Some of you guys have been asking me hand history questions, and this one comes from Randy via Facebook. Randy wants me to analyze a hand he recently played in the casino. He prefaces the hand by saying, “This was 1/2 no limit, and there were two of the loosest, most aggressive players I’d ever seen at the table. They both had extremely large chip stacks and took great delight in pushing everyone else at the table around. One of them would make bets of $50-$150 with nothing—he took great delight in showing some of the bluffs—and then folding if he got called. If he had anything at all, he’d go all in and dare anyone to call. In this particular hand, I had ace/king off suit on the button.” The lag is under the gun, opens to $50, folds around, hero decides to 3 bet and essentially min-3-bets up to $100 and here we are:
First and foremost, the aggrotard raises to $50 or 25 big blinds, which is incredibly huge and incredibly atypical and is already going to tell you this is kind of going to be one of those special, weird, one off hands that is definitely not going to happen very often. But when it does happen, it’s important that you know how to react to it.
In this situation, I love the fact that hero is 3 betting it and if we want to be 3 betting here and in general, I usually don’t want to get 200 big blinds all in preflop with ace/king, but in a situation like this, where I’m against someone who’s horrible, is going to stack off of the range that’s certainly behind ace/king and is opening with a range that’s not just aces when he goes to this ridiculously huge size, this is a situation where I’d like to get as much money in as quickly as possible, especially with a hand like ace/king. Because of that, I love the fact that we’re 3 betting.
Now I’m going to be very nitpicky here with the size because I think this size is very, very important. $100 may seem large, that is 50 big blinds in this game, but given the open raise size, our 3 bet is actually a little bit small and I don’t think it really does necessarily what we want it to do. Obviously if we 3 bet and he shoves, that’s great. And if we think that by 3 betting to $100 gives him the most amount of room to come over the top and shove, and we think we’re going 3 bet stack that off every time and we get a bigger edge that way, fine. But at least it’s done with a plan and a thought. Otherwise, I’m going to take this up to a little bit more of kind of my 3x size and go up to say $150 or $175 or even $200.
One of the big things that I don’t want to have happen is I don’t want to 3 bet to $100, just the aggrotard calls, and we have a situation where there’s $200 in the middle, roughly $330 behind and then we’re in a situation where what are we going to do if we face that flop shove? We’re still going to miss the flop give or take around two-thirds of the time and do I really want to get like blasted off my hand or put into that really, really tough spot where I don’t know where the heck I am?
I say that because we could have gone to a bigger size preflop and still generated a good plus EV play. It’s not like I’m trading a plus EV play for simplicity, I’m still taking a plus EV play by going for a bigger size 3 bet here. I still expect that to be good against someone who’s this bad.
Because of that again, love the 3 bet, don’t love the 3 bet size and that’s really where this hand starts to get whacky because in this situation we actually ended up getting cold called by the fish—my goodness, I have no idea what the heck he’s cold calling $99 with—and then the aggrotard of course calls. So in this situation, if we look at it just going into the flop, we have $300 in the middle, give or take, we have roughly one SPR against the aggrotard and we have 1.3-ish against the fish. So this is a small SPR situation and what that means is that as a typical default, if I ever have an over pair, a top pair, then I’m going to be stacking it off, but in this situation, we catch quite possibly one of the most awkward flops in the world, check and we end up facing a donk for $100.
Again, I’m going to kind of go back to preflop. I wouldn’t have 3 bet to that size which means I literally never find myself in a confusing situation here because whether I got 1 caller or 2 callers, the SPR would be so incredibly small that it wouldn’t even be a discussion.
In this exact situation, things are obviously pretty weird. Now we’ve seen this guy bet between $50 and $150 with nothing before, so him betting $100 here doesn’t really tell me that he only has ace/jack or king/queen or anything like that. He could have ace/four, he could have possibly like a queen/jack, he could have a whole bunch of different crazy, stupid stuff and the fish cold calling the 3 bet, depending on how bad he is, if he’s been that aggressive and spewy and you say he’s been pretty loose, I can’t squarely put him on pocket jacks or pocket tens. So because of that, I’m not changing my stock off plan here. I really have no problem just shoving this and kind of going from there. I expect the aggrotard will call with hands that I have an edge on, if the fish comes along, well, I’m hoping that he doesn’t just have tens, but because he’s a bad player, he could have something like ace/queen. Obviously it gets a little weird when an ace/jack beats us, too, but in general, I’m expecting this to be a good, profitable shove.
But again, the real whacky point was the preflop sizing because that’s where things kind of stem from in this situation. Whenever you find yourself in like a tricky spot on like a turn or a river or in a situation like this on the flop, always kind of go back a street and say, “Okay, well, did I make any mistakes there that maybe created a situation that sucked for me?” Sometimes you’re going to end up finding leaks earlier in the hand.
I this situation here just calls, and again, I just would’ve jammed it here and felt pretty comfortable. End up getting a call from the fish, three on the turn changes nothing. Check, check, and hero decides to bet $100.
I’m not sure why hero is choosing some of these sizes. These sizes definitely seem on the smaller side of the spectrum and that’s the thing, $100 may feel like a lot of money, but when you’re playing poker, it’s just big blinds. In a situation where you’re looking at this pot shoving, would definitely be typical. I mean, the fish only has $300, which is just half the pot at this point, the aggrotard has even less than that. This is a situation where I would just jam. I’m still in a value-bet mindset, if one of them has me beat, sucks to be me, but overall, I think just betting 100 here is pretty much just asking to get screwed. You’re giving odds to any weird draw and I don’t really see them being, folding, the whole thing versus calling for $100. I think if they’re that bad, they’re that bad, so maximize their inelasticity in this situation. We end up getting a call from the fish, eight on the river, he ends up jamming for 200 and at this point we’re getting 5:1 on a call.
At this point Randy says, “I knew there was a possibility he had the straight and I thought he might take a stab at the pot. I put him on ace/queen, queen/jack, or maybe ace X. I was getting decent pot odds so I called, only to have him turn over queen/nine for the straight. I think I played this hand pretty well and just got drawn out on, but I’d like your opinion.”
Okay, so I have two major opinions in this situation. First and foremost, you made some bad sizing errors that I think really ended up screwing you in this situation. Again, I expected better value 3-bet size, it’s going to be more profitable in the long run and I also expect that a better turn size is going to be more profitable in the rare event you ever get to the turn that way in the future.
My second opinion is that this is quite possibly the greatest poker game I’ve ever seen if you’ve got someone to cold call $99 preflop with queen/nine suited. It almost looks to the point where this hand history would be fake lol, but I’ve played in this kind of game occasionally. I would never quit this game, pretty much stay there until these guys quit or get so drunk that they pass out, whatever, you stay at this game and you grind it and you enjoy it.
Overall, like I said, the big thing strategically were preflop, understanding that sizing, and on the turn, definitely changing the sizing. Like I said, even on the flop I just would’ve jammed it for value at that point and felt pretty comfortable. This is a pretty special hand history and not the kind of situation that’s going to come up very often