Saturday, March 07, 2009

HU25: Found a leak

Conventional wisdom says that top pair is usually the nuts in heads-up games. That kind of thinking isn't always constructive.

Here's a hand that helped me realize when I should consider laying down top pair or simply folding preflop:

Full Tilt Poker $2/$4 No Limit Hold'em - 2 players
The Official Hand History Converter

BB: $425.50
Hero (BTN/SB): $400.00

Pre Flop: ($6.00) Hero is BTN/SB with QQ of hearts 99 of clubs

Hero raises to $12, BB raises to $42, Hero calls $30

Flop: ($84.00) 77 of hearts 22 of clubs QQ of clubs (2 players)

BB bets $48, Hero calls $48

Turn: ($180.00) 33 of spades (2 players)

BB bets $110, Hero raises to $310 all in, BB calls $200

River: ($800.00) TT of clubs (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $800.00
BB shows AA of clubs QQ of diamonds (a pair of Queens)
Hero shows QQ of hearts 99 of clubs (a pair of Queens)
BB wins $799.50
(Rake: $0.50)

My opponent in this hand was 3-betting me frequently (about 18 percent), so I thought I could justify a call in position with Q9o. When I hit top pair on the flop, I was willing to put it all in on most turn cards.

Using stoxev, I later learned that this isn't the best line against many opponents. Here are my conclusions:

_ Q9o is a pretty awful hand to call a 3-bet with, even in position heads-up. My simulation shows that Q9o doesn't become profitable in this hand example unless I'm against an aggressive opponent who's 3-betting around 30 percent of the time or more.

_ If I were to see a flop with Q9o against a more typical opponent (someone 3-betting around 18 percent of the time), the least -EV approach is to call two streets and fold the river. While there are times where this line is appropriate, I generally avoid the call-call-fold approach because it's too easy to get bluffed off the best hand.

_ Calling the flop and shoving the turn makes more money than simply raising the flop and getting it in, but not by much.

_ If my Q9 were suited or I had QJo or better, calling preflop and shoving the turn starts to show a profit.

_ Despite the two clubs on this board, this is still a pretty dry flop. Q9o with top pair performs better when there are a few more draws out there.

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