Jammed and Damned

poker odds calculation

This was a low stakes online poker hand.  I have A♣ K♠ with a stack of 100 BBs in middle position and make my standard pot-sized raise after one limper.  The cutoff min-3-bets.  That’s always a curious strategy.  Some online players make minimum raises with AA/KK type of pre-flop monster hands, as they are scared of running off their customers with larger raises.  Others use the min-raise as a form of pot sweetener, to make the pot larger in case something good happens on the flop, but keep their investment small enough that it won’t hurt too bad to abandon ship if necessary.

This is my 13th hand since joining the table.  Until now, the cutoff guy hasn’t done anything to catch my attention.

The big blind calls, and so does the limper.  The limper has a short stack of less than 40 BBs, but both the cutoff and big blind have me covered.  Each should know that I will have the option of 4-betting, so their calls should be a sign of strength.  I call as well; I don’t want to play for stacks against the min-raiser.  I’ve seen that movie before and know how it ends.

The pot is around 31 BBs.  Flop:  A 9♠ 6♣.  This is a very nice flop for me.  An ace reduces the likelihood of the cutoff having AA.  When the big blind and limper check to me, I also check, to see what the cutoff will do.  If he bets and one of the other players check-raises, I may fold thinking somebody flopped a set of 999s or 666s.  Otherwise I’ll call.

The cutoff also checks, giving everybody a free card.

Turn: 2♠.  Now the board is A 9♠ 6♣ – 2♠.  The big blind quickly jams all-in – a huge overbet – and the limper folds.  My remaining stack is approximately 3x the pot.

poker odds calculationThis looks like he picked up a flush draw on the turn, possibly with the ace of spades for top pair as well.  If so, I’m way ahead unless he has exactly As 6s for two pair plus a nut flush draw.  With anything stronger than my top pair, top kicker, why would he jam here instead of trying to get some value out of a hand like mine?

It seems pretty obvious, so I call.  After the cutoff folds, the big blind’s cards turn over… Js 8s.  Yep, he has a flush draw.  He had to have it.  They always have it.  I have the king of spades, leaving him with exactly eight outs and leaving me an 81.8% favorite to win.  If he had the ace of spades and the possibility of making 2-pair on the river, I still would have been a 75% favorite.

The river is the 3♠.  Sigh.  Reload.  Next hand, please…


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    1. Think of it this way. “They always have it” doesn’t necessarily mean they always have the nuts, or always have the winning hand. Sometimes the result of good hand- and villain- reading strongly suggests they have a bluff, and in fact they do. In that case, they still have it, where “it” is the bluff.

      To make the blog, needs to be interesting and memorable. 🙂

  1. I’m sure that it is just skewed perception, but some guys just seem to always catch it on the river. Happened my last in-person session. Every flush he chased, every pair he called — always hit a big card on the river … or at least seemed to that day.

    1. A corollary to “they always have it” is “they always get there.” Of course, once they get there, now they have it.

      On the other hand, most of the times they miss, the cards are tossed into the muck and you don’t see them. The perception is indeed skewed.

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