Post Hands to Review


For almost every database I’ve looked at the field calls too wide preflop, over-folds on the flop and then under-folds on turns and rivers. This is when defending, not as the IR. They wind up with condensed ranges on turns and rivers because of this. Its a bit more complicated when they are the IR. I’ll get into some more of this once we’ve at least completed this hand.

As to my comment on looking for exploits first, I know I butchered that explanation. Joe knows my background but you probably don’t. In an nutshell, I played live cash games for most of my entire poker life. I’ve only recently gone into tournaments (6 years) and online money games (~1.5yrs). I only picked up on GTO-based strategies in the past ~2 years. Therefore, my default position is exploitative and I only shift to GTO-based when facing the top 1% (or less) of all players in this game. Its good to think about as a base but for almost every opponent you meet, you lose value the more you worry about balancing.

So, I will think of my range as an exercise but unless I think my opponent is fairly advanced, I can move to hand v range and simplify the decision making process. In most cases, your opponent will not know whether he has the nut advantage or not. He’ll only know if he has the nuts or a draw to it. In essence, you will know his range and he will know his hand. Advantage you. I immediately try to break his range into hand-types and their strengths relative to the board. Vs really strong players, I can’t do this and have to rely on range v range interactions over certain board textures. Frankly, its rare that I find myself in those spots even at 10/20 online.

Back to the hand - @love2eattacos, can you be the AV guy for this one? Its easier to do this if we can see the results vs my typing them in without the visuals. We’re up to the flop and deciding if we are going to give the villain the typical raising range or if we are going to say he just calls with his entire continue range. I’m having fun, though I hope we can streamline this process on separate threads in the future. Maybe we can dissect 1 hand a week quickly and then get people to propose their preferred lines for each of them?


This is interesting. I didn’t go back to look at your squeezing range but I take it that its only value, correct? How are you staying balanced with a starting range like this? If you had any bluffs at all, I think your check/fold range would be too large. Just spitballing here based on 1st glance. Maybe a good subject on another thread but I’m interested. I’ll give my line at the end of it all along with hands I’d use in each category.


My original preflop raising range:
77+, AJs+, A5s-A4s, KQs-87s, AQo+
It’s the small blind so I might sometimes limp some of the bottom end of this range instead depending on who’s at the table.

Flop cbetting range:
Value bets: QQ+, KQs not hearts, 87s, JT, T9
Value draws: AhKh, Ah5h, Ah4h
Bluffs: AcKc, AcQc, Ac5c, Ac4c, AKo/AQo with a heart, 88/77 with a heart, 9c8c

On the flop I’m check-raising sets, KhQh and the remaining flush draws, along with some of the remaining gutshots. Check-calling some hands like QJ and AJ.

On the turn my check-fold range is somewhat large but I am defending by having good hands both to check-call and check-raise with. I also have hands in my checking range that can reasonably make strong hands or good bluffs on most rivers. Plus, V is taking on risk by calling both preflop and flop so they are entitled to some profitable bluffing spots.

Looking back at this now I am not happy if the board pairs on the river so I think some of my sets really need to go into my flop cbet range instead of my flop check-raise range. Maybe check top set and bet the others, or just sometimes check, sometimes bet all sets on the flop.


Cool, thanks. Hey, if you have a chance to play with Flopzilla again, pull up this hand and expand the window so that the hot cards section becomes visible. Take a look at how the 7h actually affects the equities of the hand vs the range - it actually improves the hand’s equity by the slightest amount. This surprised me a bit as it would have appeared to be a great card for the villain’s range.

Also, look at how much stronger villain’s range becomes once you filter out everything he folds to Joe’s c-bet. Lastly, take a look at how often the hand is best by the river vs its raw equity. If you put the cursor over that field, it will highlight which hands are better or worse than the range on any street for quick reference. The 7h turn increases hero’s equity a little but reduces the % of the time his hand is best by the river.


OK, Flopzilla time.

Flop hero’s hand vs range:

For his flop call range, I assumed no raising range and that he would call with as little as a gutshot+overcards. 71.8% continue range.

