Post Hands to Review

To promote strategy discussion, I am creating this thread so that anyone who would like can post a hand and I will provide an analysis of that hand. I am not the best player on Replay (as some have claimed), but I have won consistently across all game types and stakes (up to 250k/500k ring).

As an example, here is a random recent hand:

This hand is admittedly very straightforward from my perspective, but let’s look more closely. After a series of limps, I decided to limp behind with 22 because I am getting a great price to see a flop with a hand that will miss most of the time. In general it is best to raise preflop with almost all hands that you want to play, but sometimes you get a great price and the pot is already inflated by so many limpers, enabling you to win a big pot when you hit.

The flop is perfect, a set of 2s with an ace on board (meaning I can get paid by all the players who limp Ax hands). I bet 2/3 pot, but 3/4 would have been better because Ax hands aren’t folding anyway and it is a multiway pot. The board is extremely static, meaning that there are few draws, so not much to be scared about. On the turn, I bet again (~60%), keeping in mind that my opponent has a short stack, so the rest of his stack will be a half pot bet on the river. He decides to min-raise, which does not really scare me because limping 99 or AA would be a huge mistake for him, so I am really hoping/expecting him to have either A9, 97, or most likely Ax of spades. We get stacks in and he has AK.

From his perspective, limping AK is a huge mistake because you are losing value with one of the best hands and giving your opponent the opportunity to outflop you for cheap. Plus, in a multiway pot it is very hard to tell if your top pair top kicker is good. The end result here would have been the same if he had raised preflop (I would have flatted, flopped a set, and he would have lost his short stack), but he is essentially flying blind. His decision to raise the turn does not make sense. It is a min-raise, so even if all I have is a spade draw I am getting a great price to call. Plus, top pair top kicker is not a very strong hand in a multiway pot, even on a dry board. I can easily have 97/A9/22. Once I put him all in, he is in a very bad spot because he is getting such a great price to call, but what does he actually beat? This also goes to show the danger in raising with such a vulnerable hand in the first place. So, in conclusion this was a pretty straightforward hand, but I am happy to provide similar analysis for any hands you have played that you found interesting or had questions about.

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Sure why not.

I won this one and since Kukla mucked I don’t know what he was holding but I could have been burned bad if he’d held three kind or two spades. I was aggressive and he just kept calling, letting me set the pace. I’ve sometimes done this to lull an opponent into a false sense of security rather than scare off the chips they’re willingly giving me. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was clear he wasn’t doing that.

I think on the face of it, I took a huge risk, two pair with AA is nice but also easy to beat and for the table, the pot wound up being larger than anyone’s stack. But so much about poker is about more than the hard numbers. I’d played maybe five prior hands with him at the table. He struck me as passive, not raising but still calling when he clearly had nothing much. I don’t dismiss the numbers, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, but I do listen to my gut when I suspect an opponent isn’t paying full attention.

What’s your take?

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Thanks for posting. I really appreciate your comments here and your desire to learn. This hand worked out perfectly for you, but there are a few things that I would suggest doing differently in the future that would make your game more balanced.

Your preflop raise is way too small. That is actually my biggest issue with this hand. Raising the minimum gives your opponents a great price to see a flop. It might seem like you want that because you have AA, but AA will lose a large percentage of the time in a multiway pot, and you will usually lose a large pot because you have such a strong hand. Against a min raise I would expect all limpers to call, and you want to get some folds. Raising larger builds the pot when you have a good hand and gives you a better idea about what range of hands your opponents might call with. I would suggest raising to at least 3x as a default, but I typically raise to 3.5x plus 1bb per limper, especially from out of position, as you are in the small blind.

On the flop, I don’t generally like the pot-sized bet with top pair, but in this case it is actually not bad because you can get called by hands like Tx, 2 spades, JJ/QQ/KK. In general, you do not want to bet full pot most of the time because it is polarizing, meaning that your opponents should be able to easily fold most hands that you beat (Tx, pocket pairs smaller than TT, and overcards) and only call with hands that beat you (4x/TT). But in this case there are enough worse hands that might call and players are often willing to overpay for a flush draw. But in general, you do not typically want to bet pot every time because you want to give yourself a better price to bluff when you miss the flop and avoid making your hand face up (by showing your clear strength).

