Amazing Hand Between Top Players

I don’t know what others thought, but I remember being completely floored when first seeing this hand between two of the strongest and most aggressive players on the site. I encourage you to try and narrow down their ranges in your head after each street.

https://www.replaypoker.com/replay/692732578/pair-twos

LOL… how many of you had either of those hands in the ranges you were constructing in your heads?

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Wow, that is pretty incredible. I have to admit to watching it with the lens of your comments, so the actual hands weren’t too surprising. This hand really shows the effect of polarization and the importance (or non-importance?) of balance.

GG obviously knows that el-jog’s open range is super wide, so A2 is probably ahead of that range in terms of equity, but more importantly it blocks a lot of hands that will continue. El-jog knows that GG is likely to 3! light, so they 4! light. GG knows that el-jog is likely to 4! light and to blast off with bluffs postflop, so she takes a flop in position. None of this really makes sense to me, especially 540bbs deep, but clearly they know how heavily weighted the other is toward bluffs, otherwise how do you continue?

On the flop el-jog bets half pot, and even though it is rainbow, the board is pretty draw heavy if his range is as wide as it appears. So, GG must know that she is ahead of a lot of hands that continue (75/87 and clearly a lot wider than that), while hands with showdown value might check (e.g., medium pairs or pocket pairs). The turn is basically the same with the bet getting even bigger, it is seems like el-jog knows that GG wants to call down fairly light but wants to muscle her out of it (which seems to be the strategy in almost all of the hands I’ve seen of this player). What value is el-jog repping? Overpairs and maybe 9x or better could play this way given how light GG seems to be calling, but the bet is pretty polarizing, and clearly el-jog is weighted towards bluffs. His intent is probably exactly to get Ax to fold, but unfortunately GG “improved” to bottom pair.

The river is basically a brick (although it appears it could have hit either player), and so GG has to follow through on her line with el-jog even more polarized. This hand looks like one of those WSOP or Pokerstars leveling wars.

What’s so interesting about this hand is that the plays are such a departure from “standard” poker lines that they justify the other non-standard plays. A light 3! begets a light 4!, which sets up a polarizing bet, which allows a light call, which sets up an increasingly polarizing bet, etc. By the river, what is el-jog repping? No draws hit (except 53), so he is weighted towards bluffs and the board texture is good for calling down. If he had a hand like a pair, would he be shoving the river? Should 99 or AA even be taking this line? So, GG knows that el-jog has enough bluffs to justify calling proportional to the number of actual value hands that he can show up with.

What is confusing to me (and why I am not on this level) is that the plays seem to justify further complex plays. Would el-jog take this exact line with 54? Because if GG is going to call down like this then maybe he should. Or at least he should with any 9x/88/77 or even 6x. Maybe he is so heavily weighted towards bluffs that even if he bets his entire range like that, GG is going to be ahead often enough with bottom pair?

Kx is a pip under the nut nothing, but there are some hands that may make better bluffs and have less SDV. By holding an 8 it is less likely that his opponent has a straight draw that they will fold, and potential bluff hands like 75/87 have less SDV (although king high may not have any SDV here anyway). If el-jog is only playing suited connectors and gappers (and not offsuit) like this then there aren’t actually that many combos that have missed this board completely, so maybe K8s is actually close to the bottom of his range. And having 78s/75s would block GG’s straight draws, so maybe having just the one blocker is actually one of the most optimal bluffs (along with QTs/K3s/K5s/K7s if he has those or Q3s/Q5s/Q7s/Q8s/T3s/T5s/T7s/T8s, but he may not have most of those).

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gamergirl is one of the scariest players on here. It seems she’s never afraid to go all-in even after losing one but, I believe el-jog and her have tangled before and he IS also a very aggressive player always pushing.

BTW, I’ve only seen these players from the Toplists page.

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So, I think it’s interesting to forget the ranking of these players, pretend everyone at the tables is an anonymous new player, and the stacks are about 10000x less than they are, and try to do a “proper” hand analysis as we typically do here.

