Podcast Breakdown: Episode 69

A recap of the hand discussed this week:

Location: Lucky Chances

Stakes: 3/5/10

Preflop

Hero (400) raises to 25 OTB with AA, SB (700) calls

Flop (65) QJ7xxc

SB checks, Hero bets 30, SB calls

Turn (125) Tc

SB checks, Hero bets 100, SB calls

River (325) 4o

SB checks, Hero checks

Preflop

When it's folded to you with aces on the button, it's really just a matter of sizing. When there is a straddle out and the players are loose, I'm going to size a bit bigger than my standard sizing for exploitative reasons, usually 3.5-4x the straddle. I think 3x would be defensible with the relatively short stacks but 2.5x is just too small with a premium hand like this.

The Flop

When it's checked to Hero on a very safe flop for aces, there needs to be a very strong reason not to bet. For example, the player OOP is a crazy player that when Hero checks it back will just bomb turn and river a high percentage of the time. Or maybe the opponent is incredibly nitty and doesn't call with worse than a Queen if the Hero bets, but might call later streets after 'weakness' was shown. Neither of those scenarios are present here. We're up against a loose player in a button versus blinds scenario and have an overpair. I would probably bet a hand as bad as KJ for value against the player described here.

Against a player as described, it's difficult to imagine their check calling range being particularly elastic to the bet sizing. The listener, in retrospect, thought that 50 would have been a better bet sizing and I agree - without evidence of an edge case like villain check raising much more aggressively if we use a smaller size, 50 ensures max value from the many pairs in their range.

The Turn

On the turn, the 10c makes some hands now two pair, but for the most part is a great card for the Hero. It gives many pairs the Hero is ahead of now a draw, which gives them added incentive to call a turn bet. While it might seem like a scary card, let's see how Hero fares against a turn continuing range - hands that will likely call or raise the turn.

Image provided by PokerCruncher Expert for Mac

Image provided by PokerCruncher Expert for Mac

I gave the villain half of the combos of QJ and sets that they opted not to raise the flop with. I also said he would not 3bet AK a 1/3 of the time and same for AQ half the time. I also took out a few KT and T9 combos as some villains will play this hand aggressively and semibluff the flop.

While there are a lot of hands that now beat the Hero, he still has 62% equity against that continuing range. To value target top pairs and pair + draw hands, the listener sized 100 into 125. I think around 80 or 85 would have ensured more calls from the weaker pair plus draws like AJ and J8. Most importantly, whatever size the Hero bets on the turn should intend to fold to a check raise.

River

When the river bricks, Hero now has 67% against the turn continuing range. If the villain checkraises just 1/3 of the combinations of hands that are two pair plus on the turn, Hero has 78% equity on the river. Even if we said villain slowplayed all of his two pair+ hands he got to on the turn, he still has a slam dunk shove for value. While in game the Hero checked back and was shown two pair, he missed a ton of value checking back aces.

Conclusion

I'm writing this coming off of spending this past weekend commentating on over 16 hours of low stakes live cash with the cohosts of the Thinking Poker podcast. Something that kept coming up during the broadcast was that poker is a really terrible game to learn from experience. It's easy in a scenario like this to feel like one made the right play in checking back the river because they were shown a better hand. But I'm happy the listener sent in his hand and was open to constructive criticism as sometimes the best line won't make you more money in the short term.

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