Thursday, November 17, 2005

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.


At 10:22 AM, Anonymous TinMan said...

I've seen this quite a bit myself. I think most of these players think that they are doing something right and believe that they are slow playing very strong hands that are not vulnerable to them. It is extremely irritating but I've modified my online play accordingly and have been able to avoid the drains on my stacks that this generally causes.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Human Head said...

I don't think he was slow-playing. I believe players like this take the attitude, "I've got top pair with a slightly vulnerable kicker and I called a raise. I'm not dumping this hand for anyting under the sun, but I'm not confident enough in it to lead out."

It's pussified and technically incorrect in a couple of places, but I think that this is the logic simply because (I hate admitting this) it used to be me and (I hate admitting this even more) still is on occasion albeit much less often.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Joanne1111 said...

To the inexperienced player, two face cards is a monster hand. Even better when the board pairs one of them. I'd bet that he would have called you down on each street had you continued to bet out.

So what would I do? Bet out like you did on the flop, check the turn as you did, and fold to a bet on the end if I didn't catch a third 8. With two overcards and a pair on the board, I don't think it is worth the call.

Though I wouldn't have played the hand the way he did, your initial bet (which was the appropriate amount in this case) wasn't enough to scare him off calling the extra $200. He was on a drawing hand and caught, simple as that.

How do you get away from this? You don't. People will always play TPxK, and that is where we make our money in the long term.

Personally, I wouldn't have called the final bet though. I have come to terms with the fact that I don't need to lose more chips on a hand I am convinced I have lost, just to see what the other player held. (and in this case, I would be pretty convinced that he had me beat.) Usually when I find out the information, it is just more cause for tilt and isn't worth any more precious tournament chips.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Daddy said...

Yeah, uh, what she said.

At 1:37 PM, Blogger Div said...

I think the thought process pretty much is...

I. Have. A. Pair.

They are seeing a showdown, and there's no way of getting away from it.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger StB said...

I ran into a very similiar play yesterday where I had a mid pair. I raised preflop, made the continuation bet that was called, checked the turn and called his river bet.

He had stayed in with bottom pair. I had second pair on the turn. Third on the river.

Like you, I would call that smallish bet at the end, primarily for information. What is this person playing that they are so passive about. I am a fan of calling that small bet for info. Sometimes too much.

At 2:53 PM, Blogger biggestron said...

Here's my read on the hand

For an extra $200 the BB took a chance with his stupid connectors (as in not 'suited' connectors). He hit top pair, but was probably worried about AQ. He may have read your continuation bet for what it was (that's the first thing that goes through my head on a 3/4 pot bet!) and made a call looking to take it from you on the turn.

The check on the turn may have been an attempt at a check-raise.

The river board pair may have scared him, so he made a smallish probe bet. These aren't too bad of a play - they look like value bets, and you can dump them if someone comes over the top.

At 6:00 PM, Blogger hdouble said...

Slowplaying is underrated in short stack (less than 20 bbs) NL.

At 7:19 AM, Blogger obp1000 said...

I see a $2NL tourney player (as am I) has found his way into the $20NL tables. mmhmm


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