Hand Review - JJ Final table heads up

I created this topic because I think it’s an interesting hand and I always have trouble playing JJ.

To introduce a bit, it’s the 7th hand of a 15k buy-in MTT final heads up. Nothing special happened, we exchanged BB and we saw two flops, each one of us won with a c-bet. We had almost the same stack (roughly 48BB). At this point I was pretty sure my opponent wasn’t a fish. I had noticed that he liked Ax a lot though (too much).

Then this happened:
https://www.replaypoker.com/hand/replay/182656700/pair-kings

To explain what I was trying to do:
• First time he limped and I wanted to make him pay for that.
• I also figured since he was a decent player he might have seen what I was doing and he’d have probably called/3bet with a wider range believing I was “stealing”.
• I would have been fine with a call, a 3bet and even a fold.
• As it turned out he 3 bet me.

From that point I thought that 4 betting was the best way to go. I pretty much gave him an Ax, KJ+, 77+ range. Maybe even a Q Broadway suited so I was really good equity wise.

He shoved so I re-evaluated his range to something like ATs+, AJo, 99+ (it’s highly debatable but it actually doesn’t matter that much equity wise) making my equity drop to close to 50%, a bit above it but not certain as it is always the case in poker (say you give him AQ+, TT+ then all of sudden my 53% drops to 47%). I was already committed (I’ll get back to that later on) so I snapped call.

Turned out to be a classic race two over cards against a pair, I lost, totally fine with it.

Now I made several mistakes in that hand and I’d like to see if you agree with my analysis or not, and if not I’d be very happy to read your input.

Below’s my analysis, sorry for the length, I’ve added some pictures in between to make it readable ^^

Ok so he limped. I didn’t really know what that meant. It could have been a bad play, a slow play, whatever. I didn’t want him limping because I didn’t want to give him cheap flops early.
So I raised, since I tagged him as a decent player he probably didn’t limp with rags or if he had he might have fought back by light 3 betting.

So here’s my first mistake I believe. I sized it 4x which is a bit too much. I went for value here thinking that there’s a high chance of getting 3 bet and a small one of being called. I should have stuck with my standard 3x.
The idea behind that 4x was to look like I was going strong to get a fold in order to make him 3 bet. It worked but it somehow committed me way more than I thought.

His 3 bet sizing was just super weird. It’s 1,75ish and you can see I really took a lot of time from the clock. For some reason it looked fishy so I decided to make a commitment 4 bet, going above 1/3 of my stack.

And that was my hugest leak I believe.

  1. Because it’s not consistent with my first hypothesis which was “not a fish”.
  2. Because I committed myself without solid information
    a. If he had air he’d have folded to any 4 bet.
    b. If he had a hand that I dominated, betting that much could have made him fold.
    c. If he had a premium well I had to call and that would have been a negative EV play.

He shoved which again at the time was my intention. I set him up for this shove.

Then I snap called and you know the end of the story.

If I had a chance to do it all over again I’d probably change 3 things:

• My first raise size, making it 3x for balance and for keeping the SPR under control in case he called and the flop came up “meh”.

• My 4 bet making it somewhere near 20k which would have been between 1/4 and a 1/3 of my stack hence not committing me completely even though there’s a downside to that (mainly if I fold after his 5 bet shove he’ll get a free invitation to limp or 3 bet or shove or all of the aforementioned).

• Really taking some time after his shove to consider folding (provided the 2nd bullet). I might have still called, which obviously wouldn’t have been such a bad call. But I do believe you have to use time when you can, it can help you with big decisions.

What do you think?

First of all, it’s way easier to say what you should have done after the fact.

Having said that, his limp/reraise should have told you something. At that point, he was likely to have either 2 overs or a bigger pair. He might have had 10 10 or something like A 10 suited, but more likely he would have about what he had.

At that point, you were either a big dog (to an over pair) or a slight fav (to 2 overs). It’s never a great idea to risk it all in that situation. You would have been better off to just call his reraise and take the flop.

With that flop, I would call his C-bet and see if he checks the turn. If he did, I would usually bet about half my stack and hope he folds or calls with a smaller pair. He would know you’re pot committed and rarely if ever bluff shove there, and if he was slow playing a bigger pair, well… yer beat.

Statistically, you got in good, but only just barely. You would have probably won the hand on the turn (or flop if he checked it to you) instead, you ended up losing it all.

Sure but it’s the whole point of the thread :wink:

I don’t really understand why his limp 3bet should reduce his range so much. And if we assume you’re right, I was OOP post flop so it couldn’t have played out as you said. I should have c-bet or check for his c-bet then call then raise on the turn OOP which is really uncomfortable.

This is why I didn’t even consider calling his 3bet since I didn’t see where I could have made money post flop. He could have called my c-bet on a dry board maybe. Appart from that I either make him fold or get called by a better hand.

I don’t know why I had it in my head that you were in position there, my bad.

I wasn’t there, so don’t know his tendencies or your table image at the time, but you said he was a decent player, so his limp reraise should have told you something. And yeah, heads up, you’re both going to be playing a much wider range.

Still, jacks there will often be a slight fav or a big dog. I would usually have called his reraise and taken the flop, but that’s just me. As you said, you set him up for a shove there. My point was that I try to avoid that situation.

Late in the tourney, blinds getting up there, down to heads up… it wasn’t bad play, no matter how it worked out.

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I appreciate your in-depth analysis, but this hand seems very simple to me. I think how you played it was just fine. I would have shoved instead of just 4-bet, but my point is that with JJ I am happy to get my stack in preflop every single time.

