KK vs. A on the board

zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
Let me know what you think...

holding pocket K♥K♦ in the BB in a 2/4 no limit game, 9 players. One middle-position (MP) limps in, and a late position (LP) raises to 8. SB folds, and I go with the minimum raise to 16, MP calls, LP calls.

47 in the pot (3x16 for the live hands, 2 from the SB, -3 for the rake)

Flop comes out with A♥ 6♣ 9♦.

I bet out 30, and both others fold to me.


Now, I know I won the pot, but was it the right bet? should I have gone for a smaller bet and tried to milk it? Or was it a bad place to bet, considering the A on the board and two players who paid 4 times the blind to see the flop (meaning a good chance of an A in one of their hands)?
 
Jack Daniels

Jack Daniels

Charcoal Mellowed
I don't know what your reads were (if any) on the other players or what the stacks were etc, but I do know I don't like the minreraise PF. Here is a good thread on MinRaising you should take a look at.

Having said that, yes, your flop bet was appropriate. You need to know if someone is potentially holding an A or something else worth playing. The A is dangerous on board and checking would allow the other players to either check behind to catch their cards if drawing or they could bet into you large enough to force a laydown of your KK. Slowplay would definitely be wrong in this situation. Also while the two PF calls could contain an A, they could have flopped as set as well. Your bet seeks to expose that info (as best as it can).
 
Ronaldadio

Ronaldadio

Legend
I don`t play many cash games, but...

I play a lot of MTT. I think u should b happy you took down the pot - I don`t think I would have bet that much with 2 limpers then callers. I would have had to have put one of them on an A.

Having said that, if one had reraised u were beaten, and u found out.

I would have bet about 20. I think it would have achieved the same result.

But, I don`t play cash games!!!
 
zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
I don't know what your reads were (if any) on the other players or what the stacks were etc, but I do know I don't like the minreraise PF. Here is a good thread on MinRaising you should take a look at.

Yeah, I know what I was thinking on that one (mostly, I wanted to push out the MP limper - figure he would now have to throw 12 at a 30 dollar pot with a weak hand - not a good price), but you may be right about not gathering enough information. That whole thread on MinRaising doesn't really address this factor - 3-way hands - because sometimes all you want to do is push him off and play heads up.

Of course, it's spot on that I didn't get any information out of my bet, other than the fact that MP had a better hand than limping suggested. I knew the LP player would call, which is what I wanted - but maybe a slightly bigger push would have taken MP out and reduced my risk.
 
D

Dingodaddy23

Guest
make it like 25-30 preflop please. min-raise is terrible, ur giving them a great price to call you with anything.
 
JimboJim

JimboJim

Legend
I would of raised to 20 or 30 preflop but with it like it is now I would then bet 20 after the flop.
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
I think you played it perfectly. Your PF raise wasn't exactly a min-raise. You made it 4 bets to go. Plenty enough to make the MP limper think twice about calling, and enough for the true min-raiser on the button to respect your hand. As for the ace on the flop, betting out is a must. Anything less than 1/2 the pot looks weak to me. While it's true that chances are at least one ace was dealt, you have no reason to believe it survived to see the flop, or that it's accompanied by a strong enough kicker to call a meaningful bet from a preflop re-raiser. Chances are good, that if you bet out now, you will win the hand outright (as you did). If on the other hand you check, you will never know how you stand. You could allow 1 your 2 opponents to either represent the ace, or even take the pot with middle or bottom pair.

Now, here's a neat trick. If you bet too much, 3/4 pot or more, and you get 1 caller, you will have made it too expensive to fire another shot on the turn. If however you make a 1/2 pot bet, and you get 1 call, you can repeat the bet on the turn and possibly get Ax to lay down the best hand.

Here's an example. After the flop, the pot is $100. You bet 1/2 the pot to continue. MP folds, and the button calls. The pot is now $200 dollars. The turn is a blank and you follow up with another 1/2 pot bet of $100. You have shown real strength 3 times now for a total $150 after the flop.

