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1/2NL: Turn play with 2nd pair against unknown

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  1. #1
    surviva316's Avatar
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    Default 1/2NL: Turn play with 2nd pair against unknown

    Same table as the other HH I posted, though a tad earlier in the session.

    Villain is a young, suburban black guy with dreads. My reads on him are a disaster of race relations in the US. When he first sat down, I thought he was someone I'd played with earlier in the week, but that guy had been a l/c fish, and this one seemed to be a doing a lot more folding preflop.

    Of course, things had been a bit non-standard and that combined with running a bit card dead could easily explain why he was less active. Earlier in the week, he was on my right, so was getting caught limping a lot more. This time around, he was to my direct left, and there was a lagtard a couple seats further to the right who had blown up the table dynamics for a few orbits with all sorts of straddles and blind raises and $17 opens and such. Since that player left, I ran into a lot of good situations to PFR, so again, it might be the same guy, but just not finding many spots to see a flop for $2.

    The other guy l/c'ed a lot preflop, then seemed to kind of play by feel postflop. He adjusted to my aggression by calling moar, which is my favorite type of player to play. Even if this isn't the same guy, that means I've never seen him before, and most non-regulars play more by feel than they do by whatever "standard" they have.

    Again, I've been getting in a lot of good spots to PFR hands the last few orbits, so I've been very active and taking down a lot of pots without showdown. I'm starting to wonder if anyone's going to play back at me, but I continue to be in straight-forward spots facing straight-forward action and no one explicitly hates my guts.

    OTTH:

    Two limpers to hero in MP. We have two red 9s, and makes it $13. Villain calls, BU calls, and one of the limpers call.

    FLOP: ($51 post-rake)

    544r

    Checks to Hero, and we make it $30. Villain calls, rest fold.

    TURN: ($111)

    A (completes the rainbow)

    Hero checks (THIS IS WHERE MY MAJOR QUESTION LIES). Villain bets $65.

    I look at villain, who looks back with a steady look but not glaring or making a big show about it. I look away, and villain continues to look at me. Villain is shuffling chips, and I stare at his hands looking for him to falter, and give him several seconds but he rifles through them without a hitch. I look at him again when he's not looking and he's just looking at the board. Finally I force the situation by asking him how much he has. He counts his chips while making absolute minimal movements. His manners have gone noticeably more stiff and he mouths something barely audible. I lean in and say, "What's that?" He's still low and gruff, but I hear "$190" in there somewhere. I count out $65 in red and slide them in.


    THOUGHTS:

    Again, my question isn't so much about the call because I felt comfortable about that based on several factors (can provide if requested), but about how the logic of my check interacted with my call. This is a pretty standard spot for me to bet again, but I just couldn't pull the trigger. I knew I could get two streets by going Bet / Check / Bet, but I generally think it's better to protect on the turn (especially against 76 and broadways).

    But it just bothered me how unsure I was about how he was going to respond to a bet. I couldn't even feel certain he called a big bet with 88, and 76 was the only had I would be protecting against that would even consider calling. And if he called, and I checked to him on the river and he bet, I didn't feel totally-no-doubt-about-it-good about folding, especially if his sizing was on the smaller size (which it tends to be on the river in these games). So I felt like I was setting up a huge pot in a spot where I was more likely to make big mistakes than villain was. I don't generally like this whole, "Keep the pot small with small hands" crapola, but here I just really didn't feel comfortable. When the turn went chk/chk (which I thought it would do mostly), I felt MUCH better about getting super fat value on the river.

    So I check with no large part of my reasoning have anything to do with a plan to catch him floating, yet now he's bet and I think bluff catching is a splendid idea.
  2. #2
    I like a check-fold on the turn. I think it's like 30% he's got a monster, 60% he floated with Ax.

