Hand Review (because why not)

https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/404794864

Here’s a hand I recently played at 5k/10k. It was the 3rd hand of the session against a player I knew nothing about (but who had lead out for pot after I raised in the previous hand).

A5s is a standard open 4-handed. BTN flats, and I am not assigning him a range pre because he is unknown.

Flop gives me top pair no kicker and backdoor nut flush draw. I check because I don’t get much value from worse and I can pick off the occasional bluff. I know everyone on Replay flats Ax, so I could be behind. He bets pot, which I hate but I have to call with top pair and having under-repped my hand by checking. Do you think it’s better to bet-fold instead because you set the price and can easily fold vs aggression?

Turn gives me flush draw (and more chop outs vs other aces). On a brick turn I would fold against a decent sized bet vs an unknown because I am usually outkicked. But the flush draw gives me many more outs. When he bets pot, this is where the hand gets interesting because it seems like all three options, fold, call, or shove are decent but none of them are great. If I give him exactly 2-pair plus (AA, JJ, 66, AK, AJ, A6) then I have 22% equity, which is a clear fold. Folding may be the best option because I can surely find better spots. But being a Replay unknown, I can give him say A5s+, A6o+, 66, JJ, AA), which I have 34% equity against. But then again, he would be left with just over half pot left behind. That makes shoving intriguing. With only 30% equity, I would need folds 13% of the time (5% with 34% equity) to break even, but based on the strength he showed, I am not counting on any folds. So I decided to just call with the expectation that I call some river shoves, especially if the board pairs. I got lucky to hit the river and managed to get paid off too. What would you do in this turn spot?

Edit: This analysis was based on my specific hand, but looking at my entire range, I think there are plenty of worse hands I could have folded on the flop, and once I call the flop there are still worse hands in my range that I can fold (e.g., A7o or A8 of clubs) and better hands to turn into a semi-bluff. I don’t really have any bluffs against this player in this spot, so my hand seemed like the right part of my range to call with (showdown value with a chance to improve). Are there other range-based factors I am missing?

Also, this hand is just a reminder that simply because someone “chases” a flush draw or plays passively postflop doesn’t mean they are just mindlessly clicking buttons.

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Thanks for posting this. Plenty to think about.

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I’m not sure there’s a whole lot to analyze from your perspective here. Its a case of “I haz top pair” being overplayed by villain. Open is standard and checking a middling A is also fine on a dry as toast board. I don’t get his pot sized bet at all and that’s where it went off the rails for me. I would have been happier with either a small bet or a check-back trying to induce a bluff from you. In his spot I have kicker problems and a range disadvantage. I want to get value from KK, QQ, KQ, JQ, J10 and a few other hands. Its pretty cut and dry here so again, why fire pot when the only things that can call you probably have you dominated? In this spot not but he had no way of knowing that.

Still, you can’t fold and you make the easy decision to call. Now after you check-called and checked the turn, why would he fire another pot-sized bet? Against a good player, this would have me worried but against an unknown and picking up the nut flush draw (and more chops), I think the call is fine. Could you fold here? I suppose you could but it would be a bit nitty I think. Could you shove? Also possible but against an unknown do you have any sense of whether he’s capable of laying down better top pair hands? Because he’s an unknown, you have no way of knowing whether he flatted AJ or even AK, which of course he never folds. Nice river and you lead out. I’m surprised he called as he is beating absolutely nothing at this point but there it is. The call on the river makes me think not shoving the turn was the better move.

File this one under “All top pairs are not created equal”.

As a follow-up, what would you have done with A9s vs a CO open on the BTN (assuming a standard CO opening range)? I think I’d like a 3-bet here rather than a flat. Kind of cruddy hand that flops poorly so I think I’d rather take the advantage pre-flop than flat it. Maybe not against the super tight opening ranges of many players here but against someone opening a typical CO range.

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Or file it under “I was beat, chased, and hit the Replay Special…a runner runner flush”.

After the flop you called a 85,000 chip pot bet with a 15% chance of winning the pot.
After the turn you called a 255,000 chip pot bet with a 27% chance of winning the pot.
That is the very definition of ‘chasing’.
The miracle river saved you.

