Podcast Breakdown: Episode 47

Here’s a recap of the relatively simple preflop spot Jack and I discussed on the podcast this week:

Stakes: £2/5

‘The Vic’, London 

9-Handed Table

Villain 1 (3k) raises to 20 UTG, Villain 2 (2k) raises to 65 in HJ, Hero (2k) raises to 190 with KK in CO, everyone folds and Hero scoops a pot.

At first I wasn’t sure about bringing this hand on the podcast. I’m really deep in what might normally be a good squeeze spot with pocket kings. It seems like a pretty straightforward 4-bet. And after talking through it with Jack I was pretty convinced that yes, I was being results-oriented because everyone folded. 

So let’s really break down the pros and cons of 4betting versus flatting.

The first player, a relatively straightforward pro, isn’t raising fairly tight UTG. He also has limped a few times so here is the following range I gave him.

Note now that the number of weighted combos are below each of the hands.

When he raises here, if I were to 4bet I think barring a cold 4bet call ahead of him he’ll like call with just AKs, half of his combos of AKo, KK, QQ, half of his combos of Jacks and that’s it. Getting him to put more money in with JJ and QQ is great because I get significantly more value from those hands on most board textures than if I were to flat. if he calls the additional 170 and calls one bet around 200, I would get about 400 from one street post flop. On the other hand if I were to flat, the pot would likely be around 200 and if he were to bet for value on a safe board texture a little over 100 and then check call a bet of around 200 on a later street, I’ll have only made 300 from him. (I opted to just use half pot bet sizings to prove a point with some simple math, depending on board textures both of our bet sizings might be bigger or smaller).

For this range that i’m value targeting I think get one street of value in a 4bet pot is way more likely than getting two when flatting with another player in the hand. This is the type of player that knows he shouldn’t go broke with an overpair when really deepstacked and will likely overfold those hands, so getting more money in the pot pre really maximizes my expected value against this player.

If I were to flat, while I have amazing implied odds when hitting a set if he has an overpair to the board, two pair, or an underset, these are all fairly rare occurrences. Most board textures I won’t be able to get more than two streets of value with my hand so making a few hundred more on average from this player I believe offsets the setup type hands against his wider opening range.

Given my physical and timing tell I picked up from the HJ combined with the fact that this player already 3bet light twice in three hours, I think it’s safe to say he has a more light 3bet combos than strong value combos. Here is the range I gave this player.

Given my observation that this player was playing a relatively small number of hands but 3betting a ton, you’ll see a combo or two of hands like pocket 8s and AJo for a total of about 7% of his range. While I think if the UTG player calls the 4bet it he’ll likely continue with the majority of that range only folding A4o, AJo, AQo, and maybe a few combinations of his Ax suited hands. He’ll set mine all his pocket pairs, play all of his big aces, and likely at this stack depth, call with the suited connectors because he’ll think he’s up against two big card hands and be getting the right price. So the 2% of the UTG player’s 10% opening range that we have deemed he’ll likely flat my 4bet, the second villain will continue with about 6% of hands. 

If the UTG player folds, I think he’ll continue with AK, the two combos of AQs he opted to 3bet, JJ, QQ, and half of his combos of TT. Like with the example shown with the first player, getting a lot more money in the pot now against that 2.5% of the 7% 3betting range I gave him has a ton of value.

There are certainly cases to consider flatting premiums preflop - even deep stacked in an aggressive game. But this clearly was not one of them. Here are some of the factors that I think could lead to finding a time to flat 3bets with premiums

1) Short stacked - you or the other player has 100 BB or less and getting lots of money 

2) The 3bettor is very tight with a range of QQ+, AK or better.

3) They have a very wide 3betting, calling of a 3bet range that largely will fold to a 4bet, and they are very deep and make a ton of mistakes postflop

4) You play in a game against a lot of the same skilled players a lot and want to balance your flatting range

One probably needs at least two of the above for 4betting QQ+ to make sense, or to be very sure of #2 by itself. That being said, flatting premiums is something that likely makes sense maximally 10% of the time. Don’t get in the habit of doing so in a low stakes no limit game - it’s just always important to have every move in your arsenal at least a small percentage of the time.

What does everyone think? When are some other good times to flat preflop?