OK so after a weekend full of poker, I'm back at you today with Part III to Hot Hand #1, which if you'll recall takes place early on in a Pot-Limit Omaha tournament on full tilt (I may have mistakenly reported it as pokerstars originally, but same difference). Recall that after the flop, I held the nuts to the board with a 2-card inside straight, I bet the pot and found one caller. Then the turn card brought me a higher straight, but now the second-nuts instead of the stone nuts. I posed the question to you as to what you would do in this situation:
In the end, the commenters are fairly evenly split between checking here and betting out here. Those who advocate checking seem to cite the flush draw and the higher straight possibility out there as reasons to try to wait until the river to decide whether or not to commit fully to this pot. Those comments in favor of betting most often cited the need to protect my hand and to find out some information about what my opponent was holding. For my part, as I said in Part II of this post, I think the check on the flop warranted some consideration, despite my holding the nuts at the time, because the pot was so small on the flop that even a pot-sized bet was likely to get called by the drawing hands out against me. However, in this case after the turn card, I simply cannot bring myself to think I'm behind here. I think part of any winning Omaha strategy will require sometimes betting/raising the pot when a scare card falls, or just generally when one is not sure that he or she is holding the best hand. I have played enough poker, and enough Omaha, to know that, for me, I don't want to be that guy who checked the flop with the nuts, then checked the turn or made seeing another card cheap again with a possible higher straight draw and a flush draw out there, and ended up giving the cheap cards away that beat my nut hand from early on.
As I mentioned as well in the last post, especially in a draw-heavy game like Omaha, I just don't think that giving opponents inexpensive chances to draw out on me when I have the nuts is the right way to play this game. On the flop with a pot of only 60 chips, maybe, but now with 180 chips in the pot I know I wanted to bet hard, but the 180 chips is a still fairly small, fairly callable amount, and I want to get this guy out of the hand right now if possible. And, I was convinced after his flop call that he would bet out whatever hand he was calling with before if I checked it to him now. So I checked to him, with the intention of checkraising the size of the pot if he bet, and he did not disappoint me, betting 180 chips or the full pot. I quickly checkraised him to 720 chips, sticking with my strategy as I felt fairly confident I was ahead, and wanted to price this guy right into mucking his hand now before the river came and wrecked my hand. Yes, I know my opponent could have AQ and be ahead of me. But, when he has already called a pot-sized bet on the JT7 flop, I just don't see how I can reasonably put him on holding AQ. After the fact that is easy to do, but at the time, given his potbet-call on the flop, it certainly seemed far more likely than not that he was not holding AQ, and therefore I went ahead and checkraised the pot here.
Now what do you do here? This guy has just basically put his tournament life on the line with this bet. Yet, the only thing that beats my hand currently is AQ, and to call my pot-sized bet on the flop like he did with AQ would mean chasing just an inside straight draw on this board, along with possible flush draws. So, do I do like many of the previous commenters have suggested, and assume I'm beat and just fold the second-nuts here? Or do I call, which basically amounts to putting us both allin on this pot? What's the best move here?
I'll be back with the conclusion to this post shortly, but would love to get your comments on this, the most crucial part of the hand where I'm either sticking with my strong hand, or I'm succumbing to my opponent's aggression here on the turn card. And speaking of pot-limit Omaha tournaments, last night I final tabled one on full tilt -- I have a full writeup on my blog right now if you're interested in the details.