brutal river

Brutal River In High Stakes Poker Game ($80,000 Pot Analysis)

I’m back with another high stakes online cash game hand analysis!

This one is a showdown between Michael Addamo (high stakes tournament player) and LemonHouse (who has had some major tournament success of his own).

The blinds are $200/$400 and the effective stacks are $40,000 (100bb).

I’ll recap the action that took place on each street along with some simple + advanced analysis.

Without any further ado, let’s jump right into it!

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Preflop Action

Addamo raises to $800 from the Button with Qs Js. LemonHouse 3-bets to $4,200 from the Big Blind with Th 9h. Addamo calls.

Simple Preflop Analysis

This street was played correctly by both players.

Addamo makes the standard raise on the Button with his Queen-Jack suited. He has a strong hand with lots of playability that can get called by many worse hands.

LemonHouse’s 3-bet with Ten-Nine suited in the Big Blind is also a good play. 3-betting with strong suited connecters like this helps make sure that he doesn’t only 3-bet with premium hands (which makes him harder to play against).

Once he faces a 3-bet, Addamo makes the correct call with Queen-Jack suited. This is the perfect type of hand to call versus a 3-bet since it can make so many strong hands. 4-betting would be too loose and he would often be dominated by the hands that call.

Advanced Preflop Analysis

Addamo’s raise with Queen-Jack suited on the Button is standard and his 2bb size is fine. He should be open-raising with the top 40-45% of hands from this position. For sizing, anywhere between 2bb-2.5bb does the trick. 

LemonHouse makes a good 3-bet with Ten-Nine suited, though his sizing is slightly too small. Size-wise, anywhere between 11bb-12.5bb is ideal.

He should be 3-betting around 13% of hands. That range includes all of the strongest hands (like Pocket Aces through Pocket Eights) and some suited Broadway cards. He should balance this range with some suited connectors, offsuit Broadway hands, and suited Aces (at varying frequencies).

Faced with this 3-bet, Addamo has an easy call with Queen-Jack suited. He should be defending about half of his range overall.

Flop Action

The flop comes Jh 8s 2c. The pot is $8,600.

LemonHouse bets $4,300 with his Th 9h. Addamo calls with his Qs Js.

Simple Flop Analysis

An action flop gives LemonHouse an open-ended straight draw and Addamo top pair.

With his straight draw, LemonHouse makes a good decision to c-bet. He wants to build a bigger pot in case his draw hits, and he also can make Addamo fold some better hands that missed the flop. This is a perfect semi-bluffing situation.

Addamo makes the correct decision to call with top pair. He has a medium-strength hand that is ahead of bluffs while being behind some made hands. That makes it the perfect calling hand.

Advanced Flop Analysis

LemonHouse makes the correct decision to bet and his relatively big bet size is good. Several factors go into this:

  • On this type of flop, LemonHouse will have the range and nut advantage (he holds the unique overpair advantage and top set)
  • He has a lot of hands in his range that have missed completely

When these factors come together, LemonHouse is incentivized to bet a larger size (such as 50%-80% pot) with a wide range — possibly even his entire range.

Addamo makes the easy decision to call with his top pair. Against a half-pot c-bet, he should be defending a range that looks like this:

Let’s see a turn

Turn Action

The turn comes the 7s, making the board Jh 8s 2c 7s. The pot is $17,200.

LemonHouse bets $8,600 with his turned straight. Addamo calls with his top pair plus flush draw.

Simple Turn Analysis

An action turn card gives LemonHouse the nut straight while Addamo still has top pair.

With the nuts, LemonHouse makes a good half-pot bet. He could also check for deception — giving his opponent the chance to bet — but simply betting when you have the nuts is usually a good play.

Addamo makes a mandatory call with his top pair plus flush draw. Even if he didn’t have the flush draw, top pair with a good kicker is still far too strong to fold. LemonHouse usually won’t have the nuts here!

Advanced Turn Analysis

Even though it completes his straight, the turn 7s is one of the worst possible cards for LemonHouse’s range.

He should be slowing down a lot on this kind of turn. This is because after betting so many hands on the flop, he’ll have a lot of misses in his range — like Ax Kx. Addamo will have less air since he folded the bottom part of his range already. Additionally, Addamo now has the upper hand in terms of two pair or better hands.

Having said that, in theory, LemonHouse should still bet with his Ten-Nine suited. He should barrel with most of his overpairs, strong top pairs, and straights. He should balance out that range with flush draws, gutshot straight draws, and combo draws. His small-ish sizing of half pot is good to accommodate the thin value bets.

Against this c-bet, Addamo should continue with a wide range, including all combos of Queen-Jack suited. He should be defending with two pairs or better, flush draws, and a good amount of his gutshots.

River Action

The river comes the Jd, making the final board Jh 8s 2c 7s Jd. The pot is $34,400.

LemonHouse shoves for $22,800. 

Simple River Analysis

The Jd is a brutal river for Addamo as he now has trips vs LemonHouse’s straight.

LemonHouse makes the easy shove with his straight. Sure, he could lose to a full house, but there are still plenty of worse hands that he can get called by.

Even though he is beaten in this instance, Addamo needs to call with trips. He is beating all of the bluffs and might even beat some thin value like Pocket Aces or Jack-Ten suited.

Advanced River Analysis

Though it pairs the board, the river Jd is largely a brick. It’s one of the worst rivers for LemonHouse’s range because all his turn bluffs have missed.

With the straight, he has a no-brainer shove. Due to the low stack-to-pot ratio (SPR), LemonHouse should still shove with some of his overpairs and all of his trips or better. As far as bluffing goes, he will need to give up with about half of his bluffs. If he pulled the trigger with all of his potential bluffs, he’d be bluffing way too often and this would be easy to exploit.

Addamo must make this call with trips because he beats all bluffs and some thin value. This would be a tough decision with hands like Pocket Tens, Pocket Nines, or 8x. Losing here with trips is just simply a cooler.


Addamo calls with his rivered trips and sees the bad news as LemonHouse wins the $80,000 pot.

Final Thoughts

A well-played hand by both players as no mistakes were made. Addamo can shrug it off as a cooler.

That’s all for this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned from it!

If you want my analysis of a high stakes live poker hand next, check out Should Xuan Liu Fold Aces With $105,000 On The Line?

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

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About the Author
Dan B.

Dan B.

Online grinder aspiring to reach the highest stakes and crush the toughest games. I'm available for quick strategy questions and hourly coaching -- reach out to me at [email protected].

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