Stefan11222 returned to GipsyTeam the other day and announced that he had decided to focus on closed offline games. Fortunately, he’s played a decent number of hands online lately and there is a lot to sort through! This is exactly what Saulo Costa did, commenting on Stefan’s wildest hands from 2023.
Stefan11222 vs. Wouter Beumers, $25/$50
Wouter Beumers (MMAsherdog high roller with PokerStars ) opened from the cutoff. Stefan was in the big blind with and responded with a small 3-bet, only to 8 BB.
Very unconventional! No one else uses such sizing at high stakes, but Stefan, of course, doesn’t care about that. GTO Wizard doesn't offer that kind of 3-bet size and generally doesn't 3-bet this hand much, but again Stefan doesn't care – he likes to keep his ranges wide.
Beumers 4-bet to 21 BB:
The 4-bet range from hijack is strong, A5s will usually respond with a mix of folding, calling and 5-betting, and everything is pretty close. Stefan called and the flop came . Stefan checked, Beumers c-bet a third of the pot, $700 at $2,125 (in 4-bet pots, many regulars choose a smaller sizing, 25% or even 20%).
Stefan may occasionally raise, putting pressure on pairs like (A5 blocks and , but does not block hands that you want to fold) – but the standard action is to call, and that's how he plays.
On the turn both players checked.
The turn is essentially a blank, for both players, the card does not change anything: no one should have , , even is unlikely. The check from Beumers is surprising and the solver here continues to bet very often. Stefan has strong hands in his range, including and , but Beumers still has the range advantage, including and at full weight.
On the river Stefan checked. It looks like Stefan should turn the five into a bluff. Run-out is suitable. He has flushes and a completed set of jacks. So the hand is good to try and force Beumers to fold QQ or even KQ. But he checked – and then the fun begins.
What can Wouter push with? He can probably sometimes slowplay Kings on the turn, blocking the calling range, inviting bluffs and allowing Stefan to call with second pair, for example. There may be Jacks – but I don't think this hand 4-bet from the hijack against the BB often. and would continue to bet on the turn very often – so the only possible hands left are , and .
As you probably already guessed, Stefan put the money in with a pair of fives.
Would you ever call an overbet-shove against a top reg with fifth pair in a 4bet pot (on a board with a flush draw)? Crazy call! What kind of bluffs could Boimers possibly have? Of course, there will be some: AQo, ATs, Axs. But it seems to me that all these empty hands will often bet on the turn. But for some reason, Stefan decided that he could rise to the occassion – and won a stack from his opponent.
For Stefan, there seem to be no “standard” solutions. He endlessly searches and finds very subtle spots. What a giveaway!
Stefan11222 vs. Matthew Burgart, $50/$100
If you're shocked by the previous action, it's only because you haven't seen this one yet! Kayhan Mokri opened from the button to $250, Stefan called from the small blind with (according to the solver, this is a mix of calls and 3-bets). Matthew Bergart squeezed to $1,100 from the big blind with two calls.
On a monotone flop, Stefan chose a 4BB lead into a 33BB pot:
What could explain such a line? It's probably because Stefan has more suited hands in his range than his opponents combined. He also has sets that opponents are unlikely to have. So the idea of floating here is understandable.
Matthew called from the BB and Kayhan folded. On the turn , Stefan bet half pot.
I really like this bet: after being paid on such a wood board, Stefan can hardly count on there being any EV on the check. The scenario when you manage to wait until showdown and simply take the pot is too fantastic. This means we need to bluff: block , there are outs against or .
Matthew called again and out came the river , almost a brick. It's unlikely that anyone will particularly care about here. Unless Matthew could have with a . And then Stefan blew my mind again! It seems like he needs to bluff, right? He has more flushes, he doesn’t block hands with one heart, he has something to knock out – for example, or with a heart.
Normal hand for bluffing! But he checks again, as in the previous hand, and gets a push again.
Well, it's a simple fold again, isn't it? What is Matthew bluffing with? Where do you get bluffs?
In the end, he can even push here as a bluff , which Stefan doesn't beat, but that makes sense! There are, of course, some unsuited empty hands, like offsuit – but there are terribly few of them. – 2 pair, – second pair, – top pair. That leaves literally and with a and offsuit. Such a poor set of bluffs, and Stefan will also lose half of them...
Stefan called and won the $25,000 pot.
I’ll be honest – this is one of the craziest hands I’ve ever seen in my life. However, as they wrote to me in the comments to one of the videos, “If you never fold the river, sometimes you will get crazy hero calls.” That’s it, you couldn’t have said it better! But even I, a big fan of thin calls, was simply crazy about this hand.
Stefan11222 vs. Markus Leikkonen, $200/$400
Okay, let's move on. Now we are waiting for a distribution that proves that Stefan is still a human being, and not some kind of super-user.
Markus Leikkonen opened with UTG, Stefan defended BB with . On the flop Markus made a standard small continuation bet, Stefan called.
Out on the turn – not the most pleasant card for Stefan, Marcus has some club hands in his range. Marcus overbet $4.8k to $3.4k – and this is the only sizing that the solver uses in its place. The aggressor here has a big advantage in both full houses and good flushes.
Stefan's situation is not ideal, even his is already low on EV.
