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AJo in the SB. Tricky stack size.

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  • AJo in the SB. Tricky stack size.

    $175 Weekly Casino Tournament

    45 left. 14 get paid.

    B - 800/1600 + 200
    P - SB (9 handed)
    S - 55k (34bb)
    H - AJo

    EP limps (a very weak and passive player, he has openly commented after limp folding how he was just trying to see flops with his suited Ax hand).

    HJ raises to 5k off a stack around 50k.

    This player seemed like a decent player. He has played somewhat on the snug side since I arrived at the table as he has been sitting under 30bb for most of the time. The only hand I saw him play was when he limped UTG. He ended up seeing a flop with the BB and got 2 streets of value and turned over AA. I was very active since arriving at the table attacking limpers and had a feeling he limped here to hopefully induce a raise. This made me lean towards him being knowledgeable about the game.

    It folds around to me in the SB.

    Whats your play?

  • #2
    I'm not intersted in playing AJo OOP against a bad player in EP and a decent one in position. If I thought the player in position would get the message my presence in the hand was to "collude" with him to get the soft players guys stack, I could flat intending to play pot control through the hand but absent of that read, I lean toward fold.

    It's possible that the in position guy could be raising wide intending to out play EP. In any case, continuing isn't a bad play just leaky.

    The read is a little suspect as well. The AA in the BB is missing a lot of important and available info not given here which could affect my feedback.
    Last edited by XBobLove; 04-16-2017, 01:09 PM.


    • #3
      i will lean toward folding , you see if flop open Axx what you do , most likely you check if villain 3 barrel you and put you all in you will have a hard time losing so much chip. even flop open J x x , we also might lose to QQ KK. i am quite conservative in tourney but i do good result. not that i wont play risky but not in this spot


      • #4
        I think AJo is probably towards the bottom of my calling range here. Our hand should do reasonably well (45-48%) against most HJ open ranges, and while we're not always going to realize our equity playing OOP we should do well enough to justify seeing a flop. With AJ, it also becomes less likely our opponent has premium hands like AA, AK, AQ or JJ. So calling is probably my default play.

        If I thought the HJ was particularly tight and/or the BB was prone to squeezing, then I can see folding being ok. But if we think we're getting to see a flop the vast majority of the time then I don't mind calling AJo here.


        • #5
          When the action folded to me I pretty much ruled out the limper as being strong since he had been limp folding all day and was open about it.

          Since I had limited reads on the Villain in the HJ I tightened up his opening range to around 13-14% of hands. He could be exploiting the habitual limper in EP with a marginal hand in this range or he could have a big hand. He has been snug, but then again he has been stuck around the 30bb stack for most of our time together. I also failed to mention he raised from EP earlier in the day and I 3-bet him in LP and got an insta fold out of him. So raise folding at this stack size was a possibility for him.

          AJo I think is right on the cutoff of calling here. I think it is also on the cutoff of raising as a bluff and folding...making this an interesting spot.

          I think all 3 options could be reasonable in this situation.

          I thought folding AJ was too weak at the time. However, reviewing the situation I think it may have been the right choice.

          I did not want to call and let the EP limper call and head 3 ways to a flop sitting OOP with a hand that could easily be dominated. I preferred to take the initiative or fold.

          This left me with raising as a bluff.

          The effective stack started the hand with 50k so it is right at the 10x guideline for jamming. However, I felt this was too risky and a little spewy against a player that I had no reads on how wide they opened.

          So I went with a very small raise. I think this is something I would do with a hand like AA or KK in this situation and my thought was I would either get a fold out of the bottom portion of his range or he will jam with the top portion of his range allowing me to fold.

          So I raised to 9k.

          EP limper insta-folded and Villain in the HJ jammed his chips in the middle very, very quickly. Announcing "all-in" with no thought. He appeared very happy to play for his stack and seemed very comfortable. Seeing him act was a bonus of the small raise that I did not consider at the time.

          When it folded back to me I had to call roughly 36k to win 100k (36%) .

          I went with my instincts and folded. I just did not think AJ was good against his range here.

          After thinking more about this hand I discovered that if we set our edge at 3-4% I would need 39-40% to call. So he would have to be jamming something like this (77+, AJs+, KJs+, AJo+, KQo). Almost 8% of hands to make this a profitable call.

