Facing min-raise on paired flop in 3-bet pot

The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 781 ✭✭✭
This mess is my attempt at playing a balanced strategy (loosely based on Miller's 1%).

I think the turn is a disaster (I probably took the worst of all options ?), but I am more interested in views on is earlier streets.

My 3 bet range is JJ+, AQs+, AKo+, 45s-9Ts. I am c-betting AA, KK, trips and some back door flush draws. My actual hand also has 3 to a straight, so should be in my c-bet range based on that criteria. Trouble is, when I get min-raised, I need to call ~58% of the time to avoid my opponent being able to raise any two cards. Apart from the overpairs and trips, the rest of my c-betting range is backdoor draws with very little equity.

My main questions are:
- I always assumed a dry flop like this was good for the 3-bettor and negated the value of position. Is this correct ?
- Is this a board I should be checking my entire range ?
- If I am going to c-bet, is betting overcards better than betting back door draws here ? Is this because of the SPR, or something else ?
- I assume I should be shoving the turn if I pick up a backdoor draw here, but what am I representing that wouldn't just get it in on the flop ?


Cassava Poker $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players - View hand 2872029
DeucesCracked Poker Videos Hand History Converter

Hero (SB): $8.26
BB: $13.38
UTG: $14.63
UTG+1: $3.44
MP1: $12.25
MP2: $24.09
CO: $14.94
BTN: $22.24

Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is SB with 9 :heart: 8 :heart:
4 folds, CO raises to $0.30, 1 fold, Hero raises to $1, 1 fold, CO calls $0.70

Flop: ($2.10) T :spade: T :heart: 5 :diamond: (2 players)
Hero bets $1.20, CO raises to $2.40, Hero calls $1.20

Turn: ($6.90) J :diamond: (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $2.60, Hero raises to $4.86, CO calls $2.26

River: ($16.62) 4 :spade: (2 players)


  • FilthyCasualFilthyCasual Red Chipper Posts: 871 ✭✭✭
    edited February 2016
    If you aren't sure that your villains mistake is folding too frequently, I think checking this flop is fine. It shouldn't be hitting either range that hard, but the villain would have more 10s in their bet / call range. I think I actually prefer checking, and just check/shove or check/fold with the 4 SPR.

    I'd rather be betting overcards because of the spr. Backdoor are sneaky, and can be beneficial when they hit, but their value is a lot more of implied odds. If you are pot committed and 70% of your stack is already invested, you can't really extract extra value from the draw when it hits, and that extra value from being deeper stacked is required to make it a profitable draw.

    Oh yeah, and backdoor FD/SD on a paired board I personally lean towards just letting the hand go. Maybe it's monsters under the bed that I see, but only time a lot of money goes into the middle is when the villain is particularly sticky with trips(which definitely can happen) or when I draw my way into a boat.

    What range do you put the villain on when they min raise flop? Are you expecting any folds on the turn raise? I agree, turn action is probably the biggest mistake and worst option. Feels a lot like "Eff it, if I hit, I hit."
  • The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 781 ✭✭✭
    Thanks FilthyCasual.

    One of the main reasons I decided to develop a balanced/"GTO" strategy is so I didn't have to hand read (which I always sucked at). Ironically focussing my time and effort on understanding my own range has massively improved my ability to read my opponents hands.

    My strategy is to only change my line if I am very confident I have identified an exploitable tendency, and in this case I didn't have a strong view on whether villain made calling or folding mistakes.

    I see this move from weak to medium strength pairs, presumably hoping to find out where they're at. So I would assume a range of trips and all pocket pairs (except maybe QQ and KK say). I think if I lead the turn with a shove I might fold out some of the pairs (which I'm obviously behind) but the check raise probably less so.

    I usually prefer back door draws to high cards for c-betting is because the equity is more "robust" - high cards might be drawing dead against pocket aces (or in this case trip tens), but a backdoor draw will beat both if it hits (and obviously neither will beat a full house if that's what I'm up against). Also, high cards have much better showdown value, so I prefer as a check-call.

    Once I faced the min-raise, I only had back-door draws and no overcards in my range. The question is, in the absence of better draws should I be calling the min-raise with backdoor draws, or should I be folding and giving villain a profitable raise with any-two-cards ? And if this is the case, should I be adding this min-raise move to my arsenal ?

  • Rello242Rello242 Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 595 ✭✭
    My personal thing is while I don't mind the raise on the flop, on the turn we are either betting or folding IMO, a second check-raise really isn't needed where a bet could accomplish the same thing or better in most cases.

