I was watching a NL100 full-ring game on Pokerloco yesterday when the following hand came down which I thought was somewhat instructive. It was folded around to our hero who raised from the hijack to $3.50. The button called as he had done several times already. Both players had $100+ stacks.
As it turned out, our hero had the Ad-9c which is strong enough to raise from that position so no problem there. The button was calling raises quite liberally from late position which I took to mean as a player who liked to float and use aggression post flop to take pots away from his opponents.
Both blinds folded and the flop came Jd-Js-9h giving our hero two pair. There was $8.50 in the pot and our hero bet out around $6. I feel that this bet is fine too, he was the pre-flop aggressor and had connected with the flop. This bet was called by the button thus making the pot now $20.50 (less the rake).
So what sort of hands could his opponent have? Well if he has a nine then he is in good shape as our hero has the best possible kicker, if this is the case then our hero is something like a 4/1 favourite. With the tendencies that have been shown so far then this player could simply have air and be trying to represent something that he doesn’t really have.
There is no flush draw although there are possible straight draws. He needs to have Q-10 or 10-8 for that or he could be calling with wider ranges and have something like Q-8 for an inside straight draw coupled with a float type of play. If he has a jack and is letting our hero keep the lead then he is a massive dog in this situation.
Overpairs of queens to aces are unlikely as he probably would have three bet our hero pre-flop. There is a chance that he is being tricky with aces but the likelihood of that is seriously diminished. In all probability, I think that he either has a nine or a lower pair and simply does not believe at this stage that our hero has connected with the flop yet.
Based on the likelihood of certain hands mixed in with how the hand was played then this is what I believe that the villain has. Mix this in with the straight draws then we can narrow his range pretty well while still paying attention to hands that whilst unlikely are still more than possible.
Some defensive players fear trip jacks here but that is far too tight. If he had a jack then there is a chance that he may not have slow played the hand at all. In fact many players use a reverse psychology play here of raising and trying to get their opponents to think that they couldn’t have a jack otherwise they would have slow played it.
The turn card is the 6c which doesn’t change anything and our hero bets again which is correct. Villains most likely hands are straight draws, a weaker nine and lower pairs. Betting charges the draws and value bets the lower pairs and the weaker nines. Our hero bets half the pot of around $11 which also gets called and the pot is now $42.
The river card is another six which makes a final board of Jd-Js-9h-6c-6d. Once again nothing has changed but now our hero has to decide what to do. If he bets then any straight draw will not pay him off. If his opponent has a weaker nine then they may not call another bet either and many lower pocket pairs have now just been counterfeited by the second six.
Much depends on if our villain could call a river bet with a weak nine if it looks too much like a value bet with a bigger hand. Seeing as we don’t know all that much about him then that is impossible to answer! If our hero checks then villain could bluff a busted draw or look to bluff a weaker pocket pair like 55-22. In the heat and speed of online play it is difficult to assess whether the likelihood of getting paid off exceeds the likelihood of checking and inducing a bluff. In the hand our hero made a defensive river bet which was called by the hijack who showed 10c-9c.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson can be seen at his blog at www.pokersharkpool.com