Two underpair versus an overpair

My favorite hand of the night at my last game at the Factory was in fact one I lost, but I loved it, and it caused me to do some analysis that shows what a great opportunity it is. 

The host of the game (who reads this blog) and I were in a hand together.  He raised to $3 before the flop in early position and I did the standard evaluation of his possible range of hands.  We’ve played about 4-5 hours together recently, and I know he can raise here with any pair from 66 to AA, and any Ace or King with a kicker down to Jack.  I called with 64s, knowing that:

  1. I could win the pot by bluffing at an overcard if he had a lower pair or missed the flop entirely.  I’ve also got a good read on his bad habit of bluff-betting AK to the river when it misses entirely, so I could smell that too.
  2. I could easily fold the hand if I completely missed the flop because 64s is a crap hand.
  3. I might catch something (trips, a flush, straight, or their draws, or even two pair).

The pot is now $6.25.

Depending on what I had and how he bet the flop (I had position on him) I had a lot of opportunities to win the hand.  The flop came 6c4cKd.  He made a strong bet of $5.  Combined with his body language, I smelled AK, not a set Kings or AA or QQ.  I thought about the two pair I had, and his attitude, and concluded that not only did I have the best hand, but he couldn’t lay his hand down.  My math is not good enough to compute exactly how much of a favorite I was on the spot, but I knew I had an edge.  Did I have big edge?  Enough to shove $40 into an $11 pot?  Wasn’t that Bradley’s mistake that I just castigated him about?

Actually, since I’m playing at extremely low stakes, I didn’t care.  The volatility won’t cause me to tilt and post about it on my blog calling myself a donkey.  What’s more I was an overwhelming favorite at 71% v 28%, not the small edge like 1-2% in Bradley’s situation.  I pushed, he predictably called.  He was unhappy to see my better hand, but he hit a King to draw out on me and stacked my chips.

I did not tilt, I rebought and played smartly, eliminating the last chips from two players and ending the night up $20.

The stakes are low enough, and we’re both friendly enough that the obvious thing to do was to immediately pull up and do the analysis.  I knew I was an underdog before the hand and that I was a favorite after the flop, but how big?  The 71% to 28% favorite was the surprise.   60% vs 40% I would have guessed, but that’s not big enough. 

Later on, that opportunity came up again, and I played it similarly against another player and won most of his stack.  The thing to remember about this situation for future exploitation is that the range of hands can easily include a set on the part of the other player, and if he has a set, I might be entirely drawing dead.  Against really tough players, the two underpair will need to be laid down or not played at all.

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