Tactical Tuesday Free Poker Training Video: Playing 4-Bet Pots as the Preflop Raiser | Cash Game Online Poker Strategy
Tactical Tuesday Episode 108
This week’s free poker training video features Coach Brad Wilson and co-host Jon Chai with more online cash game poker hand breakdowns focusing on 4-Bet Pots as both the PFR (Preflop Raiser) and the PFC (Preflop Caller). Jon puts himself into position to play for stacks, but as always, Coach Brad begs the question of whether the road taken leads to the most value. ***FREE POKER COURSE*** Click here to get the NURRLE poker course completely for free: https://chasingpokergreatness.com/pok…
Our first poker hand is from 1000NL where Jon finds himself holding Big Slick in the cutoff against a 3-Betting villain on the button. Jon puts in the 4-Bet and after a call we go to a flop. But what happens when you have Ace King and don’t flop a pair? We try to talk ourselves through the available options in this interesting spot.
Our second poker hand up for debate is old reliable Cowboys in the cutoff. Another villain on the button bumps it up to 3-Bet territory and of course Pocket Kings deserves a 4-Bet. Jon and Brad have differing opinions on when to bet and when to check. Does villain take the bait and rip it all in?
00:00 Tactical Tuesday Episode 108 Intro
00:30 Coach Brad Wilson & Poker Pro Jon Chai get acquainted before diving in
01:03 Discussion of this week’s poker strategy theme, which is 4-Bet Pots as the Preflop Raiser
01:29 Brad’s idea for a future episode — go to greatnessvillage.com to vote!
02:33 Hand No. 1: AcKh (hero) in the cutoff vs. reg villain on the button (4-Bet pot)
16:28 Join the CPG Wolves! (application info below)
17:25 Hand No. 2: KdKc (hero) in the cutoff vs. reg villain on the button (4-Bet pot)
28:51 Outro: go to chasingpokergreatness.com for more!
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Poker Training Sessions: Four Betting
Tactical Tuesday Free Poker Training Video: Big Decisions in 4bet Pots
On this week’s episode, Coach Brad and Jon analyze two hands where Jon decided to put in a cold 4bet preflop and was playing for stacks by the river.
Tactical Tuesday Free Poker Training Video: Bluffing It All In 4-Bet Pots
On this week’s episode, Coach Brad and Jon break down two 4-bet pots where Jon decided to run bluffs once as the preflop caller and once as the preflop 4-bettor.
Tactical Tuesday Free Poker Training Podcast: Light 4bets At $5/$10 Online 6-Max Cash
On this week’s episode, Coach Brad and Jon each bring in a hand that starts with a light 4bet pre-flop and some deepstacked decisions post-flop. Coach Brad is faced with the question of how to get as much money in the pot as possible, while Jon contemplates whether he needs to put all the money in the middle just to have a chance at winning
Much of the strategy explored in the Tactical Tuesday poker training videos is from the Chasing Poker Greatness solutions-based course curriculum below. Sign up to the newsletter at the bottom for a free course!
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Brad: Welcome, welcome, welcome my friend, to the chasing poker greatest podcast. As always, this is your host, the founder of chasingpokergreatness.com, Brad Wilson, and today I am with Coach Thomas, who is going to share a couple of tactical hands. I know that I have promised you the listener in the past for some more tactical episodes, the feedback for hero bluff week was overwhelmingly positive. So, this is going to become a regular part of our process. So first and foremost, let’s welcome Coach Thomas on to the show.
Coach Thomas: Thank you, Brad. We’ve got some exciting hands today to talk about.
Brad: I can hear the excitement in your voice Thomas. Amanda, where’s your emotions, on your sleeve?
Coach Thomas: Oh, we’re already throwing this, huh?
Brad: Just you know, trade, trade a couple blows earlier. I think it’s more entertaining for the listener. We joke, we like to kid, tell us about these hands that you’re about to share with us.
Coach Thomas: So, we have two hands today. One was played by my myself last year at Commerce casino. Absolutely hate that casino. Don’t play there often. But this is a really cool hand that, that came from it.
Brad: I love the commerce for what it’s worth.
