For the first time on this channel, I'm going to break down one of my old no-limit hold'em sessions. Back in 2014, Full Tilt Poker, $300/$600, $60,000 buy-in, 6-max. I haven't watched the hands themselves, let's watch them together!
Let's look at the table first. Very strong table! Lots of famous players. Perhaps most of them are especially good in mixed games, but they are a formidable force in Hold'em as well.
To my right is Alex Kostritsyn.
To his right is Phil Ivey. Legendary player!
Next up is Nicky Jedlicka.
I'm playing this session on multiple tables with different lineups, so we'll see other players and different seating arrangements. It's a little surprising to see myself with only 50 blinds, I rarely sit short-stacked. Maybe I just didn't have enough money in my account?
For analysis, I prepared all the hands in which I saw the turn.
Everyone folds to me and I open from the button with A7o for a $1,320 raise. Elior calls.
He checks, and I decide to check back. The flop is not very good for my range. Not terrible, of course, but I have no objection to the check.
Elior bets $1,764, 2/3 of the pot. It looks like a fold, although the call doesn't shock me. Yes, I call.
The explanation for the call is that he has a wide range of gutshot bluff hands. However, he is unlikely to often bet and , many he will play from a check to check-call and often checks to check-raise with two pair on an overcard.
He checks fast. Interesting. Perhaps he bet with something like or bluffed with , strengthened and decided that his hand was not strong enough to draw. However, I won't turn into a bluff – I have enough more suitable hands like , and so on. I check back.
He shows . I think he should have checked the turn as his hand has too much showdown value to start bluffing with it.
Kostritsyn raises from the small blind. He is probably the most aggressive at this table, along with Phil Ivey and Nicky Jedlicka. They all love to crush.
Kostritsyn c-bets to $1,800. This is a simple fold, you can call with a backdoor flush draw. I raise to $4,800. Ha ha! I have no idea why I did this, but in 2014 and before, I often played dynamically. I still trust my intuition a lot, but this line is too wild, I don't play that style anymore. It's better to bluff with 97s or 94s, but with K-high we just beat all hands worse.
Turn ($13,200, effective stack $37,218):
He checks and I should check next. This isn't the best card – all the draws that were on the flop improved, but when we don't have any hearts, we probably don't need to bet.
I bet $9,600. I get a call.
River ($32,400, effective stack $27,618):
Kostritsyn checks. Interesting river. Now the lack of hearts plays into my hands, and there are more arguments in favor of bluffing. It's just a pity that the four paired, and not the three – it deprives me of the opportunity to shove and thereby limits the number of bluffs. and I don't raise on the flop, maybe only .
I check next. Kostritsyn wins with . Perhaps an all-in on the river might have worked against this hand. Although in 2014, people sometimes made very bold calls. Who knows!
Another table, everyone is short-stacked, including Viktor Bloom.
He min-raises with 24 blinds. I raise to $4,200 with eights and call all-in. Everything is pretty standard in such stacks. Ran twice and I beat both times .
I like to call, but you can also raise.
I call, and Victor calls in the BB.
Victor checks, and Nicky bets $2,130. We miss the flop and see a big bet. We don't have the worst hand to mess around with, but big multiway stakes should be treated with caution. Gotta fold.
I call. Viktor also calls.
Victor bets $7,200. Good lead! Few in his range, since he raises with them on the flop and a lot more than any of us. I like his lead.
Nicky and I are folding.
Something strange happens: Kostritsyn and Ivey put the blinds out of turn, and the pot is not $900, but $2,700 before the start of dealing. I don't know what happened, but I don't remember. Kostritsyn checks and Ivey raises to $1,800. It seems to me that a promising situation has arisen for slowplaying aces. Kostritsyn's range is weak, Ivey's range is also weaker than the standard range, and the fact that I didn’t raise makes my hand look like some kind of 98s and provokes players behind the back into a big squeeze.
Indeed, I call. Jedlicka calls on the button. The rest fold.
Ivey checks, and I check next. You can bet, of course. Why do I decide to check? Due to the unusual preflop action, Ivey has a very weak range, but since we are playing many tables at the same time, there is no guarantee that I did not miss the action and understand how weak it is. And if so, against my flop check, he may try to invent something on the next streets with air, which on the flop will simply fold to a bet.
Also, Nicky is quite aggressive and will often try to steal the pot right away.
Nicky bets $3,600. Ivey calls. Looks like he has a weak ace. Nicky has a bluff or an eight. I call: with the eight we still play for a stack, and there is no need to bluff.
