Podcast Breakdown: Episode 44

In this week’s podcast discussion, Zach, Andrew, and I were in agreement about all of the postflop decisions. Most of the interest in the hand came from decisions after mistakes were made. A lesser student of the game might move on after understanding the correct plays to be made in the first place. However, here at Just Hands Poker, we relish the opportunity to examine a branch of the game tree that we probably should have never seen in the first place. Taking a closer look at spots like this hand give us an equal and sometimes better opportunity to understand our opponents and the underlying mathematics of the game than hands that were played perfectly.

So with that, we recap the action...

Location: Underground Game in Texas

Stakes: $1/2

MP limps, Hero limps behind with QcTc (325 behind), main villain opens SB to 15 (3000 behind), limper and hero call.

Flop (47) Qh 8c 7s Checks to Hero who bets 30, main villain calls, MP folds.

Turn (107) 9c Villain checks, Hero bets 40, Villain raises to 100, Hero Jams, Villain Calls

For the preflop action, I am not going to take the listener at his word that the main villain is opening and 3-betting 100%. If the were true, I would advocate raise-jamming with QcTc here since it is very difficult and unlikely for our opponent to punish our jam once he has 3-bet 100%.

Without digging too deep into preflop philosophy and therefore accepting the limp as the correct play, I think villain’s opening range is something like 80%. I’d guess that a player villain described as opening 100% is either actually opening 100% (easy to tell when this is the case), or opening more like 60%, so we will split the difference at 80% which looks like this…

A quick color guide (purple/yellow = included, red/gray/green = not included)

As you can see, this is ridiculously wide. Hero could definitely 3-bet profitably, but in this case, opting to keep stacks deep in position seems reasonable.

So on the flop with top pair, we have 80% equity before removing potential c-bets from villain’s range, so clearly we should be betting when checked to. The main question is, how much? We can clearly see that villain has many combos of 8x and 7x, so betting a sizing that would get calls from those hands seems best. The preflop limper is also unlikely to hold strong hands once they have checked, but they could be holding some A8-A7s and has a decent number of draws and suited connectors with a pair. As discussed on the podcast, a sizing between 15-20 seems preferable to 30 for targeting these hands.

Zach floated the idea that betting a tiny amount might induce bluffs from the main villain. I, however, think that it is more likely that this villain will semibluff bet than semibluff check-raise on this flop. I also think we are more likely to induce low equity bluffs by checking and bluff-catching later streets. However, since there are so many middle pair value targets, I think we are better off just betting the flop rather than counting on our opponent to overbluff.

So narrowing down an 80% range to villain’s calling range on this flop is difficult. Does villain ever check-call a value hand? Does villain ever check-call a hand like AJ like Andrew floated as an idea on the show? How does villain play draws? I think the one type of hand I’m fairly confident about is that villain will be calling most of his middle pairs. Therefore, I designed this flop calling range to reflect the possibility of all of the above but with an emphasis on marginal calling hands.

So if you took a look at the range I assigned villain after his flop call, its wacky. I kept most combos with a 7 or an 8, although I dropped some of the worst combos since he may fold. I also included a lot of draws but not all draws. Hands like AK, AJ, and AT with backdoor flush draws represent some of the stubborn no real plan calls and I included some two-pair combos, QQ, and KQs to reflect the possibility that our opponent is slow-playing. I also have some very weak queens that villain may opt to play this way.

Against this range on the 9c turn, we have 77% equity, a slight reduction against the flop range. This isn’t so surprising since we are again in a mostly ahead sometimes behind situation. Although we have great equity, in the podcast we advocated a check since there were very few value targets. However, looking at the range of hands that is likely to call or raise us, I think we should still be betting. So much of villain’s range is weak pair + draw that I think a value bet is correct. We have almost 70% equity against this range of hands. Keep in mind that the ace and king high combos are only flush draws.

Against a raise, we should probably just be calling since we likely won’t be ahead of villain’s stack-off range. Take a look at this potential raising range. The ace and king high combos are still limited to flush draws as well as T7.

Now we only have 37% equity, so a call is best against most sizings, but we aren’t excited about getting more money in the pot. I think our value bet is a little safer on the turn than this range might indicate since some of these hands are likely to check-raise the flop or maybe even lead the turn. Therefore, this raising range that leaves us with 37% equity seems like a fairly bad outcome. Given that this is a worst case scenario of sorts, I think a turn value bet is correct. Once raised, I think we should just be flatting and probably only stacking off when we improve.