Coach Thomas: I, you’re, you’re insane. It’s, it’s a horrible room. Probably the worst in LA. And the other hand is from my student. He actually texted it to me last night. And I was, it was, it was not a moment I’m proud of. I was really disappointed in the, the strategy decision that he made. Because to me it was a, there was a very slam dunk decision and costly mistake, it was.
Brad: Yeah. So, we’re putting your student who trustingly texted you in the middle of the night, asking for your opinion, you’re sharing
Coach Thomas: Absolutely.
Brad: This hand
Coach Thomas: Absolutely
Brad: With the world.
Coach Thomas: Where you’ve got a good enough relationship, we’ve got a thing going on, where anytime he makes a really dumb decision, I call him donkey dog, which is actually a reference to the good place where Jason’s dad is called donkey dog. And it has nothing to do with poker. I just like talking about donkeys and teasing him about it, so.
Brad: And if it makes you the listener, you know, if you gain a level of understanding about Jason and The Good Place, just know that his favorite team is the Jacksonville Jaguars. He loves Blake Bortles. Simply put, he’s not the brightest bulb on the tree.
Coach Thomas: That’s an understatement.
Brad: So yeah, let’s dive into this firsthand that you played at one of my favorite casinos in the world and one of your least favorite casinos in the world, the commerce casino.
Coach Thomas: Alright, so I will go ahead and dive in. So, we’re playing five, five, and we’re sitting on about 500 bucks, but the, this, the person who we’re mostly involved with, has about $430 in front of them so they will be the effective stack at $430. We go ahead and open ace seven of clubs under the gun plus one. We open it to $20 and we have him call to our left. And then we have a recreational in the cut off. And recreational in the small blind and big blind all call.
Brad: Is ace, seven suited here, standard open UTG plus one at full ring for you?
Coach Thomas: For me, yes. I tried to play a lot of hands. And in particular, I try to play hands that play well multi-way especially at a table with a lot of recreational players. Where as you can see this, this pots going five ways and a hand that can make the nuts with an up flush and flush over flush people ends up being very high value in my opinion.
Brad: And when you say you try to play a lot of hands I sense the intention in your voice there. What does that mean? Why do you try to play a lot of hands?
Coach Thomas: Generally, with weaker players at the table, I try to get to the turn in the river where they will be making really large mistakes at a higher frequency than normal. Just, just because I think you can give up a little bit of profit preflop or even on the flop to get to those nodes where they will blunder away their entire stack, or fold their entire range. And if you’re diligent with hand reading, you can usually figure that, figure that out.
Brad: Absolutely. You can’t reach those nodes if you first fold preflop, we’re incentivized to play lots of pots against the recreational players in your games, because that’s where 80% of your overall profits as a poker player comes from. So, you got to mix it up. Got to get in there, got to go to war. And so, we have our ace seven, we’ve opened five-way action, tell us the flop. All the details.
Coach Thomas: Okay, so we’re five ways to the flop, the pot’s currently $100. And the flop is jack seven two rainbow. And we do not have the backdoor flush draw. The flop action is not exciting at all, it very quickly just checks through. I don’t see any reason for going ahead and betting with our second pair top kicker five ways. When we get called a lot of the time, we’re just going to be behind. So, there’s not really much of a decision for us here.
Brad: All right, it’s, it’s a tricky spot. Because you do have second pair. It is five-way action though. The only hands that could really call that we beat are gunshots with backdoor flush draws effectively. And even gunshots with backdoor flush draws have 40 something percent equity against our exact hands. So, we’re not like loving life, even in like a best-case type of scenario. Once it checks around, you mentioned that it’s not exciting, but we do gain information here. And so, tell me about the information gain when it checks through on the flop.
Coach Thomas: So typically, here, I would expect the, the player behind the European pro and the recreational and the cut off to have started to bet with their strong hands. There’s too much value to gain by going ahead and betting five ways if you have a jack, or if you have a set or if you have two pair. So, I would almost entirely remove those hands from the range. The small blind and big blind, that’s not necessarily true yet, because they might just be checking to me as the preflop raiser so that the small blind and big blind could still have very strong hands. I don’t think the European pro or the cut off can at this point.
Brad: And I know this had happened a while ago. So, I would like to ask you, though, if you remember getting any sense of there being like any kind of decision from the Euro Pro, we’ve specifically mentioned him, I’m assuming this is where a lot of this is where our decision comes against.
