Monday, October 20, 2008

15 outs on flop 3 ways...

Posted September 26th, 2008 by phillau

Hi guys, this is a hand I came across just now... would love to hear all inputs because it's debatable... here it goes:

Game is NLHE MTT, blinds are 150/300/25, I have 11000 on button.

hole cards = 6s 7s

pre action: limped 5 ways. pot = 1725.

flop = 5s Ks 8c

flop action: Player A (who has 2750 left) bets 750. Player B and C folds. Player D (who has 8500 left) min raises to 1500. I'm on the button. What would you do?

**UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for the active participation. This is easily the best thread I've done.

Mon, 09/29/2008 - 21:21 — Anonymous

Quickly raise to 3000 (around the amount player A has) without trying to figure out what player A has left in chips, hope you get called by both and check down the turn. This is a hand you want action on early (you should have raised preflop. see below), and then you want to freeze people until you make your hand or decide to make a move.

Since its likely Player A is looking to reraise all in with such an underbet, you might as well try and neutralize Player D into giving you at least one free card (or a chance to make another move) by showing strength (without him thinking that's what you are doing, since if he comes over the top, you need to get into tournament position calculations). With that min raise move out of position, he shouldn't be folding unless he's a complete donkey, so nothing you do should get anyone decent to fold.

You should know by now that you should have raised 3x preflop so you could represent a big hand on the flop (or taken the pot) or even better, get called by more players preflop and then again by someone on the flop thinking you are bluffing when a flop like this comes, and then you clean up if you make it on the turn or river. Looking like you are trying to steal the pot, and then killing people trying to push you off on what looks like a bad flop is a great way to advance in tournaments, plus it's so enjoyable.

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 19:24 — Anonymous

You should have raised pre-flop that way you wouldn't have put yourself in this spot. You have the stack to bully the table.

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 19:47 — phillau

Possible but that's outside the scope of this discussion.

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 12:48 — mikezee

I hate to be results-oriented but......

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 09:15 — phillau

wow guys. wow wow wee wow. i'm loving the inputs! here're my takes:

Mikezee: you play too much Omaha. The spades are live and i know it. No way i'm folding this. My choice is really to just call, or raise? If raise, by how much?

bshen: you have the right idea but I think there's a hint of "push and get it over with" in it. It's a simple solution and it probably works, but is there anything more delicate that could be done?

Anonymous: same with Brian. I like your math tho. Math is always the basis for my reasoning.

BrianL: "Why put your tournament life on the line when you're at most 50-50? All you have is 7 high. So I think you should go all-in." -- You sure you're not drunk over virgin margarita when you wrote this? a) you don't want to put your tournament life on the line, and b) you would shove all in!?


I have 3 different angles to this problem:

a) Math: With 15 outs, I'm a 56% favorite against any number players. In 3 handed, that makes me a good favorite since the other two guys will have to split the remaining 44%. (Here i'm assuming my spades are good because as bshen pointed out, they probably are. From the betting sequence, I would say they are good with 95% confidence.) Under this logic, I would want to maintain my mathematical edge and keep it 3 ways. Hence, CALL.

b) Poker: As we all know, poker decisions can go against the math. If I just call, I risk being moved off the pot by the raiser if I miss the turn. At least within the 60 seconds I was given to think, that was my biggest fear. This, i would assume, is also the strongest reasoning for all the people who roots for the shove. So we RAISE. Now, by how much? I have the raiser covered by 3500 chips. Do I really need to shove? Is there a bet size that can yield the same effect without putting the maximum chips at stake? (note: see bottom of this post for my final decision.)

c) Game Theory: If I were given more than 60 seconds, I would actually get to this level of thinking. In game theory, if a short stack is all in and the side pot is dry, people will 95% check it down. (Pls correct me if I'm wrong.) This assumption would overthrow my fear in (b). I can fully assume raiser would check it down with me, giving me free turn and river, if I just call or raise just enough to put shortstack all in. Now, which is better? I would think just calling is better as (if you look at the respective stack sizes), if I raise just enough to put shortie all in, raiser IS allowed to reraise! I don't wanna put the action back on him. Hence, CALL.

It looks like the best choice is to go against our gut instinct and FLAT CALL.

My final decision:

Given the little amount of time I was allowed to think, I made what i would now consider a bad decision. I chose to go with (b), but I didn't shove. I raised it up to 5000 (3500 more) which was enough to get the raiser out while preserving my stack. However, I blanked both the turn and the river and at the end of the hand it looked like I gave the guy free protection. OUCH.

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 16:34 — mikezee

you make some really good points here. good post.

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 13:35 — mikezee

what did player A have?

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 14:55 — phillau


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Sun, 09/28/2008 - 22:08 — Anonymous

me Donkey, here are my comments.

Equity perspective:

semibluff odds - 11000/(3975+11000)=73%
equity range based on players hands on pokerstove assuming that player A has Kx, and player D has a high Kx, two pair, set, or flush draw-

2,402,883 games 0.125 secs 19,223,064 games/sec

Board: Ks 5s 8c

equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 49.537% 47.37% 02.17% 1138231 52096.33 { 7s6s }
Hand 1: 32.396% 29.19% 03.20% 701460 76974.83 { 88, 55, KJs-K8s, K5s, 7c6c, 7d6d, 7h6h, KJo-K9o, 76o }
Hand 2: 18.067% 16.69% 01.38% 400929 33191.83 { A9s-A5s, Ac4c, Ad4d, Ah4h, Ac3c, Ad3d, Ah3h, Ac2c, Ad2d, Ah2h, K2s+ }

a less spade drawy version puts you at anywhere between 49-52% ahead, so:

if you push all in and get a call from the short stack and fold from the raiser you make:

49.5%*(14975+2750)=8773 or lose a similar amount. here you are basically risking 1500+2750 to win 8773. pretty positive to me. especially when he's only 18% to win.

if you push all in and get a call from the reraiser then you make:
49.5%*(14975+8500)=23475. note that you dominate his range where he can only win 32% of the time relative to the players involved. i don't think he has a flush draw here much because he'd push much harder. more likely he's got two pair or a set in which you have equity against.

add in some fold equity in the range of 30% from player A and 15% for player D and its a pretty positive EV play.

