Poker jargon

Hey everyone!

First of all, Happy New Year! First post of 2011 =P

Now, I wanted to write this post mainly as a response to a hand that my friend saw on Poker After Dark. I didn’t watch the episode, but here’s my analysis of what the thought process in the hand was like:

Dwan: 3-3
Brunson: T-9 of hearts

Preflop: Dwan raises, Brunson reraises, Dwan calls

Now, analyzing this part of the hand is important, because it shows the jousting the two guys are off to. For one, Dwan just lost a big hand to Phil Laak when his 9-3 was outkicked by Laak’s 9-4 (via the summary I read). So Dwan raising here could be a signal to everyone that he’s ready to gamble, and being in position in this case, it’s almost a standard play. But Dwan typically raises with anything, so more players are inclined to call him as opposed to forfeiting the blinds and antes every time. You don’t want to give Dwan room to think he has control of the action on the table, because he’s very good at hogging the action and putting a stranglehold on the players. So Brunson goes for a very unconventional play and reraises Dwan out of position, which you don’t see from Doyle very often unless he has the goods.

By standard poker laws, it takes a very strong hand to call a raise, and a stronger hand to reraise. However, this is a raise by durrrr, who’s once five bet with 8-3, and bluffed out of $100k pots with 7-2. So most people try to throw the aggression back at Tom to see what he does and avoid being run over. It’s also worth noting that Doyle plays more of a small-ball game these days. That means he tries to win the pot in position, and by committing a smaller amount of chips to win it. So seeing a reraise from Doyle out of position completely breaks that playing style, which means one of two things:

1. Doyle has a monster, and will bet regardless of position
2. Doyle’s just trying to force Dwan out of the pot if he doesn’t have a playable hand

However, Dwan’s one of the best players at playing from behind. One of the plays that’s standard to his game is calling three-bets. In the Million Dollar Challenge, I think Dwan called nearly every three bet that was thrown at him when he was in position, and he does it constantly online. For one, this helps to control the pot size from getting bigger, so he can make much more flexible betting on the flop. This also makes him tougher to read because now you’ve committed more chips to the pot, and since he nearly always calls three-bets, you can’t put a read on him whether his hand is quality, if he’s bluffing, or if he’s gunning for a suck out. If Tom four-bets, then you have a bigger problem, and you’ll need good cards for insurance. Dwan’s certainly not folding in position with a pocket pair with the equity that he can hit a set of threes, which can uproot even aces unless an ace makes a higher set. So with all this, we see a flop:

Flop: 9-9-5

Well, this wasn’t what Doyle expected. He’s now flopped trips to Dwan’s two pair, and leads out for $7,000, which is a pretty big bet given the pot size. In Dwan’s mind, he knows Doyle wouldn’t reraise preflop often with pocket 9’s or A9 suited, especially not in early position. He’s probably putting Doyle either on a big pocket pair, AK suited, or AQ suited, which would be a heavy favorite on a flop like this because it’s a real hit-or-miss flop. Ace high usually plays well on this AAB-type of flop, and with his two pair, he decides to call, since there are no draws at this point, and no real reason to openly fold two pair.

Turn: 6

This, of course, wouldn’t have changed anything in the hand. It was a second diamond to the board, but Dwan knows that if Doyle had AK or AQ of diamonds, he’d still need to make the flush on the river. Neither player put each other on a six, pocket sixes, or 7-8, so Doyle found it to be safe territory to fire a second bullet with $22,000, which is a great bet size, and on top of that, it also looks like he’s defending a flush draw. Dwan calls, still with his two pair, giving Doyle a signal that he has something, but it surely isn’t a 6, nor is it a draw. If Dwan had made a full house on the turn, he would have surely reraised to stop Doyle’s momentum.

River: J

Now this would be a scare card for Dwan, but it surely hadn’t changed Doyle’s mind. Doyle knows that if Dwan had pocket jacks, he would have probably been a little more aggressive pre-flop. The jack wasn’t a third diamond, so there was no flush possibility on the board, which Doyle took as a perfect opportunity to shove all-in for his last $62,000 to make it appear like a massive bluff, as if he were protecting the missed flush draw. Dwan stuck to his gut read of AK/AQ suited, didn’t think for a moment that it was an AJ (which Doyle probably wouldn’t have raised on preflop either), and thinking that there was no way Doyle would have reraised preflop without something massive, nor continuing the way the board was developing. Dwan, of course, thought for a while, tanking the whole time, but then makes the call, losing the $193,000 pot.

It was a very dynamic hand, especially since all Dwan did to lose upwards of $90,000 was call on every street. I didn’t really like Dwan’s call on the river, but he was very sure Doyle had nothing, which was good acting and betting on Doyle’s part to make it look like he had nothing.

Well, that’s my one-hand analysis of this one. Stay tuned, and hopefully I’ll get a couple of other hands to analyze. Feel free to send your hands in, too!

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