Hand Analysis: min reraise by excellent player

This is a test to see if I can post a hand from the PokerXFactor hand replayer. And if it works, I’ll review a key hand from the Party Poker tournament I finished 2nd in Friday Night (woot!).

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://www.pokerxfactor.com/swf/trainingApp3.swf?xmlHandID=10577&fn=1275_20060604_151009&hn=0&mh=0&sc=1″ height=”375″ width=”500″ /]

If you are a registered user of pokerxfactor, then click here to view a large version of the hand.

It works (Jon rules)! I intend to use this tool to discuss hands that illustrate important NLHE tourney concepts, or were otherwise instructive in some manner. I promise I won’t limit the selected hands to ones I won.

This particular hand took place in the middle stages of the tournament. I had a mid-sized stack, and I made a standard raise from under the gun with 10-10. It was folded all the way around to the big blind, a big stack, which is where things got interesting.

The big stack made a very small reraise, almost a minimum reraise. Now the wheels started turning. What to do? First of all, a minimum reraise in online play almost always means one thing: the reraiser has KK or AA. This is a very common play. The player has a monster hand, wants to get more money in the pot, but doesn’t want to scare his opponent off. He wants to get all in on the flop, so he makes a small raise that will commit his opponent further. I happen to hate this play, and I never employ it unless i’m playing a complete donkey, because all solid players know exactly what it means. The correct response against a normal or unfamiliar player is to call and try to flop a set. If you don’t flop a set, you give no action.

But notice the terms I chose to put in italics in that paragraph. I said that MOST opponents who make this move have AA or KK. But what did I know about the player “ibite123”? A lot, actually. I know that he’s a very tricky, very good player. So good, in fact, that he’s currently ranked #35 amongst online tournament players by Pocketfives.com. So what was this excellent player trying to accomplish with the small reraise? It was one of two things. He either: 1) thought I was a donkey and was trying to trap me with AA or KK; or 2) had some kind of hand–probably AK or AQ–that wanted to see the turn and maybe the river for free, and was trying to accomplish that, i.e., freeze the action, with the min reraise. I was unsure of which, so I decided to call.

So as the video shows, the flop came Jd 4c 2d. “Ibite123” checked, and I was still unsure whether he was trapping me, so I checked as well. I would have happily shown this hand down, as his play had succeeded in confusing me. The next card off was the 3c, which put two 2-flushes on board, and now ibite put me all in. And so we arrived at one of those super-crucial tournament moments. What now?

I had to put this guy on a hand. The only ones I could imagine were AA, KK, AK or AQ. I felt that with QQ and JJ, this player would have put in a bigger reraise preflop rather than invite action with the min reraise. I figured the odds were about 60% AK and 40% AA or KK. As I stated above, if i was not familiar with the player, I would have automatically assumed AA or KK. In light of this information, I was compelled to call, which I did after thinking for about 30 seconds (isn’t it amazing how much information the human mind can process in a short period of time?). And as you can see, in this instance it was the correct decision. He didn’t fill his flush, hit either of his overs, or make his gutshot straight (wow, he had a LOT of outs) and I won the hand.

In short, my opponent knew I would respect the min reraise and managed to freeze me on the flop by employing it preflop. Because I knew that he’s a very good player, I was able to figure out that he wasn’t making the min reraise to trap me with a monster. I used that knowledge to alter his range of holdings and thereby made a difficult call. I guess the lesson here is “know your opponent.”

One thought on “Hand Analysis: min reraise by excellent player

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