What’s Your Play? KJo in the BB

Game is 9-handed $5/$10 NLHE with deep stacks.

UTG is a typical splashy recreational player, with lots of limping and calling pre-flop followed by lots of checking and folding post-flop. He has about $800 in his stack.

HJ is the best of the competition by a long shot. He definitely knows how to take advantage of different types of players by isolating, barreling, floating, squeezing, etc., and he’s definitely made some plays like these against me in good spots. I don’t have enough experience with him to say whether he’s actually balancing against me or whether he’s playing more of a Level 2, “This guy opens a lot so I’m just going to three-bet him with any two” sort of strategy. He’s definitely unbalanced, in a good way, against the less tough competition. I’m playing about $2500, and he covers.

UTG limps for $10. Three players fold, then HJ raises to $40. Action folds to Hero in the BB with KJo.

What’s your play and why? Comment below with your thoughts and preferred play, and I’ll be back on Friday with my own thoughts and action.

Not Much More

Game is $3/$5, though we’ve been playing intermittently with a $10 straddle (which I actually don’t like because the maximum buy-in is $500 and the weakest players are already having no trouble finding ways to get their stacks so the straddle really just forces us to play pretty shallow). CO and BN open limp, and I’m in the SB with Kc 9c. I raise to $70, the straddle calls, and the other two fold.

If you were to draw a picture of the prototypical recreational player, you might well end up with a picture of this guy. He’s a slightly doughy white guy, late 30s or early 40s, wearing sporty clothes and expensive wrap-around sunglasses on his forehead. We played together the night before at $5/$10, and I got the impression that he thought I was a bit of a bully.

The flop comes Qh Qc 8h. I bet $80, and he raises to $180 pretty quickly. It’s very difficult for me to believe he has a hand here. I mean, maybe a small pair or a flush draw or something, but I could definitely see him doing this as just a straight Level Two “I don’t think you have anything so I’m raising” sort of thing. I contemplate three-betting the flop but, given my backdoors, decide to call instead. I can check-shove turns that improve me, and I can bluff some rivers if he checks back (though I may not need to).

Not Quite the Nuts

Villain joined the game around 5PM and immediately ordered a beer and a double shot of Petron, which made me happy to have him on my immediate right. He was a typical splashy recreational player, limping into a lot of pots, sometimes folding to raises, sometimes calling and check-folding flops but not getting involved in a lot of big pots.

He open limped the CO for $10, I made it $40 with Ah 5h on the Button, the blinds folded, and he called.

The flop came Kh Qh Ts. He checked, I bet $75 (was experimenting with multiple bet sizes last night), and he called.

The turn was the Jh, he checked, and I bet $75 again because I was mostly targeting two-pair or a low-straight. I didn’t think he’d play much Ax this way, and I blocked a lot of flushes.

He tanked for a while, then raised $200. I was planning to 3-bet to $600, but I took my time, and he started giving off some really blatant weak-means-strong tells. He told I didn’t have anything, that I should just let him win a small pot, etc. At some point he asked if I had an Ace or a 9.

Episode 115: “Professor” Ben Yu

Ben “ProfessorBen” Yu is an accomplished multi-table tournament player with three WSOP final tables to his name across a variety of games. He talks to us about ditching school to play poker, ditching poker to play Magic, and learning to play a variety of games. We also consider the possibly perverse nature of PLO tournaments, including strategy discussion of a key hand from the bubble of a WSOP event.

You can follow Ben on Twitter @professorben and read his articles in Cardplayer.


0:30 hello and welcome
6:00 strategy w Cyrus
43:21 Ben Yu


$2/$5 NLHE. Two limps in early position, one limp in late position, Hero makes it $30 with AJo in the BB, all call.

Flop ($115) J86r. Hero bets $70, first limper raises to $210, second limper calls all-in for his last $85, folds back to Hero, Hero calls.

Turn ($620 in pot) 2. Hero checks and folds to $150.

Edit: Corrected flop, should be J86.

Episode 114: Gavin Griffin

Gavin Griffin once held the record for youngest WSOP bracelet winner, and he remains one of a select few players to have won WSOP, EPT, and WPT events. Yet in 2012, he found himself writing this essay about rebuilding his bankroll and his confidence, starting at $8/$16 Omaha/8. In our interview, Gavin talks about his early success, how he stumbled, and how far he’s come in the last three years.