    Another thing to consider is people who bet really small have good odds to continue to most raises unless it's like shoves or something. If you check what someone correct calling ranges suppose to look like, you'll notice that they are just shaving off a few bottom equity hands, which still doesn't really accomplishes much for what you would like to happen, being bluff (more folds) or value (more money in the middle).


    "Its better to give than to receive, so bet more and call less"
    Check out my HUSNG Graph: Chips-Results
    Follow All the Action On My Blog: www.rello242.blogspot.com
  • evpropevprop Red Chipper Posts: 62 ✭✭

    I am playing 10nl also and I dont have 98s in my 3bet range here, its just a fold for me.
    Playing GTO is something I am missing from my study, I just dont see the need for it at these stakes imo, heck im just trying to stick to my predefined ranges and not get too loosey goosey or out of line lol.

    If i was in this spot I check overpairs, bet hands that are simply just trying to take the dry flop down that have very little equity, i am never calling the min raise.

    At 10nl almost no one is going to realise that if you dont call X% of the time they can min raise you with any two cards?

    98s got you into trouble, better spots to use suited connectors.
  • The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 781 ✭✭✭
    evprop, I agree and I disagree.

    You've right, balance is not necessary at 10NL. Most players won't be able to identify the auto profit spots. I want to be one of those who can.

    If my goal was short term profits with low variance, then I would just play tight straightforward poker. My goal is to learn how to play in a way that won't need to be changed as I move up the stakes, even if I leave a little money on the table now. I don't see GTO as "out of line", if anything it is the opposite.

    Interested to know, do you 3-bet light ? If you don't have suited connectors in your 3-bet range in blinds vs late position, what do you use ? I like suited connectors because I think blockers are less meaningful in a wide range situation, and the suited connectors gives me good opportunities to barrel post flop. Sure it will get me into trouble occasionally, but not as often as you'd think.
  • evpropevprop Red Chipper Posts: 62 ✭✭
    I was thinking that long term goal was the reason for why you are building up your GTO play etc, which is great, in reference to getting out of line, i was purely speaking of my own game, I will get onto GTO im sure in the future and perhaps I will understand more.

    Yes I use blockers in my 3bet range.
    I believe anyone can go down the path that is right for them and I sincerely hope you do well, +ev for me to pick your brain on here lol, for me I want short term gains for now as I want to eventually get a coach, but with my current roll I cant afford that, so I am thinking maybe i can build up a decent enough roll to re invest in myself further down the road.

    I do believe tho that understanding GTO is a must "eventually"
    Unless you guys here completely disagree and GTO is a must thing I should be learning right now??
    I dont know for sure.

    One of the main reasons I decided to develop a balanced/"GTO" strategy is so I didn't have to hand read (which I always sucked at). Ironically focussing my time and effort on understanding my own range has massively improved my ability to read my opponents hands.

    This i didnt know, how does it make it so that you dont have to hand read?
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,002 ✭✭✭✭✭
    "Game theory" would likely dictate you fold 98hh while approaching shortstacked because the opener only needs to call or 4bet approximately 30% of the time as a profitable defend and now this hand is nearly unplayable from OOP. This is why players tend to use blockers rather than highly speculative hands in these positions for light bets: there is no information in your holding that would indicate villain has a folding hand, and once the SPR is impossible a blocker which can make top pair is more valuable than a hand that might be good after committing to seeing all streets.
  • The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 781 ✭✭✭
    evprop, thanks. I think there are far better brains to pick on the forum, but hopefully I can find enough of the right questions that we can all benefit from them.

    Essentially GTO is based on calling and bluffing at the right frequencies based on bet sizing. If executed properly it should be at least break even before rake regardless of your opponents strategy, and will be profitable if they are making any GTO errors - therefore I can make money without any hand reading. Understanding your opponents strategy (including hand reading) will obviously be more profitable, but given my limited study time/motivation I am choosing to focus on the unexploitable (GTO) part this year and will focus on the exploitative (hand reading etc.) part next year.

    I think I understand why suited connectors fall in value as a bluff raise as stack depth gets shorter, and I assume conversely should increase in value as stack depth increases. I have 83BB here, and an SPR on the flop of about 3.5 - are you suggesting that is too short ? Is there a point at which you will switch to 3-betting with suited connectors ?

    I ran some numbers and in button vs blinds I don't think having an ace blocker increases fold percentage that much (about 3% relative based on my assumptions - for comparison it was 13% for button vs UTG). The more noticeable effect was equity when called - with no ace blocker, your opponents continuing range is much more ace heavy, but with suited connectors you are blocking the weaker parts of their range. Given the main purpose of the light 3-bet is to get folds straight away, I can live with this and personally prefer the playability of the suited connectors if called.

