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How NOT to play pocket kings

 
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How NOT to play pocket kings - Sun Jul 03, 2011, 12:25 PM
(#1)
Deltan's Avatar
Since: Jul 2011
Posts: 5


Ok, I freely admit that I played this hand abysmally for the most part. I present it here because I think it's educational for how not to play pocket kings, and I would like to get some feedback on how I could play it better.

I have to add that the cards were running quite cold for me all that day. My pairs and AK, AQ were getting shut down with 4 cards to flushes and straights, my open-ended straight and flush draws (and combined) were consistently missing and I was definitely not playing my A game. I was basically on tilt. This is not an excuse, just giving background information. Finally, the guy on the button was very loose agressive so I gave him less credit than I would most people.

Pre-flop:
A player just behind the cut-off calls, as does the button and the SB. I raise to 6*BB from the BB deciding I want to get paid off immediately or play for a big pot. Everyone except the button (who flat calls) folds.

The flop:
A nightmare flop for me at that time arrives. I had lost count of the number of times my big pairs had gone down to straights and since the guy on the button was reasonably loose, Q10 was not an unlikely holding or him holding 2 pair. Knowing that if I check/called here I would be playing for all my chips I decided to block bet. The button again just flat called.

The turn:
This was an interesting card for me. All my opponent needed was a 10 in their hole cards to make the straight, and if a 10 qould fall on the river I would make a higher straight. Plus the fact that he only called the turn made me think that he didn't have the 10. So I bet nearly half the pot, which was again flat called.

The river:
What a card to see hit the river - an Ace of all things. Feeling very sick, I decided to check/call hoping that they didn't put me all-in. I was a bit surprised to only see a bet of just over a third of the pot. I called and they showed that they were calling with KJ.

What a disaster. Result notwithstanding I played this exceptionally badly even for me. All I can say is - kids, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!! The person doing this is a donkey and doesn't care about tounament life anymore .

I hope that you do learn from this and I look forward to hearing how I can play this situation better in the future.

Cheers!
 
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Sun Jul 03, 2011, 01:17 PM
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oriholic's Avatar
Since: Oct 2010
Posts: 751
BronzeStar
Flop bet is way too small. You have a big overpair on a board that a lot of weaker hands hit. You can get value from a ton of his range that will gladly continue here. At the same time you have only a pair on a board that a lot of hands will continue on, so you want to keep the pot small. I'd prefer doing this by making a normal bet for value on one street and checking the other rather than making two pot-juicer bets.

Turn card sucks, as a ton of his range gets ahead here. He can be calling with all sorts of Tx hands, especially hands like JT and T9. Also QJ just got ahead and there are a lot of two-pair hands he can already have. Honestly unless he's floating your weak flop bet, there's not a whole lot in his range that you beat anymore. KJ, AJ, maybe AQ, KQ or A9. I'd probably check here as this hand definitely can't stand a raise.

River ace doesn't change much. Now you're beating KJ, KQ, and other bluffs. There are so many straights, sets and two pair hands that are quite likely here. If you think he's bluffing over about 1/4 of the time you should call...you can only beat a bluff.
 
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Sun Jul 03, 2011, 01:31 PM
(#3)
PlsDntBlffMe's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 42
Post Deleted

Last edited by PlsDntBlffMe; Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 01:45 PM..
 
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Sun Jul 03, 2011, 06:38 PM
(#4)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
BronzeStar
In the prior hand you posted, I suggested that you "talk to yourself", out loud, as you play a hand.
I suggested this as a way for you to clarify your thought processes, and ensure consitency in your decisions.
I thought I'd use this hand you posted as a EXAMPLE of the sort of things which should be running through your head, and which might "come out" in that spoken self-dialogue:

Pre-Flop:
There are 3 limpers with blinds at 125/250.
I hold a solid working stack in excess of 30BB, thus a wide range of methods to play are going to be "ok" for your me.
I Hold KK (woo hoo!), which stands to be the BEST HAND at this point.
I am going to raise, making it 1500 to go.

I am doing this because the "standard" school of thought would have me raising my normal amount (generally 2.25 to 3 times BB), plus 1 BB per limper.
This means my raise should be to am amount somewhere between 1325 to 1500.
With antes in the pot, I will select the higher end of that range, as I would if I knew there was at least 1 pretty "weak" caller.
That extra amount in pre-flop tends to give me "leverage" with my C-Bet on the flop, and holding the current 2nd nut hand, it is surely worthwhile to get that in now.

