Know an opponent’s weakness
While playing in April’s $2,700-buy-in Borgata Spring Poker Open Main Event in Atlantic City, I found myself in a tricky spot on the river.
My primary opponent in this hand was a 50-year-old player who seemed to be some what loose and passive. He also seemed to overvalue most of his premium hands.
This opponent, with a 35,000-chip stack, limped from middle position with blinds at100-200 plus an ante of 25. With a stack of 25,000, I decided to limp fromthe button with 9 ♠♠5 . Both of the blinds also sawthe flop.
With 9 ♠♠5 , I’m fine with all three options: limping, raising and folding. I prefer limping because my hand is fairly weak but still has postflop potential, and I know that if I raise, my opponent may somewhat blindly call me down after the flop with any marginal made hand.
The flop came Q ♠♠♣7 6 , giving me a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. The blinds checked to the middle-position player, who bet 600 into a pot of1,025. I raised to1,600.
Calling and raising were both acceptable options, but I preferred raising because our stacks were fairly deep, and I wanted to build a pot such that when I completed my draw, I could make a sizable bet and, ideally, get paid off. The blinds folded, and my opponent thought for a fewseconds before calling.
The turn was the 10 ♥ . My opponent quickly bet 600 into the 4,225 pot. This was the sortof betmanyamateur players will make with a hand that’s fairly strong but not premium. I assumed he had something like K-Q, 7-6 or perhaps three of a kind.
Iwas unsure if he’dfold if I raised, but I was fairly certain that if I raised on the turn and then bet large on the river when I failed to completemy draw, he would fold. I also thought that if I raised the turn and bet small when I completed my draw, he would call. So I raised to 3,000, as I would also do with premium made hands such as 9-8 and 7-7. My opponent quickly called.
The river was the 3 ♦ . My opponent checked.
When you find yourself on the river with the bottom of your range (which will usually be the case when you have a busted draw), it’s often a good idea to bet, especially if there are some value hands in your range. While most people would bet “large”— perhaps 8,000 into the 10,225 pot, hoping to make their opponent fold— I didn’t think this specific opponent would fold to ppair or better to a standard large bet. To steal this pot, Iwould need to make a bet that my opponent could simply not justify calling.
I went all in for 20,175, betting nearly twice the size of the pot. My opponent thought for about three minutes, at one point counting out the chips as if he were about to call. I remained stoic. Eventually, he folded 10 ♦ 7 ♦ , two pair, face up, giving methe pot. What a relief!