First, a quick recap of the hand...
Location: WPT Choctaw $300k
Blinds: 50/100 (8k starting stack)
Preflop: Hero in UTG+1 opens to 425 with 77, LAG Villain calls BB (7k effective).
Flop T74r (900): Checks to Hero who bets 1200. Villain calls.
Turn T (3300): Checks to hero who shoves. Villain calls with AT. River bricks
So let's chalk it up to a cooler... case closed!
I'm kidding, of course, as most Just Hands followers would know. In fact, I think the fact that this hand was a cooler could lead some players to some very inaccurate conclusions about the play. I'm actually very glad Stephen brought us this hand since I think it would have been very easy for him to have been satisfied with his play having won the hand.
So let's do what we do here and try and figure out what the best strategy would have been. Let's begin by estimating Villain's range. We know that Stephen claims that the Villain was playing around 50% of hands. Whether or not that true, this Villain seems likely to call very wide on the BB when he will be heads up going to the flop... correctly, I'll add. Given the huge raise size from Stephen, I'm guessing 50% is a fairly accurate estimate of Villain's range which would have been wider against a 2-3x raise size.
This range makes up about 50% of hands. I think BB is likely to 3-bet only premiums since Stephen is representing a very strong range. If BB cares about balance in this spot, he can choose hands like 7xs and 6xs to build a light 3-betting range. More likely, I think Villain will 3-bet hands like suited connectors and suited Aces if he wants a light 3-betting range. I think those hands are too strong to 3-bet in this situation. That being said, I think against such a large preflop opening size I'd call a little tighter and choose to have a light 3-betting range of some weak offsuite Ax and hands like 85s and 53s.
So OTF, let's take a look at villain's range. His value range of top pair plus is about 13%. He has 63% no pair, 21% of which is A high. If we bet half pot here, as I recommended on the podcast, then he really has to defend with all of his A high given how much he called preflop. Just under a third of that no-pair is some sort of straight draw. Given stack sizes, I think we should be betting here since we will get paid more when we do induce a bluff and 13% of villain's range will pay off at least two bets. Against this aggressive opponent who will have a bluffing frequency, I like betting half pot.
OTT, I think villain's range will be significantly stronger after calling a 1.3x pot bet. Villain will likely have very little A-high and have a lot of Tx and pocket pairs along with some gutshots and a percentage of his open ended straight draws. Against this range, I feel like we should clearly be checking. We don't risk losing value against a ten, and I think all of his missed draws and some of his pairs will be tempted to bluff the river given how strong the T is for villain's range relative to our own. Since we have a boat, any time villain makes a straight and bet-calls a shove is a huge victory for us. As played, we miss value from any pair and any draw. Some Tx may even decide to fold.
This hand is a clear example of why we need to keep our opponent's range in mind when value betting. In these spots where our opponent can be holding a wide range, we don't want to bet in a way that will give our opponent easy decisions with hands like A-high. We also want to give our opponent an opportunity to bluff when we hold the top of our range. Please post any questions or comments in the thread below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.