But look what happens if you bet too much on the flop. Again, the pot is $100. You panic and bet the pot. Again, MP folds, and the button just calls. He probably has an ace, but he's not sure about his kicker. The pot is now $300 dollars. Now your worried, and another pot sized bet will cost you $300 for a grand total of $400 in post flop bets. You could just drop down to a 1/2 pot bet for only $150 but here's the real problem, you bet the pot on the flop so a 1/2 pot follow up on the turn now looks weak even though it's a larger bet than if you had bet 1/2 the pot twice ($150 vs $100). The only bet that truly looks strong will cost you $300, and there's no garantee he'll fold.

Oh, one more thing, if they both call, check the turn.
 
zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
make it like 25-30 preflop please. min-raise is terrible, ur giving them a great price to call you with anything.

But part of the point is I do want action. My goal with this hand is to go heads-up (or buy a large pot PF), so I don't want to price both opponents out. I don't think its productive to win 12 bucks with this hand on a 2/4 table, which is what a too-large bet would do.

Why don't I want to win 12 bucks? Its a lot harder to beat the rake in a casino - it's just not worth playing if most of the hands are less than $20, when the rake is between $2 and $3.50 per hand. It leads to a higher risk game with much looser play, but I kinda like that.
 
D

Dingodaddy23

Guest
you want to give yourself a chance to win a big pot. a good way to do that with KK is to get as much money in preflop as you can. Either they have a hand that can call the re-raise or they dont. You're giving a lot of implied odds, as your hand is pretty well defined, and they aren't going to put a lot of money in postflop unless they can beat AA. If you want more action on your big hands such as KK-AA, may I suggest re-raising a wider range? Also, $24-32 would be a very standard re-raise.
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
Zebranky. I'm not sure what I'm missing here, but your absolutely right. There's a less than 1 in 4 chance that an ace will appear on the flop. So you absolutely want action from at least one caller, and you shouldn't fear 2. You just can't waste your time worrying about aces and sets and flopped 2 pair. Sure, these things will happen, but if your overly cautious, in the long run you'll lose out on some profitable opportunities. In most cases, your raise would have been perfectly sized to drive out one of the 2 bettors. The limper probably had no business calling your bet as it was.

Here, click on the hypertext in my signature that says Low Board Probability. It's a little chart that shows the chance of an over card on the flop to any pocket pair.
 
Schatzdog

Schatzdog

Visionary
Zebranky I can see what you're saying about trying to maximise winnings out of KK because of the rake, but I don't think you should sacrifice correct strategic play for that reason. AA/KK win you great pots when your opponents hold QQ/JJ/AQ/AK. But you can't control that, it's purely circumstancial.

My biggest pots are rarely won with AA/KK.
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
You should re-raise more pre-flop because if your opponent has a pocket pair, by just doubling the bet you're giving them very good implied odds to hit their set. E.g. here, even if the middle position player doesn't call, the button is getting 3.5:1 pot odds on a call. Seeing as he'll probably stack you if he hits, his implied odds are much better than the 7:1 he needs to go for it a set. (See Sklansky & Miller's No Limit Hold'em Theory and Practice, p.33-39.)

The other thing to consider is that you're out of position post-flop. This means you're going to be betting in the dark on the flop, further increasing your opponent's implied odds. It also makes things very difficult in the case where there is an Ace on the flop. So it would not be at all bad to win this one pre-flop, as it's going to be more difficult to play afterwards.

As for whether you bet this flop, I would often check here. Often my opponent will check behind because he expects a continuation bet and is afraid I'm trying to slow-play AA/AK. (For this to work, you need to make sure you're sometimes check-raising with strong hands.) I then lead the Turn. If my opponent bets the flop (or raises the Turn) it's to some extent read-dependent what I'd do, but I'd usually just fold it. Putting money in trying to push your opponent off his hand if you're pretty sure you're beat is a long-term loser.

