Isolating on the flop
At a $1/2 home game last night.
Villain #1 (I’ll refer to him as “Jason”) is prone to big swings in the way he plays. Sometimes nitty, other times very loose and/or aggressive, easily tilted. In MP, he min-raises to $4. Another player has been doing the same thing at this table, and it should not be interpreted as strictly weak.
Villain #2 (I’ll refer to him as “Matt”) is a young kid, very loose, not overly aggressive. He calls in the CO seat.
I have T9o in the SB and call. There are a couple other callers.
Flop ($20): Th 9s 6h.
The good: flopped top 2 pair.
The bad: flush draw, possible straight already. I could be dead already, and a lot of cards (any heart, any K, Q, J, 8 or 7) are going to make this difficult. Middle pocket pairs can easily call pre-flop, so I could also run into something like a set of 66’s.
I lead out for $13. There are a lot of hands I can get value from, including flush draws, top pairs, OESDs like QJ or J8, pair + gut shots like T8, T7, 98, 97 or 76.
Jason raises to $30. Given that he was the pre-flop raiser, this defines his hand much better. His most likely range is over pairs (JJ+) and top pair (AT, KT). After his raise, Jason has about $50-55 remaining.
Matt calls $30. He has a little over $200 remaining and I have him slightly covered. His range looks very drawy to me. He could have virtually any flush draw and some of the pair + gut shots.
Everybody else has folded. The action comes back to me. What to do?
When all else fails, I have to trust my reads. The small size of Jason’s pre-flop raise makes it easy for a very wide range of callers. I’ve played enough with Jason to feel pretty good about my read on him. Matt is harder to figure, and also much deeper.
So let’s turn this around. Suppose Matt has a hand that beats me, either a set or flopped straight. How would he play it? With my bet and Jason’s raise, he doesn’t have to worry about losing us if he re-raises, so there is good reason to be aggressive. With the flush draw out there, playing this passively by just flat-calling would be ill-advised. I think Matt is a good enough player to punish the draws with a hand that beats my top two pair. Since he flats, my read is that he mostly likely has a draw himself.
So I go all-in. If I’m right about Jason, he won’t fold as his stack is too short. I’d like to isolate him and make it too expensive for Matt to chase a draw.
Jason calls. Matt folds, but holds his cards rather than tossing them into the muck.
Jason has QQ. The turn is the 4h. Now Matt turns over his Ah 7h, which would have made a nut flush had I let him stay in. The river is a brick and my two pair holds up.
Got this one right. I’m going to post this on 2+2 and see what the “experts” have to say.