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A tough call

By: Krapat @ 19:50 (EDT) / 380 / Comment ( 4 )

The game is NLHE. A 9-handed knockout sit & go is coming to an end. It's down to two players. Here's the hand:

A very unusual decision, indeed. But there is a complex thinking process in this hand. First, there is no three bet preflop. Second, the flop is very scary, king-high with three cards of the same suit. Third, my opponent leads out betting. Finally, I hold one card of diamonds.

If we take the first factor in consideration, we realize that it is unlikely he's got a hand like AK, AA or KK. He would probably reraise with them. Therefore, when he makes the bet, I am aware he could have a king (KQ, KJ), a flush draw (the most likely hand - the ace of diamonds with another card that could have even paired the board), or a made small flush. It is uncommon lead out with the nuts here, because it's easy for the other guy to fold. The other possibility is three of a kind. It would actually be a semi-bluff, or 1/4 bluff, in this case. It's a hand strong enough for a showdown, and it can make a full house and beat a made flush here.

I decided to call and wait for the turn, because I have more possibilites; I can fold if there is another diamond at the board and my opponent bets aggressively, or I can move-in, trying a semi-bluff myself. Besides, my opponent may also check the turn in case he thinks he is beat.

The bet on the turn, however, was very suspicious. Here is why:

  • If he had a pair (AK, KQ, KJ), he would probably check there, fearing I was slowplaying a flush. The only exception was something like KcQd, in which case he would have the draw to go along with the pair. But in this case it would be very difficult to make an overbet here: a made flush would call anyway.
  • If he had the made flush, an overbet would certainly chase away weaker hands that would call a smaller bet.
  • With three of a kind, it is more likely he would wait for the river (making a smaller bet on the turn) because he could improve to a full house. Besides, an overbet would hardly make a made flush fold in this situation: He would be called by all the hands that could beat him. The same consideration applies to two pair.
  • A drawing hand like AdTs can be played like this: he would know where the nuts were (in case he had the ace of diamonds) and could, therefore, use this power to try a semi-bluff.
So, when he pushes the last bet, I put him on a drawing hand. Therefore, I make the call!

It's shocking to know he is on a pure bluff. He'll need a queen to beat me, but one of them would give me a flush. An easy win.
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