Overrating a Good Game – Edition 118

I recently saw a game using a hand sharing app (ShareMyPair) that demonstrated the mistake many amateurs make – with long term consequences of significant loss of equity. In a $5-$10 cash game, everyone folds until Hero. On the button (BTN), he raised his effective stack of $800 to $20 with J♠J♥. Only the Big Blind (BB), a player with some odd but capable abilities, got paid. At first I would raise more money, around $25-$30, but small raises are acceptable. When we’re playing games below 50 blinds, a raise of 2.5 to 3 big blinds is usually good, so if you have a really strong hand, it’s easier to get all your chips together before the river. When you mini-raise, it’s very difficult to go all-in on the last street unless your stake is very large. The flop came J♦3♠3♥ and Hero had a full house. BB asked for a table like Hero did.I’ll bet $20 into a $45 pot. While the big blind makes it difficult to make any good choices, most players have a very large range when faced with small bets in this situation. Even with a hand like 8♣7♣, BB is unlikely to improve his hand to cover the turn and river bets. Therefore, Hero should bet the flop for K-High or better payouts. I think a smaller bet, $10 or $15 would be fine. Betting high doesn’t make sense because BB starts folding hands with Kings or Aces, and those are a big part of the range Hero wants to get value from. By betting, Hero also gives BB the opportunity to check-raise with a bluff since the board is very dry. Can he bluff the turn? Yes, but Hero is much better off just expanding the pot on the flop. However, if you know that your opponent will always attack the turn if you don’t c-bet, it can also be beneficial to ask the table. The turn is the 3rd big blind. The big blind bets $20 into the $45 pot and Hero raises to $80. I don’t like this raise. Also, it’s very difficult for SB to have a hand that beats Hero, and he’s unlikely to raise unless he has a jack or better. Considering that Hero has two jacks, the number of times BB gets the last jack is very small. Unless BB is a nut, he only pays off on the turn and river with A, K or smaller, then calls on the turn to bluff on the river or get out of a worse hand Gaining some value in this is definitely the best way to play. Always take the time to consider the areas you want to derive value from. Hero certainly didn’t do that. If he did, he would realize that very few people would call his raise. BB 3-bets to $200 and Hero moves all-in. When the BB 3-bets, his range is polarized between jacking or better or bluffing. If he’s bluffing, Hero should simply call and keep him in the pot. If he has jacks or better, Hero is out of position, since the value range for BB in this case is all jacks or something like 4. Even though BB’s range has J’s more than 3’s, he only needs to put in the blinds to see the flop, and with his extremely strong play on the turn, Hero is likely to face a similar 4’s. Of course, BB could slowplay a higher pair (which is the worst hand), but that’s unlikely. Even though Hero shouldn’t slow down his jack, shoving is a bad move because BB will give up all his bluffs and even jacks. Well, the big blind called and showed 10♣3♣, four of a kind. While the hand looks normal, if Hero just called the turn, the opponent would bet about $80 on the river, and Hero would probably reraise. Will he lose all his chips in the same way? Possibly, but at least he has a weaker perceived range, is likely to get called by worse hands, and can keep his entire BB bluffing range on the river. The way he plays turns an extremely strong hand into a bluff catcher.

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