Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Student Hand Analysis

Back again!

After a long hiatus, I am finally back again.  I've had plenty to say, but yet for a while I was concerned that my post about The Null Flop had painted me into a corner.  For a bit, I was beginning to doubt what I had originally meant to say, but have now finally come full circle and agree again with what I was writing :)

I am not sure when that post will be concluded, but in the mean time I would like to display examples of my coaching acumen by giving some commentary on some PokerStars 20bb CAP hands that have been submitted by my students.  All names have been anonymized, as have stack sizes (with the exception of this first one, where I failed to change both the SB and BB.

The following hand was posted on my forum with the following commentary:

Villain is a nitty reg overall.

First off- you should NEVER bet here. Against a tight player who checks, here are the results of betting:

1) He folds. This means he had at most 2 outs to beat you. This is a fail in my book.

2) He check calls, which means he is either strong or has good to decent equity. Likely holdings are AK-AJ, KQ, QJs, JJ, JTs. 

His check call is not a good result. The reason is that unless he plans on going to the felt with KQ, you can only get a flop bet and possibly a small to medium sized river bet while and still having your hand hold up.

Most importantly...his check call potential combined with check raise potential make this bet disastrous.

3) Check raise. Holdings are AA, KK, QQ, TT, 88, QTs. AK will either check call or likely check raise larger if he is making a semi-bluff. AQ probably check raises every time, but yet I still suspect that when this happens the play is all in, as he would certainly like to avoid any dangerous turn cards should you call. On rare occasions if he is feeling frisky, he will check raise JJ, QJs or JTs. For argument's sake, lets assume that these final two hands also include a backdoor flush. J9s is rarely in the UTG range of a player this tight, so let's exclude that- but you never can be too certain when facing an action such as this....

Most importantly, this check raise is NEVER a bluff!!!! TAG players would literally never check raise bluff this flop vs. a reg flatter on a board such as this.

Let's see how this range stacks up in Poker Stove. We will even include the optimistic scenarios (JTs, etc.) just to see how awful a reshove is.

Against a range of AA-TT, 88, AK, AQ, KQ, QJs, QTs, JTs your equity is 51%.  

When you include the dead money in the pot that's a great result but this kind of optimism does not differentiate between a moderate fish and a pro.

Now for the likely scenario:

AA-QQ, TT, 88, AK-AQ, QTs

Your equity is a lowly 21.2%.

It gets worse. Given the tiny "call me" check raise. I would even exclude AQ from the equation. Once this is done, your equity now drops to a dreadful......11.3%.


While this hand might look great to a majority of players, particularly those who customarily play rebuy tournaments, this hand is merely a marginal bluff catcher and should be treated as such.  I applaud our hero for exercising damage control by recognizing the nit's overpowering strength and cutting his losses.  Many regs are just not capable of laying this down after betting and consistently talk themselves into making losing calls based on the dead money in the middle.  Don't be one of them!

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