Rounders: DId they play it right?

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I'd ask what your favorite poker movie is, but it's "Rounders".  If it's not, just go away and stop reading.  You suck.

There are three key hands in the movie, that I think are interesting to analyze today with how far the game has evolved.

If you haven't seen the movie, this is going to have spoilers.  So go away.  And you suck.

Hand 1: Mike gets stacked

Mike and Teddy KGB are playing $100/150.  Wait.  WTF?

Action folds to Mike on the button who squeezes [Ac][9c].  He raises 3.3x to $500 and gets called by Teddy in the big blind holding [Ad][Ah].

Mike's raise is large-ish, but not terrible.  Teddy's flat is horiffic.  This is a clear spot against a button raise to three bet for value and to build the pot, which also improves his three bet range and allows him to bluff more in similar spots.

Flop ($1,250): [As][9s][8c]
Teddy checks.  Mike bets $2,000.

I agree with Mike that a larger than normal bet here is important, given the draw heavy nature of the board.  But he overbets (160%!) the pot and he's going to be missing value from some draws by forcing them out and unbalances his range when he wants to bluff in this spot because if he wants to be balanced he'll have to make larger bluffs than he should.  And this is a spot where he'll be bluffing a decent amount of the time, so making his bluff sizes that large doesn't make sense.  I think he should have bet about $850-900.

Teddy calls $2,000

Turn ($5,250): [9h]
Teddy checks.  Mike checks behind.

Both plays here are acceptable.  Teddy had an option to lead on the turn because his range will have more nines in it than Mike's range, but because Teddy is blocking so many aces it's probably more profitable to let Mike continue to bluff.  Also, Mike gives Teddy a chance to bluff the river into 9's full because Mike's blockers make it far more likely that Teddy has a drawing hand and not a made hand at this point.

River ($5,250): [3s]
Teddy bets $15,000 (lolz)

There's an argument to call this place the "Overbet Poker Club".  Teddy's overbet make less sense than Mike's.  What is Teddy trying to achieve here?  If he's putting Mike on a flush, he's giving him a price to fold, where a half pot bet would likely still induce a call, or even put in a raise.  Or, Teddy can play it slow and look to check-raise which gives Mike a chance to both bluff and value bet.

Mike jams for $48,000 total.  Teddy, predictably, calls.

At this point, it's just a cooler.  Mike's hand is far to strong not to raise this river, even facing a ridiculous overbet.  Is there an argument to be a nit and just call...probably, given that Mike's entire bankroll was on the line (don't do that people) but I'm still ok with his raise.

Hand 2: Figuring out Teddy's tell:

They're playing $50-100 now, heads up, and Mike is on the button with [Ah][5c].  Teddy's hand in unknown.

We don't get to see the preflop action, but there is $1,000 in the pot, so we can assume that Teddy raised to $500 and Mike called.

Flop ($1,000): [Ac][5s][3d]
Mike checks.  Teddy bet's what looks like $5,000 and puts Mike all in.

WTF again?  Betting 5x pot is always a mistake.  He's letting Mike fold hands he should be getting value from, and making his future bluffs in the same spot far too expensive to be profitable.  Teddy should be betting about $400-500 on this flop.  A dry ace high board makes sense for a smaller bet.  Teddy has a massive range advantage against Mike's big blind calling range, and Teddy is in position for the hand.  Mike would be folding most of his non paired hands for a good price, and Teddy is likely only going to get called by a hand that has a TON of equity.

Cue the Oreo.  Mike puts the pieces together on what might be the stupidest poker tell in history, folds his hand up, and says he doesn't want to draw against a made hand.  Cue the aneurysm in Teddy's head.

From the way Teddy talks, it's a safe assumption that he did in fact have 2x4x or at least a set.  But let's look at Mike's fold.

Having a strong read on your opponent is never a bad thing, and you'll make adjustments and narrow or widen your ranges accordingly.  But this is near the very top of Mike's range for this flop, and it's going to be beating Teddy's value bet range a lot of the time, plus he's still drawing live against two of the three sets.  I hate Mike's fold here.  It's horrible from a theoretical standpoint.  Fuck your read, Mike.  That's a call.

Hand 3: "He trapped me..."

This hand is a great hand to analyze, because it gives some good insight on how to deal with a crazy agressive player at the table.

Mike has [8s][9s]on the button and minclicks to $200.

Finally.  A raise that makes sense in this movie!

Flop ($400): [Th][7s][6d]
Mike checks.  Teddy overbets (obv) and fires $2,000 (5x pot)

Mike's check here is fine.  He should be betting some of the time to balance his checking range, but against an aggressive player like Teddy it's very reasonable.  If Mike has a more vulnerable hand here like top pair or 88, I'd like to see him bet and not give Teddy a shot at a free turn card.

Mike calls.

Turn ($4,400): [2c]
Mike checks.  Teddy bets $4,400 (full pot).  Mike calls.

Teddy bets pot, and Mike is correct to just flat.  Teddy is far to agressive to go for the check-raise in this spot.  We want Teddy to spew off here 100% of the time.  Well, not 100%.  Never do something 100% of the time.

River ($13,200): [As]
Teddy jams $23,900.  Mike calls with the nuts and wins the hand.

We never get to see Teddy's hand, and Mike has an obvious call with the nuts.  GG, mad Russian.

This hand is a great example of how letting an an aggressive player do you work for you can pay off huge!

Oh, and don't keep your food in a chip rack.  That's beyond icky.