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The Benefit of reading your Opponent accurately

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The Benefit of reading your Opponent accurately

by firsttsunami

Friday is the day on which me and my friend go to the local casino to try and take money from the fish there. The casino is only 2km from me and the tables contain many inexperienced players.

After a couple of drinks at a friends, we moved onto the casino and took seats at a 10/20€ Fixed-Limit-Table. The players there always play the same and are very transparent. I know most of the players, have good reads on them and know how they tick.

At the table, an assortment of characters are found. A thick man with cowboy hat and boots, who could have been the son of Doyle Brunson. A black man trying to immitate the sober expression of Phil Ivey, though he could not manage it. A “Host” figure, who is like Daniel Negreanu, constantly talking at the table to distract opponents and obtain reads.

Unfortunately I do not get a good seat and end up next to a German TAG. He was a good, learned player with competent hand reading ability. Also I was drawn to sit in the big blind first.

The TAG was in the small blind. The first round opened. Amazingly it was folded round to the small blind who opened with a raise. I decided to defend my big blind with 54s in .

On a T, 7, 5 2-suited Flop I hit bottom pair. As an open raiser, the small blind naturally fired a continuation bet leaving me with a decision. Raise here on the flop or wait until the turn to raise hoping for a free showdown on the river.

I did not want to give him the possibility of a 3-bet here, because there are some draws he could play in this way and hence I may have to give up the better hand to more betting on the Turn. He plays the flop very aggresivley and has previously been seen to 3-bet gutshots such as J8 or J9 in similar situations

Therefore I decided to just call the flop and see what happens on the Turn. He also plays the Turn very aggressively, almost always firing a second bet after a flop call. I figured that since I could have called lightly on this flop, with overcards or various gutshots, for example, he will bet once more very often.

Against opponents who play the flop very aggressively and will only rarely play check/fold on the turn with the initiative, it is often wait until the turn to make a move with very marginal hands and then reraise their turnbet. On the river, one should then check behind and take a free showdown.

On the turn came the 9, which doesn't complete the flushdraw. The TAG checked to me against my expectations leaving me with a decision. Do I check behind or bet? I don't want to be faced with a checkraise and have to fold the best hand. I had to consider what kind of hand he might have and what his intention with the check on the turn.

Is he playing check/fold, check/raise, or check/call? Check/fold he might play if he thinks the 9 improved my hand. Check/call only makes sense with hands wuch as K6 K8 A8 A6. Here he has showdown value and would not want to have to fold to a turnraise because of the gutshots

With a made hand such as a 7 it is almost out of the question that he would play check/call. My potential raising range contains many semibluffs, so that with a pair he has enough equity to play bet/call on the Turn and call a blank River.

I decided that it would be very unlikely that he checkraise with a made hand. He simply cannot give me a free card with the possible draws if he is ahead. Given the possible intentions of a check, I decided that I had no choice other than to bet, given the large number of possible river cards which could destroy my hand. The aforementioned hands (K6 - A8) have 10 with which they can outdraw me. I must therefore bet the turn, which I do.

I bet and he checkraises. I was dissapointed that my analysis had failed. I had ruled out the possibility of a checkraise, but it happens nontheless. I must now decide whether or not my hand is good.

In order to assess my hand strength, I must weight up the relative possibilities that the opponent holds either a draw or a made hand. I had come to the conclusion that a made hand would very likely have bet, so the most likely hand for him is a draw and that he is trying to push me off a 7 or similar hand.

I think I can win the hand, so I call his checkraise on the turn. My opponent is an experienced live poker player, so I am not able to discern whether he is happy that I am paying him off, or whether he is angry that he failed to push me off the hand. I can only rely on my own logic, therefore, when playing the river, which is an ace.

The TAG bets and the pot is now 8 Big Bets large. His line has looked so much like a flushdraw or a Straightdraw for example QJ, that the ace is most likely a blank card and I call the riverbet. I had decided on the turn to call a blank rivercard. I call the bet and we go to the showdown, my pulse high, hoping that I would not be making a total fool of myself. The opposite was true and my read had been spot on.

My opponent revealed his hand and showed QJ for an open-ended Straight Draw! I was very happy that I won the hand and that my read had not led me astray.

I then waited for some good cards for a long while before finally a playable hand came along. I sat with QJ in the small blind and everyone folded before me. In the big blind sat the large cowbow. I made an open raise and he called.

The flop came K, 7, 2. I bet and he called. The turn was the T. The ten hand improved my hand to an open-ended straight draw. I must now consider how best to play the hande. Bet it normally, check/call or check/raise?

I though that a bet would bring nothing. He might fold ace high, but no other better hands. Check/call here is a bad option, since my queen high hand has no showdown value, and I should try and win the hand here unimproved.

The only otion left to me is therefore to check/raise. I figured that a check raise would have a lot of fold equity, since other than my straight draw, there were no other draws at all possible given this board. It is at this point in which my read becomes useful.

He was, as we said, a bad player who makes bets and raises without due consideration. A weakness of this is that he can frequently be bluffed, when betting after the opposition checks the turn. On the turn he typically did not play weakly and would be unlikely to make a bad check behind with middle pair. Against such a weak opponent who check behind with many made hands on the Turn, we can bet the turn and the river where appropriate. So there is a still a chance on the river than he could fold a seven or worse.

After a check behind from the opponent, a riverbluff bet is not of much use and the hand can be played check/fold. My opponent was therefore in a situation whereby a 7 or worse can bet layed bet/fold.

Against an opponent who plays aggressively on the turn, but does not bring every hand to a showdown, a checkraise is the ideal move. With a checkraise I wanted to represent a king, in the hope that he would fold a smaller pairlike 5's or a 7 . I would play a king the same way increase he is trying to float me to maximise value and gain fold equity against other made hands.

At this point, a bet with a 7 or worse is appropriate, since some hands which could call like AJ or AQ, have 10 outs against it. He fell into my trap. The checkraise succeeded and he folded the hand. He asked me here whether or not I had a king. I was pleased he asked. This meant that he wanted to reassure himself that he had not folded the better hand. Now I had brought in the second pot and two hours of live poker later and I took out 300€ from the Casino. A great day. So next Friday I can come again!


Comments (3)

#1 mouse89, 14 Oct 08 15:53


#2 victorchiriac25, 18 Mar 10 14:32


#3 AdamLaw33, 30 Mar 10 11:12

i like this alot. well put