Coach Thomas: Yeah, there was not any really thought given to betting on the flop. The flop checked around very quickly. And he didn’t even consider betting.
Brad: Okay, cool. So, tell us about the turn.
Coach Thomas: Okay, so the turn peels off the four diamonds. So, the board now is jack of diamonds, seven of spades, two of hearts, four of diamonds. So, we still have middle pair and the small blind and big blind check to us. And now we’re feeling pretty good about our hand. And maybe we can consider starting to bet more for protection than so much value because there’s not going to be a ton of hands that were ahead of that are going to call but there are a few, but it’s more just avoiding a queen or a king from peeling off five ways and someone likely having that card. And that being said, I do think checking is still reasonable. Being five ways it’s just really easy to run into a better hand still.
Brad: You think? I mean even an eight, a nine or a 10 are also bad cards to go with the king and the queen. So, 8, 9, 10, king or queen, once it checks through the flop and other small blind and the big blind check twice, I would feel pretty good about
Coach Thomas: I think it’s, I think it’s still reasonable that the small blind or big blind can have a hand like pocket eights, pocket nines at a decent clip. But in reality, I think you’re right. I think we can probably go ahead and start betting here. Probably not a huge size, just kind of trying to protect from the queen, king off suit type hands.
Brad: Right. But you go ahead and check.
Coach Thomas: We checked. And the European pro to my left checks very quickly again, and it folds to the current, checks to the cutoff who now proceeds to about 60 bucks which is 60 bucks into a pot of $100, which is interesting to me because I would have expected most of his, his value to bet off on the flop most of his jacks, most of his sets, most of his two pairs. So, the only value hand I’m really concerned about at this point in time from him is pocket fours specifically. And we proceed with the action and the small blind and big blind both fold and it’s kind of
Brad: I want to kind of focus in on that, just to make it clear to the listener. That if you have a hand like queen, jack, and you’re the cut off. And you’re taking a flop five ways, your hand merits some protection. Pop pair there is fairly vulnerable, an ace or a king pops off, a seven pops off and eight, nine or ten pops off on the turn. And you lack the visibility to know whether or not those cards actually improved your opponents, or they just missed them. And so, betting the flop, highly incentivized if you’re the cut off to bet the flop five ways with all of your top pair. And like Thomas said, the four on the term, the value hand to be concerned about would be pocket fours. And if you are looking to range, the cut off, what would you think their range might look like, if now they’re betting on the four diamonds and for the listener, the board right now is a jack of diamonds, seven of diamonds, twos of hearts and four of diamonds.
Coach Thomas: Correction. Seven of spades, not seven of diamonds, there’s, there’s a flush draw on board.
Brad: Yeah, reading is hard.
Coach Thomas: Reading is hard.
Brad: Jack of diamonds, seven of spades, deuce of hearts, four of diamonds.
Coach Thomas: Right. So, the cut off here, I would expect really a lot of east threes a lot of flush draws, maybe some five, six type stuff. I would almost exclusively expect him to have draws at this point in time.
Brad: Agreed. He didn’t even have 8-9, 9-10 or 8-10 of diamonds. Those hands that flat to gut shot not feeling great about betting out but then turns a flush draw to go with it. And now I was like, okay, let’s try to stab at this pot that nobody appears to be interested in.
Coach Thomas: It’s kind of interesting to me. I know at the time, I didn’t really consider raising. But I do think there actually is some merit for raising here, just in not allowing our opponent to realize their, their flesh dry equity or straight dry equity. The only problem is that we, you stack ourselves when our opponent has pocket force, but that’s not going to be super frequently. The other option is to just go ahead and call and call pretty much every river except maybe a diamond.
Brad: Technically, we could be raising for value here. Against villains draws so it would be classified if we did raise. It would be to maximize value against villains flush draws that may not bet the river when checked to and they brick.
Coach Thomas: Right. Absolutely. In the hand, I opted to go ahead and call and my intention was to just basically call most rivers, maybe not a diamond, but probably any other river I would have called a river bet. And this is when things get interesting. The European pro behind us, very quickly moves all in for $410. What do you think about that, Brad?
