No-Limit Hold’em Poker Cash Game: Could You Make This Fold?
August 9, 2013 2 Comments
I came across a discussion on a rather interesting hand the other day, and wanted to share my thoughts and analysis of the situation, along with what I would decide to do in this extremely sick spot. A solid fundamental grasp of No-Limit Hold’em cash games is required to understand this article.
Some background info first:
It’s a live $10/20 nlhe game with no cap to buy-in. Table is deep. I just sat down about 2 orbits ago with $13,000 (650 big blinds) and haven’t played a single hand yet.
Villian in this hand is unknown and hasn’t played in the past town orbits either and he has about the same stack.
Hero: KsKh and raises to $80 from UTG + 1
Villan: calls $80 from UTG + 2
4 more guys call.
Flop ($480): KdQcQh
Hero: bets $120
Villan quickly calls $120
Everyone else folds
Villan: bets $450
Hero calls $450
River ($1620) Jd
Villan thinks for about a good long 1 min and bets $1300
Hero check/raises to $4,000
Villain tanks for another good long minute and ships his remaining $12,000 ish stack…..
I know I flopped top boat, so don’t tell me “you have top boat, you only lose to 3 combo of hands, fist pump and call”
Theoretically, unknown villain without history can’t be bluffing here right? Seems like I’m not beating any of his value jamming range except for two combos of KQ which I’m not even sure if he should in theory.
The First Mistake
I think the first glaring mistake I can point out in this hand is the fact that our player in question bought into this cash game for an absurd amount of money not having any prior reads on opponents at his table. In a 10/20 NL game, the standard buy-in of 100 big-blinds would be $2,000. Our player bought in for $13,000 representing 650 big-blinds, an absurd stack size to put at risk, especially when the spot he finds himself in arises. Unless there is a mega-weak fish I know to be sitting at this table with a massive stack, it wouldn’t make sense to invest this much bankroll into a single table.
How Can We Play This Hand Optimally?
The pre-flop raise, and bet on the flop are fine with me. On this flop, we flop the second nuts and are looking to extract as much value as possible from our opponents. A bet of $120 into $480 looks like a bet for information, rather than strength, which is what we are trying to achieve. We in theory are hoping to get raised in this spot, then proceed from there. Instead, we get called and see a turn.
I absolutely despise the hero’s check on this turn when the 10 of diamonds comes. We have a full house, and we are hoping our opponent has 3 queens, especially the Q-K/Q-10 which is part of his range. Checking here is a disaster because we lose value from a 3 queen/lower full house type hand, and also give our opponent the control of the pot size. Check-raising our opponent screams massive strength, and will give our hand strength away, something we are trying to conceal. With a pot of $710, and our massive stack size, I like to put out a bet of $550-650 and hope to get raised. From there, we can decide to re-raise or flat call with the intention of check-raising the river for value.
As played, we see a nasty J of diamonds hit the river. Our flopped full house is now quite vulnerable, but still will be the best hand most of the time against this villain’s entire range of possible hands. We decide to check-raise the river, and find ourselves in a real ugly spot when our opponent raises all-in for $8,000 more on top of our $4,000 raise. If we had simply bought in with a $2,000 stack, we wouldn’t have to be put at a decision for a total of four more full buy-ins. Having our full house cracked with 100bb is not as fatal to our bankroll than having it cracked for 650bb.
Our full house on the river is now the second best hand to a straight flush, or quad queens. Q9 of diamonds is the nuts, along with AQ of diamonds, two very eligible hands for our opponents perceived hand range. If our opponent has pocket queens, he also has us crushed with quads. There are more than one combination of hands that beat us in this spot, and we need to be aware of that.
When we check-raise, and get re-raised, we are almost always beat in this spot. I don’t see this random player pulling off a massive deep stack bluff with just a Q of diamonds knowing we can’t possibly have the nuts because he has the blocker to the royal and straight flush, along with quad queens. It would be an absolutely insane (yet correct) play to bluff with just the Q of diamonds in this spot, and only a move that a top high-stakes professional might make. In a random $10/20 cash game, we have to assume we are beat here, and need to fold to the additional 400bb re-raise on the river. We can assume that our opponent is not going to re-raise us all-in with a weaker full house such as Q-K, Q-10, or Q-J, unless we have a read on him that he is a total fish.
The Actual Result
Our player was able to find a fold on this river after a few minutes of contemplation. His opponent was nice enough to flip over AQ of diamonds for the rivered royal flush to show us we were beat. A massive level would be for our opponent to simply flip over the Q of diamonds, and muck his other card leaving us to ponder if we were incorrect or not.
This hand is the perfect example of how deep-stack cash game poker can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. Your hand looks very pretty, pocket kings that flop a full house, but luckily our player was aware that it was an inferior hand come the river, and our opponents re-raise.
A situation like this is extremely rare, and probably a spot you may never see in your entire career in poker. Not many players can fold a full house on this hand, but luckily our player in questions made the right decision. Next time I would like to see him buy-in to the game for less chips, and then add-on if the situation calls for it (fish with a lot of chips at his table.) You always want to have a bigger stack than your weakest opponent at the table for when you get into a spot where you can extract maximum value. Fortunately, we did not give our opponent the opportunity to extract the maximum value from us in this hand.
If you are interested, check out the discussion on 2p2 for further evaluation of this hand, with discussion from top professionals.