BTW the minimum raise pre-flop here is to 12, not 16. The button raised by 4, so the next raise must be 4 or more.
 
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zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
You should re-raise more pre-flop because if your opponent has a pocket pair, by just doubling the bet you're giving them very good implied odds to hit their set. E.g. here, even if the middle position player doesn't call, the button is getting 3.5:1 pot odds on a call. Seeing as he'll probably stack you if he hits, his implied odds are much better than the 7:1 he needs to go for it a set. (See Sklansky & Miller's No Limit Hold'em Theory and Practice, p.33-39.)

<snip>
BTW the minimum raise pre-flop here is to 12, not 16. The button raised by 4, so the next raise must be 4 or more.

I see your point about the odds - considering he was one of the tighter players on the table, I had to put him on ither a pocket pair or two faces, so perhaps a bigger bet would have been appropriate.

As for the Min-Raise - don't ask me why, but Hawaiian Gardens Casino (where I was playing) doesn't recognize the difference between bets and call/raises in the no-limit, low stakes games. If anyone puts 8 on the table (whethers its a raise or bet), 16 is the minimum raise. Every raise, other than all-in, must be double the current to-go amount.
It's the only casino in the area that does this - I think, again, it is to create more action and drama more than anything.
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
You should re-raise more pre-flop because if your opponent has a pocket pair, by just doubling the bet you're giving them very good implied odds to hit their set. E.g. here, even if the middle position player doesn't call, the button is getting 3.5:1 pot odds on a call. Seeing as he'll probably stack you if he hits, his implied odds are much better than the 7:1 he needs to go for it a set. (See Sklansky & Miller's No Limit Hold'em Theory and Practice, p.33-39.)
Bombjack, that's nuts. So what,...are you saying to yourself "Self, I've got the 2nd best starting hand in poker, but i'd better try to win this pot pre-flop because I suck so bad that I'll just stack right off if the unthinkable happens and somebody flops a better hand than me."???
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
Bombjack, that's nuts. So what,...are you saying to yourself "Self, I've got the 2nd best starting hand in poker, but i'd better try to win this pot pre-flop because I suck so bad that I'll just stack right off if the unthinkable happens and somebody flops a better hand than me."???
Don't blame me - it's just what Sklanksy & Miller say in the book I'm reading at the moment!

But look at it from this perspective. If you lay your Kings face up and put in the minimum raise, does your opponent with pocket Tens call? Of course he does, because of the great implied odds when he hits his set. You want to make that call unprofitable for him in the long run, which is why you raise more.
 
zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
Don't blame me - it's just what Sklanksy & Miller say in the book I'm reading at the moment!

But look at it from this perspective. If you lay your Kings face up and put in the minimum raise, does your opponent with pocket Tens call? Of course he does, because of the great implied odds when he hits his set. You want to make that call unprofitable for him in the long run, which is why you raise more.

Yeah, I'd call with (hidden) tens then jam the pot on the flop, whether I hit or not, if I knew the other guy had KK.
On the other Hand, I think my bet represents a good hand, without giving away the fact that I have a high pair. Given the prior betting, a large raise almost screams "High Pair - I dare you to call." This way I get to represent a threat, but not such a big one that everyone can already put me on a hand (because any AK, AQ or even middle pair might make the same play).
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
Minraise is horrible for reasons already stated.

The rest of the hand is fine. If you're raised on the flop you can fold easily and if you're called you can re-evaluate on the turn (probably check-folding unless opponent is a weak player or you hit a K), plus you have a decent chance of taking the pot with a c-bet against two players who don't have to have an Ace here.
 
Jesus Lederer

Jesus Lederer

Rock Star
Don't blame me - it's just what Sklanksy & Miller say in the book I'm reading at the moment!

I guess you didn´t get FD´s point.

