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The Hand History
On "Live at the Bike" at the Bicycle Casino in CA
5-10 with Straddle to 20
Hero (covers) opens 66 in the HJ to 60, Villain (3500) raises to 210 OTB, Hero calls.
Hero checks, Villain bets 210, Hero raises to 675, Villain calls.
Hero bets 800, Villain folds.
Dealing with Range Disparities
Much of this hand boils down to the fact that I have a big range advantage OTF. It's highly unlikely that villain will have full combinations of T9s, 88, or 77. For a proper range analysis, partial combos should be assigned to account for a mixed strategy or just an error in judgment by me. Still, I think there is almost no predictable world where villain has even a quarter of all possible non-JJ nutted hands.
On the other hand, I have close to 100% of the nutted hands on this board. With so many nutted hands, a fairly narrow range to begin with, and a lot of money left behind for a 3-bet pot (a straddle nevertheless), villain is in a tough spot. Outside of JJ and 78s, basically all of villain's range is at best a strong draw or a bluff-catcher. Really, this means I should have a flop donking range, but I had information from a friend watching the stream that Will had a tendency to default to betting too often. I had also noticed this, as Will never gave up on any line of betting when he was the aggressor from the prior street. Since I expected Will to c-bet often, I happily checked my whole range on a flop on which I had both an equity advantage and a nutted hand advantage.
Ok, let's backtrack here a second. Before I get into claims that I had a significant equity advantage on the flop, let's take a look at some ranges.
First, here is a tightish 3-bet range for Will.
It's possible to create a range that interacts better with this board, but it's a lot easier to add a bunch of low equity hands for every high equity hand you add on this board.
Considering I made the call with 66 OOP with deeper stacks, I'm obviously not giving villain a ton of credit to take proper advantage of his position, case and point in this hand. My 3-bet calling range would look a lot like this against this button absent a physical read.
I'd probably 4-bet a few AQ combos as a bluff since this range is a little bit too AQ-heavy for my tastes. Otherwise, it is just about right.
Stuff About C-Betting
There are a few underlying factors, some of which must be true for c-betting at a high frequency to be the correct strategy. One, the preflop raiser could have an equity advantage. This will often be the case since many boards come A-high or K-high and the preflop raiser will have hands like AA, KK, and AK at a much higher frequency. On lower boards, The presence of those overpairs will also provide a significant equity edge, especially when the preflop raiser (or 3-bettor) has most of the sets. Two, the preflop caller will not raise the c-bet at a high frequency. This is a good assumption in most games. It is also facilitated by point one which is often true. Three, the preflop caller will overfold on some street, likely the flop or turn. This is very often true and is a great reason to C-bet at a high frequency. Implicit in that term, c-betting at a high frequency, is that the preflop raiser is overbluffing. It's almost impossible to bet 70+% of your hands OTF in a balanced way, especially since you will almost always be susceptible to check-raises.
In this hand, none of these assumptions were true for villain. Of course, he wouldn't necessarily know that I am over-defending by calling and check-raising, but he has seen me check-raise as a likely bluff earlier in the session. Also, we are playing 5-10-20 so it should be considered as a possibility. The bigger mistake here was not identifying the serious equity disadvantage. My range had almost 60% equity on this flop. For that reason alone, villain should consider checking back his whole range on this board. In theory, I should probably be leading a high percentage of my range since I don't want to give a free card. All of the factors that are often true for the preflop raiser apply to me on this board.
When you consider my equity advantage and villain's c-betting frequency, it would be almost criminal to fold any hand on this board. Of course, 66 has reasonable equity against a c-betting range and calling is not out of the question. However, if I check-raise and barrel off, I think I can get villain to fold any hand other 78 or JJ on a non-club runout. That's basically what I did, although I was lucky enough to pick up equity on the turn and not face any tough decisions like a K turn.
The most precarious part of this hand from my seat is whether or not to shove on a favorable river card. I think I probably should in case villain doesn't fold AA-QQ OTT, but if he does, than my river barrel is basically lighting $2000 on fire. Of course, getting villain to fold a bluff is better than check-folding to that same bluff. For that reason, I think the river barrel is the safest play since check-calling 66 on a 2 river is a little bit fancy for my tastes.
There are a few key concepts to take away from this hand. First, keep in mind that my strategy is highly exploitative even though it is based on sound theory. If my opponent and I both recognize we are starting with the assigned ranges on this flop, I would be leading the flop at a high frequency since villain would almost always check back.
While I should be leading here in theory, few opponets will. Therefore, from villains seat, the exploit is to check back at a high frequency, especially against a strong opponent but probably against almost any opponent. When your opponent has 60% equity after being at an equity disadvantage preflop, they probably won't be folding much to c-bets and will be check-raising for value at a high frequency. For pot control, check back some value. To save money, underbluff.
A final takeaway is a bit more advanced but is worth considering. Having bad board coverage can be a huge detriment. If villain 3-bets hands like 77, 88, and T9s at some frequency, even if its very low, it will improve the overall expectation of his range on a board like this significantly.
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