Know an op­po­nent’s weak­ness

Los Angeles Times - - THE GUIDE - By Jonathan Lit­tle Lit­tle is a pro­fes­sional poker player.

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!

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