We all know how implied odds work, but FD didn´t say that Sklansky & Miller were wrong with the concept, he just saw the problem from another perspective.

Bombjack said:
But look at it from this perspective. If you lay your Kings face up and put in the minimum raise, does your opponent with pocket Tens call? Of course he does, because of the great implied odds when he hits his set. You want to make that call unprofitable for him in the long run, which is why you raise more.

This is what FD was talking about.

There you´re assuming that you´ll stack off if your opponent hits his set (or anything better than an overpair). This sounds like if you decided preflop that you´re going to commit all your chips no matter what the board is and how the postflop betting goes on. That would be a big mistake, because you´re always filling the implied odds that your opponent expects from you.

If you want to make your opponent´s call unprofitable for him in the long run, isn´t a lot better to fold when he hits his draw?

The implied odds is a subjective concept, not every player gives the same implied odds. Your goal should be to stack off your opponent with your made draw against his overpair AND to don´t stack off when you´re holding the big pair against his made draw.

So when you say "If you lay your Kings face up and put in the minimum raise, does your opponent with pocket Tens call? Of course he does, because of the great implied odds when he hits his set." , you´re assuming that you´re one of those players that give huge implied odds. "The implied odds when he hits his set" is a relative concept, you should minimize it to your favour.

Of course I know that this is easier said than done, but it´s a point you should consider if you want to improve your game.

Bombjack said:
So it would not be at all bad to win this one pre-flop, as it's going to be more difficult to play afterwards.

Winning a small pot preflop with a big pocket pair would be horrible, an absolutely waste of value, but I don´t like the "minraise" either.

Four Dogs said:
You just can't waste your time worrying about sets, flopped 2 pair or better.

Yes you can and you should. Otherwise you´re going to "suck so bad that you'll just stack right off if the unthinkable happens and somebody flops a better hand than you".

If you´re going to "minraise" to build the pot and postflop you´re not going to take in consideration possible better hands than your unimproved KK (aside from the situation that an obviously dangerous A comes), then you´re giving your opponent excellent pot odds combined with your implied odds. Now the original minraiser can safely call with his 2 cards and stack you off for a low price.

With KK your first goal is to collect as much money as you can preflop, you can´t just steal the blinds. But minraising is asking for trouble, and it doesn´t achieve the goal of building the biggest possible pot while isolating at the same time. Ok, I know that in this situation you know you´re going to be against a maximum of 2 opponents, which is good for KK, so the isolation part doesn´t matter here, but wouldn´t a raise to $20 be more effective to build the pot?

Four Dogs said:
Plenty enough to make the MP limper think twice about calling, and enough for the true min-raiser on the button to respect your hand.

I think a raise to $20 achieves that without losing any value. Anyway I don´t completely disagree with the "minraise" (I prefer it much more than a raise to $30, which would probably end in taking the pot right there). I agree with its main objetive (especially since isolation is no more a problem), but I think you can exploit a little more the edge of building the pot and giving worse odds to your opponent with a bigger bet.

Now that you did all what you could to build a good pot, it comes the 2nd phase: pot control.

IMO the Ace on the flop doesn´t affect at all your betting, it would the same as if your KK would be an overpair (in fact the A is going to simplify your decisions). Note that I´m saying this only because you´re first to act.

So whether you´re holding an overpair or you´re facing a scary A, I think your $30 is perfect. If they don´t have the A, congrats, they´ll fold. Of course they could think that you´re just doing a c-bet, but with that $30 bet you took control of the pot size and now, unless they have a perfect read on you, they won´t be able to make a proper raise to find out if you have a real hand or you´re just representing the flop. Of course if you get raised is time to fold, and if you get called it´s red alert and you can re-evaluate on the turn, as Chris said.

ps: Zebranky, next time try posting the stacks sizes.
 
joosebuck

joosebuck

Legend
you dont want action on this type of flop, so be glad you priced them out. the only thing calling on a flop like this:
"
Flop comes out with A♥ 6♣ 9♦."

