C8C #15 – Range Deconstruction

Hello there. Welcome to the Cre8ive Coaching Newsletter. Here is your weekly serving of poker related knowledge regarding on or off the table topics.

This week, a cash game hand is discussed, where the turn gives us more outs but the size of the pot and our opponents’ range must be considered and deconstructed.

Tristan’s Topic Today:

Today’s hand comes from a 2-5 No-Limit Holdem game in West Palm Beach, Florida at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. I’m playing 200bbs deep and isolate an early position limper from the lojack position to 25 with Kd-Qd. The hijack calls 25 (600 stack), button calls (300), and the initial limper calls another 20 (700.)

The flop lands Ks Th 6d. The limper checks, I bet 55 into a pot of 100 ($7 rake taken, $2 going towards the bad beat jackpot) with top pair, second best kicker. The hijack and button both call.

The turn is the Ad. Everyone checks.

The river is the 6h.

The final board reads Ks Th 6d Ad 6h. I check, the hijack bets 200. The button folds, I think for a bit and fold as well.

Let’s dissect the most interesting street in this hand: the turn. What makes this spot difficult is the depth of the stacks and the size of the pot. There is now $265 in the middle with one player having 75% of that in front of them and another with roughly 2x the size of the pot.

I have great with my hand, but my flopped top pair is not as valuable since the ace trumps it and a straight gets there. I don’t mind betting and gambling in a spot where I might have the equity advantage against the short stack, but I would likely be a 3-1 dog against most of the hands the big stack moves all in over my bet with. This is why checked the turn. I can react to what the hijack or button do, without planing on folding.

The hijack is a solid player. His flop range includes AK, AQ, AJ, ATs, KQ, KJs, KTs, QJs, JTs, T9s, T8s, 89s, TT, 66. Possibly JJ, Q9s, J9s, 78s but maybe not, since JJ might 3bet and these straights aren’t drawing to the nuts.

The button’s range is a little looser, but they haven’t been caught bluffing their stack at any point in the session. They were careful and content getting to showdowns. It is unlikely they have a strong hand here because they would move all in on the flop or draw heavy turn. No reason to slow play a hand for them at this point.

Had the hijack bet the turn, they would either be betting enough to put the button all in, or priced into calling the all in. That range would be strong, since they are betting into me as well, on a well connected board. They could also check the nuts, or two pair/set in this spot, since the broadway straight has fallen and to slow play their hand.

Considering all these things, my KQ becomes a bluff catcher against the hijack’s $200 bet on the river. The board has also improved for an ace, reading aces and sixes with a king kicker. It is less likely the hijack is bluffing with short stack behind them (albeit with a weakened range) because my range remains strong. I hold hands both my opponents can’t have, such as AA/KK/QJ, T6s, K6s, A6s, along with others they will have. Also, I can put either player all in if they bet. That should be somewhat intimidating.

Making accurate assumptions of our opponents and calculated decisions is what poker is all about. Take time to think through the big spots when playing for stacks. Good luck at the tables.

“To get anywhere, or even to live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer.” – Robert Heinlein