    Getting back to the original question, if my 3 bet range was JJ+, AQs+, AKo+, A2s-A7s:
    - Should I be checking this board with my whole range ?
    - If I am c-betting, am I better off using unpaired high cards (AQs and AK) to the wheel aces with a back door flush as bluffs to balance ?
    - If I am choosing back-door flush draws to balance my value c-bets, should I be folding all these to a min-raise (giving my opponent a profitable raise with a2c) or do I call with some of the better draws ? I do see that with the Ace I have much better equity using this range.

  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,002 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Few things worth talking about:
    1. On a 4 SPR flop, where is the playability of suited connectors?
    2. I think that definition of GTO is going to get you into trouble.
    3. In order to approach "optimized" you need to trend toward having a portion of your range that does something of everything, because that way all actions have some semblance of balance, but in general, yes, this board favors a cbet - which is one reason you don't want to end up with nine high and no where to go. Villain should almost always be calling in a 3 bet pot because his three bet range should be inclined toward showdown.
    4. In a greater sense, though, it doesn't matter and you can always rearrange your hands to account for what you want to do - you can use 98s as part of complete air here over the long term, or you can have a x/f range, or whatever you want to do; however, there is no doubt that being deeper will reward this hand and others like it more than three betting it OOP, and that is my essential point. For instance, you could three bet A9s here but call with 98s, keeping the spr playable. Do this, and you are using the nines in your distribution in a more sensical way, as calling with A9s is poor.
  • The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 781 ✭✭✭
    Thanks Persuadeo. Sorry to keep coming back, but given what you are suggesting is the opposite of what I am currently doing I really want to understand what you are saying.

    When I think of the playability of the various candidates for my 3-bet bluffing range (suited connectors, suited high cards, baby pairs, two high cards not good enough to call)
    a) none are good on this board;
    b) I expect that the suited connectors will provide better draws to bluff on most runouts. On a 4 SPR flop I can still fire two pot sized barrels, or three half pot barrels so there is still room to move.

    I would fold A9s in this spot, but in the big blind I would call A9s and raise the 89s. Isn't A9s too strong a hand to turn into a 3-bet bluff in a blind vs late position battle ? And not strong enough to bet for value ?

    I had it beaten into me on other forums early on, don't play suited connectors out of position without the betting lead. I also recall reading somewhere (an Ed Miller book I believe) that to play suited connectors correctly you need to look for opportunities to bluff with them. If this is correct, am I not better off having the betting initiative to start with ? I get that this hand plays better with a higher SPR, but it also plays better with the initiative. Are you saying the higher SPR is the more important of the two considerations ?

    Your point that villain is likely to call more on this board in a 3-bet pot is a good one I hadn't considered. Wouldn't that make it a worse board to c-bet bluff, and if I am trying to be balanced then I would be betting less for value also ? Even so, I would still have bluffed this hand - with back door straight and flush potential I should be able to continue firing on a lot of turn cards. I'm not sure I'd be any more comfortable with Ace high after getting called on the flop - I think I'm still behind everything, and possibly am dominated if I hit my ace.

    Finally, regarding your comments on my GTO definition, can you tell me what is it that you think will get me into trouble ? I want to work out if it's my understanding of the concept that is wrong, or my attempt to explain it to evprop (who, if you're reading, I recommend getting a proper definition from somewhere).

    I would say my goal was playing "balanced" rather then "optimal". I'm not suggesting that playing balanced renders hand reading unnecessary or unimportant, it clearly is essential for any good player.

  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,002 ✭✭✭✭✭
    1. A9 is even harder to play from the blinds as a flat than 98. Just look at how it hits boards and suffers from domination. As for three betting 98 as a solution, you're going to flop an 8 out draw about 1 in 9 times, yet you are planning a hand that will have room for two or three bets maximum. Think about that.

    2. Initiative is different in single raised pots than in 3 bet pots, so I am not arguing that point.

    3. Villain should be calling in three bet pots fairly often, yes, so what hands do you want in an SPR 4 pot against someone inclined to showdown? We'll play a little game where i'll chose Ax and Kx, and I'll give you 9x and 8x, then tally the results.

    4. "Essentially GTO is based on calling and bluffing at the right frequencies based on bet sizing." This is the problematic part, and I only seize on it because it is relevant to your hand and games. Using frequencies is an execution of the concept, not the theory itself. No one can create an equilibrium strategy that ignores fundamentals of the game, in this case, position and effective stacks.

