So here in california they have baby no limit: $100 maximum buyin, with $1-$1-$2 blinds. (The ‘dealer’ pays the extra dollar). I decided to play it today and did pretty well. Sadly one mistake can lose your stack in no limit, and I made one doozie. I’m glossing over the hand or two I played really well because I think I have more to learn from this one. Here it is.
i was in the big blind with a pair of tens and a $160 stack. It was raised to $8 by a very solid, tight player in middle position with $450. Two people in late position called and I made my first decision. Try and raise them all out? Raise and isolate just one player? The table is pretty aggressive, I’d seen four people call a $16 pre flop raise just to try and chase down another player.
The problem with middle pairs like tens is that they are unlikely to improve on the flop, but so many other hands will. The raggedy ace, the King-Jack, Queen-Jack, Ace-anything all are likely to improve and pull ahead of you. Your options for tens is to either win the hand pre flop, or hope for a low flop so you have the overpair. I decided, wrongly, that it was pointless to re-raise and I just called the $8 and saw the flop with a pot of $32.
The flop came Jack-Nine-Jack and I was first to act. I concluded that if everyone missed the flop, I could take it down with my tens. I also thought that if anyone had a nine, I was getting action for sure. So I bet out $20. My solid and tight opponent thought and raised it to $40, the minimum raise. I completely overlooked that detail, but I sat and thought. In limit hold’em I could call here, and sadly, that’s what I did. I should have considered the implication of this minimum raise.
The turn came another nine and I felt strongly (as opposed to using anything resembling analytics) that my opponent was bluffing, despite the fact that he doesn’t do that. I bet $75 and he put me all in. Foolishly I called. Can you guess what he had? Jack Nine, though that behavior would have fit Jack-anything. With a looser player he could have had a Nine. I, of course, had neither and he dragged the $350+ monsterpotten.
My mistakes are obvious so I won’t ask you what I should have done. Instead, let’s talk about the ranges I would have been up against had I played it differently.
Question: Assuming I made a sizable raise pre-flop and got a caller, what is the range of hands I should expect to be up against on the flop? What’s the loose range vs. the tight range?
Question: When I get raised on the flop, what are the hands I can assume I’m up against? What hands can I reasonably continue with?