C8C #12 – Hand Reading & Wide Angle View

Hey there. Welcome to the Cre8ive Coaching Newsletter. Here is your weekly serving of poker related knowledge regarding on or off the table topics.

In this edition, the game being played is 2-5 no limit holdem with a 10 straddle under the gun at a nine handed table. Stack sizes range from 600-2500. An important facet to think about is how to decipher the strength of hand ranges (all the hands someone can have) in multiway pots.

Tristan’s Topic Today:

The action starts with the three folds and a middle position call for 10. The button then raises to 30. The big blind calls another 25. I call 20 in the straddle with Kc9s and the initial limper comes along as well. There are four of us in the pot and there is 120 in the middle.

The flop lands Kh 5s 8s and we all check to the button, who bets 40. Everybody calls to see another card.

The turn card is the Td. We all check.

Floating along the river is the 6c. Final board reads Kh 5s 8s Td 6c. The flush does not get there but a couple straights do.

The big blind bets 35. I call 35. The next player folds and the button moves all in for 500. We’ve committed 105 to this pot so far, now the opponent is taxing the player to my right and I 465 more to see their cards at showdown. The big blind folds, now action is back on me. The two main things I asked myself:

1) What do they think the big blind and I have?
2) What could they have?

From the beginning, we can assume our opponent is going to have a lot of hands that will raise to 30 on the button with a single limper. It also is quite a small raise size for a large cash game. Usually the lead opposition will bet a king high flop, because they have position, a range advantage aka stronger hands overall (like AK, KK, AA), and a fairly dry board. When everyone calls on the flop, action slows down on the turn and the villain checks along with us. If they had a big hand, such as sets, two pair, big draws, we expect to see a bet here often.

Now the river is when this hand gets exciting! A player raises all in for nearly fourteen times the size of the bet, five times more than we’ve invested, and well over the size of the pot.

The good thing for me was that I had a deceptively strong hand in top pair and also the 9s which blocked the nuts. This helps remove 25% of the combinations of 97 the all-in player can have. So what else could they hold? I think hands like 47 suited and pocket sixes make sense. They might over-bet shove on the river with that. Also a two pair hand like T6 suited or 56 suited might go for it all. If the opponent is very wide preflop, then we should include the off suit hands as well.

This is why it is important to properly hand read, range build, and know where you stand. The button knew just that. Me and the big blind usually only have one pair type hands with our actions in this spot. So they decided to pounce, and I paid to see what they were making the move with.

My opponent tabled their 77 and proceeded to rebuy, knowing the bluff attempt was a good one. They had a hand that couldn’t win if it called the bet, and also one that removed 50% of the combinations that made a straight! Luckily for me… I thought through the hand, knew what kind of range I was up against, and was indeed being bluffed rather than value bet and scooped the pot!

“The purpose of critical thinking is rethinking: that is, reviewing, evaluating, and revising thought.” – Jon Stratton