Podcast Breakdown: Episode 51

Here's a recap of the hand discussed on the podcast

Location: Aria, Vegas

Stake: 5/10

Villain1 is 30-year-old or so woman. Playing pretty well for several hours, from what I could tell. One of the better players on table, from what I could tell. I have about $1500 and she has $1100. Villain 2 is a loose young guy seen semibluffing.

Preflop: Villain 1 raises to $35 UTG+2. Hero calls ATss (no diamond) behind. Villain 2 calls small blind. Big blind calls.

Flop Ad Ts 6d (140) Villain 1 bets $100. Hero calls. Villain 2 in SB calls. BB folds.

Turn 5c (440) Checks to hero who bets $250 into $440. Villain 2 folds. Villain 1 calls after pretty good pause.

River 7s (940) Villain 1 immediately, within couple seconds, says, “$700.” Pot was $940 (minus $5 rake).

When the main villain, who seems like a tighter professional, raises to 35 UTG+2. Let's start with what her range looks like here. Given this Zach described this as an average Vegas 5/10 game, I'm going to give the pro credit that she won't have limping range in UTG+2.

I have her opening a little under 13% of hands which is a bit wider than what the average 'TAG' professional might be opening here. But given Zach's read that she has there for hours and has most people at the table covered, I'm going to say she at least perceives she has a skill edge and might open a hand like QTs or A7s that in a really tough lineup she would correctly fold. 

Then a younger loose aggressive player calls in the SB. He's going to have a much wider range here. I think he'll 3bet QQ+ AK 100% of the time and then 1010, JJ, KQ, AQ, and suited connectors and suited aces at some frequency. 

With the fairly high 3bet frequency I gave the SB, his calling range looks like about 15% of hands which seem right. In many of the games I and most people reading this play, calling 15% of hands in this spot would not be considered loose by any stretch of the imagination. But in a much tougher 5/10 game, given Zach didn't say this guy was a true maniac, this is actually a pretty loose range, with many dominated hands from a tightish UTG+2 opening range. 

Zach didn't really mention anything about the BB but we should assume they are completing fairly wide here given the price they're getting and closing the action. As an approximation when calculating Zach's equity on the flop, I'm going to give the BB the same range as the SB.

When the Ad 10h 6d rolls off this is a very good flop for Zach- he has top two on a draw heavy board. Given he's blocking sets of aces and 10s, only 5 set combos beat him. He should feel like he has the best hand here a very high percentage of the time. 

Against three other players, he has 60% equity. This might not seem like a lot but you have to think about that a lot of what gives each of the remaining players their approximately 13% equity each is the aggregate sum of gutshot draws they likely won't continue with. 

Once the preflop raiser bets about 3/4 pot into a field of four players, Zach's only question is how do I maximize value here against what is now a relatively strong betting range? On the podcast we agreed that that she would be betting AQ, checking AJ half the time, and checking any of her A9s combos she got there with. Zach was pretty sure she would fold AQ or AK given his tight image so with that in mind, I think this becomes a pretty clear call. In game he made the call and the SB came along too.

Below is the betting range I gave the preflop raiser which consists of most of her diamond draws and only AJs being the worst value hand in there.

When the SB calls, I took out all the combo draws in his range as I thought a loose aggressive player would always raise those hands, and took out about 1/3 of his remaining flush draws he would opt to check raise. I also took out two pair+ as I think given the action he will always be raising those hands on a draw heavy board. I said he would call with a good amount of Ax combos and even some gutshots.

So against these updated ranges, even though Zach has the best hand on the flop a very high percentage of the time, he only has 55% equity because of how many draws are out there.

When the turn rolls off the 5c though and no draws get there, Zach's equity in the hand begins to look a lot better.

When both players check, this is a must-bet from Zach: he needs to get value from draws as well stronger one pair hands. In game he bet 250 into the pot of 440. During the podcast we discussed how this bet was primarily to value target flush draws and combo draws, not a good ace from either player. The SB has very few aces that can call another bet and the main villain in UTG+2 is likely betting all of her AK combos and some of her AQ combos. So while 250 into 440 isn't giving direct odds to his opponents, I think those that will call 250 with a draw will likely call around 300 too. Once the bet goes above 350 though then it becomes big enough where it might make someone make a disciplined laydown- something Zach doesn't want.

The SB folds and the UTG+2 player calls. Once she check calls I think we can leave half of her AK combos in her range but none of her worse aces, and about half of her flush draws she doesn't decide to continue semibluffing in her range.

Then the river comes out an offsuit 7 and she instantly goes all in. We all agreed this a very polarizing bet and she would never do this with A10s or A6s for value. This was a straight or a bluff. Zach, being the reading poker tells expert he is, folded because he said that when people instantly bet large on the river (without someone checking to them), most are quite unbalanced and have so many value hands in that spot. 

In my range chart above she has about 5 potential bluffing combinations once she reaches the river as played, and one value combo, 98dd. But in reality, I would love to give her half a combo of 98s because I think she is more likely to continue semibluffing on the turn with combo draws than bare flush draws. When she goes all in for 700 into 940, Zach needs to be good about 27% of the time to make this a break-even call.

So if with her 5 bluffing combinations, she bluffs with just one and shoves her one half of one combo, this is a very straightforward call with Zach having 75% equity. Note that because four of her bluffing combinations have a 10, I think this makes a snap-bluff even less likely given the showdown value. With this in mind, for Zach to make this exploitable fold profitable, she has to be bluffing 5% or less of her missed flush draws! During our podcast discussion, Jack and I agreed that while this tell is quite unbalanced, this one piece of information wasn't enough to make us so drastically alter our standard play of calling the river.