How Not to Play Deep-Stacked NLHE

Villain tells me had 6d 4d, which seems plausible:

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $20.00 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from

MP ($7477)
CO ($2314)
Hero (Button) ($6720)
SB ($6379)
BB ($2207)
UTG ($9558.50)

Preflop: Hero is Button with A, K
1 fold, MP bets $60, 1 fold, Hero raises to $240, 2 folds, MP calls $180

Flop: ($510) 10, J, 3 (2 players)
MP checks, Hero bets $333, MP raises to $980, Hero calls $647

Turn: ($2470) 5 (2 players)
MP bets $1650, Hero calls $1650

River: ($5770) 2 (2 players)
MP bets $2200, Hero raises to $3850 (All-In), 1 fold

Total pot: $10170 | Rake: $3

Hero didn’t show A, K (nothing).
Outcome: Hero won $10167

This isn’t intrinsically a bad line to take as a bluff, but if Villain is telling the truth, he chose a bad hand for it. The problem is that he’s never really in a position to make a strong hand. I’d been 3-betting him a lot, but 300+ BB’s deep, you can’t get away with calling out of position with a small gap suited connector. Even he makes a flush, there will be many spots where he can’t get all his money in with confidence. 64s just doesn’t make many hands worth 300 BBs, and consequently isn’t worth playing, at least not from out of position.

Likewise on the flop he’s got a single backdoor draw that isn’t necessarily to the nuts. Check-raising light is fine, but he should at least choose hands that have some equity.

He has to bet the turn, but it really highlights the problem with his pre-flop and flop play. Now he’s semi-bluffing with a draw to a hand weaker than what he’s trying to represent. Once he hits the straight, his hand is overrepresented, and he still can’t bet it with confidence. In fact, he ends up bet-folding the river.

4 thoughts on “How Not to Play Deep-Stacked NLHE

    • That’s a tricky question, because stuff like pot odds, how well Villain plays, how narrow his range is, etc. all play a role. But the basic question to ask yourself is, “How often will I make a hand worth my stack?”

        • Largely agree. The exception is when Villain is extremely straightforward or otherwise easy to read, such that you can make the right decision, often including stealing the pot, very frequently even from out of position. Even then it is important to have good immediate and/or implied odds.

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