You’re about to read analysis of a hand played just last week between Live at the Bike staple Andy and a recreational player named Jacky.
The pot settled just under $439,000 and, spoiler alert, it was not a chop — only one of the players took home the 2.2 Lamborghini pot (a new Live at the Bike record).
With any further ado let’s dive into the action!
The blinds are $100/$100/$200/$400 and Andy raises to $1,300 in the Cut Off with Q♣ T♥, Garrett Adelstein 3-bets to $4,800 on the Button with A♣ K♣, and Jacky cold-calls in the Big Blind with 9♥ 9♣. Andy calls as well.
All of the player’s decisions up to Andy call are fine and profitable. Even though he is getting extremely good pot odds, needing only around 22% equity, Andy’s call is wrong. Here’s why:
- His hand has extremely poor implied odds. He is very dominated by both of his opponents’ ranges (which include AQ, KQ, AT etc.) This means that when he flops top pair and money starts going in, he will often be behind. His hand being offsuit further lowers his implied odds.
- He doesn’t have a positional advantage.
- The pot is multiway which means it will be exceedingly difficult to bluff when he misses.
Andy calls, the pot grows to $15,300 and they go to the flop.
The flop is dealt Q♦ 9♠ 6♦ and the effective stack is $179,400.
Jacky’s check is very likely correct as his range is not the strongest and he is out of position.
Andy’s check is good for the same reasons.
Garrett can arguably make a small continuation bet as his range is likely the strongest and this is a decent hand with which to do so.
That said, I would much rather see him do this with AK with a backdoor flush draw.
All in all, I think everyone played the flop correctly. Let’s see the next card.
The dealer burns and turns the Q♥, making the board Q♦ 9♠ 6♦ Q♥. The pot is still $15,300.
Jacky bets $8,000, Andy raises to $19,300, Garrett folds, Jacky tanks a bit, and 3-bets to $55,000. Andy calls without much delay.
Jacky’s bet is completely fine both from a hand selection and sizing perspective. Betting smaller than this would give far too good of pot odds to his opponent’s draws, which is a concern for much of Jacky's range (though not for this specific hand).
In fact, holding pocket 9’s here likely makes it better to bet even slightly bigger, exploitatively, something like $10,000, because you don’t block any Qx hands and you are unlikely to get raised by many worse hands regardless of your bet size.
Andy’s small raise only makes sense if one of two things are true:
- He has the very specific read that Jacky is leading medium-strength hands like JJ and TT and then calls a small raise.
- He has the read that Jacky leads and then 3-bets with a range that mostly consists of bluffs.
Without this specific read, Andy’s raise is nonsensical as he will isolate himself almost exclusively against better hands.
Garrett’s fold is completely fine/standard and so is Jacky’s 3-bet. An argument could be made for just calling the raise, but that might lose some value on rivers that complete the flush or even worse, get in a super bad beat on rivers such as an Ace or a King.
Andy is plummeting deeper into the rabbit hole and now calls the 3-bet. This level of assumption on his part is extremely threatened by bias. In order for this call to be correct, he must believe that Jacky’s range is extremely weighted towards bluffs.
If I were Andy, I would need to have seen Jacky pull this kind of 3-bet bluff with deep stacks beforehand in order to make such a move.
I would advise you to not get yourself in these kinds of situations with deep stacks because they can have grave consequences on your win-rate, even though they are very rare.
The river comes the 9♦, making the board Q♦ 9♠ 6♦ Q♥ 9♦.
Jacky checks, Andy bets $70,000, Jacky raises all-in and Andy snap calls.
Jacky’s check is wrong because he will miss some value from all the Qx hands that should check back on the river, and also because Andy will not start bluffing with anything on the double paired river (that is if he even reaches this point with any bluffs).
It’s much better to shove all-in and expect to always get called by a Qx. It’s a complete disaster when Jacky’s check is met with a tight check back by Qx.
Once checked to, Andy’s bet is a losing one as he will only get called by hands that he either splits with or that have him crushed.
In any case, Jacky shoves over the bet, Andy makes a crying snap-call, and Jacky scoops the $438,000 pot.
A pretty epic hand is in the books. Both players could have taken better lines, but let’s keep in mind they are mere humans and, when playing for life-changing sums of money in the span of minutes, it’s impossible to not have a certain level of emotional decision making involved.
That’s all for this hand analysis! I hope you’ve learned something new from it.
Want more like this? Read When a WSOP Champ Called All-in with Ten-High (Analysis).
Good luck at the tables, guys and gals!
Note: Want to make more profitable decisions in 30 seconds or less at the poker table so you walk away with more money?
Get Doug Polk's $7 Postflop Playbook and learn an easy-to-use system for winning at poker and start turning those “I don’t know what to do here” spots into money-making situations.
Lock your seat now!