02-11-06 [poker] - 1

02-11-06 [poker]

I played a hand recently which is really bugging me. It seems like a totally trivial hand, but something just feels wrong.

Party Poker $100 No-Limit Hold'em, $1 BB (6 max, 6 handed)

UTG (Maniac) ($89.46)
Hero ($98.50)

Preflop: Hero is MP with As, Js. SB posts a blind of $0.50.
UTG (Maniac) raises to $5, Hero calls $5, 4 folds.

Flop: ($11.50) Jc, 7h, Th (2 players)
Maniac bets $11, Hero calls $11.

Turn: ($33.50) 8s (2 players)
Maniac bets $31, Hero calls $31.

River: ($95.50) Kd (2 players)
Maniac pushes all-in ($42.46)
Hero calls $42.46.

Final Pot: $137.96

Maniac was super-aggressive and bluffed a lot. I make top pair top kicker (TPTK) and call him down to trap him if he's bluffing. Sometimes he'll have a better hand, sometimes he'll have a worse hand. (actually this board is really bad, since KJ got there on the river, AQ got there, any 9 makes a str8, etc.). So, what's wrong with this hand? The thing I don't like is I'm allowing him to play perfectly. I'm not sure if he was just a crazy maniac or if he was a clever thinking maniac. I've made a mediocre hand and let him double up with his good hand. I didn't get any information to find out if he had a good hand or a bluff, which means he's getting to decide when the stack goes in. If he's clever he's only putting the stacks in when he's got it.

I don't like the idea of letting him decide when to play a big pot. He could stab early and then back off without a big hand. Certainly I know he's open-raising a lot of junk and often c-betting with it. He will usually fold to a raise on the flop if he was just c-betting with junk.

Let's look at some extreme cases. What if he open-raised a big range, and then would push the whole way with anything? In that case I should call behind preflop with any good cards, and call down with any pair. It would also be +EV to just call behind with pockets, and only call him down if I flop something super-good. That would reduce my variance but also reduce EV. What if he open-raised a big range, but then would only bet the whole way with a decent one pair or better? In that case I should call behind with lots of hands, and only call down if I flop two pair or better. If I don't flop two pair or better, I should raise some of those hands as a bluff, because he'll fold with no pair.

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