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Valuing the Fish

By: TheLangolier @ 15:06 (EDT) / 1110 / Comment ( 6 )

It was a typical loose low stakes $1-$3 game at the local casino.   I was ahead a few bucks when this interesting hand came up.  

The primary villain in this hand was a big fish of a peculiar nature.  He like to go all in.  He didn’t do this all the time of course, but he did it a fair bit.  He had luckboxed his stack up to over $700, and he would shove all in over bets or raises, and sometimes straight as the first action post flop, even sometimes into pots that were $50 or less.   He was only called once, on a KT9 flop, and split the pot with his QJ vs. the caller’s QJ.  On at least 2 other occasions he was not called but showed the nuts (I told you he was a big fish), and once he had shown a pure bluff.  He was a fairly new player (which I say based on some of the things he said and did, which seemed genuine to me and not an act), however he seemed to not care about the money, and also seemed to realize that opponents were looking to get him and was enjoying the fact that his style was bothering some of the other players.  I have no idea how he viewed me.

So here’s the hand… I am in the 9 seat (9 handed table) and he’s in the 6, but both the 7 and 8 seats are walking so for this hand we are SB/BB.  The preflop action consists of 4 limpers, our friend completes his SB, and I check my option in the BB with J7o.  

The flop came 357 rainbow, and the fish led into the field for $6.  This was also typical of his play, and as I felt like I am ahead of his betting range a lot in this spot based on prior observation, I opted to raise immediately to isolate him, making it $20 to go.  

A decent player cold called the $20, which I did not like one bit.  It’s a tricky spot for me though, this guy may have a monster or be drawing, or be more marginal simply because he was smart enough to know the fish was coming along, and might provide a double up should a favorable card hit.  The fish did call as expected, and we went to the turn 3 handed.  

The turn was another 7, giving me trips.  The fish now led out again, not all in but for $35.  Now at this point I’m a little lost… the fish could have trips with a better kicker, or with a worse kicker.  He could have a pocket pair like 88 or 99 (overpairs), or 66/44 (pair + gut shots).  He could have a hand like A5 which he thinks is good more often with the 7 pairing since it’s less likely now that I hold one.  What I feel pretty sure he doesn’t have is 64 for the straight, or a full house, as I think he would already have overbet jammed those based on the history.  In short, against the fish I think I am ahead more often than not here, but can’t be totally certain about it.  Likewise, there was also the troubling matter of the decent player behind me.  If he flat called the flop on a slow play then I’m beat right now.  This would be reasonable for him to do with 64 or a flopped set, given the propensity for the fish to make large overbets.  On balance, I decide to flat call the $35 bet to allow the fish to bluff the river, and to leave myself room to escape the decent player if I’m beat… if he raises I’ll have to evaluate the price I’m getting to try and draw out, because I’m certain against his raise I’m simply drawing.

The decent player folded after some thought, which was good news.  Now I was rooting for a jack on the river to remove any possible weird decisions.  Well, I missed my jack, but was ok with that as the case 7 rolled off the deck making the final board 35777 and giving me quads.  

The fish again leads for $35.  How much should I raise for value out of my $265 remaining stack?  So often I see players make the mistake of raising a small amount in a spot like this, the typical weak live player line is to min raise to $70 with the nuts on the river.  They want to get paid off.  I want to get paid off too, but I don’t want to lose a ton of value in the process!  Given the dynamic and history with how this villain played, I felt the best way to maximize value was to go all in!  It’s poetic in a way, using his own move against him.  Knowing he’s been waiting for someone to do it too.  And, the probability is that he’s got a full house of some sort now.  Zeebos theorem works here, nobody ever folds a full house.  Of course Zeebo isn’t correct 100% of the time, but the theorem is sound and against a fish, is mostly true.  Especially in a scenario like we have here.  

The fish asked how much it was, counted out the call amount, and really didn’t take long before putting the chips in.  After I tabled the hand, he tabled pocket 8’s and proceeded to ask the other players at the table (in particular the decent player who was to his immediate right) if A) they knew I had the 7 and B) if he had to call there with a full house (actually he phrased it like this:  “I had to call right, I mean I can’t fold a full house”… thanks Zeebo :wink:   )  

It was a good night.  Against this opponent you were simply going to have to catch cards, and I was lucky to have caught this situation.  But just catching cards against the fish isn’t enough.  I got maximum value in a spot where most of my opponents would have gotten an extra $35-$65.  Even in spots where you simply have to catch a hand vs. a fishy player, there’s always something more to think about.

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