Folding Top Pair

Hey guys,

Just finished up a session of poker at Casino Niagara, 1/2 No Limit Hold'Em. I lost out when I went all in on the turn in response to a decent-sized bet with my Ace-King that had hit an Ace on the flop. I declare to my opponent after my all-in that I had "Ace-King," and he declares "Sixes" (as in pocket sixes). He had made a set off the flop and knocked me out.

I don't know exactly how to word what I want to get at here, but I thought I'd use this thread and this lovely poker community to vent in a healthy way about how to take tough beats or even to know when to fold a great hand. I had top pair, top kicker on a board that had no real flush or straight threats facing this fairly big bet. I'd even gone so far as to know that my opponent was very willing to bet big and just knock people off their hands, even if he had nothing. I felt confident in a read that this was one such situation and he happened to out-flop me big time.

It's hard enough to make even ANY pair, let alone top pair; but it's even harder to flop a set. These two events aligned. This is not one of my online poker complaints that it seems rigged because I definitely don't suspect that of live play haha, but I'm just wondering if there's any science to avoiding/limiting tough beats and limiting risky play in poker, or is it just somewhat "a part of the game" and you have to live with these tough beats and tough situations... somewhere in between?

Any thoughts/criticism/help/sympathy/love/random off-topic thoughts/encouragement/flatulations are most welcome and appreciated. :smilie:

Thanks guys! Hope your burgeoning poker careers are in bloom this spring, and the rest of your life too.

Comments

  • BfillmaffBfillmaff High Roller.
    Generally speaking, try to avoid getting your whole stack in with one pair. Consider what hands are likely to call your bet - all of them beat you.

    Keeping it simple: big hand, big pot. Small hand, small pot. You obvioulsy dont want to just fold, but in a cash game... the best pair is still just a pair!

    Side note - this is a common mistake and is exactly what makes playing 66 so profitable in those games.
  • pkrfce9pkrfce9 SHIP IT, BITCHES!
    Bfillmaff wrote: »
    Generally speaking, try to avoid getting your whole stack in with one pair. Consider what hands are likely to call your bet - all of them beat you.

    Keeping it simple: big hand, big pot. Small hand, small pot. You obvioulsy dont want to just fold, but in a cash game... the best pair is still just a pair!

    Side note - this is a common mistake and is exactly what makes playing 66 so profitable in those games.
    You know you need a lot more info on this particular hand before you can make that kind of statement.

    I'm on my phone and I'm not going to type all that in. Can anyone let the op know the info that would help here?

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  • Richard~Richard~ Full PFC Member
    It depends on many things like stacksize, tableflow, preflop bet size, images etc. Generally you stacked off with a pretty powerful hand, but it's really hard to give advice in a vacuum
  • pkrfce9pkrfce9 SHIP IT, BITCHES!
    Thank you Richard!

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  • Richard~Richard~ Full PFC Member
    This is funny because I didn't even see your post before replying lol
  • DrTyoreDrTyore It's phonetic!
    As the others said above, there is a tonne of information that is needed to decide what to do here, I have called someone's push before with well less than top pair and been right.

    However, and please understand I'm not trying to troll here, I'm guessing your overall poker experience / skill level tends to be on the lower / more rookie side. Top pair top kicker (TPTK) looks like gold to a lot of people, any pair looks like gold to some people! The information that pkrface and Richard are referring to is absolutely critical, but also fairly advanced concepts that come with more experience and understanding of the game (especially the understanding part, I've seen people with years of experience that still don't get it).

    Bfillmaff's advice is spot on for what I'm assuming is your skill set right now. A "big hand" is probably three of a kind or better (depending on the board - three of a kind isn't great if there's 4 hearts), and smaller hands tend to be two pair or lower (top two pair can be pretty solid, bottom 2 pair is definitely a smaller hand). Pot control (keeping it small with small hands and large with large ones) is a hugely important skill, and it will come with experience. Remember the other concepts, but focus on the pot control for now.

    Mark
  • BfillmaffBfillmaff High Roller.
    pkrfce9 wrote: »
    You know you need a lot more info on this particular hand before you can make that kind of statement.

    we have different interpretations of what "generally speaking" means...
  • pkrfce9pkrfce9 SHIP IT, BITCHES!
    Bfillmaff wrote: »
    we have different interpretations of what "generally speaking" means...
    Not really. But a general answer to a vague question has no value. I don't think it helps the op.

    I would never fold tptk against alex but I would fold bottom set against comp!
  • compueasecompuease Administrator
    pkrfce9 wrote: »
    I would never fold tptk against alex but I would fold bottom set against comp!
    I count on it!
  • BfillmaffBfillmaff High Roller.
    Agree we should get more info and go deeper - but mark's point is exactly what I had in mind. (WtF????!!)

