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Friday, November 27, 2009
 
Run Through Your Reads On All-Ins

Here are two pretty good examples from recent hands I've played. In the first one, we're getting close to the final table with the blind at 400-800. On the button with only one caller outside the blinds, I pick up QQ. Hello! I pop it up to 2400 to go, and the blinds fold. The other caller has the big stack at the table, so no big surprise, he calls my raise.

Flop comes Jack high, with two spades. He bets at it and I just call, knowing that if he's on the spade draw I won't get him out of the hand by pushing. Turn comes a low club, putting both club and spade draws on the board. He bets again and I'm getting a little spooked even with my overpair. River throws the third (low) spade up and he pushes all-in. Now of course, on the river, my initial read is that he hit the doggone flush. But now I go back to my reads on the prior cards and pretty quickly realize that the best hand to put him on is A-J or K-J. I doubt he would have been so pushy on the flop or turn with only a draw. So I make the call, and sure enough it was K-J and I'm doubled up.

Last night I failed to go through the reads again and let myself get bluffed off a pot. With the blinds at 200-400, the villain limps in either under the gun or early in the hand. I'm the small blind with no other callers and I look down at A-J both hearts. I pop it up to 1200. BB folds. Flop comes J-8-5, two diamonds. I put 600 in the pot, something of a weak bet to see where he thinks he's at. He comes firing out with 1800. My initial read here is that he's on a pretty good Jack, maybe Q-J or K-J, or even the matching A-J. He could also be on the flush draw or straight draw, and looking to get a check out of me on the turn so he could see the river for free. The turn comes a 2h, gotta be a blank, right? So I fire 2000 into the pot, about 1/3rd my remaining stack. And he goes all-in.

So now I try to think what the heck he could be saying he had. Did he hit his set? I don't see him as the type to limp in with pocket fives or eights, let alone jacks and I doubt he'd limp in early or call a raise pre-flop with any of the two pair possibilities. Pocket dueces? Extremely unlikely that he'd reraise after the flop with that hand. So I should have gone back to my original read of a good jack, and said at worse I'm chopping. So I do the old "Will you show me?" bit and he agrees. And turns over Q-9 offsuit when I muck my cards. He'd had an even worse hand than I was putting him on at a minimum; much worse, although he would have had seven outs on the river (any queen would give him the overpair and any 10 the straight).

Of course, I did pick up a good read on him; he'll re-raise with bullcrap, which is generally a bad idea against a tight agressive player like me. So now I gotta wait until I can trap him again, and this time make sure he doesn't escape.
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