On the turn you need to bet smaller, or even check. No worse hands should be calling you because Tx should be folding, you block the nut flush draw, QQ now also beats you. Clearly your opponent does make a big mistake by calling you two more times, but you should really only be getting called here by hands that beat you (4x, TT/QQ/ flushes). The only worse hands that could call are KK with a spade and maybe JJ with a spade or QT. I like a check-call here if you opponent can have some bluffs, and it also gives them a chance to make a foolish bet with Tx. Otherwise I am probably betting 2/3 pot (as I would have on the flop) and folding to a big raise.

The river is very safe, but as played it is still scary to bet because it looks like your opponent should only have TT/QQ/4x/flushes. As played, I’d probably check this river and look to call a bet and possibly fold to a shove. Given that your opponent called all 3 times, your plan appears to have worked perfectly, but against good players you need to be more balanced because your betting makes your hand pretty face up and it is vulnerable because it is essentially one pair. If I had to guess, your opponent had Tx that they could not fold, but the only hands that make sense to call your river bet that you beat are KK and QT, and even those are pretty marginal. I would expect them to have 4x, a flush, or a full house most of the time.

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My guess is he had the 10s (or smaller pair) and one was a small spade and was looking for a full house and when the flush possible came up he had a 2 way hit.

When the river was a 5 he knew he was beat if you had the flush or higher pair so he folded.

A two way hit on a river will do that to people.

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I’d be interested to understand what part of your range you are bluffing with here. If you are going to bet large you should in theory have a good number of bluffs to balance, but they are usually hard to find on a super dry board like this. On the other hand, maybe we don’t need balance here at all because it’s very multiway and we only got to this spot because of all the fishy preflop limps so we can just go for maximum value.

I’m also wondering whether a smaller bet on the flop (say 1/3 pot) would let you build a bigger pot by keeping people in with 9x or smaller pocket pairs. As you say, it’s a static board and you’re not really worried about draws so you could even consider slowplaying and checking the flop through.

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I’m not normally as aggressive as that. It might be the tables I play but here I’ve seen too many people who call anything preflop with zip (FOMO?) so that a strong pair will often see better hands emerge.

He didn’t fold, he called and mucked which doesn’t make much sense to me. Except it was around midnight my time and he’s also US so it was probably late evening for him too. His play in the previous hands suggested to me he wasn’t paying close attention- tired or distracted maybe? Also I suspect he’d fallen victim, as so many players do, to the ‘sunk cost fallacy’.

And reading another player like that is something that’s simply not quantifiable. It’s useful when it’s obvious but I’ve had it backfire too.

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I agree with Joe that the preflop raise was too small. If you are raising preflop, you can hit the pot button to get the sizing about right.

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He was already invested.

May have just been time to go.

He also may have thought you had a match if he hit the Q.

Could be many reasons and hard to say without seeing his cards.

I would recommend people discuss their own bad beats and decisions instead of wins unless the person is here in the forum and wants to discuss it. Just my opinion.

Great question. I am not generally trying to be balanced between bluffs and value because players here mostly call too much, so I do not think I need to have too many bluffs in my range, but you are right that I should have some. The more I think about it, I would almost never try to bluff into a board with an A on it, especially in a multiway pot. I just expect players here to have an A too often and to be willing to call down almost any amount with top pair, even without a kicker. In this case we see a raise with top pair top kicker even after the strength I’ve shown, so I imagine that A4o will just be calling down, even if I bet 2/3 for three streets. Against a single opponent (not multiway) who I don’t think would flat out of position with any Ax, I would look to bluff with hands like 54s with a backdoor flush draw because it has the least showdown value or even more likely hands like JTs or 87s with the backdoor flush draw that can also turn straight draws.

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Thanks Joe, it makes sense that we can just go heavy value in this spot given the tendencies of the players here.

