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OPEN FACE ODDS

HEADS UP STRATEGY

Categories: Beginner Strategy, First Five


SPLITTING A MONSTER


STARTING FIVE


August 2013 -- To a card player like myself who has primarily played Holdem, this starting hand looks pretty sweet. It is, after all, 4 outs away from what would almost surely be a nut full house. With 8 streets ahead to pull from, it's very tempting to set this baby AAKK in back and throw that 3 into the middle or front. I am in position (2nd to act) and I've already seen my opponent's set:




Slam dunk, right? Set that potential boat in the back, and wait for the 6 pt royalty to trickle in. Or is there a better play? To make that determination, I am going to take these factors into consideration:

1) From a pure math perspective, there is a 55% chance that I hit a 4-outer (two AA and two KK) from 6th street forward. Are those good odds? Not really -- it's a coin flip, basically. If I had 4 to a flush set in the back, and the villain has one of my flush cards, I would still have double the outs (8), or an 80% chance to make it. Those are odds I like better.

2) If I set AAKK in back, all I have is a lowly 3 to shore up my middle or front rows. And, what if I don't get there on the boat idea? That's an invitation to a scoop for my opponent.

3) The weakness of the villain's cards and set is such that any overpair to his back or middle is likely to hold. So, a 6 pt scoop is definitely a strong possibility if I set AA in the back and KK in the middle. It's going to be pretty tough for my opponent to beat an AA back row (with three slots left open to improve) with 796 rainbow. It's a similar story in the middle, with 43 off going up against KK.

4) If I set AA back and KK middle, and get there on JJ (+6) or QQ (+7 and a trip to Fantasyland) in the front, I compensate for any missed royalty in the back. And, queens and jacks are totally live.

After considering these points, I have decided to set like so:




And, as you'll see below, I got there on the QQ front hand. Now I admit that the three 8's that hit me in the back row were a bit of run good, giving me not just the scoop but back royalties to go along with my QQ front hand royalties, but then again, the hand was set up from the beginning to maximize any luck that came my way. So, I take some credit for making a play that ended up scoring +19 -- scooping +6, back boat +6, and QQ front +7. And, a trip to Fantasyland!

The final runout:




And, the runout for my opponent:




So, next time you catch a sweet starting hand in the hole, think twice before you automatically set for a back row monster. If you take the time to think it through, you'll see there are alternative ways to set a big hand which have the potential for a big scoring hit.

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