Friday, August 12, 2005

New Feature: Dear Poker Abby

Everyone hears bad beat stories from friends, family, straingers and more. Seems like everyone has one. When was the last time someone busted out from a table and said "I was such a doofus. I knew he had a straight flush and I called it all in just to be sure" ? It just doesn't happen.

Well, I tired of all the bad beat stories and it is time to analyze some of them, card by card, bet by bet. So here and now, I'm starting a new feature where the question gets posted with insightful commentary and analysis from a team of geeks who have nothing better to do. We will refer to the geeks collectively as Poker Abby.

On to the first question:

Dear Poker Abby:
I am relatively new to the world of hold-em and I was playing tonight at a canadian casino (reminder: on line poker is probably an illegal activity) at a $1-2 table, I mean I would have been had that been legal in this state, ummm anyways I took one particularly bad beat and was wondering if I did anything wrong or if I was just very unlucky. The hand history is below

Seat 2 is the buttonTotal number of players : 4Seat 1: clbabis ( $50)Seat 2: goodbyenick ( $57)Seat 3: OurHero ( $98) //started with $ play money of courseSeat 4: HotChick44 ( $32.25)OurHero posts small blind (0.50)HotChick44 posts big blind (1)clbabis posts big blind (1) ** Dealing down cards **Dealt to OurHero [ 5s, 6h ] clbabis checks.goodbyenick calls (1)OurHero calls (0.50) //Okay I probably shouldn't even be in this one but it is only .50 moreHotChick44 checks.** Dealing Flop ** : [ Jc, 6s, 6c ] //HalleluiahOurHero bets (1)HotChick44 folds.clbabis calls (1) goodbyenick calls (1)
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 7h ] OurHero bets (2)clbabis raises (4) to 4 //okay at this point I put him on Jx or perhaps a pocket pair of face cardsgoodbyenick calls (4) OurHero raises (4) to 6clbabis calls (2)goodbyenick calls (2)** Dealing River ** : [ Qs ] OurHero bets (2)clbabis raises (4) to 4 //Little nervous here, thinking he might have had pocket queens, but he has been playing kinda loosegoodbyenick folds.OurHero raises (4) to 6clbabis calls (2)** Summary **Board: [ Jc 6s 6c 7h Qs ]clbabis won $36 [ Kh 6d ] [ three of a kind, sixes with king kicker -- Kh,Qs,6d,6s,6c ]OurHero lost $14 [ 5s 6h ] [ three of a kind, sixes -- Qs,Jc,6h,6s,6c ]

So as you can see he had K6, so should I have picked this up somewhere or is this just a horrible beat? The thing that got me, and maybe he did this intentionally is that when I bet 2 and he raised to 4 then I re-raised to 6 he could have re-raised again to 8, but he didn't either time, so did he screw up or do you think he was trying to keep me playing (not that I would have folded). Any feedback would be appreciated as I said I am very new to the game.


Preflop: I am probably overly tight in my small blind, and even I won’t say that you should have folded here. For half a bet against three opponents, two of whom are blinds and thus have random cards, this hand is good enough to play here. Generally speaking, what you want to play out of the SB for cheap are drawing hands, and unsuited connectors are good enough.

Flop: I think betting out is fine here. I don’t think you need to slowplay because your opponents probably aren’t going to give you credit for a 6 just because you bet this flop, and they will probably find lots of ways to call with hands they shouldn’t. There are other reasonable ways to play this hand, but there is nothing wrong with betting.

Turn: Given that you bet the flop, it is sensible to continue to bet. Your opponents still won’t (and probably shouldn’t) be convinced you have a 6, so betting may get raised, as it did, and allow you to three-bet. Once you are raised, I think you are right to reraise. I agree with your analysis that he could easily have a J or a slowplayed big pair. The 7 could have given him extra draw possibilities with something like 9cTc or 8c9c. A lot of players in short-handed games are over-aggressive, so with a hand this strong, I don’t think one raise should be enough to slow you down.

River: Having three-bet the turn, I think that leading the river is the right thing to do. Although he sometimes has a draw that missed (and that would bluff if checked to, but can’t call your bet) and he sometimes has you beat (and will raise, costing you an extra bet), the most likely scenario is that you are ahead and will get paid off. However, when he raises you again, I would probably just call. With all the strength you’ve shown, I don’t think you are going to have the best hand when you are raised here often enough to profitably reraise, especially because you might get four-bet by something like JJ or QQ (although he probably would have reraised JJ on the turn instead of waiting). If he has a six (fairly likely), you either chop or lose, but never win, so that is another reason not to reraise. It just doesn’t seem that likely that he would raise here with something you beat, but you obviously aren’t going to fold for one more bet.

If you are new to hold ‘em (as you say), I would recommend that you are better off starting in full-table games rather than shorthanded, btw. One big thing to remember about play money tables is that play there is much MUCH looser than anything you’ll find in the real world. I’ve heard play money and penny limit games called Texas No’fold’em for this very reason – even an all-in bet with the nuts will get callers.

Bad Beat? Absolutely Not!

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