Thanks for the replies guys and girls. I got lots of responses both on the CardPlayer blog and the PaddyPower blog. It’s very interesting how what appears to be a rather simple hand at first gets played very differently by different styles of players.
Here’s my initial thinking:
The blinds are 10/20 and UTG+2 limps for 20. All players are on approximately their starting stack of 1500 and I have been dealt A 10 in UTG+3. I raise to 80. My reasoning is that I believe my A 10 is ahead of a limpers range here, so I am investing more chips in position against a worse hand. It puts more pressure on the players behind me so helps me to “buy” position. The small blind calls 70 more and the limper calls as well. The flop comes A 6 3 and UTG bets out for 100 into a 260 pot and the next player calls.
“Thereyougoagain” and a Doctor friend of mine who texted me his opinions have similar thoughts on the hand and they mirror my own. The initial bet seems to be a probing bet of some kind. A trend I have noticed with more frequency lately is players betting out with these small probing style bets in the hopes of getting to a showdown cheaply. Often they wake up with some sort of draw or weak made hand they were hoping to get to the end of the hand with by betting a smaller amount than they would have to invest should they check call.
“DaveClayton” and “Mfcgadge”, I like your analyses, and if it weren’t for the trend I had noticed I would follow your example and bin the A-10. If the initial bettors raise was larger then it would seem more like A-J to me who wants to charge flush draws and is a little more confident with his own hand.
The flat caller is weak here. On an ace high board with two hearts any strong hand should be raising to charge the flush draws and get paid by worse hands. Imagine you had a set or strong ace in this situation, you would want to raise to make top pair good kickers pay you off, and to charge flush draws for taking another card.
Therefore, I am reasonably confident that my top pair, mid-kicker is good here. I raise to 410 total. In order to either take down the pot now or at least get the pot to be heads up. The original bettor calls, the other player folds his hand as expected.
The turn is the 4. Unless he had A-4 or has made an unlikely straight this doesn’t change much. The player, who had called out of the small blind, checks.
Remembering my original read that he wants to get this hand to the end as cheaply as possible, I intend to disappoint him. 1,180 is in the pot and I put him on a flush draw. My stack is 1,020 and his 1,060 at this point. Given my read I want all of the money to get into the middle here. If I go all in, he will fold all of his worse hands and only call with a better hand. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it secures us the pot a high percentage of the time giving us a 2,200 stack.
I chose to bet 530 with the intention of calling all in if he check raises or folding the river if a heart lands. If my opponent is on a flush draw he has roughly 3:1 direct odds and just over 4:1 implied odds if he mistakenly thinks I will pay him off on the river (which I have already decided I won’t). This is the greedy play, trying to extract maximum value from my read by giving him worse odds than he needs. This play relies on me being disciplined enough to fold the river if it lands a heart as this denies him the implied odds he was calling for.
He calls, the river pairs the board with the 3 and he checks. I have 490 chips left and he has me covered. What is the correct play? Going all in will surely only get called by a stronger hand, A-J+ or a set. I find it hard to put him on a weaker ace having called a 4x bet from the small blind. His most likely holding is a flush draw, and going all in has little value over that as he will inevitably just fold his missed hand.
Checking is the much better option. I get the same reward against his flush draws as I would if I bet and it stops me from busting out on the occasions where he played a better hand in an unconventional manor.
I checked and he actually flipped over A-7 off suit. A questionable play to say the least! Had I known he over valued weak aces then that would have changed my river decision to an all in. I made a note on him and hoped to see him again in the future.
Thanks for your participation and as always ladies and gents, feel free to comment or ask questions about these hands in the box below or even post your own SNG hands for analysis.