Can I Call a 3-bet on the River with TPGK?

What’s good Just Hands Nation? The plans I made last week to pick up the slack on my weekly goals kind of fell through. I took two days off during what is my normal “work-week” to go on a little Valentine’s day get-away with my girlfriend which ate up a bit of the time I usually allocate for my goals. I only played for 31 hours, studied for 2-3, didn’t mediate, and ran only once. Despite my shortened week, I’m still pretty disappointed in my inability to reach these goals more consistently.

An Accountability Experiment

I feel like I need to do something to increase my motivation a bit, so I’m going to do a little experiment this week. If I don’t complete at least three of the four goals (35 hours playing, 5 hours studying, 3 runs, and 3 meditation sessions) then I have to donate $25 to some sort of philanthropic organization. My hope is that a monetary punishment will hold me more accountable in doing what I need to do to reach my goals. If it doesn’t, at least I’ll get to feel good about contributing something to society, which isn’t something I’ve been doing a lot of in my five months of playing poker full-time.

My Trip to Sands Bethleham

As I mentioned, I went out of town with my girlfriend for a few days to a place in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. While I was there, I checked Bravo once and noticed that Sands Bethleham Casino was only about an hour away, and they had three 2-5 games running on a Wednesday night. I hadn’t heard of Sands before then but it was so close that I figured I’d check it out and play a short session on my way home. Results wise, my trip to sands went very well. I only played a few hours but managed to run like God and book a nice 400 BB win. I was there on a Thursday afternoon, and even then they had two 2-5 games going. The one I was in was far juicier than the average 2-5 game at the Jack.

The poker room and casino themselves were a bit of a drag. For one thing, the casino allows smokers to smoke inside, which is annoying and makes the entire place smell like an ash tray (thankfully there was no smoking in the poker room). The location of the poker room was a bit annoying as well. It wasn’t really a room, but more of a fenced off area in the middle of the casino. While I was playing it was tough to remain 100% focused as I was a distracted by all of the typical casino-esque chaos going on around me. The poker room at the Jack is nice because it’s on its own floor and is basically separate from the rest of the casino, making it a far more enjoyable environment in which to play in my opionion.

Close Spot vs. a PLO Pro

The following hand was a pretty interesting spot I found myself in a 2-5 game at the Jack. I’m still pretty unsure as to what the correct play is, and think it’s hard to figure out without making some pretty big assumptions about the villain.

Game: 2-5 NL, 7 or 8 handed

Hero: (900) CO with KQo. Limited history with villain. Hero is likely viewed as professional who is playing somewhere between TAG and LAG (probably on the Taggier side as I had been relatively quiet in this session).

Villain: (1300) UTG. Villain is 25-30 year old PLO professional who’s been debating the legitimacy of the Brains vs AI challenge with another pro at the table. He’s been playing pretty LAG. He’s shown down both A7o and T8o, both of which he opened to 40 with in the BB after multiple players limped to him. Villain has been opening somewhere between 15 and 25% of hands and seems to be positionally aware. This is the first time I’ve seen villain play 2-5 NL.

Preflop: (7) Villain opens to 15 UTG, folds to hero who calls, folds to fish in BB who overcalls.

Flop: (47) Q64r. BB checks, Villain bets 30, hero calls, BB folds.

Not much to talk about here. I think Villain is c-betting this type of board texture very wide. I don’t think there’s really another option besides calling as raising would be a bit of an overplay and folding would obviously be a pretty big mistake.

Turn: (105) Jx, completing rainbow. Villain checks, hero checks.

When villain checks here, I think nearly all of his hands that are ahead of us can be taken out of his range. I decided to check behind to try to induce villain to bluff on the river, although I think a mix of checking and betting this hand is probably best.

River: (105) Tx. Villain bets 35, Hero raises to 135, Villain re-raises to 410, Hero tanks and cuts out calling chips. While hero is tanking Villain continues to debate with other pro and is acting almost as if he’s not in the middle of a hand. Hero eventually folds…

In Depth Analysis

In hindsight, I think raising the river is probably a small mistake. In game, I thought v’s sizing suggested that he was going for thinnish value with a hand like Q9s, AJ, or possibly KJ and that I would be able to get some crying calls from those hands as it’s plausible for me to be turning a hand like 77-99 into a bluff in this spot. He may or may not be calling with these types of hands, but obviously if he is then raising becomes a lot better. A major problem with raising, however, is that it opens me up to being 3bet bluffed. As uncommon as 3bet-bluffing the river is, I think it actually would be a good play from Villain’s perspective as he has a pretty hefty range advantage when we get to this spot. This is because he can have all combos of AK, and possibly some combos of K9s or 89s and I basically have 0 combos of these hands (AK is by far the most likely as K9s and 89s would bet the turn at least some of the time).

Before I’m berated for considering making a pretty massive hero call with just TPGK, hear me out. While I do have a decent number of stronger hands in my range that I can call with here (TT, QTs, some QJ/44/66), I actually think KQ may be my best candidate to use as a bluff-catcher. This is because I believe Villain is basically polarized to either a straight or air when he takes this line, and KQ is pretty much the only hand I can have that blocks some of his straight combos.

I make the 'hero' fold

I ultimately decided to fold because I haven’t played enough with this player to know that he’s capable of taking this line as a bluff, and thought he was likely to be unbalanced towards straights in this spot. Part of the reason I think this is because of my perceived range, which is likely 2p+ with some bluffs mixed in as well. I’m not sure if V gives me credit to be able to fold a strong value hand in this spot, which makes me think he probably wouldn’t try to bluff me off those hands. It’s very tough to say whether or not folding is correct, but I think that the decision is very marginal and that it can’t be a huge mistake if it is one at all. Anyways, that’s all for now folks. Wish me luck in my endeavor to complete my weekly goals. Until next week, peace and thanks for reading!  

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