Going for Thin Value at 2-5

After 10 weeks of grinding away at my weekly goals (35 hours of playing, 10 hours studying, 3 runs, 3 meditation sessions) I’m happy to say that for the first time I’ve successfully completed them all in a single week. While I don’t expect many of you to be too impressed, it feels good to finally get them all done. I talked about the possibility of adding onto some of those goals, but I think I’m going to hold off on that for a bit, at least until I’m more regularly meeting the goals I’ve already set.

I was fortunate enough to find myself in a great 2-5 game on Thursday night. It’s a little strange to me, but in my experience with 2-5 so far it seems that the games are actually a little better during the week as opposed to the Friday and Saturday night games (with the exception of that one dream table I spotted in one of the early weeks). I’m not sure if it’s the promotions that The Jack is running during the week or what, but something seems to be getting the whales out on the felt on Wednesdays and Thursdays, both of which feature high hand promotions. The lineup in this game was made up of a massive whale with deep pockets who refused to have less than $1k (the max buy-in) on the table, 2-3 loose passive stations, a smart 30 year old businessman who was at least semi-competent but seemed to like to gamble a little too much, and 1-2 nits. To some of you, this might sound like a typical 2-5 game, but I assure you that is not the case at The Jack. Typically, the 2-5 games are made up of 2-3 pros or semi-pros, and 6-7 tightish regs who are bad for the most part, but have enough experience/ poker intuition to make the game less profitable than your average 1-3 game.

I found myself in a couple of interesting spots in this 2-5 game. Here’s one of them:

Game: 2-5 NL, 9 handed

Hero (1200) UTG with AKo. Likely has aggressive and winning image in the eyes of the villain.

Villain (1000) HJ. Seems to play way too wide preflop and is stationy. Played a hand vs. hero and another fishy player. In that hand, hero raised the other fishy players donk bet on a 8s9sTx board, villain called, other fishy player called. Turn 3x, other player leads 250ish and is all in, hero raises to 600 and is all in, and villain tank calls with 89, illustrating his inability to fold.  

Preflop: Hero opens to 20, loose-passive player calls in LJ, villain calls in HJ, all fold.

Flop (60) K86r. Hero leads for 40, LJ folds, villain quickly calls.

I think villain’s calling range here is extremely wide. It certainly contains all combos of suited Kx hands, probably K7+ unsuited, lots of 8x and 6x hands, as well as all straight draws. He also could have hands that we’re losing to like sets and 2pair hands that he’s chosen to slow play, although when looking at his range as a whole we’re certainly way ahead.

Turn (140) 9x, completing the rainbow. Hero bets 90, villain quickly calls.  

This card improves villain’s range, however, given how wide his flop-calling range is, and the fact that we’re close to the top of our range, we can still confidently bet for value. I expect his turn calling range to still contain all Kx hands, as well as some pair + straight draw type hands. It could also contain a slow played 57s or T7s, but I would expect those to raise at least some of the time. I also think we can discount sets and 2pair hands as they’d be even more prone to raise for protection (and value, of course).

River (320) Tx. Hero bets 160, villain quickly calls and shows 9T for 2 pair. Hero mucks :(

This is the spot where I’m unhappy with my play. In game, I thought that vs. a player who’s displayed station-like tendencies we can go for some thin value here. After talking with Jack and Zach about the hand, I still think this is the case, however, I think the sizing I chose is way too big. We’re value targeting his Kx type hands and when we bet half pot here, I think some of those (even though villain is a station) will be tempted to fold given hero’s aggressive line. When we use a larger sizing here, I think what’s likely to happen is we’ll get called by better while worse hands will fold, which is kind of a disaster. For this reason, I like a smaller bet, somewhere in the 60-90 range to ensure that villain can’t get away from any of his top pair hands that we beat. So, definitely not my best choice of sizing. But, other than this hand, I felt like I played pretty well and was lucky enough to quit with a profit of $635.

I also played in the Just Hands live coaching event this week (with WSOP ME champ Greg Raymer in the booth!) however I’m going to wait to talk about that until next week, mostly so I can have a chance to watch the footage. Until then, thanks for reading.