Cash Game Festival Tallinn (part 2)

Conclusion of the final hand of the previous post: In the end I make the “hero fold”, deciding that the fact that he is only jamming for half pot into two players (where one is a calling station) should already disincentivize him enough from bluffing here. GTO wise we obviously have to call here, but IMO population under bluffs this spot too much. BTN makes the fold as well after tanking for a while, and BB shows us A3ss for the missed front door flush draw…

Note to self: In live poker, people make weird plays.

The next few hands were played out at a €5/€10 game where we as mentioned in the previous post had two wealthy business guys in the mix. I will refer to them as biz1 and biz2. Biz1 was often opening to €250, or €370 preflop, with blinds of €5/€10. Probably just cause he had all of the monies and gave literally zero of the fucks. Biz2 was not as OOL, but he did not enjoy folding very much.

Hand #1: €5/€10 NLHE – Straight on a 4-flush board vs bizguys

Biz1 and biz2 both limp from early positions. I make it €125 with ATcc from the BTN and they both call. Flop QJ9ddx. They both check, and I decide to check back. The reasoning being that I basically never get two folds, and I don’t want to get check-jammed on (which was a real possibility here). Turn brings the lovely but somewhat scary Kd, giving me a straight while putting 3 diamonds on board. I now bet €325 into €390 and biz1 looks down at his cards again (to check for a diamond I assume). He calls and biz2 calls himself all in for €300 ish. The river brings the very disgusting looking 6d, four-flushing the board, and biz1 lead jams for €750. Seeing how he checked his hand OTT for a diamond, I think it’s a fairly clear fold. It’s also hard for him to have bluffs in this spot. I fold my straight and he shows A6ss for a pair of sixes. I don’t remember what biz2 had, but he took it down with KJ or something.

Trying my best to look intimidating. (Photo by: Pastakeda Photography / Cash Game Festival)

Hand #2: €5/€10 NLHE – Getting all in pre with 88, seems standard

There is a straddle to €20. I limp UTG+1 with 88 and a €600 stack. Two more limps and biz1 makes it €270 from the SB. I have the easiest jam of my life as the SB could have basically anything here, so I stick in my last €600. Button re-jams for like €1,500 and the SB calls all in. 3-way all in and we are up against AKo and AKo. Pretty sweet scenario, but unfortunately they flop an ace to chop it up. Time to reload!

Hand #3 €5/€10 NLHE – Flopping (and turning) the world

Biz1 makes it €25 from UTG+1 and biz2 flats from UTG+2. I flat the BTN with A4cc and we go 3-way to the flop. Flop comes 469scc, giving us bottom pair and the nut flush draw. Biz1 bets €75 and biz2 calls. I think we could go both ways here, but my hand is simply so strong 3-ways here that I decided to put some more money in on the flop. I make it €250 and they both call. Turn is the Ad giving me two pair, to go along with my nut flush draw. Biz1 lead shoves for like €300 and biz2 calls allin. I obviously make the call as well with my ridiculously strong holding. The river brings the 8h and I feel very confident that this pot is mine… Biz1 however, flips over the A8ss for the backdoor float on the flop, and the runner runner better two-pair. #FeelsBadMan.

The room was buzzing! (Photo by: Pastakeda Photography / Cash Game Festival)

Hand #4: €5/€10 NLHE – Flopping an overpair with SPR<1

So biz1 limps and biz2 limps from UTG+1 and UTG+2. I make it €170 (with like €440 behind) OTB with QQ. BB (who I had tagged as a good reg until this hand), calls and biz1 calls aswell. We go 3-way to a flop of 257ddx, and the pot is now €525. I’m suspicious of the BB’s flat call here, as IMO he should basically only flat a very strong range here, seeing how shallow my stack is, and how spazzy biz1 is. There was definitely a possibility of biz1 just jamming all in for his €1,300 or whatever after BB flat calls my raise. Anyways, with have an SPR of less than 1, so naturally a very easy all in here. I jam and they both call. Turn brings an offsuit 3 and the BB jams (can’t remember exactly how much) and biz1 calls. I’m thinking I am probably in trouble here… River brings the Ad, completing the flush. I am definitely screwed here, I remember thinking. They turn over their hands… BB has 67hh for a pair of sevens, and biz1 has like J5s or whatever for a pair of fives. We finally scoop a pot, to at least bring us slightly closer to break even!

In the end, we lost money in this game, which was fairly disappointing, seeing how pots were bloated into oblivion basically every other hand. It was a super fun game to play in though, and there was a lot of unusual situations that had me deep in the think tank.

Their smoothies were enjoyable though!

Right now I am sitting in the hotel lounge of “The Principal Hotel” in Manchester, after just landing a couple of hours ago. I got to spend 3 days in Tallinn, before travelling here together with Estonian Jesus and Unibet photographer Tambet Kask. Our flight from Tallinn to Amsterdam was delayed, so we barely made our connecting flight from Amsterdam to Manchester. Unfortunately all of our luggages were not as lucky, so they are still in Amsterdam. Fingers crossed for receiving them asap! My 3 days in Tallinn was also pretty stressful, as I was planning to stream on Twitch for these 3 days, until my laptop basically broke down. It’s being sent to Germany for repairs today, and I’m not sure when I’ll get it back. I’m gonna try to get my hands on a laptop in the meantime though, so I can grind and stream while I am in Norway for Christmas holidays.

From Manchester I’ll go straight to Prague to play the €2,200 Nordic Championship event there. I’ll be updating regularly on both events, so go follow me on Instagram if you want to see what’s up!

Atleast I had time to visit the Christmas market in Tallinn during my short visit!

Next blog post will be up in a few days, from the Norwegian Championship of Poker, which was held in Oslo, Norway about a week ago! So until then, good luck at the tables and I hope to see many of you in Manchester!

Cash Game Festival Tallinn (part 1)

Hello again, dear blog readers and hand history aficionados! This post will not be focused on tournaments, but for once I get to discuss some LIVE cash games! FeelsGoodMan. Two weeks ago we attended the “Cash Game Festival” in our new hometown, Tallinn! It was an awesome event, and we played everything from very splashy and fun €2/€2 SDC (Super Dealers Choice) games to some €5/€10 NLHE vs very strong opponents. The best game of the week was definitely a late night €5/€10 game, involving two very wealthy businessmen.

Welcome to the Cash Game Festival!

