Five hands from the first two levels in a €2,000 event

Hello everyone! In this blog post, I am going to share with you every significant hand I played from the first two levels of a €2,200 buy-in EPT event in Prague. I will give my analysis of each situation to let you know exactly why I made each play. Enjoy the ride!

To start each ShareMyPair hand video, simply click in the middle of each video image then press the “Play” button in the bottom right hand corner. You can speed up the video by pressing the “1x” button in the bottom left. If for some reason the hand doesn’t play for you (I have heard of some problem on mobile devices) I will type the action below each hand replay.

Hand 1

(With 25,000 effective stacks at 50/100, everyone folded to me and I raised to 300 from the cutoff with Ts-8s. A 50 year old player in the big blind reraised to 1,200 and I called. The flop came Kh-9h-5s. We both checked. The turn was the (Kh-9h-5s)-As. My opponent bet 600 into the 2,450 pot and I called. The river was the (Kh-9h-5s-As)-3d. My opponent checked, I bet 2,500 into the 3,650 pot and my opponent folded.)

My preflop raise is fairly standard, but the call of my opponent’s large 3-bet was likely a bit of a spew. However, we are very deep stacked and I am in position, which makes the call acceptable. If my opponent’s 3-bet was smaller, perhaps to 1,000 or less, I think calling in position with a strong drawing hand is mandatory if you play well after the flop.

I was unsure if my opponent checked the flop with an underpair (Q-Q), total air (A-Q) or the nuts (A-K). I didn’t think he would fold much of his range besides his total air, so I decided to check and see what developed on the turn.

When facing a tiny turn bet with a draw that is almost certainly live, calling or raising are my only options. In general, when your opponent blesses you with amazing pot odds, you should call. If he bet larger, raising becomes an acceptable option because then, you will not be getting the correct pot odds to call, although your implied odds may be much larger because you are against a stronger range.

The river is a tough spot. I had no idea if my opponent was checking to give up or to instantly call with an Ace or King. I decided after some thought that he may fold a King if I bet large enough. If I thought he would never fold a King to any bet, I should bet much smaller, perhaps 1,500, to try to make him fold junky pairs and unpaired hands. When choosing your bluff size, always be sure to target a specific range and tailor your sizing accordingly.

Hand 2

(At 50/100 with 25,000 effective stacks, the lojack raised to 250, the hijack, button, and small blind called. I called with Qh-9h. The flop came 7h-6h-3d. The small blind checked and I decided to bet 1,000 into the 1,250 pot. Only the button called. The turn was the (7h-6h-3d)-8h. I bet 2,000 into the 3,250 pot and my opponent called. The river was the (7h-6h-3d-8h)-Ks. I bet 4,500 into the 7,250 pot and my opponent called with Kh-Th.)

I have been working hard to develop a flop leading range and I think decent draws fit well in that category. If I get raised, I can call if the size is not too large. If someone calls, there are lots of turns I can continue betting even when I miss. Leading is fun!

I viewed my Queen-high flush as the effective nuts on the turn and value bet accordingly. If my opponent raised my turn bet, I would have been sick, but would have likely called down. Without a read that your opponent is incredibly tight and straightforward, my hand is too strong to fold.

On the river, I decided to go for full value against the likely marginal made hand I thought my opponent had. Fortunately for me, he only called with the second nut flush. He actually made a “crying” call. I assumed he was going to show one or two pair. When you have the second nuts, you should usually be fairly happy to invest money.

Hand 3

(At 50/100 with 18,000 effective stacks, the lojack, a 40 year old player, raised to 300. A loose, aggressive kid called on the button. I reraised to 1,450 from the small blind with Jh-Jd. Both players called. The flop came Ah-Ks-9c. I checked. The lojack checked and the button bet 1,600 into the 4,450 pot. I check-raised to 4,000. Both opponents folded.

I decided to 3-bet J-J for value, although calling from the small blind is also a fine play. It is worth mentioning the LAG kid was very loose and aggressive.

