Monday, January 09, 2006

That Was a Crazy Hand of Poker

(Edited a little later to correct my early mistake with suit of one of the cards.)

I played a hand last night that I've never encountered before, and still have no idea how I should have played it.

It's $5/10 limit HE, with ten players at the table. The table has two really bad players who limp every hand and is generally really passive, with hardly any pre-flop raising from the majority of people.

I'm dealt 10c9c in UTG+1. UTG limps. I go ahead and limp, too, (fairly marginal decision) assuming the two bad players will limp as well, plus the blinds, so I can see a flop cheaply. It should be noted that the two bad players were so bad that I was willing to take a flyer with a marginal hand here out of position.

The next player limps. And the next. And so on. Every single player at the table limps in for $5, up to the BB, who raises. UTG calls.

I raise (slightly marginal decision), assuming I'll either flop a monster or be done, so I might as well jam more chips in.

Every single player after me calls two more cold, and the BB calls. Suddenly there's $150 in the pot before the flop, with all ten players in.

The flop is Jd 10s 9d. SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, and the action is to me.

Good news: I flopped two pair.
Bad news: I flopped two pair.

I have no idea what to do now. Even if I'm currently ahead (and that's a huge, doubtful if) there have to be 182,172 draws out there. I could very easily have a worse two pair to J10, etc. Odds are great that I'll have to improve to a boat to win, and even that's remote, as some of my 10s are probably dead. It's not that unlikely that I'm completely drawing dead, no matter what I do, if someone has JJ or 1010. Aside from that, the pot is so huge due to preflop silliness that everyone had odds to draw to everything.

At the same time, that's a $150 pot, so I figure I might as well give it a whirl and bet, hoping someone else raises, so I can re-raise and try to knock some people out. If it gets three-bet/capped before it gets back to me, I can fold. Maybe.

(Question: Is that logic flawed? Should I just check and try to cheaply keep drawing to what's likely a 1-2 outer to me, folding if there's much action behind me?)

I bet. Every single freaking person calls behind me. $200 in the pot.

Turn is 4s, putting Jd 10s 9d 4s on the board.

It's checked back to me. Again, I'm completely flummoxed. I'd like to say that the 4 was a brick and helped me, but I have no clue, what with 10 monkeys in the hand still. Pretty much any card in the deck has to help someone. Everyone is getting 20-1 odds if I bet, so I have to assume a bet won't drive anyone out. I also think I have to assume that someone is getting cute and trappy and slowplaying KQ and waiting to raise it up on the turn/river, since I've been representing a big hand with my limp/re-raise preflop.

But damnit, that pot is big. Gargh.

I wuss out and meekly check. I'm willing to call one more bet and try to river a boat, but I'm also ready to ditch it if there's much more action.

After I check, every single freaking person checks. Everyone. At this point, I have no clue what this means.

River is 5h, putting Jd 10s 9d 4s 5h on the board. It's checked to me.

Gargh. I have no clue where I'm at. I still can't see any way I'm winning enough times to value bet now, especially with so many people left to act. In retrospect, I guess I should bet and reasonably safely fold to a raise. I didn't trust myself to be able to do that, though, so I wussed out and checked, willing to call one bet back to me.

Every single freaking person checks. My hand is good (?) and I take down the pot (?).

So, umm, yeah. What the hell?

Is this a case where you play the flop/turn really fast (betting out and hoping to be able to re-raise/cap) based on the pot size, trying to drive people out? Or is there a tipping point where you simply say Jebus, there are too many monkeys and too many draws in this hand, I'll just turtle up and try to somehow see the river cheaply?


Alan said...

That's a funny deck with two Tc and two 4s!

Assuming that was a Ts, I plugged some numbers into my trusty calculator.

At the flop you had about 21% odds to win against random cards. I think random card assumption is a good one in this situation. If you can get four callers on any raises you make here there a good chance you are coming out ahead. The pot odds people are getting here are so incredible that its likely they will call.

The odds improve slightly at the river to 23% chance to win. The 4s is unlikely to help any draws. If the T on the flop was a spade this might give someone a flush draw. Again, with those good odds I would raise.

I'm assuming the second 4s was a 4c. All of the flush draws just lost. The straight is still there but I can't imagine slow playin that at the turn was correct. Someone might have hit a four. Now my calculator puts you at a 2.6% chance to win. There is a very good chance someone has the four. Check and see what happens.

I agree. That is a very weird hand. My guess is that someone had top pair, maybe two people, and several people were on draws that interfered with each other.

Disclaimer: It's been over a year since I played a significant amount of limit and I was never all that great to begin with.

Semi-Pro Poker Player said...

Bet for value on the turn. Chances are good that the turn didn't help anyone. If someone has KQ and flopped a straight and you get raised, fine. You still have the pot odds to draw to a boat.

CC said...

That was deja vu all over again because I had an almost identical scenario, but I was the bb raising with TT and being reraised pre-flop somewhere down the road then capping, flop comes 98X with two spades, another blank on the turn but a spade, then another spade on the river. I bet and three-bet the flop, was raised on the turn, then checked-down on the river with the aggressor showing a 9 and the other guy showing an 8 with no one having a spade.

