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StrategyWeekly No Limit

Overcards in 3-Bet Pots (4) - Possible Plays without Initiative

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If there's a situation in No Limit Hold'em you'd like to avoid, it's 3-bet pots without initiative. In the worst case scenario, out of position as well and without a hit. Playing these spots successfully is nigh on impossible if you're up against a thinking player. All the advantages of the hand are on his side.

That's why the aim here is to come out of these relatively unscathed, as there are hands with which these marginal situations cannot be prevented.

You're in position without initiative

EXAMPLE 1:

PartyPoker $25 NL Hold'em (6-handed)

Stacks & Stats
UTG ($25)
MP ($25)
CO ($25)
Hero ($25)
SB ($25) (21 / 15 / 2.5 / 12 / 45) (VPIP / PFR / AF / 3-bet SB / ft4-bet)
BB ($25)

Preflop: Hero is BU with A , J
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, SB raises $3.00, 1 fold, Hero calls $3.00

Flop: ($6.25) 6, 4, T (2 players)
SB...

The small blind 3-bets, he does this up to 12% from this position. He doesn't fold a lot to 4-bets, that's why you decide on a call in position with AJ.

His 3-bet range (Top %):

66+, A7s+, KTs+, ATo+, KQo

We need to modify this: there aren't really dominated aces and some suited aces about, but there are more suited connectors. Pocket pairs don't often need to be followed by a 3-bet either. However, there is the odd bluff around, especially with card removal effect. This includes a pair of off-suited aces or even Kx hands (although we won't initially assume these).

So, a sensible 12% range could look like this:

99+, 33, A9s+, A5s-A4s, KTs+, QJs, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 65s, AJo+, KQo

What position are you in against this?

Equity analysis
Board

  Equity
Win  Split
Loss
Hand
Player 1
50.08% 46% 8.16% 45.84% 99+, 33, A9s+, A5s-A4s,
KTs+, QJs, JTs, T9s, 98s,
87s, 76s, 65s, AJo+, KQo
Player 2
49.92% 45.84% 8.16% 46% A J

So the preflop call is justified. Now you've hit the board above. How does it look?

Equity analysis
Board T 6 4
  Equity
Win  Split
Loss
Hand
Player 1
63.24% 59.59% 7.3% 33.11% 99+, 33, A9s+, A5s-A4s,
KTs+, QJs, JTs, T9s, 98s,
87s, 76s, 65s, AJo+, KQo
Player 2
36.76% 33.11% 7.30% 59.59% A J

Not very special. Despite your backdoor flush draw and the backdoor straight, your a bit lost at sea with your overcards. The problem with this is that your possible outs can also be dominated. Despite the existing equity, there is a clear possibility that you'll be dominated even if you hit a top pair on the turn, so you can rather expect Reverse Implied Odds than (food) Implied Odds.

If your opponent now places a continuation bet, the choice between call, fold and raise is a close call.

Call

Initially, a call puts you in a way ahead - way behind situation, from an equity perspective. A call make sense mathematically against Villain's range, as you only need 33% equity, even against a pot size bet.

Fold

Folding is the move with the least variance (in this case, zero). Even if you think you're doing well against his range, you still have the fear that as the hand plays out, you could lose more than you win on the turn and the river. Moreover, you don't have a plan for a 2nd barrel on the turn if you don't improve.

Raise

A raise can only be a bluff here, anything worse will certainly not call. For a raise you need approx. 60% fold equity (depending on the exact raise size). It may be that your opponent folds this much, but the question is: are there really better hands here? The goal would be to make medium pocket pairs as well as Tx hands fold, even with Tx hands this could be problematic. So from the range above, 33, 99 and AQ/AK are still better hands you can make fold. Ultimately, that's very few.

So the question remains, how do you proceed: in theory, everything is possible, although as stated, you should be very careful with a raise. A fold is certainly possible if you're still unsure (unimproved, you would mostly fold to a 2nd barrel). So the option to call remains, which at least is mathematically correct, although you'll still have to take the difficult turn spots into account. The more you know about your opponent and his betting style, the more you can consider calling.

Villain checks

What happens if Villain checks to you? Well, you have the advantage of position again, the options are bet/fold or check behind. Bet/broke is simply an overplay, you'll never get even nearly enough equity. It's not beneficial if you take his bluffs with AQ+ in his range, as you're not well placed against these either.

