July 2006
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Losing with a flopped straight

I’ll try not to turn this into a bad beat whinge.  I got beat, but it wasn’t particularly bad.  I just want to write the hand down to help me think about how I played it.

Party Poker No-Limit Hold’em, $ BB (10 handed) Hand History Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

Hero ($20)
BB ($24.75)
UTG ($26.05)
UTG+1 ($37.55)
UTG+2 ($13.65)
MP1 ($36.54)
MP2 ($6.20)
MP3 ($24.15)
CO ($31.85)
Button ($27.24)

Preflop: Hero is SB with Tc, 7h. Hero posts a blind of $0.10.
3 folds, MP1 calls $0.25, 1 fold, MP3 calls $0.25, CO calls $0.25, 1 fold, Hero completes, BB checks.

So this call is a bit loose with a poor hand and no position. However this game was playing pretty weak-tight and I’d been able to take down a lot of four- or five-way pots with a single flop bet when the board came low or paired. I was in a seeing-the-flop kind of mood, and this was probably about the worst hand I’d be completing the small blind with.

Flop: ($1.25) 9s, 8c, 6d (5 players)
Hero checks

Mmmm looks good. Let’s make sure. My staight is the nuts. and the board is a rainbow. All good. I don’t need to show any strength here, with a low board I might not get any action anyway so let’s either allow someone else to take a stab or if nobody wants to bet then someone might catch a decent second-best hand on the turn.

BB checks, MP1 checks, MP3 bets $0.75, CO calls $0.75, Hero calls $0.75

OK, two people with chips to give me and two still to act. I like to call here. Make me look weak, nobody will really pay attention and encourage the other two to join in with the calling and the donating 🙂

BB calls $0.75, MP1 raises to $1.5, MP3 calls $0.75, CO calls $0.75, Hero calls $0.75, BB calls $0.75.

Now it gets interesting. A minimum raise as a check-raise from MP1 – what the hell does that mean? Does he have a huge hand? Or is he trying to build a pot with a big draw? The hand I’ve not considered so far – and at the time didn’t consider until it was to late – was the mighty TJ. This hand has a decent draw, and pumping the pot vs 4 opponents is profitable as long as nobody comes over the top. Would he do this, though, and risk a reraise from MP3 which might price out his draw completely?

There’s a wide range of hands for the min-raiser, most likely a set that thinks it’s the best or possibly a limped overpair that wants to know if it’s good. Right now there’s no hand that I’m behind. It is this bet that I just don’t know whether to call or raise. On the one hand, I want to keep everyone around when I have the nuts, but I want to make sure I know that I either still have the best hand after the next card, or that it moves me back to second place so I can get out.

Like I said, I hadn’t really considered JT as a threat. I’d decided that I’d slow down to a pair on board, although this is silly. If I figure someone for a set, let’s raise it up now because they’re never folding it. But what do I do when a Q or 7 falls… I needed to know, and didn’t.

So guess what…

Turn: ($8.75) Qc (5 players)
Hero checks, BB checks, MP1 checks, MP3 checks, CO bets $4, Hero raises $14.25 (all in) BB folds, MP1 folds, MP3 folds, CO calls $14.25.

So is my hand good? Maybe… Can I lay it down? Almost certainly not. So I think I have to push now. Against the made straight with JT I’m toast. Against a set I’m still in pretty good shape. If I just call, again I’m possibly giving an inferior hand a chance to catch up before making a difficult decision, and a quarter of the deck will pair the board to give me that decision. The pot’s big enough that I’m probably going to have to call even if it pairs, unless I can convince myself there’s really nothing I’m beating.

Then again, that $4 bet doesn’t really show any great strength. CO has limped along the whole way so far, now everyone checks to him and he bets in position on the first high card to hit the board. Maybe he just has a Q and suddenly likes the look of it, or maybe Qx two pair.

I panic-push, and this isn’t a great situation to be in or a great move to be making. The one hand that has me crushed is a distinct possibility, and I’m throwing money away to that hand, whilst if the bettor only has top pair he might well get away from it. I can’t really see many better alternatives right now though.

River: ($27) 9d (2 players)

Final Pot: $27
Main Pot: $27, between Hero and CO.

Hero has Tc 7h (straight, ten high).
CO has 6h 6s (full house, sixes full of nines).
Outcome: CO wins $27.

So I got lucky, and was against a set. Then I got unlucky and he boated to beat me.

What did I do wrong? I think I got too greedy early on. The first flop call was probably best, as long as I was prepared to react to a possible better straight getting there as well as a full house. But after the min raise, and another call I guess it’s time to start asking for information, even if I do have the current nuts. I needed to bet big enough to make a straight draw make a mistake and force any made hand to decide whether they are good.

Given a second chance, I sandbag the flop and reraise to $8. I get it all in against CO and still lose. In fact this way I’m giving him twice as much pot equity by putting my money in earlier, but I just don’t think I’m good enough to play the hand any slower and confidently make the right decision.

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