A River Runs Through It - Pt. II
Here is the second of three hands I am analysing from Tuesday. To read about the first, click here.

Hand #2
1$/2$ NL Holdem Ring Game 10 Handed

Effective Stack Size: 225$
My stack: 360$

Bill Sparks is the CO with :ad :kd

Preflop: UTG+1 calls. MP1 calls. Bill Sparks raises to 15$.UTG+1 calls. MP1 calls.

Flop: (3 players - 48$)
:Qd :Jc :4d
UTG+1 checks. MP1 checks. Bill Sparks bets 30$. UTG+1 folds. MP1 calls.

Turn: (2 players - 108$)
:Qd :Jc :4d :2s
MP1 bets 50$. Bill Sparks raises to 150$. MP1 raises to 180$ and is all-in. Bill Sparks calls 30$.

River: (2 players - 468$)
:Qd :Jc :4d :2s :8d

Bill Sparks shows :ad :kd and wins 468$ with a flush ace high.
MP1 shows :Js :Tc and loses with a pair of jacks.

The preflop play is pretty straightforward, I make a standard raise in position with AK suited.

On the flop, I make a basic continuation bet. I have position, my opponents showed weakness pre-flop by limp-calling and there are some high cards on board that I am likely to have hit. In most cases this bet takes it down. The flat call from my opponent shows weakness. With so many draws out there, he would have to raise any truly good hand. I put him on a range of KJ, TJ, 9T, KT, Qx (where x < J).

The turn is unlikely to have helped my opponent, so when he leads for half the pot, I still feel he is pretty weak. At this point, I had not played against this particular opponent much but I felt he was not thrilled with his hand and I could take him off it with a semi-bluff. After all, I have 2 overs, a gut-shot and the nut flush draw giving me 18 outs (3xK + 3xA + 4xT + 9xDiamonds - 1xTd) and I can force him to basically commit his entire stack. Once he pushes for so little, the call is a no-brainer.

Looking back, I like my play given the information I had at the time. Another valid line would have been to check the flop. This avoids a check-raise and since I hit the turn about a third of the time, I still have a good shot of winning. The down side is that by checking the flop, if I whiff the turn I basically have to fold to any bet that does not offer me 2 to 1. Against aggressive players who would check-raise me with a string jack or weak queen on the flop, the check is probably the preffered option. Again given what I knew of my opponents at the time, I like my line. Of course, had I known my opponent was a calling monkey who can commit his whole stack on a marginal jack with a queen showing against a pre-flop raiser who bet the flop and smashed him on the turn, I would have just called the turn bet and gotten it all in when I hit my river.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


Just some thoughts on the hand. Do you really consider the flop bet a continuation bet? Personally I would see it more as a value bet, as I would imagine you're ahead of a lot of the players hands that he would possible limp in with and then call a raise with.

Lets say we give the player the following range (since I don't know the specific player, my range might be a little off).

JJ, 44, KQs, KQo, K10o, K10s, QJs, QJo, T9s, 109o as well as an attempt to make a tricky play with AA/KK (I don't think most players would try to get "tricky" with QQ here).

Now running this range against your hand in pokerstove you're a 61% favourite.

If the preflop limper/raise caller check raises you here what's your play? I know you wrote the post about pushing thin edges against weak players is not always the best play, because you can get your money in the middle in better spots, is 61% against his range not a big enough edge (if he had decided to push this flop after you bet)?

Again, I don't have all that much info on the player, so my range could be off, but if we use your range you're an even bigger favourite at 65%.

So, in summary, why do you think this is a continuation and not a value bet? And do you call a check/raise all-in?


12:41 PM  
Blogger Bill Sparks said...


What a program like pokerstove calculate is the chances that a given hand will win the pot against a given range assuming all players stay in the hand until the river is dealt.

When facing an all-in situation on the flop then you can take the pokerstove number at face value. Therefore, if I could assign the same range to a player moving all in on the flop, I could simply calculate my pot odds and so long as winning 65% of the time is profitable, I would call. (Of course, in this scenario, I think we'd have to reduce the trange on which we put our opponent since it is unlikely that hands like KJ or TJ are moving in here.)

When we are dealing with a scenario where there is a reasonable expectation of more betting on the flop, we need to basically cut the pokerstove number in half. In other words if I really do have 18 outs then I will draw out on the turn about 36% of the time. That is the number that is most relevant here. Because this is No Limit, my opponent can easily price me out on the turn and in light of that fact it is more of a continuation bet than a value bet.

In limit poker, there is no question that the flop bet is a value bet, because there is no way to be priced out on the turn and it is almost certain that I will get to see the river with this hand.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess what I was really getting at was, if you consider your bet on the flop a continuation bet, do you call an all-in check raise from your opponent with the respective stack sizes and pot size at the time.

So your play in the case of the following:

Flop pot is $48
You bet $30
Pot is $78
Villan check raises all in.
So a call of 30, plus 180 more, making the pot $288 and it $210 more for you to call.

Do you make the call or is this edge too small for you given the villan?

10:58 PM  
Blogger Bill Sparks said...


If I have good reason to believe that i truly have 18 outs in the scenario you describe, then yest I would call.

The point I was trying to make in my post "The Atificial Edge" is that you don't need to manufacture scenario's that cause you to have a tiny +EV when you are playing against bad players.

When the pot odds dictate I should call, I usually do. But my move on the turn does contradict my advice about manufacturing a tiny edge. I would not have done it if I knew I had no fold equity against my opponent. As I said though, at the time of this hand I did not know my opponent well enough to make that determination. If I did know my fold equity was nil, I would have just called his turn bet instead of making the move.

1:01 AM  

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