Podcast Breakdown: Episode 53

For those that haven't listened to the episode yet check out the podcast here.

Location: Poker on Air Studios

Stakes: $1/$2

Peter (391) Opens to 6 OTB, Rob (392) calls SB, Joshua (198) calls BB w/ Jh8h

Flop (18) 7hKh6s Checks to Peter who bets 12, folds to Joshua who calls

Turn (42) 9c Joshua leads 21, Peter calls

River (84) 8c

You can watch the hand played here:

On the podcast, we didn't really discuss preflop because it seemed very standard to Jack and I- Joshua is 100 BB deep with a seemingly aggressive thinking player on the button, and what looks like a fairly 'normal' recreational player in the SB. Note- we're trying our best to operate from Joshua's perspective at the time of the hand. While Joshua should be 3betting wide here, he has much better candidates than J8hh and with the pot odds he is getting, this is clearly profitable flat.

When the Kh7h6s flop rolls out, the Hero has a flush draw and a backdoor straight draw. Joshua noted that he would think Peter will be very bluffy when checked to, which I think is an important thing when deciding whether to lead out, check call, or check raise. This was largely based on Joshua watching one of Peter's online streams. I agree with Joshua's sentiment and want to add that on top of that, it's likely Peter will play very well against Joshua's lead out while he'll more likely be unbalanced in terms overbluffing when checked to. So I think we can rule out leading out- so the question is really between check calling and check raising.

Before looking at the merits between the two choices, I want to construct what I imagine Peter's cbetting range is on this board. My starting assumption is that he is opening around 65% of hands on the button in this spot.

I have him betting almost all heart draws, most backdoor flush draws, all top pair+ hands for value, all open enders, all gutshots, and all backdoor straight draws, This might seem fairly wide, but given how many hands he is opening, he's actually not cbetting that high a percentage of them -  about 1/2 of the 65% of total hands opened.

For the 2/3 pot bet Peter is making, if both players fold about 40% of the time, Peter is making an immediate profit on his bet. But given that Peter will likely have profitable barreling opportunities with many of his better bluffs with equity like heart draws and open enders, not to mention the time that some of his flop bluffs get there, I think Peter is turning a profit betting with a cbetting range somewhat like what I assigned to him.

So against this range, Joshua is a very slight equity favorite, even without a made hand, which I think is the strongest argument for calling and not semibluffing. But like we discussed on the podcast, against a super wide opening and relatively wide cbetting range, Joshua should have a proportionally wide check raising range- with value hands and bluffs. Given J8hh's lack of showdown value and all the equity he currently has, I think it's an ideal hand to include into a semibluffing range. In game, Joshua just called, although he agreed that raising was the better play after hearing Jack and my opinions. After Peter called the flop, Joshua noted that Peter seemed very irked by the call, and this physical read influenced his turn play.

On the turn, an offsuit 9 comes off, and Joshua opts to lead for a half pot bet. This is probably the most interesting street of the hand. It improves Joshua's hand by giving him an open ender to go along with his flush draw. However, Peter has a lot of nines in his cbetting range on the flop. This card actually greatly improves Peter's range's equity in the hand from about 49% to 62%, mostly since Joshua only has one card left to come to improve his hand.

So like the flop, Joshua still has an ideal semibluffing hand - now a combo draw with no current showdown equity. So the real question is how to maximize fold equity, lead out or checkraise? He mentioned on the podcast that because of his physical read after calling Peter on the flop, he used a relatively small sizing of half pot because he thought Peter was weighted towards air and would just fold. Jack and I agreed that due to the amount of nines in his range, and to potentially get a fold from a king on certain river cards, choosing a larger sizing closer to a pot sized bet would be best if leading out.

At first, I thought that a check-raise would be best but after thinking more about Peter's range, and how many of his bluffs turned a pair and now will likely check back the turn, I think leading out is clearly the superior play. Once peter calls the half pot bet on the turn, I took out his better value hands and some draws (he would raise some and fold others) resulting in the following turn calling range:

When the offsuit 8 arrives on the river, Joshua now makes third pair. Against the range that Peter called the turn with, Joshua beats about 5% of hands he shows up with on the river. We didn't really put it in these terms during the discussion, but Joshua has anti blockers to the hands Peter would want to fold: missed straight draws with a higher pair/kicker and flush draws. The question is now is there a bet size that will work enough of the time to get Peter to fold his one pair hands? I think yes- Peter will very likely fold all one pair hands to a 3/4 pot bet, and given that his range is 52% one pair hands or worse, a 3/4 pot bet shows a profit. Given the exact qualities of Joshua's hand, it's one the worst to include in this bluffing range because it blocks a lot of Joshua's bluff-targets.

On the podcast we came to the conclusion that Joshua should check and likely fold to most bet sizings.  Looking more in depth at Peter's ranges on different streets, because many of his flush draws have showdown value with a pair of nines or higher, and many of them when bet into on the turn opt to raise Joshua, I think he actually has very few missed draws on the river and Joshua should be check folding. Even if he rarely semibluffs the turn with his flush draws and shows up here with 2-3x as many flush draws, Joshua will still have only be beating between 8-12% of Peter's range on the river, making the decision still a clear check fold.