Saturday, February 18, 2006

A variation of the KK quandary

I am UTG (under the gun) in a $1-$2 NL cash game with about $175 in front of me. I look down to see KK and decide to limp in. Two more limp in behind me and the button raises to $10. Small blind folds, big blind raises it to $35. The big blind is a playah who is aggressive and mixes it up. I push all-in.

All fold to the button who goes into the tank and then folds. Big blind, who has me covered, instacalls and turns over AA. I lose my stack.

Could I have played this any better?


Shelly said...

I'm assuming that you limp from early position knowing there would be a raise behind you due to the high level of aggression at the table. Personally I'm severely opposed to limping with top-5 hands unless I'm on the button and it has folded around to me (ie. only 2 possible opponents who likely have junk, and I want to get SOME money out of them at the risk of letting them in cheap). With my assumption, you plan was obviously to get all in preflop, and no matter WHAT you did (raised preflop, limped, pushed), you were still gonna run into those Aces, and those Aces weren't folded no matter what you did. So... it's kind of a moot point how you started the hand out. If your goal was to get all in preflop, you did. You just happened to run into KK. The last episode of High Stakes Poker had a final hand between Greenstein and Farha. Greenstein had AA and pushed Farha all in with KK. Farha went into the tank, and I said to my boyfriend, "If he lays this down, I'll know for sure that I'm a donkey," (from my own KK vs AA hand where I called all in with my KK). After a long think, Farha called it. Of course, he outdrew Greenstein and hit a K for a set, but still. Even the pro's will risk their entire stack with KK. I know a lot of people think they're "good enough" to lay down KK preflop, but I don't think it's a matter of being good or not. KK vs AA is more a matter of circumstance and luck. And I don't care what people say - most of those who think they would lay it down preflop WOULDN'T, if put in that situation. It's easy to say, "Oh sure I would have done this..." but most people are going broke with that hand.

Shelly said...

Holy long comment and typos, batman! I shoulda proofread before posting. Didn't realize I wrote so much! Sorry! I fixed the typos and linked to your post from FYI. I'm interested to hear your reasoning :)

Alan said...

You were in a bad position betting-wise.

Let's look at the pot odds. The button bet $10 into a pot of $9. This is a pretty standard 5 sb raise. I would put him on group 1 or group 2 hand. You have two of the kings so the hands with kings are less likely. This leaves AA, QQ, JJ, TT, AQ, AJ. He is the first raiser and he has no reason to think he doesn't have the best hand.

The BB bets $35 into a pot of $18. The BB is representing a monster hand. I'd have to put him on a group 1 hand. He is probably hoping to take the pot right then.

You push for $175 into a pot of $53. The button sees two monsters at the table and correctly folds. The BB has to take his chances with AA. You are risking 3 bets to win one bet against a monster.

Go back to the group 1 assumption minus kings. He has AA, QQ, or JJ. Give a 1/3 chance he has AA and he calls 100% and you are a 1-to-4 dog.

Say he folds 50% of the time with QQ, and 75% of the time with JJ.

AA 1/3 1.0*(0.20*225 - 0.80*175)
QQ 1/3 (0.50*50 + 0.50*(0.80*225 - 0.20*175))
JJ 1/3 (0.75*50 + 0.25*(0.80*225 - 0.20*175))
For a total EV of +25.

Based on those assumptions it as a correct move. It is still +EV if QQ folds 75% and JJ folds 90%. Even if QQ folds 90% and JJ folds 100% you are still +4.8.

This surprises me. I thought for sure I was going to be -EV. Maybe my assumptions somewhere are incorrect?

I like to think of betting as a conversation where both parties are saying how good their hands are. I was going to suggest reraising, or calling and seeing what he says on the flop, but against a playah I don't know how successful this would be. Based on the calculations above I'm thinking that you might the right move.

Tony said...

There are only 2 situations where I would consider laying down KK pre-flop to an all-in:

1)On the bubble at the main event of the WSOP.


The goal of poker is to get your money in with the best of it, right? Other than against AA, which you CANNOT KNOW he has (though you may suspect), getting all-in pre-flop with KK is by its definition getting all your money in with the best hand.

In that hand, you were just unlucky. If he has any other hand, you are a MASSIVE favorite, and if you can dodge the aces out there (which the all-in can usually accomplish by making people fold their weak aces, AT, AJ, AQ, and sometimes AK), you either have your opponent drawing to 2 outs (smaller pair) or a multi-card draw (needs 2+ cards to beat you). Even if he has A-x, with x being anything BUT an ace, he's drawing to 3 outs or runner-runner.

Get your miney in with KK. For every time you run into AA, you'll run into QQ and make a ton of money several more times.

Mr Subliminal said...

Shelly, Alan and Tony, thanks for the thoughtful comments (and blog references) - I really appreciate it. I just returned from a long session and will respond further when my headache clears up.

Mr Subliminal said...

The comments have reinforced my own feeling that I played this pretty much as I should have. I say this because there is always the lingering doubt in one's mind after losing a hand such as this, as to whether there was a better way to play it.

The flop was all rags, so the BB was going to get the rest of my chips even if I had not pushed pre-flop.