A Fishtastic Feeding Frenzy

5/10 Texas hold Em

New Player in the cut-off posts 10 cents, the button disconnects, and play begins 8 handed.
Under the Gun +1 limps in, folds to cut-off who checks, the small blind completes and the big blind checks.
Pot is now 40 cents.

Flop is 7 Clubs, 10 of Spades and 5 of clubs. The blinds both check, utg+1 min-raises to 10 cents, the cut-off calls and both blinds fold.
Pot is now 60 cents.

Turn is the Ace of Hearts. Both players check, pot remains 60 cents.

River is the 8 of diamonds.

UTG+1 raises 60 cents.
Cut-off hesitates, then raises to 2.40.
UTG+! thinks, then raises all in.
Cut-off calls the last 2.83.

Now, the board is 7C, 10S, 5C, AH, and 8D. What could each player have?

On the 5/10 level, a limp from early position is often a trap with Kings or Aces, though many other times it is a small pocket pair, a suited ace, a dry ace, or even suited connectors.

Coming in paying to see flops from the cut-off is by definition a weak play. The problem with being a blind is you have to put chips in the pot without knowing what cards you hold. Checking it with one limper and 2 players to act certainly indicates no strength either, and he could literally have any two cards.

The blinds folded at the first sign of interest in the pot, so it is safe to assume they had sub-standard hands.

First, lets play it through from the eyes of the UTG player.

He picks up pocket 8s. There are 2 big blinds and a small blind already in, the table has seen lots of limping, and the button is disconnected. Hand values go up slightly therefore.

If he can see a flop getting 4-to-1 odds, he is still taking the worst of it, particularly out of position, but if he is disciplined and lays them down if someone raises or if he misses the flop then it might not be a brutally bad play but it is pretty weak for sure.

Flop 7C, 10S, 5C
The blinds check to UTG. Only one player behind him who has two random cards and entered the pot involuntarily. He may or may not have some random hand that the flop hit but it is likely the 8s are the best hand. A raise to see where he stands seems reasonable...but a min-raise?

He is offering 5 to one odds and expressing weakness. This is a horrific bet. At his level, with a player who has already shown he is somewhat loose by his early entry, the cut-off is going to call with any Ace, suited or not, if he hit any part of that flop or has even the most ridiculous of draws, perhaps even any 2 face cards. So really, a min-raise will tell the UTG nothing about his hand, eliminating only hands that you want to hit like 2/7.

So the cut-off calls, telling you nothing about his hand, the blinds fold, and now the pot is 60 cents.

The turn is Ah. On the bright side, it did not complete the flush draw. On the dark side, it it a lot of hands that the cut-off might have called with and, if he was playing 2 face cards, gives him an inside straight draw. Not good odds...but you figure he might play them. You check, and he checks behind. Did he miss it?

The river is beautiful...the 8D. It completes no draws. Unless he was slow-playing pocket aces or pocket 10s or holding specifically J/9 you have a lock on the hand and now you need to figure out how to get your last 5.23 in the pot when there is only 60 cents in there.

Previously you min-raised. Now you raise the pot, 60 cents.

For the first time, your opponent takes some time to think it over. Then he raises you to 2.40. This seems good.

After all, you have shown no strength in the entire hand. The 8 seems very nonthreatening. He could have something like A/5, A/7, or A/10 and have hit 2 pair. Or maybe he has an 7. If he held 4/6 then he hit a straight, but that is an unlikely holding. You can rule out the pocket Aces with a great deal of certainty. Everything is coming up roses. Raise to all-in and hope he calls.

Now to look at it from the cut-off position.

You have had a rough night away from the tables and sat down on tilt. People sucked out on a couple of ridiculous draws, taking down your pocket aces with A/9 off-suit and with A/5suited. You know you are on tilt and should not be playing.

The table has been checking to the big blind, so you take a calculated gamble one off the button and pay into the blinds. Then the button disconnects, so in effect you limped from the button. You pick up J/9o, a truly weak hand.

Under the Gun+1 limps, folds to you. That limp represents weakness most of the time, but there is no point to raising here...if he re-raises you will have to fold and you already wasted a blind by buying in at this point. Happily, the small blind completes and the big blind checks. You take a flop 4 handed and with position.

Flop 7C, 10S, 5C.
A complete blank. You hope everyone checks and you can take one off looking to hit your inside straight. The blinds follow the plan and the UTG player then min-raises.

This is bad because he could easily be playing a suited Ace where one of these cards hit his kicker, he could be semi-bluffing on a flush draw, or might even have hit a set of some sort.

However, the min-raise is offering 5-1, the limp pre-flop followed by a min-raise after 2 checks feels like a pot-steal. So there are 2 ways to play it:
1) re-raise about the pot, trying to take it down with air.
2) call, planning to raise if he checks the turn and a scare card hits.

With 2 players behind you, both with random hands that might have hit, you decide to call, planning to raise the turn regardless of what card comes.

Both blinds fold and you take the turn heads up with 60 cents in the pot.

The turn card is perfect, the Ace of hearts. He checks. Time to bet and take down the pot...but wait...what if he had an Ace and is slow-paying you? Bet or check?

The entire reason you called the flop was for this situation. Doing anything other than betting is the wrong play. A half-pot bet should let you know exactly where you stand. If he is truly as weak as he appears, you will get away with your weak pre-flop and flop play. If he actually has something, he will likely raise you and if he just calls, you will at least get one more shot at your ridiculous inside straight draw.

Remember, there are only 4 cards that complete it, and one of them also completes the flush. Though the flush is unlikely, it is certainly possible enough to call your outs maybe 3-1/2, giving you roughly 7% to hit your hand, meaning you need about 14-1 pot odds to call anything he raises you.

You weakly check. Bad, bad play.

And it is promptly rewarded when the river gives you the absolute nuts, the 8 Diamonds. You can only hope it gave the opponent enough to call your raise.

It does better, he comes out raising to the size of the pot.

That is a curious amount giving his pre-flop limp, flop min-raise, and turn check. A quick look at the flush, no full house, no higher straights. He must have the Ace or 2 pair.

How much to raise? There is 1.20 in the pot, he raised the pot, so re-raising the pot to 2.40 seems about right. Hopefully he will call.

And he does.

Show-down; the UTG loses with his river set of 8s to the river straight of the cut-off.

Sadly, I was the UTG and think I played this hand about as poorly as I could. No question I was on tilt. On the flop, I did not even really consider the inside straight. I read him for weakness, believed any face card or ace on the turn would win the pot for me, and called his raise based on that. Then, when the perfect card hit, I checked as I switched my thinking to "I bought the card, might as well see if I can get lucky and hit my straight."

I actually thought he had something like a dry Ace or perhaps some suited connectors and that even the Jacks might be outs. If I hit any 8, 9 or Jack I would call his river bet assuming he stayed true to form and bet small, so the 5-1 pot odds I called were reasonable when I did not know what he had. I thought I had 10 outs and was about 4.7-1 against, getting 5-1 to hit my hand with implied odds much, much higher.

Of course, once I knew what he actually had, the math changed a bit. He held 2 of my outs so I only had 8, slightly worse than 6-1 against and if I hit a 9 or jack, he was unlikely to call so no implied odds.

I played the hand very, very poorly and need to remember hands like this so I do not play this way. Just because it worked out for me this time does not mean it was anything other than a huge, huge mistake.