phil long's avatar

phil long

95 points

Another thing to consider is future streets. If you are c/ring K high and say Q high flushes as well at some % I think it is reasonable to assume that going for turn and river value with these hands is too thin against reasonable opponents we then end up splitting our range by having to check at some point. This means we could potentially check raise K high flush, bet turn and then have to check river facing a very tough spot. Opponents can of course jam nut flushes, jam the blocker if they play it this way and unless we check some nut flushes too we end up capping our range such that opponents can start jamming a 6 high flush as a bluff putting our K high flush in a terrible spot.

The way to counter this problem with having to check the river (or turn) with our non nut flushes would be to check nut flushes but i intuitively feel (no maths to back this up) that we would lose a lot more value having to check nut flushes some % of the time compared to the value we would make by getting to check raise a K or Q high flush on the flop. A further consideration is the knock on effect of the value we can get from the nut flush blocker. If we start checking nut flushes to balance our checking ranges then by always going for c/r and bet bet with nut blocker we will almost certainly be too bluff heavy with this line. Again, no maths to back this up this is only my intuition so I may be wrong.

July 29, 2015 | 6:45 p.m.

UTG fish. Villain had been playing aggro with large sizings but I had not seen enough showdowns to know if he was out of line or just running well. No previous history.

Considered 3 betting but his 7x iso makes it a bit awkward, I also want the fish to be in so flatted pre.

Led the flop to make sure a bet goes in vs the fish.

When villain calls given preflop and flop action it seems like he should have a lot of AK and JTs so seems like a v bad turn. I think just folding turn might be ok given terrible visibility on rivers? He is not betting AJ/AT very often, maybe he bets KQ but he might have just folded flop vs my lead, not sure tbh. I was really lost and ended up tanking to a few seconds left in my timebank (not sure if that effects river decision) but ended up calling because he may have KQ/A8 and may be betting pair +fd hands.

River he snap jams. Can see both calling and folding, getting great odds, think its close.

Thoughts on all streets appreciated.

Poker Stars, $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players

Poker Tools by CardRunners - Hand Details

BTN: $234.41 (117.2 bb)

Hero (SB): $230.68 (115.3 bb)

BB: $383.90 (192 bb)

UTG: $190.02 (95 bb)

MP: $200 (100 bb)

CO: $602.85 (301.4 bb)

Preflop: Hero is SB with Q A

UTG calls $2, MP folds, CO raises to $14, BTN folds, Hero calls $13, BB folds, UTG calls $12

Flop: ($44) 8 Q A (3 players)

Hero bets $29, UTG folds, CO calls $29

Turn: ($102) K (2 players)

Hero checks, CO bets $70, Hero calls $70

River: ($242) 8 (2 players)

Hero checks, CO bets $119.60, Hero folds

July 5, 2015 | 11:51 a.m.

Post | phil long posted in NLHE: Tough spot 200 Zoom

Hey Guys,

I would appreciate thoughts on this hand. Pre was a mis click regarding sizing, i was intending to cold 4bet because AQ seems like the best bluff combo for this spot and he was 3 betting 8% in these positions and UTG opener was at 20%. No other specific reads.

Flop seems like a bet, I imagine he is peeling everything he 3b with given my misclick min sizing. Small sizing seems to make sense with range.

Turn is where it gets tricky... On the one hand betting to protect from AK/KQ or random AhT makes sense but on the other hand it seems hard for us to be bluffing this turn much and so when he continues he is not likely making too many mistakes, We are still going to have to play rivers OOP to so I was going to c/c and see the river with a more protected range for scary rivers. Thoughts?

River I guess is a bet but we are not going to be hero called much here so I threw out a ~60% which is what I would do if I had a hand like A4cc that I mixed in a preflop 4bet with. In retrospect I can see arguments for betting bigger (he rarely has better than AQ after checking back turn), and arguments for betting smaller (we are just not getting here with a ton of bluffs) so I am not sure what I like.

