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I am interested in thoughts about what Hero should do at this point, but I am even more interested in thoughts about alternate lines to lead to a better outcome.

The villain (BTN) in this hand plays around 10% of his hands, raising most of them, and can pretty reliably be expected to 3-bet with exactly a range of QQ+/AK. He plays fairly straight-forward, but is a solid player. He's almost always the aggressor, so this hand was the first time that he faced cbet. Hero was playing a solid Tight/Aggressive game. BTN and Hero hadn't tangled much - BTN mostly got out of the way any time Hero raised, up to this point.

Given his tight range preflop, and his fairly straight-forward play, we can make some safe assumptions about Villain's range here. I believe that he will always have a Q here when he raises.

SB: $457
BB: $236
UTG: $490
MP1: $188
Hero (MP2): $725
CO: $510
BTN: $500

Preflop:
Dealt to Hero Q⋄ Q♣

SB posts $2, BB posts $5, (2 folds), Hero raises to $15, (CO Folds), BTN Calls, (Blinds fold)

Flop ($37)
K♠ T♠ 9⋄ (2 players)

Hero bets $30, BTN Calls $30

Turn ($97)
J♣ (2 players)

Hero bets $80, BTN Raises to $210, Hero??

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You're right, this is a tough one. The villain commited a very large percetange of his stack, so you can definitely be afraid of the nuts (AQ). –  Radu Murzea Mar 9 '13 at 17:19
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You characterize the villain as very tight so with that in mind, his range is narrow and rarely includes any bluffs, if any at all. I'm guessing you think the same.

That said, I'd split his range into two parts, his core range and a secondary range.

  • His core range is likely [AQx, KQx, QJx, KJs, KTs].
  • His secondary range is likely [JJ ,TT, 99].

If i'm discounting bluffs almost entirely (and I am), and to a certain degree his secondary range. What i'm asking myself is, how likely will he raise without the straight. As you say, and I agree, rarely if ever will the villain raise without the straight (i.e. Qx). So, if I break it down to combos that have the straight, villain has...

  • QQ = 1 combo (unlikely but i'll include it this time).
  • AQx = 8 combos.
  • KQx = 6 combos.
  • QJx = 6 combos.

Thus, of 21 possible matchups ~40% (8 of 21) of the time you're crushed, and ~60% (13 of 21) of the time you're a slight underdog due to the chance of him having flush draw possibilities as well! I ran the equity and you have just over 30%. It only becomes about ~50% equity if I add in all the non-straightening hands and secondary range too.

As it stands, if I continue in this hand, i'm committed to see a showdown and thus it seems like an easy decision in hindsight, but no doubt tougher at the table.

My decision is it's a fold. At this point, I don't think you've committed enough money to make it an error to fold, but it's probably closer than I'd like.

I'd play it like you did, and hope to find a fold at the turn.


As for alternate lines...

  • A check-raise on the flop is plausible although I don't think it's better than the line you took. The merit in that is if villain would take the lead and bet the flop. I'd consider that a one street play to get value from mid-pair/underpair type hands, although I don't think he has those with any significant frequency so it's not my preferred choice. I'd expect to get played back at very often.
  • Check-call is the other option but given the strength of his range, that seems to assume too much risk with the flush draws being a possibility in his range.
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