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Thin Value with a Common Villain

Here are two hands I played on Saturday, April 29th, 2017.  Both hands occurred at the same table with common villains.  I'm in Seat 6 with $600.  The table has been loose-passive with few 3-bets and lots of donkeys.  I've been at the table less than 30 minutes and many of the faces are new to me as they're here for a big tournament that starts later this evening.  I love tournament players at cash game tables!  The two villains in these hands are Seats 3 (UTG) and 5 (MP).  Seat 3 is an unknown player to me and has about $250 in his stack.  He seems active.  Seat 5 was the chip leader at the table when I arrived.  His stack of $800 has been has been whittled down to $500, so I have him covered and am on his left.


Hand #1


Ebro, $1/$2 NL Hold’em Cash Game, 9 Players


Pre-Flop: 8hearts 8clubs dealt to Hero (MP)

UTG calls $2, fold, MP raises to $11, Hero (MP+1) raises to $20, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, UTG calls $18, MP calls $9.


Pre-Flop: Pocket 8's are a good hand, but I favor a raise to fold out the 3 players on my left who have position on me.  They know I'm a solid player and should respect my 3-bet.  I decide to min-raise to $20.  This would re-open the betting to the original raiser, so puts more pressure on the players who have position on me. 


Flop: ($56) 6diamonds 5spades 2hearts

Check, check, Hero (MP+1) bets $50, UTG calls $50, fold.


Flop: I'd like to take down this small pot right now.  Any turn card higher than an 8 would have me guessing.  Also, if one of these players has a hand like A-6 he's not going anywhere.  We make a large pot-size bet of $50.  The UTG has the fold grip, motions a couple times like he's going to muck, then sets his cards back in front of his stack and counts out the $50 call two red chips at a time.  I haven't played with this guy enough to know if it's some weird act, but it doesn't appear to be.  He honestly acted like he was going to fold.  Our original raiser in the MP folds.


Turn: ($158) Tclubs

Check, Hero (MP+1) bets $100, UTG calls $100.


Turn: After his hesitation calling my flop bet, I want to push him off this hand right now.  If the ten helped him, so be it.  I grab a stack of red chips and quickly plunk them down, making a bet of $100.  Seat 3 doesn't take long at all and calls.  


River: ($358) Qclubs

UTG bets $73 and is all-in, Hero (MP+1) calls $73.


River:  I'm honestly confused here, especially having not played a pot with this guy before.  Was his $50 call on the flop some sort of act?  It seemed real enough.  Maybe he caught a piece of the flop and the queen paired his kicker.  His story just seems odd, so after some though I count out $73 and slide my stack forward.  He came along with a gutshot straight draw the entire way and bluffed off this chips on the river.


As I drag the pot, the MP says that he would have won as his Q-T went runner-runner for top two pair.  I told him that he still would have checked to me on the turn and it's unlikely that he would have called my $100 bet after the UTG also called.  How confident can you be with a pair of tens and a queen kicker?  He said that he would have raised me another $100 to see where he was in the hand.  I drop the conversation as I try not to give lessons at the table, but I remember his comments two hands later.


Results: $511 pot ($7 rake)

Final board 6diamonds 5spades 2hearts Tclubs Qclubs

Hero shows 8hearts 8clubs and wins ($261)

UTG shows Jdiamonds 4diamonds and loses ($243)




Hand #2


The MP player from the hand above is now the UTG player in this hand.  He's still seated on my immediate right.


Pre-Flop: Jhearts Thearts dealt to Hero (UTG+1)

Villain (UTG) raises to $11, Hero (UTG+1) re-raises to $20, fold, call, call, fold, call, fold, fold, Villain (UTG) calls $9.


Pre-Flop: I think a little push might topple the Villain, so, emboldened with my big stack, I'm in the mood to poke him.  I think another min-raise to $20 should do the trick.  Remember, 3-bets are rare at this table.  Only premium hands should call and their entire stack will be at risk.  I don't often min-raise, but I do in both of these hands.  It's also a probing raise when you're seated with unknown players.  If one of them pipes up that the raise has to be $22 -- double the bet -- then he might be a novice player, especially if he argues with the dealer after being told that a $9 raise is fine.  Anyway, I pick up three callers as well as our villain.  I'll have to proceed with caution.


Flop: ($51) Jclubs 8spades 4hearts

Villain (UTG) bets $13, Hero (UTG+1) raises to $26, fold, fold, fold, Villain (UTG) calls $13.


Flop: I want to poke this guy again, but need to make a bet that's scary enough to thin the field behind me.  Why not another min-raise?  I make it $26 to go.  I'm rewarded with 3 folds and a call from the Villain.  We're heads-up to the turn.


Turn: ($103) 5clubs

Check, Hero (UTG+1) bets $35, Villain (UTG) calls $35.


Turn: He might have a jack, in which case our kicker isn't all that great.  Maybe he raised with a bigger jack pre-flop.  If he just called our min-raise and missed the turn, I don't want to give him a free river card, and he might fold to a modest bet, so we make it $35.  He calls.


River: ($173) 9clubs

Villain (UTG) bets $42, Hero (UTG+1) raises to $102, Villain (UTG) calls $60.


River:  I think our jack might be good, but I'm reluctant to call.  It's then that I think back to the previous hand where he was adamant that he would have raised with top pair to "see where he was".  Now I doubt that he's got a jack.  Maybe he has T-9 or even pocket 10's -- after all he did see me call the river shove with 3rd pair the last hand.  The small $42 bets rules out backdoor clubs too.  I really can't put him on a hand, so why not raise?  Maybe he'll fold.  I slide out a stack of red chips with two white chips on top to make it easy for the dealer.  It's $102 to go and $60 more to him.  I don't get a snap, so that's good.  But he does eventually call.  I table my hand saying that I've got kicker problems.  Sure enough, he's got a jack, but his J-6 is barely out-kicked and I drag the pot.


Results: $384 pot ($7 rake)

Final board Jclubs 8spades 4hearts 5clubs 9clubs

Hero shows Jhearts Thearts and wins ($194)

Villain shows Jdiamonds 6diamonds and loses ($183)


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I’m an avid poker player focusing mostly on $1/$2 No Limit Hold’em. I’ve written articles for Ante Up magazine on Casino Chip Collecting and Rounders magazine on live poker play here in the state of Florida.
Country: United States
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