Brad: I think lots of things and I want to like let’s, let’s press the action forward to see what the villain in the cut off does first.
Coach Thomas: Okay. So, the, the villain in the cut off, he actually went into the into the tank for about a minute before, reluctantly, reluctantly folding his hand, and it’s on us.
Brad: And now the action is on us. And before we discuss whether or not we ought to be calling this check raised by the Euro pro and both of our thoughts on the situation. Hang tight, we will reveal our dramatic conclusion as well as the hand where Thomas’s poor student is going to get eviscerated on the chasing poker greatest podcast. Hang tight, that’s coming up right after this break.
Before boot camp, I’ve been playing for maybe 15 years, somewhat seriously, always trying to get better. Jumping from learning program to different learning programs and training site to training site. Kind of feeling a little bit lost, not really knowing how to go about getting better. And preflop bootcamp just felt like a great starting point, a way for me to, to move from being a losing player to possibly a winning player. It felt like the right first step.
Brad: Once you jumped in boot camp, what was your experience like?
Well, first off, I realized that I’d been making a lot of mistakes prior to boot camp, kind of learning what ranges should look like and what hands should be played in what situations. You know, I was, it was exciting because I, I could see what other people had been doing to me. What kind of what I had been missing in my game. And then from there, just the whole camaraderie of everybody that’s signed up working together trying to achieve that goal. You know that that was fun that’s pushing each other and really helping one another kind of feeling like you’re a part of a team. It was, it was a great experience. I enjoyed the process and I learned a lot.
Brad: What was your experience like playing cards post bootcamp?
It’s a totally different experience. You know, I put me in a position to be successful. As opposed to always being behind the eight ball and then playing catch up. I really feel like it’s, it’s the foundation of a solid poker game. And since boot camp, I’ve been able to turn a profit and keep building on what I learned there. You know, being able to go back into the group and really worked together even after boot camp was over. It’s, it’s been awesome.
Brad: What’s your sample size of winning post boot camp?
I think I have 70,000 hands played. By now you know, I’m a father and I have a job, so I’m not a professional player by any means. That’s my sample size.
Brad: Preflop bootcamp is the flagship chasing poker greatness training program. If you’d like to dramatically upgrade your preflop game, a new bootcamp launches on the last Saturday of every single month. The price Is $199. And your link to join is chasingpokergreatness.com/bootcamp. One more time that’s chasingpokergreatness.com/bootcamp all one word, or you can click through in the description box of this episode.
Brad: Welcome back to this spot with Coach Thomas, where he’s facing a $410 shove $350 to call, the pot is $630. Coach Thomas has second pair. And now, give me your thoughts first before I will give you my thoughts Thomas.
Coach Thomas: Okay, so the, the way I like to think about poker hands is I like to go street by street and see what kind of story our opponent is telling. So, let’s go back to the flop. So, on the flop, our opponent didn’t consider betting five ways with a lot of recreational in the pot. And I know he’s a professional player. So, I know that he recognizes that he should be betting off his value. So, I don’t think he ever has a jack. I don’t think he ever has pocket sevens. I don’t think he ever has pocket deuces. The only hand that I could ever see him showing up with on the flop that strong and checking is pocket jacks. And in reality, he’s probably just going to three about that preflop. So, I’m discounting that heavily as well.
Brad: I want to draw attention to a couple of things here, though, that are very important for the listener to bear in mind. While you’re playing live poker, it’s that because you’re a well-trained professional poker player and you played this hand over a year ago, you still remember how the European pro reacted on the flop, right? Like was there contemplation? Was there energy spent in figuring out? Should I bet or should I not bet? Or was it just a pure check, that means there it’s a no brainer decision. His hand just missed the board. It’s five ways. There’s a bunch of wrecks in the pot. So, you don’t even contemplate betting. And you just check right and just bringing awareness to the fact that like, this is information that’s kind of floating out there for you to observe and use to make these decisions that are especially impactful towards your win rate at the end of the year. So just wanted to bring attention to that, like just paying attention so that you have this data point that allows you to make better decisions in these big spots.
