Top Pair vs. two straight flush draws

I wasn’t having the best night the night this hand went down, but this hand took some of the sting out of it.

I’m playing at a 6-seat ring, 1k/2k, I’m on tilt, and I have J6o UTG. I’m feeling loose and aggressive, so I open to 7k and the player behind me raises to 12k. SB calls, I’m not folding, I call.

Flop is 9sThJh giving me top pair, weak kicker on a well-connected board. SB checks, I put in half pot and get two calls. I figure one of these two must have something that’s going to beat me, but I’m determined to soldier on.

Turn pairs my 6 giving me top/bottom two pair, and it’s an offsuit 6, which I’m loving. I’m still behind flopped straights, but at least now I’m ahead of some Jacks, with some longshot odds to hit a full house if I am behind a straight. So now I should still be worried about: 78, Q8, QK, and any 8 or any Q is on a draw.

I don’t like to think about made straights, it’s time to fold out draws, I think, so I put in a full-pot bet, and get raised to 190k by the player behind me. SB calls, going all-in to do so with their remaining stack of 150k. The pot’s too big for me to lay down now, I call, leaving me just 10k behind.

River is a 5. I put in my last 10k chips, there’s no fold equity here, and if I’m good I might as well get it all in, and if I’m not good, well who cares about 10k.

To my surprise, I win the showdown. No set, no straight, just two busted straight flush draws: AKs for the royal, and 97s for the gutshot idiot straight flush + flopped bottom pair.

I pull down a pot of 642k.

I don’t much like how I played this hand at all, but fortunately it worked out. Let’s look at my mistakes:

  1. Out of position,
  2. Garbage hand,
  3. Calling a small 3-bet with a junk hand out of position.
  4. Donking off with top pair on a wet, coordinated flop. Pressing on with a 2nd barrel on the Turn
  5. Calling a big raise with two players representing monster hands.

Fortunately they were only draws to monsters, and I got away with it this time.

What about the play of my opponents?

Should SB have defended with 97s in the face of two early position raisers taking the preflop action to 12BB? Probably not. I think 97s can let go of the 1k they’re in for here. But once they see the flop, I guess they have to play bottom pair, straight flush gutshot to the very end.

It looks like they have a a lot of outs: straights, flushes, and straight flushes, but the flushes other than the 8h are all counterfeit. Fortunately I dodged all four 8s in the deck this hand.

What about the Hijack with AKs? The 3-bet preflop is good, I like it. It should have folded the SB, and it should have folded me for that matter. They have to love this flop, too, with broadway, flush, and royal flush potential here, it’s got a lot of possibilities, but it all comes crashing down when none of their draws come in.

I like AKs just calling on the flop, and I like the big raise bluff on the Turn to try to put it away before they miss and lose their showdown equity, even if it didn’t work this time.

It felt dirty calling that raise with just two pair here, and even if I’m only up against unfilled draws here, there’s a ton of cards that I don’t want to see on the river: All the hearts except the 6h (6 cards in total), all the 8s (four of them), all the Queens (another 4). That’s 14 outs, about 28% to lose in this spot, so actually a very slight favorite. (Plus, I could lose if another 9 hit the board to give the SB trips.) I really almost folded it there figuring one of these two had the straight, or would draw to a straight or flush.

I ran the hand through my calculator:

On the flop, I only have 25% equity, AKs has 48%.
On the turn, I improve to 67% favorite.
On the river, of course, I’m 100%.

I guess there’s nothing wrong with calling with AKs on the river for whatever bluff catching power it might have, because the 10k I’m throwing into a combined pot of over 600k is enough pot odds that it’d be worth it if it hit even once in 60 times, and even to have a chance of winning the side pot, it only needs to be good 1 in 8 times. But really, if they’re raising the Turn after I pot it, they should just go all-in.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have played this hand, but I got very lucky and hit a giant (for me) pot with it. I was especially lucky that both opponents were on hearts draws, and thus were blocking each other and one’s flush draws mostly dominated the other so that it meant effectively that I was kindof only playing against one and a half opponents.

With top pair, junk kicker on a well-connected board, conventional wisdom is that I should usually proceed cautiously and play a pot-control strategy, which if I’d done that, would have left me vulnerable to folding to the big raise. Even when I improved to two pair, I should have been more cautious against two opponents. Since I was playing tilted, “what’s one more big bad beat?” was my thinking in the moment, and well I did hope that my pot-size Turn bet would get two folds.