Let’s examine a nasty hand between Upswing Poker founder Doug Polk and professional poker player/vlogger Andrew Neeme.
The two friends clash with big hands in a massive pot while playing in a cash game at The Lodge Card Club in Austin, Texas.
Let’s dive into this doozy.
The blinds are $5/$10/$20 with a $20 big blind ante. Doug starts the hand with a $5,800 stack, which Andrew covers.
Andrew opens it up to $75 from the Cutoff with T♥ T♦. Doug 3-bets from the Big Blind to $375 with 7♣ 6♣. Andrew calls.
Andrew should be open-raising with about the top 30% of hands from the Cutoff given the presence of the ante. Pocket Tens is obviously well within the top 30% of hands.
As far as raise sizing goes, Andrew opted to go a bit bigger than I’d recommend. In theory, the best preflop raise size at this stack depth is something between 2-3 big blinds, which forces the Big Blind to defend with a bunch of marginal hands that are difficult to play. When you make it 3.75 big blinds, the Big Blind can play a very tight range and still be doing great. Perhaps Andrew had a reason for juicing up his size here.
Faced with the open, Doug should be looking to 3-bet with a bunch of hands (around the top 10% of hands), more than he would if the raise size was smaller. This happens because he is getting worse pot odds to call.
When this happens, hands such as 76s, which would usually play both as a call and a 3-bet at certain frequencies, now prefer to 3-bet due to having a lower expected value (EV) flat. Sizing-wise, Doug makes a good decision to make it around 5 times Andrew’s open-raise because an ante is involved. With the ante, he needs to make life hard for a lot of Andrew’s hands.
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The flop comes 9♥ 5♥ 2♠ and the pot is $795.
Doug (7♣ 6♣) bets $275. Andrew (T♥ T♦) calls.
On this particular board texture, Doug could generate more expected value (EV) with a bigger bet. Something like $400-$600 (with a very high frequency) would simply make more money than this smaller bet.
A larger c-bet size would punish a lot of Andrew’s two overcards plus backdoor draws type of hands (of which he has a lot). When Doug bets so small, Andrew has an easy (and profitable) call with those hands, thus realizing more equity (at Doug’s expense).
Andrew’s call is good. He needs to defend with a very wide range like I was saying earlier (around 80% of his get-to-flop range). His overpair is clearly strong enough to call, and raising wouldn’t make much sense against Doug’s relatively strong range.
The turn comes the 8♦, making the board (9♥ 5♥ 2♠) 8♦. The pot is $1,300.
Doug (7♣ 6♣) fires a double barrel of $875. Andrew (T♥ T♦) calls.
The turn 8♦ is (obviously) awesome for Doug’s hand, but it’s actually a below average card for his range. His entire range of hands would much prefer to see a 2, 5, T, J, Q, K, or Ace fall on the turn.
Crucially, this card completely misses most of Doug’s bluffs from the flop (overcards, flush draws, and wheel draws). Meanwhile, a good chunk of his range is medium-strength (such as TT, T9s, 87s, 65s, and A5s). This dynamic forces Doug to play a more defensive/passive strategy which involves checking with many strong hands in order to protect the medium-strength hands.
I point that out to say this…
Checking with the intention to check-raise with a hand such as 76s can be a nice play here. Doug went for the bet, which is also completely fine, and he used an appropriately large size given that his range contains a lot of hands that want to get that value and a lot of bluffs to choose from.
Andrew’s call is correct, but it’s worth noting that (at equilibrium) it’s a mixed decision between calling and folding (according to PioSolver).
The river comes the T♣, making the board (9♥ 5♥ 2♠ 8♦) T♣. The pot is $3,100.
Doug (7♣ 6♣) fires a small third barrel of $900. Andrew (T♥ T♦) thinks for a bit and shoves for the remainder of Doug’s stack (he got him covered) for another $3,400. Doug snap calls.
What a sick river.
The T♣ is amazing for Doug’s range. He should be betting around half the pot due to his range composition, the heart of which is strong overpairs (AA/KK/QQ).
Doug’s overpairs still want to get value, but he needs to choose a size that allows Andrew to call with worse. A block size of around 33% of the pot is a reasonable play, but I think a slightly larger size (50% pot/$1550)would generate more EV.
With top set, Andrew should only be thinking about Vegas and the Mirage at this point, especially when he sees such a small bet. Not raising here would be criminal, given how frequently Doug is supposed to bet-call here with his overpairs.
The thinnest hand that Andrew should consider raising for value is T9s. But, unfortunately for Andrew, his value-jam is snap-called by a stronger hand.
Video of the Hand
In case you wanna look for live tells or see the reaction after showdown, here’s the hand from The Lodge Live YouTube channel (hand starts at 57:53):
This hand was played decently well by both parties. Even though small bet sizing mistakes were made by both Doug and Andrew, the lines that they took made sense.
The river was the best possible card for Andrew’s hand, but it was still not good enough. That’s the cruel part about poker sometimes. You just have to toughen up and keep going!
That’s all for this one! I hope you learned something new from the analysis. As usual, if you have any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comment section down below!
Want more hand analysis from The Lodge? Check out Doug Polk Flops Broadway vs a Set (Analysis).
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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