Hail Mary bluff proves to be a bad idea

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Showtime - Palm Beach - - FRONT PAGE - By Jonathan Lit­tle TRI­BUNE CON­TENT AGENCY

This hand from a $5-$10 no-limit hold ’em cash game shouldn’t have been so costly to the player who opened the bet­ting, but a late mis­take proved ex­pen­sive.

A player in mid­dle po­si­tion raised to $30 with Ac 9c. A strong player reraised to $95 from the cut­off seat with 10h 8h, and the but­ton called with Ah Qh. The ini­tial raiser called $65 more.

I’m fine with the ini­tial raise and reraise. The cut­off could ob­vi­ously just call with his 10-8, but since he has po­si­tion, it makes sense for him to ap­ply pres­sure and build a pot that he can of­ten steal post­flop.

The but­ton prob­a­bly should have ei­ther reraised or folded, though call­ing was an ac­cept­able op­tion with such a strong hand. The prob­lem with call­ing is that if a lot of money goes into the pot af­ter the flop, A-Q can’t hap­pily con­tinue with even top pair. In this sce­nario, I would have reraised to about $220.

I dis­like the ini­tial raiser’s call of $65 more from out of po­si­tion. If he flops a flush draw, he prob­a­bly won’t want to check-raise the flop. Since he’s out of po­si­tion, he’ll have a hard time get­ting a lot of money in if he check-calls the flop and makes his flush on ei­ther the turn or river. This should lead him to sim­ply fold to the reraise.

The flop came Qc Jc Jd, and ev­ery­one checked.

While it’s tempt­ing for Ac 9c to lead with the flush draw, that’s not a good idea, be­cause it’s too likely some­one has con­nected well with this board. For the same rea­son, 10-8 should also check. I ac­tu­ally like check­ing with A-Q as well. It’s not a hand very sus­cep- tible to be­ing out­drawn, and if it bets and gets called or raised, it will usu­ally be in mar­ginal shape. It’s best to check be­hind and try to get closer to the show­down.

The turn was the 10s. The ini­tial raiser bet $130 into a pot of $300, the cut­off folded, and the but­ton called.

I’m fine the ini­tial raiser’s bet. He must ex­pect one of his op­po­nents to have at least a mar­ginal made hand, but his flush and straight draws have a lot of eq­uity. It was an easy fold for the 10-8 de­spite “im­prov­ing.” (Bot­tom pair and a bad straight draw aren’t worth much in this spot.) The but­ton again made a good choice by opt­ing not to raise with A-Q. As on the flop, if a lot of money goes in, he’ll ei­ther be crushed by a bet­ter made hand or be just slightly ahead of a strong draw.

The river was the Qd, giv­ing the but­ton a full house.

The ini­tial raiser bet $325, the but­ton raised to $810, and the ini­tial raiser folded.

The bluff at­tempt was ill-ad­vised. While the ini­tial raiser’s op­po­nent likely doesn’t have a jack or straight, he could eas­ily have a queen (as he did). The ini­tial raiser sim­ply has to check with the in­ten­tion of fold­ing to a bet.

The but­ton had to raise, but his raise was sim­ply too large and was likely to re­sult in a fold from the op­po­nent’s en­tire range.

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