Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Hand of the Day: waiting for the turn to raise with a value hand

poker - $1 PL Hi (6 max) - Omaha Hi - 5 players Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

SB: 49 BB (VPIP: 56.56, PFR: 35.67, 3Bet Preflop: 18.88, Hands: 551)
BB: 127.72 BB (VPIP: 20.86, PFR: 16.32, 3Bet Preflop: 6.93, Hands: 1,283)
UTG: 205.99 BB (VPIP: 25.28, PFR: 16.53, 3Bet Preflop: 7.69, Hands: 7,557)
CO: 176.41 BB (VPIP: 39.85, PFR: 24.10, 3Bet Preflop: 8.94, Hands: 2,008)
Hero (BTN): 100 BB

SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB

Pre Flop: (pot: 1.5 BB) Hero has K A 3 Q

fold, CO raises to 3 BB, Hero calls 3 BB, SB calls 2.5 BB, fold

Flop: (10 BB, 3 players) Q 4 K
SB bets 7.12 BB, CO calls 7.12 BB, Hero calls 7.12 BB

Turn: (31.36 BB, 3 players) 3
SB bets 29.8 BB, CO calls 29.8 BB, Hero raises to 89.88 BB and is all-in, SB calls 9.08 BB and is all-in, fold

River: (138.92 BB, 2 players) Q

SB shows 6 T J 6 (Two Pair, Queens and Sixes) (Pre 48%, Flop 38%, Turn 23%)
Hero shows K A 3 Q (Full House, Queens full of Kings) (Pre 52%, Flop 62%, Turn 78%)
Hero wins 0 BB
Hero wins 135.92 BB

This hand is being posted to illustrate a very simply concept, waiting to raise a vulnerable value hand in PLO.  I think one of the biggest mistakes I found myself making early in my PLO career was raising nut hands on the flop without redraws.  Things like dry top set on a two tone board with a possible wrap, or the nut straight on a two flush board without a redraw to a higher straight.  There are three major reasons why you don't want to always be potting flopped nuts when you don't have a redraw:

1)  on turns and rivers that aren't blanks (and in PLO blanks are rare) you will have very low visibility (visibility - understanding how your hand performs against your opponents range/hand).  That means you will be stuck either checking and turning your hand face up, or betting and hoping your opponents haven't sucked out on you.  Not a very +EV situation.
2) you will unbalance your ranges.  If you're always raising the top of your value range on the flop you will create turn and river ranges that are only medium to weak bluff catchers.  This will encourage opponents to correctly barrel you in lots of spots where you might have the best hand, or might have equity, but you certainly don't feel great about it.  Once you show up with a nutted turn hand that can raise a few times you will find that people slow down their betting and barreling frequencies against you.  Also when you do raise and an opponent continues they're likely to have a very strong hand or draw, thus you'll have a tougher time getting value on later streets.  You've essentially tightened your opponents ranges to hands with very strong equity, which reduces the profitability of your hand on later streets.
3) you may run into the same hand with a redraw.  This is obviously an equity disaster for you.

In the above hand I'm almost positive I have the best hand on the flop.  However I know that if I raise the flop any spade, 4, 9, T. J, or A is going to be bad for me on the turn.  If I flat my opponent will likely barrel a blank with hands like AA with the NFD, or wraps.  Then I can pot the turn and safely get the money in as an equity favorite.  If I pot the flop the only things that are going to continue will likely have a minimum of 38% equity against me and will be able to play perfectly on the turn.  If they miss or the board pairs they x/f, if they hit they can lead or go for a x/r and I'm effed.

for people coming from a NL background I think this is a pretty important lesson that will help you avoid putting in a lot of money only to see a turn card and start mumbling obscenities.

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