Podcast Breakdown: Episode 72

If you haven't listened to this week's episode, check it out here!

The Hand

On a St. Louis Riverboat in 1995
5-5 with a straddle to 10

Villain 1 (10,000) is named Quinn, Villain 2 (300) is named Bernie


Hero (10,000) raises to 40 with A3dd in UTG+1, Quinn calls in the BB, Bernie calls in the Straddle

Flop (125)


Quinn checks, Bernie checks, Hero checks

Turn (125)


Quinn checks, Bernie bets 100, Hero calls, Quinn raises to 400, Bernie folds, Hero calls

River (1025)


Quinn bets 1000, Hero raises to 3000, Quinn shoves, Hero calls. Quinn has 7d6d

An Unusual Hand Indeed

Doing the podcast breakdown is one of my favorite things about being a part of Just Hands. In fact, I'm going to be doing every breakdown for the foreseeable future (don't worry, Zach will be giving input as well). This hand, however, was a weird one to figure out how to approach. It is an extremely unusual circumstance. Hero is 1,000 Straddles deep with the pro and 30 deep with the amateur. Just of the bat, that is normally a good indication that one should be leaving. Having position on the other deep-stack helps, but the variance/EV ratio is awful.

Strategic Implications

When you are 1,000 straddles deep with a good player, preflop hand selection looks different. Imagine your range as a pyramid where the more money that goes in, the higher up in your pyramid of hands you go. In a 100bb game, that pyramid gets cut off fairly close to the floor. There are a lot of hands that you would be happy to put in 100bb into the pot with. AK on an Ac7c6d board. QQ preflop. 42s (if you play that crap) on a K3568r board. The point is, you don't need to have the best possible holdings to happily shovel 100bb in the pot. If you wait for those hands, it is unlikely you will win. Now consider the 1,000,000bb game. If your opponent shoves preflop, you should never call without aces. There is really no mathematical reason to ever get it in without the nuts. When the money goes in, you should be at the apex of the pyramid.

In a 1,000bb game, our stack-off part of the pyramid will be significantly smaller than in a 100bb game. That means we need to prioritize hands that can get into that part of the pyramid. Consider KQo vs A3s. How many boards will KQo be in the top 10% of possible hands vs A3s. On most K or Q high boards, KQo will fit the bill. Unlike KQo, A3s will often fall outside the top 10% of hands, even on A-high boards.

Now when we consider how often those two hands will fall inside the top 1% of hands, there is a different story. Most of the time KQo falls into the top 1% of hands will be as a nut straight. Even on a KQ763 board, KQo falls outside of the top 1% of hands. For reference, the top 1% of hands will be the best 26-27 combos. A3s, on the other hand, will often springboard to the top 1% of hands when it makes a straight or flush. Another great comparison is suited aces to suited connectors. 76s will very often fall outside of the top 1% of hands when the flush comes. A suited ace will always fall in the top 1% of hands when the flush comes in.

This is not all to say that Hero shouldn't be playing KQo and 76s in position in this deep of a game. We just need to be more concerned about reaching the highest echelon of hands. There is a much bigger difference between QQ and 22 on a QT732 board in a 1000bb game than a 100bb game. 

The Turn

Let's leave the flop be for now. Could hero have semibluffed? Yes. It's easy to create a set of assumptions where semibluffing the flop is best. However, with A-high, position, and the ability to overflush people, slow-playing a big nut-draw is very solid.

On the turn, it's easy to think hero missed a raise. However, to me, this seems like a great hand to flat in position. 3-betting the turn could easily blow Quinn of of a worse flush. If Quinn ever has a set here, then we would like to give him a chance to improve to a full house or quads. When we flat, Quinn will often bet a K-high flush for value, or at least check-call. When he value bets, we can make a value raise as long as the straight flush doesn't come in. More on that below.

The River

This hand becomes very simple given the river card and the river action along with our assumptions about Quinn. The first thing to note is that Quinn is never bluffing here according to Hero. This was very likely the case in 1995 and would probably be true in many 2/5 and 5/10 games today. When Quinn bets the river, the best possible worse hand he could have is a K-high flush. When Hero raises, Quinn is almost certainly folding anything worse. When that is the case, there is no point in raising unless there are no better hands. Since there is a better hand here, Hero should just flat. Folding seems reasonable given Quinn's description, but that's a little too exploitative since Quinn only needs to be betting .5 combos that are worse as a bluff or value.