    OP - lets start with approx stack sizes, table dynamic, position, and what happened leading up to the turn shove. From there we can give some more specific advice, as these fine folks are correct that there are many other variations, some of which make the shove just fine!
  • pkrfce9pkrfce9 SHIP IT, BITCHES!
    Don't you get that feeling the op is not coming back?

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  • Richard~Richard~ Full PFC Member
    for what it's worth if a turn shove implies you were all in after two streets of (single) betting it's very unlikely folding is optimal
  • The_AwesomeThe_Awesome Average sized member
    Not much advice here... just a story.

    The last time at Vegas I sat down at the poker table at Madalay Bay with a bunch of businessmen fish. The wife sat behind me to try to learn a more serious game (she just plays for fun). The very first hand I get dealt AQ. There were two raises preflop and 4 people saw the flop. Flop comes Q 10 6 rainbow. The first fish makes a decent bet and the second fish raises quickly. The 1 second exchange of looks they gave each other told me everything I needed to know.

    I looked at the dealer and said "A trap hand? My very first hand at the table and you give me a trap hand?"

    I turned around to my wife and showed her my cards and said "You see, this is where most people go broke in poker. I'm pretty sure I'm third here."

    I threw the cards away and the fishys got all their chips in. One turns over KK and the other 10 10.



    Where I leak really bad is flopping a set when someone else flops the boat (i.e. my last hand at Niagara). Even though my spidey senses were going nuts in this case I couldn't stop myself from shipping him my chips.
  • PocketsTwosPocketsTwos Full PFC Member
    sard1010 wrote: »
    I'd even gone so far as to know that my opponent was very willing to bet big and just knock people off their hands, even if he had nothing.

    Might I add....even a loose player flops a monster hand some of the time.
  • sard1010sard1010 Full PFC Member
    Well well folks, you've far exceeded my expectations and I'm not just trying to be a suck-up by saying I really really appreciate your guys's help. It's actually really really in depth and reading through all of the responses just now I felt like I learned a lot and I'll probably have to read through it again and show my buddy too. pkrfce9 - Oh you bet I'll be back, I was hoping I worded my OP just decently enough that you guys could feast on it a bit and I was right. So thanks a bundle!

    I could probably write a very long essay in response to the juice you guys gave me but I'll try to keep it brief and if more conversation can flow that would probably be extremely beneficial to me and maybe any other newer members or guests to the forum.

    First I would defend Bfillmaff's very lovely opening response. I found it most helpful and yes it may have been the most general response of the bunch it contained the blunt force trauma of an answer that I needed. And then the rest of you (as well as Bfillmaff with his follow-up remarks) sharpened the insight -- and that helped a ton as well of course.

    I understand the details that I left out, some of them pretty basic and I perhaps should have realized, other's more in depth and perhaps I don't want to bore you guys with incredibly gory details, assuming I even could recount/remember them or have the desire to want to type up that much detail.

    I can add something that you guys may find really important. Due to my lack of being significantly materially blessed right now, I only buy-in for the minimum of $60. So I guess off the bat I'm a short stack. So the situation of being all-in is not something of a rarity but sometimes a necessity perhaps of being relatively short. In this specific situation, he bet $35 and I just raised him for my whole stack of probably like $50-55, making a decently confident read that he was making a play with a lesser to no hand (of course I was wrong).

    Richard~ seems to have made a decent point that I like not only because it's insightful but it defends what can otherwise be seen as a noob move on my part to go all-in. I guess his point relates to the fact that he picked up on the fact that I was kind of short-stacked.

    DrTyore - Thank you for differentiating between more basic and advanced concepts. I definitely am a newer and much less experienced player. I'm pretty confident that I can understand more advanced concepts, but a simple truism like "remember pot control" is something I can take to. The more advanced one's I'm confident I can pick up on and learn given more time.

    Ya guys I didn't give you all the gory details, but I'm glad you guys were able to overcome that and give me some top-notch stuff. I'm really going to benefit from these above posts and I look forward to the potential for more discussion. Thanks for not giving up on the thread and assuming I wasn't ever going to come back lol! I'm totally just pokering fun pkrfce9, but you made the wrong read on me there thinking I wasn't going to come back. Couldn't you tell based on the enthusiasm of my OP that I was in it for the long haul?

