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Thread: High pockets with paired board

  1. #1
    AD325 is offline Junior Member
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    Default High pockets with paired board

    I've been devastated this month by paired boards on the flop when holding high pockets (JJ+).

    on 2 occasions, Villain was holding something like Q10s or 910s and hit trip 9s or 10s on the board. I tried to protect my hand with all ins and got snap called and crushed.

    I guess the same question could be asked of any heads up scenario where you're holding high pockets and the board is wet and coordinated.

    What's the correct procedure, in and out of position?

    - bet more preflop?
    - check the flop?
    - fold to a raise?
    Dennis
    very amateur live cash-gamer, Seoul, Korea

  2. #2
    bambini's Avatar
    bambini is offline Senior Member
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    This is a big and complex question. One of the things you'll hear a lot on this forum (and any other poker discussion board) is "it depends". Hell, I might even change my sig to "it depends".

    All poker depends on numerous factors, so there are no "correct procedures". However, let me give you an overview of the factors to consider when playing these hands.

    First up, pre-flop. You should almost always be raising 3x the BB preflop. If you're someone has already opened the betting and have a large pocket pair (TT or above) you should be prepared to 3-bet that person - usually a raise of between 2.5x to 3x their bet. You're aim is to make it unwise for your opponent to play the hand with QTs or something.

    The bit where "it depends" is what you know about your opponents. Are they tight or loose? Are they the kind of players who, once they decide to play a hand, will call any 3-bet just to see the flop? These are all worth considering.

    On the flop, with a paired board, you need to consider a number of factors. Paired flops are tricky beasts. On the one hand, it's less likely that your opponents have hit the flop. For example, if the board is AJ6, then any opponent with an ace, jack or 6 will have improved their hand - 9 possible cards. If the board is A66, then only an ace or 6 will have hit. As a result, paired boards are great boards for c-betting.

    Here's where it gets tricky though. With a paired board, while your opponent is more likely to have missed, the opponents that have hit have a strong hand - either 2-pair, a set, a full house or quads. So you have to tread carefully with a paired board when you have pocket pairs, because if you're opponent has hit then you're likely to be beat. Of course it depends. it depends on what the board looks like for a start. Having JJ then the board comes up 664 is much better than having JJ when the board comes up AKK for obvious reasons. Sometimes opponents like to get cute and try to rep a monster like a full house, so this is where your knowledge of your opponents come in.

    Broadly speaking, I tend to play the sorts of spot you've described by c-betting about half the pot and then folding or slowing down if I am called and (probably) folding if I'm raised. If they call, they likely have a 2-pair or so, or they're slow-playing a monster. If they raise then they probably have a set or better.

    I was slightly worried to hear that you "protect your hand with all-ins". I suppose it depends on stack sizes, but (for reasons described above) when it comes to paired flops you're often faced with either a flop your opponent has missed (in which case a 1/2 pot bet will get them to fold) or it's a hand where you are likely to be beat. Don't risk all your chips in these spots because eventually you'll come unstuck. And if you ARE going to risk all your chips, then go all in before the flop.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

  3. #3
    RyckyRych's Avatar
    RyckyRych is offline Retired Micro Grinder
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    Post a hand where this has happened and we can all discuss it. Some situations are different than others.
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    Queso's Avatar
    Queso is offline Check To The Possible
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    Bambini makes a great point-- in situations where you are WAWB (Way Ahead or Way Behind), you're only going to get called by the hand that beats you. So "shoving all in to protect your hand" with JJ makes zero sense on a paired flop because only higher pockets and trips are going to call.

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    AD325 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the advice guys! Yeah, I think my amateurish play has often used the All-in as a form of brutish "my gun is bigger than yours" tactic. And it has not served me well at all! Definitely, I think my problem has been to raise too little preflop, making it worthwhile for marginal starting hands to call and see a flop and hit trips on paired boards. I often buy-in as the short stack in ring games. In Seoul, there is no buy-in limit, so many guys will buy in for 1 or 2 grand for a 1-2 cash game. I figured that it's easy to play when short stacked against these guys, not realizing that for them to call my all-in is peanuts in comparison.