Hand #1: €1/€2 NLHE – Flopping trips in a 3bet pot

I’ve just sat down at this table, but I can already tell it’s a good one. Third hand I play one fun-player limps and I make it €11 with A3s from MP. Button who looks like your typical online reg wiz kid 3-bets to €35. BB decided to cold-call and I make the call as well. Flop comes down very favourable for our hand, 334r. BB checks, I check and the 3-better makes a cbet of €40 into the pot of now €108. BB calls and I check-raise to €125. Wiz kid calls and the BB lets it go. Turn brings the Tc and we are first to act. My memory is vague when it comes to stack sizes, but I think we had slightly more than pot size left (pot = €358). It’s a spot where I think both our bluffing range and value range is fairly narrow. Our value range is something like A3s, 44 and perhaps 34s (if I raise that pre). Our bluffing range is 56s, A2s and A5s basically. I think we could go either way in this spot, either jam now or check turn and jam river. I believe it looks very strong to check turn and jam river though, and I think our best chances of getting called by QQ/KK/etc will be by jamming turn. I decide to stick it in and opponent thinks for a while before calling. The river is a 5 and he mucks his hand after seeing mine. He never said what he had but it’s fair to assume it was some overpair.

Stackin’ at the feature table!

Hand #2: €2/€2 NLHE – Flopping top pair on a wet board multiway

The hand begins with a funplayer open-limping the CO. I look down at KQhh in the SB and I bump it up to €11. BB defends and the CO also
calls. Flop comes down 67Qccs, giving us top pair with a good kicker. I make a big c-bet of €30 into the pot of €33, as the board is very coordinated and connects well with both their ranges. BB basically min-raises, making it €65. CO folds and I think we have a couple of options. First of all, let’s think about what hands he would do this with. The board is very coordinated, and he is giving us an amazing price to draw to our hand if we have a draw. Would he really be giving us this good of a price with a strong holding? Would he not rather raise bigger to protect his equity? It’s hard to say sometimes, cause in these live games there are many funplayers who basically are just clicking (imaginary) buttons. I think his most common holdings with this sizing are either gonna be showdown value hands of medium strength, where he “wants to find out where he stands”, or draws, where he wants to make a small raise on the flop to check back turn and get two cheap streets. So taking this into account, I actually don’t like how I played this hand. I think I should be bet-3betting the flop, trying to get it in vs his perceived medium strength range. Anyways, I make the call and the turn comes the 2s, bringing a second flush draw on board. I check and he quickly checks behind. The river is the 9 of hearts, not really completing any real draws except for T8, which I think is fairly unlikely anyways. Considering that he snap-checked behind on the turn, I got the feeling that he had some kind of showdown value hand. I think that if he had a draw, he would at least consider firing the turn as a semi-bluff. Taking that into account I figured our hand was good enough to go for some river value. I bet €60 and he calls. I turn over my hand and he mucks, what he after told me was pocket eights. Not a big fan of his play, but not a huge fan of mine either, as I think I should have re-raised the flop.

Discussing mindfulness meditation with Inga Raudsepp, Content & Marketing Manager for the Cash Game Festival. (Photo by: Pastakeda Photography / Cash Game Festival)

Hand #3 – Tricky river spot

I open KQcc to €10 UTG. MP, BTN (calling station) and BB (regular) all call so we go 4-way to a flop of QdJs5s. I cbet for €35 into €42 and receive calls from both the station OTB and the reg in the BB. Turn is the 2d, bringing a backdoor flush draw into play. I bet €115 into €147, with both opponents having a stack of about €350. I’m sure you could also make a case for 2.3x pot overbet-jamming turn here but I think 2/3 PSB is my standard here. Both opponents call again, and the river brings the Td, completing the backdoor flush. BB now lead jams for €235, into the pot of €492. Sigh… Let’s take a look at a few of the pros and cons of calling here.

Pros:
1. We are getting amazing odds, facing only a half-pot bet.
2. The front-door flush draw missed.
3. We don’t block any spades.

Cons:
1. He is jamming for half pot into two players, a play that generally will not get many folds.
2. I have represented a very strong range by raising UTG and betting on both the flop and the turn into three/two players.
3. The button is a calling station, something that should both influence my betting range on the flop and turn, as well as the BB’s shoving range on the river.
4. We have 1 player left to act, who could easily have rivered a hand better than ours.
5. Some of the BBs draws on the turn rivered some showdown equity, which generally makes people less included to bluff jam (T9/KT).
6. We don’t block any diamonds.
7. It’s a spot that I think generally is underbluffed pretty heavily by population.

To make this blogging experience a bit more fun and interactive, I thought it would be cool to include you guys in some of the hand discussions. For this hand, I’m gonna do a small giveaway to incentivise commenting. I hope of course that you guys will comment not only to win, but also to participate in the discussions and hopefully come out of them a bit wiser than before!

Photographer trying to get a sneak peak of my cards. (Photo by: Pastakeda Photography / Cash Game Festival)

I’m gonna choose 5 good answers to receive €10 Unibet Open qualifier tickets on Unibet Poker. To enter the contest, do the following:
1. Like my Facebook page: Facebook page
2. Share this Facebook post: Facebook post
3: Comment on the post what you would do on the river, and why.
4: Win €10 UO ticket.
5: Use €10 ticket to win €2,000 UO London package.
6. Win UO London for €80,000+.

I’ll let you guys know how the hand played out in my next post, where I will also wrap up with a couple of more interesting hands from the Cash Game Festival in Tallinn. If you want to read more about the CGF concept, you can do so here: www.cashgamefestival.com – their next stop will be in London from the 3rd to the 7th of January!

Click me. (Photo by: Pastakeda Photography / Cash Game Festival)

Battle of Malta

Last week we ventured across the sea to battle a bit in Malta. We kind of survived, but we definitely didn’t come out of it as the champion. We came close to triumphing in a side battle, namely the “Siege of Malta” side event, in which we placed 12th. We also made day two of the main battle and even did some high roller battling. Unfortunately, only our 12th place finish provided us with any loot. It was indeed amazing being back in Malta though, as I used to call that place home (only a few months back). I got to meet up and reconnect with a bunch of the people I used to hang out with, as well as enjoy the Maltese climate, which appears to be quite different from the Estonian one. Who would have known? Anyways, as we did get to play quite a bit of the pokers during the trip, I’ll go through some interesting spots here!

I do miss my morning walks in Sliema!

Battle of Malta Main Event

Hand #1 – Flopping a boat and getting it all!

