A few hands and an apology (sorry - a bit long)

Quick confession - I haven’t quite been myself lately due to poker troubles and a bit of personal life stress. I’ve been on my worst downswing slump since joining Replay and went on a little tilt meltdown yesterday, including a post about it here (which I regretted and deleted), and a distasteful joke which I posted on the forums due to a momentary lapse of reason (which has been removed). I am sorry for that and anything else. Working to get back to my usual self. Calming down and feeling better.

Have a couple hands here for review, 2 from last Sunday’s “The Stampede” and one from tonight’s “Amercian Travellers”.

HAND 1: The Stampede #1 : https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466057464 and on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k138bv4m6gs (58:59 to 1:00:51)
This was an interesting hand against what I would say to be one of the best players Replay has to offer, @BlackWidow. I have a lot of respect for her play and am aware she knows how to play hands properly, both conventionally and unorthadoxically. I would like to get opinions if I played this hand well, or if you’d have done anything differently.

HAND 2: The Stamped #2: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466053386 and on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k138bv4m6gs (44:52 to 46:36)
I did something I don’t normally do, which is limp into the pot, especially an open limp, and especially in EP, but decided it to try it based off my personal table read and perceived table image. Another thing I don’t normally do is show my hand, but I decided to do it this time. Looking for same opinions on this one.

HAND 3: American Travellers: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/466993404 Against @MaineCats, who is a friendly and much more advanced player than me. I would like to get opinions from people on what I did in this hand. Did I play ok and did I make a good fold. Would you have done anything differently? My hole cards were: A:spades:9:clubs:

Thank you VERY MUCH for everything. I appreciate it.

Considering I had you beat you made a very good fold :). After the flop there were a lot of ways that hand could have gone sideways for you - and not too many ways it would work. A with a 9 kicker is not a particularly strong hand unless it is suited. Granted, it is stronger at a 6-seat table, but still should be played cautiously once you get any action. I could have been on two pair (as I was) or a straight or trips with a flush river draw open in two suits. You didn’t have much against any of that. Too, when a player slow plays the first round and then raises it suggests a trap. If I were going to bluff it would most likely have been right after the flop. You did two things that showed you to be a better player than you think you are: 1. You read me - and “felt” I had you. Some of that comes from observing how a player plays (I tend to be pretty “tight”) so, perhaps unconsciously, you knew I was not a frequent bluffer. Too, good players develop table feel - and learn to listen to it. I suspect you are one of those - and it will give you an advantage. How many times have we all said “Yeah, I thought you had me” but bet anyway because we fell in love with our cards? (All of us - though I work very hard to “listen” to the table, not just look at it!). 2. You showed great judgment in realizing that the objective is to win the tournament - not every hand! There is no shame in folding - whether you are beat or not. No one else was in the pot so it wasn’t getting any richer. And you had a lot to lose given your stack. No need to take a chance there. You made the right call. A good fold is one of the most skillful plays in poker. Thanks for the compliment. Most of what I know I have learned from much better players here on RP who were very generous in both their time and advice. So I am happy to pay it forward. Hope to play with you again.

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Just to clarify - I am talking about your chip stack relative to the tournament standings, not the table. Remember you are playing against the 60 other people who are still in - not just the 5 seated with you.

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Hey @lad44 - we all get steamed on occasion. I’m cooling my jets right now after a guy limp-called my 4x raise with 9/3s, called the 2/3 pot K-high flop with just the draw and stacked me in the Hijack. Took me about 15 seconds to get over it and chuckle but I can’t lie and say it didn’t bother me at the time. I mean really - what part of that hand makes sense? Limping in with 9/3 UTG is bad enough but flat-calling a 4x raise out of position with it is just going out of your way to be a donkey. I can’t be too mad because I was just making a play vs someone I knew was in the hand with any 2 cards.

The reason this is relevant to your topic is that I was making my play with Axs on the BTN vs someone I knew was as loose as you can get. He was in 80% of the hands up to that point. He raised every Ax and pair and limped everything else so I knew I was miles ahead of his range. I also knew that my hand plays like garbage multiway so I wanted to isolate this player or scoop the pot preflop. In your case, you made a play vs someone you said was a strong player and picked really ugly hand to do it with, IMO. Was @MaineCats limping quality hands or garbage? If he was limping good hands, your A9o is going to have problems.

