Thursday, November 19, 2009

Learning How To Fold Kings

I really need to find more time to write about poker. This week has been full of topics: the $100 bonus on Full Tilt, PokerSluts, WPBT and Poker League. For now, you'll just have to work with me on a hand from poker league and try really hard to convince me I made the right decision...I'm really doubting it...

So, I missed the last two weeks of league and hadn't played any live poker in that time. I know, shocking. I felt good going in to the night, no bad beats swimming in my, no fear of one outers, really, no baggage what so ever.

I had done a decent job of chipping up for the first 30 minutes. I sat at the table mostly enjoying the table chatter. We had the return of a guy that used to play quite often and then sort of disappeared for the last year or so. My memories of playing him mostly go back almost two years ago.

In our conversations, this guy had told us that he's spent most of this time playing online and going up to Canterbury to play the tournaments there with a bit of success. When we last played, his game was fairly ABC with a bit of a passive nature broken up with some recklessness. But I wasn't really sure how to use any of this early on. I don't like to rely on someone's tendencies from a long time ago, people change.

We are about one hour into the tournament, my stack sits 2025, a little more then starting stack. My chipping early had been whittled away. There were 7 people left at our table and I'm now under the gun with blinds at 50/100 T$. This early at poker league, I'm hard pressed to ever play much from this position. The play tends to be weak/passive and even raises will get called by a party, but for this hand, I was dealt KK. I'll play that from any position. I raised a standard raise, to 300.

The guy to my left folds. On his left is the guy returning from the past. He quite firmly moves all in for 1600. This really struck me as odd and my "somethings up detector" was going off like the alarm on LOST. Why so big? AK? AA? KK? QQ? Hm. the next 3 players fold until the BB announces he's all in for 1850.

I have a rule in my head at poker league. Never fold AA or KK preflop at poker league, but what's going on here. I stuck to my rule and called. I had both players covered but I have to tell you, I had a feeling one of them had aces.

The BB player was true to what I expected from him. He'll do this with almost any pair 99 and up or any painted ace.

But the thought I couldn't get out of my head came true. The guy that hasn't played for a while had played me like a fiddle. He tables AA. The BB guy...yeah he had AJo. Crap, I know now I'm in big trouble, but with one ace left in the deck, my odds improved...son of ace on the turn. I'd need a K on the river to take the tiny little side pot. Nope. AJo gets that one too.

Now, the dude with aces is talking after then hand about how he'd hoped I'd perceive the shove as weak and call. I'll be perfectly honest, I call with Kings regardless right there, but should I?

I think here is where I should really integrate more 3rd level thinking for a select few players. He's talked about playing a lot more online and in the casino. I think his game is definitely improved since his explanation is 3rd level thinking...he's making this move on the hopes that I perceive him as weak. Well played. Being a 4:1 dog with kings sucks, but should I consider folding that hand? My something fishy alarm was going off and I ignored. Can you fold kings pre to anyone? When do you give a guy credit for an improved game and use that in your decisions? How do you smell a rat?

Without looking, I covered the next two cards dealt to me in the BB with my remaining 175 chips. With about 4 others in the pot, the community cards get dealt, The cut-off shows their paired ace and I find JJ. Yep...running like a god can be fun.


matt tag said...

I don't think you fold the kings, even with all the information you've given.

If he's really thinking on multiple levels as you guess, then he could also do this with smaller hands, thinking "the shove will look weak, but if my (good) opponent knows that it looks weak, he may put me on something strong".

I just think the times you fold kings and you're against queens/jacks/tens/AK, it doesn't make up for the few times you're against the bullets. Plus, you'll suck out one out of 5 of those times.

Sean G said...

My brother and I were discussing recently when listening to our instincts should outweigh our logical reasoning. This sounds like a perfect example of such a thing. Although I can't really see myself folding KK in such a situation, it is interesting that you had that little voice telling you that you were beat.

I wonder what it takes to learn to listen to that voice, and also to distinguish it from the standard risk aversion that we have to quash in order to win.

Anonymous said...

I'm like Sean commenting above, loads of times something in my head tells me I am wrong but I don't trust my instincts and make a call based on odds they have a wider range etc.

Shrike said...

I'm never folding kings here. If you are up against aces, so be it.

In a much tougher game, if it's a big buy-in tournament, I might be able to find a fold, but even then the fact that a very good player might be able to represent aces makes it unlikely that I would fold kings.


Tycou said...

I would be very tempted to fold KKs b/c of the BB shove all-in. In my mind, for the BB to shove after someone in front has already shoved, the BB must have a very narrow range of hand - AA, AK, KK. In this situation, I view folding KKs as a coinflip. However, if another shoved (making 3 altogether), I would probably fold KKs in a heartbeat.

Memphis MOJO said...

Call me stubborn, but I'm not folding in your situation. Sure, after it looks so obvious, but you know as well as I do these guys can have anything. When you start folding K-K, you better have a better reason than what you described IMO.

Anonymous said...

Hey Captain,

I've been reading your blog for quite a while now, but never left a comment. I'll be visiting family in MN just post Christmas and would love to sit with you at a Poker League night if things line up right.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

I've yet to see any good analysis indicating that it is anything but clearly unprofitable to fold KK preflop in almost any situation.

Even if I were to construct a scenario where folding the KK preflop could be considered, it wouldn't look anything like the one you've described. The guy pushing allin on a big overbet to my initial raise isn't acting at all like a guy with AA who desperately wants a call, so there's just no way I could ever lay down the Kings because of that. Perhaps if there was 4 raises in front of me after my Kings, and I knew at least some of the latter raisers to be solid players. But in this scenario, ab not.