Podcast Breakdown: Episode 65, Hand 2

First, make sure you check out the podcast with Vanessa Selbst where we discussed this hand.

The Hand History

Preflop: Hero (35BB) raises in CO with J8hh, Villain (Covers) 3bets from the SB, Hero calls

Flop (50k) Jc8c5c

Villain bets 13-20k, Hero calls

Turn (76-90k) 7c

Villain bets 20k, Hero calls

River (~120k) Qo

Villain checks, Hero 25k, Villain jams, Vanessa calls, Villain scoops with ??

The Challenge

In this hand that Vanessa rapid-fired to us at the end of the podcast, she challenged Jack and I to guess the hand that the villain had. I'm going to do my best to get it right, and give a few alternate possibilities.


The villain took a weird line postflop on nearly every street. But to start, let's just see how wide the 'euro kid actively looking to 3bet light' really was. Due to the stakes of the event, if the villain was very wide here, I'm going to assume that he used good candidates for light 3bets i.e. 67s or A3s and not KJo or A9o.

Images provided by PokerCruncher Expert for Mac

Images provided by PokerCruncher Expert for Mac

I have villain 3betting 25% of hands, with a frequency of approximately 1 to 3 of value to bluffs. Given stack sizes, a 3bet with pocket 5s or KQs is the bottom of the villain's value range, as he'll be happy to get those hands in preflop against Vanessa's 4betting range on the button.

The Flop: The 'Key To The Hand'

When the villain bets really small, Vanessa narrows villain's range to nutted hands and 'weird hands'. To keep the villain's range wide and allow for a multitude of possibilities, let's say he does this size with either hands he's happy to get it in with, or hands he's not putting another chip in the pot with. 

Note I picked all ace combos without the ace of clubs, which is why many of the aces are green (partial amount of combos). I also assumed he would sometimes bet his middling pairs and bad jacks without a club as a bluff.

The Turn: Villain Keeps Betting Tiny

I doubt that once villain bets 20k into 90k on the turn he will continue to do so with complete whiffs. He certainly has hands that he'll fold to shove, but I think all of them have some type of equity, primarily bad one pair hands and straight draws. I also don't think he'll be betting a club lower than a queen.

For what it's worth, Vanessa went from having 85% equity against villain's flop betting range, to 47% against villain's turn betting range.

The River: Things Get Even Weirder

Against the range as described above with an offsuit queen river, she now has 53% equity. The villain now checks. Is it too thin to go for value? I would say yes - given the villain still has all nut, K, and Q hi flush draws in his range, I'm not sure there are enough realistic value targets to make this a profitable value bet on the river. I think he's unlikely to call with any of the hands she beats.

Once we do bet and the villain checkraises, I think this is a clear fold. Is the villain, even a euro kid with a hoodie that 3bets too much - really going to check shove with a balanced amount of bluffs? I think the vast majority of the time he bets those bluffs on the river if he were to check shove and given the price Vanessa is getting, can't expect her to fold to a check shove. While exploitable, I think Vanessa had should have folded on the river. Also, many of his checks will have some showdown value or else he may have chosen to bluff them on the river. Some of those hands that may now be turned into bluffs are potentially ahead of Vanessa's two pair.

Let's Guess The Hand

The main point where I could see Vanessa's initial read going awry is that the villain would for sure bet bigger with a QJo without a club hand on the flop. If this villain is going to betting small on the flop with just a pot sized bet behind, he's polarized to hands he's going to get it in with and hands he won't, but given the low SPR some top pair hand may be in the value range. Maybe I'm giving the villain too much credit but I imagine he's roughly trying to balance his many 3bet bluffs that he can comfortably fold to a raise on the flop: to exert a ton of pressure on Vanessa on the bubble without risking a ton of his stack when he has a bet-fold hand on the flop.

Everything else about Vanessa's read I'm going to integrate in this analysis though - so when villain check raises the river, we're going to take out all hands with an ace of clubs. Given that Vanessa said it will be hard to figure out what the villain had, I'm going to eliminate all two club hands from the villain's range. Now we also get to take away all hands left in the range that are losing to Vanessa and what are we left with?

Most Likely Hands for Villain:

Listed below are the different categories of hands, and they are ranked in what I think their likely order is:

1) Sets

2) Straights

3) Suited kings, queens, and overpairs that turned a high flush

So there you have it! To avoid spoilers, we will link to a separate page with Vanessa's hand once we get the results.