$16,5 NLHE MTT Deep Stacked: Bluff catching spot with 88

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fundiver199

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Tournament is a "Voyage" on 888 Poker, which is a deep and slow format with 12 min blind intervals, 250BB starting stacks and 3 hours of late registration. Recently someone complained about the 1 minute blind interval freerolls on 888 Poker. Well then play the "Voyage" instead. The cheapest one is only 5,5$, which is the same as a cup of coffee in Starbucks ;)

With this little rant out of the way the situation here is two players limping, I isolate with 88, they both call. C-bet on a 9 high flop. Only one guy call, he was playing VPIP 43 / PFR 12 / AF 1 over 292 hands. Turn was an A, and I check back. River was a 7, he came out for a substantial bet, and now it was decision time. Would you call in this situation, and how would you have played the earlier streets?

888Poker, $15 + $1.50 - Hold'em No Limit - 100/200 (25 ante) - 7 players
Hand delivered by CardsChat - https://www.cardschat.com/hand-converter.php

UTG: 14,603 (73 bb)
MP: 10,632 (53 bb)
MP+1: 32,204 (161 bb)
CO (Hero): 19,985 (100 bb)
BU: 3,641 (18 bb)
SB: 12,125 (61 bb)
BB: 12,625 (63 bb)

Pre-Flop: (475) Hero is CO with 8♦ 8♣
UTG calls 200, 1 fold, MP+1 calls 200, Hero raises to 1,000, 3 players fold, UTG calls 800, MP+1 calls 800

Flop: (3,475) 4♦ 5♥ 9♦ (3 players)
UTG checks, MP+1 checks, Hero bets 1,390, UTG folds, MP+1 calls 1,390

Turn: (6,255) A♠ (2 players)
MP+1 checks, Hero checks

River: (6,255) 7♣ (2 players)
MP+1 bets 4,128, Hero?
 
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300HPGOD

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Depending on the players behind you I prefer playing passive pre flop here and just set mining for a potential cheap price. If there are known good players behind or ones you dont want to be in pot in, squeezers, 3 bettors, etc then I like the raise. Otherwise I would just try to see the flop since with a 43/12 stats villain I dont think they are going anywhere unless the raise is extremely large.

On the flop I like the c bet and the sizing is fine to me. A little smaller than I personally in game would have made it but I think the sizing is good and works for the situation. We do get it down to one player which is a good outcome.

Turn is where I disagree. Yes villain could have a lot of Ax in their range but so can we. I am sure on a rainbow board there are times you would check here with an ace (villain dependent) and their are times I would check with an ace here but most villains are not going to perceive it that way. Most villains will believe you have broadway cards here or have pocket pairs JJ-KK and are a little scared of the ace. In making this move you are likely to face a big bet on the river from a lot of villains which with 88 is something we would like to avoid. I like a bet for pot control here (it sounds weird but I believe its true) where we bet about 1/3rd pot and maintain control of the hand and almost do a blocker bet of sorts for the river even though we are in position. With this bet when we get raised we can safely fold and if we get called my thinking would be villain would check to us on the river often.

The river is a spot where we face a bet that we probably knew was coming or should have known had a good chance of coming. Unless villain is really good (I discount that based on stats) this bet is never a 9 to me. Passive villains that arent fully thinking that your hand looks like JJ-KK and is vulnerable because of the ace turn will check a 9 here in my opinion. That leads me to think this is polarized and is either Ax or air (counting what 4x and 5x got here as air) along with some rare sets. Villain does have an aggression factor of 1 so they are normally passive. That would indicate to me this is more likely value bet than if a more "normal" player would make this bet. We are getting 2.5 to 1 which makes this very close to me. I think I fold here just based on villains aggression factor but they do have a wide range at 43% VPIP and the price is not terrible for our hand strength. I think this is a spot where you are not too wrong if you choose either call or fold. I am leaning fold but the price is telling me to call so I'll go with this spot is a personal preference on the decision.
 
Jon Poker

Jon Poker

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This is a common spot I think we all face in some form or another in tournaments here and there.

First and foremost I think villans at these stakes for the most part do not bluff rivers enough, so I tend to overfold in spots like these when I get myself here. Capable villans turn missed draws and marginal pairs that have little to no showdown value into bluffs, but I don't find enough of the field doing this often enough to find the hero call.

I approach this spot the same way preflop - and I approach this spot the same way with a cbet on the flop. The difference in my strategy is that my villans limping range is so wide that I don't believe the A changes much for them aside from nut flush combos picking up top pair or some random Ax making 2 pair on the turn - this being said, I would elect to fire a second barrel here on the turn, fold to a raise of any sorts, and if my villan calls - I simply take my 88s to showdown on the river. I talk about this double barrel spot using a term I call "buying the river" - basically after we double barrel this turn card our villan just isn't going to lead into us on the river very often and we just get to take our hand to showdown without having to play too much of the bluff catcher game - this bet could also possibly get some hands like 9x or even a weirdly played TT to fold some portion of the time which is also really good for us in the end.

So in summary for me - bet turn as well - somewhere between 40-60% pot, check back river. Fold to any x/r on the turn or any donk bets on the river.

As played? I am folding for the reasons mentioned above about river bets being moreso for value at these stakes

Edit:: talking back about the double barrel spot on the turn and your check -- would you ever check AK here? AQ? etc? If you are finding the check with top pair, then checking your 88 is just fine, but if you are NOT checking your best Ax on the turn, then by checking back you are effectively capping.your range and openly telling your villan that you did not connect with that A. Just food for thought
 
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fundiver199

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Thanks for the comments. I agree, that these spots are very common, especially with a hand like 77-99, which unless we hit a set will often be second, third or even fourth pair on the river, and we never really quite know, where we are.

I agree, that betting turn can certainly be a reasonable option, as we can still get called by a lot of draws and maybe even sticky low pairs. It was not so much an "OMG maybe he hit the A" kind of check, but more a pot control kind of check. I think I actually mix my line up here a bit and sometimes bet, sometimes check, and this time it was a check.

Anyways I did end up making the call, even though I think, its a very close spot. My reasoning was, that his sizing was fairly polarizing, so I dont think, he would do this with a 9 and maybe not even an A with a bad kicker. And if he had a hand like AK/AQ he would probably not have limp-called preflop. So I felt, he was really saying, he had aces up or something like that.

Also all the draws missed apart from 86, which I strongly blocked, so I had kind of a decent bluff catcher, even though it would obviously be better to call with an ace, since that would block his aces up. He had K6 of clubs, so he basically went for the out of position floatsky on the flop with absolutely nothing and then bluffed the river, when I checked back turn.
 
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feisas7991

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half pot otf to fold floats.
otr randomizing at some freq. calling at about 20% freq
 
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QA77

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I would just limp preflop and maybe bet sometimes on the turn. As played, I think its a close spot on the river. He could have a set or Ax. But I would call more often than fold since you checked the turn and could be ‘giving up.’ For your opponent, betting most of the time with a missed draw would be the play.
 
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