Interesting Hand vs. a Former Podcast Guest

What’s up JustHands Nation? I don’t have a ton to report on this week. I put in about 32 hours at the tables, 10 hours of study, and was able meet my goal of running three times. I did however neglect my meditation goal. It’s a little frustrating that I have yet to complete all four goals in a single week, so I’m planning on using that frustration as motivation to really go for it this week. I just don’t have enough going on in my life outside of poker to be making excuses and not meeting these goals on a weekly basis. So, I’m calling my shot. This is going to be the week I complete all of my goals. In the following week (assuming I’m successful) I’ll look to raise my volume goal, and possibly my running goal as well.

I got a chance to play a couple 2-5 NL sessions this week which was fun and exciting. In one of them, I ran like God and booked my biggest win to date, profiting $1,990. I won a nice $2k pot with AA where I cold 4bet preflop, got called, and then was able to bet, bet, jam on a AcKc9d9h4d board and get looked up. The villain in the hand called pretty quickly on the river, so I’m assuming he had either AK or KK. Poker is an easy game when you can cooler somebody for 200 BB’s. The other 2-5 session did not go so well. I lost a little over $1,000, getting semi-coolered with AK on a k-high board and then running into the tops of a couple players’ ranges when bluffing. I’m really questioning whether or not playing in these games was more profitable than playing 1-3 NL. While I felt like I had an edge over almost everyone I played with at 2-5, my edge was not nearly as big as it is in 1-3, and I’m not sure having 2-3x more money on the table makes playing 2-5 (at the Jack) worth my time. That being said, my sample at 2-5 is small and it’s possible I’m giving some of these players too much credit (which I’m known to do, and is probably a leak of mine). I’ll definitely be experimenting with it some more so I can get a better feel for the player pool and decide whether or not playing 2-5 is really worth it.  

I want to talk a little bit about a hand I played with former podcast guest Chris Steimle. This hand occurred about 2 weeks ago so the details are a little fuzzy, so just bear with me.

Game: 1-3 NL (with straddle), 8-9 handed

Hero (600) SB with KdTc. Likely has somewhere between LAG and TAG image in eyes of villain. Villain also knows hero is a pro and writes this blog.

Villain aka Chris (800-1000) MP. 25-30 year old professional. Seemingly plays a somewhat TAG style and rarely gets out of line, but given that he’s a professional who puts in a ton of volume and our sample with him is limited, hero assumes he is capable of mixing it up. While he’s never bluffed hero (to hero’s knowledge), hero has witnessed him bluff weaker players.

Preflop: Straddle. EP limps, Chris limps MP, button (loose-passive woman, loves to chase any draw and seems unable to fold top-pair+) limps, hero limps, BB limps, straddle checks.

Flop (33) Ks9x6s. Checks to Chris who bets 30, button calls, hero calls.

I think Chris’ range in this spot looks something like 66, K9s, possibly some KJ/KT type hands, nut flush draws, QJ/QT/TJ of spades, some 9xss and 78ss. In game, I discounted other combos of 78s as I didn’t think he was likely to use this sizing in a 5-way pot (or possibly even bet at all) without combo draws/ nut flush draws. I’m not sure I like this thinking though, and it’s possible he does have other combos of 78s here. The button’s range is Kx, a ton of flush draws and gut shots, and possibly some 9x hands.

Turn (120) Kh. Checks around. Now that I think about it, leading the turn as a bet/fold may be the best play here. Both villain’s ranges should be more draw heavy since we’re blocking other Kx hands, and we should get value as well as protect against those draws. Unfortunately, I didn’t even really consider leading the turn in game, as donk-betting is something I seldom do. This is a definite leak of mine though and is something I’ll look to begin working into my game.

When Chris checks the turn here, I think we can take 66, K9s, and Kx out of his range, as he’s likely aware that the button is a station and will want to get value from her.

River (120) 5d. Hero leads for 65. Chris raises to 200, button folds.

My sizing on the river was designed to value-target 9x hands in the button’s range, although in hindsight I think it may have been a little too big to actually accomplish that. I think I like a smaller sizing like 50 slightly better, but that’s not really the decision I want to talk about. When Chris makes this raise, we have to call 135 to win 385. So we’re getting about 2.9:1 and thus need about 26% equity in order for calling to be profitable. In game, even though I’ve never seen him bluff in a spot like this, I felt he was capable of doing it with some of his missed flush/combo draws, of which he has roughly 10-15 combos in total. In terms of value hands, let’s say he has 78ss, 1 other combo of 78s (discounting due to flop sizing), and 1 combo of 66/K9 (discounting due to turn check). If this range is accurate, he only has to be bluffing 1 of his missed draws in order to make calling profitable. So, I called, and unfortunately for me Chris tabled 78ss for the nut straight.

I’m at peace with the call for the most part and think it’s probably right, but the fact that I’ve never seen Chris make a bluff in a spot like this has led me to think he may be unbalanced enough here to make an exploitive fold. But on the other hand, my sample with him is somewhat small and it's possible I just haven't played with him enough to know that he can be bluffing here. Anyways, nice hand Chris, if you’re reading this. I’ll talk to the rest of you next week. Until then, good luck at the tables.