High Stakes Adventures - Greed on the river
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
By Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro
Early this year I played a heads up session with URnotINDanger2 on Full Tilt Poker. We were 4-tabling $100/$200 NLHE. The session lasted for a few hours and it was really bad for me, I lost approximately $130,000. As my opponent told me in the chat, he was running extremely well. Setups, suckouts, as sometimes happens. Here I will talk about the biggest pot in the session, one that I could have played better.
I open from the button for $600 with 6h4h. URnotINdanger2 calls. The flop comes Qc3d2h. He checks, I c-bet $800 and he raises to $2,800. This is a spot where he will often try to steal the pot from me. I c-bet most flops, and this is a dry flop that doesn't hit my hand very often. At this point all my options are open: I can fold my lousy gutshot, I can call in the hope that my hand improves or he gives up on the turn, or I can re-raise to find out what he's up to.
We are deep-stacked, so I decide to re-raise to $6,400. There's no point in raising more because if he's going to call me he will call a bigger raise, too, and a smaller raise leaves me more room to manoeuvre on later streets. Also, I don't think he's 4-betting me with any hand here. There's no flush draw on the flop, so I assume he's slow-playing all of his good hands in this spot. He makes the call.
Besides a gutshot, I also have a backdoor flush draw. If my hand doesn't improve on the turn, I will probably take a free card and give up if I don't hit my hand. His call on the flop is an indication of a very good hand, so I don't think I have much fold equity here.
Turn is the five of spades, the best possible card for me. He checks, and I bet $8,888 into a pot of $14,000. It's a good sized bet, but there's no point in giving him a discount here. If all he has is a queen, betting small does not make him call more often and he will probably fold anyway, whereas if he has two pair, a set or a straight, he will call or raise.
He makes the call. The river is a deuce, and he checks. The pot is $31,766, he has $23,202 behind and I have slightly more.
This river is bad for me because now there are not many worse hands that call me. I believe he often has a set that just rivered a full house and sometimes even quads. I'm thinking about checking the river. It would be an easier decision if he had less or more behind. If he had less, say $10,000, it would be an automatic value bet for me. If he had way more than the pot behind, it would be an automatic check because I don't want to face a big raise. I don't want to use my time-bank to give him any extra reads. I think for about 15 seconds and decide that checking behind is too weak.
Sure, it's possible that he might call me with just a queen of even some worse hands if he thinks I'm bluffing. However, I think he would have folded a queen on the turn so there are not many hands that call me here. A-4 is possible but not very likely. I don't know if he would ever play a hand like Q-5 suited or Q-3 suited on the big blind. Those hands might make the call since they have blockers to a full house and it's not easy for him to put me on a straight because then I only had a gutshot on the flop. And since he just called me pre-flop, he doesn't have Q-Q here. I don't believe he has a hand like A-Q, K-Q or Q-J, and if he did, he might have 3-bet with them pre-flop. And as I said before, I don't think he's calling with those hands on the turn as all they are beating is a bluff and he will often be drawing dead with one pair.
So that leaves 3-3 and 2-2, a full house or quads. If I check behind on the river, I believe I will often win the pot, but since I don't think there's many worse hands that call me, there's really no point in betting.
But my greed gets the better of me, and I go all-in. He calls me in a flash and I know I have lost the hand even before I see his 2-2 for quads.
I'm still not quite sure whether I played the hand correctly or not, but checking behind on the river should be a strong option here. To make a thin value bet, you need enough worse hands that call.
Good players know how to make tight folds in spots where a bluff is not very likely. If you're up against a bad player or a calling station, you have to punish them often, but a good thinking player doesn't just hand over his money to you.
A similar situation in Omaha might be the second nut straight or a small full house on the river in a small pot when you're opponent makes a small value bet and you know you beat him most of the time. Even if you do have the best hand in most cases, there is always a chance that he has a better one. Even if he is value-betting a moderately good hand, he won't call your raise with the second best hand.