I KNOW why I am raising here as well.
With KK I am "raising for value", in the belief you hold the best hand.
I am, additionally, raising to "thin the field" because KK will tend to win more often versus a single opponent.
Raising to 1500 is also "ok" for me to do, because it is slightly over 10% of your stack, thus it should NOT represent a "committing" amount for me.
I am NOT folding, I do not want to Jam (because that "value owns me", where i'm only likely getting called by AA, and will only cost myself value I'd get playing a more standard betting line), and in an MTT CHECKING MY OPTIONS simply increases the risk of me losing with this hand too much to be a good tourney equity play.

(NOTE: KK will tend to win MORE CHIPS in a 4 way pot than heads up, but MTT play is a balance between chip conservation, and chip accumulation. Fore-going some additional chips to lower the risk of loss is certainly prefered for MTT play. In some cash table dynamics, especially extremely loose ones, a FLAT CALL might be more profitable long term. That requires big time post-flop discipline though, and is a HIGHLY "exploitative" strategy, carrying high risk of counter-exploitation. Mathematically though, KK is MOST PROFITABLE in 4 way pots, even though it will tend to lose more often in those pots than in heads up situations; 5 or more handed it begins to lose some long term profitability, although it is still profitable).

DECISION REVIEW #1: All this together makes your raise, and the amount of it, pretty good.

NEXT...

I get a single caller (the button), and the pot is 3725.
The flop comes Jh, 9s, 8d

My "plan" started out as one where I was hoping to get as many chips in the pot pre-flop as possible (value bet plan, with what has a strong chance of being best), but when a re-shove did not occur, and I see no improvement to my 1 pair hand, I must use the info above to re-assess.

First thing I must do is consider the strength of my holding now.
I have seen no "improvement" to my KK.
I hold a single pair, albeit an over pair to the board.
I must consider the pre-flop CALLING RANGE of the opponent, and what might be "ahead" of me.

I've been playing reasonably tightly, so T7 is probably not a likely calling hand, even for the button.
Same goes for QT, (unless the opponent here has a VERY WIDE calling range), although this guy MIGHT be that loose.
Any 2 pair hand would consist of at least one "rag", so those are not big threats for me.
Many people will simply call pre-flop raises on JJ/99/88 though, so the biggest threat is I am facing a set.

I know a made set is a relatively SMALL portion of the range he might have called me on, so checking here would not be good for me.
Doing so would cause me to fall into too passive a play style, and would give "infinate" odds to any draw that might run my hand down.
This means I must consider that my hand is still "good", and bet SOMETHING...but what?

I know a "standard" C-Bet amount is half the pot.
A Half pot bet here would mean I have in 1500 + 1865 in (3365), and that pushes me quite close to a "committing amount" of 30% to 35% of my stack in the pot.
It IS "only" 27.5% though, so if he opponent shoves, I can still move forward on about 35BB.
I know the "biggest" mistake I can make in MTT poker is to put a large amount of my stack in, then FOLD, but the remaining chips I'd have (if I have to fold) is enough to possibly re-coup on.
Now I must consider how the opponent might view my bet.

If he calls, he might hold a made straight or a set, which gives me little chance to "catch up".
If he calls, he might also hold simply a top pair hand, especially AJ, and I am still ahead.
If I bet TOO SMALL, he may well call me on any pair (to draw at a 2nd pair), any T (to draw at the ooe straight), or even any Q (thinking he has a gut shot, plus at least 1 over card to draw at).
I am not sweating him calling on a T; if a 4 card straight completes, I can elect to check/call or check/fold based on what he does.
I am not sweating him calling on a top pair hit, because his chances of hitting a small, and if he calls I an still credit him for strength and check the turn, giving myself the option of calling a smaller turn bet, or folding on the turn to a "big" bet.
Now I must consider my "plan" for my bet on this flop.

Betting half pot seems pretty good overall.
It is "enough" that he might rush his chips in to stack me. He might do that because I "look" committed.
It also allows me to go into possible "check/call" mode to pot control, since I believe this guy may try bluffing me out a good percetange of the time.
It also lays only 2.8 to 1 for a draw to call me.
A LOT of people think they need only 2 to 1 to call a bet on an ooe straight draw, but I know that those pot odds are what is required if they get to see BOTH cards.
I will have the option to bet again on the turn (if it is a blank), so in reality he will only have about a 17% chance to hit a straight on the turn.
This means he would need better than 4 to 1 odds to make a call "correct".
According to the Fundemental Theorem of Poker, if he calls a half pot bet on jsut an ooe straight draw, he is making a "mistake", and I gain value.
So a half pot bet is in line with the thought: "When I think the chance is strong I hold the best hand, I want to bet to ENCOURAGE a call, but to DENY ODDS to a draw out."

