Pre-flop play in PLO 6max. Chapter 2. Entering the pot on preflop (UTG- KKxx and QQxx hands)
I continue to publish the study "Preflop Play in PLO 6max".
Hands containing 2 kings are almost always played. Nevertheless , the decision to play a hand requires an analysis of the structure of the hand, the opponents at the table and other factors. Depending on the impact of these factors, the result of playing Kings UTG can vary dramatically.
First, we note that the decision as to whether or not to play Kings is closely related to the size of the stacks. This observation will play an important role in the analysis of other starting hands.
If you're playing a short stack, the mathematical odds in an all-in situation play a dominant role, when you play a deep stack (especially 200BB and above) much of the emphasis is shifted towards the transparency of the hand after the flop and the likelihood of additional outs on the flop, this is linked to being on top with hands and draws. This will reduce the chances of a successful bluff by your opponents and make it easier to draw if the pot gets big on the flop.
The second important factor is the nature of the table. Loose passive tables require a more critical view of one's own hand when playing UTG. This is true not only of kings - the more loosely and passively opponents play against us, the greater the difference between the ranges of our early- and late-position hands.
This issue is especially acute when drawing with kings. Apart from the obvious risk of running into aces, hands with Kings contain a less noticeable weakness - the risk of starting to draw against an opponent with one ace, who has caught an ace on the flop. If our hand contains no aces, 82.4 percent of the time at least one opponent will have an ace. Now picture the situation on the flop in the absence of three-bet.
An ace will fall on the flop 23% of the time. This usually results in the Kings resorting to a game of checking and calling. A continuation bet is required and if your opponent calls, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to guess whether or not they have an ace. If they do, it completely kills the initial advantage of our hand.
For this reason, at loose passive tables, we should play either kings which reduce the likelihood of an opponent having an ace, (eg hands such as AKKx), or kings which have a high probability of additional outs on the flop (eg kings with straight and flush combinations such as 8♠ , T♦ , K♠ , K♣ or 6♣ , J♠ , K♣ , K♠ ).
Otherwise, we will often find themselves in a situation of complete uncertainty without position and a good starting hand can turn into a liability. Note that for a tight table, these risks are offset by the fact that we only rarely find ourself playing against a weak ace (tight players will generally fold weak aces to a raise from UTG, which often implies the presence of a strong ace, only hands with very strong aces are usually 3bet) and the fact that it is easier to pick up the blinds allows Kings to be played more loosely.
Nevertheless, even at a very tight table where there are short stacks discretion should be exercised when it comes to playing Kings. For illustrative purposes, here are how some "bad" hands with kings fare against various hand ranges.
Thus the mathematical chances of bad kings against various hand ranges are at less than 50 percent, and given the complexity of game-play, these hands will in most cases do very badly.
On average, from UTG depending on the nature of the table suitable one-third to two-thirds of the Kkxx hands are playable.
We also note that a re-raise of our UTG raise will in most cases mean an AAxx hand . To determine whether this is so, it is necessary to look at the opponent's pre-flop 3-betting statistics and consider that most 3bets are re-raises from late position.
For example, if an opponent's 3bet preflop statistic is no more than 8 percent, you can be sure that his hand is aces. When assessing the likelihood of an opponent having aces, you should take into account that the overall probability of AAxx hands is about 2.7 percent and about there is another 2 percent of his 3bet-range which can be allocated to kings, but this is unlikely due to the fact that we have two kings in our hand. Thus we need to make an adjustment in the sense that 3betting an UTG-raiser is far less likely than 3betting the CO or Dealer if they raise.
Also note that since kings fare worse against aces than a random card from the high range fares against kings, to respond to a re-raise , we need an opponent with a very high 3bet percentage usually not less than 15-18 , as well as a favorable structure of our hands — with suits or straight draws.
QQxx hands are similar in structure to the KKxx hands we have discussed in detail, with the added caveat that in this case all the risks of "kings" are multiplied by two, the risk for ladies is both aces and a kings.
From UTG we play only premium Queens and Kings, with good drawing options. The reason is that on average, in 24% of cases we will be facing AAxx or KKxx, against which we will have a very limited chance .
Some Queens are better than others such as those with a second pair, Queens with a King and/or an Ace (Aces and Kings among other things reduce the likelihood of running into KKxx or Aaxx hands), likewise Queens with redraws such as straight cards. Needless to say, the presence of suits improves their chances.
Below are some examples of how Queens stand up against the top 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% of hands. Results are shown without the impact of suits, double-suited hands have an extra 3-4% chance, compared to "rainbow" hands of the same structure.
1) AKQQ (50,75% - 55,83% - 58,32% - 59 , 96%) (hereinafter - ranges for 10%, 15 %, 20% , top 25% )
2) AQQJ (47,58% - 52,13% - 54,95% - 56,77%)
3) KQQJ (44,08% - 49,13% - 52,20% - 54,22%)
4) AQQx (46,73% - 51,21% - 53,86% - 55,74%)
5) KQQx (43,34% - 48,35% - 51,29% - 53,27%)
6) QQTJ (43,31% - 47,76% - 50,68% - 52,68%)
7) QQJJ (45,60% - 49,98% - 52,83% -54,76%)
8) QQ + pair of TT to 22 - the average value ( 42.40 % - 46.68 % - 49.41 % - 51.32 %)
9) QQ + with connectors (from T to QQ78) (42,47% - 46,46% - 48,99% -50,90%)
Thus, when UTG Queens have relatively low value and having a pair of Queens in a hand should not be looked on as a matter of intrinsic value, but as a nice bonus to a strong hand.