I played an interesting session tonight with some good results, up a few buy-ins at $2/4. I ran across an interesting hand that I’m hoping will inspire people to really start thinking about how to optimally play hands by evaluating all factors – the board texture, your opponent’s style and aggressiveness, and recent history with your opponent (also known as ‘metagame’).
Preflop: Hero is MP with Jh, Jc.
1 fold, Hero raises to $16, 1 fold, Button calls $16, 2 folds.
Flop: ($38) 7h, 6c, 9c (2 players)
Hero bets $30, Button calls $30.
Turn: ($98) Qh (2 players)
Hero bets $66, Button calls $66.
River: ($230) 9h (2 players)
Hero checks, Button calls $101 (All-In), Hero calls $101.
Final Pot: $432
Hero has Jh Jc (two pair, jacks and nines).
Button has Tc Jd (one pair, nines).
Outcome: Hero wins $432.
In this hand, I was playing a weaker player who had been playing a wide range of hands, so I was pretty confident that my overpair of Jacks were well ahead of my opponent’s range on the Flop. After he smooth called my continuation bet on the Flop, it seemed very likely that my opponent was drawing, as there was a plethora of draws on the flop (flush draw, plus tons of straight draws). I lead out on the Turn again, as I wanted to charge my opponent for his likely drawing hand. When he called and the River produced another 9, it really made me think about whether putting my opponent all in for another $101 (into a $200+ pot) made sense. Analyzing the hand up until that point, I really wasn’t going to get called by a lot of hands that I beat. My opponent’s hand is very likely a busted draw, or three 9’s. Given that the three 9’s is calling and winning if I bet, but the busted draw is folding, it makes no sense for me to bet myself since I gain no additional value from my opponent. But if I check, I can induce my opponent to bet his busted draws and gain even more value from the hand. While I stand to lose if he does indeed have three 9’s, I only have to call an additional $101 to win $328. So if my opponent is bluffing more than 31% of the time (calling $101 to win $328, so $101/$328) of the time, which I figured he would indeed bluff with a high frequency given my read that he was weaker and also due to the fact that his line looked strongly like a draw. With this line, I got maximum value from my opponent.
This hand just goes to show that you really need to always be thinking about more than just your own hand in order to extract maximum value from your opponent.
Good luck at the tables!