I know you’re a good player, buts let’s be real here…If a player ranked 125,000 had posted this hand he would be deemed a chaser, a calling station and a donk who got lucky.

You said you got lucky.
I said on another page that chasing flushes on Replay is a winning strategy.
We were both right.

In real money poker the only analysis that justifies you calling the flop and turn is a strong belief that he was bluffing.

You’re doing calculations based on his exact hand. He could bet that way on the flop with any 2 cards for all I know, so I cannot fold top pair. On the turn I have 27% chance to win (and a 34% chance to chop which you failed to mention) against his exact hand. Calling 2 bets with top pair is not chasing by any definition.

In all fairness, I think that would entirely depend on the reasons he gave for calling. If it was simply “I have top pair so I can never fold”, yes, I think that would be poor play. If he articulated the same reasoning Joe did, I think he/she would have received the exact same reaction - from me at least. Joe realized he was in a marginal spot on the flop and the turn. I think he stated pretty clearly that on a blank turn he would likely have to fold to most bets. Picking up outs to the nuts and more chops made it a close call between 3 options. A poor player would have ignored everything other than he had top pair.

IMO, the hand is pretty uninteresting on the whole. What made it a disaster for the villain was the bet sizing he used across multiple streets. Yes, it did put Joe in a weird spot but it was just a poorly thought out and executed hand, for his exact hand and for his possible range of hands. Say that he held 66 or JJ rather than A9s and flopped a set. No draws at all out there and he would have to be feeling pretty good about it. Would he try to scare Ax or Jx out of the hand with a huge bet in that case? Of course not. He’d want Joe to call off as much of his stack as possible. On the flip side, what if Joe had decided to check a flopped set? Would he want to be firing off his stack drawing to 2 outs? A more prudent line would have kept the pot reasonably small with a pretty meh hand and used position to his advantage. The result likely would have been the same in terms of who won the pot but he would have escaped with a whole lot less damage done to his stack.

Added: In real money games, if you are dropping top pair to one bet HU in 4-handed play, you are going to be torched. Being OOP, there are only so many check-call floats I’d proceed with but I guarantee all Ax hands and all Jx hands with any backdoor draws are continuing at the very minimum. I can even make a strong case for a check-raise on the flop with less than top pair since Joe wasn’t 3-bet here (vs someone capable of folding TP-weak kicker of course). Seeing the hand villain showed down with, I’m definitely checking my value range to him next go round and hoping he fires into me like this.

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.

I was talking about all the way through the hand but I think you knew that. Even still, just on the flop, understanding that folding top pair would be opening yourself up to be exploited is more than simply “I have top pair”. 1 is thinking your top pair is always good and the other recognizes you are sometimes behind but if you fold out too much of your range, you will be exploited by any 2 cards. I think you understood this as well though.

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Respectfully disagree.
Chasing is putting chips in the pot believing you have the inferior hand and must improve to win.
Chasing with odds that are profitable long-term relative to the expected return is considered good poker.
Chasing with odds that are unprofitable long-term relative to the expected return is considered poor poker.

In poker, “chasing” in a hand means that you are very likely behind your opponent (an “underdog”) and are looking to hit a card that will put you into the lead.
Chase Definition Poker - Poker King
https://www.poker-king.com/dictionary/chase/

i think all of you have very good points on the hand, but i do have to agree with joe and warlocks side.

i’m not saying your points are wrong whittaker, but there are just a few variables you are probably missing into your reasoning, which are the ones they already pointed out. don’t get me wrong, i copmpletely agree that chasing with the wrong odds is bad. but the player image (which was apperently very loose), hand range of the villain, and the implied odds after hitting are all important too. and i’m quite sure that if his hand haven’t improved on the turn there is no way joe would have called again.

edit: like to specify as well that you mentioned a result based calculation on the hand, for as far as he knew there could be much more hands in villains range tehn just A9 (he’s still probably behind, but i think it’s important to specify this part as well).
and according to your and joe’s calculations, the turn gave 27% winning chance, and 34% chance to chop. in other words, joe had 44% equity, and to call a pot bet you need 33%. so the pot odds were actually good. and if you include the implied odds if joe might hit his flush, the call was even better.

