Curiouser and Curiouser
Lately, I have been running across a play at the tables that demands some feedback, because I think it's completely wrong, but, then again, maybe I'm the idiot. So, being one to never shy away from my own inadequacies, let's examine it together shall we?
Specifically, this play has been popping up in multi-table tourneys, most often in the early stages.
I open-raise from the CO with 88, 3x with blinds at 50/100. The SB and BB call. The flop comes Q94 rainbow and the action is checked to me. I follow through with a standard continuation bet of 450, half the pot. SB folds and BB calls.
I think I can reasonably assume the BB caught a piece there, though the lack of a bet makes me think he's not too strong, perhaps even holding JT for the OESD, in which case hee didn't have the odds to call that bet, but that's hardly ever stopped anyone before online, so I don't discount it. What else could he hold that would merit a call? A9? Qx? I can certainly see him calling the flop bet with the former. Not so much with the latter. Did he flop a set of 4s and pulled a smooth call? Not unreasonable.
Generally, in this spot, I'm done with putting more money in. I took a shot at winning it right there and, with two overs, there are myriad hands that have me beat.
The turn is a 5, completing the rainbow. The BB checks again and, based on the above, I check behind. The river is another 9 and now the BB leads out with a bet of 240 into an 1800 pot. Well shit, I'll call that with air just to find out what the hell the guy's playing. I do and he flips QJ for the winner.
Now, here's the thing. To my mind, he played that hand poorly post-flop (I'm not one to call pre-flop raises with QJ out of position, but he certainly had the correct odds to do so in this instance). He flopped top pair and by check-calling, didn't define his hand. I suppose there is the possibility he has notes on me and knows I will agggressively bet post-flop after taking the lead in the hand, but I think that would be giving him a little too much credit. Regardless, his weak play doesn't give him any idea where he stands, a fact that is verified by his check on the turn. Now, MY check on the turn probably--and finally--defines his hand for him. And his smallish value bet on the river is the right play.
If I were in his shoes, I lead out on the flop, very likely winning the pot right there. So, here we have the conflicting issue. By playing the hand weakly, he extracted nearly 700 more chips out of me, as opposed to taking down the 900 pot on the flop.
Yet, it's still my opinion that he is, more often than not, courting big trouble by playing the hand this way. If he's up against AK, or even Ax/Kx, he's keeping it cheap for people to catch up. If he's up against AQ or KQ, he's got a calling problem. Even I, in the example, could have hit my set. And based on his play, any bets I make after his checks are going to be called. That hand is VERY vulnerable. If he's slow-playing his TP3K, then he's a special brand of idiot.
I'd like to know what you think. I will also be on the lookout for this type of play a lot more, as I've seen a half-dozen similar opponents check-calling top pair on the flop. I certainly need to add this to the range for certain players.