from any decent player will be 78d, 66, 99, AA, AK, AQ. You could maybe get lucky with someone calling you down with QQ JJ 10s, but if you dont win it on the flop there, you will probably be givin it up on the turn
 
Four Dogs

Four Dogs

Legend
Yes you can and you should. Otherwise you´re going to "suck so bad that you'll just stack right off if the unthinkable happens and somebody flops a better hand than you".
Nice post JL.
I didn't mean to imply that you should just not "flat out" worry about somebody flopping a better hand. I'm saying that you shouldn't be so petrified of the possibility that you feel its important to take the pot preflop everytime you have high pocket pairs. Make your bet and then proceed post flop in some fashion that provides you with some information about your opponents hands post flop. To be honest, if an ace flops on the board you'd have to be pretty green, or very short stacked to stack off.
Why are we even talking about min-raising. The only player in this hand truly guilty of this was the button. A re-raise is NOT a min-raise.
 
Bombjack

Bombjack

Legend
Stack sizes are of course important when you consider the implied odds you're giving. You need to re-raise more if you and your opponent have deep stacks, because you're offering better implied odds.

You don't necessarily have to stack off to be giving your opponent good implied odds. In the case here, say the button had TT. Your raise to 16 means it costs the button 8 to call on a pot of 41. Because you're first to act, the button figures you're going to bet the flop (say 30) anyway, so it's effectively 8 to call a pot of 71. So it is PROFITABLE for the button to call the $8 pre-flop raise, just from the pre-flop betting and your single bet on the flop.

Now say the flop is [10c][5d][4c]. You bet with your KK, and the button raises. What do you do? Fold? Is it a gap in my game if I don't fold like you're suggesting JL? What if the button just calls? The turn is [qh]... do you check-fold your Kings? What I'm saying is that no matter how good a player you are, you're always giving good implied odds with your high pairs. If the $8 call is profitable for the button here, it is UNPROFITABLE for you.
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

HELLO INTERNET
Guys, your discussion is meaningless because we don't have stack sizes in the OP. Bombjack and JL both hinted on this but then proceeded to argue their points anyway, which is fun (and I'm probably gonna do the same here lolz). :)

Obviously the deeper the stacks the greater the potential implied odds you're giving your opponent, but conversely there comes a cutoff point where when you're both sufficiently deep-stacked that you may well be able to make a 'big' laydown (but of course you will have lost more chips in the meantime from prior flop action).

So I'll preface this by saying I'm speaking in general, standard say 80bb stacks for all involved.

Bombjack, that's nuts. So what,...are you saying to yourself "Self, I've got the 2nd best starting hand in poker, but i'd better try to win this pot pre-flop because I suck so bad that I'll just stack right off if the unthinkable happens and somebody flops a better hand than me."???

It's not nuts at all. You appear to be twisting his point to the absurd. In poker, we win money from our opponents mistakes. By minreraising here (again, as long as stacks are reasonable), we are not giving our opponent an opportunity to make a mistake, as implied odds will justify his call. Now, say we raise 4bbs, yes, we are less likely to get a call, but when our opponent does call with AQ/99/whatever, he is making a mistake. There is therefore a certain percentage chance that we will force our opponent to make a mistake by going with a more 'standard' reraise as opposed to minreraising. We make money from this.

So essentially we are not "trying to take the pot preflop". If we were doing that we'd do something silly like shove. We are instead "trying to force our opponent into making a mistake", because this is where all out money comes from.
 
zebranky

zebranky

Rock Star
I guess you didn´t get FD´s point.


ps: Zebranky, next time try posting the stacks sizes.


I guess I forgot to post the stack amounts because (in this case) they weren't critical to anyone's decision here. I was at about 240, MP was over 400, and LP was about the same as me (give or take 20). Nobody was committed to this pot in terms of their stack, but the implied threat of raises on the turn/river may have been a factor.
 
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