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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Harrington Hand Analysis

I came across this hand analysis in Harrington Vol 2 and I so completely disagreed with his analysis that I thought I’d write it up and get everyone’s opinion on it. If you have the book, the hand is 8-19 on page 109. Go get it, read it over, I’ll wait. You don’t have the book? Shame on you, ok I’ll summarize.

“You’re in middle position and it’s early in an online tournament – Stack sizes are roughly equal. You’re dealt 97s, the table folds around to you, first question, should you raise, call, or fold?”

Personally at this stage in the tournament, and in this position, I would probably fold this hand here and wait for a better opportunity to make a play, but a call is acceptable to try to see a cheap flop, but with 6 people still to act, there’s still a strong possibility of a raise yet to come.

“The player decides to call, a new player to the table also calls, and an aggressive big blind checks. Pot is 105. The flop comes Td8c6c. The big blind checks. Do you check, bet $30 (min bet) or bet $50?.”

Harrington argues that a min bet (poor baby Jebus) is the best play to build a pot which you will take down at the showdown.

Here’s my problem, sure you have the best hand, RIGHT NOW, however with 2 suited cards on the board and two limpers, I’m thinking there’s a great chance that one of the players is now on a flush draw which will nullify your current straight.

My question to the masses is this, isn’t it better to take down the pot right away with the best hand (regardless of the pot size at the moment) rather than try to put yourself in to a situation where you’ll have the second best hand at the showdown. In this particular case I think the best play would be to make a pot sized bet to scare away any flush draw chasers, and allow you to take a pot of 3x BB which isn’t bad with a mediocre hand from MP.

The player in this example actually makes a $50 bet and the two other players fold.