Posted by Dr Fro 6:49 PM
From the mailbag:
To: Doctor Fro
Date: March 20, 2006
Subject: Hand Analysis
I am in the BB and see a flop for free with Q 7 offsuit. Flop comes down Q7X, with 2 hearts. I bet $20 into a $15 pot, "Bubba" raises to $50 and a third player folds. At this point I put him on something like a flush draw or a Q with a good kicker. I don’t put him on a set because I think he would slow-play it, but I could be wrong. He is known for betting on the come. Turn is a non-heart A, and we both check. River is a heart, and I bet $60, and Bubba raises me the minimum. Last time I bet into Bubba out of position with a scary board and he raised me, he had the goods (a boat that time against my two pair). I laid it down because my two pair were very vulnerable and because of his prior actions against me.
Take me thru this hand the way you would have played it or the best way to have played it. I am terrible at playing hands out of the blinds and hate to get in too deep because of lack of position.
Since he didn't bet pre-flop, I'll immediately rule out QQ...
On the flop: I'd do the same as you did, betting $20. When he raised, I would put most anybody on a set, but Bubba loves to raise on the come. I'd call.
On the turn: I'd take the same tact here and bet. If he is on the draw, he'll probably call. If he re-raises on this street, this would be the only time I'd consider laying down to the possible set. I could make an argument for a lot of ways to play this turn, and when you are out of position, it is really hard to figure out what is right. Although I don't consider your check ideal, I don't think it is all that wrong either. You certainly found out he was on a draw with the way you played it and that information is valuable.
On the river: Assuming the previous streets played out the way they did (and not as I say above), I would definitely check. At this point he really really looks like he has a flush (why else would he check the turn?). If he bets, you would likely fold unless it is quite cheap. Given the previous decisions made, you were probably right to lay down on the end, as that just screams "made flush". But I would never have bet the river in the first place. What could he possibly hold that would call and lose?
In summary, you flopped top two pair and feel like you should get paid off. But it is a crappy top two pair and you are out of position, so you are really not in a very good situation from the get-go. I think the overall strategy is to
1) bet in a manner to feel out if your opponent is going for a flush.
2) if he does NOT have a flush draw then you must assume you are behind to the set and that if you boat up, you will have a higher boat than he and will get paid off wildly. The 84% of the time you don't make a boat, you either lose the hand or win very little. In other words, you are basically on a draw (to the boat). Play accordingly after the feeler bet.
3) If he is on the flush draw, the worst thing to do is to bet when the flush is made.