I bet 1865.

(In reality you bet 1000. This bet does not deny proper odds to a straight draw, and by laying 4.375 to 1 to call, it is even close to laying the right price for a single over card + gut shot draw, like AQ. It does not give the opponent a good hance to make a "mistake" by calling, and does not put much value in for you either. It WOULD be a well sized bet if you think the opponent will RASHLY try to bluff your "weakness" though, as it would be a good excuse for him to take the betting lead without you allowing the pot to bloat TOO much. Trying this "tricky" a line on this stack size though is pretty risky, since you ARE getting quite close to a committment point for your stack).

NEXT...

The turn comes Qc, and now there is a 4 card straight there.

GULP!
That SUCKS! Every time I get a good hand, a 4 straight or 4 flush hits the board!
But wait...
Does that Q ALWAYS help him?

The board texture is ugly, sure, but if he does not hold a T, then there is a good chance the only way that card helped him was by giving him Qs and Js.
If it did do that, I could still pair either the 8 or 9 and "suck out", or even hit a board T to have the over card straight.

Hmmm...MAYBE I am still ahead here! I know I will be at least some of the time. What do I do?

That pot is pretty large (either 1865 + 1865 + 3375, or 1000 + 1000 + 3375), so I do not really want to give up.
I am still ahead of a J, and I am ahead of AQ (if that's what he had).
I think what I will do is CHECK here, and elect a "pot control" line, because on a lot of his hands I am still ahead.
To do this though, I really need to have a good handle on his betting style, and whether he bets big or small on his "big" hands.
Based upon that info, and what I see next from him in way of a bet, I may fold, or I may check/raise jam.
If he checks behind though, I am almsot 100% going to check/call the river, simply because I am in here pretty deeply unless he has shown me he will "wait" to the river a LOT of the time for his "big" bets).

I CHECK

(In reality, you led out for about half pot, 2500 into 5275. That isn't "terrible" if you feel the villain may BLUFF RAISE big versus a check by you. Your bet does appear reasonably "strong", especially after the small flop bet. It makes your flop bet almost appear YOU were drawing with the T in your hand, and the 2500 now looks like a stiffer, but still well sized, value bet. The thing is, when he CALLS the 2500 bet, as deep as you are now, you really must consider check/folding the river if he calls much of the time. There are simply not "enough" hands which can withstand 2 bets by you on this turn, and still be behind your KK.)

NEXT...

River comes as ugly as it can, the A spades...

Now if he was on just top/top on the flop, he has run me down.
Even an Ace/weak has gotten me now, so if this guy is LOOSE, I'm hugely at risk.
Again though, I have so many chips in the pot, I probably must make a "crying call" if he leaves me with some chips to re-coup.
I am going to consider my stack, the amount I have in, and set an "upper limit" to what I'll call.
For this pot, I will call up to a pot sized bet of 6705.
I set that amount because it means I will still have jsut UNDER 10BB if I am "wrong". While extremely short, I can push and steal a bit as my stack still represents about a 20%+ loss for anyone at the table.
I set the amount that HIGH because this guy may over-value top pair quite often. If he is more disciplined, less than likely to bluff very often, or if he over values rag aces way too much, I'd adjust my call amount lower, but I have sunk too much in here, and still hold too much of a chance I am ahead, to give up very often on the river.
It will SUCK to be drawn out on the river by an A9 or A8 (or even AJ), but sometimes kicker hits will happen...

I CHECK/CALL, he holds KJ, I WIN!

(The way you played it, and the way my thought process plays out, will tend to result in pretty much the same AMOUNT being won. Your line would probably net about 1000 or so more from the Villain, but it would be done so without nearly the ability to get away from a loser, or even a LARGE bet, by him. If you indeed considered the ramifications of your line, then there is really nothing "wrong" with it, except maybe making your flop bet bigger to better deny odds. The turn lead you make is a very ADVANED play though, so to make it "correct" you should be cognizant of the upside, as well as the downsid, of making it. Without full awareness, even a "good" play may not be very good at all. Making a "good" play without knowing WHY it is "good", is just like jamming all in with 72o, and seeing the lop come 772; if all you know is "any 2 CAN win", then this is bad. But if you know the entirety of your table will ONLY call on AA or KK, then it is a pretty SMART play, that resulted in a monster win for you versus a guy who had AA or KK...see?)

Hope this sheds some light on stufff...

good luck!
 

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