    I'm slightly aware based on my miserably self-conscious nature that my innate enthusiam and chessyness may be annoying, I apologize but I'm momentarily finding it hard to contain my enjoyment of poker at this current time in my life.
  • pkrfce9pkrfce9 SHIP IT, BITCHES!
    Ya Bfillmaff, great advice for a short stacker. Well done,sir.

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  • Richard~Richard~ Full PFC Member
    In this specific situation, he bet $35 and I just raised him for my whole stack of probably like $50-55

    you started the hand with 60$s, you're definitely getting this stack in when you smash the flop that hard

    I think that if you were playing 0.05/0.10$ and lost 3 bucks in this hand we wouldn't be having that discussion

    That said I do encourage you to keep learning if you want to profit from these games, at this level you might not be in the long run
  • BfillmaffBfillmaff High Roller.
    With stack sizes like this, for sure you were fine to get it in. As pkrfce was so happy to point out, yes, you should disregard the pot controlling advice at these stack sizes - you are committed to the hand and arent folding ever.

    Buying in short is probably a good call for now and this is a perfect hand to illustrate how it can make things simpler. As you gain confidence, you can buy in for more, and as stack sizes get bigger you will need to think twice about your one pair hands before playing for it all. In the meantime, folding in that spot is simply not an option.

    Well played and FU pkrfce!
  • pkrfce9pkrfce9 SHIP IT, BITCHES!
    Look at that. We agree! 😉

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  • sard1010sard1010 Full PFC Member
    Richard~ wrote: »
    That said I do encourage you to keep learning if you want to profit from these games, at this level you might not be in the long run

    I guess I'm just confused by the use of the word "level" here. What do you mean here Richard?
    Bfillmaff wrote: »
    In the meantime, folding in that spot is simply not an option.

    I know I left out the crucial piece of info that I bought in short, however based on the first stream of responses and actually even your first response, can't it still ring true that putting in your whole stack with top pair isn't necessarily always the best move? Now you seem to be indicating that I not only made the right play but it's always the right play (with a short stack). I dunno, I seemed to like the advice better that I should at least be mindful that top pair isn't always good. Despite the fact that in the situation I faced I sat and thought about my decision for a little bit and I felt the dude was just sorta bullying me with a bigger stack and I thought with a decent amount of confidence that top pair would be good.
  • Richard~Richard~ Full PFC Member
    I guess I'm just confused by the use of the word "level" here. What do you mean here Richard?

    Have you ever played the game final fantasy? Basically you play as this dude with a sword who sets out to save the world and you start at level1. you kill some monsters and the experience gets you stronger and eventually you hit level2, level3, level10 and so on. Towards the end of the game you're so used to fighting monsters after 1000s of battles that you take on the final boss with your now level 100 dude and you crush his soul every time he tries to checkraise you in spots where he can't rep any strong hands and thus you save the world

    The analogy falls apart somewhere but i don't really care :D
  • trigstrigs Flop smasher
    sard1010 wrote: »
    I know I left out the crucial piece of info that I bought in short, however based on the first stream of responses and actually even your first response, can't it still ring true that putting in your whole stack with top pair isn't necessarily always the best move? Now you seem to be indicating that I not only made the right play but it's always the right play (with a short stack). I dunno, I seemed to like the advice better that I should at least be mindful that top pair isn't always good. Despite the fact that in the situation I faced I sat and thought about my decision for a little bit and I felt the dude was just sorta bullying me with a bigger stack and I thought with a decent amount of confidence that top pair would be good.

    no. you always have to consider stack sizes. be wary of saying something like "it's always good to blah blah blah no matter the stack size". stack sizes can dramatically change the way you should play a hand.

    if you don't want to play a more push/fold style, then buy in for max.
  • pkrfce9pkrfce9 SHIP IT, BITCHES!
    But don't do that yet

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  • this is troll?
  • The_AwesomeThe_Awesome Average sized member
    trigs wrote: »
    no. you always have to consider stack sizes. be wary of saying something like "it's always good to blah blah blah no matter the stack size". stack sizes can dramatically change the way you should play a hand.

    if you don't want to play a more push/fold style, then buy in for max.

    This. Stack size matters.

    Let's say you have $60 and you get $10 of it in preflop and 3 people see the flop. So there is roughly $30 in the pot and you have $50 back. If the first player bets $20 after the flop and the next player folds it to you and your top pair... if you push you are betting $50 to possibly win $50 if your top pair is good. All you need for this move to make money in the long run is for your top pair to stand up at least half the time (which it will).

    If you had $950 back and wanted to shove you'd be risking $950 to win $50 (not smart). Here your top pair would need to stand up at least 19 out of 20 times (which it won't).

    Somewhere between those two scenarios is where the real poker is played ;).
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