April 3, 2010 – 10:41 am | 7 Comments

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## Trip 8s vs Draws

Submitted by on December 3, 2009 – 10:03 am3 Comments

Poker Stars \$0.01/\$0.02 No Limit Hold’em – 5 players – View hand 399873
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Hero (CO): \$1.91
BTN: \$1.06
SB: \$3.10
BB: \$0.65
UTG: \$0.85

So, this was a hand I lost a while ago on PokerStars. For a while after, I wondered whether I misplayed it. So let me do a simple analysis and see whether I can come up with a mathematical reasoning for what I should have played (if I did in fact misplay it).

Pre Flop: (\$0.03) Hero is CO with 8 8
1 fold, Hero calls \$0.02, 1 fold, SB raises to \$0.10, 1 fold, Hero calls \$0.08

First, calling pre-flop. I didn’t want to raise because I just wanted to see the flop. A mid-pair for me, is quite hard to play. If I miss the flop with one or two overcards, I’d be very tempted to defend my hand. I’d rather see the flop and then make a decision. It’d be hard for me to steal the blinds at these low levels, I think, because people tend to call raises with a very wide range of hands. So that’s why I made the initial call to \$0.02

Not very mathematical so far, I know, but I’m coming to that. The small blind raises to \$0.10, and this is where the first bit of math comes in. First I have to put my opponent on a hand. Given the low level (1c/2c blinds), I think he could easily be making this play with anything from a pair of 5s or higher, AT or higher, or KJ or higher. He could also be trying to steal the blinds with an even worse hand than this range.

Let’s recap what I’ve gone through so far. There’s 14c in the pot, I need 8c to call.  I put him of a range of 55+, AT+, KJ+. So using these values, I’ve created a sheet of my expected value against each of these hands. And as you can see from the chart, my average expected value against this range is +2.62 cents. As such, the call is mathematically profitable (against this range).

Why didn’t I re-raise? For the same reason why I didn’t raise initially – I didn’t want to build the pot too much before I saw the flop.

Flop: (\$0.22) T 6 8 (2 players)
SB bets \$0.10, Hero raises to \$0.20, SB calls \$0.10

The SB’s bet could mean anything given the range of hands I put him on. He could have hit a pair, or he could just be placing a continuation bet. Either way, I think I’m ahead. I didn’t want to chase him out, but was that the right play?

Against any of the hands  he could have, I’m more than a 70% favorite to win (unless he has TT, in which cas I’m dead behind). If I raised too much, it’d chase out the weaker hands. What hands would stay with a higher raise? I think a flush draw, a high ten, an overpair, maybe a straight draw. A min raise to \$0.20 requires him to put \$0.10 more to call the bet. That gives him the right odds to call if he’s on a flush draw, and makes it likely for him to call on two overs, and any pair – essentially any hand within that opening range. I have more than an 85% chance of winning at this moment against that range.

There might be an argument for betting more, but until I have some sort of model to predict if he would fold, I can’t make a quantitative analysis of that. What I will say is that my gut feel said that a flush draw wouldn’t fold to any reasonable bet, and I was far enough ahead that I shouldn’t worry about any sort of hand at this point. And if a flush did hit, I could limit my losses then.

Turn: (\$0.62) 9 (2 players)
SB bets \$0.06, Hero raises to \$0.30, SB calls \$0.24

I really did not like the turn card. It put a 4 card straight on the board, as well as two flush draws. At this point I started thinking maybe I should have chased out the gutshot flush draws (so I wouldn’t have had to deal with this). He bet 6c, which was a small bet to me.

At this point, I wanted to chase out the draws, because two flush draws was just a bit scary. Which is why I raised. But I think I was afraid he’d already hit his straight, and as such miscalculated the bet size.

After his bet, there is 68c in the pot. My raise to 30c makes it 98c, and 24c to my opponent to call. If he’s on a flush draw, he has 9 outs, and as such has an expected value of about ( 98 + 24 ) * 0.196 – 24 = -0.088c. Though this is below 0, it’s only very slightly so, and the implied odds after hitting his flush would probably put him on a positive expected value.

