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Poker Punx Hand Analysis

The Little Shove That Could.

When I decided to start my poker vlog, I thought the east coast poker scene was underrepresented. The other reason was that I felt the process of creating the vlog would help me focus on my game more and make me get better, After running into some issues filming for the vlog I decided to pivot the channel while I work on being able to film again and take a deeper look into some of my play and give it an honest critique of how I played them.

For this hand I was playing a session at Philadelphia Live, it was my first time at the room and I did not recognize any of the players at my table so I have no prior history with any of them.

Pre Flop Action

I am UTG+1 and have 7♠︎7♣︎, this table has not been overly limp happy but there has been a fair bit of limped pots and with a middle pair I would rather raise than go 5 or 6 ways to a flop. I decide to make it $20 and it folds around to the hijack who decides $20 is not enough and raises to $100.

The hijack is a middle-aged man of Asian descent who seems like a competent player so when he 3-bets I am not sure if I want to fold or call. This is when the cutoff, another middle-aged man of Asian descent overcalls.

I find this overcall odd and very weak since I still have the option of reopening the pot with a 4-bet. When it folds the rest of the way to me I think this is a clear call now against two opponents. I certainly don’t think a pair of sevens is strong enough to 4-bet.

The Flop

With $307 in the opt we smash the flop when it comes J♠︎7♦︎6♠︎, sitting with middle set I decide to check as I do not want either of the other players to fold and a donk bet from me would scream strength.

After I check I was surprised to see the original 3-better check behind. I was most worried about him being the more likely person to have JJ and have me dominated.

Fortunately for me, the cutoff did not let us down and came out swinging with a bet of $125, just over ⅓ pot. Even though there is a spade flush on the board I figure a call is my best option here as I do not want him to fold any of his draws or bluffs.

The Turn

To my amazement, the original aggressor folds and we go to the turn heads up.  The turn brings the 5♦︎. I think this is actually not the best card for me for a couple of reasons.

First, it completes the obvious 8x9x straight draw and second it puts another flush draw out there. For these reasons, I decided to check again for a bit of pot control since the worst-case scenario would be to bet and have the villain shove and me to make a hero fold of the better hand.

As expected the villain sized up and bets $275 into the pot of $557. 

Still not too sure what he overcalled a 3-bet with I took the passive line here and called. My plan is to barrel almost any non-flush card on the river and try to put him to the test.

The River

My uncertainty of where I was in the hand vanished when the river peeled off the 6♣︎. Now my thoughts turned to how can I get the most money in the pot.

I thought for a minute of checking again allow him to bluff the river or value own himself with hands like AJ, 6x, or a straight. However, the worst thing that could happen here would be for the villain to check back any of those hands.

Once I decided checking was a bad idea I deliberated how much I can bet and still get called. With so many draws that could have bricked this river, I felt a jam might get called. At this point I had $935 left and the pot was already $1107 so my SPR was ~1 and I felt that he would be able to call on the lighter side since so much had bricked out and based on my passive line.

When I shoved all-in for my stack, which he had covered, I was both worried and relieved he did not snap call. A snap call could have meant JJ or 66, the only hands I lose to, so his hesitation meant I had the best hand.

As he went further into the tank I started thinking he wasn’t that strong and I should have bet less. It was obvious he had something on the borderline and was trying to assess if I was bluff shoving.

Although he only went into the tank for maybe two minutes it felt like an eternity. He counted out his stack several times to see what he would be left with if he called and was wrong, about $180.

Eventually, he decided to…call! I showed my rivered boat and he angrily mucked his cards face down and promptly got up and left. My cautious passive play got me max value and although we never saw what the villain had it ended up being enough to get the call and the massive double up, erasing the down session from the night before and then some.

While I think I could have taken a lot of different lines with this hand that probably would have been more sound from a GTO standpoint sometimes it is the outlier plays that get the biggest rewards.

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