“Slow down, you move too fast…”—Simon & Garfunkel, The 59th Street Bridge Song
Imagine that we’re playing in a 9-handed $1/$2 Texas Hold’em cash game at a local casino. It’s mid-morning on a weekday, and the table is populated with middle-aged and elderly players. Most of these players are men who seem to be killing time with cash play until the daily noon knock-out tournament starts. The stack sizes vary between 50bb and 150bb. The play has been relatively tight and passive. The standard opening bet sizing that we’ve observed is 3x the big blind, but more often than not, players are limp-opening their hands.
The primary villain in this hand is an elderly gentleman who is dressed conservatively, including a thin gold wedding ring and an old Timex watch with a worn leather strap. He appears to be a typical “OMC,” or Old Man Coffee, meaning an elderly player who is likely on a fixed income and is playing poker more for social interaction than as a serious pursuit. True to stereotype, he is nursing a second free cup of coffee that was just brought to him by a table server. He has been chatting amiably about the weather and sports with a couple of other OMCs, most of whom seem to know him by name, as does the dealer.
We’ve been at the table for about an hour, and the villain has played only three hands in that entire period. In two of the hands, he called behind in late position to an open-limper, then folded on the flop after apparently missing his draws. On the third hand (which he also limped in preflop) he led into a low, wet and connected flop, and then check-called down when his opponent didn’t fold. He then folded his losing hand of Jacks face-up on the river, complaining audibly that he never wins with “damn fishhooks.” (Which, of course, spurred a series of jokes from the other players about losing with Jacks.) Based on these factors, we classify the villain as a tight, passive, somewhat unimaginative player who can get married to an over-pair, regardless of board texture.
A few hands later, the OMC villain is first to act under-the-gun. He currently has around 110bb in his stack. He open-raises to $6. Before he bet, however, we noticed he glanced briefly down at his chip stack. He also stopped chatting with his neighbor, and seems a little anxious as he waits for the rest of the players to act.
All the other players fold to us. We’re on the button and look down at 7c-8c. We have a 120bb stack. The player in the big blind, two seats to our left, folds out of turn. The only other player remaining to act in the hand (i.e., the small blind) already seems poised to toss his hand into the muck pile.
Before we decided what to do, we ask the OMC how much they have behind in their stack. The villain starts to answer, but then shuts up abruptly mid-sentence and doesn’t finish his reply. The action is on us.
What should we do next? (Please provide your answer in the comment section below. Cheers!)
It seems extremely likely that we are looking at a very strong hand, given this is this player's first hand to raise and he's doing so from UTG (though it's worth noting that position might not matter so much with this particular player type.) Based on the info, the range may be as small as AA/KK - I'm not even sure this player type has AKs in this spot. I think 3-betting is out of the question - we are almost certainly getting 4-bet, and possibly jammed on. The good news is, with the stack sizes in play we have a pretty reasonable chance of winning a sizable pot on the right board, so the implied odds are pretty good here. I'm calling most of the time given that information. I don't think a fold is terrible either, but that is pretty nitty being in position for such a cheap price.
Call, and fold post flop if we can't beat his aces or kings.