This hand plays out on the very first level of day 1. CO who has been very loose opens to 275 and btn calls on bb100. I squeeze ATo to 1,175 and only the opener calls. Flop comes down AATccs. Decent. I cbet 500 (I think going small here is best, with checking being second best since we have the board so crushed). He instantly makes it 2k. I think for a bit and make it 4,900. I think you could make a case for flatting here, but villain seemed so loose/spazzy that I thought a small 3-bet could potentially induce some spew from him. He takes about two microseconds before shoving his remaining 23k in the middle. I obv snap and he has AQo, drawing to a queen only. Board runs out blank blank and we are off to a very decent start.

Hand #2 – Flopping TPTK in a multiway pot

About an hour later, UTG+2 opens to 400 on bb150. HJ flats and I defend my BB with AThh. Dealer brings a flop of T53ccs, giving us top pair top kicker. Opener cbets for 775 and the HJ calls. I decide to take it easy and just call as well. In retrospect, I prefer raising here, as our hand needs a lot of protection. I used to always raise this spot but I have been trying to focus more on lowering variance in these spots in tournaments (aka I’m turning into a nit bitch). Turn is the Jh and the opener now checks. HJ bets 1850 into 3,600. I call and the opener folds. The river is the very safe 2h, not completing any draws except for A4ss/A4cc. I check and villain now bets 3950 for about half pot. I think it’s kind of an interesting spot. Game theory wise we have a fairly easy call I think, as there are many missed draws, with the missed club flush draws being the most obvious ones. I also think he could have 89ss/KQss/AQss and some other floats. However, I do think this is a spot where population underbluffs, making the decision quite a lot tougher. In the end, I make the call and villain has QJhc for the pure overcard and bdfd-float on the flop (a hand I did not expect villain to have in his preflop range OR his flop float range). Oh well.

Hand #3 – Rivering a boat and failing at logic

Now, this is a hand that I probably misplayed. We are playing bb1,200 with a 100 ante. UTG who is a competent player with an 80k stack opens to 2700. We have him covered and I look down at QQ in the CO. I think 3betting or flatting here are both fine plays. Being this deep stacked I am not looking to get in QQ preflop here, but there is definitely still value in 3betting to push equity vs his range. I decide to flat call this time and the flop comes AK5r. Not exactly what we were looking for. Villain checks and I check behind. A safe assumption to make when villain checks this board, is that he has either showdown value, or that he is slowplaying a hand like AA/KK/AK where he feels like he is crushing the board too much. My reasoning for assuming this is that on a board such as this, where villain has a massive range advantage, you’ll rarely see them check/give up. Turn brings another king and again we both check. At this point, I figure his range to be something like 66-QQ, Ax or some slow played boats like AA/KK/AK. The river brings a Q and he now bets 4,300. Instinctively it feels like we should raise. We have a full house and the pot was checked on both flop and turn. The only problem I see with raising here is that we are fairly capped to JTo/sometimes QQ. I don’t see myself ever checking AK on both flop/turn, and I think we would pretty much always 3bet AA/KK preflop. So in game, I felt that by reopening the betting by raising him on the river, we would open ourselves up to be pushed off our hand if our opponent went for it. In retrospect, this is probably pure bullshit, as this is 100 times more likely to happen on the NL800 streets, than vs some random guy who “I think is playing well so far” in a €550 live tournament. Definitely noted this as being one of my main leaks, where I “apply my own thought pattern to villain”, when in reality villain is probably not thinking along those lines at all. Note to self: Force yourself out of this thought pattern asap plz ty.

We busted the main event pretty early on day 2, where I reshoved 20 bigs with KQs from the SB vs a CO open. Standard stuff. On to the next one!

Siege of Malta

The “Siege of Malta” was a side event at BoM which attracted 560 runners with its €245 buyin and €30,000 for the winner. The hands below are all from the late stages in the tournament, all with 15-30 people left.

Heading into day 2 of the “Siege of Malta”.

Hand #4 – Flopping a gutter and failing to pull the trigger

I open KJo from CO to 33k on 16k, and the BB defends. Flop comes Q94ssx, I have the Js. I cbet 25k to fold out ace highs, small pairs, and just to deny equity. Villain check-raises to 62k with like 200k behind, and I have ish the same. I know literally nothing about the guy as he just arrived at our table. First instinct is to jam, as I think our average villain in this spot will polarize his value-x/r to two pairs or better, meaning his value range is fairly narrow. We are blocking some of his bluffs, which is kind of problematic, and I don’t expect him to really x/r his flush draws, as it would suck for him if I jammed. The exception being if he has the nut flush draw or some combo draw like 45ss/KTss. With the price he is laying us though, there is no folding so I make the call. Turn is a 7 and he bets 85k leaving himself 115k. I fold my hand and he shows 56ss for flushdraw+oesd on the turn. Turns out I was wrong about him x/r small flush draws.

Hand #5 – Exploitative fold vs potential timing tell

I make it 66k from UTG+2 with AQo at 30kbb with 560k to start the hand. Italian BB defends and he’s got about 800k. Flop KQ8sdc and he tank-checks. In game I perceived this tank-check as a draw he was considering leading, like JT. I check behind. Turn is the 9s and he bets 100k. Easy call I think, although he does seem confident. The river is an offsuit king, which would appear to be a good card for me. Villain quickly bets 200k. I ended up going with my read and made the “hero fold”.

Towards the end the tournament was a total shove-fest, as the average stack got to around 15bbs. I basically lost my entire stack in two hands. First hand I am in the SB with 16bbs, BB has like 12. I shove K2o and he calls A5o. I lose. Next hand I get A4o otb and I jam my last 4 bbs. Both blinds call and I lose to SB’s K7s. GG wp ul ty 12th.

Atleast the hotel breakfast view was decent!

Back to Tallinn to play the Cash Game Festival

I am now back in Tallinn, where it’s currently 1° Celcius and rain. This means I have no excuse to not stay inside and grind/study, which is exactly what I need now. FeelsGoodMan! Today the “Cash Game Festival” begins, and it’s being hosted at Olympic Casino, which is only a 5-minute walk from our apartment. I will probably be playing those games every day, and I have even been booked to play a couple of TV-table sessions, which means you can follow along from home. I will be playing some €5/€10 on Saturday at 8:30 pm and some €5/€5 on Sunday at 5:30 pm (these times are Eastern European Time Zone so UTC+2).

The address for the stream is www.twitch.tv/cashgamefestival.

Read more about the event here:  http://www.cashgamefestival.com/. 