No matter how much aggression my opponent shows and no matter how tight they have been playing, I will never give them credit for only having QQ+ heads up. Even against good players I would consider their all-in preflop range to include basically any pocket pair and most aces, even weak aces.

It could have worked out better if you had called preflop and then shoved the flop, but it basically would not have made a difference because you could have still been behind to a bigger pair/set, and he may have still called even with AK. Hindsight is 20/20, but this hand is a pretty standard situation, and you played it right.

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Interesting, what’s the reasoning behind that? Mine was if I shove I might get folds from the 2nd best hand part of his range. I thought the 4 bet was more of an invitation to semi-bluff or call/shove with worst hands (even though the size was crying out “I’m committed as f***” so you could rule out the semi-bluff).

Your logic makes sense, but my reasoning on one hand is that there is not much point in trying to see his logic because there isn’t necessarily any logic. He is a low ranked player, and I have played against him before, and he is definitely not bad compared to many players, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him shove with A5 and not know if it’s a value bet or a semi-bluff.

On the other hand, you also say that if you shove you worry that you might get folds from the 2nd best hands in his range, but I would say that’s what you want. If he is going to fold A5 to a 4-bet shove with such a huge pot then that is just great for you because A5 still has ~30% equity against you. Getting a fold with a shove when the blinds are that high is always a win. And if he calls with A5 or AK, then that is just fine for you too. That’s why I say that this a pretty simple situation, because unless you can put him on exactly Queens plus then you should be happy to get your stack in preflop and either take the pot or win the tournament. It just didn’t work out this time.

If he were to just call your 4-bet instead of shoving, then you end up with a pot of 50,000 chips and a potentially awkward situation depending on the flop. Jacks are pretty easy to play preflop, much more difficult postflop, so with the put so giant I am happy to get it in.

I never really saw it that way but it makes sense.
Basically you’re saying that you don’t mind loosing some value on this pot since it gives you a huge edge in the next few hands, possibly the whole heads up for that matter, to just pick up his 12k. And you also have some extra hedge since he’d really have to tighten his limping/ 3bet range (provided he can adjust).

Even though you could have a chance to finish him being a 70/30 you’d rather play 10-20 hands more with an extra chip advantage since you have a lower chance of getting sucked out. I’ll definitely meditate on that. Thanks for the input.

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Yeah, exactly. I would rather be the bully and force him to give up 17% of his stack on an uncontested pot if he actually has the discipline to fold, but at the same time I believe that he would still call a shove almost all of the time, even with worse hands, so that is part of the logic too. The other part of my logic is that I don’t want to see a flop because that could lead to a much tougher decision (because if an ace, king, or queen flops, it’s almost impossible to get away from your hand with 50k+ in the middle), so I wouldn’t want to 4-bet in case he flat calls.

Many people might disagree though.

To me, the most important bit of information here was the fact that they started out more or less even in chips. That changes everything.

OK, so your opponent limped from the small blind, you raised. He might have seen this as a steal attempt and tested the waters by re-raising… pretty standard stuff so far.

You raised again, which had to tell him you had some kind of hand. He shoved, what should this have told you?

If he was a big chip leader, say 3-1 or even 2-1, he might have been willing to shove as a 3-2 dog or maybe even 2-1 behind, hoping to get lucky and end it right there. Likewise, if you were a 3-1 or 2-1 chip leader, he might have made a stand with a small pair or weak ace, thinking that he had a little fold equity too.

I wouldn’t expect you to fold to a shove there, and odds are, he didn’t expect it either. Therefore, he had to have a strong hand. The fact that you re-raised and didn’t shove yourself should have told him you wanted action.

That’s why i would put him on AK, AQ, AJ, maybe A10s, AA, KK, QQ, JJ, or maybe 10 10. KQs or KJs or QJs are also possible, though it would be pretty reckless to shove, not expecting you to fold, with K or Q high.

At any rate, I would have just called his re-raise and maybe shoved the flop. I say again: it’s not a great idea to get it all in when you are probably either a small fave or a big dog.

Question for the OP… what did you think he thought you had?

Well I’ll have to answer that in two parts.

The fact that I considered him “decent” doesn’t mean I didn’t think he had any leaks and I really thought he had some major Ax overvaluing issues. If you have this kind of problem it’s going to get even worse HU.
Moreover I would probably believe that you can’t really think ranges and dynamics very well if you overvalue Ax. So trying to put him on an exact read of my range doesn’t really make sense ^^.

Anyway that being said if I really have to I’ll try.
Let’s give him a ATs+, AJo, 99+ range.

AA-KK
I won’t even bother since well… I mean what’s the point? =P

99-QQ
Can he think I have enough smaller PP? Maybe
Can he think I have any Ax and be happy to go to war with it? Certainly
Given that would he like to shove? There’s a high probability

ATo/s+
Can he think I have enough smaller PP? Maybe. Would he mind being on the wrong side of a coin flip? Meh, maybe, maybe not.
Can he think I have any Ax and be happy to go to war with it? Certainly
Given that would he like to shove? There’s a high probability

Summing it up, he’d probably put me on a 66+, Ax which is not that crazy if he doesn’t have any information on me.
I was a bit loose at the FT, stealing a lot, re-stealing at times (only because the table allowed me to do it but he might not have paid attention to that) so in a way it might contort my range to a looser one even more so in HU.

Well, that does change things a bit. If your table image was that you were clearly stealing and restealing a lot, then you have to give him a wider range. If you think he would have shoved there with any ace, then ok… maybe you were in pretty good shape.

Anyway, my only real point was that it’s usually not a good idea to get it all in hen you’re likely to either be a slight fave or a big dog. :slightly_smiling:

It is a very valid point indeed generally speaking :slightly_smiling: