The Tsunami

Strategize. Optimize. Pulverize.


Interesting No-Limit Hold’em Tourney Spot: MP + FD + Monotone Flop = ?

Evelyn and I are still settling into the new place. I finally unpacked my video games, and I introduced Evelyn to Duck Hunt for the original NES. (Yeah, I still own an original NES…and it still works thanks to the replacement 72-pin connector that I installed a few years ago). We also hosted some friends from CA for two fun-filled days of board games and (of course) some poker.

Sunday night, Evelyn and I checked out the holiday display at the Bellagio. This year, their display features huge polar bears, a gigantic Christmas tree, and some realistic looking flying reindeer (as realistic as flying reindeer can look…). I know not everyone is into that sort of thing, but Evelyn and I certainly enjoyed it. For dessert, we got some gelato at Jean-Phillippe Patisserie. We chose pistachio since they didn’t have a full serving of banana-nut available. But at least we got to sample their remaining banana-nut. Both flavors are very good…definitely treat yourself next time you’re at the Bellagio!

I’m going to present analysis of a hand referenced in my last blog post. However, I’d first like to make a major announcement. Last night, I made a random visit to as I sometimes do to keep up with the crazy world we live in. Apparently, we have no reason to worry about anything anymore. Last night’s visit to was proof that we now live in a utopian society. Why? Because this was the biggest story on the homepage (where biggest is measured by the piece of news taking up the largest number of pixels):

Chris Brown kills Twitter account after claim of album ‘blackballing’

No more wars!? No economic crisis!? No deadly diseases!? No impending natural catastrophes!? Wow! I know that I’m capable of falling off the face of the Earth for a few days, but I was shocked to learn that things had changed so dramatically over the span of my move from So. Cal. to Vegas to make this the most pressing item of news. Oh wait…nothing has changed. Mainstream media’s messed up priorities are, sadly, a perfect mirror of society itself. To CNN, I proudly present a KillerEV WTF Award.

Don’t worry, Chris Brown. You get one too. My book, Killer Poker by the Numbers, belongs on the bookshelf of every serious poker player, but I don’t go on a tirade about getting blackballed by Barnes and Noble or Borders if a store doesn’t happen to have it in stock. Get over yourself! To your credit though, I have respect for your ability to make music popular enough to sell about 100,000 albums in a week despite the PR hole you dug yourself in! (at this time, I’ll note that I’ve been on a bit of a late 80s/early 90s rock kick the past few days…I’m listening to some classic Winger and Warrant as I’m writing this blog post)

Alright…that’s enough social commentary for one evening. Here’s some interesting analysis of a hand that I recently misplayed thanks to what amounted to what was probably a very slight miscalculation.

The Situation

6-max MTT: SB = 300; BB = 600; Antes = 75; The average stack at this point was around 15K, and I think we were getting close to the bubble…something around 20% of the field remaining…but I don’t remember. (It doesn’t really matter too much anyway since the payout structure was so top-heavy that I’m pretty much going with any move that’s positive with respect to chip EV (cEV) at this point).

The Tsunami (21,882) [7d 7h]
CO (12,730) [Qs Ad]
B (12,388)
SB (20,640)
BB (17,490), is sitting out
UTG (10,792), is sitting out
*** PREFLOP ***
UTG folds
CO-1 (The Tsunami) raises to 1,500
CO calls 1,500
B folds
SB folds
BB folds
*** FLOP *** [3h 6h Qh] (Pot = T4,350)
The Tsunami checks
CO bets 1,800
The Tsunami raises to 20,307, and is all in
CO calls 9,355, and is all in
*** TURN *** [3h 6h Qh] [7c]
*** RIVER *** [3h 6h Qh 7c] [5c]

Here’s the pertinent Poker Tracker 3 data I had from my heads-up display (HUD). CO had a VPIP of 17%, a preflop raise percentage PFR of 8%, a call preflop raise percentage (CPR) of 14% (4/29), and a 3-bet preflop percentage of 4% (1/27) after 72 hands. His fold to flop bet percentage was 100% (7/7), and his fold to flop continuation bet percentage was 100% (2/2). His flop aggression frequency (FAFq) was only 18.18%, but his flop aggression factor (FAF) was 100%.