The hotness view is interesting. If I interpret correctly, 7h is right in the middle of the range in terms of how it hits the caller’s range vs AhAc. It’s barely favorable to Hero. A Queen on the turn would be a disaster, an Ace would be great.

On the turn, here we are with the caller’s range vs Hero’s hand:

Now we have to decide what we think he bets with when checked to on the turn.


Just a couple of tangents before I jump in:

  1. Do you really open 98s and 87s here? I have experimented with opening suited connectors from all positions because they help with board coverage and add bluffs to a value-heavy range, but I “exploitatively” stopped opening them from EP and the blinds because players call too much and I don’t want to be left either bluffing too much from OOP or having to give up a lot. I guess it’s only 8 combos (although JTs isn’t much better and QJs is scary when you flop top pair).

  2. If he only bets flushes on the turn (a terrible assumption), then he is still ahead 28.6% of the time on the river based on the flatting range I gave him. Interesting/scary to consider when shoving a nut flush on a possible straight flush board. If we add a few other value combos to his turn betting range then that percentage falls dramatically. But if we assume he raises 2-pair+ on the flop and only bets straights+ on the turn, then he is only ahead 10% of the time on the river. Still a significant percentage, though.

It’s great to see the range in Flopzilla. Ultimately I think it supports my original postflop decision-making. Villain is going to call the flop a lot, and hero is also going to have to call flop raises a lot because villain has a lot of semi-bluffs, so it makes sense for hero to bet flop. Based on the continue range you gave, I think hero check-calling turn makes sense because it gives villain a chance to bluff with Kx/Qx, hero can pot-control/draw against 2-pair+, and avoid getting raised/shoved on.

I would like to see how the distribution is impacted if we assume that villain raises 2-pair+ on the flop. I would actually still think that check-calling the turn makes sense (unless we also think villain is raising flush draws on the flop) because the heart hits on the turn and A8s/K8s/J8s/T8s/98s/88/86s become straights.


I’ll post this tonight and then we can get into all the possible lines, using both sets of assumptions. Do you have Flopzilla yourself? If so, take a look at all the hands that you are still ahead of on the turn that you want to deny equity to. Your hand is very vulnerable but with room for improvement, which is not always the case. You have redraws against the ones you are behind, except for the 2 combos of straight flushes. This is a hand against an unbalanced opponent, not Doug Polk :slight_smile:


Not all the time, and it does depend on how I think the table is playing. If it’s really passive/station-y then I will limp them. Same with 88-77 - sometimes raise, sometimes limp.

Here is that range on the turn:

Just for another angle, I ran the turn through PIO Solver (assuming the wider button range and with some assumptions on your flop cbet range). I gave it a bunch of bet sizes as options from 30% pot to shoving.

With AhAc specifically, the solver pretty much likes betting the turn for 30% pot about 40% of the time and check-calling the rest of the time.


Even though hero’s hand is now further ahead on the turn, I think it may still be a good spot to check to induce rather than bet for value, since there are fewer hands that call that hero beats. I don’t really have a 1/3 pot turn bet in my arsenal, but it seems useful if balanced correctly with some monsters.


I’m more in this camp but good to see Pio likes it as well. Vs a non-balanced player, I would keep the lead here but be cautious. I never want to cap my range and I’m still betting for value, with redraws against almost everything I’m ahead of. I would use the base assumption that villain is playing like the field and raising 2-pair+ and his strongest combos draws. If villain is passive, hero can set the price of the river by continuing. Will villain raise/shove sometimes? Yes they will and those spots suck but long-term, keeping the lead and not capping your hand works more than it doesn’t.


This makes some sense to me, but isn’t hero’s range capped anyway by betting 1/3? Without getting into an analysis of how hero would play their entire range, doesn’t 1/3 look a lot like pot control? 1) If called it generates less value than giving villain a chance to stab, 2) it seems more likely than a check to induce villain to raise with semi-bluffs because villain would expect hero to sometimes check the nut flush but never to bet it for 1/3, and 3) it creates a bigger pot when raised then check-calling.


