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Theory from practice: Villain removes one-pair from range after checking back low-coordinated flop a

ChaseSpellChaseSpell Posts: 183Subscriber
I played a hand a recently that got me thinking about the kind of range typical low-stakes live players will check back against the preflop-raiser on low, coordinated, flops in a heads up pot. It seems that when a sufficiently aggressive player checks back here, they have removed most, if not all, one-pair hands from their range.

I was playing in a small local cardroom. I’m a dealer and regular at the room. The player pool is small; everyone knows each other. I have a tight image, and the villain in this hand is one of the more experienced players in the player pool. His preflop ranges are typical of a $1/$2 regular, but he will play fairly loose for a reasonable preflop raise from late position, and from the blinds after a flat caller, with stacks of ~50BB+. Postflop, he will not stack off that light and rarely if ever makes large, multi-street bluffs, or bluff-raises.

Blinds are $1/$2. We start the hand in the HJ with $152. Villain is on the BTN and covers.

Two players in EP limp in. We raise to $12 with [As][Kd]. Villain calls on the BTN. The blinds and limpers fold.

Pot is $31. Heads up to the flop of [8h][6h][5d]

I didn’t have a great image at this point in the session, the villain had been winning and will have called preflop with many hands that have hit this flop.

I check. Villain checks.

Turn [8h][6h][5d] [Qc]

At the time, I wasn’t thinking fully through the hand, and just thought the Q was a good card to rep with my image, so I went for a delayed c-bet of $20. Villain called.

Pot is $71.

River [8h][6h][5d] [Qc] [Kh]

Once again, I wasn’t thinking clearly about the hand and made a $45 bet for value. The villain quickly asked how much we had behind, and then said, “all in,” raising $75 more. I folded.

I misplayed the turn and river, because I didn’t recognize how his check back on the flop affects his range.

He, and I think most $1/$2 regs, would virtually always bet the flop with 99+, 98, 87, 77, 44, 33, 22, 67, 57, 64, 54. In essence, when he checks back this kind of flop (middling/low and coordinated) against the preflop raiser, he does not have one pair. He has a slow-played two-pair-plus hand, or air. It is player dependent as to how often he will bet a flush-draw on the flop. I expect this particular villain to usually bet a flush draw on the flop.

Recognizing that when he checks back the flop he eliminates one-pair hands from his range, the best play on the turn is to check-fold. I have the nut-non-pair, and if somehow he did check back the flop with something like JJ, 98, or 77, he is not going to fold to the turn bet.

If we did check the turn and he checked back, and the river was the [Kh], we might make a small value bet, but there isn’t much he can have to call us with.

As played (betting the turn), betting the river for value doesn't make sense either, as the only possible hands we could get value from would be AQ, QJ, and QT.

What are your thoughts about this premise? Do you agree that when a low-stakes live regular checks back a middling/low and coordinated flop, heads up against the preflop-raiser, they usually do not have one pair?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Comments

  • whatsyourplay?whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    I am not perfectly sure if I don't completely understand your post, or if I rather disagree. Confused

    If I was villain, I would definitely check back some one pair hands, for instance hands like 44, 54, A5, etc. In fact, I would check back a lot of medium strength hands that I would expect to be ahead often, but don't want to build a larger pot. And I would probably bet most of my unpaired hands with less equity, like KJ, QT, etc... in order to create fold equity, since I don't expect to win at showdown. So, this means that - for me, at least - a check back on the flop would rather remove a lot of bluff combos from my range. Which is exectly the contrary to your post, if I understand it correctly.

    Also, let's assume your theory is correct and checking back removes all his one pair combos. Wouldn't this result in a very air-heavy range for him? All unpaired combos remain in his range, so why would you want to check-fold the turn?
  • ChaseSpellChaseSpell Posts: 183Subscriber
    whatsyourplay? said

    I am not perfectly sure if I don't completely understand your post, or if I rather disagree.

    If I was villain, I would definitely check back some one pair hands, for instance hands like 44, 54, A5, etc. In fact, I would check back a lot of medium strength hands that I would expect to be ahead often, but don't want to build a larger pot. And I would probably bet most of my unpaired hands with less equity, like KJ, QT, etc...
    I don't doubt that you would check back hands like 44, 54, A5, but that doesn't mean most low stakes regs will. Maybe I'm letting my knowledge of this particular villain influence me too much, but I do not expect this villain to check back those hands very often. I also suspect that most of the time when he has a hand like KQ or AJ he is going to bluff the flop, but he could check those back sometimes.
    whatsyourplay? said
    ...Also, let's assume your theory is correct and checking back removes all his one pair combos. Wouldn't this result in a very air-heavy range for him? All unpaired combos remain in his range, so why would you want to check-fold the turn?
    If he was going to bluff with air I would have expected him to just bet the flop, especially given that this particular villain views me as a tight preflop raiser, and that he will call a raise on the btn with many hands that hit this flop. To be clear, when he checks back the flop I don't think air is most of his range, because I think he thinks that I am highly likely to check-fold this flop. This is why I expect him to almost always check his two-pair-plus hands, and to bet the flop with his air most of the time, but I suppose he could have checked back the flop with something like JTs and now decides to bet it on the turn after seeing us check twice. I wasn't giving him credit for much air on the turn because I expected him to bet his air on the flop so often. The turn could be a check-fold vs passive and straightforward players, or if you think villain will virtually always start bluffing air on this flop, but perhaps we would have to check-call once.

    Thanks for your response and continued discussion.
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