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SB vs Solid Player

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  • SB vs Solid Player

    This hand comes from one of my last $2/$5 sessions. It involves something I have been working on which is playing from the SB against tougher opponents. I believe I may have made some errors in this spot and there are some things to learn from it.


    We are transitioning from the day crowd which is filled mostly with older, weak passive players to the evening crowd which is younger, more skilled grinders. I tend to play more in the evenings as even though there are tougher players, there is a ton more action within the night crowds...But due to life schedule I have been playing more in the day the last month.

    UTG+2 limps off $1.5k.

    He is a weak passive older player who plays a very wide range. Limping and calling a very high percentage of hands. I am not exaggerating when I say 70%+. Because of this, he is often a target for ISO raises.

    LJ makes it $25 off $600.

    He just recently sat down and is a very skilled, younger asian kid. I have been involved with him in a session or two before and I respect his game. He is by far one of the best at the table which is full of more passive/weak players. He is definitely someone that I want to stay balanced against since I could run into him in my regular game and he is a very good player, so I want to avoid being exploited. He probably views me as a TAG regular.

    I call. BB folds (a very weak passive player). UTG+2 calls.

    Flop ($75) = 6s 8h 2d

    Checks around

    Turn ($75) = Qs

    I $40. UTG+2 calls. LJ calls.

    River ($195) = 3s

    I $125. UTG+2 folds. LJ tanks and then jams for roughly $535.

    Call or fold?
    Last edited by JredA; 09-10-2019, 02:26 PM.

  • #2


    • #3
      I'm not sure KQo is a call out of the SB here, I'd usually fold, sometimes 3b-bluff. I get why you did it since you're working on "playing from the SB against tougher opponents," but even in that case I think it works better as a 3b. Especially since you think he might just be iso raising the weak player the 3b has more fold equity than usual.

      I'm fine with your play as long as you fold to that river raise. I'm sure he has some bluffs here, but you didn't give any specific info that would make me think this particular time is more likely to be one. Any legit value raises can certainly beat TPSK. You're getting around 2:1 on the call, but I don't think he's bluff raising here more than 30% of the time, probably closer to 10-15%.

      Since you're OOP I think a check-call of a less than pot sized bet is fine too. I generally play more defensively OOP. And that's why choosing to voluntarily play out of the SB is so hairy, you're guaranteeing yourself tough decisions. That's why I think KQo against a solid player just isn't quite strong enough to call and should be 3b/fold pre.


      • JredA
        JredA commented
        Editing a comment
        Just to be clear...when I said "working on playing from SB against tougher opponents" I was not referring to expanding my range to put my self in these tough spots. It was more about studying the correct ranges and frequencies away from the table and implementing in game.

        I agree with both of you above, KQo is right on the cusp here. And if we were up against the solid player alone, I feel a fold is in order. I went with the call due to the fact I thought the REC calls here 90% of the time and I wanted to play pots with him. Raising gets the REC to fold and creates a huge pot with one of the better players at a soft table, which I didn't want.

        I can't argue with a fold though. I don't think its an error by any means.
        Last edited by JredA; 09-10-2019, 03:20 PM.

      • reeeeeeper
        reeeeeeper commented
        Editing a comment
        I hear what you're saying, but you're still OOP against the weak player too which makes it more difficult to get max value or max blastability. The strong player is still in the best position to do that when you call. Not trying to get into an argument here, I can see the merits of what you're saying too and you did get an extra $60 from the bad player. I think you played the hand fine if you fold to the river raise (unless you picked up a read not mentioned).
        Last edited by reeeeeeper; 09-10-2019, 04:24 PM.

      • JredA
        JredA commented
        Editing a comment
        I am in agreement with you. Those were just the reasons why I went with the call in game (not the reasons why I think it is correct), but I think calling is marginal in this spot at best.

        Im gonna break this down some more later when I have time. And its spots like these (playing out of the SB against solid opponents) why some of the better players suggest a 3b or fold strategy with a tighter range.

        As I found out breaking this spot down, my range is very un-balanced on the turn.
        Last edited by JredA; 09-10-2019, 05:33 PM.

    • #4
      What a nasty spot. FWIW I prefer a fold here pre for the reasons already discussed above but that's besides the point.

      I'm really struggling to find hands that would take this line throughout the hand and then make a good bluff candidate by the river. Maybe JTs/T9s... The spade combos of course get there on the river too so that's a couple more hands out of the bluff range.

      Thinking it through from the safety of my desk at work I'd like to see myself folding here. Although I'm a fishy calling station whilst at the tables so I'd probably end up making the call.


      • #5
        Just a thought on the River bet size. The hand was played very straight forwardly. If the good player thinks you are a TAG, then he'll certainly give you credit for having the Q most of the time. So, what hands, that you beat, are you expecting a call from?

        A check seems good to give you a chance to catch a bluff, maybe a really small bet to get a crying call from him with a mid pair. The $125 bet though, I think, will mostly only be called by better hands.


        • #6
          I don't mind playing KQo here if we are fairly certain the BB is never 4 bet bluffing.