Villain has three main options to go for:

  • Check/fold with air
  • Check/call for a way ahead – way behind with marginal a made hand
  • Check raise as a trap

Of course, he can still check/call as a trap or check raise with air, but this rarely occurs.

If you assume that air check/fold will be played, the question is: does betting against it makes sense? It could well be the case, as you'll win the pot unimproved (dead money) and avoid being bluffed out on the turn. But those are the only advantages.

His check/call range on the other hand could well be a bit bigger. If Villain plays this line, you'll almost always have betted for value for him. Which worse hands that you'll beat from the range above can he check/call? Apart from a draw now and again (which would be an strange play), in principle, nothing. That's ultimately the reason why a bet can't really be a value bet.

It should be quite obvious that you're dead against his check raise range and should bet/fold.

The bottom line is a tendency to check behind. A bet doesn't really make sense, as you can't be called by anything worse and it's unlikely that anything better will fold. The only sense of a bet would be in collecting the dead money and for bluff prevention, however, these shouldn't be the main reasons for a bet.

EXAMPLE 2:

PartyPoker $25 NL Hold'em (6-handed)

Stacks & Stats
UTG ($25)
MP ($25)
CO ($25)
Hero ($25)
SB ($25) (40 / 30 / 3.5 / 15 / 20) (VPIP / PFR / AF / 3-bet SB / ft4-bet)
BB ($25)

Preflop: Hero is BU with K , Q
3 folds, Hero raises to $1.00, SB raises $3.00, 1 fold, Hero calls $3.00

Flop: ($6.25) 5, J, T (2 players)
SB...

In this example, you're running against a more aggressive player. But you don't want to 4-bet/fold preflop, as you estimate you're fold equity is too low, however, with 4-bet/call, you can't expect a flip (even in an ideal situation), despite your opponent's loose range. So you call.

The flop is practically a dream, as you're not just a clear favourite against his range; you're also in an excellent position, even against an overpair.

Villain's 3-bet range: 55+, A7s+, A5s, K9s+, QJs, A9o+, KJo+

Modified range: 66+, ATs+, A5s-A4s, KTs+, QJs, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s, 76s, 65s, ATo+, KTo+

Preflop equity
Equity analysis
Board

  Equity
Win  Split
Loss
Hand
Player 1
51.500% 48.521% 5.959% 45.520% 66+, ATs+, A5s-A4s, KTs+,
QJs, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s,
76s, 65s, ATo+, KTo+
Player 2
48.500% 45.520% 5.959% 48.521% K Q
Equity on the flop
Equity analysis
Board
J T 5
  Equity
Win  Split
Loss
Hand
Player 1
37.750% 35.587% 4.326% 60.087% 66+, ATs+, A5s-A4s, KTs+,
QJs, JTs, T9s, 98s, 87s,
76s, 65s, ATo+, KTo+
Player 2
62.250% 60.087% 4.326% 35.587% K Q
Equity agains an overpair
Equity analysis
Board J T 5
  Equity
Win  Split
Loss
Hand
Player 1
52.93% 52.93% 0.00% 47.07% AA
Player 2
47.07% 47.07% 0.00% 52.93% K Q

Clearly, this example isn't 100% accurate, as your overcards are actually worth less in this case. However, the collected draws could well have a high value.

However, against this aggressive player, it should show that you can also aim for good hands without a hit (but with fantastic equity). Your play on the flop should primarily be for value, this means you should raise a continuation bet, as you're trying to get fold equity which you won't need in a lot of instances.

If your opponent should check, you've got a clear bet which can also be seen as a value bet due to the strong draws (although it's actually a semi-bluff bet). Clearly, you'll go broke against a check raise from your opponent, you'll have the equity in any case.

 

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Comments (2)

#1 kukkiwonBG, 26 Sep 11 16:53

"The problem with this is that your possible outs can also be dominated. Despite the exisiting equity, there is a clear possibility that you'll be dominated even if you hit a top pair on the turn, so you can rather expect Reverse Implied Odds than (food) Implied Odds."<br /> <br /> There is a spelling mistake on "exisiting"...<br /> <br /> Best,<br /> Kukki

#2 Huckebein, 26 Sep 11 18:07

Thanks, fixed the error :)<br /> <br /> Best <br /> Huckebein