Coach Thomas: Absolutely, Brad, it can be super valuable information to go ahead and pick up on so using that here, it’s just it’s not super likely that he has a hand coming into the turn. And on the turn, I guess the most likely value, value hand that he can show up with now is pocket fours. But we have the exact same thing happened on the turn. It checks to him and he almost instantly checks again. And there’s no way he’s ever going to check pocket fours. With only one player left you can potentially bet and let it go to a free river.
Brad: Let’s dive in a little bit deeper there when you say there’s no way, right. Because I really want to expand on that thought. Why is there in your mind? No way he checks pocket a turn set of pocket fours here.
Coach Thomas: So, one of the most important things in winning poker is starting to shovel money into the pot when you have a really strong hand. Especially on boards where your hands still vulnerable. There’s, five, six has an open-ended straight draw. Ace, three has a gut shot. There’s a flush draw on board. There’s a lot of recreational in the pot who can still call you with whatever sort of hands they show up with here.
Brad: Yep, I think that’s the key part to this entire hand is that the European pros incentivized to bet with his pocket force, because most of the value at this point in the hand, is derived from the recreational players calling with their turn draws. And they may not bet those turn draws. And so, you must bet your pocket fours, especially once it checks around the flop, right? Like once it checks out on the flop, the small blind and the big blind check again, nobody really has a jack. And if nobody’s calling you with jack x, then the hands that they’ll be calling you with are the straight draws. And pocket four is just really needs to bet to capture, capture that value right now, instead of letting it check through. And then you know, a diamond popping off on the river or straight draw completing rivers, and then you face action, and you don’t really know what to do, it just makes logical sense for the European pro to go ahead and bet here if he did turn a set of fours.
Coach Thomas: Absolutely. So, we get to this node where the European pro decides to shove all in, and I want to think about the shove from his perspective, before I make my decision as well. If I’m in the European pros shoes, what I see is, I see a cutoff who probably has a seven at best. I see a caller who, again, probably has a seven at best. So, I see two very weak ranges. And if that’s all you consider, you can just go ahead and shove all in like the European pro did here. Because you can make a seven-fold, right, just by going oh, and no one’s going to call you down a second pair, right? But in reality, you need to have credible value hands that can take this line, or good players are going to call you down with anything here.
Brad: For sure. And the reality is, though, like you could have five, six, right? You could have one of these weaker, even ace, three or ace, five might be tempted to go ahead and call the turn. Realizing that you have some showdown value versus villains draws themselves. So, you could just call the turn here with a hand that is really difficult to call the shove with like, you just can’t call it six high, right? It’s, no matter how much you think your opponent’s bluffing.
Coach Thomas: Sure, but the ace three and ace five, I honestly, I think that I would have called with those hands.
Brad: I know.
Coach Thomas: How non-believing I am of his shove here.
Brad: Yeah, dramatic conclusion is getting less dramatic as
Coach Thomas: Getting less dramatic. I’m sorry, guys.
Brad: That’s range.
Coach Thomas: I remember facing the shove. And once it got to me, I remember audibly saying, well, you never have a jack, you never have two, pair you never have a set. So, I call and I call them probably less than 10 seconds, which is pretty crazy for having, calling a shove five ways with, with second pair.
Brad: Do you think there is value in verbally saying that out loud, before you call?
Coach Thomas: Probably not. That was probably more my ego and me talking through the hand just mentally, that I should have just done in my hand, or in my head. That’s probably a little bit more of my ego. But I don’t know that it necessarily is problematic in that it’s kind of intimidating if, if you as a player, articulate something like that out loud, you don’t really share how you know that but recreationally are going to be less willing to make crazy plays against you, pros might be less willing to make crazy plays against you. What do you think?
Brad: So maybe some, I think it’s probably not going to add much to your bottom line by verbalizing it. I think that like you could even say something less specific. Like I don’t know, I don’t know if I believe you. And that doesn’t really give as much strategic information away. But I think it’s pretty clear that when you call and if you do win the hand with a pair of sevens that you did not believe them. But either way, if they’re a good thinking professional poker player, they can reverse engineer the whys as to why you called. So, whether you say it out loud or not, they’re probably going to reach the conclusion. Either way, because, you know, you, you stick your stack in and you get called by second pair in this spot, you’re probably going to reflect on what just happened to you.
Coach Thomas: Yeah, I absolutely would be scratching my head, like what the hell did I do wrong?
