Archive for December, 2010

Getting full value for my hand

Here is a hand I played recently. I was playing $1/$2 no limit holdem and had AQ next to the button. A middle position player opened raised. He had been playing many hands and had been raising regularly. I wanted to slow-play him because he was an aggressive player, so I called. The blinds folded.

The flop was a king, a jack and a six. The opener pot bet $30 and I called, hoping I would either pair a pocket card or hit the ten. The turn was a ten and I had a Broadway straight. The opener bet $75. I raised to $200 and he folded. I was wondering if I got the full value from my hand. In other words, should I have gambled on a river card, which could have resulted in another, much larger, bet?

Many hold’em players will try to calculate the odds of the opponent improving his hand against the value of the pot. This is tough as we do not know what he has or how much he will bet at the river. Here it was hard to put my opponent on a hand as he was so loose-aggressive. Hard charging preflop raisers who play a wide range of hands do not give away much information when they make a standard raise.

On the turn I hit a longshot in getting the ten. The opponent bet $75 hoping that I did not have a straight and he was also representing a possible straight for himself. But when I raised to $200, even such an aggressive player could no longer afford to stay in the hand. One interesting fact to recognize in hindsight is that raising would have been a good play even if I did not have the straight.

Two more interesting observations. If I had raise after the flop, I could have won with the worst hand. If I had called after the turn, I could have lost with the best hand. I guess I got full value for the hand. I played it safe and strong and I sent a message to the table. I could have chosen to play for a bigger river pot. Of course, some of the future value would have been at risk with a choice to gamble.