Surely gonna overbet bluff without fold equity at the TV-table.

 

The Rising Star attends Unibet UK Poker Tour Brighton

So the Rising Star has been kind of AFK from the blogging sphere for a while, as he was trying to figure out where he would focus his energy. Should he be streaming, vlogging, blogging or just simply basking in his own rising starlight? He came to the conclusion that hand history stuff works better in written form, especially if he was to go in some detail. Therefore, the Rising Star thought he would make his way back into the blogging sphere by discussing some hands from a tournament he recently played, namely the Unibet UK Poker Tour Brighton. It was a very well run tournament, and it was awesome to see a lot of familiar faces. There is for sure a strong and growing community in these events, which makes traveling to them even more enjoyable!

Tourists gonna tourist.

Day 1A

The Rising Star took his seat in the tournament, recognized by nobody, and played the first four hours without winning one single hand. And I don’t mean like “not winning any substantial pots”… I mean, he did not manage to steal 1 round of blinds even. Anyways, he had a few tricky spots, which are worthy of some discussion.

Hand #1 – The Rising Star flops top pair in a multiway pot

So UTG+2 opens to 900 on 400bb pre ante. HJ makes the call and so does the BTN. The Rising Star looks down at 6c8d and defends his BB with 19 bigs to start the hand. Flop comes 246ddx and the opener cbets 1,800 into a pot of 3,800. HJ calls and now the Rising Star has a decision to make. It’s was kind of a weird spot, as he only started the hand with 7,600, and had put in 900 preflop. He now had 6,700 chips left, and the bet was 1,800, meaning there was not much room for just calling. He figured that his two options were to shove or fold. The Rising Star ended up making the fold, as he figured the UTG+2 player would not be c-betting very light against three opponents on this texture. He also figured that the guy who made the call from the HJ with two people left to act also should be fairly strong. Anyways, he made the fold and the UTG+2 player fired 3 bullets on 246ddx 9d Kx and the HJ player called him down. UTG+2 flipped over 67dd for a turned flush, and the HJ player mucked his hand.

Hand #2 – Can the Rising Star fold AQo with 17 bigs?

The next somewhat interesting spot occurred when a straightforward player UTG+1 opens to 900 on 400bb pre ante. MP who was also tight and straightforward made a 3-bet to 3,000 and the Rising Star looked down at AQo in the SB with a stack of 6,900. He felt kind of grossed out folding AQo here in a re-entry tournament with such a short stack, but he realized that it’s important to recognize the type of players he was facing in this hand. Given their tendencies he imagined the 3-better would not really have much of a bluffing range, and that AQo didn’t dominate any of the hands in his value range (meaning he would not 3b AJ for value here). So the Rising Star made the fold, and so did the UTG+1 player.

Hand #3 – The Rising Star busts his first bullet

The hand in question is by all means very standard, but it highlights something important: many (especially newer) players will choose their bet sizing according to their hand, and not according to the situation. A Spanish woman, sitting on the Rising Star’s right side had been limping a lot of hands, and had rarely been seen raising. On the two occasions she had been seen raising, she had come in for a minimum raise. In this particular hand, she was all of a sudden raising almost 4x the big blind, making it 1,500 from MP. The Rising Star was next to act, as he looked down at pocket jacks with merely 6,500 to start the hand. He felt like she was raising a pretty strong range, but he found it hard to pinpoint what type of hands she would be raising this size with. It’s probably fair to say that people often do this with difficult and vulnerable hands like 99-QQ, or even with hands as strong as KK/AA cause they really don’t want them to get cracked. However, with 16 biebers and JJ here, the Rising Star did not see much room for folding. He moved his entire betting disc pile over the marked line, while announcing that he was “all-in”. The Spanish woman declared call, and as the Rising Star feared, she had indeed been dealt the pocket aces. The Rising Star could not dodge bullets. He congratulated the Spanish woman on winning his €100 bounty and left the table, heading for the cashier to re-enter.

The second bullet did not really provide many interesting spots either. However, the Rising Star took the opportunity to ask some of the more well-versed tournament players in the Unibet crew about their opinions on his bust out hand. Their answers were mixed, where some people said fold, some people said limp and some people said all-in. The Rising Star had of course just asked for their opinions to portray humbleness, as he already knew the correct play. The hand went down as follows: The blinds and antes were 400/800/100 and the Rising Star was seated in the CO with a stack of 16,000. Everyone folded to him, and he glanced down at pocket deuces. He instinctively felt that this was a profitable shove, but he was not sure exactly how profitable it was. His thought process went something like this: Pocket deuces might provide some profit by shoving here, but in a soft field like this one the Rising Star thought it might be correct giving up a slight +EV shove to wait for a more profitable spot. He realized he had three fairly loose players behind him, and therefore the hand was not a great candidate for open-raising. He did also not find limping as an attractive option, as the hand flops very poorly. He ended up announcing that he was once again “all-in”, and after the BTN and SB had folded, the BB quickly called with AQ. The flop brought along an ace, and there was no deuce to be found on neither the turn nor the river. The Rising Star decided to run the hand in Hold’em Resources Calculator (HRC) when he got home, and in a nash chip EV simulation, he found that these were the EV’s of shoving:

EV map of jamming vs optimal calling ranges.

This chart, however, assumes that the BB is gonna call as light as 44+, KJo, KTs, A5s etc, which many of these the average BB might fold here. So if some more realistic calling ranges for the players behind us are entered into HRC, these are the EV’s of shoving:

EV map of jamming vs adjusted ranges (see below).

These numbers assume these calling ranges, which obviously involves quite a lot of guessing:

Guesstimated ranges.

Take notice of how much the shoving range changes here, when the opponents re-shove/call too tight from BTN, SB, and BB. The CO can then shove ridiculously wide, and even hands like K2o, 63s 68o etc. become marginally profitable. (One factor that David Lappin reminded the Rising Star while he was writing this blog, is that as a Unibet ambassador, the Rising Star had a €100 bounty on his head. This should definitely influence his opponents calling ranges, and reduce his fold equity probably even to the extent where this becomes a fold.) Thank you David Lappin, you are a very bright young lad (but no Rising Star).

Day 1B

The next day, the Rising Star re-entered for his third bullet, desperately trying to make day two in a live tournament. He found himself seated at a very fun looking table, including Unibet ambassador Daiva “Baltic Blonde” Byrne, as well as Unibet community regs Adrian “NMPfan” Nica and Mark “Chap In A Chair” Tearney.