Ok, if that is your definition of chasing. That definition of chasing includes any form of draw. In some cases, drawing hands will be favored over made hands, for example 7c8c has 56% equity versus AhAs on a 9c6c2d board. In that case I am happy to be a chaser.

The word chaser is usually meant negatively to refer to people who cannot fold draws even when they have terrible odds.

Plus in the actual example, I have top pair, so my opponent could easily have literally any 2 cards because plenty of players on Replay would make a wild bluff just because I checked back the flop. You picked out the sentence where I said I have to call with top pair, but my reasoning for it was not just lol I have top pair. If I bet top pair and he raises huge, then it is likely top pair is no good, but in this exact situation there is no way of knowing and I have shown “weakness” by checking, so folding the stronger side of my range to 1 bet would be a huge mistake.

Where did the post by @dabbin_on_u go? Made some good points and I would have liked to ask about the line if flop was rainbow, no heart. I think he suggested a bet but I wonder how the rest of the hand would play out that way? Is it bet/call, check/fold or does the hand carry on past the turn? I wasn’t seeing how to get 3 streets in here and I hate the bet/bet/check line OOP so I thought checking 1st street would be ok regardless of backdoor draw or not. Would it be better to bet/check/bet or bet/check-call/check-call/fold? I may have suggested something that was wrong and would like to have found out more of the reason why. I like the idea of keeping the pot small in these marginal spots and I guess my default on a dry flop would be to check the weak paired A OOP.

I think betting and checking are still both OK on rainbow AJ6, no heart. I lean more towards a bet-fold than check-call, as you remembered correctly. In all fairness, the opponent should never have a raise range there, so planning for a contingency when they raise is somewhat unnecessary. (Although it’s Replay, so who knows. If I really face a raise, I probably just sigh fold.)

The question now is, if one decides to bet the flop, how does one decide whether to take bet/bet/bet, bet/check/bet, bet/check/check, or bet/bet/check lines. As with most other spots, take more passive lines when the turn or river improves your opponent’s range more than it does for you. Explicitly, the cards you do not want to see are, in decreasing order, the jack, the king/queen, and the ten. On the other hand, you should continue aggression on another ace and some irrelevant blank like the deuce. Checking the ace is just super bad, especially if it brings a flush draw. This is because the chance of getting outkicked just halved, and jacks are far likelier to stack off for three full streets now.

The most interesting turn would be the six, which is a very good card for you, but you should check. Against a reasonable range, the six reduces the number of combinations that beat you (i.e. sets and two pairs). One could argue that it also helps 76s improve, but that’s fewer combos than the above (he really shouldn’t be playing 76s in the first place); if your opponent is flatting 3.5x with 65s and 86s and 76s pre, then you are just going to print in the long run anyway. Checking also has the benefit of losing less money if they did play such trash hands preflop.

Another reason why the six is so good for top pair here is that it kills two pair equity. Suppose your opponent held QJ. Well, now the queen is no longer an out for them now. For this reason, the profit-maximising line is to check and hope for a spazz.

Ultimately, the various lines do not differ too much in EV, so you should use the above range-based considerations to select which path to take. Another factor to include is whether the turn completes the rainbow or not. One should be more inclined to bet in the latter case, but this consideration is weaker than the actual rank of the card on the turn.

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Thanks. I wasn’t sure I was remembering correctly and was unsure about my suggestion to check the flop. A similar hand was just part of a quiz on Upswing Poker. Board was a little different with all low cards and no backdoor draw (but a wheel draw) and hero was in position but close enough to use as an example I think. Range differences from BTN defend to BB as well so maybe not all that close but the thought process should be similar.:

$0.50/$1 Online. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $100.

Hero is in MP with A♥ 3♥
utg folds. Hero raises to $2.5. 3 folds. BB calls.

Flop ($5.5): A♠ 5♦ 4♠
BB checks. Hero…? (answer was check)

You have a medium-strength hand with which you will not be able to extract more than one street of value most of the time. This type of hand tends to perform better as part of your bluff catching range. Thus, checking back and looking to call one or two streets (depending on the runout) is advisable.