Welcome to this week's edition of the Color Up Poker Blog, in which we take a look at hands submitted to us by readers with a detailed analysis, remarks, improvements and/or compliments.
This week Mick C. sent us an email with half a hand and asked us to work out what the best line would have been.
Mick found himself in 7th position with a hand of JT and just over 40bb's in his stack. Blinds were $250/$500 in a small multi-table tournament (mtt) on an American poker site. A person in 4th position called the big blind and Mick raised to $1,934. The Big Blind called (with roughly the same stack size as Mick) and the limper folded.
The flop came Q93 rainbow and the Big Blind (BB) led out for just over $2,500. Mick asked us here what the correct play would be.
Well Mick, there are a few lines you can take here, but first and foremost you need to look at the possible calling range by the BB. You sent us a stat that the BB was playing 18% of hands and raising about the same amount. From experience with the poker site in mind, I know that the tables play relatively passive. This means that the BB could flat call here with hands like AQ, KQ, KJ and the like. This is especially valuable information as there are not many other hands he could flat call with. Set mining here (calling with 55 or 22 to hit a set) is a wrong play as the odds are not good enough to do it.
Secondly, let’s take a quick look at your bet sizing. The idea behind your bet was probably to isolate the limper here and $1,934 is a little bit of a high raise here. You could probably get away with making it $1650-$1750 here and possibly save a few chips.
Now onto the “best” play for this scenario. Flat calling is an option, hoping to hit a nice card on the turn, but the pot size will be almost 10k and BB (and you) will only have 16k behind, so that makes for some awkward bet sizing on the turn. If he bet out with a 9 in his hand there is a decent chance he will slow down and possibly give you a free river card if the turn card is a useless card for anyone.
Raising is an option, but you are going to be playing a HUGE pot with 8 outs, which is not the preferred play in the long run. Especially if he is playing with AQ, KQ, or KJ he might not fold here. It seems unlikely that he is leading out with a bet when he hits trips, so that hand we can forget about for now.
If you raise here you need to make it $6,500 or so which puts you in an impossible position on the turn/river as you will find a 20k pot with both of you having about 12k in your stack.
The only viable option here is to shove for your whole stack which makes it pretty hard for the BB to stay in the hand with hands like KJ, A9, 9T etc. You will probably get rid of a hand like KQ as well which means the only hand you need to worry about is AQ. As mentioned before AQ is a very possible holding for your opponent here, so you need to be prepared to “close your eyes and pray” here when making that move.
Of course you can decide to fold here on the flop, which is by no means a bad play. Your isolation move failed as the limper folded and instead the BB called and you can now easily give it up with only losing close to 4bb's.
Mick later emailed us that he DID shove on the flop and that the BB had AQ as we feared. The turn and river did not bring any of the 8 cards Mick was looking for.
Mick, in all honesty, I would probably have done the same thing. Only a fold would have been a more equity correct based move, but with 8 outs and possibly having overcards to the BB's pair of 9's the shove definitely is a good choice. Sometimes it’s just luck!
If you have come across a situation in which you struggled, we welcome your emails with the hands in question and, if possible, some stats on your opponent(s).