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    bambini's Avatar
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    A 3xBB preflop raise should be standard. Some advocate for 3xBBs plus 1 BB for every limper, but personally I don't like that as I find it bloats the pot a little. I may make a 4xBB if there are a couple of limpers and I'm out of position, however.

    When you say you buy in as the short stack, how much do you buy in for? I'd recommend buying in for 100BBs as a minimum for cash games. You can't play good poker with too little cash. And if you're finding that your deep-stacked opponents are calling too much, then your only option is to tighten right up and wait for that monster hand to clean them out :)
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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    AD325 is offline Junior Member
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    The tricky thing about the casino in Seoul, apart from the unlimited buy-in amount, is that they only use 1 dollar and 5 dollar chips. The 1 dollar chips are mostly used for blinds, and only blinds. That means almost no one raises a mere 6 bucks when they open with a hand. That amount would certainly keep all the limpers in. I would say the average raise for those who wake up with high pockets is 20-25 bucks - that's 10 to 12BB - scary! I've recently been buying in 100BB (200 bucks), which for these tables tends to be quite short stacked.
    Dennis
    very amateur live cash-gamer, Seoul, Korea

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    RyckyRych's Avatar
    RyckyRych is offline Retired Micro Grinder
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    If you are raising with what you feel is the best hand, don't you want a bigger pot? Of course, too many cooks spoil the stew so by raising with the extra 1BB per limper you generally deny those spec hands a better price. Of course, it depends on the table. 3x might be enough to make your point, other times you may need to go stronger.
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    Tim's Avatar
    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by AD325 View Post
    I tried to protect my hand with all ins and got snap called and crushed.
    I'm glad to see that the guys have already stated that 'protecting your hand' like this is seldom the best strategy. Remember that in poker you want to bet an amount that maximizes how much you can win, but importantly, also minimizes how much you can lose.

  10. #10
    bambini's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AD325 View Post
    The tricky thing about the casino in Seoul, apart from the unlimited buy-in amount, is that they only use 1 dollar and 5 dollar chips. The 1 dollar chips are mostly used for blinds, and only blinds. That means almost no one raises a mere 6 bucks when they open with a hand. That amount would certainly keep all the limpers in. I would say the average raise for those who wake up with high pockets is 20-25 bucks - that's 10 to 12BB - scary! I've recently been buying in 100BB (200 bucks), which for these tables tends to be quite short stacked.
    Wow. That's quite a strange game. Is 10-12BBs the standard raise? It's quite an unforgiving game if you are having to commit so much of your stack to see the flop. The good news about hyperaggressive games is that there's a lot of money to be had. The bad news is that there's also a lot of variance. Personally, I'd look for another table but if you can stomach it then your best bet is to tighten right up. You'll get the occasional suckout but if your bankroll can handle it then your wins will make up for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RyckyRych View Post
    If you are raising with what you feel is the best hand, don't you want a bigger pot? Of course, too many cooks spoil the stew so by raising with the extra 1BB per limper you generally deny those spec hands a better price. Of course, it depends on the table. 3x might be enough to make your point, other times you may need to go stronger.
    It's something I've played around with without much success. Maybe it's the tables I play. I repeatedly find that once a guy limps he will almost always call a raise, regardless of sizing. For example, the blinds are at 1/2 and I have 3 limpers. I make a 6x raise. Even if one guy folds, I'm facing a 19BB pot three ways. If I have AA then that's fine, but I'm not terribly happy doing that with ATs. I dunno. Maybe I need to tighten up more when there are lots of limpers.

    Also, sorry for the threadjack - happy to take this discussion to a new thread if you want me to, AD325.
    "Never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city" - Coach Finstock, Teen Wolf

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