Top Poker Pros Battle for Half a Million Dollar Pot (Analysis)
The boys are back at it again.
Today’s hand is a nasty one between two online juggernauts, Linus Loeliger (LLinusLove) and Wiktor Malinowski (Limitless), battling it out at astronomical stakes.
The blinds are $500/$1,000/$2,000 in an online 6-max game in which both players are sitting with more than $200,000 stacks. There is also an $800 ante in play (posted by all players).
Let’s dive into the action!
Limitless opens up the action with K♠ J♥ on the Button, raising to $4,000. Linus 3-bets from the Big Blind with A♠ A♦ to $18,000. The Third Blind folds and Limitless 4-bets to $42,500. Linus elects to just call.
Both players played their hands well preflop.
On the button in an unraised pot, Limitless should be open-raising with a fairly wide range of hands, including KJo. The 2bb sizing used by Limitless is interesting because, by using such a small size, he forces the players in the blinds to play wider ranges. The downside is that the pots will be somewhat smaller compared to raising to $5,000 (and you generally want the pot sizes to be bigger when you have position).
Linus’ response in the Big Blind should be to 3-bet with roughly the top 13-15% of hands. Obviously that includes Pocket Aces, with which Linus is incentivized to build the pot as big as possible as soon as possible.
Against a 3-bet, Limitless is supposed to continue with roughly 50% of his range — sometimes by calling, sometimes by 4-betting. KJo is right on the edge. It is strong enough to call, but it also works great as a 4-bet bluff. In theory, mixing between these two options is likely best with KJo.
Against a 4-bet, Linus should mostly be 5-bet shoving with his Pocket Aces, but he should just call sometimes too. It’s not surprising to see two of the world’s best play their hands well preflop. Now, let’s take a flop!
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The flop comes J♦ 4♣ 2♠ and the pot is $88,300.
Linus (A♠ A♦) checks. Limitless (K♠ J♥) c-bets $22,000. Linus raises to $48,000. Limitless calls.
Linus should always start by checking to the preflop aggressor. His range is weaker than Limitless’s range, so he should not implement a donk-betting strategy.
Faced with the check, Limitless should fire a small c-bet with almost all (if not all) of his range. His range has a very strong equity advantage, which he should leverage with a high-frequency betting strategy.
Against this strategy, Linus should check-raise very aggressively to deny the equity of some of Limitless’s bluffs. In case you’re wondering, Limitless’s bluffs include ATo, QTo, A7s, A6s, 97s, 86s, and other hands like that.
Against this small raise, Limitless should respond aggressively by shoving with the somewhat vulnerable value hands such as KJo and QQ. Calling with KJo in this spot is slightly suboptimal (according to the PioSolver solution I ran for this spot).
The turn comes the K♥, making the board (J♦ 4♣ 2♠) K♥. The pot is $184,300.
Linus checks. Limitless checks.
A board-changing card hits on the turn.
The K♥ is the worst possible card for Linus’ overall range. His range’s equity drops a ton on this card, so he must shift to a defensive strategy and check with his entire range. Perfect play by Linus on the turn here.
Limitless’s range, on the other hand, hits this card hard, and he should take full advantage with a very aggressive strategy. He should be shoving with almost his entire flop calling range, which includes KJo. This allows him to deny the maximum amount of equity and get maximum value.
The river comes the A♣, making the board (J♦ 4♣ 2♠ K♥) A♣. The pot is still $184,300.
Linus checks. Wiktor shoves for $131,818. Linus snap calls, showing his opponent the bad news. Linus wins the $447,936 pot.
The Ace river is obviously a great card for Linus’s hand, but it’s quite bad for his range, which is why he should again play a very defensive strategy. Linus once again takes the perfect river line by checking with his set of Aces.
Limitless has a deceivingly tough decision to make. On the one hand, it’s very likely his two pair is best in this situation. On the other hand, it’s very tough to get called by enough worse hands to make shoving profitable.
This is one of those scenarios in which Limitless should definitely go with his reads.
If he thinks his opponent will find a hero call with hands like AQ, QJ, or JT, then he should go for the value shove. If he thinks he will only get called by slow-played monsters (like AJ, AA, or JJ), then it’s best to check back and expect to take the pot the vast majority of the time. Clearly, Limitless thought the former was the case here.
This is an awesome hand indeed. We got to see some pretty high-level play, especially on Linus’ part. Unfortunately for Limitless, he was destined to lose his stack (or at least a lot of it) no matter how he decided to play it.
Unlike most sports/games, there is no difference between practicing and performing in poker. Every session is a performance and every session is also a practice session. We can learn from each and everyone one of them. The journey is never-ending, and that’s the beauty of it!
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!
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