That was cash game analysis. In a tourney, how valuable are your chips here? will they let you take command of the table? if this is mid tourney far away from the real money, i'd do this all day. you have to make yourself competitive with chips in play and since you chose to limp with this hand, you've hit the hottest flop you can hit. play it!

this also kinda works as a squeeze play in reverse since player D must have a huge hand to want to play for his rather deep stack against you. in other words if he has a nut flush draw, he'll likely fold and even if player A has a nutflush draw you're risking very little to gain control of the table since 2500 won't kill you at this stage where you have 40bbs.

so i would shove all day. even if villains know your hand face up they would be hard pressed to call against their range. my math up top is a little fuzzy but i think its close enough.

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 17:28 — phillau

Thanks for the in-depth analysis. Great to know that someone out there is as math-geeky as me. Comments:

- "i don't think he has a flush draw here much because he'd push much harder." -- Can't agree more.

- "add in some fold equity in the range of 30% from player A and 15% for player D..." -- This might be read-based but I would price fold equity for player A and D at 5% and 40%, respectively.

- "if this is mid tourney far away from the real money, i'd do this all day." -- This is pretty early in the tournament (first level with antes), so yes, I would be going for building my stack more than safe-guarding it. What I wouldn't do, even at this point of the tourny, is to risk my tournament life. And since I cover everybody, this isn't a concern.

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Sat, 09/27/2008 - 02:04 — mikezee

To Anonymous----Fair enough. I agree that winning tournaments would require a lot of aggression but I'm inclined to think that a lot of that aggression is controlled aggression. In a cash game, I'd understand taking the risk of pushing after the bet and raise on the flop (just another buy-in to hop back in), but midway through a tournament where we've got slightly above average chips, I think a careful assessment of where we really stand in the hand is a good idea and is warranted, no matter how pretty the flop is for 6s7s.

When you ask "How much better are you hoping to get your money in?", my thinking is that it's very possible that your spades aren't live and that you're actually not going to be getting your money in good at all if you push. What I mean is that what you have, at first, looks like an all-exciting combination of open-ended straight and flush draws but actually turns out to be a straight draw net the spades for 6 outs. Like I said, in a cash game I'd understand pushing. I love that gamble and would push every time there. But, in a tournament with a good amount of chips, I think there's something to be said about being able to adjust our level of aggression and to choose spots carefully in order to navigate through the field.

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Sat, 09/27/2008 - 01:39 — BrianL

Why put your tournament life on the line when you're at most 50-50? All you have is 7 high. So I think you should go all-in.

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Fri, 09/26/2008 - 21:42 — Anonymous

Here's the perspective of a guy who's way less humble than MikeZ: Anything but a shove here is horrible for all the reasons that Brian mentioned but even more. Winning tournament poker is about aggression. Can you imagine any of the top online pros (who, i believe, are the best in these situations) folding this hand? I mean how much better are you hoping to get your money in? In fact, I would have to have incredible reads/personal information/tells to not make this shove in any format. The math is beautiful; your position is beautiful. The biggest decision to make here is how do i sell it. If I wanted a call (which means I'm willing to accept some variance) I would try to sell that with my body language and if I wanted a fold I would try to sell that.

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Mon, 09/29/2008 - 17:19 — phillau

Couple of quick comments might help with future problem solving:

- "The math is beautiful; your position is beautiful." -- These are actually two facts warranting opposite actions. Math being beautiful means at the point in the hand if no more decision are to be made, I would be the favorite. Hence, math is beautiful implies SHOVE. Position being beautiful means if the hand were to play on I can make a play with my better position. Position is beautiful implies CALL. (Note: raising all-in generally has more equity when you're out-of-position.)

- I LARGELY agree that aggression is essential in winning poker tournaments. However, I don't necessary agree that aggression is synonymous to "all out betting".

- I 100% agree that this hand is not to be folded.

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Fri, 09/26/2008 - 17:21 — bshen

Based on the betting, it's hard for me to put either of the players on a spade draw. The argument of not wanting to gamble most of your chips (if you push and player D calls) without a made hand or at least the nut flush draw (say if it were 5s Kc 8s) is a good one. But if you read that your spades are live, then I think a push would be the best move albeit aggressive...and if you run into As8s, then I'm sorry.

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Fri, 09/26/2008 - 16:53 — mikezee

Here's the perspective of a weak player who plays way too much Omaha: It seems likely that whatever you do, player A is looking to get all his chips in behind you and the min raise from player D looks pretty strong so my guess is that among the three of you your spades probably aren't live. If you call, you may be faced with an all-in reraise by player D if in fact player A moves in, in which case you'd have little choice but to call off the remaining 7000 hoping that your spades are live but basically knowing that what you probably have is just the open-ended straight draw, and even worse, minus the spade outs. If player D doesn't have spades, then the side pot may be worth the gamble, but would it be safe to assume he doesn't have spades? Why would he min raise with a naked flush draw in that spot? As8s maybe?

My opinion is that it's either push or fold here and I know that the stronger way to play would be to push because (1) there is fold equity for player D if in fact he isn't as strong as he represented and (2) if we're going to play suited connectors then that's exactly the flop we're looking for, but in this case, given the action in front of you and given that you still have decent chips, I think folding would be a better move here. (See what I mean by weak???)

Anyway, my two cents.

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