Sets and the raise vs slowplay debate

ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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When you flop a set and get action, is it best to slowplay a safe flop or just raise it up?

I think it depends on a few factors (metagame, table images, flop texture etc), but the basic problem is what I'm trying to get at. As an example hand, let's use a flopped set similar to one I played earlier today:

pokerstars No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (8 handed)

CO ($50)
Button ($50)
SB ($50)
BB ($50)
UTG ($50)
UTG+1 ($50)
MP1 ($50)
Hero ($50)

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with 6
club.gif
, 6
heart.gif
.
UTG raises to $2, 2 folds, Hero calls $2, 4 folds.

Flop: ($4.75) 6
spade.gif
, 5
heart.gif
, 5
club.gif
(2 players)
UTG bets $3.25, Hero ...

Assuming that villain is an unknown, or just an 'average' tag player, what's the ideal line?

If we raise, we obviously get the most value from the big pairs. They might 3-bet us, or maybe just call and then call down the turn and river.

On the other hand, if we raise and he's got AK/AQ, we lose a lot of value. Villain isn't bad enough to call a flop raise with overcards, so we push out those hands.

Now assume we call.

In the situation when we're up against big pairs, it's going to be a lot harder for us to stack now. For one, hands like JJ might think they're best on the flop vs a raise that might look like 88 or something, whereas if we call then raise or bet a K turn, we lose a lot of value since that card kills our action. Another reason is that even if there is a brick on the turn (say an 8), we still look very suspicious raising at that point, killing more action.

Now on to the spots where we're up against AK/AQ, we gain a lot of value by slowplaying. If we call, we might either get villain to double barrel, or if he hits an A or K he might think his hand is good at that point. Even then though, he might not stack us since a flop call plus a turn raise doesn't fit much but a set (or maybe a bluff).

Metagame complicates things even further. Taking a look at say, a flop raise for example. What other hands am I raising the flop with other than a set? Basically, none. In spots like that I'm usually just floating hands like 88. So again, a raise is very scary, but hard to get away from.

Then again back to the flop call, turn raise. I rarely if ever take that line with anything but a monster; ie I'm never calling that flop with 88 then raising the turn - there's just no sense in it. He's either double barrelling at that point or he's got a legitimate overpair, and I'm usually folding the turn with 88, so a flop slowplay looks extremely scary to an overpair.

Player images have a pretty big impact as well, ie I might slowplay vs a lag if I think he'll 3-barrel me, or I might raise an absolute nit who isn't betting the flop without an overpair.

Also flop textures is pretty straightforward imo - if it's draw-heavy we're definitely playing it faster for obvious reasons, whereas on a dry board we might consider slowplaying.

Anyways I'm ranting but I hope I made sense. Thoughts?
 
jaymfc

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I know sloplayin is one of my many leaks , but I would call, then call again on the turn , then bet or raise the river .

my problem is when they want control I let them have it , I prefer they have it as long as they are betting a decent amount , then I try to take control on the river if I think I am still ahead.
 
J

jeffred1111

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I had written a huge post (and firefox crashed), but I'll try to sum it up in a few points:

a) Slowplaying is right against some opponents, and it is wrong against others. I'd say that it is wrong against many passive and/or tagish opponents who are more willing to stack off early, especially if they have donked into you on such a dry spot. One important criterium for slowplaying is not met here: villain doesn't have much of a chance of improving to second best: he is facing 6 outs with overs or runner-runner flushes, wich figures about 6.5 outs. Hitting on the turn is hard.

Building the pot (or extracting as much value now) becomes important since a call will freeze many villains (seriously, what can you be calling with on such a flop?). Only exception, as you have pointed, is against laggy or very agressive opponents. In these cases, I'll play my hand the same way I'll play mediocre/excellent hands, wich means floating a lot against them and raising to polarize their range.

b) Many hands wich won't call a bet on the flop won't call a bet on the turn, even improved after we have flatted preflop. WA/WB applies here for most villain.

c) What is villain's most plausible hand range ? Against nits, raising on the flop is best since nits have a tendency to love AKs thinking you're bluffing with AQ or worse and they'll bet this flop hoping to 3/bet JJ+ almost always. Agaisnt lags, a lot of hands are raised UTG and we have a broader spectrum of cards wich are not action killing for him.

On such a flop, I'd say that a mix of slowplaying and fastplaying should be used, with maybe the optimal bluffing frequency being the tiebreaker. If we show up here with the abolute nuts the times we do not show up bluffing, villain can neve rwin if we bluff optimally. This means that our image and precendent plays factors in on the optimal line to take here. If we have been bluffing a lot, slowplaying is probably stupid since we'll figure to get action (if we have been caught at least once). If we are never bluffing, slowplaying is the way to go since we'll need to feign weakness in order to get value.

