How many times to I have to tell you?
In this case, “you” is actually myself.
Last winter, Bill Hubbard showed me some data on live cash games, where a villain raises or check-raises on the flop. A majority of the time, when there is a flop raise or check-raise by a villain who was not the pre-flop aggressor, said villain has 2-pair or better (2-pair plus, or 2P+. According to the data, bluffs and semi-bluffs are surprisingly rare at the lower stakes, but raises or check-raises with top pair or an over-pair are fairly common (just not as common as 2P+).
For example, last night I was playing in a local home game, with blinds of $1/2. With AK0, I raise to $10 and there are 3 callers. The flop is AT3cc (two clubs). It is checked to me, and I have top pair, top kicker (TPTK), a very good result for my hand. I bet $24. I can expect calls by Ax with a weaker kicker, drawing hands like flush draws or some Broadway gut shots, and some more speculative calls by Tx hands who are not convinced by my C-bet that I hit this flop.
The the guy in one of the blinds (I’ll call him “Rob”) check-raises to $55 and the others fold. Back to me.
I’ve played with Rob a lot. He calls pre-flop raises from any position with a very wide range. He is capable of bluffing in a wide range of situations, although I’ve picked off enough of his bluffs that he should be somewhat reticent to try this with me. Nevertheless, he could make this play with Ax and a weaker kicker, or with a flush draw. And certainly with 2-pair or sets, given the draws that are out there. His range starts so wide, it is always hard to figure out what he is doing.
He has about $115 more behind and I have him easily covered.
On the one hand, I should just fold. Once Rob likes his hand, he also likes to fire multiple barrels, and the based on stack and pot sizes, the next one could be an all-in bet. Why risk this much when I’m not sure where I’m at?
On the other hand, I have TPTK. Earlier this evening, I folded AT on an A-high flop to a check-raise from another guy at the table. Again?
My inner Tom Petty kicks in…
I raise all-in and Rob quickly calls, turning over A3dd. His two pair holds up. I buy another $200 in chips.
How many times…?