Was folding to pocket Queens correct here?

Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Total posts
2,586
Awards
4
I am fairly new to poker, but I have always loved psychology. Naturally, I excel at that aspect of poker and spotting/concealing tells is second nature for me: however, sometimes I still run across some questions regarding the theoretical and fundamentals of what play is "standard."

From a little practice, I've learned that I am decent at full ring poker (at least decent for a beginner). However, I am not nearly as good as I'd like when it comes to heads-up and this is clearly an area where a psychology-heavy player should thrive.

In a recent heads-up game (NL Holdem, deep stacked), I was dealt 4, 2 offsuit preflop from the small blind. I put my opponent on a strong range of pocket 9+, or hands like Ace-King, Ace-Queen etc. I instant folded my junk hand and my disgusted opponent revealed pocket Queens face-up.

Post-game, this got me thinking: If I identified their hand accurately, then how long should I continue the hand if I am behind? If I had a slightly better hand (since 90% plus heads up range is understandable), then perhaps I'd see a flop - but at what hand is continuing even to the flop worth it in heads-up if you believe you are behind? I didn't feel like wasting chips when I was behind, so I just folded.

Here was my thinking: pocket Queens against my hand was about 85% favorite preflop, so naturally, continuing to showdown is only better for me roughly 15% of the time (sounds like an instant fold). However, the hands where you can extract the most value from the opponent are hands where you pretty much know what they have and you are slightly better. With this in mind, the few times the hand catches up might be big pots if you've pin pointed your opponent's range/hand well. I wouldn't want to continue with 4, 2 offsuit, but what about mediocre or competitive hands behind pocket Queens? At what point is continuing here a respected play assuming the range I gave in this specific case?
 
Nafor

Nafor

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Dec 31, 2019
Total posts
1,026
Awards
1
There's no need to overthink this. If you are able to put your opponent into a certain range then you can probably also assess how likely it is for your opponent to fold when you push back with a bluff. That should give you information how to adjust your play.

Your question:
but at what hand is continuing even to the flop worth it in heads-up if you believe you are behind?
captures the essense here. You just have to think about it the other way around.

It's not what you believe, but what you can make your opponent believe you have, that is the question.
Like the saying goes 'Fake it till you make it'-
 
Last edited:
Katie Dozier

Katie Dozier

Poker Expert
Joined
Jun 2, 2010
Total posts
1,332
Awards
2
Theoretically at least, if one had perfect knowledge of their opponent’s hand, then every action in poker would simply be a question of pot odds/implied odds (since there are no ICM considerations heads up). There are free tools right here on CardsChat to help you continue to hone this very valuable skill.

Most of the time that your opponent holds a premium hand, you won’t be getting the odds (both immediate and implied) to continue heads-up though. [emoji4]
 
Poker_Mike

Poker_Mike

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Aug 15, 2017
Total posts
3,795
Awards
2
Great Question

I am fairly new to poker, but I have always loved psychology. Naturally, I excel at that aspect of poker and spotting/concealing tells is second nature for me: however, sometimes I still run across some questions regarding the theoretical and fundamentals of what play is "standard."

From a little practice, I've learned that I am decent at full ring poker (at least decent for a beginner). However, I am not nearly as good as I'd like when it comes to heads-up and this is clearly an area where a psychology-heavy player should thrive.

In a recent heads-up game (NL Holdem, deep stacked), I was dealt 4, 2 offsuit preflop from the small blind. I put my opponent on a strong range of pocket 9+, or hands like Ace-King, Ace-Queen etc. I instant folded my junk hand and my disgusted opponent revealed pocket Queens face-up.

Post-game, this got me thinking: If I identified their hand accurately, then how long should I continue the hand if I am behind? If I had a slightly better hand (since 90% plus heads up range is understandable), then perhaps I'd see a flop - but at what hand is continuing even to the flop worth it in heads-up if you believe you are behind? I didn't feel like wasting chips when I was behind, so I just folded.

