someone wakes up to AA or KK). But the more aggressive the game... the lighter people will three bet... the less I like this highly speculative call (a call that relies on getting proper odds by trying to predict how this hand will play out after our action). A problem with calling here is that we surely have to fold if, after our $11 call, someone else re-raises (calling a min raise might also be close to okay, but a min-raise here should never happen).

    On a side note, I have a rough rule as follows: I am almost always happy to get all in pre-flop with A-K, suited or not, against a stack of $100 or less. And I hate A-K as a hand compared to most people. I won't do this against a super nit, but am especially eager to do this if a player is wild, loose, and/or on tilt. And the smaller my opponents stack, the more I like this play. This play is a bit confused with a third player involved, however. And this is not to hijack this thread on the merits of my rule (which are rough to begin with). But I mention it because I think about the $25 re-raise option proposed. If I viewed the $25 raiser as tight, I'd probably bail out and lean towards folding. But if I viewed otherwise, I'd put him all in. Again, a problem for 4-4 either raising or calling here. If I put you all in for $70, are you going to call me with 4-4? You might wrongly fold... which is to say, you have taken a line where you might be left guessing what I have, which could cause you to make a mistake. I think the easiest, most right play here is to avoid tough decisions and just fold pre-flop with no money invested.

  5. @lalusch,

    I agree that the original poster is very short for a cash game, but I think that you are overestimating fold equity. From my experience, you have a lot more fold equity in a tournament than in a cash game, especially at $1/2. Therefore, I just don't think you have anywhere near the fold equity to make a shove work. My other problem with a shove is that the original raiser was UTG. In most cases, that means the original raiser has a fairly strong hand and therefore, I think we have to assume that a lot of weaker hands that we are flipping against (A-7, A-8, A-9, K-J, K-10, Q-J, Q-10) just aren't part of our opponent's range. The fact that the original raiser is UTG also makes hands like 5-5 to 9-9 a bit less likely. Finally, we are giving the stronger unpaired hands that will likely call the correct odds to do so against our hand. So, we are risking our $70 to win $14 and when we are called we are either a 4 to 1 underdog or a coin flip where we have given our opponent the correct price to take a coin flip situation against us. I really don't like that line. After typing all of this, I might like shoving even less than I like calling and I hate calling with our stack.

    At first I really liked the idea of that small 3-bet. But, after I thought about it more, I don't in this case because the original raiser was UTG. Again, this means that he likely has a stronger hand, so we are likely to either get called or get 4 bet. If we get 4 bet, we have to fold and if we get called, then we have to basically shut down on any flop that doesn't give us a set and contains an ace, a king or a queen -- since those likely smash our opponent's raise and call our 3 bet range. Also, a flop like 7-5-2 rainbow is not going to scare an opponent with J-J, 10-10 or maybe even 9-9. So, since they already put $25 in the pot and we only have another $45 behind, they might just decide to look us up if we 3 bet to $25 and then shove on the flop.

    One other problem with a small raise is that there are a lot of people left to act. Here in Vegas, I see people call a 3-bet to $25 or so from someone with less than $100 to start the hand fairly regularly. So, my experience says that the play has less fold equity than you think -- and honestly a lot less fold equity than I'd have imagined a year ago when I started playing just no limit cash games.

    I think a lot of my disagreement with your idea to raise boils down to the fact that in most 1/2 games our opponents tend to call too much. So, I want to play off of that tendency and make big value bets when I am likely to be way ahead. I also want to give my opponents incorrect odds when they do make their most common mistake and call when they should not. I just don't see that putting any money into this pot does that -- because the initial raise was from UTG and we have a really short stack.

    Having disagreed that much with you, I want to say I think that if we changed the initial post a bit and had the original raise come from someone in late position, then I think either a small raise or a shove might be a really good way to mix up our game. So, there are spots where I really need to think about adding that sort of play to my playbook. I just don't think that this is one of those spots. But, thank you for opening my mind up to that sort of a play.


  6. @Dap Poker Hi Dave, Thanks for your feedback, the most I think about it the most I think you are right, fold>3bet>Shove=call . I always think that people play as I would play, i.e. balancing opening range from all positions, balancing 3bet range etc etc but in a 1/2 game with no specific dynamic, it is really frisky to 3bet light an UTG's open, even with an horrendous stack to raise ratio because as you said people call too much and don't care about stack depth.

    Sorry to change subject, but does anybody know where can I find the buy in caps for cash games at WSOP??



  7. Folding here is probably the best option.

    As Dap pointed out you are only going to make a set about one in eight times so set mining with a short stack does not usually make a lot of sense. I can think of two possible reasons for calling (1) if you call you think others will call thus giving you better odds to set mine or (2) You can bluff the flop often enough to make a of call possible. If you feel good about both of those options then make a call. Calling PF then check folding the flop is a bad play.

    You can raise here but the problem with that is your stack size makes it awkward. I don't think you can shove $70 into a $14 pot but if you make it $30 and you take the flop heads up you will both be pot committed for the remaining $40 and you could be way behind.

  8. @txbadass This is bad.

  9. Agree with DAP essentially.