POKER STARS $5/$10 NO LIMIT HOLDEM – 5 PLAYERS
With a stronger player in the big blind, Dusty would usually prefer to 3-bet preflop and avoid getting squeezed. In this hand, however, the big blind is a weak player, so Dusty cold calls, inviting him to join the pot. Unfortunately, the big blind folds and the flop comes out heads up.
Despite the fact that Dusty only called before the flop, there’s no reason to let the button win the majority of pots.
The plan is to check/raise any flop where Dusty catches a piece – a gutshot, a backdoor flush draw, etc.
The flop is reasonably good, as it provides some obvious draws that Dusty can represent (clubs and straight draws) and some less obvious ones that he actually holds (backdoor hearts, overcards, running straight draw).
The plan after check/raising the flop is to follow through when he picks up a draw (heart, jack, nine, or seven), bluff if an ace or a king comes out, and value bet a queen or a ten. A three, four or five will also hit some of the straight draws, so those aren’t bad bluffing cards either.
The turn gives Dusty a double gutshot – any jack or seven completes the straight. It’s hard to put the button on a range at this point, but there’s a reasonable chance that he’s waiting until the turn to raise with a big overpair.
The question now becomes how to get some fold equity against the button’s range. Making a standard sized bet will allow the button to shove over the top with all of his good hands. If Dusty had made a bet like $320, he would be getting 3-to-1 on a turn call against a shove. That would be just about the right price to call with eight to fourteen outs, but the money wouldn’t be going in very good at all.
Instead, Dusty makes a tiny bet, effectively reducing the stack sizes. Now when the button raises, there’s room to make a convincing shove and put the onus on the button to have a hand. If the button just calls the tiny turn bet, Dusty can shove the river, comfortably knowing that the button should never have a strong hand.
As the hand plays out, the button makes a weird little raise of his own. This looks like a free showdown play – a small raise intended to freeze Dusty from putting in any more action. It’s supposed to be a cheap way to get to showdown, but its transparency causes it to backfire.
Since Dusty feels his opponent isn’t capable of making a big hero call with a hand like ace-eight or ten-nine, he goes ahead with his plan, jams the money in on the turn, and takes down the pot with his semi-bluff.