AK, was I right to chase my draw?

W

wreckoning

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So picture this. $1-2 NL Holdem, $200 max buyin, cash game, local casino. The table is pretty loose- and by loose I mean will call a raise of 8xBB with A10offsuit loose. With 4 more people to act behind you. :D

It's 11pm, and I've been at this table for 4 hours. My image is semi-tight. I've bluffed some but haven't been caught yet. I have $650 in front of me as the big stack. Other stacks range from $50-$450.

In the small blind I receive AK of spades. I decide to raise to $15. I get like 4 callers, which surprises me because I thought my image was "semi-tight". If it was aces or kings I'd be displeased but with this hand I'm delighted. I'm hoping to flop a flush draw. The flop comes A J 4 with one spade.

Well it's time to see who's for real. There is about $90 in the pot so I bet $50. The guy next to me in Seat 5, who has just sat down, calls. It folds around to the guy on my right, an older man in Seat 6 who has about $250 in chips. He seems like a strong player to me and I don't like to get involved in him. I'm not sure if how much he respects my play. Still I know he doesn't call unless he has some sort of hand. He calls. From his call I put him on AJ. He knows I have AK and he thinks he is going to trap me. I hope the turn is a spade.

The turn comes 8 of spades. Well now I have a flush draw. I don't know about Seat 5. He just arrived from another table and I have no reads on him. He has $150 left. There is a lot of donks tonight. He could be on anything from a gutshot to smaller ace or something like J4. He could also have a legit hand, but then why didn't he raise the flop to shut people out? I supposed $50 was a big bet. I bet another $50. Seat 5 again calls. How perplexing. Seat 7 raises to $150 and is all in.

HMMMMM. Now I think very hard about seat 7. He can't have a set of aces or jacks because he would reraise before the flop. He might have a set of fours- he has the button, and there were a lot of callers to my preflop raise, giving him ok odds and maybe making it correct for him to call if he thinks he has enough implied odds. So. 9 cards give me the nut flush and complete nuts, and the J of spades is already on the board. Then 3 kings will give me a two pair that beats his- if he has aces and jacks, which is what I put him on initially. There are 3 ways that he can have pocket fours but 6 ways he can make AJ. So I have 12 safe cards if he has aces up- which he will 66% of the time- and 8 safe cards if he has trip fours (since the 4s will give him quads). So overall I have about a 24% chance of winning. There is now $500 in the pot and it's $100 to me to call. If Seat 7 calls with trip 4s I still have 8 good outs and I'll be getting 6-1 on my money ... not a great deal, but there is the added chance that he will fold his fours thinking perhaps one of us has a higher set.

So I call because at this point I feel I can't fold. But did it have to be this way? Looking back it kind of feels like I manufactured the situation. What about if I had checked the turn?

So many things could have happened:
-Seat 5 checks if he is weak, and Seat 7 might choose to make a value bet, which I am forced to call, then seat 5 can call or fold and I see the river for like $50 instead of $150
-Seat 5 value bets, Seat 7 can call or raise- if he raises I can fold with no investment in the pot, if he just calls then I can call and again we see the river for cheap
-Seat 5 goes all in, Seat 7 goes all in and I am forced to call again because of the odds

Really my $50 bet on the turn was pretty weak into a $250 pot, but I thought Seat 5 might make a bad call on the flop- especially if he thinks the others were going to call behind him- and I was giving him a way out on the turn. I don't know what he has and I want him out. At least vs Seat 7 I know if I'm good or not.

What was the correct play here?
 
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wreckoning

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***Note: Seat 7 is actually supposed to be Seat 3. He's the guy on my right. I'm in seat 4. I was a little tired when I wrote this. :D Either way I guess the position would have been the exact same, except Seat 5 wouldn't call preflop with 44 if he had actually been in Seat 7, whereas he would by the time it gets to him in Seat 4.
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

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This doesn't look like an unreasonable hand. Couple of issues though...

From his call I put him on AJ. He knows I have AK and he thinks he is going to trap me.


This all seems like very narrow thinking. I doubt very much that you know villain well enough to put him on one hand and one hand only, and not only that, but to give him credit for knowing exactly what you have. Think in ranges of hands, not "I put him on <exact hand>". At the point you're saying "I put him on AJ", surely villain could at least have AQ or another AK, or perhaps even a weaker Ace or he could even be trapping with Jacks having elected to play them for set value preflop at a loose table?

Your turn thought processes are fine - although the $50 bet is evidently commiting you, so I'd be tempted to just say shove the turn. Really, with deeper stacks there's probably some way you could get away from this on the turn, but given the situation you were destined to lose here. Don't look for mistakes where there are no mistakes - sometimes two people play their cards perfectly well, but one of them has to get 'unlucky'.
 
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wreckoning

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It's possible that he called my flop bet with AQ, but there is no way he would shove the turn with it. $100 more isn't enough to make me fold anything that can beat AQ and he knows it. We've been playing at this table for four hours. He knows that I wouldn't try to bluff a big field of loose players and I can't see him shoving with anything less than AK. And if he had AK he would be worried that I had AJ, JJ and would have been happy to just call the turn.

If he had Aces he would definitely reraise preflop to knock people out. If he has Jacks... I think he would reraise me preflop. It's his style of play to define my hand and see if I have a higher pocket pair. For me to even play the small blind, let alone raise it is very rare and I think at this point he has to find out if I have a pair or not. To play the jacks just hoping for a set is too passive for this player I think. The other hand he could have is A4 suited. Again I still have to catch a king or a spade, but I'd rather him have A4 because then it's almost impossible for the other guy to have 44.

Now if I had AA or JJ I would make the same raise and the same flop play, but Seat 3 doesn't know that since the situation hasn't come up yet. I'm sure he considered those hands and was concerned about them. With AJ/A4/44 he may feel that he just has to pay me off, but with something marginal like AQ or even AK he would probably decide that there are too many ways for him to be beat and fold.

I really think the $50 bet was dumb. All I'm doing is giving my opponents better odds and committing Seat 5 to play to the end when something else may have gotten him to fold. But by shoving I bet $150 to win $250. If I only get one caller I will only be getting 2.5-1 odds. Even if they both call I am only getting 3.5 but I think I only have a 25% of winning vs Seat 3 and that number is going down with the addition of Seat 5. Now shoving might be ok if I thought there was some chance they would both fold or if I could get Seat 3 for sure to fold (since think Seat 5 could have either a completely donkey hand or something really strong). But even if I go all in and Seat 5 calls, I don't know if Seat 3 is capable of folding his AJ/A4/44.
 
calibanboy

calibanboy

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A good post. I like your post hand analysis - and the fact that you have spent a lot of time looking at the situation. ( but also agree with Dorkus w.r.t ranges )

I tend to agree with you view that the $50 turn bet was Pot commiting - yet gave no fold equity.

To be Honest I might Check raise that flop. ( or fold depending on the betting action ). Thing is in a 5-6 way pot TPTK is not that strong. I would have made your bet had there been fewer players in the pot. In a strange way too a loose table often means that people disguise hands like AA and JJ by just calling.
 
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