Rethinking a fold.

Strategy & Advice by txevans Posted
6 Comments I had been playing 1/2 at the Venetian for about two hours. The table was a pretty good mix of characters....with an Asian young man two to my right. I had not seen him get way out of line or anything...but then again he was very aggressive post flop and forced a lot of folds so I did not have a well defined range. Anyway....I get pocket 10 ' s in the small blind. This guy raises to 10 in the cutoff. I call as does the big blind. Flop is K/ J/x...and it checks around. After he checks...I am thinking....well....I am ahead of A/ I waited to see the turn. Another blank small card rolls off.....but I couldn't pull the when the guy bets 15....I fold. At the time..and l I could put him on was A/x. But looking back..he could easily have had a smaller pair than I did. My question is how best to play on the range of possible hands and not get so focused on specific hands. What are some mental exercises to go through so you think rather than just react?? Thanks!


  1. Okay so this is a ranging exercise. You need to consider both players in the hand; both have position on you post flop.

    Preflop, what does the cutoff raise to 10 with pre-flop? I have him pretty wide. I'd think probably not complete rags and on a move but that is still possible pre-flop given his position, especially if he wasn't getting much resistance. What does BB call with? It's got to be something - again maybe just pretty cards, but not complete garbage.

    Taking it in order post flop, after you check. What does the BB check with? Hands he misses with and really strong hands he is hoping to check raise for sure. I am not sure what he does when he hits a J or has a small pair. These are hands he probably checks for pot control although I might bet to see where I am at with these kinds of hands. Hard to know since I don't have a sense about whether anyone has played back at cutoff and whether BB thinks he could take down the pot with a bet here.

    Cutoff checks. I would take rags out of his range now, since you both checked (indicating to him no King for either of you) I would expect him to C bet to win the pot with a hand with little showdown value. I think he checks Kx or stronger hands to let you catch up. What does he do with Ax? I would think an aggressive player would bet here to take it down or, if raised, fold or call depending on a whole slew of factors we don't have the information on here (the size of a hypothetical bet, strength of his hand, texture of the board, stack sizes, where a raise comes from, and whether both of you are in). I also think he bets Jx to build pot and discover information.

    So his check I think means strength and you are out of position against two guys with two overs on the board. 10s that looked pretty before the flop now look ugly to me. A blank comes on the turn, which means you don't feel like you can represent anything and you check -- correctly I think -- two over cards to your pair against two opponents who are likely to have hit their range and no reason to bluff here.

    Even if cutoff didn't have it I don't think there is much you could do about it given how you played it pre-flop, which makes me think the lesson here is to raise from the SB with tens against an agg opponent open raising in late position to isolate and make post-flop decisions easier. Thanks for posting. Its a typical situation but fun to think through.

  2. @Wes88 Wow...great thoughts. Maybe I did save a few's always the not knowing that kills me! Would have been interesting if I had bet out $15 on the flop to see if my tight reputation would have taken it down. Who likes that possibility?

  3. @txevans. Not a huge fan of leading out, from out of position, with 10-10. Remember, we really have third pair here. Maybe we can get the BB to fold a hand like J-10 or Q-J (flopped second pair), but we also leave ourselves open to being bluff raised by a hand like A-Q from the aggressive pre-flop raiser. I'd sure think about making this play if I were the pre-flop aggressor (even if I didn't always find the inner cajones to make this play every time I think about it... but I'd also float here with decent equity a fair number of times too, which would also make 10-10's life difficult).

    As the original hand was played, I am fine either leading out on the turn (representing a flopped made hand like K-Q or A-J that was hoping to induce a bet on the flop, but now realizes it has to bet for value since no one bet the flop. Heck, this is exactly how I would standardly play a flopped set. In the end, I think betting about 60% of pot on the turn is how I'd play the hand myself. If no one wants the pot, let's stab after we know this. But understand that the BB could have been slowplaying a much bigger hand here than 10-10. If we bet and BB calls, I am done with the hand. We are not strong enough to play past this one bet.

    As for the Villain's range, it is pretty wide. It is wide pre-flop. When the flop is checked, it probably eliminates some medium strength hands. I don't know why an aggressive villain would ever check behind with A-J here. Your hand is pretty strong, but vulnerable to a Queen. Frankly, I usually bet here with a gutshot Broadway draw in position too (if my opponents are kind enough to check), knowing I can check the turn, so that my decent equity bluff gets me to a free river most of the time. So, I sort of discount (but do not rule out) two Broadway cards like A-Q or Q-10 here. Medium pocket pairs and medium suited connectors seem to best fit the action... as do slow played monsters. How often is an aggressive pre-flop raiser not continuation betting on the flop? This is suspicious to me. This mostly likely seems either a monster or a relatively weak hand (9-9 or 9-8 suited types of hands) that is trying to take the pot on the turn when checked to twice.

    If you think this player is likely to shut down on the river (with little to nothing), you can call on the turn (or, better yet, lead out) and fold if and only if you end up facing another bet. If this player is good and aggressive, I'd check fold the turn, because I don't want to face a third bet on the river. If you think this guy is closer to a maniac, you might have to determine to call both turn and river bets here (although this player doesn't sound like a maniac, so I'd not advocate that here...also, maniacs almost never check the flop, so perhaps a fold here is actually the most easy path of all the options because the rare check is so out of character that you ought to be extra careful in this situation).

  4. @allin67 nice info.....thanks!

  5. A lot has been said about this hand, in short, you have "third pair" 10's to him having Kx or Jx, you need a small pot to maybe win on the river. I would put him on some type of Jx probably J suited 8,9, Q based on the betting seq. Good fold, save your money for the big pots which will come with this hand when the flop is 10, 7, 2. and your opp. has A 7 offsuit, and is in till the river waiting for the A to hit.

  6. Stop thinking in ways that leave you guessing. First mistake is your not thinking correctly about the situation, secondly you have no plan for the solution.
    1st. What does villain have?
    using the GAP concept we can begin to analyze the situation. Cut off raises 5xbb, this is tricky because of position. We can say the range is wide but we could prove our hypothesis by using the GAP to our advantage.
    10s in the SB we could raise $25.
    What is this saying??? What is our Plan?? I raise out of SB im saying "Hey I have a huge hand" because I know im playing post flop out of position. If the villain calls you can now take AA, AK, KK and maybe QQ out of his range. BUT more importantly what does he think of our range?? everything we take away from him he gives to us!
    The flop comes KJ3 and we can do many many things with this. A check from us could mean we just flopped a set and want to hang him... IF we lead out we could have AK or even AA...

    SO the plan is if we check and villain bets we crush the pot. THATS CALLED POKER! you've used your position to set up a thought in someones head. Now you have to follow the storyline.

    Also I might add 1/2 NL is a fish game that requires ABC poker so call and folding any pairs is an acceptable strategy. Typically I find set mining 9s or better is a profitable 1/2 strategy.

    In closing... Have a plan! Make them guess!

    Good Luck