This was one of the sickest hands I have ever seen on a poker live stream.
In the hand from Hustler Casino Live, popular poker vlogger Mariano flopped a straight flush vs stream regular Andy’s nut flush.
The stakes are $100/$200 with a $200 big blind ante. The stacks are insanely deep with over $300,000 effective between the two.
Obviously this hand is a mega cooler, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth analyzing.
Let’s dive straight into the action!
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Mariano raises to $500 from UTG with . Charles 3-bets to $2,000 with from the Button. Andy cold-calls from the Big Blind with . Mariano 4-bets to $9,000. Charles calls. Andy calls.
Mariano should be looking to raise with a pretty snug range from the earliest positon. He can profitably play the top 15% of hands with the ante being in play, and KT-suited is definitely good enough. His overall raising range should roughly be 55+, 65s+, A4s+, K9s+, QTs+, KQo, AQo+. His sizing is also good, giving himself good odds to win the pot outright.
Charles’ 3-bet with 87-suited from the Button is definitely on the loose side. It’s okay to do at some frequency, but overall I’d prefer to see him just call. It is a decently strong hand with great playability that, when playing 100bb deep, doesn’t suffer too much from reverse implied odds (due to not being dominated too often in 3-bet pots).
That being said, given that they are playing extremely deep, the reverse implied odds shoot up greatly. Low suited connectors can get into flush vs flush scenarios for hundreds of big blinds once he increases the pot size. His 3-bet sizing is a bit too big, but nothing crazy. We generally want to 3-bet a bit smaller to put the open-raiser in a tough spot with a lot of his range.
Andy’s cold-call with A4-suited is not the highest expected value (EV) line. Usually, we should only cold 4-bet and never call in these scenarios. This is because when we cold call, we run the risk of facing a re-raise by the original raiser. Plus, we don’t get any fold equity, have poor pot odds, and have to play out of position against the 3-bettor. This is compounded by the fact that they are playing 1500 blinds deep.
It is understandable why he would be enticed by cold-calling, though, because:
- The pot odds are not horrendous (needing around 38% realized equity)
- He has a hand with great nut potential having the option to make the nut straight and nut flushes while being 1500 big blinds deep
Mariano’s 4-bet is very good here. He has a hand with good blockers to strong hands, good playability, and second-nut potential. Cold-calling here and playing sandwiched between Charles and Andy would be an awful experience postflop since both bluffing and value-betting would be difficult. Aggression is the better option.
Charles’ decision to call with 87-suited is probably the worst decision out of all so far. He is up against two strong ranges, with a hand that is likely way behind and that can now suffer great reverse implied odds when the money goes in (due to flush vs flush scenarios). Despite his dominant position, he can fold.
Facing this 4-bet, as played, Andy can either call or fold. We shouldn’t be in this spot, but now that we’re here, both options are reasonable.
The flop comes . The pot is $27,300.
Andy checks. Mariano checks. Charles checks.
An insane flop gives Mariano a straight flush and Andy the nut flush. Charles has nothing.
While both Mariano and Andy are thrilled to see this flop, on monotone flops in general, not many hands are happy with where they’re at, or where they might be going.
Flushes are happy to pile money in, but they are few and far between given that the Q-high and J-high flushes are blocked. Flopped sets are vulnerable to the 4-straight or 4-flush coming in very frequently on the turn or river. Two pairs are afraid of the board pairing the 9 on top of the other bad runouts discussed above. The list goes on.
This is why we generally see a lot of passivity on monotone boards, and rightly so.
Andy’s best option with his hand is to check and see if either player wants to put money into the pot. He is not afraid of giving away free cards due to his hand being close to invulnerable. Whatever turn comes, except for the 4th flush card, he is happy because he has an extra chance to stack a lower flush, set, or a straight.
Mariano is in the same position as Andy. He doesn’t care about giving free cards. They simply increase the odds that he gets more money from a weak hand that improves on the turn. The difference is that he has the stone-cold nuts and will have the best hand on any possible runout.
Charles has a very weak hand and should clearly check. He can never bet here without any chance of improving to win the hand.
The turn comes the , making the board . The pot is $27,300.
Andy checks. Mariano bets $8,000. Charles folds. Andy raises to $35,000. Mariano calls.
The turn is a brick that couldn’t have improved any player.
Andy thinks that he has the nuts so there is no incentive to bet right now. He banks on Mariano doing the betting for him with sets and two pairs, giving him the option to exponentially increase the pot size through check-raising. I like his play.
Mariano bets because he needs to start building the pot with the nuts. Charles is extremely unlikely to start betting after missing his betting opportunity on the flop, so there’s no reason to check to him
Charles makes the easy fold and now Andy has a clear check-raise for value. He wants to pump money into the pot against the sets as they still have a chance to outdraw him.
Mariano’s call is great. If Andy is check-raise bluffing with a hand such as , then it’s best to give him the option to fire on blank rivers or improve to the nut flush and stack him. If he 3-bets, then Andy might fold some of his weaker hands and bluffs.
The river is the , making the final board . The pot is $97,300.
Andy overbets $120,000. Mariano shoves for an extra $137,000. Andy calls. Mariano scoops the $610,000 pot.
The river isn’t great for either player’s hand. Andy now has a 0% chance of stacking a set or a straight. Mariano has reduced chances of getting the entire stack of Andy if he is willing to fold the nut flush against a raise. A potential action killer.
That being said, Andy chooses to overbet which is a suboptimal size here. This size is not a great choice because, in theory, his range is either a nut flush or a bluff with no blockers. And against this size, Mariano isn’t obligated to call with anything worse than the nut flush.
Not only is this true in theory, but also in practice. Consider that if Mariano had the second nut flush, it would still be very difficult to call. Thus, Andy loses a lot of value. A better size would be anything smaller — as small as 25% of the pot, which has a much higher chance of getting called by the second nut flush (a hand such as or ).
Mariano has no option but to shove as he holds the pure nuts.
Andy makes a huge error here by calling — and he does it quickly. The likelihood that any decent player will shove enough bluffs in this spot must be extremely close to 0%. Although being in an extremely rare scenario, it is still possible to make a disciplined laydown with the here.
Minus some preflop looseness, I think the hand was played decently well by all parties up to the river. But as usual, the river is by far the hardest street to play well so we are expecting to see a lot of inaccuracies here. Sadly for Andy, this was, in my opinion, a huge blunder.
That being said, as I usually say at the end of these breakdowns, we are all human and mistakes at the table are inevitable. Perhaps even more so under the bright lights of the world’s biggest poker show.
That’s all for this breakdown! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned something new from it! If you have any other hands you’d like me to review just leave a comment down below and I’ll do my best!
Want more? Read this next: Phil Ivey Plays $248,000 Pot vs Eric Persson (Analysis)
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
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