Forced to Play Straightforward

When playing deep and the pot is small sometimes you are forced to play your hand straight forward Occasionally, you get...

Posted Nov 15, 2015

Contributor

Bart Hanson

Bart Hanson

Owner and Lead Pro

When playing deep and the pot is small sometimes you are forced to play your hand straight forward

Occasionally, you get into a situation where your action is so strong it is almost impossible for you to be bluffing. This especially is the case when you are the preflop raiser and make a raise in a pot where there is a ragged, one card straight on board.

The following hand went down last week at the Commerce Casino $5-10 game. The Villain in the hand was a total unknown to me. He had just come from a broken game, late on a Saturday night, with about $6500. I had had a nice session and had built my stack up from $1500 to about $3800. It got folded around to me in the cutoff and I raised to $35 with 8 9. Everyone folded except the Villain in the big blind. The flop ran out 4 5 6 giving me a gutshot straight draw and a backdoor flush draw. Surprisingly the Villain led out at the pot for $50. This is rare, as usually people will check to the raiser heads up even on ragged boards. I decided to call given our stack depth, position and the ability for me to represent the front door flush draw or over cards. A case probably could be made for raising as a semi bluff but I decided to take the less aggressive route.

The turn card came off a magical 7 giving me the absolute nuts. Again the big blind bet out at me, this time for $100. So with the board looking like 4567 with two spades you can see what I mean by basically having to announce the fact that I had at least an 8. If he had a set or two pair it was unlikely that he would have folded anyway and this deep I absolutely needed to get more money in the pot against just a bare 8. Sometimes you have to get lucky that your opponent has something along with you. Now if my opponent had been bluffing when I raise he is very likely to fold. So we might not get a final bluff bet out of him on the river. But that really does not matter. It would be a disaster if our opponent checks a scare card like a spade at the end with an 8, where he either calls or even worse folds. So even though we have almost a nil bluffing range when we raise the turn on a 4567 board we still have to raise with this type of stack depth. I ended up making it $450, and unfortunately he folded.

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