    Personally I find when people look you in the face after betting they are never bluffing.
    Playing big pots at small stakes.
  3. #3
    surviva316's Avatar
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    I might as well give my thoughts on the x/c since it seems the discussion is over:

    Quote Originally Posted by baudib View Post
    I like a check-fold on the turn. I think it's like 30% he's got a monster, 60% he floated with Ax.
    I give very few players credit for vbetting a bare ace here for this large of a size. His sizing is weird for any value hand. $50, $75 and $100 are all standard, with 2xs the bet on the previous bet also being normal. $65 is strange, and the fact that it's a bit on top of 2xs the previous bet seems very bluffy on this particular board.

    Quote Originally Posted by baudib View Post
    Personally I find when people look you in the face after betting they are never bluffing.
    I don't think there are a ton reliable tells for whether a player is looking at you or not. Many people say that the glare down is faux-strength (ie: bluffy), and I've found that staring at the board or just watching TV or feigning disinterested is often the nuts. I think there's a lot of hocus pocus in all of that unless there is very strong context, and even then, it's probably less nuts-versus-bluffs and more (eg) polarized-versus-linear.

    Anyway, he held it together well, and I would have sighed folded up until I asked him how much he had behind. Everything he did from that point on made it quite clear he was no longer comfortable.
  4. #4
    That's weird, and also interesting and I want to continue discussion on this.

    I think I always lose this hand so this is definitely a spot I need to play better.

    This is a flop I'm betting like 90% of my range vs. someone I consider to be generally a weak player unless I feel that he perceives me as being too aggro and his calling range pre is tight.

    If I'm value betting a hand like 99 I expect him to be folding most of his broadways and only continuing with pairs (including all PPs) and quite a fair amount of AT+, all Ax wheel draws and his 76 hands.

    Once we get to this turn I don't expect my range is ahead anymore and I seriously doubt he's turning made hands into a bluff.

    I don't see how his bet size ($65 into $111) is very big really and frankly it wouldn't shock me to see a player like this show up with AK and bomb the fk out of it.

    your thoughts would be much appreciated.
    Playing big pots at small stakes.
  5. #5
    Also I feel pretty comfortable c/f hands like this because I'm c/c quite a few Ax hands.
    Playing big pots at small stakes.
  6. #6
    surviva316's Avatar
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    I think x/c'ing a lot here in these games would be a pretty big leak. I used to be pretty paranoid about protecting my cbetting range against floats and raises when I would have a laggy image. As I've settled into teh live pokers, though, I've found that there are entire swaths of the population that you never ever need to worry about, even when they do bellyache about how much you're ruining the world with your aggression.

    This just happened to be a spot where 1) I had been steamrolling the table a bit, 2) villain seemed like someone who would maybe take a stand (though my reads were confused AF), and 3) on this particular board with this particular sizing, he was repping pretty thin. Even then, it required a 4th factor from the tell for me to feel good about calling with another street left to play.

    I don't see how his bet size ($65 into $111) is very big really and frankly it wouldn't shock me to see a player like this show up with AK and bomb the fk out of it.
    Obviously if this were online where the pot is displayed for you and there are buttons for 1/2 Pot, 3/4 Pot, etc, then I would find this to be on the smaller side. Live, on the other hand, most people aren't keeping up with the size of the pot to the point that they can multiply it by 3 and divide it by 2 and bet by that exact number.

    I find sizing tends to be small on the big bet streets, and especially with any hands that are vbetting here. If he has a 5, he's trying to lure us into as many calls as possible on a really safe board. If he has an A, then he's trying to sucker us into calling with second pair. I certainly thinks he bets Ax often, especially AJ+, but every penny he goes above $50 is increasingly surprising.

    And t
    here's just nothing that makes sense a lot of easy sense about the number 65. It's not a very neat, even number in itself. It's a stack of 10 reds + 3 more? It's a stack of 20 reds with 7 skimmed off the top? Far and away, the most likely theory to me is that he wanted to make a scary looking size. I don't know if he got there by doubling the previous bet and adding a red to it, or if he went comfortably above half pot (in his eyes, the pot is probably ~100, and so halfpot is 50), or what have you, but it feels a lot more like he's trying to scare rather than entice.
    Last edited by surviva316; 10-27-2015 at 09:18 AM.
  7. #7
    MadMojoMonkey's Avatar
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    He shuffles his chips with confidence, and is therefore no spring chicken to a poker room.