Cliff notes: it depends Chuck, you can't get a definitive answer.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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Cliff notes: it depends Chuck, you can't get a definitive answer.

I think that's basically it :/

This was one of those spur of the moment posts, applying more so to my specific hand (although i was asking generally). I'm actually just going to go and post that specific hand with the details to see what spawns from it.

Thanks for the input, guys. More discussion is definitely welcome, but I think jeffred basically hit the nail on the head (ie it depends).
 
reglardave

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I think you have to raise here. You've hit a monster to be sure, but if villain IS holding an overpair, maybe taking it down right here is prudent, and losing potential value is better than losing the edge. The turn/river are almost bound to be overcards, at least one, very likely both, and that's gonna leave you in a very murky position. I would raise the flop bet to protect my advantage right here. Slowplaying has it's place, but this isn't the place,IMO. Protevt your hand while you're almost certainly ahead.
 
J

jeffred1111

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I think you have to raise here. You've hit a monster to be sure, but if villain IS holding an overpair, maybe taking it down right here is prudent, and losing potential value is better than losing the edge. The turn/river are almost bound to be overcards, at least one, very likely both, and that's gonna leave you in a very murky position. I would raise the flop bet to protect my advantage right here. Slowplaying has it's place, but this isn't the place,IMO. Protevt your hand while you're almost certainly ahead.

Raising here is for pure value, not protection or to make the hand easier to play afterwards: we are very much unhappy if we take it down against AA since we lost according to the Fundamental Theorem of Poker. BTW, the only way I'm not stacking off here is if my hang gets counterfeited on the river and I'm not pot comitted (66555 or 665AA). I'm stacking off with any overcards hitting the turn.
 
pokerjdud

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i dunno, i guess it just depends on the player, me personally, i like to bet it all the way through, like a strong pair bet, because in a sense i wanna keep them in, and if they suck out on me, well they suck out
 
tenbob

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Im gonna post this here rather than in your HA thread of this one Chuck.

These are the spots where we need to get our thinking caps on especially against reg's that are watching and note taking of how we play flopped monsters. Hence you shouldnt be looking to take any sort of "standard" line.

If I have in my notes "slow plays flopped sets, calls turn, overbets river", and i see this happening against a reg then im not stacking with my AA, if this player decided to mix his play up a little more though and raises the flop 30% of the time then hes putting me in a very difficult spot, because I dont have any standard line on how he plays. I hope this makes sense. Have a look at the weird way I played this hand just to mix things up a little agaisnt a player that has over 1,200 hands on me ........ https://www.cardschat.com/forum/cash-game-hand-analysis-50/lag-again-time-top-set-nl-100-a-101883/

I think here as a naked hand in itself without taking any meta stuff into it, we can call the flop and raise the turn, our hand is strong enough to let him have another stab and give him a free card.
 
Dorkus Malorkus

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I'm posting this on the fly at work, so it will probably be somewhat disjointed but meh, I say!

This is, as has been suggested, primarily read-dependent.

Let's peg villain as a decent TAG and take a look at what the hand looks like from his point of view. He raises UTG, representing strength and you call. You, being a decent TAG yourself, could be calling with say AK-AQ/AJs/KQs/most pairs (this is a pretty generous range, maybe you fold AJs/KQ but let's go with it).

The flop is pretty much a perfect flop for a c-bet. 655r has missed most of his range, but from his perspective it's missed most of your range too. Now, let's look at our options and what they tell our opponent.

Call - "I'm in position, I know that most flops will have missed you, so I'm floating and waiting to see what you do on the turn, as I anticipate most of the time you will have missed and will give up on the turn. That, or I'm slowplaying a monster"

Note that the former is far more likely than the latter - both from the point of view of how the hand has been played thus far and from a pure statistical point of view we're more likely to have an AK/AQ/mid pair that villain may either think he's ahead of or he can get to fold out subsequently than an AA-QQ/66-55 that is beating him and practically never folding.

Raise - "I think you're weak and want to take this pot down now, or I have a big hand and am looking to get value".

Again the former is more likely.

Bear in mind though that if we give villain say an AA-99/AK-AQ UTG raising range, it's statistically more likely that he has AK-AQ than a pair, but all the hands in this range are plausible given the action in the hand thus far. Therefore, we should generally be more concerned with getting value from the hands that make up the majority of villain's range from a statistical perspective.

