Tuesday, March 11, 2008

When To Slow Down

I've got stuff to talk about (I played twice over the weekend and won over $700 in 6/12 HE) but I figured I'd put up a fluffy, rarely important, hypothetical question first.


So, you buy in to the Garden City 6/12 for $200.

You post behind the button and look down at two kings... Great! It folds to MP who raises. You've never seen this player in your life, and there's nothing supremely notable about the guy (i.e. he doesn't look like either an idiot or a genius). You three-bet, it folds back around to MP, and he four-bets. Assume he did it quickly and you have no tells either way.

Normally the raises would be capped, but since you are heads-up, there is no cap on the bets. Do you raise again? How many raises are you planning to put in? FYI, you've got over 30 small bets in front of you. What is your plan for the hand?

Take a second to think about it. This situation would be SUPER rare in the typical 6/12 game, but the idea carries over to a few other very rare situations like nut flush vs straight flush.

What if you had $100 in front of you? Would your plan change? What about $50?

Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts. Don't let the story below change your answer (or at least make a note of it).


This is exactly the situation that happened to a guy that was sitting at my table on Saturday. I mean, it didn't happen Saturday, but he shared the story with us on Saturday.

The action went down as I described, with the hero (victim) holding KK and his opponent in MP had AA. I didn't hear the details, but the hero got all-in and lost the hand. The kicker is that he had just sat down and the chip-runner hadn't even brought him his chips yet. So when the rack of greens arrived, he just pushed it over to the other guy. As he said,

"What a kick in the balls. I didn't even get to play with the chips. Not even one little riffle!"

It was pretty funny (not that I want to live through it), but it does bring up a point. In no-limit, with 30 big blinds, you have no way of getting away from kings in that spot even if the other guy has pocket rockets. But, since bets go in so slowly, you should be able to avoid losing your stack in limit.

What's a reasonable loss? Could you ever fold?


Bonus related hand:

In one hand on Sunday night, the river put four clubs on an unpaired board. The guy in the blinds led out and the only other play (I think) in MP just called with the Ac. The EP guy showed down a straight flush.

That can't be optimal!

(although, truth be told, I may be remembering the details wrong -- there may have been one or two players in the hand after the nut flush guy which would make the smooth call more appropriate).


Thuan said...

Well, in NL... I'd certainly go all-in w/KK since it's 24-1 that I'm up against AA. Fortunately in limit, you can/should slow down. People will cap w/much less than AA, so I think putting in the 4th raise is fine. After that, I'd slow down and call down.

With the nut flush vs. straight flush... again assuming your opp. isn't a glaring idiot, you know that he doesn't have the A of the flush, so what can he be reraising you with? If the straight flush is possible, then you technically don't have the nuts, so personally I would slow down around the 4th raise. I do think this situation is more obvious.

Either way, I would tend to err on the side of putting in the extra raise because if it's a mistake, it's a small mistake since these situations almost never come up.

Sean said...

I agree, around the 4th raise (he's bet/raised three times) I have to assume he has either KK or QQ (or the straight flush to my nut flush, unless he's the type that'll take the second nuts to the end). Then I'd call down.

Going all-in with KK (or any non-nut hand) is a fundamental mistake in limit. One of the advantages of limit is that you can reduce your exposure when you have a second best hand so I think the all-in agreement which sometimes happens is a mistake.

The flip side is important to mention like you said -- any time you have the nuts (or near-nuts) and you slow down early you are also giving up EV. I was actually guilty of this last night playing online -- with two-tabling, I caught myself once or twice just calling a raise with one card to the top full house (like AJ on a JJ88x board). People can always misread their hands or make a mistake, if you know you have the nuts or near nuts, put in some bets with it.