Lightbulb moment - speculative hands
This is probably not earth-shattering information to anyone, but I was thinking about speculative hands and how they play vs. certain ranges. It came up when I was discussing a hand history where someone called an apparent nit UTG raise with 85s in MP at a 9-handed table.
This was an obviously terrible play for many reasons, but he requested an explanation and I tried to make it as detailed as possible. For one, it's not even a great speculative hand; two-gappers don't flop nearly as well as connectors.
Let's ignore that, though, and pretend we have JTs instead. JTs is obviously a terrific drawing hand. We should still fold, however.
Let's make some assumptions.
The nit raises around 4% UTG. That's something like TT-AA or 99-AA, AK, AQs. We're crushed by that range, and we should probably fold AQs, too.
What should we call with vs. the nit? We can call with our own nut range obviously (AK and big pairs) and we should call with all pocket pairs.
We'd much rather have 22 in this spot than JT.
1. JTs plays better in a multiway pot. When we make nut hands, which we will quite often with this hand, we want a lot of people in the pot, we want multiple callers and odds
to draw to nut straights as well as flushes.
2. Even though JTs is a much more playable hand than 22, we're just going to lose money here.
When we call pre, we are losing money. Our implied odds aren't that great. Here's the problem: We aren't outflopping the nit's strong UTG range very often. However, we hit sooooo many flops with this hand, we're continuing past the flop quite often, often making second-best hands that payoff the nit or losing money when we chase because, ZOMG implied odds.
Everyone gives lip service to, "let's see a flop and try to flop a monster." Monsters rarely flop. But you will hit a top pair with a T or J quite often. Are you just folding top pair on the flop? Honestly, you probably aren't, and if you're calling and folding top pair, you probably made a mistake somewhere in the hand. That's more money we lose.
We're going to flop some equity quite often -- that's the real killer. The flop comes 982r, we aren't going anywhere. That's fine, but we aren't a favorite to win, either. If we flop a flush draw, we aren't going anywhere. That's more money we lose, and even when we make our flush we aren't guaranteed to get paid off by the nit.
You might think it's odd that we'd rather have 22 here. If you run JTs vs. TT+/AQs+/AK, you find we have 32% equity. 22 only has 30% equity.
Ah, yes. But that's hot-cold equity. I have a program for iPhone
called PkrCruncher, and it gives you equities street by street.
Going to the flop, JTs only has 16% equity vs. TT+/AQs+/AK. 22 has 34% equity!
Setmining works because all you have to do is see a flop. If you flop a deuce, you pretty much have the nuts and are a huge favorite to win. Often your hand will be concealed, unlike flopping or turning a flush, where the nit will often be wary. There's a good chance we win a big pot here.
Conversely, if a LAGier player running like 27/24 with a high steal rate opens from CO, we would much rather have JTs than 22.
Because we are going to flop a good chunk of equity with JTs much more often than 22. Again, this may be counter-intuitive if you play around with Poker Stove and work out ranges.
Let's say the aggro CO opens around 40% from that position. To visualize this, this could be a range of something like 22-AA, A4o+, K8o+, Q8o+, J8o+,T9o, suited connectors 54s+, all suited Ax, all suited Kx, most suited Qx and Jx and some gappers like T8s.
Again, our hot-cold equity tells
a startling story. Against this range, 22 is a 61% favorite. JTs is merely 35%. A pretty huge difference.
The problem is that 22 is not going to be playable postflop. We are better off 3-betting or folding. CO is aggressive so he is going to put heat on us on a lot of flops and we'll have to fold the best hand a lot. Furthermore, even when we hit a set it's not ideal because his range is so wide it's unlikely he gets stacks in -- unless he flops a monster that has us beat or has good equity against us.
JTs plays much, much better here. For starters, we are going to be good if we make top pair quite a bit, a lot more than vs. the nit's UTG range. Secondly, we will flop 30+% equity so often that we can play aggressively.
LAG raises with A7hh, we call with JTss. Flop is 9c7dKs. He c-bets, we raise!
If this were the nit UTG betting here, raising would be suicidal because we'd get 3-bet on the flop a ton by AK, KK, and AA, which constitutes a large chunk of his range. Here, vs. CO's weak range, we can play aggressively with our double-gutter. He's not likely to play back at us with the best hand because he was just stealing and probably hoping mostly for a A7x or 77x or two-heart board.
We can also float vs. constant cbettors on a ton of boards. Flop is 973r, he bets, we call with just a gutshot and overs, and take the pot away from him even if we don't improve if he shows weakness.
Small pocket pairs play better as nutcamping hands vs. strong ranges
. We flop a set (essentially the nuts), we raise and get it in vs. KK.
Suited connectors play better as semibluffing and floating hands vs. weak ranges.
We flop a draw or a pair a lot, which is obviously not as good as flopping a set, but we can continue past the flop on a lot more boards or play it aggressively against someone who doesn't have much very often.