I was recently told about an interesting hand from a $1/$2 no-limit cash game that illustrates a few key points that you should always consider while at the table. Two weak, loose players limped and then a generally tight, aggressive player raised to $18 from the cutoff. Our Hero in the small blind with $350 decided to 3-bet to $50 with.
From out of position facing a gigantic preflop raise, I would definitely either 3-bet or fold, opting to fold the vast majority of the time. If I decided to 3-bet, I would make it $70 or so in order to give myself a bit more fold equity. When you make it $50, only $32 more, you can be quite confident the cutoff is going to call with almost his entire range, which is not what you want when you are out of position. Also, it is worth mentioning that the $18 raise may indicate a premium linear range containing only the best hands. If that is the case, Hero should simply fold. You simply should not get involved from out of position against a premium range without a premium range.
As expected, the cutoff called. The flop came. Hero bet $50 into the $105 pot and the opponent called.
I am fine with Hero’s bet, given this is a somewhat uncoordinated flop and Hero has a clear draw. Yes, a gutshot is an acceptable draw. However, I would have made it either a bit smaller or a bit larger. As played, the pot will go to $205 and Hero will have $250 in his stack. This is a rough stack-to-pot ratio because a turn all-in will be a bit large while a small turn bet may not leave Hero with much fold equity going to the river. It is worth noting that I would also play my premium made hands, K-Q and better, in the same manner, making it nearly impossible for my opponent to know if I am value betting or bluffing.
The opponent called. The turn was the () . Hero pushed all-in for $250.
As played, I am fine with this all-in. Whenever an obviously scary over card comes on the turn that Hero could clearly have, if he has a draw, he should usually bet again. This situation is a clear example of this. Notice that the only way the opponent can make the call is if he has two pair or better, or a flush draw that happened to have a King in it. Even when Hero gets called, he has a few outs to the nuts, which is always nice. While it always feels risky running a bluff for all your chips, it simply must be done, assuming you want to be difficult to play against. If you only shove with your premium hands in this spot, your opponents can easily fold, making it nearly impossible for you to extract value from your premium hands like sets and two pairs.
The opponent called with. The river was the , and Hero rejoiced. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.