What other hands might we bet for value on this flop? We probably don’t have any big aces or AA/99 (since we would have raised them preflop). I guess we have A2s and maybe some A9s for 2 pair. Beyond that we have other small suited aces that we limped, but then what are we getting value from with those since we are getting called by any ace? So do we check our small aces and try to get value or bluff catch on a later street?

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Yes, I agree with all of that. I am pretty cautious with AJo/ATo in a multiway limped pot because so many people limp AA/KK/AK/AQ (as we saw in this hand). So I would probably limp behind and then bet this flop with those, as well as with A9 or A2s. And then I am probably checking back all smaller Ax and 9x and looking to bet safe turns with the Ax and bluff catch or bet safe rivers with the 9x.

Facing the turn raise is another interesting question. It looks like he is never bluffing (although 9x of spades would make a lot of sense), and I’m putting him on 2 pair (97/A2/A7/A9). So, I am calling with any flush draw because the price is great, but I am probably overfolding single pair Ax there, including AJ/AT/A8, and going for stacks with A9/A7/22. A2s would be a tricky one (and I should not have 97 because I would check back flop).

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Interesting. I am raising AJo and ATo preflop from the button here in order to punish the weak limpers, plus those hands are going to play better 2- or 3-way. Yes people limp AA/KK/AK/AQ but they also limp all their other aces (and other junk too) so we are in great shape against that range overall. Postflop I am going to play AJ-AT cautiously, not looking to get stacks in with top pair.

Agreed that a bluff is very unlikely on that turn raise, especially given the sizing screams strength. At the table I would have agreed with your read of 2 pair+ but apparently that is not correct given what he was actually holding, so maybe we need to put him on a wider range here! Likely he is thinking that he is trapping with his big ace and that you probably have a smaller ace that you were betting for value on flop and turn. Given your actual range obviously this is bad. I’m not sure that it’s great against the population here either since many smaller aces that might have bet the river will just fold instead.

Given that original read of 2 pair+ though, or even the wider range with some big aces included, I agree with folding all your single pairs of aces that don’t have the flush draw.

In addition to 9x of spades, small Ax of spades would make a pretty sweet checkraise in his spot on the turn as it has a good chance of folding out better aces and still has a ton of equity if called.

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I agree with your last point, top pair and the nut flush draw is pretty good to get aggressive with in almost any situation. Do you ever min check-raise? Given his stack size, it seems like an easy shove, but even with a bigger stack I am probably shoving Ax of spades as a check-raise.

I also agree with your first point. I have gotten gunshy with those hands (which is probably suboptimal) simply because I hate how often they get called and miss the flop. Plus, going into showdown value mode with a pair of Aces, jacks, or tens after 1 street of betting always makes me nervous because players seem to fire the pot every time I check. I guess they are perfect hands to bluff catch, but I’ve been playing small ball unless with them unless I have a chance to open them.

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I try not to. It just gives too nice a price to make the call and I want to be able to check raise some bluffs too. Maybe I am missing some value opportunities by not doing this, and maybe I don’t need too many bluffs either :slight_smile:

These hands make me uncomfortable too, and I am working to get better at them. They’re marginal preflop, and tend to flop something marginal even if they do hit. If we’re in position then they have to be worth raising though because they are so far ahead of the limpers’ ranges.

If you check back an A-high flop with ATo, you are going to get people firing into you on the turn with good aces, weak aces, 2nd pairs. Some players may decide that you are scared by the ace because you didn’t bet the flop and decide to bluff at you with nothing. I think this is one of those cases where you are going to win more often than you lose so you have to call down. If the turn checks to you as well then you are almost certainly good on most boards and can bet for some value.

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I think you’re right, and I may need to re-think how to play AJ/AT. Another mistake I make is that when I do raise them, I tend to cbet or double barrel when I miss and should be checking back for showdown value. Cbetting too much with missed broadway aces seems to be a cardinal sin. If I don’t get too aggressive when I miss, then maybe playing them is a pretty good bargain because you can often improve by the river and you’re ahead of a limper’s range when you hit.

I also never min-raise or min-check raise, except maybe in extraordinary circumstances like having quads and my opponent is unlikely to have anything.