I don’t think it’s capped if you bet the same size with everything in your range that you’re betting and that range includes nutted hands.

Similarly, I don’t think you’re capping if you check as long as your checking range includes some nutted hands.

Depends what Villain is stabbing with. If they’re going to over-bluff when checked to then I agree. But if they’ll also over-bluff when hero leads for 1/3 pot then hero may be better off with the bigger pot and a better price to call. Which action is going to cause Villain to make the bigger mistake?

I can see how using a mixed strategy of sometimes checking and sometimes betting with your whole range can be viable here because that way you don’t cap either range and you allow Villain the opportunity to make a variety of different mistakes.


I agree that neither betting 1/3 or checking necessarily caps hero’s range, but I think betting 1/3 looks a lot like what it is, a medium strength hand, while checking looks more polarizing. Going beyond this particular hand, it is possible to balance your 1/3 pot betting range, but wouldn’t you want to go for more value than 1/3 pot most of the time on turns when you have a big hand? Sure, you may dominate the board sometimes, but if your opponent calls flop, what nuttish hands do you bet 1/3 on the turn? Generally, I would rather not have a 1/3 pot range, bet larger for value while including some monsters in my check-back range. Trying to get more turn bets called by betting 1/3 doesn’t seem maximally exploitative. Plus, while you would seemingly love to bet 1/3 pot as a semi-bluff on turns (because you get a good price to draw and can still have some fold equity), you would never want to do it for value on boards with draws because you give a great price and gain little information.

I can get behind having a 1/3 pot range on the flop where opponents are more fit-or-fold (I started using it not too long ago, and it works), but assuming that your opponent called a bet on the flop and with all of the variance on the turn, I just think you either make a big polarizing bet on the turn or check with the expectation of calling down or folding, with some board-dominating monsters thrown in for balance. In my humble opinion, players just call too much to make 1/3 pot turn bets worthwhile when they would call 60% pot just as readily.


This makes a lot of sense too. If your opponent is calling too much in general then exploiting that by ramping up the size is good. I wonder if we could go even bigger and still get calls? I feel like there is a drop off in call rate around 60-80%, and a bigger one at 100% pot, but this is just my gut feel and I don’t have any data to support it either way.


That’s a really good question. A lot of fairly high ranked players on Replay seem to bet pot almost every flop when they raise pre. I think that is generally a mistake because opponents play closer to perfect against a large sizing than they would against a medium sizing. But on the other hand, it’s profitable if it gets 50% folds even with 0 equity, creates a big pot when you are strong, and it’s such a weird sizing that it can force calling mistakes from hands like draws or medium strength hands that won’t fold to one bet but can’t continue against aggression on later streets. I generally try to use either a 1/3 or 2/3 flop bet depending on board texture because they can get some folds, get decent value from a wider range of hands, give draws pretty bad prices, and it makes the math harder when opponents are trying to make decisions.

The turn is much more confusing, and I am really not sure about optimal sizing. The case can be made for sizing down compared to the flop because draws have less equity and can more easily fold to a bigger size. Or a bigger size can be best because your opponent has shown that they want to continue. I usually use a bigger 2/3-3/4 bet on the turn because it prices out draws (or forces them to turn into semi-bluffs), it gets folds from marginal hands that call the flop, second-best hands can still continue, and it polarizes me for a big river bet if I am super strong, my semi-bluff hits, or a scare card hits. Maybe it is better to use a wider range of sizes? It just seems like that would add too much complexity if you wanted to balance different sizings, or it would make your range face-up.

I agree with you that players call half pot extremely wide, stop calling quite as much at ~3/4, and call even less at full pot. I guess the sizing which will cause opponents to make the most mistakes is the best, and since calling mistakes are the most common, full pot makes it too easy for them to get away.


In a game with advanced players who you are going to play thousands of hands against, this is the proper strategy. Against less advanced players who aren’t going to recognize patterns or against people you will have a limited history with, the checking the turn is either weakness or pot control. Its screaming “I have 1 pair”. I was a firm believer in balancing my checking range with some nutted hands and until I started looking at it this way.