The Analysis

Preflop, I have 77, which I’m typically open raising from any position at a 6-handed table. As a general note, I’m effectively somewhere between CO and CO-1 here because BB is sitting out. The positional promotion isn’t a full position because the player sitting out was one of the blinds instead of one of the players with position on me. But still, I’m raising a tad bit lighter here (maybe about 2% more hands) than I normally would.

I open to 2.5bb instead of 3bb because opening to 3bb makes it easier for the players remaining to act to 3-bet ship given their stacks. Furthermore, from the exploitative point of view, opening to 2.5bb here simply carries just about as much fold equity as opening to 3bb. I want the ability to open with a fairly wide range of hands, so opening to 2.5bb means that I don’t have to be successful as often with my pure steals because of more favorable pot odds.

Though my position is promoted slightly by the BB’s absence, I don’t rely on the actual CO player who flatted my raise to be aware of this. His likely perspective is that I’m opening from CO-1, which means that his calling distribution is probably a bit tighter than it would have been had I opened from CO. However, with his preflop stats, he’s only slightly basing his calling distribution on his opponent’s position. When CO flats me, I put him on something like {JJ-55, AQ-AT, KQ, AK?}. AK is a ? because this player may have 3-bet AK, but I’m inclined to think that this player would flat AK here.

All right, that was the easy part of the hand. The really interesting part of this hand is the postflop play given that the flop was [3h 6h Qh]. The pot is T4,350, and the effective stack depth is T11,115. I have middle pair + a medicore flush draw on a monotone flop. If I lead, I probably get raised by {AdK, AdJ, AdT, AQ, KQ, 66}. I think that I might get flatted by {JJ-77}, particularly {JhJ-8h8}, though it’s possible that this fit-or-fold player could somehow muster a shove with {JhJ-8h8}. If I lead T2,500 and CO shoves, I’d be facing a call of about T8,500 to win a pot of T18,000, and I’d need slightly less than 33% equity in the pot to justify calling. The on-the-fly estimates I should have made are something along these lines:

A.) {AhK(non-h), AhJ(non-h), AhT(non-h)} (9 combos): CO has 15-outs; I have about 45% equity
B.) {A(non-h)Q, K(non-h)Q} (18 combos): I have 11-outs; I have about 42% equity
C.) {AhQ, KQh} (6 combos): I have 2 outs; I have about 4% equity
D.) {AhKh, AhJh, AhTh} (3 combos): I have runner runner boat outs; I have about 0% equity
E.) {66} (3 combos): I have 9 outs against full house redraws; I have about 25% equity

I have about 43% equity against A + B. I have around 8% equity against C + D + E. The weighted average of (A + B) and (C + D + E) puts my equity at about 34%. But since my equity against the additional possibilities of {JhJ-8h8} is poor, I should fold to a shove. (According to 
href=”” target=”blank”>Poker Stove
, my actual equity here is 36.037% if {JhJ-8h8} not in CO’s distribution and 29.388% if {JhJ-8h8} is in CO’s distribution…fold would probably still be advised, but the decision is very close given knowledge of these exact equities and the uncertainty surrounding {JhJ-8h8})

My on-the-fly estimates while multitabling (9-tabling, I think) suggested that I was committed to calling a shove. Therefore, I figured that check-shoving had more value than leading since check-shoving would induce T2,500-T3,000 bluffs from hands that would simply fold to a lead. However, given that I wasn’t necessarily committed to calling a shove, leading T2,500 into the T4,350 pot with the intention of folding to a shove is, by far, the preferred play.

Note that was never any doubt about whether leading T2,500 would be profitable. CO puts chips in with 39 combinations. He folds {A(non-h)K, A(non-h)J, A(non-h)T, J(non-h)J(non-h)-8(non-h)8(non-h)} = 48 combinations. The pot odds make leading T2,500 immediately profitable (exact cEV for those who want to know = +T1279). The point isn’t taking any +cEV play though. The point is making the highest cEV play. It just so happened that I made a slight miscalculation that prompted me to take what was likely a suboptimal line. However, that’s what post-mortem analysis is for. Having looked at this situation in more depth, I can go into battle more prepared for the next time I encounter a similar situation.

Now that I’ve finished that poker analysis. It’s time for some more poker analysis. I’ve owed a coaching video to Poker Pwnage for way too long, and it’s time for me to fix that situation. Happy hunting at the tables!

May Your EV Always Be Positive!

Tony Guerrera (The Tsunami)


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