Here was my thinking: pocket Queens against my hand was about 85% favorite preflop, so naturally, continuing to showdown is only better for me roughly 15% of the time (sounds like an instant fold). However, the hands where you can extract the most value from the opponent are hands where you pretty much know what they have and you are slightly better. With this in mind, the few times the hand catches up might be big pots if you've pin pointed your opponent's range/hand well. I wouldn't want to continue with 4, 2 offsuit, but what about mediocre or competitive hands behind pocket Queens? At what point is continuing here a respected play assuming the range I gave in this specific case?


I think this is a great question and shows that you are thinking about poker on a deeper level than just going ahead with your 24o.

I agree with Katie that headsup your odds are terrible. Sure one time you can double up through QQ or KK when you river your straight or 2 pair.

So, you should examine how valuable 24o is when it is made when there are more players in the hand and more money in the pot. But beware that if I am in this situation with QQ and three callers then I might bet more on the flop and turn to charge my opponents for drawing.

And, be careful what you wish for. I have see 24 payoff A2 when the flop was K22. 24 was crippled and A2 just shrugged their shoulders as they raked in a giant pot!

Good luck !
 
Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Total posts
2,586
Awards
4
Thanks for the prompt responses by everyone so far; I really appreciate it :)
 
Katie Dozier

Katie Dozier

Poker Expert
Joined
Jun 2, 2010
Total posts
1,332
Awards
2
I think this is a great question and shows that you are thinking about poker on a deeper level than just going ahead with your 24o.

I agree with Katie that headsup your odds are terrible. Sure one time you can double up through QQ or KK when you river your straight or 2 pair.

So, you should examine how valuable 24o is when it is made when there are more players in the hand and more money in the pot. But beware that if I am in this situation with QQ and three callers then I might bet more on the flop and turn to charge my opponents for drawing.

And, be careful what you wish for. I have see 24 payoff A2 when the flop was K22. 24 was crippled and A2 just shrugged their shoulders as they raked in a giant pot!

Good luck !


Thanks and I agree about being careful what you wish for! Poker may be the single best example of that point [emoji23]
 
C

chrismacan

Enthusiast
Joined
May 7, 2021
Total posts
48
Heads up poker is a very different game.
It is all about reading your odds and playing them.
I think you made the correct choice.
That hand is always a dump heads up for me on a small blind.
 
E

eetenor

Legend
Joined
Mar 5, 2019
Total posts
1,671
Awards
1
I am fairly new to poker, but I have always loved psychology. Naturally, I excel at that aspect of poker and spotting/concealing tells is second nature for me: however, sometimes I still run across some questions regarding the theoretical and fundamentals of what play is "standard."



Post-game, this got me thinking: If I identified their hand accurately, then how long should I continue the hand if I am behind? If I had a slightly better hand (since 90% plus heads up range is understandable), then perhaps I'd see a flop - but at what hand is continuing even to the flop worth it in heads-up if you believe you are behind? I didn't feel like wasting chips when I was behind, so I just folded.


At what point is continuing here a respected play assuming the range I gave in this specific case?


Thank you for posting

"this is clearly an area where a psychology-heavy player should thrive."

This is only true versus exploitable villains. GTO strategy was researched for this very thing. In fact GTO works best heads up so as to not allow your villains to exploit you. Where as psychology players do much better 9 handed because there will be exploitable players at the table who you can focus on.

"I put my opponent on a strong range of pocket 9+, or hands like Ace-King, Ace-Queen etc."
This is not a standard heads-up range therefore your villain is way too tight or you are not estimating your villain's true range here.
There are range charts available for heads up play it would be a good idea for you to see what a standard range looks like and then adjust per villain tendencies


"my disgusted opponent revealed pocket Queens face-up."
If this was not a reverse psychology ploy your villain is really not good at heads-up poker.
If this is a true reaction by the villain this is a great amount of information.

1 They will over value big pairs post flop=we can get max value from our big hands that hit flops hard including 2x pot bets or more

2 bluffing is a big part of heads-up play but now we can bluff much less often (we do not need to balance) as we will get paid when we make hands.