Poker Stars, $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 6 Players

Poker Tools by CardRunners - Hand Details

BTN: $232.32 (116.2 bb)

Hero (SB): $298.97 (149.5 bb)

BB: $203 (101.5 bb)

UTG: $213 (106.5 bb)

MP: $217.25 (108.6 bb)

CO: $406.10 (203.1 bb)

Preflop: Hero is SB with A Q

UTG raises to $6, MP raises to $18, 2 folds, Hero raises to $30, 2 folds, MP calls $12

Flop: ($68) K T K (2 players)

Hero bets $24.78, MP calls $24.78

Turn: ($117.56) J (2 players)

Hero checks, MP checks

River: ($117.56) 4 (2 players)

Hero bets $64.74, MP calls $64.74

July 5, 2015 | 11:44 a.m.

Comment | phil long commented on why run it once?!

Don't you rio in the small pots and twice in the big?

Dec. 20, 2014 | 2:31 a.m.

Dec. 2, 2014 | 10:17 a.m.

"I check because its one of my weakest TP, and i protect Qx JJ TT 4x... (thoughts?) "

"CO bets $69.52, Hero folds"

Doesn't seem like you are actually protecting the Qx, JJ, TT, 4x that you said you were. You actually need to call the river to protect those hands, otherwise it is exactly the same as having them. You call this hand so that you can feel ok about folding other bluff catchers that you listed. Otherwise you fold everything.

Nov. 17, 2014 | 2:48 p.m.

The question is not whether bet/call is +EV

The question is whether bet/call > check back.

Avoiding GTO (controversial), we would need more information on villain to make an informed decision here. Most relevant statistics being his 3b% and what this 3bet range looks like. It is important to note whether his 3bet bluffs are more the K2s/K4o type, which some players opt for, and he flats all his middling cards (in which case we have a ton of FE on this turn) or whether he is flatting those hands but 3betting his middling suited cards (in which case he is going to have a pair or pair + straight draw a ton here and we can assume he c/cs to balance a reasonable % ). If he is check calling this turn a lot, whilst not a disaster because we have so much equity, it does potentially lead to the EV of checking back becoming higher than the EV of betting. The determining factor is probably how rivers play out - does he call off 89 on a 5s river? I suspect not but I don't know. Does he fold QT or a Kc river? These variables most likely effect the EV of betting the turn.

Also of note are his turn tendencies. If he has QTs here is he betting turn because he figures his hand is ahead of your range and wants value and protection? Or he is thinking that the 7 is good for your range and so he will balance by check calling a lot on this card? If he does this with his 78s/89s type hands, (see above with respect to his 3b range and you see how this becomes relevant), then his river range is well balanced and by check calling QT he can play much more effectively on the awkward straight cards for his range. Similarly, if he has AA is he just betting 3 or looking to check raise when the turn brings a ton of bad rivers for him?

To decide if bet/call is better than check back we need to weight up the strength of his turn checking range - is he cbetting 1 and give up with K4o or is he just c/f flop? If he is cbetting very wide then he is most likely check folding a lot of turns - go ahead and take the fold equity. If his flop cbetting is a little more balanced then he is more likely to have a decent c/c or c/r range on turns. Is he check raising turns much? - if so then whilst bet calling is fine, checking back may be better. If he has a wide 3bet range (and a wide cbet flop range) I think it is safer to assume that he has a lower check/shove turn range as he just wont have enough hands to do it with.

A final consideration is how rivers play out. If he is going to give up with KQ on the turn but then bluff rivers this (probably) makes it worse for us to be checking back. If he is going to give up KQ but then bet call on a Ks or Qs, bluff an A and maybe bluff the straight then obviously this is much better for us.

I realise that I have not given you an 'optimal gameplan' answer but I think most people will tend to agree that is very difficult. I hope this reply has given you an idea of some of the factors to consider though when looking at a spot like this. I have just typed this out without proof reading it so sorry if there are any typos or if I have neglected to mention an aspect that you or others feel is relevant but please reply and hopefully we can have a discussion.

Nov. 14, 2014 | 1:59 p.m.

How come? Because more wraps cos of blockers and they have KKx at a decent freq when u have this hand?

Oct. 2, 2014 | 4:26 p.m.

Hey guys!

