Half-stack facing min-raise with middle pair

chip_hoggchip_hogg Red Chipper Posts: 66 ✭✭
Recently on vacation, I had a chance to revisit the first live card room I ever played at: then known as the Daytona Beach Kennel Club and Poker Room, in the summer of 2016. In my ignorance, I had played a $30 + $5 turbo tournament, and I was looking forward to playing it again, purely for nostalgic reasons. I also brought another $200 to play some cash afterwards. I ended up getting only 4 hours of sleep, but I'd been looking forward to coming back here for months, and I'm not about to be dissuaded!

It's a Wednesday afternoon, and I've been playing cash for around an orbit after busting. I've put $100 on the table and am up to $107 after a successful C-bet in the only hand I've played. Despite the poor sleep, I'm doing pretty well cognitively: calm, untilted, and thinking straight (and aware of the limitations from the lack of sleep).

Villain appears to be a $1/$2 reg. Friendly, chatty, and never misses an opportunity to explain his strategy after the hand. For example:
- I don't remember the preflop action, but the flop had 2 kings. Villain calls a multiway $10 flop bet from the player on his right, a middle-aged asian lady. The turn bricks, and Villain calls a $15 bet. The river bricks again, and the asian lady checks. Villain bets $50, she turns her K9o face-up, says she "has to" call, and does, losing to his KJ. Villain says, "I knew you had a king -- it's the only thing that made sense. My only question was how good your kicker was. When you checked the river, I knew it wasn't that good, so I bet."
- Another player makes a fairly big open-raise preflop, and villain calls. The flop is 9-high and disconnected, and villain leads out for 2/3 pot. The open-raiser makes a fairly hefty shove (~pot-sized?), and the villain folds, turning a 9 face-up. (The open-raiser ends up showing KK.)

So, yeah -- villain loves to share info about his strategy.

In this hand, I'm in the hijack with :KS: :JS:. I open-raise to $12, villain calls on the button, and one of the blinds calls. Pot is in the low $30s.

The flop comes :QH: :JH: :5C:. BB checks. I think, and cut out a $20 bet, then trade a red chip for a $2 to make it $17. Villain makes a min-raise with a cherry on top to $35, and the BB folds. Villain covers and I have $78.

What's your play here?

Half-stack facing min-raise with middle pair

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  • chip_hoggchip_hogg Red Chipper Posts: 66 ✭✭
    Also -- feel free to discuss your reasoning!
  • kenaceskenaces Red Chipper Posts: 1,136 ✭✭✭✭
    I didn't vote because I don't bet the flop.
  • chip_hoggchip_hogg Red Chipper Posts: 66 ✭✭
    Fair enough. I think checking is a good play too, and I suspect the EV is comparable to betting. I'm not sure what's the best way to approach this situation out of position.

    Feel free to vote "as played".
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • chip_hoggchip_hogg Red Chipper Posts: 66 ✭✭
    Good question. Why does one bet?
    1. To get better hands to fold.
      • lol nope!
    2. To get worse hands to call.
      • I expect to get called by flush draws, open-enders, worse middle pairs, and pocket pairs below top pairs. So this is one good thing that can happen by betting.
    3. To deny equity.
      • Hands with significant equity that might fold: gutshots, ace-high (drawing to the ace), bottom pair (drawing to trips/two pair). In retrospect, this is not a whole lot, and I don't think equity denial should be a huge motivating factor to C-bet in this spot.

    But I flatter myself that I bet for a reason. :) In the moment, sure, I believe I was indeed thinking of some combination of value from the draws that won't fold, and denial for the draws that would. But as sleep deprived as I was, there honestly wasn't a whole lot of thought that went into the bet.
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 3,280 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 16
    So a couple things are revealed by your analysis:

    There are worse hands that can call, and they are primarily draws or hand that can't take two streets of betting.

    However, the primary draws with nut equity will never be denied by a bet of any normal size.

    Extrapolating, you have now put in this bet with the expectation of being forced to call against a range that either beats you or has significant equity against you, or to fold out what rates to be often ahead.

    In other words, on the spectrum of choices to wager, you've made a questionable choice. The middle of the range on a drawing board is very hard to lay a price on and trends inefficient.
  • jeffncjeffnc Red Chipper Posts: 4,039 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The hand isn't so much about position, it's about stack size, and yours makes this very awkward. You put in over 10% of your stack preflop. I'm calling the pot $35. The SPR is now 2.7. You should consider your next move carefully because it commits you to the hand. Therefore this poll question should not even exist. The question is, is this hand worth committing on the flop?

    You bet $17. We first say villain calls. That puts $69 in the pot, and you have $75 behind. Villain raises $18 now. If you called that there would be $105 in the pot and you have $57. This is why no one is voting for a call. But shoving is no fun either. Therefore, don't bet the flop :) Hand planning.

    Preflop raise was fine (with your stack you could also make it less). Short stack poker is about big cards (yes) and flopping top pair or overpair (no). As Obi Wan Kenobi once said as he waved his hand, "This is not the flop you're looking for."
  • LeChiffreLeChiffre Red Chipper Posts: 140 ✭✭
    So should he be check-calling reasonably-sized bets on the flop instead?

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