You can follow Gavin on Twitter @nhgg and read his column in Cardplayer Magazine.


:30 hello
7:57 fat harry potter
23:05 GG


$1/$2 NLHE at MGM Grand. Hero is HJ with Kh9h. There are 2 limps in EP, Hero makes it $12 to go, BB calls, one limper calls.
Flop ($37) is 6h 7h Kd. Checks to Hero, Hero bets $25 as i know the young lad will be calling if he hit anything and doesn’t seem to be sensitive to bet size. However, he folds and the good player calls.
Turn ($87) 9c, Limper bets $60, Hero raises $125, Villain shoves, Hero calls.

What’s Your Play? Big Draw vs Bad LAG Results

Thanks for all the comments on What’s Your Play? Big Draw vs Bad LAG. I hope you’ll find the results and analysis more interesting than the typical bad beat post, which if I’m being honest was part of my motivation in sharing this hand.

The reason I find it interesting is that it reminds me of an important conclusion from Mathematics of Poker that I’d forgotten about entirely until I reread that book. In “Playing Accurately, Part I: Cards Exposed Situations”, Chen and Ankenman demonstrate that there are situations where a player with an obvious (exposed, in their hypothetical) draw actually does better by raising all-in on the flop, knowing he’ll put the rest of his money in from behind (though with sufficient pot odds) rather than calling and giving his opponent the opportunity to bet him out on a blank turn or check-fold when the draw comes in.

Of course there are any number of reasons why that may not be applicable to this hand. It presumes an opponent who will correctly bet the turn when ahead and correctly check-fold when behind. If, as Eddie argues, Villain can be expected to run a big bluff on cards that complete Hero’s draw, then there is more room to outplay him on future streets.

On Calling

Episode 113: Ed Miller Made Simple

Ed Miller talks about his latest book, No Limit Hold ‘Em Made Simple, as well as the Las Vegas poker economy, his experiences with the Clark County foster care system, and how his perspective on being a parent has changed.

Ed’s previous appearances on Episode 25 and Episode 71 are among the best strategy discussions the show has seen and are well worth checking out!


:30 hello
3:39 strat
24:53 EM


PokerStars – $0.50 Ante $0.10 NL (6 max) – Holdem – 4 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4

SB: 202 BB (VPIP: 67.16, PFR: 49.25, 3Bet Preflop: 32.26, Hands: 72)
BB: 214.74 BB (VPIP: 42.27, PFR: 25.71, 3Bet Preflop: 6.80, Hands: 1,191)
CO: 197.16 BB (VPIP: 32.68, PFR: 14.35, 3Bet Preflop: 5.68, Hands: 1,172)
Hero (BTN): 323.84 BB

SB posts SB 0.5 BB, BB posts BB 1 BB, 4 players post ante of 0.2 BB

Pre Flop: (pot: 2.3 BB) Hero has A♦ 7♦

fold, Hero raises to 3 BB, SB calls 2.5 BB, fold

Flop: (7.8 BB, 2 players) 7♣ 3♣ 5♦
SB checks, Hero bets 4.82 BB, SB calls 4.82 BB

Turn: (17.44 BB, 2 players) 7♥
SB checks, Hero checks

What’s Your Plan? Big Draw vs Bad LAG

This is from a $5/$10/$20 NLHE game. Villain has some natural disbelieving/trying to win every pot tendencies that have been exaggerated by positive tilt. He’s got about $10K in front of him (max buy-in is $2500 because this is technically a $5/$10 game, we’re just playing with a mandatory straddle). His hand reading is OK in the sense that he recognizes spots where people are repping narrow ranges, but then he does really unbalanced stuff to combat that, like raise when he himself isn’t repping anything or calling down really light. More fundamentally, he simply plays too many hands pre-flop and is insufficiently sensitive to position.

One example, he bet-called 99 vs a huge check-shove on Qh Th 5d and won vs Ah Kh. Exploitively, it may be a correct call because that player probably does have a draw there all the time, but winning in spots like that has definitely emboldened him.

His strategy probably OK against the weaker regs, but I’ve been punishing him for it. That’s not to say I’ve never backed down when he floated or raised me in spots where I suspected he was unbalanced, but but we’ve tangled a fair bit in spots where we both had wide ranges and the money has on balance flown to me.

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