Unless, that is, there is significantly more value to be gained in the event that villain has a hand that is less statistically likely (but still constitutes a reasonable portion of his range). Here, if villain has say AA or KK, whether we call or raise the flop we're going to be getting a lot of value from the hand. The main difference is if villain has AK/AQ - if we raise we risk him folding, especially considering he is OOP, but if we call we may get a turn lead from him, and even if we don't we might either get a light calldown from him (as our line in calling and betting the turn doesn't necessarily represent strength as much as it represents "You seem to have given up on the hand so I'll take a shot"), or he might hit an A or K on the turn, which obviously we're going to get chips from.

Finally, there are positional considerations. Given that we're in position here, by calling we guarantee ourselves the advantage of position over at least one more street. This is pretty minor in comparison to the other points, but it lends a little bit of credence to the "call" side.

So yeah, I call and bet/raise the turn against a decent TAG with no specific reads. This sort of hand is the exact reason why note taking can be incredibly profitable in the long run, however. :)

That all said, personally I'll raise this flop often (again, on a somewhat read-dependent basis though) with something like AQ, so I'd be more inclined to raise with a monster too, especially if I've been raising dry flops often or if someone at the table has recently 'caught me out'.
 
W

WhatItDew

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I think that the answer to this question depends on a few factors.

1) What is the action predflop? Were there predflop raises that would push out a draw, and indicating high end strength?
2) What is the texture of the flop?

Obviously in this hand, you flopped the top full house, and there is no reason to raise here. You can simply slow play to the river, and reraise on the end to try and get more value on the end.

But lets say that you are in a hand where the origional raiser made a min raise and was called by 3 players, including yourself, making it 4 in the pot. The flop comes 6,5,q. I would bet or raise in this instance. Reason being, you will still get action from the queen, but you want to eliminate the possible draws. I am aware that my own starting hand selection includes 7,8 suited from either of the blinds, and you want to attempt to eliminate the draws.

I don't think that there is a right or wrong answer to this question, because everything is largely situational, and each situation needs to be played differently. But if we are simply talking about the hand listed above, you call to the river and re-raise on the end.
 
killerrat

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still would bet it hoping your opponent caught a six or five but to actually call a boat a set? Set to me is trips.
well anyway there are small odds here that they might have an overpair but more than likely they have a set themselfs to come out. Check to the turn, time to weight the brick for it doesn't improve your hand and chances are if they come out blasting they missed. I would watch out for the check raise on the turn.
 
petey5o

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heres the way i feel about it...what do good players do good. bluff....what do good players hate that happens to them...get bluffed. u said this guy raised pre flop and you just called? if he had ak like you thought he may could have you. could have raised some not an all in ...but a value raise ....him not being able to see how that flop could have helped you in anyway. will normally make the call. then if the turn doesnt help him...he'll check unless he thought you were bluffing. then he may lead out again ...this would be the best spot where you could be under the gun and out of position. i didnt read your whole post or i woulda known. but with you raising on the flop...him calling....just plan to check the turn no matter what. if the action is on you first after the turn. and you check . your opponent might think you were trying to take it down after the flop and go crazy. then he may not and just check...then the river. you bet the pot. your opponent thinks its a bluff. and a last ditch effort to get payed. and 90 percent of the time you wil
 
Egon Towst

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I`d suggest that this is a situation where there are two reasonably sensible lines, and this is therefore an opportunity to randomise your play, in order to prevent the opponents from getting a read on us.

It depends, to some extent, on the standard of the opposition. In low stakes ring games, for example, there is seldom any point in adopting clever stratagems, since no-one will notice.

However, in the late stages of a largish tourney, when most of the idiots have been weeded out, and there is a lot of pressure on because of the amount of money to be made/lost, you can safely assume that the other players are studying you just as closely as you are watching them.

In those situations, I am a great believer in the Harrington Wristwatch trick and, where there are two plays to choose from and neither is obviously -EV, I would recommend a random choice between them, based on the position of the second hand on your watch.

If anyone hasn`t read HoH, and doesn`t know what the heck I`m on about, I`ll elaborate.
 
Qwikls1

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I rarely slowplay hands with the exception of nut flushes.

I'd rather win several small pots then give an opp reason to suck out on me.
 
crzycal

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I love the slow play when you know you have it. Let the other players raise and hope they try and bluff. I will check and check again and then on the river bet. I find there are a lot of bluffers out there and it is nice to catch them now and then. Its a great way to do it.
 
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