applehead's avatar


25 points

A couple of more thoughts regarding flop play:

Firstly, calling hero's hand a monster on this flop is a bit misleading. With no pair it's going to be a slight dog or flipping against any pair + straight draw. Against an 8 + overs it's going to be a very slight favorite. The only hands it has crushed are wraps with no pair since hero has the A kicker but these should be relatively rare. The good thing is that it's a hand you can comfortably get it in against any action but in terms of equity it's not doing really that great. 

Secondly, does potting really increase hero's fold equity in this spot? I guess when hero bets small and CO shoves the BTN might think that by shoving hero might fold an over pair some of the time. I do still prefer potting the flop but I would expect the villains to get it in with the same ranges as vs. a smaller bet.

Sept. 4, 2013 | 10:53 a.m.

If you're talking about flop x/r's I would widen my checking range and c-bet a more polarized range. If the villain is going to stab a lot of turns after you check you can create a merged turn raising range and go from there. Phil has made some excellent concept videos on raising turns I'd highly recommend. 

Aug. 29, 2013 | 6:38 p.m.

I understand your reasoning behind it. I just think that most fish will think: "Oh, I don't have to put in all my chips so I can call with my draw (however weak it is)" or "If I go all in, maybe he'll fold (though of course you wouldn't ever)". 

Why are you afraid of betting smaller? I think it's just a question whether he'll be more likely to be folding on turns (where the board isn't as scary) or rivers given his ridiculously wide range. 

Aug. 27, 2013 | 12:39 p.m.

I think there are two ways you could go here with your bet sizes given that HJ is prone to see a lot of rivers and given that you don't have much in the way of showdown value with your hand unimproved. You could play a two street game with this flop sizing. In that case I would just shove the turn. Maybe you're thinking that shoving looks weaker than betting 2/3 pot but I see a lot of fish calling bets with something like 956x or TT6x which they may fold to a shove. The other option is to play a three street game and bet a little smaller on each street so you can shove any river (whether you hit your hand or not). It's a little awkward with these stack sizes but it might give you additional fold equity against someone who wants to see rivers. You might want to go for this especially if he's folding a lot otr. 

Aug. 26, 2013 | 1:30 p.m.

Comment | applehead commented on call-4bet AQQJss

I think this is a very good hand to 4-bet in this spot against a maniacal 3-bettor. CO should be 4-betting every AAxx and KKxx hands in this spot so you'll be well ahead of both players' ranges. What makes your hand especially nice is that it will dominate all lower pair hands BB might have and also some of the rundowns that contain a Q or a J. Well played!

Aug. 26, 2013 | 1:15 p.m.

If you expect he's not value raising worse and never bluffing it should be a clear fold.

Aug. 26, 2013 | 1:53 a.m.

Pre-flop I think all options have their merits. I'd like for the button to open a little bit looser to 3-bet this hand. Calling is fine though you'll have poor position post flop. Folding is totally fine too. When playing 3-handed most of your money is going to come from the button and you shouldn't feel obligated to start playing way more hands especially from the SB.

As played I like betting the turn but I would probably go for a pot sized bet with my entire continuing range. It prevents us from betting with air but this is a bad spot for pure bluffing anyway. Betting pot also puts a lot of pressure on villain's range which is going to contain some one pair hands and weak to medium draws. I think the biggest problem with your bet size is that he might call and then you're going to have a really tough decision otr if you miss. 

Aug. 26, 2013 | 1:49 a.m.

I like checking with the intention of x/r'ing if he bets. This way you'll have a more balanced checking range since I'd guess you'll be check-folding some of your dry over pairs and over cards against a good player who's fighting for pots in position. Betting with the intention of getting it in is fine too though I guess he won't be making many mistakes against your c-betting range. 

Aug. 26, 2013 | 1:37 a.m.

I like your pre flop 4-bet. With your reads on the opponents it's useful to put in the 4th bet to get a lower SPR with your hand. 

OTF I think it's a really tough spot. If the pot on the flop is around 340 you're only going to have around 380 left. It's somewhat hard to make sense of BB's potting range without reads. I think most will pot here with what ever hand they feel has connected with the flop hard enough so that they don't want to fold. So any 2 pair, high flush draws and combo draws (including pair + gutters and pair + fd's). Sets might pot too but they're going to be very rare anyways. And I think that some players will have this kind of a potting range regardless of what your range looks like. If they hate folding their absolute hand value they will just take the first opportunity to shove. 