    That and this:
    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    His manners have gone noticeably more stiff and he mouths something barely audible. I lean in and say, "What's that?" He's still low and gruff, but ...
    Unless you have some history which leads you to think otherwise, Villain is strong, and not bluffing (in his mind).

    This is a standard spot to apply a Mike Caro style of read:
    Villain is being quiet, small, reserved... villain is attempting to be as non-threatening as possible... to look meek.
    Villain wants to avoid doing anything which will make you feel scared or shy about putting more chips in the pot.
    Villain wants your chips in the pot.

    Also, baudib's point about him looking you in the eye is not bad. He only stared you down long enough to tell that your decision wasn't easy. Which means he's WA/WB, and he is going with WA.
  8. #8
    surviva316's Avatar
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    Putting Caro's words into the context of a hand and then applying them to put someone on a particular range can be a bit of an unfalsifiable mess. Even in this hand, he both looked strong and confident for quite a while, and then looked meek and reserved for a while.

    Besides, there's quite a big difference between attempting to look meek and being meek. Very few people are good actors. My assessment is that he did a splendid job of being calm, collected and confident for a long while, but once he was forced to count chips and speak with the fear that I was going to make him play for all of his chips, the act fell totally apart. I see that as extreme weakness.

    Anyway, this is why I very rarely rely on tells to the extent that I did in this hand (aside from the obvious ones like the sigh-shove) because you can convince yourself of anything if you look hard enough.
  9. #9
    90% of the time I don't count out exactly how much I'm betting, I just grab an approximately appropriate lump of chips and play with it a bit and push it.

    IDK maybe that looks bluffy? One of a dozen reasons I get action when I shouldn't.
    Playing big pots at small stakes.
  10. #10
    MadMojoMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    Putting Caro's words into the context of a hand and then applying them to put someone on a particular range can be a bit of an unfalsifiable mess. Even in this hand, he both looked strong and confident for quite a while, and then looked meek and reserved for a while.
    Agreed. It's about recognizing acting from authenticity and using those queues to determine what a specific Villain thinks about his own hand's strength and what he wants you to do, based on those queues.

    I took the "no spring chicken" to imply that he's at least trying to use his body language to induce you to behave in certain ways.

    I did take it too far as you note here:

    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    Besides, there's quite a big difference between attempting to look meek and being meek. Very few people are good actors. My assessment is that he did a splendid job of being calm, collected and confident for a long while, but once he was forced to count chips and speak with the fear that I was going to make him play for all of his chips, the act fell totally apart. I see that as extreme weakness.
    This is, of course, golden. It's still the seed of a Caro-style read. Now you've taken your observations about his actions and found a splitting line between acting and authenticity. Brilliant. The counterpoint is exciting.

    Quote Originally Posted by surviva316 View Post
    Anyway, this is why I very rarely rely on tells to the extent that I did in this hand (aside from the obvious ones like the sigh-shove) because you can convince yourself of anything if you look hard enough.
    I agree that it's a difficult field through which to wade. I do not agree that it should only be implemented rarely. Sure, it's tough, but hand reading based on bet frequency is tough. Reading body-language is equally tough, but equally rewarding.

    So I'd do something like: Put him on a range PRE. Put him on a range OTF, and then put him on a range when he bet OTT.

    Then, using that final range, I might remove some or all of the top or bottom combos based on his actions. As ever, I expect to be surprised a fair bit when I'm guessing at hidden information.


    ***
    Other than that, to comment on the specific hand... people love to play Ace-rag hands at live $1/2 games. They love to x/c on missed flops, too.

    I'd consider my 99s practically dead OTT outside of any live tells.

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