Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I make a mistake, or do I?

Today I ventured over to Capitol Casino to play a 4 hour session of live cash. During my drive home, I decided that this hand/situation was by far the most interesting of the day, so I'll share it with you all.

We're playing 5-10 NLH, average stack is probably about 900 or so. There is a fair amount of preflop looseness, but not a ton of aggression beyond open raises. Postflop I would describe the game as moderately aggressive. On to the hand:

It folds to me in the hijack (1k$) with KdJh, and I open to 30. Cutoff toys with a raise quickly and calls (700$), however I do not think this means much as he was doing this pretty often. He was the only player at the table who had 3-bet multiple times and squeezed in obvious spots. Button folds, SB folds, BB calls. BB (1kS$) seems to be weakish, has weird bet sizing and seems to way overvalue hands.

Flop comes KhQc6c, and BB checks to me. This is obviously a pretty decent flop for me. I toy with checking flop to induce bluffs BU, and also for pot control, but decide quickly that I will be missing out on a lot of value if I check here. I bet 60 into 90. Button thinks for about 15 seconds and min raises to 120, BB folds.

BU's raise is pretty confusing to me here. First of all, the size seems pretty small with a value hand, as it allows me to call very profitably with any draw. A larger sizing also would allow me to 3b shove flop with more Kx type hands, whereas here, I am sort of forced to call. 3-betting would only fold out his bluffs, and with the pot-stack ratio as it is, that is not too attractive. Villains range of value hands in this spot are (KQo, KQs, 66). It is also possible, but not likely, that he can occasionally have (KK, QQ, K6s, AKo, AKs). I would weight these hands at a frequency of 10%ish. Given that the value range he is representing is pretty narrow (10 combos) and the possibility of bluffs and semi-bluffs, and how good of a price we are getting, we def need to call flop. 3-betting would be poor, because again we would just be folding out his bluffs, and getting in against a range we have 35-40% equity vs. I call in about 10 seconds.

Turn is the Ah, and I check pretty quickly. I am looking directly at villain, he makes eye contact for about 2-3 seconds, mumbles something nervously while smiling in a thick Chinese accent, and checks. I think that it is likely that he bets a fair amount of his club draws without a pair on the turn. I also think he would bet the top of his range (JT, 66, AK, random sets) on the turn. If he checks, it is likely that he has some sort of showdown value, but feels that it is too strong to turn into a bluff, or too weak to value bet. I would define this range as (AJ, AT, KQ, K6, AXcc). There is also the possibility that he has a total airball bluff and is giving up.

River is a total blank, the 8d. I check again fairly quickly (I regret this now, giving away free information here). Villain thinks for about 30 seconds, and counts out a bet of 120. I am getting 3-1, so I need 25% equity to call. Looking back, this is an obvious fold, or a decent spot to turn my hand into a bluff. Given my assumptions about his turn betting and checking ranges, it is just so damn difficult for him to have a bluff here. Even if he shows up with a bluff here occasionally, it is not outweighed by the vast majority of the time when he has a better hand. Not even my good pot odds can justify a call here.

The meat of the hand here though is in the body language. After villain initially bet, he was quiet for about 15 seconds. After I muttered a few words, he began to become very animated. He began to play with his card protector (a large, rubber crawdad), zooming it around his chips and making odd noises. At the time I found it annoying as hell, looking back it's just comical. Typically, when someone is animated or talking a lot (again, typically) this is a sign of being comfortable. People usually are most comfortable with a strong hand, and thus, you should assume that people who are animated have a strong hand. Typically, those who are bluffing are uncomfortable and try not to draw attention to themselves.

What is interesting to me is how quickly his body language changed. Initially, he bet because he thought his hand was too good to check, but was a bit uncomfortable because I could have better. Once I took 15 seconds, he KNEW he had the best hand, especially after I muttered something under my breath. Immediately his body language had changed. The type of hand that match up with this body language are exactly the turn checking range I described (AJ, AT, KQ, K6, AXcc).
Given the analysis I have just done, it seems that in the future these spots will be fairly obvious.

Now, say I were to be able to put all of this together and put him on that range, should I go for it and turn my hand into a bluff? Yes, and no. If I had not given off so much information throughout the hand (checking turn and river quickly, muttering under my breath when he bet river indicating I had a bluffcatcher) I think this would be a great spot to bluff raise. There is no reason I can't have JT, AK, AQ, AA, perhaps even KK. In addition, his range is capped because he didn't bet the turn on a card most live regs will consider to be wet (lol). I would probably raise to about 375ish, risking 375 to win 360, which would need to work just over 50%. Given that his range is capped, and I can credibly rep the nuts, I think my raise works far more often then that.
However, given that I did give off all of that info, raising would be suicidal as played.

So the two things that we should take away from this are:
1. Look for body language changes in your opponent in reaction to your timing. There is a lot of info there.
2. Giving off little pieces of information DOES matter, and restrict you from running some bluffs. Always be vigilant, and NEVER give off information you do not have to.

So I made a mistake in the hand, but it lead to an epiphany and growth. Is it really a mistake then? You decide.

1 comment:

David said...

I am going to ask a few questions that I think you might want to consider here. First, given that he is in position and he is min raising you. How often is this a straight airball bluff? If it is a ton of FDs, combo draws, and some value or weird AQ or whatever type hands, what hands are you gaining value from by just calling and quickly checking turn. I find it pretty uncommon for a min raise barrell to be anything but a huge hand. More often they do this to control the hand (if limit player then could EASILY be bare FD or like a pair and FD but weak kicker).

Given this what about potentially a flat barrel line for the turn, something along the lines of 175-200. I think you almost never get raised here unless you are beat, he calls you with draw type hands and you fold out random sluff that he is trying to take away on flop that rarely keep firing. I think this gains you extra value from the easily present draw hands out there. PLus you can always turn hand into bluff catcher based on river action and tells acquired. I understand the bluff catch or has us beat mentality, but its a board where he can have many draws and you can gain value.

So is a flat barrel a legitimate way to approach this particular hand? Obv bet folding turn if he raises. Also, can pretty much check/call or check/fold all rivers based on further information. Too wet of a board for him not to go crazy with monsters cause flush and straight draws out there.