One low pair can beat noth­ing

Los Angeles Times - - THE GUIDE - By Bryan Devon­shire Devon­shire is a pro­fes­sional poker player from Las Ve­gas. Twit­ter: @de­vopoker

The Mid-States Poker Tour rolled through Colorado re­cently, and I made my oblig­a­tory dona­tions to the prize pools. Early in the first event — a $360-buy-in, no­limit tour­na­ment with a $100,000 guar­an­teed prize pool — I called off most of my stack on the turn with a measly pair of deuces. Some­times your op­po­nent has noth­ing, and one pair beats noth­ing.

Blinds were 200-400 with an ante of 50. My stack was around av­er­age at 24,000. I looked down at the A♥ 2♥ and made it 900 to go from mid­dle po­si­tion. The but­ton called with about 20,000, and both blinds came along for the ride too. Their stacks were in the 15,000 range.

Four of us saw a flop of 9♠ 7♥ 2♣. The blinds checked, I checked, and the but­ton checked as well.

The turn was the 9♣. Both blinds checked and seemed pretty dis­in­ter­ested in the hand. I imag­ine the but­ton would have bet a nine on the flop, and he may have bet any pair. He prob­a­bly would have bet any of his draws too. I likely had the best hand, so I bet 2,600 into a pot of 4,100.

I didn’t bet the flop be­cause I was be­hind their ranges. I didn’t think a bet would get them to fold a bet­ter hand, and I didn’t think a bet would be called by any­thing much worse than my hand. But by the turn, I’d ac­quired more in­for­ma­tion. Now I thought my hand was best. I still didn’t think they would fold a bet­ter hand, but I didn’t think any of them had a bet­ter hand.

Spots like th­ese are tricky, hold­ing the best hand but un­likely to be called by many worse hands. Of­ten, with weak hold­ings, the best way to get value on the hand is to get them to bluff. But if I give those three op­po­nents a free card, al­most ev­ery card off the deck can connect with them and beat me. I didn’t want to put my­self into a spot where I was los­ing the pot and pay­ing off a river bet in a quest to get them to bluff.

If I had A-9, I’d ob­vi­ously be much more in­clined to give a free card on the turn to in­duce a bluff. Since I didn’t think my op­po­nents had any­thing, there wouldn’t be many cards that would scare me if I were hold­ing trips, and I could earn value if they bluffed or con­nected on the river. But with only deuces, my bet was still out there, and my op­po­nent on the but­ton was think­ing.

He looked ruf­fled. His face ba­si­cally said, “I don’t think Devo has any­thing, but I’m not sure what to do about it.”

He de­cided to shove, bet­ting 16,500 more. Both blinds quickly got out of the way.

His shove made sense only if he had a pair smaller than nines, de­cided I had noth­ing and just wanted to end the hand right there. He couldn’t have a 9, be­cause he didn’t bet the flop, and the size of his raise on the turn doesn’t make it seem like he’s ask­ing for a call.

I took my time think­ing things over, and he de­cided to stare me down. Thanks for that last piece of in­for­ma­tion in­di­cat­ing weak­ness, amigo. I called.

He turned over A♠ Q♥. The river was a blank, I won a big pot with deuces, and I got the money in on the turn with ex­cel­lent eq­uity.

A lot of peo­ple in that po­si­tion would think, “I only have deuces. I fold.” Don’t fold if your deuces are the best hand, though!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.