3 When bluffing we need only use smaller bet sizing with the most frequency saving big bluffs for really good spots, as this player is emotional not rational about hands.

4 If we "suckout" on their big pairs we can expect a tilt reaction so we should be looking for that tilt spot. Playing the 42 would do that but so would better hands like 54s


As to what range to play versus a player who defines their range so clearly this is where using equity calculators makes all the difference.

Example from this hand from Cardschat odds calc..versus QQ

42off=15.26--42suited=19.2---54suited=22.86 So we instantly learn the value of suited cards

JToff=14.82----suited=18.7 So we see that bigger cards are not better preflop versus QQ

However when deep stacked we are far more likely to stack this villain when we make a straight with the JT as often the villain will make a set-so implied odds are much better but reverse implied odds are worse

Equilab is a great program to input villains entire range then experiment with the highest equity calls versus that range.


Hope this helps
:):)
 
Phoenix Wright

Phoenix Wright

Legend
Loyaler
Joined
Feb 18, 2020
Total posts
2,586
Awards
4
Thank you for posting eetenor and I too also use Equilab :)
 
C

CallmeFloppy

Legend
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Total posts
1,296
Awards
2
I think you are overthinking this hand at this point.

First, you are basing some of this judgement by already knowing what your opponent has, which is not often the case. Typically you are putting your opponent on a range of hands.

But lets say for arguments sake that somehow you did know for certain your opponent had QQ. You could draw out and hit a huge hand, but the chances of that happening are slim, as you already said 15%. This means you would not get paid off enough on the times you do hit to make up for all the times you lost. Its an easy negative EV. There would already have to be a huge pot in play to get the numbers to work in your favor which is not happening in a heads up game.
 
henriquemaduro

henriquemaduro

Visionary
Joined
Dec 14, 2013
Total posts
884
I am fairly new to poker, but I have always loved psychology. Naturally, I excel at that aspect of poker and spotting/concealing tells is second nature for me: however, sometimes I still run across some questions regarding the theoretical and fundamentals of what play is "standard."

From a little practice, I've learned that I am decent at full ring poker (at least decent for a beginner). However, I am not nearly as good as I'd like when it comes to heads-up and this is clearly an area where a psychology-heavy player should thrive.

In a recent heads-up game (NL Holdem, deep stacked), I was dealt 4, 2 offsuit preflop from the small blind. I put my opponent on a strong range of pocket 9+, or hands like Ace-King, Ace-Queen etc. I instant folded my junk hand and my disgusted opponent revealed pocket Queens face-up.

Post-game, this got me thinking: If I identified their hand accurately, then how long should I continue the hand if I am behind? If I had a slightly better hand (since 90% plus heads up range is understandable), then perhaps I'd see a flop - but at what hand is continuing even to the flop worth it in heads-up if you believe you are behind? I didn't feel like wasting chips when I was behind, so I just folded.

Here was my thinking: pocket Queens against my hand was about 85% favorite preflop, so naturally, continuing to showdown is only better for me roughly 15% of the time (sounds like an instant fold). However, the hands where you can extract the most value from the opponent are hands where you pretty much know what they have and you are slightly better. With this in mind, the few times the hand catches up might be big pots if you've pin pointed your opponent's range/hand well. I wouldn't want to continue with 4, 2 offsuit, but what about mediocre or competitive hands behind pocket Queens? At what point is continuing here a respected play assuming the range I gave in this specific case?

This hand pre-flop is a instant fold. U will make more chips in another hands, u have to get a great pot to give u a nice pot-odds oportunite to call with 85% against 15% and then win a lot of chips like for example a 1:9 pot odds.
 
CKALLDAY

CKALLDAY

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 19, 2021
Total posts
91
If they have QQ and you have 2/4, they want you in the hand. It doesn’t make sense to justify it any other way. They’re happy you’re continuing and you’re hoping to get lucky.
 
Folding in Poker
Top