From left to right: Adrian “NMPfan” Nica – ? – Mark “Chap In A Chair” Tearney. – Daiva “Baltic Blonde” Byrne.

Hand #4 – Taking Tearney out for dinner in value town

The hand in question takes place at blinds 150/300 without antes, and the player UTG had made a raise to 700. Tearney made the call from the HJ, SB called and the Rising Star defended his BB with the grim looking A7o. They went four ways to the flop 378ccx, which was checked around. The turn brought an offsuit 3 and the Rising Star made a bet for 900 into the pot of 2,800, a bet which only Tearney called. At this point, the Rising Star figured Tearney most likely had some kind of weak showdown value hand, like 7x, 44, 55, 66 or maybe even a hand like AJ/AQ. He expected him to bet most of his 8+ hands as well as most of his draws on the flop, given that he was closing the action. The river brought an offsuit four and hero made a bet of 700, trying to squeeze out some thin value. Tearney pondered for a while, before making the call and promptly mucking his hand.

Hand #5 – Going for thin value with a rivered pair

An older gentleman who had been playing fairly straightforward opened to 700 at 300bb from UTG+2 and the Rising Star found himself in the BB with KJs. He defended his blind and the flop came down 346r. He checked and villain checked behind. At this point, the Rising Star figured that villain usually has some marginal showdown value hand like A3s, A4s, A6s or a hand like AK/AQ/AJ. The turn brought a 7, and he figured it was a decent spot to take a stab to fold out villains ace high hands. He bet 700 into 1,550 and villain called fairly quickly. The dealer turned over the river card, which was a jack, giving the Rising Star top pair. He figured that he probably had the best hand at this point, but that it was gonna be hard getting calls from worse hands if he was to bet big. He decided to go really small and bet 650 into the pot of now 2,950. Villain thought about it for a long time before making the call with AJo, stating that he was considering raising for value.

Hand #6 – Time to exploit

This hand was pretty interesting, as the Rising Star decided to use some previous dynamics to his favor. The hand begins with the MP opening to 750 at 300bb, without any antes in play. The Rising Star made the call with 55 from the LJ, and both HJ and BTN (the older gentleman from hand #5) came along as well. The flop was 456r, a pretty good flop for the Rising Star. The opener checked and the Rising Star made a bet of 2,100 into the pot of now 3,450. Only the button made the call. At this point, the Rising Star figured the buttons range to still be fairly wide. He thought that this player would slow play many of his made hands and that he would also call with many draws. His range could, therefore, look something like sets, two pairs, straights, naked straight draws and pair+straight draws like 67s, 68s etc. The turn brought the 6s bringing a flush draw along. Two options presented themselves: either to keep firing to get value from villains marginal hands like 77, 88, 99 etc, or to check/raise, attempting to get max value from hands like 78s, 67s or A7s. The Rising Star decided to check and villain checked behind to the Rising Star’s dismay. The river brought an offsuit 9, a card that does not change much. Given that last time they had played together, the Rising Star had made a really small bet with a really marginal hand, he decided to try the same again, only this time with a really strong hand. He figured that this would work well for a few reasons: If villain had a hand like 77-88, he would call a small bet but not a big one. If he had a good but not amazing hand (like 6x or a straight) he would potentially raise for value. If he had a hand like A3s/A7s he would be tempted to raise as a bluff given how weak the Rising Star was last time he made a bet this size. The chosen bet size was 1,100 into the pot of 7,650. After some deliberation, villain non-surprisingly made a raise to 3,100. They were playing pretty deep, as both players had like 20k behind. It felt like the plan had worked, but at the same time, the Rising Star was not 100% sure his hand was best. Villain could definitely have a hand like 64s or 99, giving him a superior full house, but he could also, of course, have a hand like 67 or even 78. After some consideration, the Rising Star decided to take the lower variance route of just calling, and villain turned over K7s for a missed straight draw.

Hand #7 – Flopping a straight flush draw and getting action

At this point, the Rising Star had just been moved to a new table, and he had only been dealt one hand at his new table previous to the following hand. He had built a healthy stack of 38,000, with the blinds and antes being at 400/800/100. One player limped MP with a stack of around 60,000. The Rising Star was next to act, and he peaked down at the very sexy Js9s. Assuming that the limper might have been a weaker player with a wide range, he decided to make a raise trying to isolate the “assumed weaker player”. He made it 3,000 and the limper made the call. The flop fell down AcTs7s for a gutshot straight flush draw, also known as too many outs. Villain tapped the table, and the Rising Star made a cbet of 2,600. There is probably an argument to be made for going bigger here since the board is really coordinated, but our hero figured that by betting small, he could fire a lot of turns and rivers and hopefully make villain fold a hand like Ax/Tx. Villain had other plans, however, and check-raised to 7,600. The Rising Star had approximately 32,000 left in his stack and now a decision to make. Flat calling would let him preserve his tournament life, and maneuver turns and rivers in position. Jamming would let him realize all his equity, while potentially denying his opponent his by folding out all his bluffs (KQ, KJ, J9, 89 etc). His opponent was naturally unknown since the Rising Star had just sat down. However, assuming he was somewhat average, his assumed value range was determined to be 77, A7s and AT. Villain could even be raising a hand like AJ or A9 trying to “figure out where he is at”, whereby the Rising Star would “tell him” where he was at by shoving, and thereby making him fold a superior hand. It was decided that the best play was shoving, and villain quickly made the call, tabling A7s for two pairs. Turn and river naturally bricked out, as the Rising Star had way too many outs. He yet again congratulated villain on his €100 bounty and wandered out of the tournament area, still without making a day two in a UK Poker Tour event.

Three ambassadors managed to cash the main event, David Lappin, David Vanderheyden, and the Rising Star’s roomie Rauno “Estonian Jesus” Rahvonen (who even final tabled it, finishing in 7th place). Expect to see great things from this shoeless long-haired man in 2018, you heard it here first! (So in this scenario the Rising Star is Fedor Holz and Estonian Jesus is Steffen Sontheimer. Just play along.) A big thank you to Unibet who brought the UK Poker Tour back to Brighton, which is my favorite UK city! I for sure hope they bring it back there next year!

Final table line-up! (Photo by: Tambet Kask)

There was also a ladies event at the stop, hosted by Unibet ambassador Daiva “Baltic Blonde” Byrne. The event impressively drew 28 runners, while still being in its infancy. Amazing effort by Daiva, and word on the street is that she is in discussions with Unibet to make this a regular feature from 2018 (and that there will also be a trophy up for grabs going forward)! If there are any female readers out there, you should definitely join Daiva’s facebook group: Ladies at Unibet Poker!