My call says I have an ace or a flush draw.
Turn ($18,300, effective stack $23,669):
Everyone checks. Nicky's check says he was bluffing. Ivey often has a weak ace and sometimes a flush draw.
Ivy checks. I have to bet something. I like a small bet. I don't think Nicky is going to bluff when he's already given up on the turn, and Ivey is going to call with a weak top pair. Plus, a small bet gives opponents a chance to make a bluff raise.
I go all-in for $23,669. This is bad! Too greedy. Both opponents fold.
I don't know if there is a call with Q8o in the big blind, but I decide to call.
Ivey checks. I have a good enough hand to bluff, but a diamond would be even better. I check next. Viktor also checks.
Ivey checks. Now it makes no sense to bet for me, I should check, although I will probably lose at the showdown.
I check, and Viktor checks next. He had , Ivey and I suddenly take the pot.
I think it's a call. From the small blind, 3-betting makes more sense, but in the BB I prefer to 3-bet more polar. Yes, I call.
I check, and Elior bets $1,800. Easy check-call.
I check. Elior bets $5,100. Big bet, not the most standard for this texture. I remember that I thought Elior was not aggressive enough, and such a line from him inspires respect. He's not the type to barrel with . Preflop T9o is not very likely, and neither is Q9o. In general, it would be difficult for him to find enough bluffs here, so I have a confident check. That's right, I'm folding it.
You might think I'm exaggerating and the top regs can't be that unbalanced but don't forget it's 2014 and we're all not playing very well.
I shouldn't have seen the flop with this hand at all, but I'm betting from the small blind. Ivey folds, and four of us see the flop.
I check with a gutshot. Nicky checks. Samrostan bets $3,240. Victor calls. I have four clean outs, that's 10%. The pot odds are 20%. I think, in case of arrival, I can get something. Looks like a simple call.
I call, Nicky folds.
I check, Samrostan checks, and Victor bets $7,200. I calmly fold, Samrostan also folds.
I decide to raise and call. Pretty obvious call, I agree. Blinds are folded.
Kostritsyn and Ivey check. Simple check next. However, I bet $2,400. Ha ha! Bad bet, but I can explain it. In a multiway pot, the preflop aggressor will usually bet all the strong hands. When he misses this opportunity, the second player should often bet with hands like to clear equity or take the pot right away. Since they both checked, they are weak, and I try to steal the pot, but I choose the wrong hand for this.
Both opponents call.
I hit a nine. I get two checks. I bet $5,700... Ha ha! Again a bad bet. What was I thinking? Maybe I thought Kostritsyn was check-calling a five and Ivey was , and I have a pair and protection? Don't know. Bad bet anyway, should have checked next.
There is, however, one beautiful explanation, but I don’t think it works here – in this case I would bet larger. A bigger bet, around 10k, could have knocked Kostritsyn out , since he's up against two opponents, after which Ivey would call with because he doesn't believe me, or or another draw that I hit.
Anyway, Kostritsyn calls, and Ivey folds.
Kostritsyn checks. He can't have or , except for spades, which doesn't matter since I'm losing to all flushes. So I'm only beaten by flushes and a very rare combination of J8s, and I have an obvious value bet.
I bet $16,500. The sizing is normal, 2/3, I like it. Kostritsyn calls.
OK! Won a decent pot!
Defending K7o in the BB against a min raise.
A simple check call.
Check – check.
There is little air left in my range, but still, there is , , with which to bluff. I like a small bet. Instead, I check. Alex also checks and loses with .
Full stacks. I 3-bet $6,600. Isildur hits back to $13,800. I think it's just a call, especially against him. I don't like all-in. This is a clear mistake. Still, I go all in, he calls with and loses both boards for a $117,000 pot.
Sometimes, of course, you need to 5-bet with aces, but Victor is the ideal opponent to call and give him the opportunity to barrel after the flop. The only excuse for a shove is the feeling that Victor has an all-in hand to call with.
I raise blind vs blind against Ivey with T5s. He calls.
A big continuation bet on this board is not a bad idea. He calls.
I decide to check. He bets $5,400. The situation is difficult. First, I thought that Ivey was very aggressive in these spots and would bet any pair to defend. However, he is also not shy against the second barrel and raises not only and combo draws, but can also reraises with some just to make life difficult for the opponent, protect the hand, and make it easier to play further.
