The Poker Clinic with Dr Tom - A Cash Game Situation Examined

The Poker Clinic with Dr Tom - A Cash Game Situation Examined

Monday, 27 October 2008

Dear Tom,

I'm playing in a live cash game. Blinds are £1-£2 and I'm UTG +1. UTG straddles. I look down at aces and flat call. It's quite a lively table, plus there's been a straddle, so I'm hoping for a lot of action...

It's called in two spots, and then UTG, who is a loose but experienced player, bumps it up to £25. I have about £130 in front of me and I shove. The two callers fold and UTG thinks for ages, during which time I try to look as uncomfortable as possible. He eventually folds A-K.

Now, my strategy was to make it look like I was attempting a clumsy bluff, but my question is – would I have got more value from a smaller raise, or even from flat-calling the £25 and seeing a flop?



Dr. Tom says:

"Hi Phil,

You have to put UTG on some sort of hand here because he's raised your early position call. He knows you're probably not going to fold – plus there's the crowd behind you to worry about. So if he had a tricksy hand like suited connectors, he would keep his chips behind the line and hang onto his implied odds. It really looks like he has a good pair or A-K. That's great news when you're holding A-A.

Now everything depends on the two players behind you. If they're going to fold, then you like a flat call. That puts £70 in the pot and leaves you with £100. Usually no ace will come and he will find he's committed with his pair. If he has A-K, there is a chance of a king and also there is some chance of a continuation bet. Even if he doesn't bet the flop, you're hardly worse than you are pushing him out pre-flop, since the chances of him moving ahead on the flop are so small.

But if you just call, probably at least one of the players behind you is going to call, because of all the lovely chips in the middle. Now you've doubled or trebled the number of opponents you've got to beat for a pot that's only 25% to 50% bigger. The extra £100 you have in implied odds is a bit thin in comparison to the risk you're taking. So you must raise. Any small raise stinks of A-A so you might as well lump it all in as there's some chance that the "clumsy bluff" ruse will work. At this point in the pot, your concern is not to increase your value but to hang onto what you've already got. Well played.


Tags: Tom Sambrook, Strategy,