With that said, I think it's still a close decision and I would want to know more about BB's tendencies. Big hands shouldn't be common on this board and you have the nut fd blocker so I guess we can assume SB's folding a lot when you get it in. Maybe try plugging in some realistic range for BB and see how much equity you would have against that. 

Aug. 24, 2013 | 9:02 p.m.

Thanks for bringing this interesting topic up for discussion. I think there's a lot of aspects to potting the river and I'll try to contribute my 5 cents here.

The straight forward math behind potting the river is that you can basically have more bluffs in your range compared when you're betting smaller. Because of the 2:1 odds you're laying for the villain you should have one third bluffs and two thirds value hands to make him indifferent between calling and folding. That's why the spots you described where it seems hero shouldn't have a lot of value hands on the river (and a lot of things have missed) might be generally good for potting. Whereas a spot where you can have a lot of strong made hands aren't (game theory wise) as good.

Like you described potting can also be used as an exploitative play against weak players who tend to call too much. They're not really thinking about your hand ranges, they will either call or fold their hand and you want to extract maximum value with your made hands by potting. In some cases you will be able to bluff with a smaller sizing and value bet with a pot sized bet.

I think there's also a lot of psychological factors that go into potting the river. I have seen some pretty decent players make frequently bad decisions against a river potting and I believe it might be due to some strong emotional response to the bet size. Some players might feel that you're trying to get them off from their hand and be more likely to have bluffs (which you should be, but they will end up calling way too much). Others might feel that a pot sized bet is always the nuts and thus will end up folding too much. Also you are likely to have some hopes and feelings attached to your pot-sized bet. As you already said, you'd like to get called more on your pot sized bets.

Regs will (or at least should) quickly notice if you're always potting for value and never as a bluff. So the first order of business should be to come up with some bluffs in your potting range. I think that putting some time in analyzing hands off the table would be highly benefitial. Look at hands where you have potted the river or thought about it and think what other hands you could take the same line as bluffs. I would also recommend to just experiment with it on the tables and don't be afraid of making mistakes because you're likely going to learn a lot just by trying different things. Also consider taking notes on how players are reacting to it and what kind of emotional response you'd guess they're having. 

Hope this helps and hope that other's will chime in with their thoughts as well!

Aug. 23, 2013 | 9:32 p.m.

I like check-calling the flop. You're getting blown off your hand some of the time ott but the times you hit your flush will compensate for that. I think he will have a hard time putting you on the nut flush if you hit it on the turn and he might keep betting with his air and certainly value bet lower flushes. Also on some straight completing turns he's likely to freeze and check behind allowing you to see a free river where you have the option of betting as a bluff or for value if you hit the flush (or even check-raise for value). 

Aug. 23, 2013 | 6:03 p.m.

Comment | applehead commented on 50 PLO line check

I would consider taking the line of x/r'ing the flop slightly larger and shipping turns with your entire continuing range including nutty hands, wraps and some air (preferably hands with some equity). This puts the maximum pressure on his range and doesn't get you into so many sticky pots on the river where you are unsure whether you should bet or not with so little left behind. As played I don't think there's any other option than to just put the rest in otr. 

Aug. 23, 2013 | 5:56 p.m.

Jonna pretty much covered it as far as the decision whether to call the shove or not goes. You also asked about whether to c-bet the turn or not and how big should you size it. You're effectively 150BB deep with the BB and it seems like your setting up the stacks so that you could possibly shove river. I like your turn c-bet but I would size it smaller (I would also c-bet slightly smaller otf). This is not a big consideration in this particular hand but I think slightly smaller sizings will support a better overall c-betting strategy for you especially when you're in position. Actually I think that in this specific hand the bigger bet size ott works out for you as it has to seem to villain like you're not going to fold to a shove often. So he should be discouraged to ship it in with draws and be somewhat afraid that you'd have a big made hand. Thus you should be even more confident in making a good fold to his shove. :)

Aug. 23, 2013 | 2:31 a.m.

I like your check back on the flop. I would hate to bet and fold to a raise given your back door draws. I think river is an easy call. I wouldn't expect to see dry over pairs if villain is passive and since he has to be worried that you have aces. I would however expect villain to still value bet all 6xxx combos. It's hard to say how many of these he's opening UTG with the small sample. But I think there's enough of them that haven't boated up for you to call given the odds. So I would call even if we wouldn't expect him to have any bluffs. 