That being said, if you wanted to make a move there, your isolation raise size was really small. You were probably going to get called by at least 1 player because of the price you gave. You don’t want to see a flop if you don’t have to here and you really don’t want to see one multiway. Size that baby up and see if you can get some folds. You’re the big stack so use it to your advantage.

On that coordinated flop you have to ask yourself what your c-bet is trying to accomplish. A flop like that connects with so many limp/call hands that you need to be extremely careful proceeding with not a whole lot. Are you trying to fold out A-high? That wouldn’t be a great play because you hold an ace, reducing the likelihood he had one. That is going to make it more likely he has at least a pair and not just Ax. You’d be better off making that type of bet with K-high or something that totally whiffed like 7/6s (I wouldn’t on this flop most of the time). Check back that specific hand and take a free card. There are many that improve your hand and you have position. If you had and then seen the turn, you could call down some leads from @MaineCats on 2 streets or fold if it doesn’t look right to you. Your top pair with a pretty weak kicker isn’t going to be good a lot if someone is leading into you.

Glad that you can settle yourself down and analyze your play rationally afterwards. IMO, I’d use a little stronger range to isolate with and increase the size of the raise to get a good number of folds out of it. I like the instinct to make a play in position so would just suggest tweaking that strategy a little, not abandoning it.

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Thank you!

A lot of good stuff to think about. Thank you!

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Very welcome - also, sometimes there’s nothing you can do and its just your time to bust out. I was making a few hands in this one but being outdrawn on some big ones so basically treading water. Then I get QQ in the BB and face 2 limps. I bump it up with a pot sized raise to get HU with the initial limper. Flop is 10-high all clubs and I have the Qc so I continue. I get raised but there is no way to fold an overpair with a card that blocks many of the better flushes. He had AcJc for the flopped nut flush. Arg - unlikely but there it is. I’m not unhappy with my play but the results left something to be desired: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/467305921

Anyone find a fold here? I don’t think it was a shove preflop and even if I did, the AJs hand probably calls.

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I was watching from the rail during this hand! Saw it played out live. Yeah, that was a tough one.

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I thought I felt a stalker out there :slight_smile:

LOL - just went out 5th of 162 in the last one. Was cruising along and then someone limp-calls with J3o and spikes a 3 on the river over my AK. He only started with like 8BB so I wanted to play for his stack or get him and the blinds to fold. Limp/call J3o? That 9/3s earlier doesn’t look so spewy anymore :slight_smile: He kept shoving and kept beating huge hands of mine until I finally re-shoved a short stack with 9/7s and ran into JJ. Once it gets like that, I lose interest. No pay jump unless you win it all (and then only 1 more ticket) so no big deal. Navigating big fields is decent practice for me. You get the good, the bad and the ugly in many low buyin MTT’s everywhere. You just have to pick your way through as best you can.

**last 1 of the night out 3rd - once again it got goofy with one uber-donkey raising and hitting with absurd hands nearly the whole game. If you’ve been here since 2012 and still have less than 1,00 chips, you know this may not be your game :slight_smile: It does show that anyone can win a tournament once in a while.

I got the job done but sometimes its not really a poker game so much as a night of Keno. Last hand is my AJo to T2s (he raised and called my shove over). He had the stack for it I guess. He had to hit the 2 on the river - LOL. I was the short stack final 3 and it was going to be all about whoever hit the flop because neither one of them could play their way out of a wet paper bag. Here is the last hand between them to give you an idea what it looked like: Hand #467351635 · Replay Poker GN.

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Hand 1: You’re in good position. You raised enough with AA to get exactly one caller. You got it all-in against them, and you won the hand. That’s how it’s supposed to go, isn’t it?

The only way you’re beat here is if they have a King, and that’s definitely in their range, so this hand wasn’t played without some risk, but you got out of it OK. You could have been scared by the two Kings on the board, and maybe you should have been more scared of them than you were. By the river, any 5 or suited Hearts also has you beaten. You took a chance here and got paid well for doing so.

