Thursday, August 18, 2005

Poker Abby: My Set just Flopped!

I was in… “Canada” the other night playing cash NL. Here’s a fun little situation, I think. Just to avoid the loonie conversion factor, I’m going to express everything in BB (Big Blind) units.

I’m sitting in the BB with around 150 BB, big stack at the table. Next biggest stack is two to my left with around 100 BB - s/he’s a decent player (it’s hard to tell gender in Canada), with a couple moves. Everyone else is probably in the 20-50 BB range, and no one else impresses me. On this hand, UTG+1 (player mentioned above), limps in along with 4 other players, SB calls, I have 9s9d. I choose to decline my option (I won’t always in this situation).

Flop: 9c3h2c (Despite what Vince Van Patton might say, I had neither showtunes nor the Star Spangled Banner going through my head, “Tonight, tonight, I’ll check my set tonight…”). I check, and it gets checked all the way around the table.

Turn: Qh

I bet out the size of the pot (6 BB). UTG+1 raises to 12 BB, and 3 players, including the SB cold call. It’s now on me. I’m facing a 6 BB raise, there are 60 BB in the pot, I’ve got around 150 BB in front of me, UTG+1 has around 95, and everyone else in the hand is probably in the 30 BB range. What should I do?

Dear Setboy,
First of all, find a place where the other Canadians can’t hear you and exclaim to yourself, “What the heck was that action about?!?”. Next, re-raise to about 30 BB or so.

It’s very difficult to guess what 4 of your opponents have right now that is suddenly worth 12 BB (but checked around on the flop). It’s certainly possible that some of them are drawing to a wheel, drawing to a straight with JT, or drawing to a heart or club flush. Another may have slowplayed a big hand on the flop (such as a small set or two pair). These players are probably going to call your raise anyway for the size of the pot (as they should), but you can’t let them see the river for cheap. If they get to see the river without putting in their last 30 BB, they’ll surely dump their hand if they miss.

The reason for making it 30 is this: The other big stack is the one who raised it to 12 BB… the short stacks then called. It’s far more likely that the other big stack has a made hand (top pair Q, two pair, small set, etc…) than the short stacks unless this player is very creative with raising semi-bluff draws on the turn. With top pair the big stack will be drawing dead (so you want their call) but the short stacks may actually have draws that can beat you (so you want them all in on the turn, such that they can’t save money when they miss the river). A 30 BB bet should accomplish both of these, and also make it very difficult for the other big stack to fold on the river. Pushing all in will get the same result from the small stacks but may cause the other big stack to fold a hand which is likely drawing dead.

No comments: