Coolers aren’t uncommon in poker, but there’s something captivating about seeing one happen at the highest stakes possible.
The hand that we are looking at today took place in a $50/$100/$200 with a $100bb ante from a game at The Lodge Card Club.
Without any further ado, let’s dive into the action!
Dylan opens up the action with from UTG+2. Brad Owen 3-bets to $1,400 with from the Button. EZ cold-calls from the Big Blind with . Dylan calls.
Dylan should be opening with around the top 17-20% of all hands, making Pocket Tens an easy raise.
On the Button, Brad can have a cold-call and 3-betting range, or he could simply play a 3-bet or fold strategy. He should be looking to put money into the pot with around the top 8-10% of starting hands. A5-suited is a great 3-betting hand due to its blocker effects (making it less likely your opponent has an Ace) and postflop playability.
Even with a hand as strong as Pocket Sevens, EZ shouldn’t have a cold-calling range from the Big Blind facing a 3-bet. If he employs this type of strategy, he is making it clear what his range is (medium pocket pairs, Ace-Queen suited-type hands) since he would (and should) be cold 4-betting with his Pocket Queens or better and at least Ace-King.
Instead, EZ’s strategy in this spot should be tight + aggressive.A more profitable approach is to 4-bet with a tight range and never call. His 4-bet range should contain the obvious value hands (strong pairs and AK) along with some blocker-oriented bluffs with great playability ( such as KQ-suited, AJ-suited, and AQ-suited).
As played, since EZ has such a clear and capped range, Dylan can exploit him by 4-betting wider to put those middling pocket pairs in a hellish spot. But, his decision to call with specifically Pocket Tens is fine as well.
Let’s take a flop.
The flop comes . The pot is $4,550.
EZ checks. Dylan checks. Brad checks.
A crazy flop with Dylan flopping top set while EZ flops middle set!
Even with a set, EZ should always check in this spot. He has the weakest range and is out of position to both players. He needs to protect that relatively weak range by checking with his strong hands too.
Dylan should also check his set. He shouldn’t lead into Brad, who has a range advantage as the 3-bettor.
All players made the right decision on the flop. To the turn!
Note: Discover how to play any hand in every common preflop situation in less than 10 seconds. Get instant access to extensive preflop charts (for cash games and tournaments) when you join the Upswing Lab training course and community. Lock your seat now!
The turn comes the , making the board . The pot is $4,550.
EZ bets $3,000. Dylan raises to $14,000. Brad folds. EZ calls.
A board-changing card hits on the turn.
The completes the straight draw and puts a second flush draw out there. The straight completing is not a big deal since, realistically, only Dylan should have this hand, and it would only be 4 combinations.
EZ should definitely have a betting range here, but the sizing should probably be smaller, something around 25-33% of the pot. The reason is that he has a lot of hands that want to get a little bit of value while denying a little bit of equity, and that’s a hand that wants to bet smaller. So, he needs to protect that portion of his range by also betting small with a super strong hand like a set of sevens.
His 75% size doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the middling parts of either of his opponents — they can simply fold marginal hands because they are sharing the burden of defense vs this bet (see: this multiway article). General tip: you want to avoid bet sizes that don’t put a lot of hands in a tough spot!
Dylan’s raise is very good since he has the second effective nuts (98-suited is not likely in either EZ’s or Brad’s range, so he’s only behind a set of Jacks).
For bluffing, Dylan has a few good options with his monster draws such as 65, KQ, and AQ with clubs or diamonds. These hands are probably going to play very well on a lot of rivers since when they hit they are likely the nuts. And when the board becomes a 4-straight (on an 8 or a 9) or the other flush completes, they will be a highly profitable bluff.
Brad has an obvious fold, holding nothing.
The river comes the , making the final board . The pot is $32,550.
EZ donk bets $10,000. Dylan raises to $96,000. EZ calls.
The $224,550 pot gets pushed over to Dylan.
The river is interesting because it improves a lot of hands. On the one hand, when EZ called on the turn his range is basically a hand such as , , , , , , or . The majority of these hands have improved.
On the other hand, Dylan’s range has also improved a lot. His range also consisted of sets and combo draws.
You can only profitably implement a donking strategy when your range has improved disproportionately to your opponent’s. This is not the case here.
With quads, Dylan should obviously be raising his hand every time. Now he needs to pick a size that won’t scare away a flush or a worse full house while extracting as much value as possible from them.
I think shoving all-in will probably scare the flushes away since the board is paired and the stacks are extremely deep. For this reason, I think the size that he picked is decent, but maybe a smaller one such as $50,000-$60,000 would be better. We will never know since this time EZ had a full house.
Now, back to EZ. Facing such a huge raise, he should realize that while his hand is extremely strong in absolute terms, it’s still behind a full house with Jack-Ten suited, quad tens, and a straight flush.
Dylan is a very strong player who, when holding a flush, would not raise so big for value on a paired board. So, Dylan either has a better hand or a bluff when he raises to this size.
It’s quite cruel that EZ’s full house is now a pure bluff-catcher. So, his decision should break down to this:
Does he think Dylan will raise with enough bluffs to make his call profitable, or not?
What do you think — should EZ have folded on this river? Let me know in the comments below.
That’s all for this article guys! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new from it! As usual, if you have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comment section down below.
If you want more high-stakes hand analysis, scroll down to “Related Posts” below.
Until next time, good luck, grinders!