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Old 09-17-2020, 12:45 AM   #4
holyrood
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Join Date: Sep 2020
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Re: Overvaluing pocket tens?

As Sharky & pokerchris emphasize in their replies, the right decision here will depend greatly on the read you have on your opponent - either this one particularly or the pool of shortstackers at 2NL generally. It's difficult to say conclusively what you should do, or whether you're overvaluing your holding by calling, without knowing what hands you consider your opponent likely to hold in this situation. That said, I still think it's instructive to run through the thought process that your decision should model, whether you're doing the math approximately at the table or more thoroughly in a hand-history review.

First it helps to put your question more precisely. What does it mean to overvalue TT here? In this situation, calling heads-up with no action to follow post-flop, your decision depends on just two things: the pot odds & your opponent's range. In such a situation, the only way you could meaningfully be 'overvaluing' your hand is if, knowing the pot odds & assigning your opponent a range, you call with insufficient equity. You still could make the wrong decision if, for instance, you miscalculated the pot odds or assigned your opponent an inaccurate range - but that wouldn't be because you overvalued your hand. They're different mistakes.

To start, what are the pot odds? To win 40.5BB you have to pay 26.5BB, so the pot's offering you slightly better than 1.5:1 to call. You need to determine whether your hand will win you the pot at least 40% of the time against the range of hands your opponent could be holding here. So, what could he be holding? This is where your reads & intuition come in. Without a read, we have to make a few simplifying assumptions. Since it's 2NL, I think it's worth assuming that he's shoving short for value here, & that he isn't considering his fold equity at all. Sharky's right that shortstackers at this level are often pushing with non-premium hands. But nits are fairly prevalent, too. I don't know how your opponent ended up short-stacked, only that he didn't top-up if he did start deeper. Generally, when I don't have a read on an opponent I assume they're solid until proven otherwise. My instinct (& the toughest test of your question) is that their range is something like: AA-JJ & AKs/o.

So, how does TT stack up against this range? Well, there are 24 hands of overpairs (6 combinations of each) & 16 hands of AK (4 suited & 12 unsuited). 24:16 = 3:2. Against the overpairs you're about a 4:1 dog, & against AK you've got the better side of a coinflip (1:1). Converting to a common base of 10, that's 8:2 & 5:5. So your odds against his whole range are: 3(8)+2(5):3(2)+2(5) = (24+10):(6+10) = 34:16. That's a bit worse than 2:1. Now, we used 1:1 against AK for simplicity, but you actually have the better side of the coinflip, so let's round down & say you're 2:1 even. Since the pot's only offering you 1.5:1, you should fold. Given the pot odds & the range I put your opponent on, calling in this situation would be overvaluing TT.

But that's highly dependent on the range I assumed. This demonstrates how important your reads are to determining the right play. As suggested in the math above, the real trouble calling here is your opponent's overpairs. They're a majority of his range & your Tens are a huge dog. Your slight edge against AK doesn't compensate for that. Conceptually, your overall decision depends on how much of your opponent's range is actually overpairs. Practically, that can only be reckoned by your read. Imagine that your opponent was peculiarly nitty, & he'd never do this with Queens or Jacks. That's 12 hands of overpairs & 16 hands of AK. 12:16 = 3:4. Let's use a base of 20 this time to account for your slight edge against AK - against overpairs you're 16:4 & against AK you're 9:11. So, against his whole range: 3(16)+4(9):3(4)+4(11) = (48+36):(12+44) = 84:56. (Conveniently, 28 divides both evenly.) So your odds are 3:2 = 1.5:1. Against this new, nittier range you can narrowly justify a call.

What you really need here is for your opponent to be looser. Maybe he's doing this with overpairs & AK, but he's also doing it with some smaller pairs. (Let's exclude TT for simplicity/unlikeliness & include exactly 4 underpairs to spare us any more math.) Supposing his range was AA-JJ, AKs/o, & 99-66, it would be an easy call. You're a 4:1 dog against 24 hands, you're a 4:1 favourite against 24 hands, & you're better than 1:1 against the remaining 16 hands. That means you're a bit better than 1:1 on the whole, & that's much better than the 1.5:1 odds the pot is offering you. Against this range, you'd certainly not be overvaluing your pocket tens by calling. (In fact, you'd only need 99 in his range to just barely obtain the 1.5:1 odds needed. Adding both 99 & 88 would make it an easy call. Additional unpaired overcards would tip the scale in the same direction as these smaller pockets but not near as drastically.)

Some other factors matter, too. The most important is that by calling this all-in you're getting some information. You obviously can't confirm your hypothesis that his range is AA-JJ + AKs/o when he shows down AKs, but you can falsify it if he shows down 88 or AQo. In a cash game, especially if you're likely to face this opponent often, the potential long-term value of the information could make up for the insufficient equity vs his range, given the pot odds, in this particular hand. (This should not be used as an excuse to hero-call!) But, for the most part, the considerations above (importantly, your reads) are the essential pieces to determining the right decision or, alternatively, how or whether you went wrong.
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