Hand No. 1 with Dusty Schmidt

POKER STARS $3/$6 NO LIMIT HOLDEM $1.20 ANTE – 5 PLAYERS

This hand takes place at a deep-stacked $3/$6 table with antes. Because of the deep stacks and the extra ante money in the pot, the game plays more like a $5/$10 game than a regular $3/$6. The button in this hand is so aggressive and unpredictable that he’s capable of making a move at any time.

Dusty could 3-bet his suited ace-deuce, since it has good equity against the button’s range (52.6% equity against a

60% opening range) and plays well enough postflop. The plan would usually be not to go broke with just a single pair of aces, but against this erratic opponent that might be difficult. By just calling instead, Dusty has the opportunity to induce bluffs from his spastic opponent, but still semi- bluff when he picks up a draw.

The flop is good and gives Dusty about 76% equity against the button’s opening range. Leading out or check/ raising would knock out most of the button’s garbage hands that give Dusty such a big edge. This is a better spot to check/call, avoiding building a big pot with a marginal hand. Hopefully, the button will see this as weakness and try to push Dusty off his hand.

Dusty’s chances of making a strong hand go out the window when a diamond hits the turn. Ace-deuce has become a weak bluff catcher, and if the button bets, Dusty has to decide whether to call the turn and river or just give up right away.

The button checks back the turn, indicating that he holds a marginal made hand (e.g. a pair of sevens), or that he is surrendering with a hand that missed the board (e.g. queen-ten).

When the river comes down, Dusty doesn’t have a firm read on his erratic opponent’s range. While he probably has a marginal made hand, he could also hold a weak top pair that hated the turn. Since Dusty plans to call a river bet anyway, he decides to make one of his own. Instead of

checking and making a difficult decision, he’s put the onus on his opponent to figure out what’s going on.

When the button raises the minimum, it appears that Dusty is beat. Ace-eight, eight-seven, and pocket eights are the most likely hands. While it’s possible that the button is bluffing, it’s unlikely that bluffs make up 19% of his range, which is how often he’d have to be bluffing for Dusty to make a profitable call getting 4.35-to-1 odds.

Notably absent from the buttons range are flushes. It’s almost impossible that he checked back a turned flush – people just don’t do that in mid-high stakes online games. On the other side of the table, Dusty can quite legitimately represent a flush that whiffed on a turn check/raise. Even the top end of the button’s apparent range – a set of eights – can’t call a re-raise when it’s so “obvious” that Dusty holds a flush. This guy is erratic, but not terrible. Dusty’s bluff should have close to 100% success rate.

There are two major lessons to take away from this hand:

• Beware of making thin value bets and raises when your opponent can represent a much stronger range than you can.
• Take advantage of situations where the top end of your range crushes your opponent’s entire range, particularly when that range consists of thin value bets or raises.

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