Ladies event line-up. (Photo by Tambet Kask)

Battle of Malta & Rising Star award

The Rising Star now finds himself in Malta, where he over the past few days have been catching up with friends, enjoying the weather and consuming some grown-up beverages. A couple of nights ago he attended a welcome party at the Quarterdeck Hilton, where he also received his Rising Star award.

Shoutout to my mum who votes on her phone, her iPad, her laptop and her work computer! (Photo by: PokerListings / Ariela Rojas)

Big thank you to PokerListings for having me over, and for the award. I was truly humbled to even be nominated! The Rising Star had to secretly purchase a majority share of Pokerlistings over the past couple of years to secure the award, but it was totally worth it as he can now refer to himself in the third person as ‘The Rising Star’.

Rising Star Award! (Props to Willie Elliot for A+ creativity and PS skills!)

Hope you enjoyed my comeback blog post, and please feel free to reach out on social media if you have suggestions for improvements, compliments or if you want to discuss some of the hands! You can find/reach the Rising Star on the following social media:

Facebook

Twitter

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And on his Twitch channel where he usually stream mid to high stakes cashgames on Unibet Poker:

Twitch

 

PokerStars Championship Barcelona

So I’m here in beautiful Barcelona, for a couple of weeks filled with sunshine and live pokers. The day after arriving I decided to hop into the “National Championship” €1,100 main event. This was of course also the same day as the horrific terror attack at La Rambla in the heart of Barcelona. Naturally, there was a lot of tension in the poker room. People were busy on their phones, getting updates on the progressions of the event while assuring their loved ones that they were safe. Truly horrifying stuff, again… Anyways, let’s get on to the poker.

Hand #1 – Rivering a full house and getting paid

We are playing 250/500/50, and the CO opens to 1100. For context, he was a private equity investor from New York, and he was splashing around a fair bit. Button calls, I call sixes from the SB and BB defends as well. Flop comes 369hhh, so we flop middle set on a monotone board. I check and so does everyone else. Turn comes Js, and we for sure need to bet now, to get value and protect our hand on this very draw heavy board. I bet 3,200 into the pot of 4,950 and the open-raiser calls. River is the 9c, giving me a full house. I figured that my opponent was likely to have at least a jack after calling the turn, or potentially a hand containing the ace of hearts. I fire out a bet of 7,600 into the pot of now 11,350 hoping to get some value. My opponent moans and groans for a bit, before calling. I turn over my full house and to my surprise, he turns over AhTh for the flopped nut flush. Seems like we got lucky there!

Hand #2 – Flopping a nut flush multi way

So UTG+2 opens to 1,800 on 400/800/100. I call AQdd OTB and the BB defends. They are both good and solid players. Flop comes 459 all diamonds, giving us the nut flush. They both check to me and I fire out a bet of 2,700 into the pot of 6,300. I think you could make an argument for going both bigger and smaller here, depending on how you want to size different parts of your range. Anyways, the BB calls and the turn comes 2c, changing nothing. He checks and I bet 7,200 into 11,700, with effective stacks being around 30k. He calls making the pot 26,100 with him having approximately 23k behind. River comes the 8d, not a very good card making a 4-card flush on the board. Most of our bluffs on the turn are gonna be hands that contain the ace or king of diamonds, so river basically leaves us with 0 bluffs. He checks and I try to come up with a size where we can get called by the K or J high flush, in case he has those. If he doesn’t have a medium-high flush here I don’t think we are ever getting called anyways. I bet 6,700 and he folds JTdd face up. FML

Hand #3 – Getting the rest of his chips

One orbit after we played the AQdd vs JTdd hand, we get another spot vs the same opponent. I open KK to 1,800 OTB and he 3-bets from the BB to 6,500, leaving himself with 18,000 ish behind. I thought this was a weird size for him to use, as it does not look like I have fold equity anymore, as he makes it more than 25% of his stack. At least it’s not a size most people would make, with the intention of folding. I also decided that flat-calling here would look too strong, so I put him all in. He snap-called and turned over AJo. I hold and he busts.

Hand #4 – Tough spot with AKo

We are now playing 800/1600/200, and UTG opens to 3,200. UTG+2 3-bets to 8,000. UTG is playing a 50k stack and UTG+2 has over 100k. I’ve only been at the table for a few orbits but UTG seems semi-fishy, while the 3-better seems solid and good.
I am sitting on the 3-betters direct left and I look down at AKo, with a 73k stack. So IMO I have a few options here. I can:

1. 4-bet and call all-in.
2. 4-bet and fold to all-in.
3. Flat call and play some poker.

I’m still not sure which of these options I prefer, and I would love some feedback here. I decided to go for the 4-bet fold option, as I figured it would look ridiculously strong, and he would maybe only shove AA/KK/probably QQ. We also have the best blockers for this play, blocking both AA and KK. So I made it 17,700 with 55,500 behind and the 3-better thinks for a long time before shoving. I fold my hand and he tells me he had QQ. He said he wasn’t expecting me to fold however, and he thought he had little fold equity. Meh, I dunno. Leave your input in comments through the last post on my Facebook page, and I’ll pick a winner who gets a couple of €10 tickets on Unibet!

Hand #5 – Flipping with AQs vs 77

Some orbits later we are playing 1,000/2,000/200 and I look down at AQs with my 44k stack from UTG+2. I make it 4,400 and get two callers from middle positions. BB squeeze-jams for pretty much exactly my stack and I call. He turns over 77 and board runs out A98 (yey), 7 (ney), 9 (meh).

So that was it for the PSNC ME. I’m not really sure what else I will be playing while I am here. Originally I was planning to play the €1k, €2k and the €5k, but I think I might skip €2k and €5k and just grind alot of cash games instead. Way lower variance and more freedom to do other stuff! I’ll make sure to write down some interesting hands from the cash game streets, so expect those in the next blog post!

Until then – thanks for your attention and stay safe out there!

Bonus picture:

The guy to my right was destined to be a nit.

Can I really fold a full house here?