Here’s a hand from a tournament, I I’m going to say is that this is a TTX… Table Training Exercise.

A re-post from a different thread:

I just learned a hard lesson that a bit of defense is good business. I put in a 8X BB raise (with AQ suited) when several players flat called ahead of me when I was in the BB. The “villain” in the UTG position, who opened with a check raise, flat called me. I put in a pot-sized raise post-flop, having missed out – the flop included a 998. Mr. UTG flat called again. Guest what? It turns out Mr. UGA had a 108 suited in the pocket. Who flat calls with that junk out of position? Especially considering that I was playing tight all game! I ended up losing my stack on that one but I learned a lesson: Too much aggression can get you smoked. I should have stopped betting after I was called on the river and I probably should have made a smaller c-bet. A lot of people in low stakes ring games will pay to see the river, but if they call after that, they probably have a hand. Still, I don’t see how my opponent could have thought that 88 was the best hand at this point. Somebody at the table made a comment that I was making an obvious bluff (true enough), but I did not put UTG on that hand because I assumed that any caller would at least have high cards. I assumed that my junk hand would hold up against their junk. In hindsight, I played this hand poorly, although Mr. UTG can’t claim to have played much better despite winning. See for yourself:

Saving hands to replay them is a great feature. Because everything happens so quickly in the heat of the moment, it is great to take your time on all streets during the replay to see retrospectively what, if anything, you would do differently. Here’s perhaps a bit of an interesting one. In hindsight, I know I made a lot of mistakes with this hand. I have my ideas on what I’d do differently, but would love to hear from you! They always seem so evident in hindsight, obviously; it’s great to have it saved to recognize the mistakes made and learn how to play/think differently and extract more value. The more the merrier on this one. Would love to get insight/feedback from the much better players to get ideas on how to play a hand like this much better in the future. Anything welcome. Thanks and much appreciated! Finally, to the hand!:

I’ve been out of town, so I’m a little behind, but I’ll respond to each hand soon.

SPG, you probably know exactly what I’ll say about this hand, but here goes. In a medium stakes tourney there’s really no reason to bluff, especially out of position (unless you have a private seven deuce bet that we don’t know about), so there’s no reason to raise, especially with this hand. The other players look weak, but early in tournaments they don’t limp with the intention of folding, except to huge bets, so I don’t expect many folds from the initial limper. That leaves you needing to bluff with a hand that has no equity and blocks nothing. On the flop your bet is fine. You have a huge range advantage with an ace on board, but this is also good flop for you to just give up because lots of players limp call with any Ax.

On the turn, maybe you think it looks like you are slow playing trip aces but to make your bluff believable you need to fire big. That likely would get a fold here from hands without an ace and give you a chance to win a big pot when you have trips.

On the river you pick up showdown value so it’s a good chance to check and hope they called the flop with Kx and have no pair. You don’t really beat anything so there’s no reason for the blocker bet, and if you were slow playing trips you’d want to get paid more than 3bbs on the river. You don’t effectively rep the ace, so it’s an easy call for 2nd pair. That wraps it up, but my final note would be that while maybe you would take this line with an ace, and you think that disguises your bluff, you would still be losing value in the long term by going for so little value on the turn and river. Plus you aren’t betting strong enough to get folds with your bluffs (even though you shouldn’t really be bluffing here in the first place when you are at a card and position disadvantage and have a postflop skill edge on the table).

I don’t see any mistakes. The only hand to fear from the flop is JJ, but your J makes that very unlikely. So, your check on the flop was perfect.Once the turn brings the fourth 7, your worries have gone away as there is no possible card that can turn to beat you. So, the problem becomes how to get the most chips from your victim. Again, you read the situation correctly, that he’d bet his overpair into the perceived weakness. The only thing I’d “fault”–and this may not have been by your choice, but might’ve been the only option offered–is that your final raise was “too big.” An alert opponent may have picked up on that clue and folded. On the other hand, at that point the victim had so much invested it would’ve taken great self-confidence in his judgement to fold, so maybe it was destined, either way. Well played, I think.

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