          But is someone in small stakes really jamming AJo here or KJs? Maybe, I just don't know.

          Also I was unsure what, if any hands would be in his calling range of my 3 bet. So this may skew some things as well.

          I am not for sure if this play was +EV or not. Looking forward to some discussion on it.
          Last edited by JredA; 04-17-2017, 06:12 PM.


          • #6
            My thoughts:

            I think 3-betting here isn't bad, and we do want to have some bluffs here. AJo is at the bottom of a call range, so hands like those can't be too terrible as bluffs. I personally would much rather have some weak suited Ax hands to 3-bet/fold as those hands are clearly not good enough to call the HJ raise, whereas AJo is going to be probably no worse than 45%.

            So if our opponent is folding two-thirds of the time to our bet and jamming the other one-third (and we fold) it's a +EV play:

            (.67 * 9400) + (.33 * -14000) = 1678

            This, of course, doesn't take into account the small percentage of time our opponent might elect to flat our 3-bet. It also assumes that our opponent isn't raising a fairly narrow range from the HJ in which they intend to jam the majority of the range - in that case, we're in pretty marginal shape.

            Now with regards to calling preflop, it's trickier. AJo will flop top pair or better about 28% of the time, and if we include draws and middle pairs we can potentially continue about 45% of the time. So 55% of the time we'll likely have to fold on the flop assuming an automatic c-bet from our opponent.

            (.55 * -5000) = -2750

            I'm not sure how deeply I can go into the math, but my thought is that we should get enough value from the times we hit top pair or better (or make our draws and/or c/c down with middle pair) when we call the flop bet to make calling more profitable than 3-betting PF and folding, even though we would have to fold probably half the time.


            • #7
              I'm going out on a limb here and guess that villain shut the hand down because he didn't want to play you, didn't want to flip with you or that he thought there was softer prey out there. I think he could be much wider because his bet just continues his tale. All the same it's a fold.

              I'm not sure we can read anything useful in his jam, I do this all the time with marginal made hands against players I know will fold to a big bet. While your bet could be read as strong, the question is are you the type of player who min-raises monsters (read: play badly. Talk about this in a min)? If villain is a thinking player, he thought as you explained above and drew a different conclusion.

              A lot of players in forums like this are not aware of their reverse image so they explain a bet often followed by the words 'I was representing...' to which we all have to go back and figure out, is this bet really representing X? Quite often these bets stand out because any one of us are playing our game, betting on autopilot, then when these weird situations happen along we throw an odd bet in there and it rarely looks like the hand being represented.

              Given the assumption you are a solid balanced player, this bet is weird. You're reasons were solid for making it. Since I have no idea what's going on here all I'll advise is that in the future, make this OOP bet look like something you do often. That way, you are actually representing something you've done and villain will have to make a decision based on what he thinks your range is... that or he calls and turns over AA and we've leveled ourself into building a committing sized pot.


              • #8
                Really appreciate the discussion.

                What is going to be the expected affect of your small re-raise pre flop - original limper folds and the villain either calls or goes all-in. Given your min raise and the pot size I think it's very unlikely villain will fold even the bottom of his range. Villain is getting 5 : 1 pot odds to call.

                With A J out of position do you like either of the villain's probable responses? Unless you flop trips or two pair it will be difficult to play A J post flop.

                I believe folding A J is the best play here. With 34 bb remaining you will likely get much better opportunities to put your chips in the pot.


                • #9
                  NH. (Almost. Explanation below)

                  For those commenting on folding preflop, WTF? @!!@ Really. The HJ has a good spot to raise over a limper. It's standard MTT play. The HJ range is wide enough to play AJ against his range. Come on, stop nitting it up and play poker for goodness sake.

                  Being in the SB I like the raise. I don't like your sizing though. It is too small. You are in the small blind after all. You are happy when he folds. You are inviting him to call and play a pot in position which is what you don't want. I like at least 12.5k here, maybe 15k.

                  In position click back raises are different, but don't do it OOP.