Now, this hand is a truly interesting one! We are playing 500/1,000/100 and Ian opens to 2,000 UTG. I call from the HJ with the lovely QJ of hearts. Button, SB (Lappin) and BB also call and we see a flop of AsJc6h. Checks around. Turn brings the Js giving me trips and also bringing a flush draw. It checks to me and I bet 5,200 into 10,900, trying to get value from Ax hands and making flush draws pay to see another spade. Lappin has other plans, however, and check-raises to 15,600 from the SB. I think his range here is very strong overall, as I am showing a lot of strength betting into 4 people on this board. I think his value range is: 66 (3 combos), AJs (1 combo), KJs (1 combo). The reason I exclude AJo and KJo here is that I think he would not flat call these pre-flop, but rather squeeze AJo and probably fold KJo. His bluff range is quite hard to estimate here, but it will obviously be made up of spade hands. His (assumed) possible spade flush draws here are: KQ, KT, K9, QT, Q9, T9, T8, 98, 97, 87, 86, 76, 75, 65, 64 and 54, in total 16 combos.

Lappins potential spade draws

This is clearly a rough guesstimation, but it will do. I don’t think he would check-raise all these combo’s, so let’s make some more assumptions. Let’s assume he folds his worst ones, calls his best ones (the royal draws) and bluff check-raises the medium ones. Let’s remove KQ, KT, QT, and then 98 and everything below. That leaves us with K9, Q9, T9, T8 so four bluff combos in total.

Lappin giving the stare down treatment (Photo by: Tommy Mandel)

I think QJ is a clear call here, as first of all he could be bluffing, and second of all we have outs against some of his value range. We make the call and the river brings the 6d, making the final board AsJc6h Js 6d. Lappin thinks for a bit and shoves his whole 53k stack into the pot of 42k. Let’s sit back and do two things here. Let’s have a look at my perceived range on the river, and then another look at his. My range after first betting into 4 people on this turn, and then calling a check-raise, is probably KJs, QJs, JTs, J9s and nothing else. I think I bet all my 2 pair/set hands on the flop, and I fold all my flush draws vs the turn check-raise. FWIW I think Lappin is a good enough player that he understands this. Now let’s have another look at his range on the river. 66 is still there, but it’s now 1 combo instead of 3. AJs is still the 1 combo, and KJs is still 1 combo (but we are now chopping with that one). His bluffs are still the same 4 (guesstimated) combos.

Davids guesstimated range

Against his guesstimated range we have 64% equity. Even if he only bluffs half of the spade combos we gave him, we have 50% equity. So let’s find out how much equity we need to have here to make the call.

Villain is here risking 52,000 to win 42,000, so:
B (ratio of what he is risking to what he can win (bet size/potsize) = 53,000/42,000= 1,26
A = B/(B+1) = 1,26/2,26 = 0,558
Minimum Defence Frequency: (1-A)% = 1 – 0,558 = 44,2%.

So we can see that even if he bluffs only half of the estimated bluff combos we gave him, we need to call here. The big question is however, would he bluff here? Does he trust enough in our ability to make big laydowns? Does he expect us to hero-fold our jack here? I thought about the hand for a couple of minutes, before some Italian guy at our table called the clock on me. Fuck Kassouf for making this an accepted thing to do, but I digress…

In the end, I state that I would fold this hand vs everyone else at the table (which honestly I think I would) but that I believe Lappin is tricky/good enough to try to make me fold a jack here. I make the crying call before my 1-minute clock runs out and Lappin tables 66 for quads. He scoops a nice 150k pot and I am left with 35k or so.

If you wanna check out other interesting hands from this tournament, including how I lost my last 30 bigs with JJ vs Ian Simpsons AQ, check out my previous post.

Next tournament will be PSC Barcelona in a couple of weeks. I will be selling some action for the €1,1k, €2,2k and €5,3k events down there, so get in touch through some social media if you are interested in a piece!

Unibet DeepStack Open Malta

What’s up people of the internets!

Yesterday (and the day before) I played the €550 Unibet DeepStack Open main event here in Malta. This was my first DSO, but surely not my last. The structure was amazing, the venue was nice and the field was softer than a bag of marshmallows. I fired three bullets without making it to day two, but I blame variance…

Welcome to DSO Malta! (Photo by: Tommy Mandel)

In this post I will go through some of the most interesting hands I played throughout the tournament. There was quite a few to choose from, so let’s get to it!

Hand #1 – Folding bottom set?

The first hand is a pretty sick one, where I make one of the tightest laydowns I can remember making. CO (Italian looking middle aged guy, who has been playing well/solid so far) opens to 325, pre ante. I defend my BB with 55 and we see a flop of A95r. I check and the opener cbets 225 into 725, so typical internet reg sizing really. I make it 800 and he thinks for a bit before calling. Turn is a queen and there are now four different suits on board so no flush draw. I decide to polarize my range, and I make it 2,650 into 2,325, thinking that he would not put me on A5/A9 combo’s with this sizing (since he could easily have AQ). To my surprise and somewhat disgust he makes it 7,500 after deliberating for a bit. I think for a while before making the call. I don’t think there is any folding here as we are literally at the top of our range, vs a guy we don’t know too much about. After all, he could just be going for value with a hand like AQ. The river is a 4 and he quickly throws in 3x 5k chips for a 15k bet after I check. We are still at the top of our range (we never have 99/QQ/AA/straights), and it’s a really gross spot. I thought for a couple of minutes, and in the end decided that he was not gonna make this insta-15k bet with a hand like AQ and that I did not think this player was tricky enough to turn one pair hands into bluffs. I make the face-up fold and 3-4 people around the table utter “that is for sure a call”, “how can you fold there”, etc. Villain tells the dealer to show one card. The dealer turns over a queen and I spend the next 15 minutes worrying that I made a bad fold vs him overvaluing his AQ. He told me after I busted the tournament that he had QQ and that I made a good fold. I suspect he was being sincere as well since he was the guy who had just busted me. At least this is what I tell myself to sleep at night.

Hand #2 – Getting some thin value with AA

In the next hand, we are playing 150/300/25. Utg+1 limps and fellow Unibet ambassador Ian Simpson makes it 1k utg+2. I make 3k from the button with the American Airlines/pocket rockets/bullets/whatever you prefer to call this beautiful hand. Both of them call, so the pot is now 9,765. The flop is T95r, so not a great flop for my range, and a decent one for both of their ranges. I do however choose to make a cbet, as I am playing against two huge whales (bang bang). I bet 4,700 and the limper calls. Turn brings a jack, another card that helps his range more than mine. He checks and I decided to check back, to avoid bloating the pot with a losing hand. The river is a four, and he checks pretty quickly. I now figure that I have the best hand, but that it will be tough for him to call big bets here (unless he specifically has QJ/KJ). I make it small and bet 7,125. He moans and groans for a bit, before making the call and mucking his hand after receiving the bad news.

