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Best way to play nut flush draw

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  • Best way to play nut flush draw

    Hi guys, great to see the forum so active and helpful.

    This hand comes from a local twice weekly bar game in Ireland with about twenty players with a 50 Euro buy in.. The Villain in the hand is probably the best player in our player pool. He plays a fairly loose aggressive style but is not spewy.
    The game is incredibly deep stacked with 20 minute blinds and there are still 17 players remaining.

    S 190,000
    P Cutoff
    Bilnds =1,000/2,000
    Hand AhKh

    Villain opens UTG to 6,000 out of a 98,000 stack
    folds around to me and I call.

    Flop ( 15,000) 9h 9d 5h
    V checks ( 92,000)
    Hero bets 9,000
    V calls 9,000

    Turn ( 33,000) 2s
    V checks ( 83,000)
    Hero ?
    Last edited by Joseph; 04-13-2017, 05:30 PM.

  • #2
    Right or wrong I pot control here due to the paired board and check. If I get there on the river with a pair or flush, I'd value bet based on what I thought of the villain but biased toward checking.

    Anything that villain calls the flop with has equity or at worst narrowly beating us. If I thought villain would fold a pair into a monster pot, there is enough in the center to bet the turn 17k setting up the river for a pot sized bet/bluff with full range.

    Converely, there is nothing on that flop that would concern villain if he had a pair and your flat preflop 1) underreps your hand and 2) likely misses that flop. There are not many 9"s in your range. You repping an AXs hand? Middle pair? IMO, not reraising preflop was a mistake, for this reason, I would have 3 bet. My guess he is check calling down whatever we do.
    Last edited by XBobLove; 04-13-2017, 08:07 PM.


    • #3
      3-bet preflop.

      As played, I think betting flop and turn is fine. We're going to have a lot of 9x here since we flatted pre and - as noted - our hand is underrepped. To balance my 9x hands (A9/K9/Q9/J9/T9/98) I'm going to want to use my flush draws to double barrel.


      • #4
        Thanks XBob, I think I should check the turn and see if I get there. Yes I probably should have 3 bet preflop but I had seen JL flatting in this situation a few times so I decided to make this play occasionally.
        Ha jp, at first I didn't understand what you were saying when you talked about balancing. This is still a bit difficult for me to get my head around. But hey interestingly, I doubled through this player less than an hour earlier when I shoved for over a pot sized bet with A 9 on a 9 9d 7d flop and got called by 88.

        In this hand I bet 19,000 on the turn and villain went all in for 83,000 total so it is costing me 64,000 to call. I am not really sure how to work out pot odds but I reckoned I wasn't quiet getting the correct odds. Against an over pair I have 32% equity. There is also a chance that the villain is bluffing so maybe I should have called.


        • #5
          The idea behind balancing in general is that when we bet, we want to have a range of strong hands that we're betting for value as well as bluffs.

          In this spot, my personal flatting range would be something like:
          55-JJ,A9s-AJs,KTs-KQs, QJs,JTs,T9s,98s,87s

          In the hand above, what hands would we want to lead for value on the flop? Assuming that we're 3-betting bigger pairs, we probably want to be leading JJ, TT, and our 9x hands like A9s, T9s and 98s. (if you have other 9x hands in your call range you can add them there as well) That's 18 combos.

          To balance out those hands we need some bluffs. Since we bet 9K into a 15K pot, our bet should contain about 30% bluffs, so we should have 5-6 bluff combos. So I would certainly want to have a lot of suited hearts as bluffs. If I pick suited hearts like AJs, ATs, KTs, KJs, KQs and JTs, that's 6 combos right there.

          If you're flatting a wider range that includes more nut hands, you probably have more value hands. So if you have QQ in your flatting range, for example, you can add 6 more combos for value and then have another 2 combos for bluffs.
          Last edited by jpgiro; 04-15-2017, 06:14 PM.


          • #6
            I'm not a fan of tossing around the word balanced. Donkey and I were discussing balance the other day and he struggled to understand the usefulness of the concept given his 10+ years of experience relative to me. While JP's definition is correct as written, I have reservations about what's missing in his post.