I have heard the variance is high in this game and to be honest I am not sure what the 'conversion rate' so to speak of limit games to NL/PLO is. So if i play $4/$8 2-7TD what does that roughly equate to in stakes at NL? and how many BBs should I roughly have?


Aug. 24, 2014 | 1:25 p.m.

good video but i think a lot of the hardest spots to play in these situations are later. You say your generally betting more polarised and check calling a lot of mid strength hands and i think a lot of people can get this and find good spots to do it, the hard part is playing the medium strength hands on a lot of runouts. So i think that something along the same lines but covering those spot is needed to fully address this topic

Aug. 5, 2014 | 5:47 a.m.

Ok thank you! Yes this is very light indeed and I fold 99% of the time without thinking (maybe it should 100%!). But this time in game I just noticed I had no diamonds or hearts and so I wanted to ask about whether that makes this a better bluff catcher than more standard hands like K9. However, I guess having the K is a more important blocker as that blocks more of his value range. 

Thinking about it blocking value range is more important because that is unchangable, there are less combos he can value bet no matter what. However, blocking no bluffs is not as valuable because we do not know his bluffing frequency, if this is 0 then it is obviously irrelevant.

Thanks for your input!

July 21, 2014 | 4:52 p.m.

Interesting, I would not expect anyone to be barrelling off with those pairs but my assumptions may be off. If they are barrelling pairs and hands like JT/T9, that I originally expected to show down, then clearly you are correct and this is very bad for me.


July 21, 2014 | 1:55 p.m.

Post | phil long posted in NLHE: 400 rush bluffcatcher

Hi all!

I played this hand at 400NL Rush on Full Tilt. Villain is aggro reg button steal 58%, flop/turn/riv cbet of 73/61/54, aggression % 48/39/35.

I get to the river in a somewhat standard manner and the question is whether to bluffcatch. On first glance it seems like this is near the bottom of my range and definitely is not within my MDF. However, my question is whether this is a good bluffcatcher hand? It does not block either of the fds that he may have (and 2 barrels with a near 100% frequency) and has a J. The J blocks some of his bluffs but also blocks some of his value combos of J9 and AJ which I think is more significant. I expect his value range to be quite polarised, to something like KJ+ which basically gives him KJ/AK/KQ/KT J9/AJ and sets. 

If we assume he is barrelling off with his FDs is J3cc a better bluff catcher than K8 for example? My thoughts were that whilst in hand strength this is near the bottom of my range, in terms of bluffcatcher strength it does well, but I am not sure if that is true.


Full Tilt Poker Game #34470754593: Table Veyron (6 max) - NL Hold'em - $2/$4 - 12:11:22 WET - 2014/07/21 [07:11:22 ET - 2014/07/21]

Seats: 6

Seat 1: Villain ($418)

Seat 5: x($668.30)

Seat 6: Hero ($507.80)

x posts the small blind of $2

Hero posts the big blind of $4

The button is in seat #1

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to Hero [3c Jc]

Villain raises to $8

x folds

Hero calls $4

*** FLOP *** [3d Qd Kh] (Total Pot: $18, 2 Players)

Hero checks

Villain bets $11.70

Hero calls $11.70

*** TURN *** [3d Qd Kh] [Th] (Total Pot: $41.40, 2 Players)

Hero checks

Villain bets $31.05

Hero calls $31.05

*** RIVER *** [3d Qd Kh Th] [2s] (Total Pot: $103.50, 2 Players)

Hero checks

Villain has 15 seconds left to act

Villain bets $77.60

Hero has 15 seconds left to act

Hero calls $77.60

July 21, 2014 | 11:30 a.m.

This seems like such a clear bet. If he is that tight or whatever then bet like 480 and fold to a shove. Also c/r and barrel any gutter because if his calling range on this runout is a flush then you are printing vs his range. I mean what flushes does he have, like 78/89 of hearts. 2x of hearts if he isnt checking those. It just seems like such a standard bet to me?

June 9, 2014 | 5:41 p.m.

Comment | phil long commented on bet/fold

River bet seems optimistic.

