A hand at Harrah’s $1/$2 NL: Answer and question #2

Here’s the continuation of the previous hand analysis, "How should he play his 44?"

Pushing or re-raising is completely out.  With two raisers in the pot his fours are almost certainly dominated by a big pair or a slight underdog in a coin flip to unpaired overcards.  So the applicable question seems to be fold or call and hope that I don’t reopen the betting to make this whole thing more expensive.  In my opinion, I fold the 44 here.  If I call it, I feel that I’m just tossing $15 into the wind.  Sure, I might hit a set, but there are cheaper ways to hit that set.  Here’s the argument for calling.

The pot is offering him 2.6 to 1.  Hitting his set is at least 7 to 1, so it doesn’t make any sense to call this without considering implied odds.  If he hits his set on the flop, he’ll need one person to stay in the pot with him with a second best hand.  Around the table he knows his opponents have between $270 and $330 available, making the total potential pot odds $310 to $370, or a range from 20 to 1 all the way up to about 24 to 1.  There’s a chance that his opponent may also hit a higher set, but even if you discount half the odds, 10 to 1 is still good enough to call.

Note that I think this strategy works because the pair of fours is easy to get away from emotionally.  The flop, if it misses him, will almost certainly contain three overcards, defining his hand clearly as the weakest one at the table.  Even if it comes J 9 8, even a weak holding of AJ or JT is crushing him, and he can easily release the hand.

He explained to me later that the above described logic, complete with ease of a flop fold, was his thought process.  I like his play, though not for my own low-variance game.  Let’s look at the next question.   I’ll restate the action:

I wake up with red queens in early position and I raise it immediately to $7.  For this table that’s a notable raise.  $11 is the high end.  Seats 4 and 5 fold.  Seat 6 makes it $15 to go with about $275 left.  He’s slightly unhappy with the fact that he’s only about $30 up for the night.  He’s sober and has been stealing small pots with $10 bets on raggedy flops all night.  Something about this raise seems unusual.  He’s likely to get callers, but with what is he holding that makes a min raise correct?

Seat 8 cold calls the raise.  Seat 8 is a talented and very drunk player.  His tight aggressive game while drunk is better than mine sober. I’ve been watching him steal small pots all night, as well as smelling traps and folding.  He has about $270 after calling the raise.  I think this is a loose call on his part, as his MO is about stealing the pot when the flop misses everyone.  He has position on the raiser (me).

Seat 9 folds, and Seat 10 (the button) looks down at his cards at a pair of red fours.  His stack is about $250.  He is a generally tight player who is terrifying in that he’ll pay big to draw, which means it’s dangerous to give him free cards.  I do not think this is a good habit.  He also plays his good hands strongly, forcing you to pay heavily to draw against him, which is a good habit.  He’s not drinking.  Everything about him suggests he’s a talented player, very comfortable thinking through his decisions before acting.  He’s not a young aggro, but about 35 or 40, accomplished, and completely in control of his game.

Seat 10 cold calls the raise with his red fours.  The blinds both fold.  There is $55 in the pot and it’s $8 more to me.  I can fold, call, or re-open the betting with a raise.

Question #2: The pot stands at $55, offering me about 7 to 1 as I consider seeing a flop with three other players.  I have $330 more and every player covered.   What should I do?