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$2/$5 Thinking Backwards

A fun exercise I've been working on in my head. Here are a few hands where I make plays which are obviously not too standard. But here's my question, because I remember the hand, but not the villain too well: what did I see, or better what did I need to see make these plays?
What evidence did I need to make these plays profitable?
Are these exploits that should ever be utilized at this level or is this too fancy and I'm being results/individual-hand oriented?

Hand 1: Three limps. Hero OTB A 8 calls. Villain in SB completes. BB checks.
$20. Flop A T :s: 4. Villain leads for $20. 3 folds. Hero folds??? Villain shows.

Hand 2: Three limps. Hero raises to $35 OTB with Q 9. All three call.
$140. Flop Q 8 :s: 7 :s:. Check, check, villain bets $50. Hero raises to $180??? Fold, fold, villain folds face up.

Hand 3: Villain in EP raises to $15. Button calls. Hero in SB A :s: 5 :s: raises to $85? Villain calls.
$183. Flop A T 7. Hero bets $110? Villain calls.
$403. Turn 6. Hero bets $350, putting villain all-in??? Villain calls.

As an aside, I actually use ?, ???, !, !! as notations for questionable or good plays in my notes at the table. It goes a long way to highlighting spots where I need work.


  • GarlandGarland Posts: 518Subscriber
    I'm assuming considerable effective stack depth (>100BB) in each of these hands.

    Hand 1: Pre-flop, I think this hand is a reasonable hand to raise OTB. Borderline to be sure, but I don't hate the just call. As played, I think this hand has to be a call one time. You dominate a number of Ax, you have a backdoor draw and obviously an 8 is good for you. There's no guarantee SB will bet again on the turn and it's likely to go check-check and you can play across various rivers. In order to make your exploit fold you have to know villain always has 2 pair+ leading to the field and this is evidence I could only possibly gather after many hours of observant play.

    Hand 2: I don't get it...OTB, why are you raising 3 limpers with Q9s but limping with A8s? Seems really backwards to me. I would just limp here always. As played, standard play is to call the flop, but don't mind the raise of the weak lead as it seems villain is making a probing bet with a weaker holding like A8 or 2 :s:. You can get folds from the field with dominated Qx and flush draws, gutshots, so I actually don't mind the play.

    Hand 3: Pre-flop. At these levels, I simply don't see the need to make these squeeze plays with hands like A5s OOP to an EP raise. They just don't fold enough to warrant this type of play. I would have to see EP get out of line fairly often with pre-flop raises to make this attempt. Standard play is to check the flop, and I would do so here as you are obviously WAWB and then play turn and river for some small value. If you bet flop, down bet to increase the chance to get called by worse, say $65-$75. You are targeting KK/QQ/JJ precisely.

    As played, sorry to say, the turn all-in is garbage. Villain is going to fold out all his worse hands and calling you with the dominated A hands he's indicated he potentially has on the flop along with any sandbagged TT/77. I guess you are trying to exploit villain to folding out his AQ/AJ. I would have to see villain make some significant exploitative folds to even entertain this bluff attempt (I still probably wouldn't do it with this exact hand, maybe if the 6 and 7 were :s: instead of
    DELETE_ME ). An example would be he folds bottom set face up on a dry board when he bets and someone raises. This is an extreme example, but you get where I'm going.
    Thanked by 1CycleV
  • SuperflySuperfly Posts: 591Subscriber
    edited September 2019
    Interesting exercise. Let me see if I understand what you are looking for. In Hand 1, in order for your exploitative fold to be correct, you would need to feel confident that 1) V is tight/timid and will only call in SB with big A or PPs and 2) that V will only lead out for full pot bet on flop with TPTK+
    Thanked by 1ds2uared
  • ds2uaredds2uared Posts: 464Subscriber
    edited September 2019
    @Superfly. Bingo. What are my angles?

    @Garland. You are 100% right here. I have no doubt. And I agree with you.

    But I'm sure we can agree I'm likely a winning player. And you might not know, but my player pool is about 20-25 people, so I have a LOT of reads on them. I'm not so much interested this time in the play itself, but more the exploit if I was a competent, aware player, and what I must have seen at the time to make these exploits.

    Obviously, it is 100% fine if you think any of the plays I made is under any circumstances unacceptable. And if that's your argument, then I'm fine with that. But if I was making a reasoned decision, what must I have seen to do so?

    In essence, if @Bart did this, what did he see to make this exploit? If Bart 3! Villain A EP vs. EP with 75% of his range and Villain B EP vs. EP with 10% of his range, what did he see in Villain A and the table dynamics that make this decision +EV?
  • SuperflySuperfly Posts: 591Subscriber
    @ds2uared, not sure what you mean by “angles”?
  • SuperflySuperfly Posts: 591Subscriber
    edited September 2019
    In order to raise the flop exploitatively in Hand 2 I’d say you need to feel confident that V would bet more than 1/3 pot with strong Qx, 2P, sets or straight. I guess you would also need to be confident that other players are not slow playing the same.
    Thanked by 1ds2uared
  • ds2uaredds2uared Posts: 464Subscriber
    @Superfly. Additionally, It might just be a shift in perception of the situation and a one-time exploit. But there's something in these instances which makes my play justified at least some of the time, even when it looks stupid.
  • ds2uaredds2uared Posts: 464Subscriber
    edited September 2019
    Superfly wrote: »
    @ds2uared, not sure what you mean by “angles”?
    Perhaps "angles" is a pejorative here. Specifically, what do you know about opponents in these instances which allows you to exploit them, not outside of the bounds of decent play? "What are my exploits/angles/reads that lead to less than GTO decisions which increase my win rate?"

    (I still indicate to the table when I know a card is dead, even if I only know the color.)
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