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Now, a quick recap of the hand...
The Hand History
Location: MGM Casino
Preflop: HJ opens to 15. Hero 3-bets AJss to 50 in CO. Loose players call in button and BB. HJ folds. Hero is effective stack at 1400
Flop (165) QsJhTs
BB leads 100. Hero raises to 225. Button calls. BB folds
Turn (715) 7h
Hero bets $400, Button calls.
River (1515) 9h
Hero shoves for 725. Villain calls with Q9.
I found this hand extremely interesting since we had a very unusual hand, a royal flush draw with a pair, and we were playing against very unusual opponents. I feel pretty confident in my instincts that the correct decision at each point in the hand as played, as agreed upon in the podcast, was 3-bet preflop, flat the donk OTF, bet $400 OTT, and c/f the river. I definitely look smart for advocating c/f the river, but I'd be lying to say if I was 100% certain this villain is calling with Q9 in that spot. If I gave villain a 60% chance of calling, is it still a check? My hunch is that it will be, but I think it's worth double checking nonetheless.
Let's start with villain's ranges going to the flop. I'll assume that the original raiser preflop wasn't so tight that we shouldn't be 3-betting a hand like AJ even with the other villains who came along.
Let's start with the button. This is really the villain who was going to make our 3-bet so profitable, even OOP. Therefore, I'm going to give him an extremely wide range, especially considering he raise-called 95s preflop earlier.
Wide as promised. I'm reluctant to completely rule out premiums, so I'm giving him 20% of all premium combos and 60% of JJ and AQ. I'm taking the conservative approach of making 95s one of the worst hands villain plays.
So the BB wasn't described to be quite as loose, but since hero sort of expected him to call, I will give him a wide range as well.
This player is known to be more aggressive, so I'm ruling out more premium combos including half of all AQ and JJ.
I'll first note that we have 66% equity against our opponent's ranges on this flop. Not surprising, given that we have middle pair and a royal flush draw. Now, how does the donk bet affect things.
Let's start with a pretty optimistic view of BB's donk bet from the perspective of the raise. Let's assume that BB is donk crazy, going with hero's read, and assume he donks two-pair+, flush draws, pair+straight draw, and any Kx. Those make up 20%, 4%, 38%, and 1% of his range respectively. We have 60% equity against this range and the Button's complete range. Against this range, a small raise does seem quite reasonable, particularly if we can keep in the pair plus draw hands and flush draws especially. We are ahead of most of the pair+draw hands as is, let alone our drawing potential.
Given that our opponent ultimately folded to a small raise, I think hero was correct in thinking BB might donk pair+draw hands. Given that we have 45% equity against sets and straights as is, I think a small value raise is probably in order on this flop. We don't mind getting the money in now, and we are also ahead of much of villain's calling range. I actually think inviting the button to come along is one of the main reasons to flat, but given how loose he is, a small value raise might be best in that regard as well.
So I like the flop raise. We spoke about sizing on the podcast and I think this size is correct to keep in flush draws. Now let's look at Button's calling range which is a lot more interesting than the composition of his trash range before he calls.
I'm giving the button pair+draw hands, top pair+, flush draws, and bare kings. These make up 22%, 11%, 4%, and 10% of his range respectively. I think button might raise some straights and sets here, but I think flatting is likely. We will take an optimistic and pessimistic view of the river decision later.
We are now heads up against the button and the turn was pretty much a blank. Given that we have 65% equity, I think a bet is in order. This bet is in some combination getting value from worse, and keeping our range uncapped in order for us to potentially bluff a blank river. We discussed sizing on the podcast, and I like hero's choice of $400. I'm going to have villain fold out his worst pair+draw hands as well as his worst Qx and some of his Kx to this bet, only about 16% of his range.
So the big question in the hand is how does this river card affect our equity against our opponent's range? The answer is, lol, this card absolutely killed us. Now, given how I had the button playing, this card was particularly bad. We actually only have about 5% equity. Villain's range is 65% straights, and 25% two pair and sets. Against this range, we are definitely check-folding. However, this is fairly pessimistic. I think villain is unlikely to 3-bet two-pair OTF, but, let's assume villain 3-bets sets+ and plays a few less kings preflop and take a look.
A more optimistic look gives villain 50% straights and about 33% two-pair. If we were positive that villain was always folding two-pair, then we could profitably jam. Also, if we were confident that villain folding two-pair would correlate with him folding sets and some Q-high straights, then we could have a profitable jam. However, I don't think we should be bluffing this opponent now since he has demonstrated stickiness so many times. Let's just be happy to get insane value when we actually do have AK.
What we learned
I now really love hero's play up until the river. I even get why the river bluff was so tempting. While villain does have a ton of straights, we have basically no showdown value and villain should be folding much of his range. However, if he was gonna fold it now, he probably would have already folded, and if that's the case, we are just punting into straights.
My main takeaways are that our hand just has a ton of equity OTF and OTT, and that this river card was by far the worst possible card for us to see. As always, feel free to post questions or thoughts in the comments section, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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