Playing Top Pair + A Gutshot

In today’s video, we’re going to review a hand sent in by Dan. This is a hand from $1/$3 live and Dan goes pretty aggressive with 86os. So let’s check out the hand and see if it was any good.

In this hand, we have a limp, a limp, a limp, and Dan decides to attack to $20. And Dan says this in the write-up:

Seat 7 through 9 in this game are very loose, somewhat aggressive players. They don’t seem to care about position or odds. They’re having fun, they like to gamble. They’re not passive players either. They like to and are comfortable making big bets with draws.

This is a very common player type live, so this is something you should be very familiar with if you’re not already. And the question here, just to start off is, is Dan’s isolation here good? So let’s talk about that. First and foremost, I love when you guys are trying to get more aggressive and more creative. I love when you’re trying to take nonsense cards like 86os and turn them into profit. I love when you’re trying to fight for pots uncontested. However, I think this is the way wrong spot to do that in.

So there’s a bunch of different reasons why, and in no particular order, here they go. First and foremost, we didn’t start this hand with a full stack. We’re playing $1/$3. We should be able to at least start with $300 in most rooms, so I’d really like to see you top off here.

That becomes really, really valuable when you have position on multiple fish. So I see no reason to start this with anything less than $100 big blinds. If they let you buy in for $150 bigs or $200 bigs in this room, by all means, please do that. That’s just a small one, but still something I wanted to mention.

Now, in this exact spot, if we remember the write-up, Dan said a lot of these guys are loose, seat 7, 8 and 9. So if they’re not caring about things like position, they don’t care about pot odds. They’re here trying to have fun and gamble. Does that mean they’re going to fold a lot? I don’t think so. I suspect these guys are going to be continuing a large chunk of the time. And just because they limped, if they’re weak players who just like to gamble, I don’t necessarily think they’re going to open AJ, and thus massively weaken their limping range.

I think they’re also going to have things like AJs, KQs, all those kind of hands in their limping range that, again, aren’t folding preflop and are going to be able to do okay post. So I don’t think you’re generating the folds you want. When you’re attacking limpers, typically it’s because you think they’re going to fold a decent chunk of the time, and if they don’t, then there’s some profitable way or profitable situation that’s going to get created. I don’t think that’s the case here.

First and foremost, I think we’re going multiway a very large chunk of the time. Even if seats 2, 3, 4 folded every single time, which is not going to happen, but let’s just say it did, seat 7, 8, 9, at least two of them are going to call a large chunk of the time in my opinion, so you’re going multiway very, very often. And when you go multiway, not only does that make it more difficult to fight for the pots on the flop because there’s more people to try to get to fold, but also it shrinks up the SPR. So you’re in a situation where whenever you have nonsense or junky kind of drawy hands, those are situations where you usually prefer very deep SPR. You have maximum flexibility, you’re going to be able to actualize your equity more often. This is not going to create that situation.

Nothing in here leads me to believe we’re going to fight for the pot and pick it up preflop, like, ever. And I don’t think you’re creating a great post flop situation. Dan mentioned in the write-up that he could get post-flop with a concealed hand. Now, having a concealed hand is very valuable when your opponents are thinking about what you have. When they’re thinking about folding things like top pair post-flop, these dudes, 7, 8, 9, they’re not thinking about that. They’re not thinking, “Hey, how can I make a hero fold?” They’re saying, “Hey, I want to get involved preflop, so I’m going to see a lot of flops.” And they’re thinking, “Hey, I’m probably going to get pretty darn sticky post-flop.”

Everything you need and want to happen in this hand is not going to happen, especially not for $20. And I don’t even think if you tried to say, “Okay, well, what If I go to $25 here? What if I go to $30 here?” I still don’t think you’re creating profitable situations. So because of that, I love the fact that you’re trying to get creative. I just think this is the way wrong spot, and, unfortunately, that’s going to start creeping into post flop, because when you choose the wrong hands preflop and create suboptimal situations given your hand, well, postflop is going to get that much more difficult most of the time.