Brad: Exactly. So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you did end up making this call.
Coach Thomas: I did. I did make the call quite quickly. I believe the river was a six or an eight or something of that nature. And the European pro rolled over ace deuce of spades and we won with a second or third pair on the river.
Brad: Wow, AC suspense.
Coach Thomas: If you, if you think about it, though his, his hand makes sense in that he had a little bit of showdown value all the way. So, he didn’t really want to go ahead and start betting and then he saw two weak ranges and just decided to pile it in.
Brad: It makes a little bit of sense, but I would much rather just bet the turn myself with ace deuce and then play it from there, like realize that you’re going to get called by some worse hands, like the five, six, the diamonds and just start out by betting the ace deuce. It’s much more credible. As far as realizing potential fullback equity than this silly, silly check, raise move that this guy tried.
Coach Thomas: Yeah, it’s funny. I think he actually would have won the pot had he done that, if he had bet the turn and then bet the river. I think the cut off and I both probably would have released our hand.
Brad: You may fold if you just bets the turn and the calf calls, you’re probably not called
Coach Thomas: Yeah, I would almost certainly fold if that happened.
Brad: Right. So, there we go. If you’re going to bluff, if we’re going to do something with your initiative, at least make it make sense. So that it does the things that you want it to do. And now, by the way, Thomas, well played, it’s a good call in the turn. And now let’s transition to the next hand where your purse poor student is on the receiving end of you know, a podcast trashing.
Coach Thomas: Yeah, it’s funny, we’re actually going to spend about an hour today talking about just this hand and figuring out what went wrong in his thought process because he’s, he’s a better player than this hand dictates. And well, let’s dive into it and see what you think. Because maybe, maybe I’m actually the donkey here. And maybe his play is just,
Brad: Yeah, the twist. The classic podcast twist ending in Night Shyamalan style.
Coach Thomas: Okay, so he’s playing 200 now online, and he’s facing a raise from the cut off to $4.50. And the cut off is kind of a loose passive type player, they’re playing about 30% of hands and raising about half of the time in, and they’re only three betting with aces, kings and queens.
Brad: All right.
Coach Thomas: Okay, so that’s our player profile. And my student is in the big blind, and he calls with the king of diamonds and the ten of spades.
Coach Thomas: So, we’ve got $10 in the middle, going to a flop of ace of diamonds, king of hearts, three of clubs. And again, he has king, ten. He checks. And the villain checks back. I don’t know what the timing was like. I haven’t had that discussion with him yet. But I’m a little surprised already to see the opponent choose to not bet this flop because it’s so scary. You can represent the ace, you can represent the king, what are your thoughts on the cut off check in here, Brad?
Brad: Hard to tell passive players going to be passive, you know, because they’re naturally passive. They may choose to not continuation bet and favorable spots and really just miss the fact that on an ace king three rainbow board, they ought to be betting there with 100% of range. So could just be that passive player has a hand that is not good enough to bet, could be that maybe they have you know, ace x and they’re taking a little bit of pot control line, so that they check back on the flop and you know, we can bet and they can get value. So, it could be a variety of reasons, but I would say that I would not expect a ton of ultra-strong hands unless it’s like a set of aces or a set of kings.
Coach Thomas: Right. I would agree with all of that. I think the most likely strong hand to see here would be pocket aces
Brad: Especially because he’s got our you know, the heroes got a king.
Coach Thomas: Right. And then the next most natural hands I can think of to check for an opponent like this would be king queen, king jack, king ten or queen jack, which just has a gutter and queen, queen high.
Coach Thomas: Okay, so let’s go on to the turn. So, the pots $10. The turn is the ten of diamonds. So, the board now is ace of diamonds, king of kearts, three of clubs, ten of diamonds. So now a straight completes and or my student has king ten for middle two pair. And he goes ahead and leads out for pot just trying to get value from maybe a hand like ace five or king queen or king jack that checked back the flop, which I think is a pretty reasonable thought to go ahead and bet here.
Brad: Yeah, I mean, it certainly changes the strength of his hand. He goes from second pair that’s kind of a bluff catcher to two pair where he can clearly get some value from the hands and check back on the flop like the, you know, ace four, ace five, ace six, ace seven, ace eight, if the villain was going for a pot control line. Did you happen to mention your student’s, the suit of your student’s king?