          I would however fold that hand a majority of the time but it's fun to play hands sometimes too.

          Now since it's a hand I know I shouldn't be playing very often out of the SB vs a good opponent I'm going to play them cautiously.
          So when I make top pair I'm going to check again. With one card to come I'm not worried about protecting my hand and it's a
          shitty spot when we get raised.

          But we didn't get raised which is nice.

          The river completes the flush. We bet and get raised. ugh.

          I digress. I would have preferred to check call turn and check call river in this spot. I think that line allows the V to have more bluffs
          whereas now I think they are almost always going to have the best hand.

          So I'm folding


          • #7
            I did fold.

            And have no clue what villain had, but I am pretty sure it was ahead of me a large percentage of the time. AQ, AA, KK, rivered flushes and flopped sets all made sense (remember, this is a very good player, so checking this flop with his value range would make sense to balance all the times he checks this flop multi-way).

            I can't disagree with the fold pre. And it may or may not be a mistake. If it is, its a small one. KQo is right on the cusp here and if we are in a game with only one player we consider tough, AND he has position on us in a hand, I think it's best to fold these marginal spots.

            So this is a rough idea of my range pre-flop in this exact spot:

            Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 9.34.05 AM.png Views:	0 Size:	298.7 KB ID:	24067

            I estimate villain is opening around 16%-20% of hands in this spot.

            So I am probably playing around 14%-16% of hands. I am getting good odds to set mine and with the confidence of not being 3b behind all the small pairs are in play.

            My value 3b range is around 3%-5% and I am balancing with a strong linear bluff range (and A4,A5s) since we are OOP, fairly deep-stacked and possibly up against a strong opponent.

            The black hands are a mixed strategy. Meaning sometimes they can be 3b, calls or even folds depending on all the fluid dynamics involved. Since we are up against the one strong opponent at the table I think taking the cautious route is o.k. in this spot and we can fold the weaker hands.

            Now, I just called pre-flop (so I am going to eliminate all the hands I would have 3b and leave in the range builder just the hands I would call with and get to this turn spot).

            I left in KQ (since I did in game), but I did eliminate some of the other borderline hands. For example I would have just folded 76s in this spot in game.

            This leaves us with this range on the turn of Qs where I decided to lead for value:

            Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 9.49.00 AM.png Views:	0 Size:	277.4 KB ID:	24068
            This is where I think I made a mistake by leading with this sizing ($40 into $75) and my exact holding (KhQc).

            As we see (ignore the 3b labeling on the green and red....It should be a value bet and bluff), IF I am betting all my AQ and KQ hands for value on the turn, I have a very un-balanced ratio of value bets (27 combos) to bluffs (3 combos). Which is o.k. if we are up against a complete REC ONLY.

            So I think we have 3 options.

            1. When we are heavily weighted towards value we can bet small with our whole range.
            2. Check our entire range.
            3. Balance our range in a different way.

            This is where things get tricky....we are up against someone we want to exploit AND someone who we want to stay balanced against. So I hate to bet my whole range small and lose out of value against the REC.

            I think this leads to #3 being the best option - Balancing our range differently.

            I like this turn range better:

            Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 9.56.13 AM.png Views:	0 Size:	280.6 KB ID:	24069

            As you can see we are much closer to a 1:1 ratio of value to bluffs.

            We are now betting all the AQ combos that contain the As in them to block the nut flush and checking the rest along with KQ and QT with the plan of check calling and protecting against when villain decides to stab and rep the Q. But we are still betting our sets for value and we have the flush draw combos as well for bluffs to balance out our value range.

            I like this much better than betting small with our entire range in this exact spot.

            Its very possible the solid villain correctly deduced that I was heavily tilted towards Qx here as I had very few flush draws in my range. So a jam would work at a decent clip as a bluff. Or he could have had AQ and was going for value against my weaker Qx.

            Interesting spot and would love to hear any feedback...
            Last edited by JredA; 09-11-2019, 11:10 AM.


            • reeeeeeper
              reeeeeeper commented
              Editing a comment
              "Its very possible the solid villain correctly deduced that I was heavily tilted towards Qx here as I had very few flush draws in my range. So a jam would work at a decent clip as a bluff."

              I think this is a decent possibility, but also, if he's that good, you just gotta pat him on the back and congratulate him for a great play. If you figured this out in game you could definitely chat him up or otherwise try to get a live read, but even then since he's a strong player he's unlikely to give anything away or alternatively strew in misinformation or false tells if he thinks you're likely to fold anyway and is going for a last ditch to get a call. In the end, I think this is an interesting and illustrative hand that sometimes the best play is to check top pair twice, which most people won't do here. I don't know if I would have realized that in game, but it's certainly something to chew on.

            • kkep
              kkep commented
              Editing a comment
              The only thing I don't like about how you tried to balance your turn range is that you put 3 combos in some sort of value bet bluff range.
              AQ should either be a value bet or marginal made hand. TPTK isn't a draw. So you essentially have 12 Value combos, 42 Marginal Made hands. Which are you check calling/folding or are you check calling all of them?

