Monday, 19 August 2013

By Ben Jackson.

My first hand is in a £10-£20 6-max game online. A fish, who is just over 200bb deep, opens to $60 from the cut-off. He is a very loose-aggro player and tries to put as much pressure on his opponents when weakness is shown and doesn’t like to slow down once he has started – even if he is shown resistance on later streets, which is obviously very exploitable. Also, because of that mindset, he finds it hard not to bet, bet, bet lines as value hands; so, for example, if you bet flop, check turn and bet river, or check flop, then bet turn and river, he would call down with almost any one-pair hand.

So, he opens to $60 in the cut-off, and the button, who is a good solid regular, flats. I am in the big blind with J-6 suited and 250bb and decide to flat too, purely because of the guy who has opened. If he were a regular, I would obviously just fold.

The flop comes J-2-3 rainbow. I check and the fish also checks – which means he can never have any pair here – and the button checks behind, which means one of two things: firstly, he could have a hand he is checking back for deception – one that’s strong enough to call a turn and river bet from the fish; secondly, he could be simply giving up with a random 7-8 suited or something like that. I feel that if he has a hand like 7-7, 8-8, or a hand that has some sort of decent showdown value but is not good enough to call down two random streets, he would have bet the flop because it would slow down bets on future streets. He knows I can reasonably have any hand as I would check virtually every single hand, expecting the fish to bet.

The turn comes Qd, putting two diamonds on board, and I now decide to lead for $120 into a $190 pot. If the fish has a queen I expect him just to flat rather than raise. I think if I check he will most likely bet around £160 to £190 (as he had been doing for a lot of the game) with his entire range and then bet the river, in which case I would just be guessing whether he had a queen or not. By betting $120 I am pot-controlling and can still get called by a lot of draws from the fish.

If the turn had come a low card, I would be happier to check and call both streets as I don’t believe he has any hand on the flop. The fish calls and the button folds.

The river comes an off-suit six, which is a bingo card because it’s super-disguised as an improvement to my hand. I can now bet massive on the river and comfortably expect him to call me with a queen. I had planned to check-call any brick river as he would most likely bet any queen and most missed draws.

I feel if he had a nut flush draw or an ace-high hand he would just check back now but anything else he would bet, so I decided to bet myself, thinking he might call with ace-high. If I check he might check back but if he has eight-high diamonds or something random he obviously can’t call. But taking into account he has to go crazy for a lot more $ by raising than betting, I decided to bet and take that chance.

I bet $330 in $430 and he now raises me to $1,420, but he’s representing absolutely nothing. He can’t have any set because he bets the flop with all sets, as well as with Q-Q and 6-6. He also bets the flop with 4-5. The only possible hand he can sometimes have is Q-6s but I am so rarely going to get shown that – if he has that then he just has it; there are far too many bluffs in his range here for me to even think of folding.

My second hand is in a £5-£10 heads up game versus a fish who, once again, is a very aggro fish but even more mindless than the guy in the previous hand. This guy is especially aggro pre-flop and tends to open from the button for between three and five times the big blind. He was also three-betting a fair amount and was four-betting me 70% to 80% of the time I three-bet him, which always creates lots of fun!

At the start of this hand he’s 230bb deep and I am 260bb deep. He opens to $40. I have A-A and I three-bet to $115. Generally, I would make it a bit more, maybe more like $140 as we are so deep, but, due to the fact he likes to four-bet me fairly often, I feel that a smaller bet will give him a lot of room to do that. Any larger, and a four-bet will significantly bloat the pot to around $900, leaving him less than double the pot left in his stack before the flop with what is probably a bad hand.

He now four-bets me to $345 and I decide that, because he has a fairly wide range here, a five-bet would be silly as he will fold too often. Also, by just flatting I can get stacks in on a lot of flops against him because he will continuation-bet approximately $400 out of his $1,900 remaining stack and will then feel like he has to get it in on the flop with a lot of one-pair hands. Then, if I decide to flat on a safe looking flop, he can either get it in on turn or check-call at least one more bet on the turn or the river which would virtually stack him.

So I flat and the flop comes K-5-3 with two hearts. I check, expecting him to bet a lot of the time, but he also checks behind, which I find interesting – I think he is either giving up with no hand, thinking I have a big hand, or he has a poor one-pair hand.

The turn comes an off-suit six and, again, I decide to check, thinking he will now find it impossible to check, because he will either be protecting his poor one-pair hand or bluffing, thinking I have no hand.

Sure enough, he now bets $345 – which is half the pot – and I decide just to call. If I raise, I think he will fold all his weak one-pair hands and obviously all his bluffs as we are not deep enough for him to attempt anything funky with no hand.

The river comes an off-suit eight. I feel that to lead now would look super-strong and he would most likely fold weak one-pairs. Also, we haven’t played enough hands against each other for him to think I am capable of bluffing in a spot like this so I decide to check thinking he can still have air a lot of the time and might just random bet one-pair hands, not really thinking about whether he is bluffing or value betting (he had been doing this mindless sort of betting fairly often). Unfortunately he checks behind, which was disappointing, but I feel although I played the hand fairly passively versus this opponent and with these stack sizes, I played the hand right and got as much value as I could from his overall range.

Tags: Ben Jackson, strategy