I think for all future hands, we should categorize villains into categories so we know how far from optimal is the best way to go. If this hand was against unranked, and Joe had a few thousand hands in with him already, balancing would clearly be the best option. If villain was someone Joe had never seen before, balancing doesn’t matter at all because villain is going to assume Joe plays like everyone else and has 1 pair or less. If villain is someone who Joe plays regularly but isn’t adjusting to Joe’s style, then balancing doesn’t matter either.

A lot of this comes down to who you are playing. Someone like unranked will exploit you if you don’t mix it up. 99%+ of all the other players you face will not. One of the biggest leaks of value in my game was that I was playing against myself - as in I would play hands the way I would if I was playing against a mirror image of me. Once I started looking into how the field responds, a lot of the game became easier. Don’t assume the field is thinking the way you are because by and large they are not.

More later - wild day but wanted to read the new posts and couldn’t resist chiming in. I really do hope we can make these hand reviews a regular thing and that more players will join in. It would be nice to have some regular poker content going on in the forum. As a last thought for now, because the flop bet wasn’t particularly large, downsizing to 1/3 to 40% pot wouldn’t be terribly noticeable. In really strong games, smaller bets across all streets looks very strong - I mean who bluffs with a 1/3 pot bet? People think you are betting value more than pot controlling :slight_smile: Also, the field is absolutely horrible at bluff raising. I’ll get those numbers later if I can dig them up but when you lead and get raised, you aren’t being bluffed anywhere near what is necessary to worry about it. You exploitatively fold and understand you will be folding the best hand sometimes, but not enough for it to be a bad play.


I think you can make a pretty strong case for upsizing your turn bet as well. Nothing saying you couldn’t fire 50-66% pot here if you thought 33% looked too weak. He isn’t raising a thing if you think about it. You are setting the price with your bet, as long as it isn’t something absurd like 1BB. You hold the key card for everything other than 2 combos he could have. I do like the 33% bet size though because I can get value with the nuts if he has half a hand (and he does if he called flop).

Another thing to consider is how often do you think the turn and river go check-check and how many bets do you plan to call if the river bricks? Yet 1 more thing to consider is whether you really ever want to rely on someone else to bet your hand for you? Yeah, if you have specific reads that can work but otherwise not so much.


I like your reasoning and would consider the 1/3 pot bet in the future (particularly because people will think who bluffs 1/3 pot?).

As for checking the turn, if he checks behind then I can be pretty sure I have the best hand, so if the river bricks or the 4th heart hits, then I am happy to bet for value. Maybe I lost value by not betting the turn, but I think he calls a decent bet on a brick river with a similar range that he would call the turn with anyway (e.g., Jx), and two streets of value is not bad with 1-pair. I guess he can check behind with draws that can hit the river, but then I check-call reasonable size bets on scary rivers (e.g., Q) and lose a medium pot or pick off random bluffs or Qx-Jx value bets.

I agree that more hands to analyze would be fun and useful, but we need people brave enough to post and interesting spots to look at because, like the last hand I posted, it’s no fun to realize that I should have just folded pre lol :laughing:.


Interesting, so have you completely eliminated nutted hands from your checking range? Or do you never check here? I do think that there are plenty of players here who will float the flop to a cbet and then bluff the turn if checked to - particularly if there is a scary-looking card on the turn - so it is worth having some ammunition to fight back against this. Like you said, people will generally tend to read a turn check as weakness so I would assume we want to make that read incorrect.


There is nothing I do every single time by rote. In games with average players, I’m looking for 3 streets here on the flop. If the turn card came a non-heart 7 or Q, I’d reconsider because my hand is now essentially garbage with no room to improve. With the overpair and picking up the nut flush draw, I’m betting this turn since I was only called on the flop. I may be more prone to check the absolute nuts but not a vulnerable hand with draws to the nuts. Also, I don’t want to count on villain taking a stab at a bluff here when you hold the key card. Without the Ah, its a different line.