No Big Deal

In today’s article I’ll walk you through a hand using The Poker Model that ends in Phase #4 – Turn. This hand will cover concepts covered in Feelin’ The Flow and Fantastic Four from previous weeks and and help bring it all together.

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I’m holding Ah-Jh seated on The Cutoff+2 (TC+2), which is in middle table position. The blinds are $200/$400. Using the formula described in The Big Blind Blowout, I can quickly calculate that my $20,000 stack is 50 big blinds, a medium stack according to The Poker Model.

The player seated Under The Gun (UTG) with a 30 big blind stack, makes a raise to $1,200 which is 3x the big blind and the action folds to me. After reviewing the four key elements, I can determine that with over 20 big blinds, seated on TC+2, with 1 previous raise in front of me Ah-Jh is a call behind hand according to The Poker Model. Other call behind hands are A-Q, A-10, K-Q, K-J, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, 10-10, J-J, and Q-Q in this scenario. With 2 previous raises in front of me, Ah-Jh would not be a good enough hand to play. Premium hands, like A-K, A-A, or K-K would be good enough to play and I would re-raise (3-bet), hoping to induce an all-in re-raise (4-bet). I make the call, all other players fold, and we move to Phase #3 – Flop.

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The Flop comes Kh-Ks-2h and the action will begin with my opponent from Under The Gun. He can now be considered first to act in Phase #3 – Flop. I will be last to act.

He bets $2,500 into a pot of $3,000, a large bet according to The Poker Model. Large bets are ⅔ of the pot or greater. Large bets can have many different implications, but the most importantly they will drastically increase the size of future bets for the rest of the hand. Be conscious of this information and how it affects your stack size.

The action is now on me. I must first consider if my hand is good, bad, or mediocre. I have flopped a Flush Draw, which is a mediocre hand according to The Poker Model. With mediocre hands my goal is to keep the pot as small as possible and see if I can improve later. When facing a big bet, many players will fold a draw like this thinking that their opponent has a big hand after the big bet. They’ll fold the draw and wait for a better spot. I cannot just fold my hand because it’s possible that my opponent is making a standard continuation bet with a bad hand.

Some players would choose to raise here with a draw, putting pressure back on the original bet. This may result in winning the pot if their opponent folds and having outs to win if their opponent calls.  

The Poker Model recommends calling with a mediocre hand, keeping the pot as small as possible and guaranteeing a look at the next card. For these reasons a make the call and the hand moves to Phase #4 – Turn.

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The Turn is the six of hearts. My opponent goes all-in and the action is on me. The Turn card improved my mediocre hand (Flush Draw) to a good hand (Flush). There are very few hands that I’m losing to and I’m in a good position to win a large pot here. Of course there is a possibility that my opponent has a Full House, like K-2, K-6, 2-2, or 6-6, but many players would not play such a big hand as fast by betting in this cadence. Also, the probability of these hands on this flop are less than 1%. So I call.

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We flip our cards and I’m 100% to win. No card can show on the River that will help him. He had Ac-Qh, which means he made a standard raise from Under The Gun with a good hand Ac-Qh, then followed with a standard continuation bet on the Flop. After his continuation bet was unsuccessful, he picked up a Queen High Flush Draw on the Turn. He then became overly aggressive and moved all-in with his draw. I happen to have made my good hand on the same card and was able to call in a 100% dominating position, the best kind.

My opponent overplayed his hand by being too aggressive on the Turn. When I called his Flop bet, he should be aware that I have “something.” He should also understand that if his all-in bet on the Turn is successful, then he will win an average sized pot, but not a large one. The only hands that he will be called with on the Turn are ones that he is losing to. So while he did leave the outs to make the Flush, he essentially went all-in on a bluff; a risky move that will not win in the long run.

The Poker model would recommend raising 2x the blind with A-Q and making an averaged sized continuation bet on the Flop, keeping the pot much smaller. We would check the Turn and potentially call a small bet hoping to make our Flush on the River. When we missed our Flush we would have folded and moved on to the next hand with over 20 big blinds. If we made our Flush, we could try a River Blocker Bet to keep the pot small and then fold after our opponent raised all in with his Flush. Again we move to the next hand with over 20 big blinds.

Remember that you goal is to eliminate as much risk as possible and put your money in with the best odds. Today you saw an example of a mediocre hand improving on the Turn. If played differently, I would not have knocked out my opponent. Of course, many different scenarios can occur in poker, but be sure to search for and take advantage situations like this.

Brett

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