On BlackWidow’s end of it, I don’t mind calling the preflop raise with ATs, but after that I’m not sure what they were doing. The flop takes away any possibility of them making a flush, which would have been their best hand to make here, and leaves them with just a pair of Tens. Middle pair, top kicker is not a hand I would call an all-in bet with. I think they’re calling here because they have enough chips not to be hurt by it, and the off chance that their hand stands up and eliminates you is enough to keep them in. But it’s mathematically not a good call. They still had outs, if the river had been a T instead of a 5, they would have had you, but that’s 2 outs in a deck of 52, and based on the board texture when you shoved I would have read that as “I have at least 1 King”. A third T would give them a boat which could beat trip Kings, but still looking at the odds it would have been much better for them to lay down to your Turn bet and keep those chips.

Hand 2: Board texture is very similar to the first board. Your starting cards are weaker, 55, but your flop is better this time, giving you a set of 5s. This time you do have a boat at the Turn, making your hand very strong, but since it’s 5s full, you’re still beat if your opponent has 9s full or K9, K5, or KK. We can rule out KK and 99 because he would have raised preflop with those hands, more than likely, and if he’d flopped 2 pair he probably would have bet it stronger. I think shoving the Turn is probably not the best play to make here, because it puts him all in to call you and that means he’s folding unless he’s holding a King. Your best situation here would have been if he did have a King, and thought that trip Kinds was good, so he calls, and then is surprised by your 5s full. He bet pot at the flop, and called a big raise from you, and I like that raise, so could well have been on a King, though, so maybe he could have had a King, that’s a reasonable read to put him on a KX here. This means shoving the Turn wasn’t unreasonable, and if he had really been on KX that King pairing on the board on the turn would have kept him in the hand rather than folding to your bet. So I’m not sure what he might have been on to give him the confidence to call your raise at the flop, then muck. Maybe AA? Maybe TT+? Either way, you’re on a full house, but it’s a weak full house in a hand where your opponent could have had KK, K9, 99, or K5, all of which would have called you and won. I’m thinking when he checked the Turn, there’s two ways to read it: If he has AA, he’s now scared that you could have KX and improved to a hand that beats his. Or, he has KX, and is checking to feign weakness and suck you in to a big bet. Betting all-in with a well-hidden Boat isn’t a bad play to make here, unless he’s trapping you with KK, K9 or K5, and while those are all in his range, those 3 specific combinations are fairly unlikely, and if he has AK, KQ, KJ, KT, K8, K7, K6, K4, K3, K2 he can still think he’s trapping you only to have the tables turned on him by your 5s full.

I think if you check here, you give him a chance to make a better boat if he’s on one of those hands, and that could have upended you. But then, if he’d had KX, he’s probably calling with trip Kings anyway, so clearly he’s not on a King. In that case, checking back might have been better. This would have shown that you, too, were “scared” by the second King, and maybe made him feel comfortable betting the River, which you could have then call or raise, getting more value.

Or you could have made a smaller bet on the Turn, maybe a min bet as a “feeler”. If you min-bet, he either folds if he’s scared of the paired board, in which case the outcome is no different from how it actually went down. Or he calls, in which case you’re getting a little more value, and possibly more action on the River, which would be OK assuming 5s full holds up. Or he raises back you, in which case you then have to ask yourself what’s he have – likely trip just Kings, but possibly 9s full, Kings full, or quad Kings, or possibly just a bluff, and do you call then or muck? That’s a harder decision, and by shoving the Turn, you don’t have to make it – you put him at making a hard decision instead. And trying to finagle extra value out of the lowest boat isn’t necessary. So I think after all that analysis it’s a good place to shove, and you did well in the hand.

As for limping 55 preflop, I don’t even think that was a bad move. You went into the flop 3-handed, so maybe a raise could have isolated to one, or could have won you the blinds. But if you raise her and get called, then what are you doing with those 5s if you don’t hit a set? You’re beat by just about any overpair then, and it’s not great to raise a pair of rags and then immediately have to dump the hand because junk like J6 pairing the 6 on the flop could have beaten you if you miss your set. It’s worth seeing a cheap flop for a chance at seeing a set, and that’s exactly what you got. If you do raise here, I wouldn’t raise that high – a 2BB raise might have helped to ensure that the people after you in the hand don’t come in, but they didn’t anyway.

