Betting for Max Value
Tuesday, 6 September 2011
If you think there’s a strong chance your opponent will call you, always try to get the absolute maximum out of him. In a tournament, chips are power and you need to keep building. Paul Zimbler takes us to value town.
This is a hand I played at the UKIPT in Brighton last month. It was level 3, the blinds were 75/150 and I had only recently arrived at the table but had already played a few pots. I raised to 350 in late position with K-8 and got a caller from the BB, with whom I had clashed earlier. The flop came 4s5h6h. The BB checked to me and I made a continuation bet of 600. He then raised me 1,000 more. I said out loud, “I knew you were going to do this.” My stack was a little over 20,000 and his was a little under 15,000, which was the starting stack. I threw in a 1k chip to see the turn. Now, this could be considered crazy but I thought that I would be able to win this pot with a lot of turn or river cards.
The turn was the bingo card 7c and again he checked to me. I now decided to put in a big bet in the hope that I would be able to get him to shove his whole stack in. I bet something like 3,300, which he instantly called. I now knew he had a hand. We were about two minutes away from the next level and the river was a complete blank, Tc. Again, he checked and I decided to shove a big stack into the middle quickly to set him all in.
Why did he check-raise the flop, check call the turn and check the river? This I cannot answer. Perhaps he was setting a trap, but he didn’t snap-call me, so his play didn’t make sense. But now I needed to try to get him to pay me. What is the best strategy for this? Speech play or silence?
After he had stared at me for over a minute, I was going to say something like, “What did you think I was going to do on the river?” but instead I took the silent option and tried to look as weak/nervous as possible.
He was obviously trying to decide whether I had a hand or I was bluffing. If you look at it from his perspective, he can’t really put me on an eight unless I raised with 8-8 or flopped a pair and gutshot. Did he think I had the bottom end of the straight? Would I go all in if I did? Was this a complete bluff and was he looking to make a hero call in level 3 for all his chips?
He thought and thought and, after a few minutes, the level ended and the break was about to begin. At the UKIPT the play music at the end of the levels, and as soon as this started up he announced, “I call,” and shoved his stack in to the middle with what looked like to me excruciating pain. I then added to his pain as I turned over my K-8 and he mucked his hand in disgrace telling me that he had a set.
Incidentally, I wouldn’t say it to him there and then as I just won the pot but I don’t think could have had a set the way the betting went, although I could be wrong. The beauty of poker is that players play hands in all sorts of different ways and that’s what makes the game so interesting.
I went on to build my stack to 100k in level 4 but was not able to do much with it for the rest of the day. Day 2, I grinded, but the poker gods were not with me on this occasion and I busted 34th for a £1,200 cash.
The moral of the story? If you think there’s a strong chance your opponent will call you, always try to get the absolute maximum out of him. In a tournament, chips are power and you need to keep building.
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