Villain is a semi-loose regular for 6 max. He's solid enough, but generally straight-forward OOP. 27/16/2.5 (VPIP/PFR/AF) over ~180 hands.

$2 NL (6 max) - Holdem - 6 players

SB: $180
BB: $211
UTG: $312
MP: $80
CO: $129
Hero (BTN): $236

Pre Flop: Hero on BTN has T⋄ 9♠
UTG raises to $6, 2 folds, Hero re-raises to $21, 2 folds, UTG calls $15

Flop: ($45, 2 players) J⋄ 8⋄ 4♥
BB checks, Hero?

  • In the ~180 hands played, what has Villain seen of us? That's enough time for a reg at these stakes online to have his own reads/stats on us, and for him to react to it. Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:13
  • I'd say his perception of me is similar to mine of him. Perhaps i'm seen as TAGgy as i've not had as many playable hands as I'd expect. We have no direct history between us at the moment that would alter my common beliefs of his player type.
    – Toby Booth
    Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 15:24

3 Answers 3


In the ~180 hands played, what has Villain seen of us? That's enough time for a reg at these stakes online to have his own reads/stats on us, and for him to react to it. Knowing what he has seen of us in order to factor in how he might adjust his play specifically against us seems worth consideration. Also, do we have any stats on his 3bet %, his fold to 3bet %, or his street-by-street AF? There would be a lot of error in those stats with such a small sample, but they could come in handy.

Ignoring those factors and going with what we know, I actually like the preflop 3-bet based on the read that Villain is straight-forward when out of position. By 3-betting, we build a larger pot in which we will be playing with a significant advantage. Given the straight-forward play, Villain will give up on a number of hands preflop, and define many of his bigger hands for us.

Based on that, I do not think that QQ+ is in his range, and I think JJ is in it, but is fairly unlikely (perhaps 50/50 on whether he would call or 4bet pre). Similarly, I think he folds AJ more often than he calls, and he almost never has another Jx/8x hand (as he would fold these preflop when OOP and facing a 3bet). 88 and 44 are both easily in his range, but no more so than each of the other small/medium pairs. Further, I believe that this is the majority of his range: hands that are fairly easy to play OOP, thus justifying him to stay around preflop.

Now we have to consider what he'll believe about us, and how he would react with his pairs under those beliefs. Here again, I'd like to know how often we've been 3-betting, to try to estimate what range he will give us. Certainly he will include AK/AQ/TT+ in our range regardless. Likely he will include a few more pocket pairs, and depending on what he has seen from us, possibly some other misc hands such as strong suited connectors and/or bluffs (many of which could include the J). In general, he will likely consider his pair to be 50/50 with our range. Accordingly, he probably sticks through the flop more often than not, even with pairs that he values fairly little. Any broadway cards that he happens to have will fold, but I think this is a small part of his range.

That could argue equally for a bet or a check, as we have a fair bit of equity against the majority of his range and only fold out a fairly small portion of it. Still, I'm inclined to bet the flop. I would rather fold out the few broadway cards and relatively few pairs that he will decide to drop.

Then on the turn, I barrel with a blank or an A/K, and I check behind with anything that improves our hand (looking for a cheap showdown when we hit a T/9 and giving him an opportunity to rep the straight that we have when we hit a Q/7). In the case of an A/K, I barrel the turn and check the river under the thinking that the Villain is not likely to give up on the river. So much of our range has hit the board that he must have hit something as well to call both the flop and the turn. If the turn is a T/9, I check to keep the pot small. At that point we are ahead of most hands that he has in his range, but behind most hands that he will call a turn bet with. By checking, it becomes +EV to call a river bet, and that call is much more +EV than betting the turn. By contrast, if the turn gives us our straight, I check behind in an effort to get the Villain to put more money in the pot. He is more likely to bet the river than to call a turn bet, so we extract more from him this way, and when we raise his river bet, we are still way ahead of his calling/shoving range. As long as the river does not pair the board, we hold the nuts and our hand is hidden enough to get paid off by a fair number of villains hands. There is some danger of the board pairing on the river to de-nut our hand, but I believe the value gained is greater than the amount lost to these situations.

If we reach the river unimproved, I give up in almost all situations, the exceptions being if we have extraordinary reason to believe he will call through to the river and then give up OR if I feel a need to demonstrate my ability to bluff big to establish a specific image.

  • if the turn is an Ace or a King and you barrel it, you can not just give up all rivers! would you do the same with AK, AQ,KQ,AA,KK etc. ? .. and why do you check behind when you improve? I mean, ok you can never be too careful I guess..Do you check behind the straight on the turn? is that what you mean? Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 7:15
  • I'll edit to elaborate my thoughts on turn play. Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 15:26
  • +1 thx for giving a clearer explanation. I agree with you now Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 14:03

I don't like the 3bet pre-flop with these cards. What was the goal with a 3bet here? Are you hoping to take the pot down pre-flop, folding to a 4 bet?

His call out of position is not great either - this takes most premium pocket pairs out of his range. If he is pretty bad he may call with AK/AQ here, otherwise he probably has a lower suited connector or, most likely, a lower pocket pair.

The flop is pretty coordinated - there's a flush draw, a straight draw for T9, and some gutshots for lower connectors. As the pre-flop aggressor, you can bet a wide range on this flop, and since he likely has a made hand, he's not going to go away for 1 bet. If you are going to bet this flop, you're going to have to fire at least another barrel on the turn, and possibly the river, if you want to win this pot unimproved.

I would check back the flop, hit my straight on the turn, and then bet bet bet. If you whiff on the turn and he bets, fold - otherwise check and hit your straight on the river.

If a T or 9 comes, I'm ok with a thin value bet on the street that it comes out on.

  • I am in agreement here. You have a chance for a free shot at a low probability shot at the nuts and a hand that is probably behind as it stands. Though I bluff like I hit if a Diamond comes.
    – Chad
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 20:44

No other line but to bet this flop! I mean that's the flop you are looking for when 3betting these types of hands. Personally I wouldn't 3bet an UTG agressive opener. T9 plays well in position and you don't want to get 4b off your hand. Anyway.. checking back this flop is telling your opponent that you are giving up or basically playing face up(weak). His range here contains alot of broadway cards (depending on your image) and you want to bet this flop to make him fold these. If he calls, you have outs.

I would much prefer to check back a hand like 77,89 here to represent missed flop with AKish...

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