Hand 3: You’re a Jack away from a Q-high straight, and holding top pair after the Turn. Maybe MainCats has J9 and already has a straight at the flop, which is why they were able to snap-call your half-pot bet on the flop. Or maybe they have AA or AQ or QQ and have your A9 beaten. From UTG, it’s just possible that they could have chosen to limp those cards, although at a 5-handed table being UTG is middle position, I think they could have afforded to raise here if they’re holding those hands.

So more likely they had J9. If they were on J9, then they probably should have raised your bet on the flop, and they didn’t do that. So either they don’t have the straight, or they’re slow playing it hoping you’ll bet again and they can get more value out of you. Ac on the Turn gives anyone suited clubs a nice flush draw, which could have scared them enough to change their mind about slow-playing a straight, in which case shoving to protect a made straight against a possible flush is a smart play. And in any case, if they’re shoving here with QQ, or any AT+, or A8, they have you beat. You have no flush draw, and an inside straight draw where making the straight on the river might only get you a chopped pot. But it’s also possible they could be holding KJ, and the turn brought them Broadway. Although, most of the above hands they should have raised with pre-flop. But I think KJ would have called your bet on the flop without raising it. So yes, I think folding here was OK, very likely a good fold. Not easy to do when your hand just improved, but very reasonable in the face of the bet that you were asked to call with just a pair of Aces.

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Definitely a fold. Even if your cards were A 9 both spades, you would have had 9 spades and 4 jacks for outs, so a total of 13 outs, plus, since your opponent had 2 pairs (probably Queens and 10s), there were 2 aces that would have won it for you, so 15 outs in total. So even then you would not have had the odds to call. But your cards were not suited and there was no flush draw, so definitely a fold unless you believed it was a bluff. Given the relative stack sizes not worth the risk.

However, you probably lost more chips than necessary by raising 3BB before the flop. What was the purpose of this raise? You did not force everybody to fold, and most of the hands in later position that would call you would have the beating of you.

A 9 off suit cannot make a straight with both cards included, and can only make a flush if there are 4 suited cards on the table, in which case you are not at all likely to extract many chips from an opponent.

The half pot continuation bet looked weak. I don’t know why Mainecat shoved on the turn. With two pairs he was beaten by any KJ, which seemed a likely hand for you. If you had KJ, your bet on the flop would have been a semibluff with an open ended straight draw and an overcard. If you had A T, another likely hand, he was also beaten.He was also beaten by A Q.

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I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to go through these hands in detail. Thank you. It gives me an opportuinity to see how other players are thinking in these spots. I have many different angles in my head, and it’s interesting to see if these angles are indeed matching those of another player. I always come back later to read these, so truly, thanks again for your time and effort.

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Thank you for replying. Yes, I definitely feel I made some mistakes in this hand. Thank you for providing another set of eyes on it.

Hey @lad44 - what are your thoughts on this hand? I have no idea how he makes the call with an 8 on the river but I guess I forgot my rule about not being able to bluff a station off any pair. I’m on 7h6h here and I decide to limp behind because I have position and a really playable hand. I flop the open ender and min-raise on the flop to build the pot and set up the turn and river. I know I am barreling this hand off unless the board pairs, repping 2-pair or a set. If the draw fills, that’s even better. Turn is a K and its checked to me so I bet to leave a near pot sized bet left on the river. 1 fold and 1 call. River is a Q and when checked to me I now shove for a little over pot. How does 8/9s call? That’s 4th pair, no kicker. The only hand he’s beating is 7/6 because the only other straight draw got there on the river (J9). SMH

**To add some context, I check-shoved 2-pair just a few hands prior and showed to help solidify my image. I knew I was going to need to bluff this guy at some point because he’s very loose and over aggressive. https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/467569421

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IMO: He made absolutely no sense in the way he played both of these hands. How in the hell do you call in the first one? How do you fold in the second one? Pricing-wise, nothing made any sense for him. In the second, he tried a pointless, poorly timed stone cold bluff by betting the pot on that dry flop - and it backfired, exposing a huge hole.

The first hand you posted slightly reminded me of this one: https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/467657481

I tried to bluff him off what I correctly thought could have been A2-A9, and it didn’t work. Do you like or dislike my bluff attempt here? Do you like or dislike his call?