River: (\$1.22) 7 (2 players)
SB checks, Hero checks

At this point there’s no point in betting anymore because the hand on the board beats my hand; my pocket 8s are irrelevant.

Final Pot: \$1.22
Hero mucks 8 8
SB shows K J (a straight, Seven to Jack)
SB wins \$1.17
(Rake: \$0.05)

When he showed this, I was really surprised. In retrospect, I think the play pre-flop and on the flop made sense given his hand. But I didn’t expect him to call the 24c raise with a KJ.

So was his call on the turn raise with a KJ correct? Let’s assume he put me on a ten, then he would believe he has 10 outs. 3 Ks, 3 Js, and the 4 7s to complete his straight (which would be a higher straight than the board). That means he has about a 21.7% chance of hitting one of his outs. He needs 24c to call. If he hits, he wins the \$1.22 (including his 24c). This gives him an expected value of 0.217 * 122 – 24 = 2.47c > 0. So therefore he should indeed call. What if I had raised to 43c? His expected value would then be -4.88c, and the call would be incorrect. Again, this seems to suggest I should have raised a higher amount on the turn.

What I still don’t understand, though, is why he didn’t bet the river, but anyway, that helped me save money.

So what is my conclusion? I probably could and should have raised higher on the dangerous turn card.

What do you think? How would you have played this hand?

• jason says:

he was possibly hoping to check raise you, since you had raised every street, afraid of a kq, or possibly just assuming you'd missed a flush and a raise would be pointless.

firstly, let me say, you got 4 outed on the river. it happens, and sorry, but you played the hand fine up to that point.

here's how i'd approach this hand:
i'd play this more aggressively early, and possibly late. preflop, i'd bet a standard small bet size (for me) instead of limping. on the flop. i'd raise, about 20-40% more than the pot making a potential flush/straight draw unprofitable for him but still probably called by any non-bluffs since he already raised. it loses to the flopped straight or bigger set, which is very unlikely for him to have given his bets up to that point.

turn. at this point you have everything but 7x, tt, and jq beat, and tt probably reraises on the flop and all of them push harder on the turn. but if he has a 7 or tt or jq (unlikely from your range on him and his bets) that weak river bet would be a deceptive killer here and unlikely at 1c/2c. he probably just has a draw.

after that weak turn bet. i'd bet big. all in or close to it. if your stack was deep, probably about the 3/4ths the size of the pot to 1.5 times the pot(more if he's a calling station/aggro donk). with his hand and most hands, he probably folds, since pot odds are unfavorable, but there's a chance he calls/pushes.

although you do lose here, that's just a bad beat, and they happen. four outers on the river aren't going to break you with all the folds to you and pay-offs on the other 43 outs. take the bad with the good, as long as you end up on top in the long run.
it's kind of facacta that i'm suggesting a line that's actually going to potentially cost you more with this hand even after seeing the river, but assuming i'm not getting a psychic premonition, that's how i'd play the hand. or i'd play it like you did, which isn't a bad linet. it's got a good line to get all in with better turns. or i'd fold it preflop.

• jason says:

i forgot to add, you're also an underdog to some straight-flush draws on the flop.

also, he may check on the river because if you both play the board, a called raise just raises the rake, diminishing your return, so bluffs can actually be ev- here (although this subtlety may be lost on people), and a big bet telegraphs his hand.
he might have made a bet, representing a stupid bluff at a split pot, which would be a good bet here, but most likely he was trying to goad a bet out of you by showing weakness, assuming that you don't beat his straight and also assuming you're not calling a better hand, since nothing you raised with would be worth anything now.

• Derrick Kwa says:

Yeah, I know getting 4-outed happens, and it's a bad beat. But that doesn't mean that the hand shouldn't be up for analysis. As you said, though, I should have raised more on the flop, and definitely more on the turn, which is what I was trying to determine.

Just because it's a 4-outer doesn't necessarily mean that I “played it fine”, know what I mean? =)