linus vs addamo

Two God-Tier Poker Players Clash in $225,800 Pot (Analysis)

Life-changing money has been changing hands in some of the biggest online cash games in recent memory.

In this hand, we have online cash game crusher Linus Loeliger facing off against tournament wizard Michael Addamo, who has over $19,000,000 in winnings.

The blinds are $500/$1,000 with a $200 ante. Without any further ado, let’s dive into the action!

Preflop Action

With $112,000 effective stacks, Addamo raises to $2,300 from the Cutoff with K Q. The action folds over to Linus in the Small Blind who 3-bets to $12,000 with T T. Addamo calls.

Preflop Analysis

Both players made the correct decisions. 

Addamo should be open-raising with about the top 30% of hands from the Cutoff given the ante involved. KQs is, of course, well within that range and is easily worth a raise from this position. His sizing of 2.3bb is also a good choice. Really everything between $2,200 and $3,000 is fine with this blind structure.

Linus should be 3-betting with around the top 12% of hands against Addamo. Pocket Tens is a must 3-bet in this scenario. The 3-bet size should be pretty big, somewhere between $11,000 and $13,000.

Let’s see if their perfect play continues after the flop.

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Flop Action

The flop comes A♠ A♣ 5 and the pot is $26,200.

Linus (T T) bets $6,500 and Addamo (K Q) calls.

Flop Analysis

On this flop, Linus should be betting with his entire range for a small size (25%-40% pot). This is because of his large range and nut advantage. The Ace-high flops are very good for the 3-bettor, in general.

Given that Linus made such a small continuation bet and thus his range is still quite wide (including a lot of missed hands such as KQs, KJs, KTs, QJs, QTs), Addamo should be defending with a lot of marginal hands to prevent being ran over by Linus’ bluffs.

All KQs should be called here (even without the backdoor flush draw). Even KJs without a backdoor flush draw is a very high-frequency defens versus this bet size. The weakest non-made hand with which Addamo can call is QTs with a backdoor flush draw — though that is at a low frequency.

One interesting note is that the solver prefers KQs to a hand such as 66/77 in Addamo’s spot. That is because KQ has the best blockers to Linus’ strongest trips (AK/AQ) and has two overcards to many pocket pairs (including Linus’ actual hand). On top of that, KQ will hit a runner runner straight every once in a blue moon. That said, 77 and 66 are still clear calls against the flop bet.

Turn Action

The turn comes the (A♠ A♣ 5) J♣. The pot is $39,200.

Linus (T T) bets $12,152. Addamo (K Q) calls.

Turn Analysis

The J♣ is a great turn for Linus. A lot of his range has now improved in some fashion. Hands like KJs, QJs, JTs, and J9s have turned a decent hand. Other hands like KQ, KTs, and QTs now have gutshot straight draws,  and the two club versions have combo draws.

When the turn helps Linus’ range in this specific way, he keeps his range advantage and thus should continue pressing the action. A small bet here gives him the opportunity to get some value from some weaker pocket pairs and some hands like KQs, KTs, and QTs that should still call at least at some frequency, all while keeping the betting lead.

Checking is also completely fine in his shoes and, in fact, the solver is mixing between the two options with TT.

Addamo should call with his KQ because he is now drawing to a straight and he blocks a lot of Linus’ strongest hands, while also beating all of his bluffs (QT/KT/low flush draws).

River Action

The river comes the 4, completing the A♠ A♣ 5 J♣ 4board. The pot is still $63,504.

Linus (T T) checks. Addamo (K Q) thinks for a bit and shoves for $81,148. Linus thinks about it and calls.

River Analysis

Linus cannot do anything but check with his hand. It’s too strong to bluff with and too weak to value bet with. What he is hoping, here, is that Addamo has a hand such as 9988 and checks down himself.

Addamo makes a small bet sizing mistake here, at least if he was playing against a solver. Linus should be protecting his range with a few full houses here in order to not let Addamo shove with every Ax in his range.

That being said, hand selection-wise, he makes a very good decision since his only possible bluffs are KQ, some KTs, and QTs, but only fractions of them. KQ is not a great hand blocker-wise, per se, but it’s the best he has in this spot.

Linus’ decision to call this river with pocket tens is very interesting. From a theoretical perspective, his blockers are quite bad. He is blocking some ATs (which might not even shove), but he’s also blocking a lot of the very few possible bluffs (KTs and QTs).

From a practical perspective, it’s very easy for Addamo to under bluff in this spot because he won’t have that many weak hands that floated flop and turn. Addamo also has a ton of AQ, AJ, JJ, A5s, and A4s that can now shove for value.

In the vast majority of poker games, this is an easy fold with pocket tens on the river. It’s just hard to imagine many players taking Addamo’s line with an adequate amount of bluffs.

But against a top player who is capable of bluffs, like Addamo, Linus can at least consider making this hero call. The solver folds this hand at a 100% frequency, but perhaps Linus had some special reason for calling.

Why do you think Linus called on the river?

Let us 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 hand analysis, read this one next: Doug Polk Does The Thing He Said To Never Do (Analysis).

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

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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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