On the flop, my plan was to check-fold to a bet, especially from the 40 year old guy. When the LAG kid bet 1,600, my subconscious was screaming at me as loud as possible “He is bluffing! Do something about it!”. I hosted a webinar with Phil Hellmuth a while back and he told me I should put more faith in my reads, so I did. I put in a check-raise that I thought my opponents would read as incredibly strong. Of course, if either player called, I was done with it. The 40 year old guy thought for three minutes before folding what was likely an Ace and the kid also thought for a while before conceding. Thanks Phil!

Hand 4

(At 75/150 with 22,000 effective stacks, a splashy 40 year old limped from first position then a good loose, aggressive kid raised to 600 from the hijack. I called on the button with 9h-7h. The splashy player called. The flop came 7s-6h-3s. The splashy player checked and the aggressive kid bet 1,200 into the 2,025 pot. We both called. The turn was the (7s-6h-3s)-8h. Both players checked to me and I bet 4,000 into the 5,625 pot. Both players called. The river was the (7s-6h-3s-8h)-5h. Both opponents checked to me and I bet 14,500 into the 17,625 pot. The splashy player called and the aggressive kid went all-in. I called 1,700 more and the splashy player also called. My straight flush beat the aggressive kid’s Ah-Th. The splashy player mucked.)

I called preflop because I thought we would see a multi-way flop almost every time. I am more than happy to see a flop multi-way with a strong drawing hand in position when the stacks are deep.

I think calling the kid’s continuation bet on the flop is the only play that makes sense. My hand is too strong to fold and if I raise, he will likely only continue with an overpair or a good draw. Since I am in bad shape against the range he will call my raise with, I should call to keep him in with his entire flop continuation betting range. I wasn’t loving my hand when we saw a three-way turn. It is probable that one of my opponents has a better hand than mine.

I decided to use my hand as a strong semi bluff when the beautiful 8 of hearts appeared on the turn. I bet on the large side to hopefully force both of my opponents to fold all of their non-premium hands. I was quite surprised to see them both call, which made me fear my flush draw could be dominated. If I improved on the river to a strong, but non-nut, hand, I would have to proceed with caution.

Improving to a straight flush is great, especially when both opponents decide to pay you off!

Hand 5

(At 100/200 with 25,000 effective stacks, a tight aggressive guy raised to 525 from first position. A 50 year old player called from third position. I called from the cutoff with Ah-Qc. The same splashy 40 year old called from the big blind. The flop came Qh-Qs-Js. Everyone checked to me and I bet 1,500 into the 2,525 pot. Only the player in third position called. The turn was the (Qh-Qs-Js)-Kc. My opponent checked, I bet 2,200 into the 5,525 pot and he called. The river was the (Qh-Qs-Js-Kc)-9h. We both checked. My opponent won with Qd-Td.)

Similar to the J-J hand earlier, both reraising and calling with A-Q are acceptable options. I tend to not 3-bet first position raisers because they typically have premium ranges, so I usually call in this spot.

With the effective nuts on the flop, I made a somewhat standard bet. I don’t think there is any point in slow playing because there are many bad turn cards that can drastically decrease my hand’s value. Slow playing is usually only a good idea when your opponents can easily catch up to strong, but second-best, hands. In this spot, they can easily catch up to the best hand.

The King is a fairly bad turn as K-Q, A-T, and T-9 improve to the best hand, but I think there is still a bit of value to be gained from worse trips, A-K, K-J, K-T, K-9, A-J, J-T, and the draws.

The river is one of the worst cards for me, so I checked behind. I had a tough time finding many worse hands that mine that would call a river bet. While I expected to have the best hand most of the time when the river checked through, I thought that if I bet the river, I would be beat most of the time when my opponent called. Having the best hand on the river is not a good enough reason to bet.

venetian-main-event-resultsI hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you want more training content like this, I suggest you check out my exclusive webinar where I review every significant hand I played that led to me cashing for $67,000 in the CPPT Main Event.

Please let me know what you think about this type of post in the comments section or on twitter @JonathanLittle. Be sure to check back next week for another educational blog post. If you want to help me out, please tell your friends about my blog! Thanks for reading and good luck in your games!


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