    Overall, your issue is that you are stuck in 100 bb games, which is to say, not deep. Your road to a tough strategy will start by coping with this fact.
  • Rello242Rello242 Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 595 ✭✭
    This is actually getting interesting now, so here is my point of view to some things: both persuadeo and colldav know I'm interested in more optimal play this year. Colldav as i always stated what i do is probably getting close to gto but not gto itself... And the thing here is using bet sizing for right frequencies is more of a ground for what is right or wrong on a break even platform which purpose is to help the exploitative aspect of the game. So gto has a few more complex stuff in the mix since it requires range construction to be nearly perfect to a certain degree and as all the information out there stated there is still no perfect solution. Keep that in mind.. But your mentality for wanting to learn optimal game is not wrong it will indeed make exploitation so much easier as i been figuring out...

    The 3bet situation is a bit touchy and bias for me and the situation... Colldav i already sent you the full detail about this from a skype session i had with some other fellow players a while back...

    There is merit in playing both so for sure I'll say i dont hate the 3bet with 98s, especially in a tougher field such as online since we can get hands like K8 & J9 to fold & play a more capped range that has less 9x 8x if we are expecting to go post a chunk of the time. We should though focus on basic necessities of the 3bet and figure out if we are getting enough folds first. By default vs someone who we don't have much info against i rather use blockers in the sense of simplicity and premium blockers and no history as stated in my message to you colldav a while back, once we start looking at those dynamics and villain expanding his range, etc. then i would hate having Axs in my bluffing range under the assumptions that while we are blocking some of his value we are also blocking some his bluffs as well, which increases our chances of running into pairs and all that.... Its a dynamical situation and in these situations is when suited connectors become the choice because of the basic necessity of the folds pre and easy decisions postflop where as Axs is a bit more tricky to play in these situations.

    The last key here really is to point out something persuadeo said with Kx Ax vs 9x 8x .... These two against each other on a simple equity run its a no brainer and this might be the sole reason why i pick Ax in a more default & dynamicless situation. Once you start thinking about the dynamic of the game, blinds preferably (actually these are where these dynamics consist of like 90% of the time) then considering both playability from fold equity to imply odds of hands, which ones you think you play better in these situations?

    I failed to really answer like this the first time because i felt like i knew nothing about the dymamic but for sure the arguement about suited connectors and suited Axs as it starts to unfolds, is one that always had my interest like instantly.

    "Its better to give than to receive, so bet more and call less"
    Check out my HUSNG Graph: Chips-Results
    Follow All the Action On My Blog: www.rello242.blogspot.com
  • persuadeopersuadeo Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 4,002 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I doubt anyone hates the three bet with 98ss. The question is what we are leaning toward as better long term in this situation, with approximately 100 bbs.

    For instance, let's switch and play my little game with the magic spr 13. Now we like 9x and 8x a lot more, right? And if it's in position? No contest.

    I think one counterargument to what I am saying is that we can should use smaller sizings in three bet pots (but often don't, as in OP's hand), so that my SPR concerns are lessened.

    However, the real glory of 3 betting A9s and not 98s is that we can 5 bet jam profitably and with information, but if we are doing this with suited connectors, we are probably doing it too often and without any blocker information for it to be as good.

  • Rello242Rello242 Red Chipper, Table Captain Posts: 595 ✭✭
    edited March 2016
    Now things are spicing up :) ok so I'm going to play villain here for a bit.

    In position to a deeper spr... You win that, honestly, in position i like playing more post than 3betting light by far but thats just me....

    Online usually opens from late are much more smaller which leaves alot more room for all of this dynamical situation...

    Honestly a shove with A9s and suited connectors can be profitable once it boils down to fold equity, while i totally agree with your point... Lets take my counter measurement and say we are both in a dynamical situation where i know you who prefers Axs in your bluffing range to balance out your typical value range. The blocker theory works 2 ways more than anything here because if you 4bet me and i jam with A9s, combo wise when we think about all the AA and AK hands we are blocking it seems like gold for us, but what about those Axs you are bluffing with? Me and couple guys a while back ran some situations to this where it showed that while blocking Ax hands you want to get it in with is by far king but we sacrifice blocking Your Ax bluffing hands which is by far not good. It should balance out pretty close though but the thing is while it does, the pair combos which least effected percentages in the range goes up. Little typical situations but one that could make a difference in a dynamical situation in the long run.

