The Tsunami

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Flop Texture Matters: hotjenny314 and I Throw Down at the MGM!

Saturday 6/26 was a day of nonstop adventure with Team Moshman. The day began with ATVing in the desert. It ended with some $1-$2 no-limit hold’em cash game action at the MGM. Of my 9 opponents at the table, 3 of them were Team Moshman members, but the rest of the table was exploitable enough where I had the benefit of being at a table that was fun and +$EV. Unfortunately, I was dealt my big money hand (AA) when Team Moshman member hotjenny314 decided to get “rowdy, rowdy, bout it, bout it.” Fortunately, the hand that occurred gave me an interesting situation to blog about (yeah, I guess there’s no shortage of things for me to talk about, but it’s sometimes nice to have reminders).

If I recall correctly, hotjenny314 and I both had about $200 at the start of the hand (I’ll do some analysis for varying effective stacks at the end of the post, so if I got the effective stack wrong here, it won’t matter too much). She raised UTG or UTG+1 to $10 (if that seems like a lot, it’s not out of the question given how easy it is to go to value town against a lot of live $1-$2 no-limit hold’em players). Action folds to me, and I’m in early middle position with AA. I bump it up to $25, and action folds around back to hotjenny314. She thinks for a moment, and she makes some gesture towards her chips leading me to think that she’s going to 4-bet. Instead, she flats.

To tell the truth, I think the physical tell had limited value even though it did weigh into a decision later in the hand. A good player in hotjenny314’s position is capable of flatting and 4-betting with pretty much the same range, and that range is going to be along the lines of {TT+, AK} because my range is very tight given my position and given the early position of the initial raiser. Given that hotjenny314 is a super baller, I had her on {TT+, AK} with a slight bias towards {QQ+, AK?} as a result of the physical tell.

Given the range I had hotjenny314 on, and given that I know she had me ranged on something like {AA-TT, AK, AQs}, the second worst possible flop for me fell: KQT. (I really wish I remembered suits here; all I recall is that the flop wasn’t monotone). To make things worse, hotjenny314 led $40. 1 AA combo for a chop; maybe 6 AK combos that I crush; and definitely 3 combos each of KK and QQ that crushed me made my decision pretty easy: it didn’t take me long to fold my AA. And while I don’t normally show hands, the friendly dynamic that existed as a result of Team Moshman members being at the table prompted me to show my hand. hotjenny314 replied in kind…showing me 32o (just joking, she showed me KK).

The moral of this hand is that it’s really important to consider flop texture in the context of hand ranges arising from preflop play. Of the 19,600 possible flops that can happen, the flops KQJ, KQT, KJT, and QJT make up only 256 of them (1.3%), and it just so happens that the OOP player on these flops in these 3-bet pots has an advantage. In fact, I think OOP might be correct to lead something more like $30 instead of $40 here on any KQJ, KQT, KJT, or QJT board regardless of hand. It’s just how it is.

Now, there’s just one caveat to this hand: stack size is really important. In fact, in thinking about this hand, not jamming may have been a mistake if I can confidently put AK and AA in hotjenny314’s range and even if I think she’ll fold AK and AA to a jam (if she’ll call with either of those holdings, then jamming is obviously correct).

Suppose effective stack on the flop is $X. Not accounting for the rake, there’s $93 in the pot on the flop. Accounting for the rake, there’s probably $89 in the pot. If I jam to $X, hotjenny’s range is {QQ, AK+}, and hotjenny314’s response is {Fold {AA, AK}; Call {KK, QQ}}, I have about 22.4% equity when called according to Poker Stove, and jamming becomes profitable when:

(7/13)($89 + X) + (6/13)(.224)($49 + 2X) > X X < $211.96

(I know I’m treating the flop in a vacuum, which I hate doing, but I think it’s acceptable to do so here since I need to maximize $EV across all possible flops and it’s obvious that I’m going to be playing AA preflop in the first place)

As long as the effective stacks going into the flop are less than $211.96, I should be jamming here if hotjenny314 is leading {QQ+, AK} with the intention of calling with KK-QQ. Did I make a fishy fold, or did I make a nice exploitative fold based on a perceived physical tell and the fact that I wasn’t quite sure if AK was even in her range in this situation? Regardless, I’d like to give a big thanks to Team Moshman for a fun Saturday last week and for giving me an interesting situation to blog about.

May Your EV Always Be Positive!

Tony Guerrera (The Tsunami)


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