My choice is not the most pleasant. I think it was a little better to put in a second barrel, but since I gave it up... In 20% of the cases, I will hit a flush. Both a ten and five can be suitable. Sometimes I'm even just better with 10-high – rarely, yes, but it happens. In general, it is still not very clear what to do.
Check-raise $19,200! I shouldn't play like this, because if he calls the check-raise and calls the river bet, my is no longer strong enough. So I depict strictly a nine. And with a nine, I will often play this way – it is very profitable to check the turn under Ivey since he likes to bet into a check. I remind you that these are my 2014 reads, not the fact that he continues to play in this style.
He calls. Doesn't believe me!
River ($47,400, $33,703 effective stack):
Extremely interesting board! Just now I was talking about the fact that I can’t gain much in such a situation with . Well, I can check-fold. He is unlikely to bet all-in for value with a worse hand. Or will he? Still, playing check-fold is very unpleasant.
Maybe I can still shove for value? Will he call with a hand weaker than a ten? Theoretically, this is possible... In general, it looks like a push, yes!
And I really go all in! What Ivey had, we will not know – he threw the cards into the muck. But we can confidently say that he was not better. Most likely, he had a flush draw that missed.
Calling against Nicky's raise from early position.
Great flop. I check, and he checks next.
Turn is also very good. You can play whatever you like, but in 2014 I like to check-raise – I don’t think there are many hands in his flop checking range that will call a big bet on the turn, but he will check any two pair and many different draws in my flop check range.
I check, and he bets $1,890. Raise it to $7,800, he throws it away.
Ivey has a very short stack for some reason. I 3bet him $4,800, call all-in and lose to . For those who don't know, Ivey only runs once.
Defending KJo in the BB against Elior's early raise.
We checked the flop. Why do I bet the turn? I have no idea. Looks so so.
I check. Hmm, since I started, it was worth continuing!
Elior bets $4,800, and I fold. Why I bet the turn is still unclear.
Raising early with jacks, Isildur defends the small blind.
He checks, I check next, standard.
He checks. Close; Today I prefer to check, but in 2014 I probably bet. Yes, it is, I bet $2,700, he folds.
Here I called Samrostan's raise and we checked to the end. It was played correctly until the river, but on the river, he should have bluffed. One of Samrostan's main leaks was that he wasn't bluffing enough.
You can 3-bet, and call more often. I call. The depth is serious – 200 blinds.
I check. Alex bets $2,411. A big bet that I have to fold. I call – no, no, Phil, this is very bad.
I check and fold $6,441 on the second barrel.
I go for a raise in the depth of 50 blinds with a pair of fives. Hello T-rex!
T-rex checks. I check next, and rightly so.
He checks again. I need to check too. I am often ahead of A-high and pockets lower, but there is , , and .
I bet $2,400. Oh no, terrible bet. I knock out all the hands weaker and isolate myself against what beats me. I do not like it.
Check check and my opponent takes the pot with . Logically. He played well, and for some reason, I gave him money on the turn.
A very big 3-bet with decent stack sizes, 200bb, and in the tightest positions. I can hardly fold this hand, we need to call because we need JTs in the range, but this will not bring much joy. Theoretically, a 4-bet could be considered.
I flop top pair and check. Alex bets big, $9,653. You have to call. And I check-raise to $25,500! Oh Phil, no, what are you doing?!
Ha ha! I remembered this hand and now I will explain what I mean. I told myself that if instead of calling 10k I check-raised to 25k and then checked the turn, with he gets scared and checks back. How accurate this observation was, I do not know.
Turn ($66,900, effective stack $91,527):
I check, and he checks next. Perhaps everything is going according to plan.
I don’t remember what he had, but I remember well my thought process. Strange why I don't remember his cards? In general, they only beat me , and . He cannot have a ten along such a line. By the looks of it, I'm ahead of most of his range and should raise in the hope of getting called by .
I bet $44,463. Alex folds. Maybe he had ? Don't know.
My plan worked!
Ivey raises from 1st position, I defended the BB with A9o.
The flop is checked, and on the turn, he bets a delayed continuation bet. I must fold. Instead, I call... Well... Yeah, I have A-high, I beat his bluffs, and there are outs on the straight, but he raised from the first position, and there are not many hands in his range that do not hit this board. Yes, he may have , and he can bet them on the turn, that's true. But there are still not enough bluffs to justify this call.
I check and fold for $4,800. The call of the turn was terrible, it's good that I changed my mind on the river.
And that was the last hand of the session!
I'll continue to sort through my old giveaways, as everyone seems to like this kind of content. Subscribe to the channel so you don't miss new releases.