At the end of the day, that’s a lot of words to simply say, “I think this is too aggressive. I think this is too optimistic. I think it’s the wrong situation. And in this exact situation, the wrong hands to be using.” So because of that, I’m not a fan of this, but it is what it is. We’ll still analyze the rest of the hand. It kind of shocked me that we’ve only got two to be honest. I figured this would have gone 4-way a large chunk of the time, but it is what it is. Flop this. Lead for half, seat 7. Seat 9 calls and Dan decides to get aggressive and go up to $120.

At this point, one of the major questions I ask myself is what do I think is going to be more profitable here, calling or raising? Because I’m not folding at this point. So if I raise, what is that raise going to do? And I think in this situation, the raise is not going to do much other than build a huge pot against a range of hands that either puts me in a bad spot or has heaps of equity. Because if he has a flush-draw with overcard that has heaps of equity, and there’s also lots of hands that either of these two players can have that beat us. And I’m not even talking about two pair. I’m talking, like, A8, T8s, J8s. All those kind of hands make a lot of sense for at least one of these two players to have.

I don’t think that this is a situation where you’re putting a ton of money in, which is super-great. I also don’t think it’s required that you raise here. You’re getting a great price. You’re getting better than 4:1. You have position. If you face future bets, chances are they’re going to be on the smaller side of the spectrum, and you can make some decisions from there. I think raising here is unnecessary. I don’t think it’s doing what you want it to do. I think it’s just piling in a bunch of money when you never really have an edge. Even if you do have an edge, it’s a slight one at best and there’s a lot of situations where you put a lot of money in here and you actually have very little equity. So because of that, I’m not super in love with this by any stretch of the imagination.

One thing you need to remember is sometimes you’re going to run a bluff on a street and it’s going to fail. So we tried preflop and that failed. That doesn’t mean that we need to set money on fire on future streets if it doesn’t make sense. So I really don’t like this. I much prefer to see us just take the price, just call here, play poker going forward, rather than raise. I don’t think there’s much fold equity right this moment. I think when you get it in, you’re not really going to be super-happy.

Learn what fold equity is and how to calculate it with this quick fold equity video.

As played, seat 7 folds, seat 9 punches it, hero calls. And at this point, you get about 4:1. I’m definitely calling as well at this point. But it’s just one of those situations where I’m not super-thrilled with the overall play. And we end up losing to Q7 of spades, obviously a hand that was never going to fold on the flop. But, again, that’s kind of my point is when you raise and get it in on the flop, are you really equity ahead very often? Not often in my opinion.

This is just the kind of situation where, again, Dan, I love the fact that you’re being aggressive. I just think that you made the wrong aggressive decision too many times in this hand: one with preflop, two with the flop raise, and because of that, you put yourself in this weird situation.
Again, remember, you don’t always have to continue setting money on fire when your bluffs fail. Sometimes you should, but more often than not, just kind of reevaluate and say, “Okay, based upon my first bluff failing, do I still have to continue on the next street in the same way? Or in this situation, could I just call the flop and then play poker from there?”

So, Dan, thank you so much for this hand. Hopefully, this answers all the questions you had on it. And, of course, if you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know. If you’re looking for your next step today, I have a Red Chip Poker PRO video I would definitely suggest checking out. If you’re a pro member, you can go there right now. It’s called Common $1/$2 Mistakes.

If you’re not already a pro member, now is a great time to start. Go check it out at Give it a whirl then look for the Common $1/$2 Mistakes video. It’s going to go through situations that are actually somewhat similar to this in terms of hero getting very aggressive, hero needing to work on bet sizing, hero needing to work on situations where a little bit more of a passive line can actually be a lot better given things like image, opponents, etc., etc. It really gives you a great, well-rounded look at situations where the aggression is amped up, but the question is, is this the right spot to amp it up?

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top