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Poker Life – Let’s Analyse a Hand

Fri, May 19, 9:06am by Poker Guru

Suppose you have pocket tens on the button and the blinds are 10 and 20. You raise to 60 pre-flop and is called by the Big Blind. The flop is 8-7-2 rainbow and the Big Blind checks. You bet 80 into the 130 pot and the Big Blind reraises to 250. Do you call?

This is a pretty straightforward decision but some important information is missing. First of all, is this a cash game or a tournament? If it is a tournament, where are we in the tournament and what is the prize structure? But OK, let us say it is a cash game.

Next question is how deep our stacks are. You have invested seven big blinds so far. How much do you have left? You are more likely to call the shorter stack you have. Do you have 10, 50, 100 or 200 big blinds left? And how about your opponent? Let assume you have 100 Big Blinds left and your opponent has more than you. I said that you are more likely to call with a short stack. Does that mean it is an automatic fold with 100 big blinds? No.

Do we have enough information now? No, we don’t. Let us try to put your opponent on a hand range and to do that we need to gather information about him. What do you know about his style? He is obviously familiar with the concept of check-raising. Have you seen him do that before and with what hand? How about pre-flop? Does he reraise a lot pre-flop? Would he have reraised pre-flop with top hands like high pocket pairs? Would he have done it with suited connectors sometimes? If he is completely new to you, what does he look like? Is he properly dressed? How old is he? Sometimes a person who dress conservatively will also play conservatively. It is far from a 100% tell but it is better than nothing.

Let us say he is quite a competent and tricky player at the local poker club. What hands could he have? Let us start by listing the hands that are a big favourite against you: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 88, 77, 22 and 87. All these hands are in his range. AA/KK/QQ are unlikely because he did not reraise pre-flop. Keep that in mind. The only hand you are a big favourite against is 99, and then you are a small favourite against hands like T9 and 65. Please note that since you are holding two tens yourself, T9 becomes 50% less probable. Then you are also a big favourite against pure bluffs like KQ or A5. There are clearly more hands that beat you and in those cases you only have two outs. Therefore, in this situation, this is a fold.


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