Here are the answers and explanations from our toughest question quiz.
Question #1 (39.1% Correct)
Reads: Martinez is a recreational player who got a free buy-in into the game.
Pokerstars Big Game $200/$400.
Phil Hellmuth is in the hijack with A♦ 9♣
Martinez (LJ) raises to $1,300. Hellmuth calls. Minieri (CO) calls. Bill Perkins (BB) calls.
Flop ($6,000): 8♦ 7♣ 4♦
Perkins checks. Martinez checks. Hellmuth…?
🔲 Bets $1,500
🔲 Bets $4,000
Phil’s hand is very weak, holding only 2 overcards and the nut backdoor flush draw. He should absolutely check given that there is still a player left to act (whose range heavily interacts with this board) and that the Big Blind can still have all the straights, two-pairs and sets in his range.
Results: Hellmuth triple barreled on a T turn and a brick river and Martinez called down with T9o.
Live $1/$2. 8-Handed. Effective Stacks $200.
Hero is in the BB with 5♦ 5♣
UTG+1 raises to $8. Lojack calls. Button calls. SB calls. Hero…?
Pocket pairs perform excellently in multiway pots because they are very easy to play correctly postflop. When you hit the set, you will generally lean towards raising depending on the exact board texture. When you miss, you will almost always have to fold your hand.
Additionally, these types of holdings have very good implied odds since sets are very strong, disguised hands.
5 Players Remain in a Tournament with a Top-Heavy Payout Structure (already in the money). Blinds 1,400/2,800 with antes.
You are dealt K♦ 9♦ on the button.
Cutoff raises to 5,600. What’s your play?
Chun Lei Zhou (big blind) – 53,300
ImLividBuddy (small blind) – 63,000
oivens22 (you) – 51,600
LuckyChewyFan69 (cutoff) – 166,400
MiMosa1 (hijack) – 188,400
Here’s what Nick Petrangelo had to say about this one in his course High Stakes MTT Sessions:
He’s probably substantially wider than normal here, even though there are some re-jam stacks, since he covers us all by so much. I think K9s is a great candidate to jam here. I’d also be jamming a bunch of suited tens too like 9Ts, JTs, QTs.
I don’t want to do a ton of flatting here. I have a pretty substantial premium on trying to win without showdown. I’m too short to build a linear tight-aggressive 3-bet fold range, so I think I just have to jam.
Online $0.50/$1.00. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $100.
Hero is on the Button with 6♣ 6♠
Hero raises to $2.50. BB 3-Bets to $10.25. Hero Calls.
Flop ($21): T♣ T♦ 5♠
BB bets $6. Hero calls.
Turn ($33): 2♣
BB checks. Hero…?
This check on the turn from the Big Blind likely means he’s giving up, but almost every hand in his range has two overcards to your 66. Therefore the best play is to bet small to deny equity and possibly get value (from a hand like A5s).
Live $1/$3. 9-Handed. Effective Stacks $300.
Hero is on the button with K♥ T♣
UTG folds. UTG+1 limps. UTG+2 folds. Lojack folds. Middle Position calls. Hero…?
This hand simply isn’t strong enough to raise, even if we had the read that both limpers are playing very wide ranges preflop.
The fact that there are still 2 players left to act behind us, as well as two limpers that aren’t likely to fold to a raise, means that a raise is unlikely to take the pot down right away or get heads-up against one of the limpers. Having said that, our hand is too strong to fold in this position. For these reasons, over-limping is the best option.
Online $1/$2. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $200.
Hero is on the BU with A♠ A♣
3 folds. Hero raises to $5. SB folds. BB calls.
Flop ($11.00): J♠ J♥ 7♣
BB checks. Hero c-bets $4. BB calls.
Turn ($19.00): 5♥
BB checks. Hero…?
Our hand can comfortably bet only one more street of value. So, do we bet on the turn or check back and go for a bet on the river? In this case, the answer is to check back so we can bluff-catch or make a delayed c-bet on the river.
Unlike lower overpairs, there are no overcards that can come on the river, so we can comfortably check back and allow our opponent to see a free card. Additionally, having two aces makes it significantly less likely our opponent has ace-high, which means he’s more likely to have a hand that will bet into us on the river (like a missed gutshot or a medium-strength value hand).
Checking back also gives our opponent the chance to hit a second-best hand on the river that will put in an extra bet (like if he has KT and the river is a K).
Online $5/$10. 6-Handed. Effective Stacks $1000.
Hero is in the Big Blind with T♣ 7♣.
Button raises to $25. Only Hero calls.
Flop ($55.00): J♦ 9♥ 6♠
Hero checks. Button bets $20. Hero calls.
Turn ($95.00): K♣
Hero checks. Button bets $70. Hero…?
This drawing hand is not strong enough to call against a double barrel since it doesn’t have any showdown value.
However, folding is on the tight side because we have 8 outs to improve to a straight and we block the button’s most likely straight (QT). Folding isn’t a mistake, but by raising we will force folds from many better hands such as K♦ 7♦ or ATo.
The factors above combined with the fact that most players over-fold versus aggression makes this hand a great check-raising candidate.
You are playing a $300 tournament at the Aria in Las Vegas. It is the very first hand of the tournament, the starting stack is 150 big blinds, and there are no antes in play. What’s the worst pocket pair you would raise with from UTG (9-handed)?
🔲 22 or 33
🔲 44 or 55
✅ 66 or 77
🔲 None. I would limp some of all of these hands.
You have to play fairly tight from UTG in tournaments, especially pre-ante because there are less chips in the pot that you are competing for, which hurts your pot odds. Additionally, opening too many hands leaves you vulnerable to 3-bets with so many opponents still left to act.
Put simply, 77 and 66 are the worst pocket pairs you should open in this spot by default. But if you play a few orbits and realize the table is very soft, you can start raising 55 and 44 as well. If the table is extremely soft, you can even get away with open-limping (because weak players won’t punish you for it).
The money bubble just burst in a $1,500 WSOP event. You are playing 9-handed with antes and your stack is 30 big blinds (bb).
You raise to 2.5bb on the button and the small blind (an aggressive pro) 3-bets to 8bb. Which hand should 4-bet shove at the highest frequency?
🔲 A♠ T♦
✅ 4♠ 4♥
🔲 T♣ 9♣
4-bet shoving 4♠ 4♥ and other pairs is very profitable in this situation. The small blind will be forced to fold all of his 3-bet bluffs, which have a lot of equity versus your hand. When the small blind does call, you will be flipping most of the time.
When 4-bet shoving, you want to focus most on your hand’s equity when called rather than its blocker effects. [A♠],[T♦] has great blockers — making it less likely the small blind holds AA, AK, AQ, or TT — but is in terrible shape when called.
You shouldn’t want to call with too many hands versus a 3-bet for such a large portion of your stack, but T9s is the perfect candidate. You should call and take a flop in position with this one.
On what street is the minimum defense frequency (MDF) concept most relevant?
By the river, barring dramatic board texture shifts, both players’ ranges have taken a sufficient number of actions to become quite competitive with one another. When fewer asymmetries exist between ranges, and fewer betting rounds remain, players should defend much more closely to MDF compared to when more asymmetries exist and more betting rounds remain.
(In other words, the player with a range disadvantage should usually over-fold compared to the MDF on the flop and turn to make their range more competitive by the river, when the pot is at its largest.)
MDF is a complex concept that you can learn more about here.
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