            1&2) Balance is a metagame strategy. Put a different way, balancing is intended to get you into more hands with junk forcing villains into mistakes so that you get paid on your nutted hands. 1) This should be 30% bluffs depending on how you define it. 2) What's a bluff?

            Example: You're playing on table 1 from the start of a long format tourney, you know you'll play the whole tourney with everyone sitting. After a few hours you see a 65yo turning over winners time and time again, with a lot of Broadway hands. 1) Is he winning with his bluffs? Does he think KJ in MP is a good calling hand? 2) Are these mistakes? 3) How can you know the difference?

            3) There is a time and place to be balanced. if you're going to blow off some steam with the boys from the office Friday before dinner. Balance doesn't matter 1 iota. Going every Friday playing the same dudes week in and week out, you should be balanced. If you're playing 1/2 with unskilled players with no interest or brains in the game, if they are playing and betting their cards, playing no foldem, you don't need balance.

            Example: Above continued; You have to be balanced in this game and on this table but more importantly, do you need to be balanced against this villain?

            3) Do you know how do you meter 30% of hands? How do you respond on later streets?



            • #7
              Ok I am starting to get what ye are saying. If this is the first hand that I ever played against this villain, then the only hand i can bet or bluff with is the hand i have now. Then it is up to the villain to try and figure out what hand I have or what range of hands I might possibly have.
              However in this case I have played over a 100,000 hands with the villain so even I get it that I have to be balanced. For example If I never bluffed then when I bet he will know I have a value hand.
              So jp, when you say that in this particular hand on the flop that you lead with 18 combos, is this based on a big sample as obviously you have AhKh .Stupid question but hey I want to learn.


              • #8
                A few personal opinions:

                1. For me, playing balanced ranges is my default behavior. When I am betting, I am assuming that I need to have a range of value hands and bluffs every time I bet. Once players illustrate to me that they are exploitable in some way, then I will change my behavior to take advantage of that. If a player is stationy I'll bluff less, if they're a nit I'll bluff more pre and then overfold when they show aggression. But I make no assumptions about the quality of a player until I've played with them for a while.

                2. I think being balanced is less appropriate when playing against "level 1" players, who are only thinking about their own two cards. If players aren't thinking about the range of hands you might have, then being balanced makes no sense. I will say that while these players still do exist, there are not nearly as many of them as you might think. Most players at least have some concept of thinking about your hand (if not your range) vs. their hand.

                3. My idea behind balance is to play both value hands and hands that have some equity in the same way. It isn't necessarily about playing junk hands very often - if I'm bluffing with air too often, I'm probably overbluffing. (That doesn't mean we can't bluff with air - we absolutely can if we have a significant range advantage against our opponent.) At the end of the day, I want to make sure that when I bet, I have a ratio of bluffs to value that is such that my opponent can't assume anything by my bets and that in the long run they're indifferent to calling or folding.

                So in this particular flop, I am betting 18 combos for value - all of the 9x hands I have in my range, plus JJ and TT. These are hands that I want to get called by.

                Now because we bet 60% of pot, we want to have about 5-6 hands that we would also bet that have equity to improve on later streets. Based on the board texture the obvious hands I want to pick here are flush draws, and I'm picking the combos that have overs to the board so I can continue on later streets if I get called. So I'm actually betting ~24 combos here.

                The bigger we bet, the more bluffs we can actually have. For example, if we bet the full pot, we can have a ratio of 2/3 value and 1/3 bluffs. So I can bet all of my 18 combos for value (JJ, TT and 9x) plus 9 combos that are bluffs, which means I can pretty much bet all of my flush draws here. And on this board, a lot of our flush draw combos have the ability to turn additional equity (i.e., 78 or JT can turn a straight draw)

                One other thing - the reason that we need to bet turn if we bet flop is the board texture is such that there's no reason why we wouldn't be betting. If we are leading into the pre-flop raiser with our overpairs and 9x hands there is no reason why we wouldn't continue betting those hands on the turn. If our opponent is reasonably good (and I assume he is based on the OP description) he's likely going to release some of his weak pairs that may have called one street, which is a pretty significant part of his range. And even if we get played back at, our hand is still pretty strong with numerous outs to improve.
                Last edited by jpgiro; 04-16-2017, 08:53 PM.