Hand No. 18 with Dusty Schmidt

POKER STARS $5/$10 NO LIMIT HOLDEM – 6 PLAYERS

With deeper than usual stacks, Dusty calls with ace- queen to keep dominated hands in the hijack’s range.

The flop is excellent, as Dusty only trails flopped sets and ace-king here. With an ace in hand, that’s only 15 possible combinations. Despite the strength of his hand, Dusty is unlikely to get much action from worse hands by raising. Ace-jack or ace-ten may call, and there’s a chance that flush draws will play back. If Dusty were to raise and get re-raised, it would be impossible to tell whether his opponent was playing a set aggressively, bluffing, or semi-bluffing. The pot would get big in a hurry, and stacks are too deep to commit with ace-queen on this flop.

The only real argument for raising is so that Dusty can represent a flush draw himself, hoping to get the chips in. Considering the range of hands the hijack is likely to commit with, that’s not such an exciting proposition.

It’s better to call in this spot, as Dusty does, trying to get three streets of value. If a diamond comes off, it would be possible to get away from the hand if the hijack bombs the turn and river (i.e. makes huge bets on each street).

The turn check from the hijack is disappointing, since it’s so likely that he’s giving up. Still, it’s important to put in a value bet here in case he’s planning to check/call with ace-ten or ace-jack. Dusty puts in the bet, and surprisingly the hijack raises.

There are even fewer hands that beat Dusty now (only 10 combinations), and they’re unlikely to be played this way. It’s also hard for the hijack to have a weak ace, since he wouldn’t expect to get paid off by anything weaker. His range consists of some semi-bluffs, a few pure bluffs, and the rare monster.

Calling with the intention of calling a river bet would be a reasonable option, but Dusty doesn’t want to miss value against ace-jack when a red card comes on the river to complete a flush draw. He also doesn’t want to give combo draws like 54♦ or 54♥ a free shot to take his stack.

Since a shove will really only get called by better hands (and maybe ace-jack), Dusty makes a funny looking min-raise, literally clicking it back to his opponent. This may allow some draws to shove, perceiving the illusion of fold equity. It also has a high bastard factor, which has the potential to incite irrational behavior from even solid players.

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