4-handed in a 9-hand game (bubble time!) you’re dealt Ad6d in the SB with the blinds at 150/300, sitting on a 4300 stack. BB holds 3320 chips, CO is the big stack with 15000 chips, raises to 2BB, Button folds, you and the BB call, pot is 1800 chips.
Board comes up 6hJdAh, giving you two pair. You check, BB checks, CO bets 1/2 pot, for 900. You raise 1800, BB folds, CO calls.
Turn is a bad card, 9h. Noting the 3 hearts on the board, you figure your opponent was either betting his position (but since they called, it’s likely they have something), and you don’t put them on a draw because they should have laid down to the raise (or so you think.) But now with 3 hearts on the board, if they have 1 heart in their hand, they may call any bet, and you want to punish them for it, and maybe put them off continuing the hand and win it outright here, so you shove your remaining stack, 2034 chips, and the CO calls, flips up Kh7h, and you’re KO’d, rivering out a useless Kd.
Where did I go wrong? Clearly shoving at the Turn was the worst mistake, but let’s back up.
Should I have called a 2BB raise preflop with A6s? A lot of people will say to fold A6 automatically, always. But 4-handed, and already committed to the SB, I would argue it’s playable, with my stack size where it is.
Should I have played the flop differently? I might have tried a pot-size bet at the flop, but I felt in the moment that check-raising was a better play, because two pair AA66 was a pretty strong hand, here, with a lot of value, and I wanted to get more value out of it, hopefully doubling up.
Should I have check-shoved? I think that would have been the preferrable play, here. Raising to 1800 gave good odds to call, especially for a big stack with such a large stack advantage over me. Holding 15000, it’s an easy call to make, and not at all intimidating, even for no-hand four to the flush. At that point, to call my raise it’s 900 to win 3600.
But my thought there was, I wasn’t trying to get a fold, I wanted the call, to get more chips, because I was ahead of most hands. 66, JJ, AA, and AJ were the only hands ahead of me here. So why not build a pot and go for more value?
If I had wanted to close the hand, then shoving my entire stack in here on the flop would have been ideal, giving the flush draw poorer odds to call: Instead of 900 to win 4500, I would have been giving the CO 4734 to win 9468, which should have been enough to get a flush draw to drop the hand.
Because I sized my bet wrong to deny EV to a flush draw, and didn’t realize it, I thought when the 9h hit the board that I was probably fine, because I imagined my opponent was holding Ace-something, and hopefully not AJ. I figured AJ was unlikely because if they’d had a high Ace, probably they’d go higher than 2BB with it.
(Although, with such a big stack, maybe they would rather play hands out rather than raise high enough to mostly steal blinds here, who knows. Lately I’ve been seeing some “interesting” plays with limping hands like AA KK in order to hide its value at a short-handed, high blinds table, hoping to catch a small stack shoving at the wrong time.)
If I’d been right, this would have been a good play. Aces mostly call here and lose, I double up and get even to the big stack and am looking good. But sometimes suckouts will happen and I’ll go home angry that I bubbled to a suckout or a cooler.
Arguably, I still shouldn’t have taken such a risk on the bubble, but when you flop top and bottom two pair, you’re good to win about 75% of the time. Although, in this specific case it was only about 66% likely to win, due to the board being two-hearts. If my opponent were wrong-suited, I would have been about 97% to win here against K7o, which was about how I felt about it when I saw the flop.
Where I’m at now: I recognize that I misplayed the hand, and how, and I think I’ve learned from it.
If I open-shove on the flop here from the SB, and the big stack calls on their flush draw and lands it, well here on Replay probably a lot of flush draws make that call from a big stack, and I still double up through them 66% of the time, so I think that would have been a good line to take. Better players probably muck their flush draw more than lesser players, and that works for me as well. Check-shoving this situation would have been good, also and might have gotten me better value for it, even if I might get called and lose this specific hand.
Check-raising, into the big stack, who has me covered about 5x, not so good. On a different board texture, rainbow flop, sure, absolutely. I also like the play a lot more after the bubble than on the bubble, but I think it’s better to play the bubble period strong when you have a hand.
Here’s the hand, if you care to review it. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/531748578/flush-ace-high