THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: On Things That Feel Simply Fabulous - Part 1

Friday, November 04, 2005

On Things That Feel Simply Fabulous - Part 1

There's just something special about hitting a set with a low or middle pair in hold'em. I know it's just math that does it (you will flop a set about twelve percent of the time when you are dealt a wired pair for your hole cards). But it's definitely one of the best feelings in poker. If you're so inclined, it can give you a real (undeserved) sense of accomplishment. It can make you think you are clairvoyant sometimes.

One thing that I think contributes to making it such a wonderful feeling is the surprise factor inherent in the situation. When you've flopped a set, you've got a great secret. You've got just an absolutely wonderful surprise (from your point of view) for anybody who is unlucky enough to be in the pot with an overpair or top pair with a good kicker. Flopping a set with low or middle pair is generally a very profitable situation to be in. Just make sure the price is right before the flop to try for it. Of course.


Blogger Chris said...

I like when I have toilet cards (maybe a 2/4) in the hole on one of the blinds and I flop the wheel. That is generally quite profitable as well.

11:12 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

Yes, that is fun. Considerably less likely! ;-)

Also note I think you should generally be folding a 2/4 or other "toilet cards" when you're in the small blind.

11:14 AM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

generally you should....but dammit, if they are suited it always looks so tempting. If the blinds are small, I say give it a shot and hope the big blind just calls - if a big raise follows by the big blind, dump and run.

12:47 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

Talking about LIMIT poker ...

Plenty of plays that look tempting are mathematically incorrect. Plays that look mathematically incorrect should not be made.

In terms of this specific topic (calling with trash from the small blind), here's my analysis.

First, if it's just you and the big blind:

(1) The baby trash hand is significantly worse than the average hand. So putting in 50% of the money before the flop (for purposes of this example, it doesn't matter whether the big blind raises or not) is not play with negative financial expectation.

(2) If you hit a straight with the baby trash, it is unlikely your opponent will give you any action unless he has hit something. And even then if there's a bunch of straight cards on the board he probably won't give you too much action (it would be a rare - but ideal - opponent who would cap raises on the expensive streets with an overpair to a board that could make a wheel).

(3) If you make a wheel, you can lose to a guy holding a 6 or a guy making a higher flush or a full house. Opponents who stay in for action on the flop or turn might be drawing for those kinds of hands.

Second, if there are lots of limpers in the pot: Your pot odds may be considerably approved and since you're only in for half a bet it is a closer choice whether you take a shot. But I don't like it because you making a good hand is so improbable. And if you make a good hand you will not get much action unless it's from somebody who can beat you. If you flop a baby flush, for example, you are hugely vulnerable to a fourth flush card on the turn or the river. Or one of your many opponents may have made a bigger flush than you on the flop.

The simple truth is that you should be folding trash on the small blind.

1:54 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous FD said...

back to your original post: make sure that you have the right price to play a small pair. i'm starting to come to the conclusion that you rarely do. 2 outs or you're probably going to have the worst hand. i still often call just to see the flop but i'm often folding since my hand so unlikely to improve. Game, what do you think?

2:26 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

FD - I agree with you completely.

I have actually started folding even up to pocket 7s if nobody else has come into the pot and I'm in say up to 4th or even 5th position. Otherwise I raise. But I hate raising with a medium pocket pair, because somebody with two overcards will call, you won't hit your set, and at least one overcard will come on the flop and then what do you do? If you're first to act, you lead out, but then if your opponent calls and another overcard comes on the turn what do you do? Bet again? No. Check and fold? Probably. So that's an expensive way to play a pair of 7s.

Note I think I play "weak-tight," though most of the time. I'm trying to change that.

2:34 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

Oh, and if there are enough people in the hand for you to try to catch your set and you don't catch your set on the flop, yes, you have to check and fold on the flop. It is bankroll suicide to call even one small bet on the flop to try to hit your two-outer on the turn. Not too many pots will support 22-1 odds. (Although if 6 people were in for 3 bets before the flop - not that uncommon at some sites and limits - maybe you'd have the right odds for it.)

2:36 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Limit is for sissies.

3:42 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger garrett said...

I thought you were talking about no-limit, there, tough guy. But if it's just you and the big blind, I don't even there's remotely good enough implied odds in no-limit to justify calling from the small blind with a baby trash hand.

But keep playing it, please!

3:45 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Farm Dog is a sissy.

3:59 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Doc said...

Only suckers buck the tiger, the odds are all on the house.

5:41 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Smokewagon said...

It's like I'm sittin here playing cards with my brothers kids or somthing, you nerve wracking sons a bitches.

5:42 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Doc said...

Why Ed, you look about ready to burst.

5:43 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Doc said...

Maybe poker's just not your game.

I know, lets have a spelling contest!

5:43 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous Doc said...

Why Ike, does this mean that we are not friends?

If I thought that we were not friends, I just don't think I could bear it.

5:44 PM, November 04, 2005  
Anonymous doc said...

Come darling, lets seek our entertainment elsewhere.

5:45 PM, November 04, 2005  
Blogger The Velvet Fog said...

Well, I'm off to this hipster doofus martini party.

Perhaps if I get enough vodka in me, I'll bless the hosts of said party with an upper decker.

I think that they would like that.

5:47 PM, November 04, 2005  

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