Preflop: CO raises, Button re-raises, blinds fold out, CO calls. A2o is a questionable hand to call a 3BB open with, but might be OK to 3-bet with. Is K8s a good hand to call a 3-bet with? Eh, I guess it could be if you’re heads-up and don’t think your opponent 3-bets with only their best hands. But most of the time, against a tight linear range, it’s definitely a fold. If this were a low-stakes ring table, I’d raise an eyebrow at the 3-bet, as you don’t see a lot of that happening below, say, 200/400. That would tip me off that the Button maybe knows a little bit more than the average fish at the table. And I like the bet sizing. 3BB open is pretty standard, the 10.5BB re-raise gives about 2:1 pot odds to call (7M into 14.5M) which is good because it doesn’t force CO to fold all but their best hands. I think if CO 4-bets that A2o should be folding though.

CO does 4! to 31M, making it another 20-some million to call. While 31BB seems like a lot, these players are stacked effectively 540BB deep, so it’s really not as big as it looks. If this were a 1/2 table, we’d be talking about a 3 chip open being raised to 11 chips, and re-raising to 31, from a player sitting on 1080 chips, who is bankrolled to around 8000 chips.

Flop misses both players, but K8s at least has some draws: backdoor flush, double gutshot straight. These are long-shot draws, though, and very unlikely to fill. But it’s only a 9-high flop, so it’s unlikely to have connected with the Button’s 3-bet range. This makes it perhaps reasonable to for the CO to C-bet and try to take the hand down, except for the fact that a lot of players should be 3-betting preflop with pocket pairs, in which case they don’t need to be connecting with the board to have a hand that can continue. CO leads out half pot, Button calls. Is Button’s call reasonable? Well, they don’t have anything but Ace high, but that might be good here, given how dry the flop is, and if not they might draw to a pair of Aces, which could be good. But with just a 2 kicker, if AA2 is the best you’re hoping for, maybe it’s better to just fold here. V did call your 3-bet and lead into you from out of position. Could they have something? Well, let’s hope not, and A-high is still ahead if you’re calling.

Turn is a 2, completing the rainbow, so there’s no flushes happening here. This card is basically a brick, although it does complete a straight for 5-3. Given the preflop action, 53 should be pretty unlikely. CO still doesn’t have anything, but since this 2 is a brick, and even if it did hit Button’s hand for a pair, it’s just bottom pair. So firing off a second barrel c-bet into the Turn could get them to fold. This time the sizing is about 2/3 pot, which should get more folds. Button did improve to bottom pair, though, and elects to call, a move which is perhaps reasonable, but only if they are correct that CO was c-betting with no made hand, and that they were previously ahead with A-high.

At a low stakes table, I’m not sure that calling with a pair of 2’s makes a lot of sense. Then again, you’ll see it a lot.

River is the highest ranked card so far, and CO shoves, overbetting the pot slightly. A2 is only winning the hand if they are catching a bluff here, which of course they are. The board is dry and disconnected, which increases the likelihood that a pair can have good showdown value here. But calling with bottom pair here? Well, you might get away with that against some fish playing too loose at 1/2, but if you play at 500k/1M, forget it! You’re just lighting your chips on fire! No one plays that poorly at high stakes.

Or something.

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If this is any other stakes, let’s say 10k/20k, its very straightforward. Facing an open, A2o is a fold. End of story. Most players open QQ+/AQ+, so no reason to 3bet light, easy fold.

Anything beyond that assumes a higher level of skill. A2o is a decent bluff 3bet (though not the best) so maybe there is a 3! (There are very few light 3! below 100k/200k). Most players 3! KK+/AK or stronger. K8s is an easy fold out of position, even against more reasonable 3! ranges, it’s often dominated, fold, hand over.

The only way this hand makes sense is as a leveling war between two players who are adjusting to each other’s tendencies. You don’t see that very often.

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Having sat with both of these players (mostly gamergirl) they do apply a lot of pressure. If you hit top pair you have hang on and hope they’re bluffing. It’s actually tougher when you have a good hand and open because they can either get you to fold or get you to pay off the maximum when they do have a hand.

I’ve played a lot more with idiotplayer (and unranked who was #1 for a long time), and they are even harder to play against because not only do they make polarizing bets but they also don’t make so many wild bluffs like these guys. Trying to find any value against them was like drawing blood from a stone as it was pummeling you.

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I think it is fantastic fun to pretend this is two beginner’s lighting into each other here at 1/2. Honestly, if you showed me the hand but somehow modified the stakes so that they were 1/2, then the whole show would seem normal. What makes it spectacular is the stakes, and the fact that I do think there is this under current of very intelligent, very skilled players making plays that just don’t seem to make sense if anyone remembers to look at the cards they actually have.

