I may have been too nitty on this hand last night. When this happened, I was having a bad night, having tried to turn KK into a bluff and having this backfire badly, then having QQ cracked by JJ after a villain called a large pre-flop 4-bet (and then admitted that he thought his JJ’s were in trouble).
The good news, perhaps, is that I’m aware things are going badly and trying to be careful not to let emotions overrule good decisions.
Now I have KQo in middle position. This being a $1/2 no limit Hold’em game, I raise to $11 following one limper, which is fairly typical for me. The button calls (I’ll call him “Mike”), one of the blinds calls, and the limper calls.
Flop ($40): Kd 8d 7s
This looks like a good flop for me, but the flush and straight draws can hit the villains’ ranges. It is checked to me and I bet $17. In hindsight, this bet is too small, and should have been more than 1/2 of the pot. But my TPGK, while good, is still just a 1-pair hand and I don’t want to bloat this pot out of control.
Mike, on the button, raise to $43, and both other players fold. At the start of this hand, I had about $250, and Mike has me covered.
Mike is a tough player, good at hand reading and willing to bluff. And he has position on me. With many villains, my default in this situation is to give him credit for 2-pair plus most of the time, and top pair / over pair the rest of the time. Let’s quickly eliminate the only over pair… AA, as he didn’t 3-bet pre-flop. But I know Mike will play his draws aggressively, and he might have a K as well.
I decide to re-raise, $45 more. I want to leave myself room to fold if he comes back over the top and convinces me that he’s flopped a set. I also, however, want to find out where I am in this hand (and believe I might be good), as I realize after his raise that my C-bet was too weak. If he calls, that suggests he is on a draw and I can re-evaluate after seeing the turn card.
Mike tanks for a bit, and seems to be considering multiple options. Then he announces “I’m all in.”
Now I go into the tank. The pot is indeed bloated, now approximately $220, and will cost me $150 more to call. My hand is just one pair, and I hate going broke with just one pair (even moreso having already been felted once in this session).
I settle on this range: 88 (3 combinations), 77 (3 combos), multi-way draws (Td 9d, Jd Td, 7d Ad, 7d 6d, perhaps 7d 9d, perhaps Ad Jd and Ad Td — total of 7 combos). I note the K is a diamond, so a top pair / flush draw cannot be in his range. I think he would 3-bet pre-flop with Ad Qd and any AK. Neither of my cards is a diamond.
With the sets, he has me crushed. With the biggest draw… Td 9d, he has 15 outs and would be a favorite to win the hand. My equity doesn’t have to be over 50% to justify calling from a math standpoint, as I would be calling $150 to win $370. I really only need 29% equity ($150 / $520) for calling to be correct. But I’m not really thinking about that at the table, I’m thinking about being stuck 2 full buy-ins if I lose, and that thought pisses me off. And I’m thinking about my long-term image if I’m viewed as the guy who over plays a one pair hand (especially with less than top kicker). The draws seem more likely than the sets, as I’m not sure he shoves a set here. On the other hand, with a set he might think I’m overplaying AK or AA here, and shoving a set for value could be smart before the board gets scarier.
Reluctantly, I fold. This wasn’t a math fold, it was a variance fold. I’d already suffered more variance (see above re QQ losing a large pot to JJ) in this session than I like, wasn’t prepared to buy-in again if I went all-in and lost here, and was sitting on the left of a couple of players who have a history of spewing off lots of chips. I like my chances if I keep playing.
After saying I thought he had something like Td 9d, he says I’m close and some prodding gets Mike to tell me he had a 7d and another diamond, for bottom pair and a flush draw (14 outs).
Against the range above, my equity is 27.2%. Against only Td 9d, the drawing hand with the most outs, my equity is 43%. Against 7Xdd, my equity is 47%. Gambling for sure, but high enough to call.
Methinks I should have called. We’ll never know. But given how poorly the rest of the session went, I might as well have gambled here.