November 23, 2009

Nothing wrong with being a calling station sometimes

I wanted to post an example of where 3betting is sub optimal. and where you should always try to make a strategy for how you want to play the hand, based on reads and situation. So here we wake up with QQ from BB versus a TAG player on the tight/nit side of things. Now I guess the vast majority of regs 3bet here. Personally I think they do this for 2 reasons, a) they can't hand read very well, and they know it and b) they have read everywhere that you cannot play out of position without the lead.

So with QQ here, the mouse hovers over the 3bet pot button (if it exists) in auto mode. But we really need to think. Villain is 18/14 and raising 3bb from cutoff. He has a 100%cbet. He's 4betting AK, AA-KK for sure which, as a range, crushes us, and MAYBE flatting JJ-TT but he might even fold these. All other hands he is folding. Why on earth therefore would you want to 3bet him therefore???

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details
MP: $124.90 (124.9 bb)
CO: $140.90 (140.9 bb)
BTN: $34.50 (34.5 bb)
SB: $50.35 (50.4 bb)
Hero (BB): $101.50 (101.5 bb)
UTG: $66.50 (66.5 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is BB with Q of spades Q of clubs
2 folds, CO raises to $3, 2 folds, Hero calls $2
We make a decision at the start of the hand how we want to play it (extracting max value through opponents mistakes after concealing our strength), and we stick to that throughout the hand without info to suggest we should be beat.

Flop: ($6.50) 6 of hearts 5 of clubs J of spades (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $4, Hero calls $4
Plan is to check call all streets, as villain spazzes once he is in the pot, as previously mentioned with cbet. If he checks the turn, we bet all cards on the river no matter what. (I would even bet if an A rivers, but I leave that to you to decide why I would do that)

Turn: ($14.50) 7 of clubs (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $10, Hero calls $10
Keeping to the plan. 8-9 beats us now, as do the sets, and absolutely no reason on Gods earth to raise therefore.

River: ($34.50) 8 of diamonds (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $42, Hero calls $42
So the mother of all scare cards comes, and he overbets the pot. Would YOU bet like that if you made the straight? Or would you value bet to get a call from a weaker hand such as 2pair? 9-10 is the nuts, and if he does have this, then it's a very, very advanced play. I don't often see a tighty raising mid connecting cards from the cut-off, and he is always checking those on the river to such a draw/set heavy board, if by chance he has indeed made 2 pair. Meanwhile our plan was to check call to extract max value using his spazzy betting, and nothing indicates that we should deviate from that. We beat 22-44, 8-9, 99,TT, all broadway and any Ax hand, as well factoring in our suspicion on his overbet, so I have to carry on with the hand.

Results: $118.50 pot ($3 rake)
Final Board: 6 of hearts 5 of clubs J of spades 7 of clubs 8 of diamonds
CO showed K of diamonds T of spades (high card King) and lost (-$59 net)
Hero showed Q of spades Q of clubs (a pair of Queens) and won $115.50 ($56.50 net)

Sure sometimes they draw out on you, and sometimes you need to re-evaluate post flop, but you will not learn to play cards and start to become able to hand read if you cannot stop auto-3betting and learning post flop strategy. And so you'll never move up.


  1. Nice post.

    I guess hand reading is where it's at. It takes real focus to think about hand ranges on every hand. I don't do it anywhere nearly enough. I suspect that the vast majority of people probably don't even come close to effective hand reading. Which is good news for people that at least try.

  2. If you are folding out that much of his range you should be 3betting even if you were dealt napkins by mistake. :-P

  3. conan, i hope your not serious, because if you are, you are completely misunderstanding the post, its all about extracting value playing passivly, why would you 3bet??

  4. 99 does beat you, but I don't think he bets this on the turn even with an added gutshot because so much of your range has got there. So much of his range is air here, there's absolutely no hand that he plays this way at all, even T9 I think after betting 2 streets he's looking to get some value from 2pair type hands.

    I like the flat pre also, I've always wondered why everyone is so happy to get QQ in pre as standard, it should be read based as quoted in your post.

    Very good post, I like the way you played the hand, but it was made somewhat simple by a retarded villain who's repping nothing, nh.

  5. Only half kidding. If you 3bet wide enough you can build the pot and still check back any flop to represent that you missed and slowplay from there; I don't think this hand plays out differently if he puts you on AK. But this is a strange villain you've conjured up -- weak-tight pre and and an aggro-donk post....

  6. elliot, you are right, in fact 99 and 8-9 beats my qq, but he never has the straight here and over bets like that