To listen to Mike describe the hand in question, check out this week's podcast episode.
The Hand History
Oceans 11 Casino
5-5 deepstack game with a straddle to 10
BTN (covers) raises to 50, Hero calls in the Straddle with 77 (2000)
Hero checks, Villain bets 80, Hero calls
Hero checks, Villain bets 125, Hero calls
Hero checks, Villain bets 335, Hero calls
As described on the podcast episode, the villain on the button is an aggressive whale who is just giving it away. Against this villain's button opening range, pocket 77s is a clear 3bet for value. While facing a very loose and aggressive player, many players will be inclined to just call and try to hit a set, but that allows the villain to see the flop with a ton of low equity hands that would have either folded to a 3bet or put more money in bad. Against just a top 40% opening range pocket 77s has 67% equity - and that is an incredibly conservative estimate for the villain described.
When the Hero flops 3rd pair, he's in a tough spot against the villain's cbetting range. He's likely slightly ahead but his hand is not an ideal candidate to check call with as it rarely improves - only one of the two remaining sevens or a backdoor straight can help him. While it might seem counterintuitive, calling with QJ would be much better than with pocket 77s even though it is currently an unpaired hand. A king will give the Hero an open ender to the nuts, a queen or jack will make top pair, and a nine will give Hero the nut straight. Especially against overly aggressive opponents, it's important to construct a defending range that can handle heat on future streets.
On the turn, one of the safest cards in the deck comes, an offsuit 5. When Hero checks and villain bets a little under half pot, I think calling is a lot more defensible than on the flop.
While it's very difficult to accurately range a very loose and aggressive player, let's say on the turn the villain is value betting 89 and better, and barreling all flush draws, open enders, and about 50% of possible gutshots. I also had that villain bet about 50% of his worse eights on the flop.
Against this range, Hero has about 34% equity, more than enough needed to call the under half pot bet. But turn spots like this illustrate the difficulty in profitably calling with 77s on the flop - besides a 7, there are very few river cards where the Hero can feel safe in calling even another half pot bet.
On the river one of the worst cards in the deck falls, the 9 of clubs. This completes straight draws and flush draws for the villain and gives some of his bluffs a pair of nines, beating pocket 77s. Against the turn betting range described above, our Hero now went from 34 to 8% equity. While he's probably not betting every hand that bet the turn, against almost any sized bet this is a clear fold. The villain ended up having 96o, a frustrating hand to lose to, but also one that was accounted for in the range against which hero is doing so poorly.
The biggest takeaway from this hand for me is that it's really important to think about the qualities of your defending range and how the hands you choose play out different turn and river cards. While it can be tempting in the moment to call with hands that are probably ahead of the villain's betting range, this can be a recipe for disaster against someone that doesn't flinch when firing the second or third barrel.
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