Hand No. 15 with Dusty Schmidt

POKER STARS $3/$6 NO LIMIT HOLDEM – 8 PLAYERS

The early position raiser has a tight range of approximately 7% of all hands (66+, AK, AQ, AJs, KQs). Re-raising with king-jack suited would be terrible against this range, since EP will almost always either 4-bet or fold. It would be just as good to 3-bet with deuce-trey here. Given the fact that the early position player folds too much after the flop, folding king-jack suited would also be a mistake. Dusty calls.

The flop is excellent, giving Dusty a spade draw and providing little help to his opponent’s range. In fact, it’s possible that he would fold everything besides a set of eights if he were raised. He might decide to commit with his big pairs, though, since there are so many draws on board. Raising with Dusty’s hand would be profitable here, but waiting for the turn is more profitable. There are a number of reasons for this.

First of all, waiting for the turn allows the early position player to put another bet in the pot, providing more reward for the risk. Secondly, Dusty’s opponent is likely to make a better flop decision than turn decision. Most players use a statistic in their HUD to display how often their opponents raise the flop, but rarely use a stat to display how often they raise the turn. The sample size on the latter stat would be smaller, anyway, rendering it less useful. Any time you can take a tool away from your opponent, it’s worth considering.

Finally, Dusty can represent more strong hands with a turn raise than with a flop raise. Flopped sets could be played either way, but there are more sets available on the turn (because there’s another card out there to hit). If a 6 or a 7 fall, Dusty can represent a straight. When the 3 comes out, Dusty can represent ace-deuce suited.

If his opponent checked the turn, Dusty would bet and win the pot immediately almost every time. But the guy bets. Dusty follows through with his plan of raising and gets called. If this particular player had shoved over the turn raise, Dusty would have had to fold. The shoving range would be too strong and the pot odds too small. Against an aggressive player, however, Dusty would call the turn shove, knowing that his king and jack would be live some of the time, and occasionally he’d actually get the chips in with the best draw (i.e. king high would be in the lead). He also wouldn’t want to let an aggressive player run him off of strong draws in too many big pots.

Dusty’s turn raise is on the small side to leave room for a pot sized river bluff. (Note that the bet is a little under pot, since effective stacks were only $645 before the flop.) Having a credible river bet is important. The smaller turn raise also puts Dusty’s opponent in a worse situation. He’s calling, hoping that Dusty gives up. But the smaller the turn raise, the less he wins when Dusty does give up. So the risk is the same if he calls down, but the reward is less when there is no river bet.

There is a counter argument to the small turn raise. If Dusty knows that his opponent will often call the turn but fold the river, then he’d like to get as much money in as possible on the turn before taking the pot away on the river. There are often arguments pulling in multiple directions, and the job of a good player is to decide which factors weigh the heaviest.

The queen is a bad river card, since pocket queens are a fair portion of the early position player’s range at this point. Still, there are more than enough combinations of pocket aces, kings, and jacks to justify firing the last missile on the river.

Calling the turn and waiting to raise the river would be a mistake in this hand, since there are so many moderately strong hands that can bet the flop, bet the turn, then shut down and check/call the river. If his opponent bet the river, there wouldn’t be enough chips left for Dusty to make a threatening raise. This would result in not enough folds and too many frustrated calls. Giving his opponent that happy surprise win at showdown would be a mistake.

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