Monday, March 17, 2008

HOTD: 88 vs. a shortstack

In a full ring 5/10 NL game, I raised to $30 from early position with 88.

Then I got into trouble.

A half-stacked player who was playing a very loose aggressive game bumped it up to $100 from middle position. He was seeing 50 percent of flops and raising about 30 percent of the time preflop. I also knew that he fired a continuation bet nearly 100 percent of the time.

Everyone else folded to me, and I had a decision to make. Should I reraise him right now and get it all in, or should I call and wait to see the flop? Folding was out of the question against this guy because I was so far ahead of his range. So I decided to call and get it in if there were no or one overcards on the flop.

Sure enough, the flop came down Queen high with two cards lower than 8.

I checked, my opponent instantly continuation bet, and I check-raised him all-in.

This is a fairly standard hand in my view, but I'd like to hear opposing viewpoints if anyone has suggestions for how to play it differently.

My opponent quickly called and turned over pocket 9s to take down the pot.


Klopzi said...

If you're pretty sure he's going to fire with air on the flop, I don't see anything wrong with the play.

Just be sure that you're not calling the raise then folding post-flop. If you think you might feel inclined to fold post-flop, I'd try jamming pre-flop if you think Villain's calling your 4-bet w/ AK and any pocket pair. You're more or less priced in.

HighOnPoker said...

My only concern is that you do nothing to narrow his range preflop. Perhaps if you raised preflop, but not all-in, you could get a better idea of what he is working with. This, naturally, all depends on how he was generally reacting to re-raises.

Gnome said...

klopzi: Don't I have room to fold if the flop comes bad? There's about $200 in the pot, and my opponent has about $400 left in his stack on the flop before making the continuation bet.
highonpoker: The problem I see with 4-betting preflop with 88 is that it commits me to the hand against a short stack. I guess that isn't a problem if I want to be committed.
Maybe I should have just gotten it all-in preflop? I kind of hate spending 50 BB on 88 without any additional knowledge.

Fuel55 said...

How much was the CR?

Gnome said...

"I checked, my opponent instantly continuation bet, and I check-raised him all-in."

SpeakEasy said...

I'm not sure I have an opposing viewpoint, but one overriding thought came to mind when you asked your question. The old standard: its likely he's only going to call your CR with a hand that beats you. Or to put it another way -- what hand that you beat is going to call your CR?

You want to take the hand because his range is so wide that its more likely than not that you have the best hand. But you don't want to just call his C-bet because you don't know where you stand. And you don't want more high cards to come. The CR alternative seems like an inferior solution for the reason that I stated above.

But how to gain more info? I guess the way some of the others mentioned -- raise PF. Then stack size becomes the critical element of the hand, and may commit you to the pot. Not sure what the best line is, but I just see the CR as a method of losing the max amount when you are beat.


kurokitty said...

I think the 3-bet call of a shortstack in early position is what killed you.

Sure, his range ultimately could be two big cards over the flop, but his c-bet that puts a total of more than about $170 of his money in the pot commits him, as it commits you (since you can only play for as much as he has).

I think a 4-bet all-in is the preferred play, since you get all the money in and he has a chance to fold.

Pushing all-in on the flop may be another way to squeeze him to fold but since he's committed after he puts any additional money over about $70 (which a c-bet is likely to cover), the c/r all-in is not the best play here.

After that, it's a cooler 88 vs 99 is pretty close.

Gnome said...

Lots of good comments.
I feel like the question is whether I should get committed preflop or wait to see the flop.
Since I believe I'm ahead of his range preflop, a strong argument can be made for simply pushing right there.
I chose to wait and see the flop instead, a move which ultimately made no difference in this hand because I'm pretty sure my opponent would have called an all-in preflop as well.
The point of waiting for the flop was to hopefully gain some equity and give myself ways to get away from the hand. I don't believe I would get a fold by betting out on the flop, so I check-raised all-in.
In retrospect, I'm coming to believe the preflop push was the best move, even though I don't like spending 50 BB on a mid pocket pair.

Drizztdj said...

Ask yourself "is there a flop I wouldn't shove if he C-bets"?

Granted you said you were way ahead of his range, but what if three broadway cards flopped and he C-bets while pot-committing himself.

Eric a.k.a. Bone Daddy said...

you are getting felted one way or an other.. Shortie lags are calling a jam pre flop, and 1 over card is the type of flop he was also looking to get it all in. Don't see anyway you don't get felted here, given the lag style and the flop.

Be the fawker ratholed too.

Greylocks said...

Even if he's a pretty loose reraiser, you're probably not more than a 60:40 favorite or so against his full range. (Fiddling around with PokerStove should confirm this). The problem is that if you move in preflop, he's probably going to fold most of that range unless he's a nutcase. So moving in is likely to win a small pot or put you in a -EV situation against the range of hands he'd call with. The question is whether you win the $145 pot often enough by moving in to make up for the likely negative EV you're getting when he calls. I don't really know, but I suspect that at best it's close.

The way you played it gave you a better chance of making sure all the money goes all in vs his full range of hands, and not just the ones that can beat yours.

However, I would have made the gay reraise preflop against this sort of player. I'd really like to get all the money in preflop so I'm not second-guessing myself on the flop out of position. If I make a modest reraise that looks like a feeler but eats up another $100 or so of his stack, maybe he'll just move in and we can get this dance over with right now. And who knows, he might fold.