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Tough Spots?

I hate playing in re-raised pots when I'm out of position. This isn't a new concept. Anyone who's played poker for some time knows just how awful it is to be in a hand out of position against a solid or tricky player. And things only get worse when the pot is re-raised pre-flop. Whether or not you've got a hand or not, seeing the flop in a re-raised pot is a session-defining moment - probably more true for low-limit NLHE where re-raised pots are infrequent.

I thought today we'd take a look at a few re-raised pots that I played last night. In some ways, my play was pretty standard. And yet I feel that I may not have played these hand optimally. I'll let my readers judge...

Before I post any of the hands, I should make note of my frame of mind at the time that I played these hands. In the past few weeks, I've found myself playing in a large number of re-raised pots. And on many occasions, I've failed to hit the flops in a significant way or I've casually raised off my hand post-flop. I think you'll get the sense that I'm playing scared in these hands, resulting in a little too much aggression and less thought on my part.

No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.50/$1
6 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $34.70
UTG+1: $90.20
CO: $205.55
Villain (Button): $112.75
SB: $124
Hero (BB): $122.95

(Villain is a standard TAG.)

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is BB with Q♥ Q♠
UTG folds, UTG+1 raises to $4, CO folds, Villain calls, SB folds, Hero raises to $19, UTG+1 folds, Villain calls.

(UTG+1 is a donkey. Villain's call on the button and subsequent flat-call of my big 3-bet allows me to eliminate hands like AK, AQ, and probably AA-QQ.)

Flop: A♥ A♣ 9♦ ($42.5, 2 players)
Hero bets $30, Villain raises to $60, Hero raises all-in $103.95, Villain calls all-in $33.75.
Uncalled bets: $10.2 returned to Hero.

(I've eliminated Ax and KK from Villain's range. The only question is: would Villain make this raise with another pocket pair? I figured the Villain had either JJ, TT, or 99. Although lower pocket pairs were possible, these hands were pretty unlikely. I decide to jam.)

Turn: 8♠ ($230, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: $230)

River: K♥ ($230, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: $230)

Final pot: $230
Hero showed Qh Qs

In retrospect, I wonder if my best move on the flop was to check-raise all-in. Villain's betting range in this spot was probably a lot wider than his calling range. I also failed to factor that hands like AA, KK, and AK were in my 3-betting range. If a solid TAG player is willing to re-raise an A-A-9 flop, I can really only beat a bluff with my QQ. Definitely a tough spot and a hard decision for me to make on the spot.

No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.50/$1
6 players

Stack sizes:
Hero (UTG): $100
UTG+1: $96
Villain (CO): $164.75
Button: $145.45
SB: $128.95
BB: $138.70

(Villain is a complete unknown.)

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is UTG with Q♦ Q♥
Hero raises to $4, UTG+1 folds, Villain raises to $10, 3 folds, Hero raises to $20, Villain calls.

(I decide to make a small 4-bet. I didn't want to play a re-raised pot out of position without initiative.)

Flop: 8♥ K♠ 8♠ ($41.5, 2 players)
Hero bets $25, Villain folds.
Uncalled bets: $25 returned to Hero.

(I'm not sure if betting out is the right move here. I definitely don't get any better hands to fold. But I guess worse hands could call. Would a Villain holding JJ fold here? I guess it's hard to say. However, my pre-flop 4-bet does make it very easy for the Villain to put me on AA, KK, and AK. Maybe a check-raise or delayed c-bet might have earned me a little more money in this spot.)

Final pot: $41.5

No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.50/$1
6 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $208.85
UTG+1: $64.80
CO: $84.85
Hero (Button): $100
SB: $118.65
Villain (BB): $73.15

(Villain is a donkey. He'd min-raised my button steal a few orbits ago with AA and sucked out on the river to beat my flopped top two.)

Pre-flop: (6 players) Hero is Button with 5♥ 5♠
3 folds, Hero raises to $4, SB folds, Villain raises to $12, Hero calls.

(Villain's raise is standard which I interpret to mean that he does not have a big pair.)

Flop: 7♠ 2♥ 3♦ ($24.5, 2 players)
Villain bets $11, Hero calls.

(Small bet on a bad flop. I didn't want to raise right away and give the Villain the opportunity to be the one pushing his stack in. I decide to call with the intention of stacking off on the turn should no big cards hit the board.)

Turn: 2♦ ($46.5, 2 players)
Villain bets $22, Hero raises all-in $77, Villain folds.
Uncalled bets: $55 returned to Hero.

(Another small bet. Villain had made large bets in other hands when he figured to be ahead. I don't think that I'm behind but there are a lot of river cards that I don't really want to see. I gave the Villain one free street, time to put his entire stack on the line.

Villain let his time run down before folding. I'm not quite sure what this meant. I think he would have snap-called with an overpair, so I'm assuming he was pondering calling with Ace high.)

Final pot: $90.5

Have a good one.

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