What Does Britney Spears And My Opponent Have In Common?

Johnny Cash is singing in the background. My session is going great, just came home from the gym and so far I’ve played godlike poker.

I get dealt KK and raise it to a standard 3.5BB in the CO. My opponent who is too loose and too passive calls in the small blind. He plays around 50% of his hands and only raises 10% of them. He is also one of the reasons I am at this table ;-)

The flop comes Q32

Looks good I thought, he is very unlikely to have hit that flop hard. My friend checks and calls my 3/4ths pot bet.

Turn is 3

Now he pots it. The things going through my head at this point were:

  • Does he have a hand that beats me?
  • What is he want me to think?
  • What does he want to accomplish?

The first thing I do is start with hands that beat me. Does it make sense for him to have QQ, 33, 22, 3x? First of all, I think he re-raises pre-flop with QQ so I can pretty much rule it out. Also on the flop he would bet out or check-raise with his sets or twopairs to protect from draws. So I was not particularly worried about sets.

He could have slowplayed pocket aces but that is again very unlikely. A hand that could make sense for him would be something like 43 or A3.

Let’s get to hands I beat. What kind of hand plays like this? Well every draw out there is in his range at this point, as are any queen and some weirdly played pocket pairs.

In My Mind I Went Like This…

Hands I beat: Qx, medium pocket pairs (~40% of the time), flush draws, 45, 56, A5, A4 and add 5-10% chance he can have a random hand or a hand I didn’t count in since he is a loose player.

Hands that beat me: A3, 43 are pretty much the only ones that make sense.

What Does He Want Me To Think?

What I thought at the time was that he was saying “I bet big, you should fold”. His betting made no sense for a made hand wanting to get value. It felt more as a bet to scare me out.

He wants me to believe he has a big hand when in fact he wants me to fold was my psychological analysis of the situation.

The River

Is a safe 9 and he pots it again. Hmm, all the draws missed and I still believe that the only hands he could have that beat me are A3, 43, maybe even 53 but would he bet the for the full pot? Wouldn’t he want to get value out of those and not scare away what looks like a KQish hand for me?

I have to be right about 33% of the time calling a pot bet. If I input what I believe his hand-range is into Poker Stove.

His range: 22,33,53,43, AX spades (except AQ, A9 and A2), JTss-87s

Now notice that I gave him a few more hands than I thought he had. I gave him two sets and 53. Also I was very generous with the draws that I beat, I didn’t even put in the straight draws!

And do you know the equity I have vs. this range? My equity is 43.59% and I need 32-33%!

I didn’t know these numbers at the table but I had a feeling I had to call. So I did and he flipped up 45 for the missed open ender.

So what does Britney Spears and my opponent have in common? They are both unstable ;-)

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