Articles by Grant Pittman

A common no-limit situation, by Grant Pittman

A friend and I were recently discussing an online no-limit tournament hand where we initially had different takes on how the hand should be played.We both realized after the discussion that both of our decisions were valid in the right scenario.

My friend was actually watching his brother play when the hand came up.The blinds were 50-100 and the UTG player limped with everyone else folding to Nick who checked with 9-7 offsuit.The flop came 9-7-5 offsuit and Nick lead $100 at the $250 pot.The UTG player raised to $400.Both Nick and his opponent started the hand with approximately $1700 in chips.Nick, on his brothers advice, reraised $500 more which his opponent called.The turn was a blank and Nick bet the rest of his chips which his opponent called.The river was a five pairing the board and Nick lost to 10-10.

My friend Marty believed the reraise of $500 on the flop was the best way to get all the money in the pot.I thought that an allin raise was in order in this situation.My thinking was based on what my opponent's probable holding was.I believed, since the flop did not contain a flush draw or any likely open ended straight draw, that my opponent had an overpair that he limped in with to trap preflop.If that was the case, he would have lost $500 to me ( a meaningful number of chips given my stack size) if he folded to my all-in reraise of $1200 OR my opponents call of the remaining $1200 would go in with me being a strong favorite.I thought that a reraise of $500 was never going to fold your opponent BUT it could alert a strong opponent that your hand is stronger than one pair.The reraise to me looked like a "juice" or "suckalong" that was begging for a call or reraise!!!! I felt that the allin reraise, even though it was $1200 instead of $500, would have comparable likelihood of being called....the benefit for me being that $700 more goes in when I am a significant favorite.

Marty believed that his opponent would eventually put all his chips in regardless of what card came on the turn.I disagreed with this saying that a 9 or even a 7 or ace might make his opponent fold and save his last $700.The benefit to reraising $500 for me would be only in that specific case where the turn card brought a 5.This also assumes that your opponent doesn't reraise allin on the flop AND that I don't hit a 9 or 7 on the end!!!

Overall it was a good discussion.We both considered other options for future play in this scenario and that got us both thinking which is just fine.

Let's hear what you think please.The scenario arises quite often in no-limit.It might be worth discussing the scenario if the chip counts are both deeper.Good luck.I'm off to Vegas tonight and the Bellagio tournament.



A pot-limit blunder?, by Grant Pittman

I was in Vegas recently for the tournament at the Bellagio.Tournaments are not my forte but I did manage to enter the $1500 no-limit event and did ok.Sorry Mr.Cooke.....your horse ran out of gas.The tournament seemed to be a huge success and this is great for poker.

During the tournament the live games in the high limit area have their good and bad moments.Overall, I thought the $80-$160 and $100-$200 games were marginally good but sometimes they were just completely unplayable! It was at these times when I wandered around looking for a better game.I watched a pot-limit holdem game with a $25-$50 blind structure for a lap and liked what I saw.

I bought in for $5000 which was an average stack at the table and won a few small pots before this hand came up.I was in the SB holding black jacks.Two players limped in and the action was on me.I considered raising the pot in an attempt to take the pot right there but reconsidered for two reasons.The first is that I wasn't sure it would work.The 2 limpers were loose playing players who both had a lot of chips and were more than willing to gamble.If I raised now, I would build the pot and likely put myself in a tough spot after the flop with the worst position.The second reason I went against raising was that it advertises clearly what my likely holding is.These players were in tune enough to know I should have a big pair and may take a shot at me if an ace flopped.

I checked and the BB, an experienced pot-limit player, also checked.The flop came 4-7-8 offsuit.I considered a bet into the $200 pot but decided to check and see who liked it.The BB lead out for $100 and was called by both limpers.Hmmmmmm.I didn't like what was going on in this hand.The BB was a tricky player with experience.Why was he only betting $100.I thought it could only be for 2 reasons.Either he was trying to "pad the pot" so he could fire a big bet on the turn or he was very weak and was only investing a small amount in hopes of winning the pot now.I was swayed toward believing the first explanation.I thought this player knew that the limpers and me could hold any type of hand and that a weak bet would likely be a waste of money that would yield no real information about his opponents hand.I believed it was a "pad" bet but at the last second I said "....wait a minute have the limpers beat....if the BB bets the turn you can just fold" and so I decided to call the $100 bet.The pot was now at $600.

The turn brought the jack of diamonds! Now I liked my position! I could beat everything except a straight.I decided to check to see if any one of the limpers came to life with this card.The BB surprised me and bet $500! Both limpers folded.At this point in the hand I was very happy.In order for me to be losing, the BB would have had to lead the flop with the nuts or lead with an open ended draw (9,10) that just got home on me.I took a peek at his chips.He had about $2300 left.I had no intention of folding my hand but I wondered how much I could raise and still be called by a losing hand.

My opponent was a strong player with lots of pot-limit experience however he had been losing and mentioned to me that he was stuck 13 grand and was the unluckiest player in the room.If he had 2 pair, I thought a big raise would fold him but I wasn't sure.If he had a set I felt he would go broke with it.I decided to make it $2000 flat making a $1500 raise.He quickly reraised me his last $775.YUKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!! He obviously had the straight but I had to call and hope to fill on the river.I missed and he showed me the 5,6 of clubs.He had flopped the straight.

He was trapping on the flop and I suspected it but wasn't quite sure.What do you think.Should I have moved on the flop and released if I got any sort of action.Let me know what you think.Happy holidays to all!!!





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