Take comfort in the fact that a shark is also a fish.
It’s a small number of hands. He got the better of you, but you can run good or bad over a sample of this size against pretty much anyone. You could have reloaded and stacked him right back, with the right hand. It doesn’t mean that much, really. But give him credit for getting you this time.
I have stacked him before heads up at lower stakes than this. But I’d be inclined to guess that he is stronger than I am at heads up play in particular. Even the times I’ve won I felt a bet out of my depth and unsure of the lines I should be taking. I think I’m taking the Daniel role here in Negreanu vs. Polk.
he played me and didge at royal yesterday, and was raising 10x big bling pre flop!! with nonsense hand just because he can and his attitude and chat to us was vile. So not a fan of somebody who is mean to people in chat just for the sake of it. I am all for a bit of Banta but he goes to far with his nasty comments. Win loose or Draw me and didge play ring games royal because we have fun and enjoy it and sometimes this kind of play takes that away …
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I didn’t watch all the hands, but it did look like you were being a bit passive (didn’t see any 3! or c-r, although it was a very short game). He was up winning by a little bit, but there hadn’t been any huge pots until the end, even when he hit the nut flush, so it really doesn’t say much about the matchup itself.
My real question is (and how has nobody else asked yet?) what was your holding in the final hand? It looks like you have some kind of Jx. It looks like AJ is going for extremely thin value, but if you consider that your range is pretty well capped HU because you would 3! basically any hand that beats him except J9 (or maybe J6s/63s?), he can feel pretty confident that he is ahead. And he can use the fact that he is super aggro (and seemingly weighted towards bluffs with this kind of overbet) to get light calls.
His overbet on the turn is already quite polarizing. Against a 4x pot shove, you really don’t have to call very often, so even if he is weighted towards bluffs, you want to pick good bluff catchers. Without knowing exactly how bluffy he is or exactly what hands you are flatting or 3!, it’s tough to say exactly how wide you should be calling. But, as a default against a player who is moderately balanced but tends towards bluffing, I would fold more hands with spades or clubs in them and maybe call with any Jx (or better if you have it). So, I am imaging you had Jx decent kicker.
This situation really shows the power of taking the initiative. It is much tougher to play passively and have a hand to continue with than it is to be the one with the uncapped range value betting or bluffing with some sort of equity. You can generate lots of folds and get paid when you have value.
I had QcJd on the final hand. I’m inclined to think it was a bad call on the river, especially given that his betting frequency was not really out of line during the hands we played, and I need to be good what, maybe around 45% of the time against a bet that big?
But it is easy to make poorer decisions when it feels like the current is flowing against you. Part of the reason I called is I didn’t really think he’d take that line with either AJ or KJ, and so I think I thought at the time that I was mostly against giants that had me completely crushed, or bluffs. At the time, I thought I might be 50/50 to have the best hand.
I do have to admit to still being surprised that he chose that line with AJ, though it certainly turned out to be a choice that paid quite nicely.
This hand was definitely well played by el-jog, getting really thin value, probably because your range is so capped. I hadn’t really considered that because 3! ranges are so wide in HU that flatting ranges are quite capped, even with a polarized 3! range. A call removes like 88+/AJ+ from your range almost by default, which can make it tough to face a lot of pressure.
After looking at some range charts, he has a slight nut advantage because he can have JJ/99 but you can both have 66/33/63s/J9/J6s/96s by the turn, so I do think you can fold most top pairs on the river, especially if they block the flush draws. Your hand is a bluff catcher, so he’d need to be bluffing over 43% of the time to break even.
Is there a way to proof exactly which hands should call or fold given a reasonable turn range? I’m not sure. In most spots in poker people under bluff the river and don’t go for value this thin, so it’s tough to say if folding most top pairs is very exploitable. Based on how thin he is going for value, he doesn’t seem likely to be overly bluffy because he can also have all sets, overpairs or even 2-pairs.
You should 3! AJ/KJs/QJs/JJ/JTs and maybe KJ/J9s, so even if you never raise the flop or turn with your best hands, the best you have to call with are J9/66/33/J6s/63s/96s.This assumes you fold anything worse than top pair on the turn. So while QJ might seem like the top of your range, I don’t think it is close enough to call. I definitely might have done the same thing.
Another thought, I’m not sure how much your kicker matters. With AJ, you kind of have to call, but beyond that is he really doing this with KJ (maybe) or worse (no). Having KJ with the king of clubs seems worse than say J5 with no club because it blocks some bluffs. I guess a really good player might not take this line as a bluff with two clubs because he would want you to have club draws in your range, so hands like 54 or T8 might make more sense than club draws for this river shove. Though you shouldn’t really be flatting the turn overbet with just a club draw… but I digress.
It’s tough to fold top pair against a polarizing bet from a player with an aggressive image, but it looks like the right decision. Being the player with initiative is definitely easier than deciding whether to call off with a decent hand.
Yes, he might not always be the most friendly out there, but I have real admiration for his game.
Oh, don’t get down, you’re still a lot better than a top 10 player starting with “K”