Spotting higher pocket pairs

    • Aizeral
      Aizeral
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.03.2010 Posts: 17
      Hello all, apologies if this has been covered already, but I have used the search function and found nothing about this on the forum elsewhere. Now to the crux of my post.

      On numerous occassions in SnG's I have found myself with a pocket JJ+ only to find myself beaten by the opponents higher pocket pairs. Two recent samples (which i cannot provide the standard hand format thing for because of converting issues) include my pocket QQ beaten by a pocket KK, and a pocket JJ beaten by a pocket KK.

      Full ring table, 60/120 blinds.

      FOLD
      FOLD
      Player A in MP1 (3645 chips) - Limps in with 120.
      FOLD
      FOLD
      Player B in MP2 (1500 chips) - Raises All-in.
      FOLD
      FOLD
      Hero in BU with JhJs (3100 chips) - Calls 1500.
      SB folds
      BB folds
      Player A calls

      Pot = 4680 chips.

      Flop arrives as 6d 2h 10d.

      At this point I feel I must explain some actions. I had a fairly good read on Player B that he was tilting and shoving any two cards from any position (as he had done previously in the tournament). This feeling was proved correct immediately when i was chastised as a "sick f**k" for calling his poor and see through attempt to bluff people off a pot. All in all I feel this was an acceptable play to enter the pot with him as I felt I had his range crushed, given the read I had on him. I was of course proved correct when he showed a J9o. I appreciate it is not common convention to name the opponents hand, but in this scenario I am using this hand as a working example and not just hunting for a simple hand evaluation but comments on general play and thinkin that must occur. Besides, you already know I was beaten on this hand by a KK as mentioned before (Player A).

      As the flop arrived I was feeling pleased. A limper (player A) had called me preflop and I had a good overpair on a reasonable board. At this point I pushed my remaining stack, only to be called with KK and see the pot lost. Fair enough, this is probably a mistake somewhere on my part but the idea of a player having a larger pocket pair still evades my radar on too often an occasion and I feel it is an area for improvement.

      On a slight tangent and regarding the previous hand, I do feel retrospectively that pushing preflop (given the read on the tilting maniac) would offer the best EV long term. Is this correct? Or was I correct to merely call and observe the flop? I do also feel that I had no choice but to push on the flop (given the pot size and the fact that I had a good overpair (not great of course)). Does this seem reasonable?

      That however is an aside. The above hand is merely to provide an example to the type of hand and higher pocket pair that I seem to miss too often. So i guess, to summarise my plight into one brief sentence (or two), is how does one look for these higher pocket pairs (QQ,KK,AA when holding JJ,QQ,KK on respective occasions), especially when one has no read on the opponent and the opponent limps? To branch it out further is it a prudent play to assume preflop that if one has QQ,KK,AA and perhaps JJ, that noone is likely to have a higher pair and that a flop of low cards is likely to present a safe opportunity to value bet and proceed to win the pot?

      Thanks in advance for any helpful comments.
  • 4 replies
    • Aizeral
      Aizeral
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.03.2010 Posts: 17
      Two typographical errors Im afraid and I see no edit function. Second hand I mention near the start is my JJ beaten by an opponents KK. Second on involves me mentioning a push preflop - this is incorrect, I merely called the push by Player B

      EDIT: Sorry, found the edit button eventually and corrected the first post. Ignore this post.
    • gedwashere91
      gedwashere91
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.07.2009 Posts: 2,387
      Originally posted by Aizeral
      On numerous occassions in SnG's I have found myself with a pocket JJ+ only to find myself beaten by the opponents higher pocket pairs. Two recent samples (which i cannot provide the standard hand format thing for because of converting issues) include my pocket QQ beaten by a pocket KK, and a pocket JJ beaten by a pocket KK.
      The problem is that players will play their KK the same way as they play their AJo or their 88. You are playing against a whole range, not one discrete hand. Sometimes you will run into KK+. That sucks. Other times you will have them dominated and be like "TY for teh free money".
      You would have to have a VERY strong read in order to fold QQ preflop in a microstakes SnG.

      For sure, JJ and TT are often tricky hands to play, but generally for other reasons than those you listed.
    • pzhon
      pzhon
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.06.2010 Posts: 1,151
      Getting a good overpair beaten when the stacks are not that deep is a cooler. That means you are not supposed to avoid losing your stack: Proper play should lead you over the cliff. Rather than concentrating on how you do against rare better hands, worry about whether you were properly protecting your hand or getting value against weaker hands. Even if you are willing to stack off, there may be some better ways to stack off than others.

      What was your plan if there was an overcard on the flop? Check-fold to a tiny bet getting 4:1 odds? That might be ok, since there would be no side pot and some players will not bet with less than top pair. However, it is also possible that you would be giving free cards to weaker hands, and you might get pushed out by someone who just bets whenever you check to him, who might think he is protecting a weaker pair or who doesn't understand that there is no sidepot. You might not want to let a hand like KQ call to see the flop. So, consider pushing preflop.
    • Aizeral
      Aizeral
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.03.2010 Posts: 17
      Thanks for the input guys.

      @gedwahere91 - I understand about ranges being applied rather than taking one hand in isolation. What I also gather from your post (and indeed pzhon's) is that without a read it is extremely difficult to pick out a very high pocket unless there is a very good read on this player. Is that the correct line of thinking for a general mindset about "high pocket pair hunting"?

      @pzhon - having thought about the hand for a few minutes over breakfast, I do agree that pushing preflop would have been the best option overall. Given the way I played it however, and in order your question regarding overcards on the flop, I guess I would have fired a c-bet, and if called then c/f the turn (depending on bet size and draws though). That would probably be my standard play with a JJ+ in fact. Is that too prudent and tight a play?

      If I decided to check the flop with an overcard on the board, I would probably call a bet with those odds (4:1) if there was a backdoor straight draw/ flush draw. If the implied odds were good enough of course, otherwise I would c/f as suggested.