We are at the final table of the high roller event #1 on pokerstars. On the previous hand 'calculer_' lost most of his stack. We are 5 handed.

I will explain the hand with text, but you can also watch the hand on youtube: https://youtu.be/yyPo_3ozKds (@23:07)

Stacks and postions:

'88maca88': 5.7M, UTG.
'gray31': 2.3M, cutoff.
'calculer_': 470k, button.
'CrownUpGuy': 10.8M, small blind.
'NastyMinder': 2.9M, big blind.

Blinds are 40k/80k (10k).


88maca88 raise to 240k with A♠K⋄. calculer_ folds J♣T♥. NastyMinder defends with T♣7♣. We take a flop heads-up. Pot is 570k.


3♣6♣8♥. NastyMinder checks. 88maca88 bets 142,500. NastyMinder calls. Pot is 855k.


4⋄. NastyMinder checks. 88maca88 bets 720k. NastyMinder with 2.5M behind calls. Pot is 2.295M.


2♠. NastyMinder checks. 88maca88 checks it back and takes it down.

What do you think about this hand? To point out a few things; is JTo pre-flop a correct fold? Do you like the turn bet? Should NastyMinder shove the turn?



I don't understand the 3x open from 88maca88. I guess he is saying that he is not folding to calculer_, but with AK he should be inducing the shove. Plus Fedor Holz (CrownUpGuy) can put him in some difficult spots when he 3x opens. He definitely does not want to play a huge pot with AK against the chipleader here. Maybe it was a misclick.

calculer_ definitely has to fold with JTo. I ran the calculations and he should only shove around 88+,AJs+,AQo+.

I think NastyMinder has an easy defend. Folding is way too tight and 3-betting would be very bad, considering the stacksizes around the table.


NastyMinder flops a flush draw, a straight draw and an overcard.

I think 88maca88 bets too small. What hands is NastyMinder really going to fold here? Maybe JT, QT, QJ will find a fold, but even these hands I think can find a call on the flop. 88maca88 should definitely fire at least 200k to take it down sometimes or get some real value.

NastyMinder has an easy call. He has great equity, but he doesn't want to play a massive pot, because of ICM. However, you want raise here sometimes for value, so I think it is important to work in some bluffs too. But Tc7c has simply too much equity to bluff. I'd prefer a hand like 7h4h, since they can fold to a 4-bet.


88maca88 bets huge to size up the potential river shove. I again do not like this play. This board is very favorable for the big blind, so you need to be very selective with your bluffs. AK here is just two overcards and nothing else. There are so many better hands to bluff with here. AK even has showdown value too. Just check it back.

NastyMinder now has an interesting decision. Should he call or shove? In my opinion he just has to shove here. Think about all the good hands NastyMinder wants to shove: 64s, 43s, 86s, 75s, 88, 66, 33, 44 that is a total of 22 combinations. You can slowplay some of these hands, but generally this will not be a good play. How often is 88maca88 going to bluff this board on the river? How often is he going to value bet this board with on overpair. Not that often. You don't want to see a club roll off. With the majority of your good hands you want to be shoving. Now obviously you need to pick some bluffs as well. You need to pick the hands that have the most equity when called, but have the least amount of showdown value. Other than 9c7c I can't think of a better hand than NastyMinder is holding. I think he just has to shove here to play a balanced strategy and I really don't understand why he did not.


Pretty standard at this point. NastyMinder has to check and like I pointed out 88maca88 just checks it back and takes it down.

  • Just out of interest: If NastyMinder would raise on the flop, how much should he put in? I would say pot size (e.g. ~1M), but that doesn't leave much behind, so shove? – RoToRa Jan 8 '18 at 16:03
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    @RoToRa you should imo raise to ~650k. With this sizing you are not commiting your entire stack and you put him in a difficult spot with his overcards. An overpair or a strong flushdraw is unlikely to fold anyway. – Raymond Timmermans Jan 8 '18 at 17:53
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    @RoToRa shoving would also be bad, because it is a huge ICM mistake to do this with a bluff. Therefore you also should not do this with a good hand. – Raymond Timmermans Jan 8 '18 at 17:59

Preflop: Opening with AKo at 3x the big blind seem a little too big but I'm not offended by this. Considering sizing though, I'm pretty sure defending T7cc is quite bad. UTG range is strong here, and BB is likely to face a solid continuation bet range, thus not going to see enough cards to make the odds profitable. I'd suggest a core, tight defense range, something in the lines of 66+, AT+, KJ+, JTs+, SCs, 14% hands total (3-bet range included).

JTo fold is correct.

Flop: This is more interesting: on this board, if we ever hit, we are likely to have hit a draw, and sometimes a very strong hand. This is a general situation where going agressive is profitable capitalizing on our equity, and expecting UTG will have missed a good amount of time : TT+ is only 15ish% of what he could hold. This could be a check-raise, with the only drawback being stack sizes : if too big of a raise, we expose ourselves to possible re-raise all-in that would make our hand useless (because fold and call would be roughly equivalent) thus not exploiting our draw equity fully.

Donk betting is also an option on these kind of boards that are especially advantageous for defense, although I never really successfully learned the theory of it.

So I'm with check-raising this at least some amount of the time, to a small sized amount of 400k, capitilizing on the fact initial amount is too small, and expecting to bet a lot of turns.

Turn We miss and a relative blank happens. Despite stack size being perfect for it, check-raising now makes little sense as the hand we represent are very thin and our opponent range is likely to be stronger than on the flop.

From AKo's perpective I find the bet turn sightly questionnable, because 8x would still be calling here as our TT+ frequency is low, and we beat many draws that folds, so it sounds unecessary risky. I guess the main play is check.

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