I would bet the turn as no one has KQ, can't imagine a set, dummy end of the straight is possible, but more than likely people have pieces of this thing. Of course, it's all rigged anyways, so you could always just disconnect and see what happens...

ScurvyDog said...


You're right, I messed up the suit of the 10 on the flop. Sorry about that. I actually don't remember the actual suit of it, just that the flop put two to a diamond flush that didn't get there.

Not sure where you're getting the two 4s from, though, as I still just see one 4 on the board, the one that hit on the turn.

ScurvyDog said...


That's a very good point, as far as overlapping draws. I didn't really take that into account at the time. It's mitigated a bit by the loose nature of the table and the tendency for some of the players to literally play any two cards, but I should have thought about that.

Egarim said...

I really dislike the 3bet preflop. According to your thinking, you're going to hit or miss and dump the hand. So, according to that theory, you should just call and make it as cheap as possible to see the flop. You don't know if the bb is going to cap or not. Usually a raise from there signifies a big hand. Also, it doesn't help to have the lead oop. You're better off letting the bb take the lead so he's almost directly to your right and you can thin the field easier with a raise making it 2bets to everyone else.

In any case, you must bet that turn. Playing at such a passive table, you can't be afraid of what people MIGHT have. Also, a lot of people are drawing and probably have each others draws which is a benefit to you. In this case, it's worth bb to atleast gain information to find out where you are at with your hand. You may still get drawn out but you should have the mindset of getting in the most money with the best hand. Results shouldn't matter. Making the right decisions is all that matters.

Pokerwolf said...

A good rule of thumb when you flop two pair:

Until someone tells you that they have a better hand by raising, then bet the hell out of your hand.

On the flop, you might be beaten by JT, but everyone just called. If you check, then all the 872,111 draws you're terrified of get a free card. Bad thing! Bet! Bet! Bet!

The 4s arriving on the turn is a good card for you in my opinion, it doesn't complete a straight. The double flush draw is a bit scary, but everyone checked.

Remember, a check usually means "Crap, I don't like my hand enough to bet it". Use the information people are giving you and bet until someone raises. Be aggressive. Make people pay for their draws.

Alan said...

Gah! I'll trade you your typo for my misread. I could have sworn you said another 4 hit the river. I don't think a 5 changes much. Change my analysis to bet the river.

columbo (at eifco dot org) said...

I totally disagree with comments that state you should bet the turn.

Certainly, I dont get the 3 bet pre-flop based on how *I* play, but I know my friend Glenn would have done EXACTLY that. So lets look at the post flop play...

Playing a suited connector and hitting 2 pair is like a delicious carton of milk. Either its good or its really spoiled. Most likely the later.

So, I assume I am behind a KQ, but ahead a possible QJ or QT. So WHY do I bet here? If I am ahead, I thin the suckouts. If someone re-rasies, I spot the KQ (or KQ bluff) and if everyone calls, the moths are fluttering around the campfire. (I can go either way here, but find no fault with the bet).

Now the turn. I LOVE the check. Look, you want to know who is going to bet this turn. If you bet it, I dont know of a KQ player who does not try to now get more money in the pot. that KQ player is going to re-raise you and take your money. If he doesn't, he's made a grave mistake. So, when everyone checks, it seems evident that now the KQ is not in play.

Based on the above, here is where the REAL error is made. Under no circumstances in LIMIT poker, can you NOT bet the river here.
1. You saved the bet on the turn anyways
2. You are likely the best hand.
3. You NEED to make money on the river with the best hand in limit. This is a MUST.
4. A re-reraise here would HAVE to be a bluff, since a KQ missed a MAJOR opportunity to get multiple players to call the turn bet. No one without a hand would call the reraise except you.

No a crazy hand at all, as you played a great starting hand vs. a limper call field like this. In a game like this, I PREFER a suited connector to AA to start. Against a field of 5 or more, you cant win with AA without improving as you expcet the winning hand to be a minimum of 2 pair.

Mourn said...

10 handed is so crazy I'm not sure I can offer a good opinion of the perfect post-flop play when you're offering the correct odds to anyone with a pockt pair, a gutshot, an OESD, or a flush draw. It's hard to imagine how any card isn't scary if the action gets heavy. That said, I think the off suit 4 is about the BEST card you could hope for, and given that you got no resistance on the flop bet I think you have to bet again and fold if more than one more bet comes back to you. The nice thing about betting is that you get to complete the action if a single bet comes back to you and you can fold if it comes back 3 or 4. If you send it around you have to call two bets cold if you want to continue for the same price and someone else could then re-raise behind you. I also think 10-handed even a floped straight is going to raise to get rid of a little bit of chaff, but then, a lot of people are too stupid to do that or to even understand why you would, I'd be scared too.

I will say, I'm a little surprised at the comments against your making it three pre-flop. I may not like the limp UTG, but I love the raise. If you're going to play that hand against 10 people, you want to get paid huge when you really nail the board and you want the TPTKs and Overpairs committed to drawing dead.

Cool hand.