May 23, 2014 | 12:02 p.m.

15:30 you advocate checking down Q8, since we have so few bluffs in this spot what do you think about bluffing this hand and having 9x as bottom of our checking range? I agree we don't have that many value hands but I can't see what bluffing hands we have

May 20, 2014 | 9:50 a.m.

Yes, you are correct! I never thought about it like that. Thanks a lot for your input :)

May 18, 2014 | 7:29 p.m.

Sometimes I play a hand and during the hand I have good reasons for making the decision I make on each street but after the hand I look back and it doesn't feel right, like I must have made a mistake somewhere but I can't always see where.

Below is an example of one of these hands. Sorry I don't have a HH, it was played on a site where HUDs dont work. It was played at £1.5/3 which i guess is about $2.5/5.

HU against a reg, main reads are that 1) he doesn't like to fold much, but this is mainly when i have initiative and am barrelling 2) he bets merged with a lot of hands that he just doesnt want to check, so that when he does check he is very weak

At this point he was tilted and 3 betting 40-50% of hands.

Effective stacks 300

I open button to 6 with K4cc, he 3bets BB to 24, I flat

Flop ATTcds

He cbets 60% pot, I call. I figure I'm ahead of his range and im very protected on this board so he can't barrel relentlessly.

Turn 8d

He bets 60% pot again and I call. Here I feel like most players check Ax but barrel Tx and draws. On this turn he picks up a lot of straight and flush draws so my K high is good. I'm also protected on rivers with a ton of Ax and Tx that I play this way 100% of the time. This opponent is more likely to just bet like A2 on the turn which is bad for me, but he is still in a very difficult spot on rivers

River 2d

He checks. At this point I have so few bluffs and have all Tx, a ton of Axd and the broadway diamond combos that I feel like I have to shove my hand. He may play AJ this way and then call to protect his range but my range is so strong and I am at the bottom of it with K4cc so I have to shove.

So I end up getting to the river with K high with no previous draw and shove my stack in, which in hindsight sounds ridiculous, but in the hand I feel like I had good reasons for each street. Thoughts?

May 18, 2014 | 4:32 p.m.

Thinking a bit more it does matter what % he opens doesnt it, because a hand like KQ has a lot more value vs a 70% range than a 10% range for example.

April 28, 2014 | 7:48 p.m.

Assume our opponent opens x% of SBs but folds 100% to a 3bet (if he folds 100% the % he opens doesn't matter right?)

If he folds 100% of his opens and is never limping then obviously a winning strategy is to 3bet 100%. However, is this optimal? It makes sense that we should flat AA/KK hands because we would win at a higher rate than his raise/fold, but what % of hands do we think we make more by flatting than 3 betting? It's hard to get an exact % because both our skill level and his post flop skill level come into effect but roughly do we think flatting top 5% is good, top 20% or what kind of ball park figure? 

April 28, 2014 | 7:45 p.m.

Thanks for your input guys. In game I arrived at the same conclusion as you guys and did decide to check back and villain had QQ so I felt like a nit for missing a bet there.

Also think its interesting about whether we shove AJ in villains shoes. My general strat would be to shove vs a smaller bet and call vs a larger bet, kind of level 1.

April 21, 2014 | 9:25 a.m.

Post | phil long posted in NLHE: Zoom 500 - value bet top set?

PokerStars Zoom Hand #114997447513: Hold'em No Limit ($2.50/$5.00) - 2014/04/19 10:32:37 WET [2014/04/19 5:32:37 ET]
Table 'Lambda Velorum' 6-max

Seat #1 is the button

Seat 1: Villain 1 ($957.61 in chips)

Seat 2: Villain 2 ($1557.20 in chips)

Seat 3: Hero ($1234.87 in chips)

Seat 4: Villain 3 ($587.31 in chips)

Seat 5: Villain 4 ($443.76 in chips)

Seat 6: Villain 5 ($2762.92 in chips)

Villain 2: posts small blind $2.50 Hero: posts big blind $5

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [Kd Ks]

