fking idiot jungle

Nik Airball Puts Jungleman On MEGA TILT ($199,800 Pot Analysis)

One of the most polarizing figures in poker, Nik Airball, battled in a huge pot against one of the greatest players of all-time in Dan “Jungleman” Cates.

This hand made the rounds on social media and YouTube because of the reaction of one of the players at the end (don’t worry, I’ll include a link so you can watch it). But there hasn’t been much strategic analysis from what I’ve seen.

It took place on a $200/$400 live stream with a $400 ante and $800 straddle at The Lodge Card Club. The effective stack between the two was around $145,000.

Let’s jump into the action!

Preflop Action

Airball raises to $2,000 from the Lojack with . Jungleman 3-bets with to $8,000 from the Hijack. Airball calls.

Preflop Analysis

Nik Airball should be opening with around the top 20% of hands given his position, the presence of the ante, and the straddle.

86-suited is slightly too weak to raise from this position, but not by much. His sizing was good — 2.5x the straddle is appropriate in this scenario.

Jungleman’s decision to 3-bet with Ace-Queen offsuit is optimal, but his sizing could be a bit smaller to put more pressure on the middling part of Airball’s range. That being said, given that Airball ultimately calls with 86-suited, Jungleman’s size is actually better than the theoretically optimal size since Airball calls too wide.

While Airball’s initial raise wasn’t too bad, calling a large 3-bet out of position with 86-suited in this preflop scenario is far too loose. He simply won’t be able to realize enough of his equity and even suffers from reverse implied odds too often, especially when playing roughly 180 straddles deep.

Note: Look up 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 Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of six sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.

Flop Action

The flop comes  and the pot is $17,800.

Airball checks. Jungleman c-bet $6,000. Airball check-raises to $16,000. Jungleman calls.

Flop Analysis

This is the type of flop that Jungleman doesn’t want to see as it neutralizes his range advantage. On this flop, Jungleman’s range is high-card heavy while Airball’s is more condensed towards having a made hand.

Furthermore, Jungleman does not have the nut advantage. These two factors make him want to play a more polarized strategy.

His bet size is correct due to the smaller stack-to-pot ratio (SPR), but betting with this hand is a mistake. He should choose to bet Ace-Queen offsuit with a diamond so that it can withstand a check-raise and continue betting on the turn when the diamond hits.

Airball’s check-raise is very good and I like his sizing as well. His range wants to prevent exactly the type of hands that Jungleman has from being able to bet small profitably. By check-raising, Airball doesn’t allow Jungleman to “buy” two cards (the turn and the river) with just a cheap bluff on the flop.

Faced with the check-raise, Jungleman makes a very loose call. His hand doesn’t have enough equity or implied odds to call profitably. Maybe he had devious thoughts in mind for the hand.

Turn Action

The turn comes the , making the board . The pot is $49,800.

Airball checks. Jungleman checks.

Turn Analysis

The is one of the worst turns for Airball’s range. Yes, he makes a flush. But Jungleman’s range has improved disproportionately due to him hitting a bunch of top pairs.

Airball’s decision to check is the correct play. His overall approach should be more defensive, including a lot of flushes into his checking range in order to protect the rest of his weaker one-pair hands.

Faced with a check, Jungleman should look to capitalize on this increase in equity by making a small bet. His range should do this at a high frequency, and his specific hand should always do this.

The goal with a bet is to make Airball fold a lot of one-pair hands. Should he bet and face another check-raise, it’s an easy fold with his top pair. It’s not really a value bet or a bluff; it’s a bet designed to enhance his equity realization.

River Action

The river comes the , making the final board   . The pot is $49,800.

Airball bets $75,000.

River Analysis

The river helps Jungleman’s range more than Airball’s. This happens because Jungleman now improves both Ace-Queen and Pocket Queens to two pair and a set respectively, while none of Airball’s hands improve.

Due to this fact, Airball should play a very passive strategy, but he shouldn’t slow-play his flushes. Overbetting here with his flush is very likely to be the best line.

As played, Jungleman can’t do anything but call with his top two pair given that he is blocking some of Airball’s sets and two pairs. He is hoping to catch Airball bluffing hands such as Pocket Sixes or Pocket Fives with a diamond. 


Jungleman calls and loses the $199,800 pot.

Here was his reaction:

Play had to be paused for several minutes (lol) until the chips could all be accounted for.

Final Thoughts

Even the best players make mistakes, and this one certainly cost Jungleman a lot of money. But no one can play perfectly all the time.

That’s it for this article! If you enjoyed it or you have some questions make sure to leave a comment down below and I’ll do my best to reply!

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

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About the Author
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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