playing monsters from early position

Playing Monsters From Early Position

New Online Poker Poker Strategy

In this post we are going to look at how we should be playing our big hands, we have looked at playing some tough spots in these hand reviews, but there are some finer points to learn even when we have really good hands when playing with deepstacks.

Queens From Early Position

Blinds $1/$2 in a cash game at the local Casino with fairly deep stacks, we start the hand with $400

UTG+1: Q♠ Q♥ Raises to $8
BTN: Calls $8

Flop: T♥ 4♥ 4♦

Hero: ?

This is a spot where we want to be betting at a pretty high frequency and what I mean by that is this board is pretty dry and only helps a few hands that are suited in hearts so we will want to bet this a high percentage of the time with nearly our entire range.

The question is which sizing do we use, well as you can see we have started the ball rolling with a 4x raise, now this is to get a big pot brewing from the start, in these loose casino cash games a good adjustment to make is to make your opening raises larger on very call heavy tables, this is an easy exploitation to get more value from these call happy players pre-flop.

As for the sizing on the flop, well we don’t have too much to protect from, so if we were in position we could do really small here, maybe even something like 25% pot, the idea of this is that it puts even really bad hands in a tough spot where they will want to call and might even make our opponent make the mistake of raising too.

This pot is a little different though, we need to size up a little here as we are out of position in the hand, so I don’t mind a bet of around 40-60% of the pot here to start getting value from all the worse hands that will call or float us.

UTG+1: Bets $10
Calls $10

Turn: 2♣

Hero: ?

We have a pretty similar line here, we want to bet fairly small here and allow worse hands that we have in trouble like any random hand with a Ten in it to continue, we also want to keep some flush draws hanging around if we can and give them the wrong price so we can make money on their calls in the long run.

UTG+1: Bets $20
Calls $20

River: 7♣

With the Final board reading: T♥ 4♥ 4♦ 2♣ 7♣ we don’t have too much to be scared of here, our opponent can only really have a hand like TT or A4s to have us beat here, I guess sometimes they might show up with a hand like 77 but that is a pretty hard hand to call two bets on this board with.

So now we just have the final decision to make, how much should we bet on the River?

I like betting a fairly small sizing again, we are not at the very top of our range or bluffing which is when we would want to make a polarizing bet of around pot or maybe even use an over-bet for those hands like K♥ Q♥, A♥ K♥

We would go huge with our value hands like T♣ T♠ or A♠ 4♠ so we are pretty much in the middle ground of our range here so I like to bet around half the pot in this spot and look to get value from a worse two pair type hand.

Hero: Bets $40
BTN: Raises to $160

Whoops, looks like we are in trouble here, our opponent is saying they’ve got us beat in a big way here, there’s no way they would do this with a worse two pair, so we need to figure out which bluffs we can beat here.

Well, our opponent could have some heart combinations which feasibly get to this River card, however, we do have the Q♥ so there aren’t a tonne of combinations of missed flushes, they could have A♥ J♥ or A♥ T♥ I can’t see them turning up with A♥ K♥ here too often as I think this 3-Bets pre-flop almost always.

So there’s pretty much only 2 bluffs that get to this River and our opponent could have all the remaining six combinations of TT, and the two remaining A4s combinations.

So when we just look at this from a bluff to value point of view that’s just 2 bluffs against 8 value combinations or 1:4.

So we need to be getting at least 4:1 on a call to make this correctly in the long run.

So let’s do a little math, we have to call $140 into a pot that will then total $419. That means we need to be right 33.41% of the time, but we need to be right 25% of the time to be getting the right price in this spot.

We make the fold and our opponent proudly shows that they did indeed have the flop top full house holding T♣ T♠ in their hand!

It’s important to remember not to be a hero in these spots, when the bluffs are rare try not to get too curious. It’s a much closer spot if we don’t block the Q♥ because there are a tonne more suited broadway combinations that could then bluff. So try and always think of which hands yours blocks when in the pot too.

AK suited from Early Position

Blinds $1/$2 in a cash game at the local Casino with fairly deep stacks, we start the hand with $400

UTG+1: A♠ K♠ Raises to $8

Flop: Q♣ J♣ J♥ 

BB: Checks
Hero: ?

A classic situation, we have raised with a huge hand, but not hit our ideal board and we need to get used to this because it’s going to happen around 2/3 times with this type of hand.

The good news for us is that we can get a tonne of hands that have a good share of the equity against our hand out of the pot right now with a C-Bet.

Hands like 2266 are going to have a tough time wanting to call a bet on this board and even hands as strong as 77TT whilst they will probably call at least one bet here they are going to run into difficulties as they could even get counterfeited.

So we choose to bet anything over half the pot here, we want to apply some pressure to hands like 98s and those small pairs that have decent equity that we can drive out with a nicely sized bet.

Hero: Bets $10
BB: Calls

Turn: A♥

BB: Checks

Hero: ?

A pretty good card for us we have just taken the lead against a huge portion of our opponents range when they call the Flop.

So how do we continue from this point, well I like to continue betting here, we are going to get value from all the flush draws and worse two pairs that our opponent can have. As this board is pretty wet at this point with the two flush draws now I like sizing up a little and going for a bet above the 60% mark.

Hero: Bets $25
BB: Calls

River: 7

BB: Bets $50

Hero: ?

Not a great run out for our hand here, we are now facing a pretty huge bet from our opponent and the flopped flush draw got there. The only real bluffs we beat are random back door flushes that missed but there aren’t a tonne of possible hands that match that bill.

We were already behind hands like QJ, JT, AJ etc and now we lose to any combination of two clubs in our opponent’s hand, the problem here is that our opponent is not often going to be savvy enough to turn a random hand into a bluff that has showdown value, this is nearly always heavily weighted towards being super strong in this spot.

I like folding here unless we have a read that our opponent is possibly some maniac bluffer that would turn a random hand into a bluff we are just going to get shown a flush or better here too often.

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