Coach Thomas: Yes. The king is the king of diamonds. So, it is irrelevant.
Brad: Okay. So, the board is ace of diamonds, king of hearts, tray of clubs, ten of diamonds. Our hero does have the king of diamonds and then a ten. So yeah, that’s a very relevant card to have here.
Coach Thomas: So, what is my student starting to represent when he bets this large dice?
Brad: I mean, he’s ripping a strong hand, right? Like, I don’t know how the villain in this hand is going to interpret this pot size lead. It’s hard to kind of get inside the mind of a passive recreational player. But my assumption is that he would think that this is a representative of a pretty strong hand that’s leading the turn here.
Coach Thomas: Right. And it seems very reasonable for my student to have ace ten, king ten, pocket threes or queen jack. So, he has a lot of very strong, credible hands on that our opponent should be worried about.
Brad: Pocket tray, ace tray, maybe.
Coach Thomas: Yeah, so let’s move on to the next. So, he bets $10, which is a pot size that the passive recreational player goes ahead and raises to $25. So, there was 20 in the middle, or 10, 10 in the middle student bet 10. And now the passive recreational raises to $25. What’s going through your mind now Brad, if you’re playing the spot?
Brad: A lot of four-letter words, nothing positive, you know, this guy just reopened the action here on the turn, which is not a thing that passive players typically want to do, especially if they have like a hand like a draw. They don’t want to open the action because that gives us the opportunity with our queen jack, with our sets to just bet, three bet the turn. So honestly, I would fold the turn here if I were the student because the best hand that you beat is ace queen. And I don’t really think that this archetype is raising the turn with ace queen, or ace jack and those are the primary hands you’re looking to get value from and so because of that, I you know, they were passive on the flop. There’s no reason for me to believe that for some reason, once they pass up initiative on the flop that they’re magically now bluffing. I just can’t really, I don’t buy that story. I feel like they’re just way too weighted towards value. And if you know, I am constructing a range that can call, that takes this action, which is kind of a little difficult, but queen jack, for sure, is obviously going to be bet three betting, maybe pocket trays, pocket trays,
Coach Thomas: Even, even pocket threes is something interesting where I’m not actually super thrilled about it.
Brad: I’m not loving it. No.
Coach Thomas: I probably would call with pocket threes and evaluate the river, but I’m feeling pretty gross about it.
Brad: Yeah, I mean, we have queen jack here too, right? Like we just yeah, we lead pot on the turn. We have queen jack here. So, like, and we have every combo of queen jack that’s 16 combos, 16 combos of queen jack and pocket trays. That’s three more, so we had 19 value combos we can start continuing with and start shoveling more money in the pot. King ten just feels like a muck, doesn’t feel great. You know, it doesn’t I don’t feel good about it. But
Coach Thomas: So, let’s change the topic of conversation for a moment, Brad.
Coach Thomas: There’s two major data points that I think are relevant to us being able to fold this hand on, and I think are very helpful for poker in general. The first is that our opponent is passive and now is taking an aggressive action. Generally, this is something that is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying, because usually it means they just have a monster. I, you don’t see this archetype bluff a whole lot, especially not when you’re being aggressive first.
Brad: Yeah. And when you put the picture together, they had an opportunity to be aggressive with their weak hands on the flop. And they passed it up. Right. So, like now in order for us to continue here on the turn, we have to bear in mind that they passed up an opportunity to realize fold equity on the flop. And now for some reason they’re deciding that the turn is the place raising 2.5x on the turn is like their path to victory with their bluffing hands. It’s just really hard to, hard to find any bluffs against this specific player and on this specific board.
Coach Thomas: And that actually leads us perfectly into the second major data point. And that’s, that is when we bet big and start polarizing our range where we’re representing probably two pair plus here, that we probably aren’t ever betting eighth nine or something like that here, really king ten, ace ten, queen jack, pocket threes, and some draws is what we’re representing here. And we bet big and they decide to go ahead and raise us. They don’t care that we have all of these strong hands in our range at all. And that is very concerning.
Brad: Absolutely. So, with all that said, how does your student continue? I’m going to go on a limb and say that he does not fold.
