In this PokerNews strategy column, I review Ethan “Rampage Poker” Yau’s infamous $10,000 punt from The Lodge live stream! I break down the huge all-in river bluff as well as the poker strategy that both players should follow on each street.
It’s important to recognize which cards are good to have in your hand when choosing to bluff or not. You should be asking: Do I block some of my opponent’s value range?
This hand took place in a $20/$40 cash game at The Lodge in Austin, Texas, which was purchased by Doug Polk, Andrew Neeme and Brad Owen earlier this year and recently hosted The Lodge Championship Series, which PokerNews was on-site to report.
The hand kicked off a middle position player open-limping and Yau opening to $150 from the hijack with . The action folded to the button, who three-bet to $500 with . Only Yau called.
One thing you will regularly encounter in live cash games is limpers. When someone limps and you have a hand that is pretty good and you don’t mind playing heads-up, you typically want to raise. I would basically never limp behind in this spot unless I was very sure that I would get re-raised if I did raise.
Facing the three-bet for $350 more, playing roughly 200 effective big blinds deep, you need to call in Yau’s situation. This is a hand that can flop very strong nut hands, so you can’t really fold in this spot.
The flop came to completely whiff Yau. Yau checked and his opponent continued with a bet of $350. Yau opted to check-call with his ace-high.
Best Free to Play Slots
The opponent is going to want to use this small bet size with his entire range, because he stands to have a big range advantage in this scenario. So in this spot, he can bet with pretty much everything. If he bet bigger in this scenario, Yau would have an easy fold.
With such a small bet, calling does have some merit. But given that Yau does not even have a backdoor flush draw, this hand is just a fold.
The turn brought the to improve the opponent to top set and have Yau drawing dead. The opponent fired a turn bet of $1,300 and Yau once again check-called.
“Even without knowing the opponent’s hand, this is a bad card for Yau because he now loses to hands he was previously beating.”
Even without knowing the opponent’s hand, this is a bad card for Yau because he now loses to hands he was previously beating, like king-queen and king-jack, and is drawing dead if the opponent has a hand like pocket kings or ace-king. This should just be a check-fold for Yau.
This river peeled off the and Yau checked for a third time. The opponent bet $2,200 for about half of the pot. Yau decided to go for the bluff and moved all-in for $7,200. The opponent called instantly to win the massive pot.
When the opponent bets half pot on the river, his range should consist of a few nut hands, like sets and two pairs, and mainly strong but non-premium hands like pocket aces, ace-king or king queen. Additionally, the opponent’s range should have a few bluffs with hands like queen-jack, queen-nine, ace-jack or ace-four suited.
Should Yau ever check-jam as a bluff? If he has any hands he wants to check-raise all-in for value, like sets and straights, then he does need some bluffs. So then the question becomes, which cards make the best and worst bluffing candidates in this spot?
In this scenario, you do not want to have cards in your hand that block your opponent’s automatic folds. Some of these auto-folds include ace-queen, ace-jack, queen-nine and jack-nine. So you do not want to have an ace, queen or jack in your hand when you decide to run the bluff. Since Yau does indeed have an ace in his hand, this is not the spot to bluff.
The in particular would be a terrible card for Yau to have because it is a card the opponent would be likely to bluff with after missing the flush.
Additionally, when you run a river bluff you want to have cards that block the opponent’s automatic calls, such as sets and two pairs. Yau’s does not accomplish this, so he should have passed on this spot.
For more on this hand check out my breakdown in the following video:
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.