Went to Foxwoods last week for a one-nighter only. Up $101 (meh). Played only one big hand, which I thankfully won. Here to analyze the hand as only he can, is poker guru — and friend of the blog — Justin Drechsler.
Here is the situation. I am in late position with about $250. The villain, two seats to my left (and on the button in this hand) has about $180.
He hasn’t been there long, but it’s apparent that he is a decent player, at worst.
I am dealt AK offsuit and raise to $20, and only the villain calls. Justin thinks this is way too much, but based on experience, I completely disagree. I have seen people call that much pre-flop with 7-8 offsuit, A-9 offsuit, etc. Here’s Justin:
You should immediately be thinking that he has a strongish hand. You can probably eliminate AA and KK because everyone reraises those hands in that spot. QQ is possible, but I’d expect him to reraise with that hand also. At this point, his most likely hands are TT and JJ, with QQ, some smaller pairs, and some big suited connectors mixed in.
Here’s the flop:
I am making this “continuation bet” a hundred times out of a hundred, in hopes that he’ll fold. I have NO IDEA what he has (unlike Justin)… I’m hoping against hope that he has two overcards, or a small pair, and will fold them here. When he calls the bet though, I start to think he has a big pair, or maybe J-10. Justin’s take:
When he smooth-calls 3/4 of the pot on the flop, His range doesn’t change very much. 99/88/22 become a little less likely, as do KQs and QQ, but I’m thinking he can still have his entire preflop range.
That was a HUGE card for me, and now I’m almost positive I have the best hand. He has $130 left. He takes a while to decide, but makes the call. Muses Justin:
The turn is the interesting part of the hand. Your decision to bet or check is somewhat close. Because he probably has JJ or TT and will often fold those hands to a turn bet, there is a good argument for checking the turn and then betting the river if it checks through. It’s just hard to get two streets of value from those hands, so you should think about settling for one. But people at Foxwoods are terrible and unthinking and don’t like to fold pairs (and he could have a very live draw like JTs), so betting is fine. I definitely like the half-pot bet sizing because it makes it really difficult for him to fold.
When he calls, his range, again, doesn’t change much. He doesn’t have QJs and sets are much less likely (even though he probably should flat-call there with his sets). You should still be thinking TT/JJ.
The villain has $80 left, but I want to make sure I get paid, so I bet $50, or as Justin likes to call it, “the repeater” (same amount as on turn). He thinks a long time again, and calls. I show my AK, and he mucks. Here’s Justin:
When the river bricks, you should assume you have the best hand and should be thinking about value-betting him, which you obviously were. Sometimes I would just send the money in because he’s still getting a good price to call, but I like your bet size a little better. This is totally the “if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further” bet, which I love.
His call indicates a hand with showdown value. His most likely hand is JJ, followed by TT, then QQ, and then the occassional KQs that decided to get tricky on the flop. It’s hard to believe that he could have anything besides one of those four hands.
What I didn’t tell Justin is that after the hand, the villain was moaning a little bit about the turn card, and how he had me on the flop — meaning Justin is 100% right. A few hands later — after the sting of getting raped had passed — I asked him, “Did you have Jacks, or Queens, or something?” and he said yes.
As Justin said, people at Foxwoods don’t like to fold pairs. This guy put $30 in to the pot with the best hand, and $100 in to the pot with the worst hand. When that King hits the board, he has to ask himself the question that very few people ask: What could I possibly have that beats him [Tyler]? The answer: almost nothing. Yeah, that King was a total bummer for him, but that’s poker. Time to fold.