But it makes me remember something I’ve heard from a number of pros: sometimes the cards don’t matter.

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Nice hand, which I found to be in the top 10 largest pots played, with perhaps the only good player on the site.

I don’t think he played this hand well anyway, except for the turn, which he shouldn’t arrive.

Here is an easy fold preflop and also flop. Period.

Now… It will not be easy to make it clear to people who see two aggressive players and think they go straight with every hand.

The flow of this match was actually very tight, and this was the first 4 bet I made against GG.

I think the GG’s 3bet is good but against my 4-bet range the call is bad for the really implied odds that A2o has.

(At this point, a 5bet that would have forced me to fold made more sense)

The call on the flop is just as bad for the same reason.

On the turn, as played, I would have called too and it is the only street well played in my opinion.

On the river it’s an hero call, so there’s little to discuss.

Some notes for people who have commented before.

• Some assume that I can practically 4bet ATC, which of course is false and gets every reading wrong.

Beyond exploitative play, there are some range rules that players should observe. This is less true for strong players, true, but precisely because they are strong, they don’t need to get into too difficult situations.

• Good players can (and should) 3barrel even without being extremely polarized. A poor player when he sees such a play thinks it is “nuts or bluff situation”, but when two strong players collide it is very important to balance ranges. Which is why I could have made an absolutely identical play with the flop top pair, TT, J or over pairs.

(as someone said, after such a hand the range of 3barrell by value will widen even further)

• In my opinion, in this hand I may also have some pocket pairs turned into bluff that still crash my opponent’s hand on the river

As said anyway, I think GG is a good player who gets bored very quickly (this happens to me on this site too), and I don’t think the turn and river play wrong, but I think the mistake was on the flop and preflop.

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i think i have aces, hehe

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dragon555 - rank 33444. An amazing place to play, dude!

Their rank was probably a lot better before sitting at that particular table…

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Yes, sometime in the last 18 days or so, he went from playing with you Big Dogs at the monster tables to 200/400 tables. He must have had a really bad streak.

I think it’s beyond a bad streak of luck, more bankroll management and risk taking. That player, I believe had a few hundred million in their bankroll, and this particular hand was over 1b, so clearly there is not a lot of room for variance/bad luck. Plus, he is choosing to sit at the table with the best players on the site.

The most chips I have ever had was just over 1b, and good bankroll management would say that I shouldn’t bring more than 50m to the table (1/20th of my bankroll) to avoid the risk of going broke. Of course, with play chips people are willing to take more risk. But the best players here are very aggressive and will make you put all of those chips in play.

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It is quite rare to see such bizarre play amongst us naifs who are condemned to play at much lower limits. How did these players acquire billion chip bankrolls in the first place (psst…I’d like to know…I am green with envy)? Mostly we just see overbetting, playing too many hands, and a disastrous inability to fold a good hand when one is beat.

Every once in a while we get a visit from one of the “Big Dogs”. Folks in the top 400, playing in a 500/1000 game? (Recently one of the “billionaires” dropped by to play). Mostly they play very tight, but I guess things change when you get to throw out bets in the 10’s of millions.

Good luck to you all. I do enjoy the site.

Where is the list of top pots played? I’m pretty sure i’ve seen it, but can’t seem to find a link.

I’m pretty sure most of the chips going between the two of them were formerly mine that day. Gawd I suck :frowning:

There is a “top lists” link in the dropdown in the upper right near your avatar.

You are one of the best active players here. Gamergirl is just a cut above anyone else active at the moment, and the two of them are so aggro that it requires a lot of adjusting from how one would typically maximally exploit the population here.

Just looked up the toplist listing and Dorkupine is No.8 on the top 10.

Gamergirl is no longer on the list??

gg (GamerGirl) often leaves the site and then reappears later. I don’t see any evidence that gg had any recent big losses, and I think will reappear again, like many times in the past. I’m not sure why he or she does that, but do notice gg is often sitting alone on the highest tables, waiting for someone else to sit down.

Yeah, Dorkupine has been top 10 for a bit now, and seems to be climbing still. I think he was maybe 11 or 12 when I started playing here in 2019, but I might be wrong. He’s not only a strong player, but seems like a very nice fellow.