    However the worse thing to consider really is do i want to be starting a 3bet 4bet war with A9s when your bluffing A6s etc? It might be a good bluff in terms of playability and etc going post one, but you folding A6s to my jam with A9s when it occasionally happens then... It gets you thinking... Now if your shoving A9s into a range that looks like AK AA and bluffing range looks like suited connectors then forget having a better hand your blocking premiums is gold and you dont suffer in blocking bluffing combos because your holding an Ace... My arguement here is by default players choose Ax to bluff with wether it be good players or bad more than often... In a "perfect" balanced range with Axs to balance out QQ+/AKo/AKs you actually block more of his bluffs than value.. I illustrated this point in a message to colldav a while back... But it doesnt make suited connectors a godly hand to bluff thats for sure since we suffer less equity to begin with but for your unpaired combos unless your willing to call off A9s and some of those weaker Axs i get to enjoy more combos to fold in your range. However, the person who gets to 5bet shove if you were bluffing with Axs vs my suited connectors gains the edge....

    The thing where suited connectors really gets to shine is in spots where your not always 4betting or 5betting but your actually flatting some portion of your range. In a situation where i realize my implied odds equity im more likely to get you to commit if i hit big vs you are likely to get me commit if you hit big. Remember Axs increases the chances of running into paired combos. The other thing is your going to hit your pair more than I'll hit a big hand. The downside to it, is when facing heat when you hit how often are you good? Vs when i face heat when i hit? The thing here when it comes to the suited connectors vs Axs topic is suited connectors are a bit more fit for multiple situations that can happen... Now if we are keeping things on a simple base term of only raising or folding... While its close I still prefer Ax... A dynamical situation is something that is beyond just preflop... If you want to see what i mean then maybe we should have a heads up match or play some short handed games where we can experience that dynamic.. However, without that dynamic im less incline to just tell anybody choose suited connectors, and more than likely especially in your 6max games you'll have some dynamics for sure in today's game. Its a bit sticky for sticky situation here.

    So bottom line is i actually agree with you, but what i am implying is there actually is a time where suited connectors are more useful if recognized. Like i said before by default i go with Ax once we start pushing the chips back and forward I'm changing my bluffing range. I'm probably one of the few along with a group of guys i skyper with at the time that actually decided that having 2 ranges is probably a good thing overall. I think alot of it just has to do about the other half of the info we was lacking to shine light on the complete situation. Thats why me being someone who only used suited connectors coming up in my earlier years can sit here and tell you yes by default Axs suited is the way to go.


    "Its better to give than to receive, so bet more and call less"
    Check out my HUSNG Graph: Chips-Results
    Follow All the Action On My Blog: www.rello242.blogspot.com
  • The MuleThe Mule Red Chipper Posts: 781 ✭✭✭
    Hey Rello, I was thinking about that Skype conversation when this thread started heading down the road of Which Hands to 3-Bet. Persuadeo has raised some of the key points from that, specifically that suited connectors are better with increased stack depth, and Ax hands are better for 5-bet jamming. I think the point about Axs blocking bluffs also applies to late position vs blinds, where late position raisers probably have a lot of Aces they will fold to a 3 bet. This is part of the reason I chose to 3-bet suited connectors over suited aces.

    I think we are all in agreement that suited connectors improve as a choice for a 3-bet bluff with deeper stacks. In the extreme where there is nothing behind, I would be shoving an ace before a suited connector every time. I guess this discussion is really about at what point it becomes better to switch to 3-betting suited connectors, if at all, and how that's decided. For me the ability to make 3 reasonable size bluffs/semibluffs post-flop seems like a good way to set that threshold, but as you allude to Persuadeo, the dynamics of 3-bet pots (both in terms of initiative and propensity to call down) will impact how effectively semibluffs work in these pots, and I'm not good enough at this point to really understand how much I need to adjust my strategy for this (but I think I understand the direction).

    A few other points that I think lower the threshold of switching to suited connectors in the games I play:
    - As Rello says, online opening sizes are often lower, particularly from late position (not the case in the example above obviously).
    - 4 bets are very rare and always for value (I'm the only one who I've ever seen silly enough to 4-bet bluff, and it got rammed back down my throat). There is never a need to 5-bet bluff.
    - With suited connectors I actually flop a 8+ out draw ~20% of the time, and a weak pair ~33% of the time. If I'm only betting half pot bets, I think I need ~1 bluff for every 3 value hands, so I should have enough strong draws on most flop textures (TT5 rainbow being an obvious exception). It shouldn't really matter that my folding range is full if 8 and 9 high crap.

    Finally regarding GTO, I believe I understand game theory pretty well. It's the execution of the concept in poker play where I'm first to admit I have a steep learning curve. I have requested more videos on exactly this topic, and I'd encourage anyone interested to do the same (there's a number of good ones on the site already).


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