Elite high stakes poker pro Nick Petrangelo is back this week as he continues his sneak preview series for his Smash Live Cash course!
In this article/video, Nick will walk you through a multiway pot that happened in a massive stakes cash game at The Lodge Card Club.
The double straddle is on for this hand, making the blinds a staggering $100/$200/$400/$800! After recapping the action on each street, Nick will provide his overall analysis while focusing on some important concepts for playing in straddled pots preflop and multiway pots.
Let’s get started!
Multiway Clash in Massive Stakes Cash Game
Stacks of relevant players:
- Doug Polk (Big Blind): $35,200
- Ginge Poker (Straddle): $41,700
- Nick (Double Straddle): $148,000
- JD (UTG): $55,300
JD raises to $2,000 UTG with A♠ J♣. Doug calls in the Big Blind with Q♦ T♦. Ginge Poker calls in the straddle with K♣ 9♣. Nick calls in the double straddle with 9♥ 8♠.
The double straddle is on for this hand, which means that everyone’s stack sizes are going to be cut in half twice in terms of big blinds. Doug’s stack, for example, has shrunk from 175bb to less than 50bb.
Nick starts off his analysis by noting that everyone at the table should tighten their preflop ranges because of the shallower stacks.
JD makes a standard open with Ace-Jack offsuit and his 2.5x sizing is good.
Back to Doug, who should mostly 3-bet with a hand like Queen-Ten suited, but calling is fine. Doug is likely going to be incorporating more calls in this spot in general (as he should) given that most live opponents don’t squeeze from the straddle nearly enough. That said, Nick still prefers a 3-bet most of the time with this hand.
Ginge has the perfect hand (K9-suited) with which to call in the straddle. K9-suited can be a good bluffing hand from some positions, but with shallow stacks and another straddle behind, this isn’t an ideal hand to squeeze with. Calling is profitable enough.
Nick’s offsuit connector is weak, but he has a few things going for him. He’s getting a good price to call in the double straddle and is in position vs two of his opponents. Thus, calling is reasonable.
Let’s head to the flop!
The flop comes K♦ T♥ 9♦. There is $8,100 in the pot.
All players check.
An action flop where every player has a piece!
- Doug flops middle pair and a combo draw with his Q♦ T♦
- Ginge flops two pair with K♣ 9♣
- Nick flops a weak bottom pair with 9♥ 8♠
- JD flops a gutshot straight draw and overcard with A♠ J♣
The flop checks around to JD who is the in-position preflop raiser. JD quickly checks, which makes Nick think that JD didn’t consider that his Ace-Jack is a reasonable hand with which to bet here.
In general, you should reduce your c-betting frequency when more players are in the pot. But you shouldn’t play poker based on general rules. Let’s get specific.
Nick pulls up a multiway solver for JD’s spot:
This shows that JD’s range connects very well with this board, and there are many strong value hands and high equity bluffs with which he can bet. Ace-Jack offsuit, in this case, is a hand that should be bet every single time, and Nick prefers using a a very small size (10-15% pot).
Small bets can be a very powerful weapon in multiway pots. In this case, even versus a tiny bet, the out of position players will have a tough time defending properly.
The turn comes 4♣, making the board (K♦ T♥ 9♦) 4♣. There is $8,100 in the pot.
Doug bets $5,500. Ginge calls. Nick folds. JD folds.
On this brick turn, Nick explains that Doug has a great betting hand. The solver mixes Q♦ T♦ between bet and check, but…
Because the players in the straddles likely have wider preflop ranges than the solver (which plays fairly tight preflop), Doug should feel a greater incentive to bet. Those wider ranges he’s likely up against don’t connect on boards like this as often as a solver range would, meaning he’ll get a lot more folds and possibly even calls from worse hands.
(If you play in low stakes live games, you may want to read that last paragraph again. It’s a key takeaway for how to adjust against the looser preflop ranges of players in your games.)
Ginge makes a smart play by just calling with K♣ 9♣ and not going for a thin value raise. Doug has a very narrow range when betting into 3 opponents, especially when he uses this big size (70% pot). Ginge, therefore, wants to only raise with the strongest hands in his value range (mostly QJ) along with some strong draws. K♣ 9♣, meanwhile, fits perfectly into the just calling category.
The river comes 8♦, making the final board (K♦ T♥ 9♦ 4♣) 8♦. There is $19,100 in the pot.
Doug bets $6,000. Ginge folds.
Doug has a lot of viable options for extracting value with his newfound flush. The trouble is that Ginge is a really smart player and is going to be playing cautiously given how Doug played the turn. Hear from Nick himself:
It’s just incredibly hard for Doug to have bluffs here. He would have had to not 3-bet a hand like AJ-offsuit with a diamond, then bet 70% pot into 3 people on the turn, and would then have to follow through with the bluff on the river.
Doug goes for a small value bet (which is the best size given how few bluffs he has) and Ginge snap folds. In theory, K9 is a GTO call here, but Nick notes that Ginge is probably aware that even a capable player like Doug likely isn’t finding enough bluffs in this spot to warrant a lot of marginal calls.
Another option for Doug is to check, which may induce thin value bets (and perhaps some bluffs) from Ginge. Then Doug could check-raise to go for max value, hoping to get called by a hand like 7♦ 6♦.
Wrapping things up, Nick thinks both Doug and Ginge played their hands really well. The only potential adjustment that stands out to Nick is Doug’s river play.
But what do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.