Stefan paid an overbet, the fourth came on the river, . Stefan checked and Marcus shoved for 3.5 pots.
That's the bet! What, I wonder, is Leikkonen’s weakest value? It’s unlikely that there’s a flush; Stefan has full houses (primarily and ). So essentially, his range is full houses and bluffs. Moreover, not even all full houses: with he can play like that, but with it’s unlikely.
Now let's look for bluffs on a paired board with four clubs! In theory, Marcus wants to unlock a folding range or block calls. What can Stefan fold on the river after calling the turn overbet? Flashy, of course.
But at the same time, Marcus is unlikely to turn a club into a bluff. Stefan will also throw out most of the trips: including offsuit, offsuit, offsuit – and all the small suits that did not strengthen to a full house. That is, when bluffing, Marcus does not want to block , , and . Ideal hands for bluffing are small pairs ( , , ) without clubs.
Stefan called – apparently, he decided that Marcus would play very aggressively in this spot. But this time there was no luck, the $103k pot went to the opponent with a full house.
But still, notice how bravely Stefan is willing to trust his intuition – even if the situation is completely wild. There is something for all of us to learn here.
Against Viktor Malinovsky , $200/$400
Another cool hand that shows the other side of Stefan's strategy: not hero calls, but wild aggression. Viktor Malinovsky limped on SB, Stefan on BB . Victor should have a very wide range in a game with a low rake, VPIP percent under 70.
Stefan raised 4 BB, Victor 3-bet to $6,320 and got called. For Stefan, all adequate solutions against this 3-bet were near zero:
On the flop Victor bet $4,080 into a $12,600 pot. I have seen such continuation bets from him more than once on paired flops, the solver here chooses a larger sizing, half the pot – to put more pressure on the overcards in Stefan's range.
Stefan called with a gutshot, turn . Victor checked – but this check, of course, will not always be a sign of weakness. The solver will often slowplay the nuts out of position – especially on boards where the player in position has strong hands in his range.
Stefan bet a third of the pot.
I think the bet is quite logical: the idea is to put pressure on Victor’s overcards, who has a lot of hands like or , and even some . So you can bet for protection with both and a hand like .
Victor called and checked the river . This is where Stefan showed his aggressive nature.
Quite a thin value bet, because Victor will not bet on strong hands. But if Stefan feels that he should bet on value, he bets! Apparently, he believes that Victor has mostly A-high, and wants to make money on his aggressive image. They expect him to make bluffs – he draws smarter. Metagame, war of minds!
In general, everything is cool – but this time it didn’t work.
A very interesting distribution and a great example of an exploit. I admire Stefan's courage.
Stefan11222 vs. Manuel Saavedra, $50/$100
Well, we've reached the finals, and the last hand is the wildest! A perfect example of how powerful exploits Stefan can come up with. Manuel opened from the button and Stefan defended in the big blind. And already on the flop the hand takes a sudden turn:
This structure suits the preflop aggressor, so the BB will not have any leads in GTO. The trick is that Stefan, of course, knows! He is in the lead precisely because the opponent is not expecting this lead. Nobody plays like that, because the button can easily defend with both a float and a raise, punishing the BB for leading on a board with two Broadway cards.
Manuel called. On the turn Stefan bet 3/4 pot with a flush draw and Manuel paid again. Again, Stefan's play surprised me a little – on such a turn it seemed like an overbet was asking for.
Well, on the river Stefan once again demonstrated why he is considered a great player. He started with a thin value bet:
An interesting decision, because his range actually shouldn’t be particularly strong due to such a runout. On the contrary, the board is ideal for the button! And even Stefan's particular hand – the queen with a weak kicker – seems to have little to gain from.
So why did he blockbet? Probably figured that Manuel, with his strong hands, would have played more aggressively on the early streets. It is unlikely that he would have played AK, AA, KK, KT, K8, 55, 88 so passively – and even with JQ he would have often raised the flop! That is, Stefan loses from logical hands only AQ, QT, QQ (but blocks them) and sometimes AJ. So Stefan believes that Manuel will fold on almost everything he loses to – and the rest of his hands are blocked. So he gets it with JT or AT.
Manuel shoved in response.
Stefan needs Manuel to bluff 41% of the time in order to pay zero (in fact, even more, because you still need to take into account the rake). Crazy spot! You have a second pair without a kicker, your opponent is repping sets and straights (he would hardly have played so passively on previous streets, and is unlikely to shove). The most plausible hand is perhaps (it is unlikely that Manuel simply called on the flop and turn with ). There may also be .
But Stefan blocks Queens – and knows that Manuel can turn the ten into a bluff. and are not particularly suitable for calling the river, it is unlikely to be profitable – but they are excellent candidates for bluffing, because these hands block two pairs and straights.
So Stefan thought a little – and you can see what happened.
Can you imagine how far Stefan can afford to deviate from standard game branches – and still beat his opponents?
I think he didn’t overbet on the turn precisely because he wanted his opponent to give away his range – after all, Manuel definitely wouldn’t raise a set in response to an overbet, but he would almost certainly raise a 3/4 bet. And since he didn’t, Stefan determined that he didn’t have a strong hand.
Well, is it crazy? This is a level of exploitation that is almost never seen even at high stakes online poker.
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