Mistakes in Power Up

Mistakes are normal. After all, didn’t Alexander Pope write, “To Err is human?” Last time I checked, none of us are robots, and we all make mistakes. If we can learn from our mistakes, we can improve, not only as players of a game, but as human beings, but that’s enough of the philosophy. After all, this is a site about Power Up. Today’s hand from Arlie Shaban gives him a big “learning opportunity.” He admits at the end he makes mistakes, but he’s trying to learn.

Arlie starts the hand with King-Seven off-suit and completes from the small blind following the player on the button just matching the big blind. With no raise from the Big Blind player, three players are still in the hand with the flop of King of Hearts, Seven of Hearts and the Four of Diamonds showing. Arlie has hit top two pair, but there are straight draws and a heart flush draw showing. He’s first to act on the flop and raises just over half the pot. The player to his left calls, followed by a raise from the player on the button.

Let’s have a look at the potential holdings for Arlie’s opponents. I think we can discount any sets here, the pre-flop action was too passive for that in my opinion. That means Arlie is very likely to have the best hand at the table, but his opponents have an opportunity to improve to better hands on future streets.

Arlie makes a call here. Personally, I’m not convinced this is the right play. If he had an EMP, I’d be a big fan of playing it and moving all in. This maximises the pressure we can put on our opponents and removes the impact of any potential power card plays. However, Arlie doesn’t have an EMP card here.

In this situation, I’d like to see him play his Scanner power, and re-evaluate based on the information he gains. If the two cards exposed to him complete either the straight or the flush draws, I’d send them to the muck, and move all in. If the cards he sees don’t complete any potential draws, I’d keep them, and then move all in.

In short, Arlie is probably miles ahead of the other players at the table with his top two pair and should be trying to get the chips in the middle while limiting the options for his opponents. The pot is big enough at this point that we shouldn’t mind seeing the other fold, and if they call they are likely getting their chips in as an underdog to our made hand.

However, Arlie calls here, and so does the player to his left, making this a family pot on the turn, which is the Three of Spades. This could potentially complete a straight for a player holding Five-Six. This holding is not unreasonable for either of Arlie’s opponents here given the action we’ve seen so far. Arlie checks the turn and the player to his left plays an Engineer card. He selects the Six of Hearts, which would complete both a flush and a straight on the river, and then moves all in. This puts the action on the button player. He plays an X-Ray to get more information, which also helps Arlie as he gets the information as well. Arlie’s King is exposed, and the all-in player’s Two of Clubs is also shown to the table. The button player then plays Upgrade, potentially putting the Six of Hearts into his hand. Arlie misses that he mucks the Six here, so I’ll work on the same assumptions he did. He also moves all-in. It’s time to re-evaluate what our opponents are holding.

The player to Arlie’s left has essentially declared he is holding a Five to go with his exposed Two. The player to Arlie’s right has taken the Six of Hearts off the top of the deck and could potentially have it in his hand. The chances of both players having a five is pretty low, and the player to Arlie’s left has told a more convincing story that they have one in my opinion. The flush draw is still possible, but if the Button player had two Hearts, they’ve made a big mistake taking the Six of hearts off the top of the deck. I still think Arlie is ahead here.

Arlie now plays his scanner card and sees that the next two cards are the Jacks of Diamonds and Clubs respectively. He discards them. I personally don’t like this, the Jack isn’t a scary card to me, it completes no draws, and if he loses to King-Jack, he should chalk it up to bad luck. However, Arlie is convinced he’s up against a made straight, and is looking for either a Seven or a King to fill up a boat. I don’t think the actions at the table support that assumption, even if we are working under the assumption that the Six wasn’t mucked.

Arlie folds the best hand as the player to his left turns over the expected Five-Two combo and the Button player shows his King of Spades-Nine of Hearts. I think that this article has shown he has made some mistakes, but I could be wrong. After all, I’m not a robot either. All we can do is learn from them, and become better players.

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