Coach Thomas: Yeah, he doesn’t fold in, we’re going to spend quite a bit of time evaluating why. I think what was going through his mind was something about minimum defense frequency. And I frequently have to remind him that especially versus passive recreationals minimum defense frequency shouldn’t be in your vocabulary. Well, it’s one of the things that can
Brad: Let’s just pose this question. What is your minimum defense frequency against the nuts?
Coach Thomas: The nuts?
Brad: Right, like your minimum defense frequency bears as much importance in this spot? What was the saying? As much as the price of tea in China, is that how the old folks say it like it? It’s not relevant, it’s not important, it’s not valuable, it’s not a priority, it does not matter. Because your opponent here is simply not bluffing with any sort of frequency. So, like, the exploit is to just make an exploitative fold. Don’t defend frequently enough, when our opponents are knotted up. This, this is pretty clear that like, that’s the priority of information that should guide this decision.
Coach Thomas: Right. I and I think in terms of improving at poker, so many people focus on not being exploitable. And in reality, the, the profit, especially at lower stakes is in finding when your opponents are imbalanced and just abusing that and this, the passive player, being aggressive towards you is the easiest one to exploit. You just fold a lot. It’s not exciting. It’s not flashy, but it’s good winning poker.
Brad: Yeah, the readers of the VIP newsletter will recognize what’s happening here, when the student says minimum defense frequency, right, this is a red alert. This is a signal that they’re making this situation overly complex, that there are more simple ways to navigate way more effectively than trying to make this situation ultra-complex. And you just hit the nail on the head when passive player starts to put money in the pot. Be scared, don’t think about minimum defense frequency. Right? Think about saving your stack, right? Think about the terror that you’re feeling in your gut when this situation manifests at the poker table.
Coach Thomas: Picture the 80-year-old man with his coffee jamming all in preflop.
Brad: Right, exactly.
Coach Thomas: Alright, so, so the record recreational raises, my student does proceed with a call. And if you wanted to, I don’t hate just calling the turn to fold the river but I would rather just fold the turn. But it really compounded here the pots, $60 and the river rolls off the deuce of clubs. So, the board is ace of diamonds, king of hearts, three of clubs, ten of diamonds, deuce of clubs. My student checks and the villain goes ahead and bets $50 into 60. And I don’t know if there’s a lot left to discuss. It’s the same deal as the turn. There’s, the opponent just isn’t bluffing. We’re just going to lose almost always here.
Brad: This is another issue, right? We talked about it in hand number one where a plane gets wrecks, we want to get to the deeper nodes because they allow us to exploit and find the high EV decisions. Well, if you fold the turn here with king ten, guess what? You don’t make it to this node where you’re facing this decision that can also compound an already minor blunder into a massive, massive blunder. So, like folding the turn does protect you against following your bad turn play up with the bad river decision and I don’t want to talk about it because we shouldn’t be here after everything that we set on the turn that like we just shouldn’t even be in this spot to begin with. So, I don’t think that there’s much really to say other than you know villain sizing up again here at $50. Which is high 80% of the pot. And typically, villains just don’t find this sizing with their bluffs. They don’t have any natural bluffs at this point. There is literally nothing you can do but put your king ten, throw it in the muck, say nice hand and move on.
Coach Thomas: And it’s kind of funny because my students said in the text he was, as he was making the call, he even audibly said, this is a bad call. And for some reason, still chose to put the money in the middle. So, we’ll have some work to do on that thought process. But
Brad: It’s not a thought
Coach Thomas: And recognize that
Brad: It’s not a thought process. It has nothing to do with logic. It has nothing to do with being rational. That is an emotional decision. That is a decision that is made based on some emotion that he felt in the moment where he did something, even though he knew he shouldn’t. And that could be the topic of a future podcast, but we could probably spend hours and hours discussing why folks know something is not right. And then go ahead and do it anyway.
Coach Thomas: That seems reasonable Brad.
Brad: All right, thank you for listening to this episode of chasing poker greatness with Coach Brad and Coach Thomas. If you would like to hop on to the chasing poker greatness VIP newsletter you can do so at chasingpoker greatness.com/vip. Join greatness village, our private slack community. We hope to see you in the on the inside and we’ll catch you next time.
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