$10/$25 HU, opponent is playing decent and straightforward. He raises on the button to $75 and I call. The flop is J‐J‐8 I check and he checks. Turn is a 4, I bet pot $150 and he min‐raises to $300. I take my two cards and three‐bet to $950. His min‐raise on the turn is saying he wants to control the pot size and keep it small, and freeze me up. He is not trying to build the pot as big as he can – he is saying he does not have a jack. With my play I am saying I do have a jack and if he doesn’t believe me he doesn’t just call the raise of $650 on the turn. He may or may not face a big river bet too. In this particular hand I had a flush draw – the more outs you have in these spots the better.
$25/$50 HU, opponent has $2,200 and I cover. He limps on the but‐ ton, I have K‐9o and raise to $150 because he is weak and even though I’m out of position I think I can outplay him post‐flop. The flop comes 3♥‐4♠‐5♦ and because he can float the flop with as weak as ace high and I’ll be in tough shape on the turn to do anything about it I checked the flop and he checked behind. The turn is the 5♥, I led $300 and he called. The river is the A♥, and the pot is $900 so I went all in for the over‐bet of $1,500. The basis of this play is that my play is consistent and represents a flush and big bets are hard to call.
$25/$50 HU, I have two cards and call a min‐raise to $100. The flop is 10‐2‐3 and it is check‐check, the turn is a 10, check/check, the river is a 4. He doesn’t have a ten because most people would bet it on the flop, and if not they’d bet it on the turn because they have trips and want to build a pot. On the river, I lead out $300 into the $200 pot on the basis that I know he doesn’t have a ten, so he is weak and my bet is big and very hard to call with a mediocre hand.
$10/$25 HU, opponent is straightforward and a little loose. I have K♥-5♥ and raise to $75 and he calls. The flop is 10♠‐5♣‐4♥, he check‐calls a $125 bet. The turn is the 9♣, check‐check. River is J♦ and he checks. I’m pretty sure I have the best hand, and he is straightforward so I bet as much as I thought he’d call. I bet $65 and he made a silly desperation call with 22. Since he is a straightforward and easy to play against, this small river value bet (where my bet size tele‐ graphs what my hand is) is okay.
10/$20 shorthanded, UTG opens to $80, I am next to act with A‐A . I took my time and thought that I’d been reraising a lot pre‐flop and UTG was suspicious and the type to call a reraise pre‐flop regardless of raise size. Normally I’d reraise here to $240 but against him I now raised to $280 to extract a little more value, and even more impor‐ tantly this builds the pot so he’ll be more committed to fighting for it post‐flop.
$10/$25 HU, I have 5♣-7♣ and open to $75 on the button and he calls. The flop is A‐8‐8 with two clubs, he check‐calls my bet of $125. The turn comes an off‐suit two and he checks to me. He is not going to check‐raise me so I don’t risk too much by semi‐bluffing here. When I bet the goal is to maximize the times he folds and to choose the bet size that does that (although technically it is to maximize the times he folds and minimize the amount of money we risk – we could bet all in for $2,200 here but this almost never happens for obvious rea‐ sons). The pot is $400 and in the game I bet the pot of $400 but this is a mistake – I should have bet $300. By betting the full pot I am say‐ ing I either have a very good hand and want to win a lot of money
or I’m saying I have a bluff or semi‐bluff and want him to fold – which is what I had. So given my hand ranges and pot odds it is just too unlikely I have an eight for him to fold so he calls with what is probably a pair of aces. Betting $300 is actually much harder for him to call if he has a pair of aces with a weak kicker because when I bet $300 it is a smaller value bet so it means my hand doesn’t just have to be very good – it could be just good, in other words it could be an eight or it could be a pair of aces with a strong kicker, and it can still be a semi‐bluff or bluff although that does look slightly less likely probable to him now because I bet less. So now in terms of hand ranges I could have an eight, or a pair of aces with a strong kicker which makes it a lot more likely I have a good hand, and makes it harder for him to call me down weak.
$10/$25 five‐handed, UTG calls, next to act raises to $110, I call on
the button with 10‐10 and so does the UTG limper. The flop is 2♥‐6♦‐J♣ and is checked through. On the turn a 5♥ falls and UTG leads out $230 then the next to act folds. His bet felt kind of odd to me as it wasn’t clear what he was representing – normally someone who limps in EP has a pocket pair and wants to hit a set cheap and it’s a little hard to put him on a pair of jacks because of his UTG limp. Another factor that makes it suspicious is that the pre‐flop raiser and I both checked behind him on the flop, so it appears as if we’re weak. His bet size also felt strange and when things feel strange it’s nor‐ mally because someone doesn’t have a hand. So I called, the river came a 6 and he leads out $650. This continues the weirdness and
it’s hard to put him on a hand. If he has a jack to be making a value bet he has to think there are worst hands I could have to call him with, and the most likely hand for that is for me to have is a pair of jacks with a worse kicker. So this narrows his hand range down more from a pair of jacks to a pair of jacks with a good kicker like A‐J or maybe K‐J, so for his bet to make sense he has to have a nar‐ row hand range. I called and he had 7‐7.
$5/$10 HU, opponent is bad and has $650, I raise to $30 on the but‐ ton with 3‐3 and he reraises to $60, I call. He does this fairly often so it doesn’t indicate great strength. The flop is Q♠‐9♥‐4♣ and he bets out $65. Now given his tendency to play so loose and aggressive and continuation bet here frequently his hand range is weak. Also his bet size is a little small and thus also weak. However our hand is weak too. So the decision as to whether to try and make a play here is close and the deciding factor is strategic. He’s a bad player who is going to lose his money to us eventually, so we do not need to play crazy to upset and tilt him because he is already playing bad and will already lose his money. However the reverse can happen, if we lose a pot to him he can change from playing bad to playing good, which a lot of players actually do – they tighten up to protect their wins, and it’s also possible they’ll get up from the table and leave. Here it’s much better to fight the war of attrition – frustrate him, don’t give anything away and just wait and slowly wear him down.
$25/$50 HU, opponent raises to $150 and I call with Q‐4s. The flop is A♥‐6♣‐6♦, I check and he bets $135. He has been raising pre‐flop and continuation betting the flop a lot so I think his hand range is weak and he can have a lot more than an ace. However I also thought that if I check‐raised him he might be suspicious and continue with a weak hand. So I just called his bet with the plan of leading out about 4/5 pot into him on any turn. It’s essentially the same play as check‐ raising the flop, but one difference is the turn card could either hit his hand and make him call my bet or it could be a scare card for his hand. From his perspective when he faces a turn bet he will have a hard time not giving me credit for a hand, since he will think “well I bet the flop, and he just cold called me out of position, so he must have some sort of decent hand”. So because it’s so obvious I should have a hand, this is a time to use that against him and do the opposite. In the hand the turn came the 2♣, I bet out $375 and he folded.