Monday, May 16, 2005

A Shorthanded Hand: Check and Calling against Mr. Aggro

Party Poker 10/20 Hold'em (6 max, 5 handed)
Mr. Aggro has been raising many hands pre-Flop while in the cutoff and the button.

Preflop: Yao is BB with 6s, 6c.
1 fold, MP (Mr. Aggro) raises, 2 folds, Yao calls.

Flop: (4.50 SB) Tc, Qd, Th (2 players)
Yao checks, Mr. Aggro bets, Yao calls.

Even with Mr. Aggro’s aggressive nature, this is not a great Flop for me. He’s likely to have two high cards or Ax. If he has two high cards without a pair, he may have 10 (AJ, K9) or 14 outs (KJ, J9). I was unclear if I was behind or ahead. I pegged it as roughly 50% behind, 50% ahead. If I’m behind, I’m a dead duck with only 2 outs. If I’m ahead, I have about 33 outs (45 unknown cards, minus an average of 12 outs for Mr. Aggro). Roughly, I think I have 17 outs. This was an opponent who I felt would bet all the way, no matter what he had. If he had a pair or better, he would bet to press his advantage. If he didn’t have a pair, he would bet as a bluff or semi-bluff. So I planned on check-calling on every street, unless a A, K, J or 9 showed up. With any of those cards, I would check-fold because many of his possible semi-bluffing hands would have hit a pair or the straight. If I check-called blindly through the River, I would have to put in 2.5 big bets to win a pot of 4.5 big bets (my opponent will bet on the Turn and the River, and there are 2.5 big bets in the pot when the action is to me on the Flop). I have pot odds through the River. But more importantly, I have the option of folding if one of those danger cards hit on the Turn or River, so if something goes bad, I will lose less, thus making my effective pot odds higher.

Turn: (3.25 BB) 2c (2 players)
Yao checks, Mr. Aggro bets, Yao calls.

A good card for me. I continue with my check-call plan. Against players that has more respect for a Turn check-raise, I would think about doing so here. Then if I was re-raised, I could safely fold; players who respect a Turn check-raise won’t re-raise unless they had a very solid hand. But I didn’t like the chances of this player folding as opposed to betting without anything. Against a check-raise, some would fold Ax, a gutshot straight draw, and maybe even a pair of 9s or 8s. I was not confident Mr. Aggro would even fold Ax. Since I was sure he would throw in another bluff bet on the River (if he didn’t have a pair), I continued with my original check-call plan.

River: (5.25 BB) 7d (2 players)
Yao checks, Mr. Aggro bets, Yao calls.
Another good card for me. I’m 50% sure that I have the best hand now. I know if I bet, he is unlikely to call if he doesn’t have a pair, so I continue with my check-call plan and hope he doesn’t have a pair.

Final Pot: 7.25 BB

Results below:
Yao has 6s 6c (two pair, tens and sixes).
Mr. Aggro has Kd 9s (one pair, tens).
Outcome: Yao wins 7.25 BB.

The plan worked out. But keep in mind that even on the River, I was still only expecting to win this pot 50% of the time. The edge was small in this hand, but it was enough that if repeated many times over, it adds up quickly, especially in online shorthanded games.

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