Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Raising the river for value after checking the turn behind

So I haven't posted in awhile because I haven't really been playing much at all (~22 hours this month). I'm spending July in the San Francisco bay area visiting some good friends, and considering making a new home here. And as I've predictably run through more money than I anticipated while traveling, I've set aside more time to play.

This hand came up in my last game of today's session, a $20 regular speed game.

Reads: Opponent is solid, tight-aggressive player who raises almost every button and folds almost every BB so far. Most hands don't see a flop.

Preflop: Hero is SB with 

Hero bets t90, Villain calls t60

I raise to take his blind, as he's folding 90% of the time with very little 3-betting.

Flop: (t180)  (2 players)
Villain checks, Hero bets t90, Villain calls t90

Here I consider checking behind, but venture a cautious bet as I believe this flop has missed a good portion of his calling range (which I'm thinking of as mostly A7-AT, K9+, QT+).

Turn: (t360)  (2 players)
Villain checks, Hero checks

After he calls the flop, I don't plan on betting again. Picking up a straight draw on the turn gives me all the more reason to check behind, as I don't want to get check-raised off a hand that now has more potential.

River: (t360)  (2 players)
Villain bets t240, Hero raises to t750, Villain calls t510

Gin. He bets 2/3 pot, and I shake with glee as I am convinced that he likes his hand enough to call a raise. How much can I raise in order to elicit a call from top pair? I settle on a relatively small raise instead of a push as I feel that he simply wont call a shove on such a dangerous-looking board with only top pair. He tanks for 15 seconds for so and makes the call.

Total pot: t1860

Later in the match Villain asked me if, since this was "obviously going to be our last match", I would tell him if I would have raised A3 or A5 on that river. The question apparently had influenced his call on the end. I told him probably not, but I'm still not sure if that's true. 
I thought this hand was interesting because I was offered this window into my opponent's thought process, and it made me consider the hand from his point of view again. Would you call here with the A9? Does this look like some pathetic river bluff by a worse hand (as I was thinking it might at the time)? Would you raise here with 2 pair? Shove? Thoughts/comments appreciated.


  1. If I'm villain with A9, I would lead out river, but for less than 2/3 pot. Probably 1/2 or even less...like 140-180. If you 3x me from there, obv I'd base my decision on reads, but a big bluff on the river there is not likely unless your just an erratic spazzy fish. The smaller lead out leaves you the ability to fold because you wont feel as committed. I'm pretty much ruling out a J since you checked behind on turn which you probably arent doing with Jx, so the decision comes down to do you think your outkicked or does he have an even better hand. To me..if the opponent has been playing extremely ABC all the way, its an EZ laydown.

  2. Thanks Wing.
    I think your blocking bet on the river idea is a good one. It does make a laydown much easier from his perspective. When I made the raise I was hoping that it might look just as you described; like I was being a spazzy fish (not uncommon at these stakes). I had been playing fairly aggressively. But raising buttons and stabbing often at pots on the flop is a lot different than raising 2/3 of my stack on this river, so I agree, it should have been an easy fold. Straights and flushes aside, A9 loses to every 2 pair and every Ax except A6-A8, which aren't ever raising the river. He really could only beat a bluff.

  3. This being the case, I feel like check-calling the river would have been a better course of action. It sounds weak, but it not only minimizes the damage if he is behind, but also gains value by catching any river bluffs I might make.