Sunday, December 2, 2007

Overbetting for value

An interesting situation came up in Friday's single-table deepstack tournament, and it's something I'd like to canvass my vast readership (sarcasm is the best form of humour, no?) for feedback on. We'd reached the second level blinds of 100/200, and I'd chipped up a fair bit from the starting amount of 20K. I was comfortably in the chip lead and was playing well.

I was UTG with 86s. I opted to limp in (at other times I would deceptively open for a raise). A good solid player in middle position who had about a 25K stack put in a large 4x BB raise to 800. The button and the two blinds called the raise, as I recall, so I was reasonably happy to call as I was closing the action and getting very good odds (both 5:1 pot odds and great implied odds) on my call.

I hit a jackpot flop of 663 (with two hearts). The short-stacked SB comes out swinging with a 3K bet (leaving himself about 6K behind). The BB folds.

What do you do?

Since I knew the players fairly well, I definitely figured to have the best hand. I wanted to get the preflop raiser's entire stack in the middle of the pot, and I was sure, based on my read of him at the table and the preflop bet size which he'd used, that he was holding a premium hand: in other words, an overpair. I opted for the rapid all-in overbet for value, trying to make it appear as if I was making a move to buy the pot. This obviously put the preflop raiser's tournament life on the line. He agonized for a long while, announced that he wasn't a good enough player to lay his hand down, and called with pocket aces. Everyone else folded, we ran the turn and river, and my hand stood up for a massive pot.

Now, the more I've thought this over, the more I'm convinced I probably misplayed this situation. Overbets for value are a great tool to separate fools from their money, but I really gave the player holding AA here every reason to fold. It's more likely that I get more money in the pot, on average, by:

1) flat-calling the initial bet and re-raising if the aces come over the top with a flop raise; or
2) flat-calling the intial bet and jamming on any turn if the aces only call the flop in position; or
3) raising to approximately 8-9K, which gives the aces ample room to come over the top and trap themselves.

The one thing my overbet does do is to give off a false impression to the pocket aces that I'm trying to buy the pot. He has to have real doubt about whether or not I've truly outflopped him and is strongly motivated to call off his stack believing he still may have the best hand. After all, he has aces, doesn't he? I could be making this move with a range of hands that he has significant pot equity against, such as a pair + flush draw, an open-ended straight draw, or some other second-best hand such as kings or queens.

1 comment:

OhCaptain said...

My opinion is that overbetting for value is risky and also rarely works.

The only hands that really will call that bet, with most players, are very large over pairs and hands that have you beat (which then risks your whole stack).

In your case, sure, he called with aces, he had a hunch he was already beat which means some people will fold even aces here. The other problem, although not as likely, he could actually score an ace and you're almost drawing dead (one outers are kind of a bad bet). A flopped set with only one card in your hand is fairly risky.

Overbetting for value works best for me when you have the stone cold nuts, but someone else has either a big draw that won't will never beat your hand or you've been playing loose enough to get peolpe to chase you in hoping to catch your hand in the cookie drawer.

But its always fun when it works!