Friday, June 06, 2008

To bet, or not to bet

For the rare occasions that I find myself out of position on the river with the nuts, I'd really like to be much better at is knowing when to bet my hand for value, and when to check to induce your opponent to bet for you. I think this is all down to accurately reading your opponents hand, and knowing their tendencies. The latter is obviously made easy through datamining and having a HUD, but the former is a little more tricky.

When I'm at the river and I'm trying to put someone on a hand, I try to consider the following things:
  • if the villain raised preflop: how often they raise, and the amount they raised
  • if they called a raise (or a re-raise) preflop: how much did they call, and what position did they call in
  • what was their action after the flop (check/call/raise/checkraise)
  • what was their action after the turn (check/call/raise/checkraise)

If my opponent has been raising every street, then it seems sensible to bet into them on the river. However, if they were only raising because they had a strong draw which has now missed, this approach will obviously not work. In that scenario, a check-raise may be the best play so that you entice at least 1 bet from them with their busted draw. This is why you need to pay attention to how your opponent plays his draws, his decent made hands, and his monsters.

My example: Villain was VP$IP 21 and PFR 18, and for this hand was on the Button to my SB. His river Aggression Factor was 2.5, which is quite high.

Table Rhea (deep 6) - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em
Seat 3: Villain ($409.60)
Seat 4: Hero ($468)
Hero posts the small blind of $1
LEVIATHAN0329 posts the big blind of $2
The button is in seat #3

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [7h 9h]
mypkrtime has 15 seconds left to act
mypkrtime folds
alfred-FFM folds
mepaws folds
Villain raises to $8
Hero has 15 seconds left to act
Hero raises to $26
LEVIATHAN0329 folds
Villain has 15 seconds left to act
Villain calls $18

The Button raised, as he had been doing lots, and so I decided to defend with 97s, hoping for a fold but if called not likely to be dominated and a concealed hand if it hits the straight. The villain thinks for a while which seems like he was thinking about mucking before calling in position.

*** FLOP *** [4c 8d 2d]
Hero has 15 seconds left to act
Hero bets $40
Villain calls $40

OK, given that I'd put in a defining re-raise, on this ragged flop with 2 Clubs I fired a strong $40 bet into the $50 pot. The villain smooth calls my bet. At this point he could be floating with overcards, have a flush draw, a weak pair, an overpair, or a pocket pair like 77 or 55. A set is possible, but unlikely.
The pot is now $130.

*** TURN *** [4c 8d 2d] [6c]
Hero has 15 seconds left to act
Hero bets $88
Villain has 15 seconds left to act
Villain calls $88

Having decided that my opponent most likely on a draw that did not hit on this occasion (overcards missed, overpairs did not improve, flush draw did not complete), and having picked up an OESD, I fired again. Again, the villain calls. Here, I can rule out a set because with a fat pot and the way the board is developing with 2 flush draws and several straights, he would certainly raise to protect. There's not way he has just overcards here, unless they are AKcc or AKdd.
I'm starting to think a pair and a flush draw like Ac8c, or Ad4d are quite likely, along with some suited connectors like 8c7c or 5d4d. On top of that, overpairs 99-QQ are also possible, with TT being the most likely in my mind given the preflop and flop action (figure JJ/QQ would have raised somewhere).
The pot is now $306.

*** RIVER *** [4c 8d 2d 6c] [5s]
Hero has 15 seconds left to act
Hero bets $224
Villain has 15 seconds left to act
Villain has requested TIME
Villain folds
Uncalled bet of $224 returned to Hero
Hero wins the pot ($307)

When the river came and I had the nuts, I thought the following:
If he has a weak overpair and I check, he'll most likely check it down given my solid aggression. If I bet, he'll fold it.
If he has an unlikely stong overpair, and I check, he may bet it, but will most likely check given any 3 or 7 makes a straight. If I bet, he will most probably fold.
If he has made an unlikely 2 pair he will bet/call.
If he has made an unlikely straight he will bet/raise allin.
If he has a busted flush draw and I check, he will probably bet up to $200.

Given that the only thing I thought he would likely bet/bluff with was a busted flush draw, and that I thought there was a greater chance he was himself holding a suited connector, I decided to bet out in spite of his high river AF. I lead for 2/3 pot with the nuts and hoped the 5 had helped him, or that he couldn't lay down his overpair. After thinking, he eventually folded, which made me question my play.

How would you have played this? Would you have bet less on the river? Would you have played it at all?


Pud's Poker said...

I probably play it the same way. Your thinking about whether he'd call or not is correct I think as unless he has a set (unlikley) or an overpair (also unlikely) he's not calling.

I think the river bet is corectly sized, only other options are betting somthing tiny like $100 or maybe shoving the river to make it look like a huge bluff from a missed AKcc AKdd

SubZero said...

Cheers Pud, really good to hear some affirmative feedback when you're running bad.
Might start playing with the small bet more, especially against opponents who might bluff shove over the top....

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I like how you played it. For me, the turn bet would have been a confirmation that the guy has an overpair as opposed to a flush draw (if he's so bad as to call with nothing but a flush draw there, so be it, even though I guess with two overs and a flush draw, it's possible).

I agree in the sense that based on the above read, he may call one more bet with an overpair but very unlikely that he will bet out with it if you check to him. So, like you said, only thing that may bet is if he had a busted draw.

The river bet of $224 is big bet though. I woulda prob just bet more like $150ish. It's a reasonable bet and to be honest, the $224 screams of a monster. Maybe total air but these days, a big river bet is more monster than air so I would prob fold most pocket pairs that would make sense based on the villain's holding (99-JJ).

Check Raise Chin said...

I find that being the aggressor such as you were, you're less likely to get a call on the river especially when you hit an odd hand such as 97s. You bet every street and he called. In this case perhaps another turn sized bet would more likely seem like a marginal hand value bet to the bandit and more likely to induce a call IMO (that is if he's hit anything on the board). You played this like you hit a set to be honest with you and it looks like he was fishing for a flush.

Anonymous said...

I normally say that recess is always right and I think he is closest to right here again. Villain is really aggressive on the river and rarely calls. You re-raised PF so you could have an over pair or be pushing a draw. The 5s is unlikely to have hit the obvious draw and more likely to look like you missed or have a vulnerable 1 pair hand. Given that fact I find 2 options, 1) check, 2) super small "blocking" bet, both as for value and to induce a bluff.

Think about it, you 3 bet, bet every street and then give up on the river. looks like busted draw or week made hand. Given his strong river aggression, a small bet of 1/3 pot will most likely get all hands that want to call to call and all hands that want to bluff to bluff.