              I can't put a range in this comment box so I'll post it below.
              Last edited by kkep; 09-13-2019, 08:47 AM.

          • #8
            I havent read any answers yet and I am on the rush but

            why are you Betting turn? check-call is my play

            on river easy fold to me , really , if he bluffes you succesfully this time good job , next hand
            Last edited by Guido; 09-12-2019, 04:01 AM.


            • LondonImp
              LondonImp commented
              Editing a comment
              Clearly you were in a rush; he didn't bet the flop

          • #9
            So based solely on what I have learned so far JL likes us to have 4 ranges. Based on the way you constructed your
            flop range, not clearly labeling your check fold range I can only do the turn range.

            Based on what he has taught us you shouldn't put marginal made hands or value hands for that matter in the draw/bluff range.

            On this turn and I don't know exactly how you would play it but we have a bit to much junk. Typically we like to have 1/3 junk to
            Marginal made on each street but that isn't always possible. I may have been able to find a better solution if your flop range
            was more clear tho....We are also way to value heavy.

            So regardless of how you labeled the combinations the reality is closer to this - Of course you can move top pair in to the
            value range but that only makes things worse for us.

            I suppose we can check call with 77 here but a fold would be ok too I suppose but I think we need to keep that combo in our range.

            I can't help but believe if your flop range was better defined we could have more combos still in our range - A quick peek tells me hands
            like J9s T9s for draws A2s 98s marginal made....

            Last edited by kkep; 09-13-2019, 08:48 AM.


            • JredA
              JredA commented
              Editing a comment
              Several of your statements would hold true in a heads up pot....but in this hand and on this exact turn, we are multi-way AND OOP.

              So having "too much junk" or not being too "value heavy" is not really a concern as much as it would be heads up as the more multi-way the hand is, the more straight forward we should play.

              Something that gets lost when developing balanced ranges and learning about balanced ranges (I do it as well and I often have to remind myself) is that the scenarios and lessons we learn are mainly in heads up pots. Most solver analysis is for heads up play as they are not equipped for multi-way pots just yet (that is offered to the mainstream). Heads up pots are not something that occurs a ton at lower stakes as everyone wants to be in the pot.

              It's very important to remember this in our analysis.

              The bottom line is the more people in the pot, the more our ranges can shift towards having more value.
              Last edited by JredA; 09-13-2019, 02:04 PM.

            • kkep
              kkep commented
              Editing a comment
              I would like to see JL give us more examples/work on multi-way pots. In fact I have asked him about this.

              I think I found one assignment a while back that was multi-way tho and if my memory serves me he stayed fairly close to balance.

              The one main difference I recall is that we don't have to strive for MDF when there is a bet and at least one call before we act.

          • #10
            Good catch of the AQ.

            I meant to put the AQ as blue and into our marginal or x/c range, not bluff range. So on the turn we are betting our strongest value hands (sets) and strongest draws and checking the rest.

            As far as my flop range, just look at the chart above which is my pre-flop range.

            Take out the 3 bet hands and those are the hands I make it to the flop with. I am checking my entire range on this flop. So there really was no need to create a range chart for that IMO.
            Last edited by JredA; 09-13-2019, 01:59 PM.


            • #11
              Ok with preflop mostly. I also prefer a 3 bet with this hand to better define the in position players range. This is a small mistake IMO.

              I would also be donk betting this flop. It hits us on our capped range than it does the UTG open or the IP player. This is the bigger mistake (not planning the hand through all streets) I'm going for 2 streets (value as played and I bluff the turn) Flop and turn and check calling the river (as played).

              In general though, when I check the river some percentage of the time, and a good player bombs the river. This is polar. Given the as played price, I probably pay off, though my read on the table would influence that decision heavily.


              • JredA
                JredA commented
                Editing a comment
                As far as donking this flop. Im not sure this flop hits our perceived range in the SB.

                For me, its only sets and overpairs...and this is not enough to warrant donking against a very solid player and multiway. Its also a rainbow board with few draws.

                At a super weak table I may have 68s, but I would ditch that or 3b it against a solid player.

                I rarely donk, but if I was on this exact flop and scenario, I think much better candidates here would be hands like 9Ts with backdoor draws and balance it with our sets.
                Last edited by JredA; 09-13-2019, 02:28 PM.

              • reeeeeeper
                reeeeeeper commented
                Editing a comment
                If you construct a donking range, cool. If you don't, cool. You can have zero donking range and still be playing well. You can have a donking range and be playing well, but it's much easier to screw up than not having any donking range. So I don't think checking the flop here is ever a problem.

              • XBobLove
                XBobLove commented
                Editing a comment
                Your hand is capped, calling multi way action. Your range should be filled with a lot of suited AX, connectors and one gappers both suited and otherwise. The 8 and 6 are all yours and should miss most of the other callers which should be holding a lot of Broadway's and some AX as well. IMO the LJ could be squeezing or isolating the UTG lime. He'll be wider than just premiums.