Villain 3: folds

Villain 4: folds

Villain 5: folds

Villain 1: folds

Villain 2: raises $10.07 to $15.07

Hero: raises $29.93 to $45

Villain 2: calls $29.93

*** FLOP *** [3h Qc Th]

Villain 2: checks

Hero: bets $60

Villain 2: calls $60

*** TURN *** [3h Qc Th] [8h]

Villain 2: checks

Hero: bets $140

Villain 2: calls $140

*** RIVER *** [3h Qc Th 8h] [Kc]

Villain 2: checks 

Pot 490, 1k in stacks

Villain is an aggro reg, not too much history between us recently. On the river the K slams all my bluffs leaving me with not that much air, so I would have to be barreling like Ahx, which i usually flat pre. Or a random gutter like J7 but again not many of those.

If I bet I also have to worry about being shoved on, he can have flushes, he can turn a hand like AhQ or AhT into a bluff, or he can have AJ for value and I expect all to play this way to the river near 100% of the time. So, do we check back, bet fold or bet call?

April 19, 2014 | 10:22 a.m.

Thanks very much for running those numbers, very interesting!

April 6, 2014 | 4:45 p.m.

Excellent! I had not watched that video so I will do that now, thanks arizonabay.

April 6, 2014 | 6:26 a.m.

Hi Felipe,

I like the idea of this video but I think if you are going to tackle this subject you need to crunch some numbers to show how much of a difference the blockers makes. Its a good starting point to highlight that his bluff catch with JJ, for example, is not a good bluff catch because he holds blockers to your bluffs but it would be SO much better if you showed, for example, when he had JJ with Jd you have X amount of bluffs and when he holds JJ no diamond you have Y combos of bluffs and when he was AT no diamond you have Z combos of bluffs. It is a basic over view to point out the types of hands you should call/bluff with but it is much more useful to show some numbers. I mean if him having JJd halves your bluff combos that is huge and you basically can't bluff catch with it. However, if it reduces your bluff combos by only 5% then its not that big of a deal and you have a lot more room to make exploitative plays if your opponents are over bluffing. At the end of this video I understand the concepts of blockers and how they can be utilised in betting, checking and calling but I don't know exactly how much of a difference they really make.

Thanks for the vid though! Hope this comes across in the constructive manner that was intended!

April 5, 2014 | 9:56 p.m.

In peoples experience do spazzy fish tend to give up enough on future streets? I ask because sometimes if i feel they are just going raise bet bet a lot and I am not sure what kind of range I am up against I sometimes just fold the flop and look to continue when I have a hand I can get to showdown, such as Tx or a fd that i can hit and never fold. I try to avoid the call call fold line a lot but at the same time if he is raising 88 to check down then obv we should be calling earlier. Also, if they are wide enough to close our eyes and call down then thats obviously great.

But with no reads other than a likely weaker player, do they give up often enough?

April 3, 2014 | 12:03 p.m.

If villain never calls worse than a straight and never has AT then this is clearly the optimal line. It depends how true the previous assumptions are and it will vary by opponent. I don't think the shove is necessary, i think 120 achieves the same and saves you $ the times he does have AT. The value in this play depends on how likely he is too call worse with a normal bet, if his calling range is purely a straight then this play makes more sense.

March 29, 2014 | 2:08 p.m.

Hi Peter, first of all I want to say thanks for your vids both on this site and previously. I know you have taken a lot of shit from people in the past but you seem to have come out stronger from it and I hope you continue to succeed in the future.

Just curious about 1 concept you mentioned. At 28:40 in the top right hero limp/3bets SB vs BB with 99 and cbets 75 into 210 on 733fd and then bets 200 on a Jo turn. You say you would prefer to bet your fds on the flop larger, and if hero had bet larger you would like his turn bet more.

I have 2 questions about this. Firstly, since we bet smaller on the flop we should expect wider peels and thus 99 to be doing better against villains range than if we bet say 120. Is that not correct?

Secondly, I thought that with a fd since we have a hand that we are betting pretty much every turn we want to bet a bit smaller to keep more hands in that will fold the turn. If we bet 120 on the flop then his turn range is stronger so we get less folds when we 2 barrel and he has more hands that are likely to jam on us and make it very awkward for us. Granted on this texture he is not shoving turn very much vs a 2 barrel but the point about us having less fe on the turn after betting flop larger seems valid.