                  • #10
                    With AJ against HJ isolation bet, it is either in the call range, or the very top of your folding range. If it is the very top of your folding range, you are supposed to 3bet bluff with it, so realistically, folding is definitely out of the question, unless the HJ raise is from a NIT. And OP does not give any indications that his read is that the HJ is a NIT.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jjpregler View Post
                      With AJ against HJ isolation bet, it is either in the call range, or the very top of your folding range. If it is the very top of your folding range, you are supposed to 3bet bluff with it, so realistically, folding is definitely out of the question, unless the HJ raise is from a NIT. And OP does not give any indications that his read is that the HJ is a NIT.
                      Accidentally deleted my reply, but basically I was saying I agree with you - this is a hand we generally should either call or 3-bet/bluff with.

                      I also agree that if we are going to bet, we want to bet a size that gives us a chance to get folds. While I appreciate 3-betting small to give the illusion of strength, we give our opponent to call with hands that we're certainly not doing great against.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jjpregler View Post
                        With AJ against HJ isolation bet, it is either in the call range, or the very top of your folding range. If it is the very top of your folding range, you are supposed to 3bet bluff with it, so realistically, folding is definitely out of the question, unless the HJ raise is from a NIT. And OP does not give any indications that his read is that the HJ is a NIT.
                        Against a good player (which I think this person was, he was definitely not your typical $175 local tournament casino player), I estimated a roughly 14% opening range.

                        Against this type of player and range %, my range looks something like this (give or take a few hands depending on the situation):

                        Click image for larger version

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                        AJo is right on the edge and you could make arguments for a 3 options here. Of course against a NIT, amateur, or most of the player pool in small stakes games, this could easily be a fold, but I had a read that this player was on a higher level than this which is why I chose the route I did.

                        I agree my sizing was an error and in the heat of the moment a leak of mine showed.

                        I was slightly afraid to go with my read that he could be opening this wide and was worried about my stack size and committing too much of my stack being OOP (@jjpregler, this is why I asked you a question in regards to bluffing at these stack sizes).

                        When the action folded to me there was 10k in the pot. My normal raise here would be between 3-4x the raise. Let's just go with 15k. If I raise to 15k there is now 25k in the pot. If villains jams there is 70k in the pot and I need to call 25k more. Meaning I only need 26%. Which means I am getting the correct odds to call off if I think he is jamming 99+, AK and AQs+. So a raise to this size means I should be going with it.

                        On the other hand if he flats there is 35k in the pot and the effective stack is 35k.

                        Any c-bet from me commits a large portion of my stack (let's say I only bet only 10k on the flop and he jams. I would need to call 25k to win 70k or 26%), if he jams I should be calling pretty much on most flops correct?

                        When I thought ahead, I was unsure what to do post flop with the awkward stack sizes. Which leads me to the question what do you guys plan on doing if you do raise here and:

                        A.) he jams
                        B.) he flats


                        • #13
                          OK, so let's disregard the fact that AJ is OOP and folding is distasteful to some. That's fine, different strokes, so they say.

                          So we our read is that UTG passive player likes stabbling with AX hands so his range is filled with some better AX and pairs, could he be limping with connectors or Broadway? Meh, unlikely but it's possible. So what is the tightish player in the CO raising with? Let's say the standard REG range, better AX, Broadway, reasonable pairs, better connectors. So as a reader first, if I call here, I'm going to assume my A is not likely to hit the flop, i'll be moving ahead based on J high pairs overkicker, and gutshot draws. Yippie! And we get to play it OOP! Woo Hoo! On the other hand we can get in at a discount and can figure on playing 3 ways so it will make a nice pot of 6k and on a few board textures maybe twice that but hard to think of a flop texture that gets the effective stack. (another reason to fold but not a significant factor)

                          So let's look at a bluff, out raise would be 15k so if it ISO's we hit the 3 SPR on the effective stack so we now risk an overhsove pre or delayed flop jam on some board textures.

                          So what size can we raise that makes sense? Bluff jam? OK, this is a viable line. Min raise? 2 ways makes 21k in the pot and sub 3 SPR pot, see above. 3 ways is the same but worse.

                          In conclusion, the only sensible options are a fold or bluff jam. I fold. IMO Our AXo is too weak against these players with consideration to the effective stack given our position.
                          Last edited by XBobLove; 04-21-2017, 02:38 PM.