Aug. 22, 2013 | 9:50 p.m.

Why do you think it looks like QJxx or 9xxx instead of boats? I'd expect a lot of flopped sets and two pair that make a fullhouse otr to take this line. Many 9xxx combos that he will call on the flop and don't make a boat otr are going to have a flush or a straight which he might not turn into a bluff. 

I wouldn't bet the turn though it does cap your range. It's a card that's a lot better for villain's range than yours. As played I'd probably bet-fold otr. Actually I'm not sure if it's even a mandatory value bet since we're blocking the 2nd nut flush. Basically we would have to get called often by low flushes and straights on a paired board. 

Aug. 22, 2013 | 6:34 p.m.

I like both 3-betting and calling pre. I think folding would be a mistake. I would 3-bet more if villain is rarely 4-betting. What do you mean by him folding bad vs. c-bets? I  think post flop is well played. I guess you can also check flop since getting x/r'd sucks. Turn is an easy bet-call given the stacks. 

Aug. 22, 2013 | 2:51 p.m.

Why are we only considering folding and jamming otf? Yes, many turns look bad for hero's hand but they will also look scary to villain who has to act first. We can turn our hand into a bluff on flush and straight completing cards if villain checks. Or check back and make a decision otr. So in my opinion calling > folding > jamming. 

Aug. 22, 2013 | 2:40 p.m.

How often would you estimate he's raising trips otf? As played he will have some air otr given he's playing 99% of hands. Every 34xx combos plus some gutshots with a fd. Do you read anything in him potting the river or is it his standard bet size? My standard would be to fold but in game reads and some tingling in my spider senses might lead me to click call. 

Aug. 21, 2013 | 10:29 p.m.

Was there a question somewhere? :) WP!

Aug. 21, 2013 | 9:48 a.m.

You can flat and use your position to make even better decisions on later streets. You're not going to be a big favorite against his getting it in range anyways. And even though there are a lot of bad turns for your hand you're going to see how your opponent reacts to them and act accordingly.

With that said, shipping it in is fine too imo, though I'd like to know a little about villain's flop raising tendencies. 

Aug. 21, 2013 | 9:44 a.m.

To sum it up here are all the factors I would take into account when happily 3-betting this hand:

1) Our equity in a potential HU pot

2) Our position

3) Villain's post flop tendencies (playing fit or fold)

4) Our overall 3-betting strategy

Pre-flop equity isn't everything in a multi-street game but it's a good indication how we're going to fare against a straight forward opponent post flop. It's important to notice that the villain's calling range has an average not a minimum of 40% equity against our hand. If he holds a K, Q or J we're going to have around 67%. In the rare cases that he holds KQ**, KJ** or JQ** we're going to have >70%.

If we flat, we have horrible position and struggle to play on the flops where we don't flop big (which are most flops). I'd much rather play a HU pot OOP with the initiative and a smaller SPR. We shouldn't worry too much about villain's wide (disguised?) range since he's playing fit or fold. He's not going to make enough hands with his weak range and most of time we're just going to c-bet the flop and take it down. 

Another thing to consider is that since this is such a good spot to 3-bet, we can include a lot of rundowns to our 3-betting range as well. UTG and CO aren't limping that wide (around 32% - top 12%) and if we can clear them out with our 3-bet we're freeing up a lot of equity for our rundowns. We certainly want to be 3-betting our premium KK** and AA** hands as well to get a nice balanced 3-betting range.

All these factors result in a very profitable 3-bet even if we would fold with this particular hand every time in the rare cases that the button 4-bets or the even rarer cases that we face a 4-bet from the limpers. 

Aug. 21, 2013 | 9:37 a.m.

In response to themightyjim's posts on flatting vs 3-betting:

Since we're not flopping sets nor straights often, there are some other considerations we have to take into account here. First of all we have the worst position and worst relative position to the pre-flop raiser. So in a 4-way pot if it's checked to the button who c-bets we have to act before two players having little information on anyone's range. So even if we are an equity favorite in a 4-way pot with the assumed ranges, we're hard pressed to realize our equity. If the limpers were horrible players that constantly make huge errors post flop I can see some merit to flatting. 

If we 3-bet and only get called by the button we will have a ≈40BB pot, where we are >60% equity favorite with the initiative against a straight forward opponent. So we're likely going to realize our equity and more even OOP. It would be cool if Zenfish or some other math geek would go through the trouble of estimating the EV of calling pre vs 3-betting (though it might be difficult and probably require some rough assumptions). But to me it seems that 3-betting is by far the superior play here. 

