BY RUSS SCOTT
JUNE 10, 2008
NEW PLAYER ASKS: DID I MISPLAY POCKET QUEENS?
This week, a poker player from Texas wonders if he misplayed a hand in a Gulf Coast casino, and several Illinois readers react to my last hand in a recent online tournament.
(SET ITAL) * I read your column every week in The Dallas Morning News and respect your opinion on strategies. Usually I can let go of a bad beat, but this one has haunted me for three days. I keep thinking I misplayed my hand, but as a novice player I’m not sure. — Bill B., Dallas. (END ITAL)
Here’s the scenario from Bill:
It’s a six-handed no-limit hold’em cash game with $1-$2 blinds at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss. Seat 1 raises pre-flop to $7, seat 2 calls, as does the dealer. I am the small blind and re-raise to $15 with Q-Q. Seat 1 and the dealer call. The flop is 2-3-7 of different suits, which looks very safe to me. I bet $20. Seat 1 folds, but the dealer raises to $40.
The guy had been playing a lot of hands and making moves all morning. I know he could have flopped trip sevens, but even as loose as he was playing I couldn’t see him staying in with 2-2 or 3-3. I decide to move all-in for $120. He calls and turns up 2-3 suited for two pair. I don’t improve and he wins.
Was I just unlucky or should I have done something differently?
Ouch! Yes, Bill, your opponent caught a lucky flop, but a lot of players today will gamble with suited connectors if the price is right.
The key to this hand came early.
I’d prefer a much bigger pre-flop re-raise. When the action got back to the button the second time, he only had to call $8 more into a pot of $46. He was getting nearly 6-1 odds on his money. There’s no way he’ll fold there.
Holding Q-Q against a standard opening raise and two limpers in the pot, it would have been better to raise enough pre-flop to get rid of the limpers and go heads-up against the original raiser, assuming he called. A $15 bet there, basically a minimum raise, was an invitation for everyone to play.
A re-raise to $35 or $40 should have forced the button to fold. In general, with a premium hand I like to re-raise 4 or 5 times the amount of a standard raise. You want no more than one caller so your big pair has its best chance to win. If everyone folds, that’s OK too.
So what about the rest of the hand?
I like your all-in move on the flop after the button min-raised to $40. Your reasoning was sound — he’d been making moves and, well, if he flopped trips, then more power to him. You know he doesn’t have A-A or K-K because he just called pre-flop. I probably would have put him on a hand such as A-7, A-3, A-2, or 4-5, probably suited, making your Q-Q a nice favorite.
It was just bad luck the flop hit him so hard.
(SET ITAL) * LuckyDog, you should have folded K-J in that online tournament because you were pretty sure to make the money by doing so and K-J is not that good after someone has raised. A clear mistake. Too bad after that long session. — freethinker, Kankakee, Ill. (END ITAL)
Freethinker and several others responded online to my recent column (posted at www.luckydogpoker.com) describing how I busted out of a major tournament on Full Tilt Poker just 12 spots from the money.
Dangerously short-stacked, I had to decide whether to try to sneak into the money by folding, or play K-J against an early-position raiser. The K-J was the best hand I’d seen in a long while, and I only had enough chips for blinds and antes to last about 11 more deals. With 318 players left from a field of 1,994 and 306 getting paid, it was a tough decision for me.
So, I asked readers what they would have done. Here are two more replies to The Daily Journal in Kankakee:
– As tight as I play, I would have folded. But I understand your frustrations with getting no playable cards. You get impatient and play yourself out of the money. Been there, done that. Fold next time and play for the money. — John of Bradley, Ill.
– Even assuming your cards were as bad as you say in the latter stages of the tournament, allowing yourself to dwindle down to three times the big blind indicates weak-tight, passive play. I’m guessing you missed several chances to accumulate chips earlier while waiting for a premium hand. — socialcritic of Kankakee.
Thanks for your thoughts, everyone!
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2008 RUSS SCOTT
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