I guess it comes down to you valuing immediate fold equity on the flop better than getting him to call flop and fold turn. If we have a hand like A5o that we might bet one and give up or something I think that makes sense but if we have a hand like a fd that is always betting any turn then do you think my ideas have merit?

Thanks a lot!

March 28, 2014 | 4:03 p.m.

Would you agree that AdAx is a better hand to defend with than JJ vs a 2x pot?

March 28, 2014 | 8:09 a.m.

Post | phil long posted in NLHE: Bluffcatcher logic check

I love a good hero call, who doesn't? And I'm often right when I do, but sadly not on this occasion. I just wanted to check people's thoughts on the best bluff catcher here. I am thinking that AdAx is a better bluff catcher than JJ or JT when he bets 2x pot. That sizing to me says flush or nothing, I don't think he plays bottom set this way even. For that reason is it logical that Adx is a better call than JJ/TT. Against a 2x pot bet I believe that to be the case. Against a 2/3 pot bet his range is a lot wider and I think that JJ/TT become better bluff catchers since he can then potentially be betting a worse hand for value. Does that logic make sense?

Full Tilt Poker Game #34065376348: Table Veyron (6 max) - NL Hold'em - $2/$4 - 21:03:02 WET - 2014/03/27 [17:03:02 ET - 2014/03/27]

Seats: 6

Seat 1: HERO ($410.50)

Seat 2: V2 ($688.15)

Seat 3: V3 ($1,241.60)

Seat 4: V4 ($160)

Seat 5: V5 ($421.80)

Seat 6: V6 ($568.90)

V2 posts the small blind of $2

V3 posts the big blind of $4

The button is in seat #1

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to HERO [Ah Ad]

V4 folds

V5 folds

V6 folds

HERO raises to $8

V2 folds

V3 calls $4

*** FLOP *** [Td Jd 4h] (Total Pot: $18, 2 Players)

V3 checks

HERO has 15 seconds left to act

HERO bets $12

V3 raises to $40

HERO has 15 seconds left to act

HERO calls $28

*** TURN *** [Td Jd 4h] [5d] (Total Pot: $98, 2 Players)

V3 checks

HERO has 15 seconds left to act

HERO checks

*** RIVER *** [Td Jd 4h 5d] [6c] (Total Pot: $98, 2 Players)

V3 bets $174

HERO has 15 seconds left to act

HERO calls $174

*** SHOW DOWN ***

V3 shows [3d 2d] a flush, Jack high

HERO mucks

V3 wins the pot ($443) with a flush, Jack high

*** SUMMARY ***

Total pot $446 | Rake $3

Board: [Td Jd 4h 5d 6c]

Seat 1: HERO (button) mucked [Ah Ad] - a pair of Aces

Seat 2: V2 (small blind) folded before the Flop

Seat 3: V3 (big blind) showed [3d 2d] and won ($443) with a flush, Jack high

Seat 4: V4 didn't bet (folded)

Seat 5: V5 didn't bet (folded)

Seat 6: V6 didn't bet (folded)

On the actual hand I am conflicted. Ignore individual reads. I'm conflicted because on the one hand I would expect him not to check the turn with too many flushes since I have so many hands like AT/AJ/AQ/AK/QQ/KK/AA etc with a diamond that are going to peel turn pretty much always but are also pretty much always checking the turn when he checks. I may bet my AQ/AK with a diamond floats but I probably don't. So from that point of view he shouldn't check many flushes. However, the hands I would expect him to bluff the river with are stuff like 8d9x, Kd9x, stuff that c/r the flop with equity, I would expect those hands to just barrel turns. It seems unlikely that he has something like K8hh but definitely possible.

Anyway, not too interested in the actual hands, just curious what people's thoughts were regarding the optimal bluff catchers here. I definitely need to have a defending range and since I'm not checking back the turn with too many flushes, which hands should I use?

March 27, 2014 | 9:25 p.m.

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