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The opponent has a stack 7x your stack, and is a casual player ranked number 350,000 who has only 14000 chips in his account to your 14 million chips. He is just having fun. Rationally, having missed his flush draw and failed to make trips or two pair, he should have folded, but he wanted to see what you had. He did not get that 20,000 stack by playing conservative poker, he just got lucky with a few all-ins. It happens. It happened here. To successfully bluff a player off a pot, they have to know what a bluff is.

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I hope you are doing better. I haven’t been around in a while, but had some thoughts about these hands if you are still interested.

Hand 1: Your sizing is too big relative to your stack. Do you always open to 3x? You have <20 bbs, so in my opinion you should just be going all-in before the flop. But if you are going to raise when the average stack depth is ~20 bbs, you should be opening to 2x or maybe 2.25 (2.5x is high-ish). The reason being that if you are opening to 3x with a wide range you are exposing too much of your stack when you are forced to fold to 3-bets or shoves, and if you are opening a very tight range to 3-bets then you are making your hand too obvious. Blackwidow is one of the best players on Replay, and I respect her game, so not trying to be too harsh, but this isn’t the spot to be trying to play non-exploitable showdown value poker. Against some players and with deeper stacks ATs is a fine flat (though probably a better 3-bet) and good to call down with 2nd pair (especially with the 2nd king and double flush draws on board), but in this spot you pretty much always have it and are not bluffing. Would you really be opening to 3x with 97 of diamonds or QT? I just don’t think you ever have any second best hands (Tx) or flush draws that you would play this way (AQ or AJ of diamonds are maybe your only flush draws that she beats).

Based on your preflop raise relative to stack size, I put you on QQ+/AK, so if I were in blackwidow’s spot, she should fold ATs pretty easily because you look extremely strong and she could be in a bad spot even if she flops a ten or ace. ATs is a very pretty hand, but it shrinks in this spot. In a ring game with 100+ bbs behind I almost never fold ATs preflop, but here it has to go. On the flop, she probably feels like she has to call a bet since she has 2nd pair and you could have missed, but based on the preflop range I put you on, this flop is fantastic for you and she doesn’t beat anything. She probably needs to fold the flop and certainly can’t call another bet after that. Your play was good to get value from flush draws and worse pairs, though obviously the second king is scary.

Hand 2: I actually like limping small/medium pairs sometimes because play here is so passive. If you flop a set you can win a big pot and if it gets raised you fold and lose 1 big blind. Postflop, you played it great to get maximum value from a king or a sticky 9. I don’t think you should show your hand because you want people to think you could be bluffing with a flush draw, not that you always have it. People here almost always bet like this when they have it, so leave some mystery… Not that it really matters.

Hand 3: I like your raise to punish the limper. A9 has some blocker value and you can get called by worse Ax hands. This flop is fantastic for her range though. Open limping is never the “correct” play, but the kinds of hands that people open limp are weak broadways (KJ, QT, etc.), suited connectors, and small pocket pairs. So she can very much have flopped a straight (J9), a set (88), or two-pair (QT/Q8/T8). You are holding a spade, so that reduces the possibility of a flush draw. You should just check back the flop because it is so good for her range and because ace high is one of your better showdown value hands.

Once you bet, and she min-raises, you should instantly toss your hand in the muck. A min-raise is never the right play in poker because it minimizes value while also looking super strong. It looks like she wants to give you the best price to continue (which is strange with a flush draw on board) because a bluff would be trying to give you a bad price to get you to fold. As a general rule, when you are representing a very strong hand (as she is) you should always bet or raise on the bigger side so that your bluffs will be more effective and so that you can get more value when you have a big hand. When done in a balanced fashion it makes you very hard to play against. So, in this spot you only have 4 possible outs (a jack for the straight) and you may be drawing to a chop because she may already have J9, plus another spade or a board pair would be really bad for you. Once you call the flop, the 2nd best card for you shows up on the turn and she goes all-in. You made a good fold because one pair is almost never good with the line that she took, but you could have avoided putting yourself in this spot by checking back the flop, and especially by instantly folding when she raises the flop.


Thank you very much for your analysis. I feel it was an extremely good analysis. A lot of great information to think about. I really appreciate the feedback from you and all the others.