Getting the Most Money in w/ the nuts -
Hey Gang -
While I'm hold to get my AKO Password reset (grrr) - I thought I'd open up a thread for discussion of how to get the most money in the pot -
It can be quite difficult, when you flop the nuts, to get action. Sometimes it's easy, but you should always ask yourself a question when you hit big on a flop -
"How do I get the most money into the pot?"
Here's a hand I played live when it wasn't so hard -
Effective Stacks - $150 - The Bike's $80 NL - an action game, forced buying of $80 first buy-in, up to $120 as low as $40 for next buy-in. Blinds 1/3, NL.
Dealt to me in MP: 99
Action Pre: UTG Raises to $12, I call, CO calls, folded around.
Pot - ~$39.
Flop comes Jd9h4h.
I'm quite happy with the flop. I ask myself "How do I get the most money into the pot?" And before I know it the dealer is looking at me. UTG+1 has already shoved, enough to put me all-in. I completely forget about CO being in the hand and come pretty close to insta-calling.
UTG+1 has AhJh, CO has 44, both fail to improve, I rake in a big pot.
Now, your decisions aren't always going to be so easy. Here's another hand that required a bit of trickiness from me, same game, different day, different table -
UTG Raises to $12. I call with KsQs from the CO (my first hand, my stack was $80 exactly, and villain had me outstacked). A few calls between me and button. Flop comes AsJsTc - Wowza!!
The pot has about $50 in it right now, but since this game uses all white chips I can only guess as to it's exact value. Action is checked around to me. I ask myself the same question, and examine a few of my options - noting that the button has folded and I'm last to act on this street.
1 - Check behind.
2 - Bet big.
3 - Donk Bet.
1 - Check behind - This is certainly an option, but based on the number of villains in the hand, a paired board could make trouble for me, or if I pair, I could go from a nut hand to a chopped pot, let alone lose everything I have in front of me. While any spade gives me the nuts, the Ts makes me immortal, I'd rather not give a chance for somebody to chop the pot with me should a K or Q come out. I am against this option in a multi-way pot. It's a raised pot, and you know somebody had to connect.
2 - Bet big - Betting big with the nuts can be portrayed as two things - I've got the nuts, or I'm bluffing. While a big bet here could be portrayed as a bluff, the chances of me getting called by a hand like AK on a very wet board would be very bad for me, and practically commits my stack to the pot should they improve to a FH.
3 - Donk Bet - a donk bet is tricky. Let's examine the donk bet here - I bet out a small amount - was it a feeler bet? Or an effort to build the pot. Obv it is an effort to build the pot - but it gives somebody who checked with the intention of check/raising their option to do so - and while this is my first hand at the table - how will I be perceived? A don't know any of the players here - and I want them to think I'm a fish when I actually have the nuts. There are more arguments to the donk bet, and ultimately this was the path I ended up taking.
I bet $15, trying to disguise my bet as a feeler bet, hoping my hand looks like a FD or A-paint. If I take the pot down with a $15 bet, then I know nobody else hit anything (which I would consider unlikely -) the only risk I run here is getting called and having to chop the pot, or the board pairing and being up against a possible FH.
The BB calls, and UTG raises to $30. "Oh good, he's strong, too." Action is foled to me, and it's obvious when the BB just calls he has a hand like a draw or a pair and is going to be looking to improve, or he's being tricky - but seeing as how I have the nuts, I don't have much to worry about. Here are my options -
1 - Call
2 - Shove
1 - Call - if I call here, I might get another $15 from the BB. He's getting incredible pot odds
with ATC, and ultimately it will be up to him to analyse the likelihood of him making a hand. I'm still in position on both of them post-flop. So if the board does pair, and we see a shove/call, I can fold here knowing that I have one out - or decide to look them up, as I'll be pot commited and will just be hoping they're holding trips vs 3-pair or something similar.
2 - Shove - if I shove here, I run the risk of the BB not calling the $15 more, and I run the risk of UTG realising I have the nuts and folding his hand. Again I choose to go for the 'fishier of the two' plays, and simply call here - my hand's not going anywhere, and the majority of turns don't hurt my hand.
I chose to call here. The BB calls behind (yes!). And the turn comes disaster - Kd. (Well, damnit! Now I chop with any joker with a Q in their hand. BB checks (ok, not him), UTG shoves, and of course I call. BB folds, UTG reveals AJ for flopped top two - I do a fist pump and rake the pot on a low river card.
I've read in books that a good strategy when you flop the nuts is to check, give your villain a chance to improve to a monster that is second-best. It takes a bit to put a villain on a hand - so you really have to go off board texture and villain's playstyles to make your decision.
If you have top set on a 3-suited board, well, you just may have the nuts, but you just may be drawing slim to a fullhouse to win.
This is where on-the-run analasys comes in. For instance you're in a 3/4 bet pot, and you have AA. The flop comes AQ4, all clubs, and the pot is headup by this time.
Should you bet here? Will it work? The answer, as always, is "it depends".
You may or may not have the best hand at the time - but when you figure you do - ask yourself a question - "How do I get the most money into this pot?"
Table image is important, and whether you're online or live, if your opponents have you labelled as "probably bad" - go ahead and play your table image. If it gets you more chips then it gets you more chips.
But also keep in mind there comes a time and place to 'Protect your made hands' from draws - and if you don't have a strong draw (I like ~35% to make a full house with a flopped set, btw, but if you don't need a FH to win, don't give people odds to draw for a flush) - and other people are expressing interest in the hand - so that's certainly a task in and of itself.
Playing a combination of live and online, I have run into a variety of times when I've flopped (or turned) the nuts, whether they're immortal or not - and had the action dry up .
And I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ever had KK on a board of KK7. And that's just rough - but if you ask yourself the question of "How do I get the most money into this pot?" at least you get the gears grinding, and you can run over some of your options. (donk bet maybe? Or sometimes check.)
However try to avoid falling into patterns - if you donk bet everytime you flop the nuts, or check everytime you flop the nuts, your opponents are going to catch on. Maybe shove every once in a while. "Certainly he wouldn't shove with a K here. He probably has JJ and my AA is best." - it's good to mix your play - as it makes you harder to read . . .
But I feel I've long digressed from my topic, so I'll end it here.