Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Expect nothing

Bill Rini has put forth a "challenge". He has asked people to blog on a central theme. Thinking it is a good idea, I decided to pop forth my own entry. Think the game show Password when you read this:

The theme is: Expect nothing from a hand. Play each street based on the information at hand.

Bill speaks of how various people play aces. I liked that. Thus, I will go on a slight tangent. A K. Big Slick. It is a strong starting hand, especially when suited. It will give you TPTK, nut straights or flushes. People love this hand.

Some love it too much. They play it like they have A A or K K. They feel they are entitled to the pot and cry when all rags hit the flop. Time and time again they just can let the hand go. Soon they are broke and busted out of the tournament.

A K is nothing more than a drawing hand. A strong drawing hand. But the majority of the time it needs help and won't stand on its own like a pocket pair will. You really need to read the board and more importantly, the actions of your opponents.

A hand I played last night in the WWdN tournament is a good example. I am in MP and have A Ko. I raise 3xs the blinds. I believe only BadBlood called in the BB. Flop comes all undercards. Damn, totally missed me. I bet out around half the pot. Blood calls. Hmm...I do not like that. Turn is another rag. I bet around a third of the pot. I have a bad feeling I am either slightly ahead or way behind, though it is possible he is about to lay the Hammer on me. Blood raises. I have really no decision. I have to fold. I will still have some chips left so I muck the hand. Turns out Blood had flopped a set of 5s. I was waaaay behind.

Yet, so many people would have not only called, hoping to draw a card on the river. They will not even recognize the call on the flop tells them they are in trouble. They may even try to push their opponent off their hand and go all in.

I think I took the best approach. Raise pre-flop, make a continuation bet on the flop, and a turn bet. My turn bet could have been higher but it didn't matter. The only way I was going to win the hand was to keep firing. The mistake would have been to try and check it down.

Likewise, Blood played the hand well too. I like his turn raise. Some would just call hoping to get more out of their opponent. But the extra card could make his set vulnerable.

With A K, you cannot expect to win. The flop will determine where you are going. You need to determine where you are and whether you can push someone off their hand.


Bill Rini said...

Nice! I was torn whether to talk about AA or AK. :-)

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

StB: you know I love how you play, StB...dude, but it's should be pushing hard against this guy...he's a fish. No, I think you played it well, but I might have tried to check after the turn to fake a check raise. If he would have bet out strong or weak then I would have folded, a check behind you gives you a better feel in my book.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

StB, you knocked me out of the WWdN a few weeks back, so a belated thanks to you. I agree with the prior commenter, I like your play, but once you had decided on the turn you were going to fold to any bet from Blood, then why bother betting the turn at all? Why not check-fold the turn, and if Blood wants to give you a free card, you take it and then make your decision there.

Btw, you are right on about AK. For my money it is the MOST overplayed hand in online poker. And I put it up there with QQ and JJ as the hands that most often lead to elimination from tournaments online as well. It's just like you said...people play it like it's AA or KK, when in reality it is far worse than that if the flop doesn't hit it.

vegaas said...

Hmm, I dont have a problem with his bet on the turn. He is checking to see where he is at and has added fold equity. It may have been that BB was on draw and he took away the odds to call. That being said, I do occasionally like to check in this situation and see what develops from there. However; for some reason I always feel like I am playing weak when I do that.

StB said...

I think you have to bet the turn. What if Blood was playing just overcards? The only way I am going to win this hand is with a bet on the turn.

I have been wrestling with whether my turn bet was too low or not. I like to bet low at times to feign weakness there and usually follow up with a re-raise or a big bet on the river.

But this time around, I knew I was behind and decided to fold. It goes with the theme. I played this hand with the information I had.

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