Aug. 21, 2013 | 12:22 a.m.

Even though this was his first 4-bet we can't really make the assumption that he would only 4-bet AAxx in this spot. The fact that he's been on the aggressive side and has a highish 3-bet% I would lean towards shipping it pre. Especially since he should expect to get 3-bet wide when he's isolating limpers on the button. Even if we run into AAxx we have more information on him compared to the situation where we fold and might be put later on to a similar decision.

My intuition says that calling the 4-bet trying to flop enough equity agaainst possible aces is suspect with the stack sizes. And since we don't have any grasp of his 4-betting range I don't think we should call to see if an ace flops and get it in otherwise. But maybe some more math adept players could chime in about the profitability of calling the 4-bet. 

Aug. 20, 2013 | 5:58 p.m.

I think it's a good spot for you to 3-bet wide against an aggro isolator so I would also 3-bet  strong hands like this one. The fact he's playing straightforward/fit or fold post gives even more incentive to go for the 3-bet. 

Aug. 20, 2013 | 1:15 p.m.

I think one of the best benefits of creating a balanced x/c range on a board like 234 is that we can include some of our dry over pairs in it, especially aces which is going to have good equity against opponent's range but sucks to bet-fold. We just have to make sure our x/c range includes strong made hands so that we won't allow our opponent to relentlessly barrel us of from our hand every time. 

Aug. 16, 2013 | 6:20 p.m.

I'd really recommend including steal% in your HUD even if it means sacrificing another stat for it. It varies so much from villain to villain (easily between 15-65) and it's a fast indication whether to 3-bet a hand or not. I think you'll discover that 3-betting can be very profitable from the blinds even with 100BB stacks. There's just not a lot that villains can do with a wide range when you have the initiative. Also when playing from SB 3-betting is always a more attractive option since we don't want the BB to tag along with either a flat or a squeeze. 

I have been experimenting with limping the SB as well but I think it's easy to get carried away with it either by limping too much or doing it automatically without really thinking about simply raising if BB is weak. I feel like my strategy is too still at it's infancy and it will be interesting to see how you will develop your SB strategy over time and what kind of results you will have with it. 

Aug. 15, 2013 | 5:23 p.m.

I would say that it's always opponent specific how they react to our check. But I think that most players on these stakes are going to check back ott if they have a marginal wrap or two pair + draw. Some will obv bet as a semi bluff and most will bet their trips and boats. So if we face a bet ott and otr I'd say we're likely beat. But knowing your opponent's tendencies is really helpful in making the decision whether to call or not. 

Aug. 15, 2013 | 5 p.m.

I think this is a fairly easy fold pre. Your hand is too weak and there's a chance that you'll get back raised by tilted MP. As played I guess we don't need to worry about MP's leading range. If CO has the same reads I guess he might jam lighter here. So I would just get it in unhappily here. 

Aug. 15, 2013 | 1:17 p.m.

Very nice vid, thanks! How you're able to play so well and provide so insightful commentary at the same time is beyond me. :)

A couple of things I was wondering. Firstly, do you have steal stats on your HUD? I wasn't able to spot them and I think they're essential when deciding to 3-bet from the blinds or btn against a steal. As a follow up I think the double suited QQ hand towards the end of the vid is a standard 3-bet against a CO open for me. Sure you'll get into some sticky spots post flop but that's the fun part. :)

Secondly I think you might have limped a little too wide from SB when folded to you. I would still try to open my medium hands for immediate folds and initiative. I don't think most villains get aggro with 3-betting you ip or calling a lot and floating you. So I would just raise until given a reason to do otherwise. 

Again thanks for the great vid!

Aug. 15, 2013 | 12:50 p.m.

I think this is a good spot to check our entire range. We sometimes get a bet out of wraps that we don't need much protection with our nut fd and gut shot. So I would call a bet and re-evaluate otr. If turn goes x-x we have some nice options on the river. We can value bet blanks and cards that improve our hand. We can try to check and showdown on straightening rivers (A, Q, 9, 8) and even x/r as a bluff if it seems villain is going for thin value. 

Betting ott has some merits too, mainly we can get some equity to fold. It also gives us the possibility to bet turns with hands with no showdown value. If the stacks were deeper I prefer a check though. 

Aug. 15, 2013 | 12:29 p.m.

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