FPS; Fancy Play Syndrome

by ~ August 4th, 2008. Filed under: General poker strategy, Short stack poker, Weaknesses.

Recently I got in a hand (with more than a short stack, having doubled up and just playing the hands until the blinds come to me again to sit out). Open limped AT from mid, intending to chuck it if I got raised from behind. Instead, all behind folded, SB completed but the BB raised to 3X. A poor raise with 2 people in unless you’re trying to get value with AA/KK. I’m getting 5:2 odds and I get position so I call, as does SB. Flop comes TTJ rainbow, SB checks, BB makes a 2 bb bet which is weird; why bet small into two others on a dangerous flop unless you hold JJ? Even then, it might be more +EV to just check and hope I take a positional stab. Best assumption: he’s missed the flop and is told he should c-bet, even though there’s two callers.

Anyway, I take time, and call. Turn is a brick, BB checks, I check. River is a Q, he bets 1/2 pot, I call, he shows AK for a straight.

A slow play gone wrong, right? To a decent player (and I don’t know that he is; I think he’s the same player that paid me off earlier by calling my 2/3 pot flop bet chasing a gutshot straight which hit on the turn which I in turn regained on the river when my two pair on the flop turned into a boat, and then he complained about being “rivered”) my call should scream trips, though his bet was so small he also gave me odds to chase an OESD (98, KQ). Given the possibility that he doesn’t see my trips I should have at least bet the brick on the turn.

But here’s the thing; my plan from the flop is call or check.

  • If he bets the flop, then call or check the turn, then raise or bet the river.
  • If he doesn’t bet the flop then check and then call or bet the turn, raise or bet the river.

In either situation I’m willing to take one street of quiet in hopes of convincing him that I don’t have trips, which won’t work against better players but I think has a good chance of working at this level.

The problem with this strategy is that the rest of the cards have to co-operate. 🙂 The cards that screw it up are the last T, or another J. The cards that put me in a tough spot are a Q, K, or maybe 9 if I think he’s raised the BB with KQ. So that’s

  • 4 cards that screw up my strategy, (T, J, J, J)
  • one likely hand that he holds that’s already got me screwed (JJ; JT an unlikely holding for raising from the BB at this level),
  • 4 Qs/4Ks that make things difficult,
  • 2 Aces which might pay me off
  • and maybe a 9 if he’s raised with KQ

The Aces might be good for me if he holds AK/AQ, though not if he holds the last AA. The 9s are less likely to be bad for me; I’ll count them and the Aces against each other and say the net effect is nil. That leaves 47 cards less 18 = 29 other cards; 29 against 12 difficult/screwup cards or a 71% chance that I’ll get a brick on the turn, and if not on the turn, then again on the river.

What I’m trying to do is to walk a line that I think will get me money most of the time at this level, as opposed to raising the flop or betting the turn after just calling the flop which I might do at other levels or against known players. But perhaps the line is narrower than I think, or I’m just coming down with FPS; Fancy Play Syndrome.

I suspect a little of both.

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2 Responses to FPS; Fancy Play Syndrome

  1. Poster

    I would like to comment on the pair flops like 9910. I play on Pokerstars at 1.2 SNGs (keep note because I’m talking strat vs bad players) right now. This is my 2nd comment in your blog.

    I haven’t been able to find a reall good strategy for this flop. When a flop like this comes down people play completely out of the oridinary. Sometimes when I try and steal the tight player will call me and check me downt to the river with JA. And all the extremely loose aggressive people will never touch the pot. However I see min raises from the button will get the remaining players to fold pretty quickly.

    Sometimes if I have a lower pair like 66 I will bet 1/3-1/4 of the pot all the way to the river trying to catch someone looking for a card. However they are those times where the other player will hit their ace.

    I really think I lose a lot more than I gain by stealing. People play so weird on these flops that loose aggressive players will slow play the full house which just makes me try and bet them out of the pot. I mean win a few steals but I’m really only winning blinds vs if I get stuck in a situation I can lose thousands of chips.

    Honestly I think I’m going to only bet with lower pair on the flop and only like 2.3 times the BB and check/fold the turn and the river hoping to win a pot on the opponents draw. I’m never going to try and win these pots unless I have highest pair/3-of-a-kind/full house which I’m going to bet aggressively to push out weird calls. If I have a strong hand I think I will shove vs a LAG that is re-raising, dunno if I can fold vs a LAG shoving vs my raise, call a shove vs any player short stacked, fold to tight players with chip stacks and fold to all big chip leaders depending.

    What do you think?

  2. PokerAnon

    You cover a lot of options there. First off, you’re definitely right about keeping the play level in mind as the $1 + .20 SnGs play much different than a $5 or $10, which is as far as my personal experience goes right now.

    I don’t think the best option is to have one single strategy for a flop like that. Rather, consider 1) betting weak (don’t do this at higher levels, and by weak that could be a min bet to anything less than 1/2 pot bet) to look like you’ve flopped a set/full house but are trying to build the pot, 2) betting normal (1/2-3/4 pot for me in a SnG, 2/3 to full pot in a cash game), or 3) not betting and check/calling.

    And then you have to take these 3 options and look at 1) the number of players still in, 2) your position relative to these players, 3) the strength of your hand (say, an A9 which might be eligible for a slowplay verses AT which I think you have to bet at least 1/2 pot to make straight draws pay), 4) who raised preflop, 5) your reads on the players, and 6) the stack sizes and bubble. Pretty much in that order. That doesn’t mean reads or stack sizes are the least important as they could over-ride the other aspects, but that’s the order I’d take them in.

    If it’s a limped pot and you are in last position of 4 or less, then you could take a stab. If you bet 1/2 pot and get called, then you have to worry about a slowplay or a straight chaser. On the other hand, if you raised preflop I’d be cautious as that’s hit the range of potential callers pretty good; JQ, 78s, 89s, T9s, AT and you could be building a big pot that will cost you.

    But, there’s so many variations in the factors to consider that I wouldn’t recommend having one single strategy to use.

    One thing I will throw out; I’ve heard it said by better players than I that 22x and KKx paired flops are better to bluff at than others, especially if the other card does not make a potential straight or flush draw. ‘Course, that depends on the preflop action as well.

    Oh, and don’t measure your bets in terms of BBs after preflop. You have to measure them in terms of the pot size because that determines the pot odds that you are giving.


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