Hand #3 – Herocalling A high like a boss

We are still on the 300bb level and I open the button to 725 with ATo. The BB calls and I get the feeling he doesn’t really believe me (he was smirking and staring, implying that I was just going after his blinds). The flop is J52r and we both check. I saw no reason to bluff with my showdown value here, and I felt pretty comfortable manoeuvring turns and rivers vs this opponent. Turn is a six and he leads for 700 into 1,825. I call. Riv is a queen and he bets 1,200 into 3,225. It looks like thin value, but I didn’t really think this opponent would go for value with anything worse than a jack, leaving his range too bluff heavy. I call and he tables T8o for absolutely squadoosh.

Don’t bluff this guy. (Photo by: Tommy Mandel)

Hand #4 – Doubtful line with AA

We are now playing 250/500/50 and Ian Simpson opens utg+1 to 1,300. I look down at aces on the button (again), and I 3b to 4,000. The BB cold calls and Ian also calls. The flop is K74r, a flop that heavily favours the 3-betters range. I cbet 5,050 into 12,700, and BB folds and Ian calls. Turn brings a jack and Ian checks again. I think we could go both ways here, either value betting turn or value betting the river. I think going for 3 streets will be too thin on most runouts. I decided to check the turn, which in retrospect I don’t really love. I think betting turn here looks way bluffier than checking turn and betting river. The river was a six and he checks again, I now bet 10,050 into 22,800 and he folds after tanking for quite some time. Meh.

Ian Simpson making the correct fold. (Photo by: Tommy Mandel)

Hand #5 – Herocalling vs our good friend Lappin

We now get two more Unibet ambassadors on our table, namely David Lappin and Estonian Jesus (that’s his real and full name, yes). This is starting to look more and more like an ambassador SNG and the table is definitely not the softest one in the room. OH WELL. We are still at 250/500/50 and I open to 1150 from the CO with K5s and Lappin defends his BB. Flop comes Q53 with a flush draw and I cbet 800 into 3,000, he calls. In retrospect, I like a bigger sizing here, as the board is fairly co-ordinated. It’s also a flop I will check back a fair bit of 5x combo’s, but I decided to cbet this one. The turn is another queen and I bet 2,500 into 4,600. The queen is obviously a pretty good card as it makes it less like Lappin holds one in his hand. He makes it 6,900, and I call. I don’t think we can ever fold 5x here if we bet it, as there are sooo many bluffs he could have in this spot. Especially when we bet so small on the flop, his range is gonna be even wider on the turn. The river is an offsuit jack and he bets 6,625 into 18,400, trying to make it look like he is going for thin value. I don’t really think this bet makes too much sense, and I will explain why. On the turn, he is representing a queen or better. He is not gonna make this play on turn/river with a hand like 77/88/99 I think. So considering his range here is Qx+ and a bunch of missed draws, I think a bigger sizing is more appropriate here. He cooould make a super small bet with a missed draw, to fold out other missed draws, but then I think going even smaller than this makes sense. Anyways I make the call and he flips over the 64o for a missed straight draw.

Get rekt son. (Photo by: Tommy Mandel)

#Hand 6 – Busting out vs Ian Simpson

In our last hand of bullet #1, Ian opens to 2,000 UTG at 500/1000/100 and I jam JJ from the button with a 30,000 stack. I was considering inducing to 5800 and calling a jam, but decided to just stick it in. Ian snap calls and tables AQo. Flop brings an ace and he knocks me out of the tournament.

I approached Dara O’Kearney after the hand to ask his thoughts, as he is one of the people I trust the most when it comes to ICM/shoving/re-shoving ranges etc. In my opinion, AQ seemed marginal at best, while Dara thought it was a clear fold. I decided to run the hand in HoldemResources Calculator (HRC) the day after, and sure enough, it was very close indeed (I used ChipEV for these calculations).

Dara O’Kearney, human ICM-calculator. (Photo by: Tommy Mandel)

There are 3 main factors deciding if this is a call or not:

1. What range Ian is opening UTG here
2. What range I am shoving here
3. If I induce the top part of my range

If he opens a 20% range or 15% range will influence what hands I should shove, and therefore what hands he should call.

Visual representation of a 20% range vs a 15% range.

HRC says that vs a 20% opening range as pictured above, I can profitably re-shove: 66+, ATs+ and AJo+. If we assume that I re-shove this range, Ian needs to call 88+, AQs+ and AKo. If he however only opens 15% of hands, I should be re-shoving 77+, AJs+ and AQo+. Versus this range, Ian can only call 99+ and AK.

However, these ranges would be heavily influenced by me having an induce-range here, which I believe I do. If we assume that I induce QQ+ (and therefore remove them from my shoving range), AQ naturally becomes stronger vs my shoving range. AQo is still a fold thought if he opens the 14,8% range, and a call if he opens the 20% range (and I respond by re-shoving accordingly).

Hand #7 – Sick sick hand

I also played a very sick hand vs David Lappin. For that one, I will go quite in detail, so it will get its own blog entry in a couple of days. Teaser: He makes quads against my full house and wins a 150,000 pot.

That will be it for this one. make sure to follow me on social media to get notified when new blog posts gets posted!

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Now offering coaching!

Since I started streaming on Twitch, there have been people asking both in chat, through email and through social media if I could coach them. In the beginning, I told them that I did not feel comfortable offering coaching at that time since I was not proficient in all the new software tools out there (PioSOLVER etc.). Since then I have put a lot of effort into learning these tools, and now feel comfortable both using them and passing on the knowledge from them on to potential students.

About me:
• Consistent winner in multiple game formats since 2004
• Currently playing and beating NL400/NL800
• Turned €10,000 into €50,000 in 6 weeks during this bankroll challenge
• Strategy content writer for Bluff Europe magazine
• Streaming at www.twitch.tv/uhlenpoker

What you can expect:
First-time students will need to send me a couple of paragraphs about their poker background to provide me with an idea of their skill level. After that, you can basically choose which format you prefer. We can either:
• share my screen while I am playing
• share your screen while you are playing
• go through hand histories or specific spots together in PioSOLVER/HRC

If the student has specific aspects of the game (bet sizing, 3-betting, check-raising, etc.) he/she wants to improve, we can also go in depth at any concept. In the end, you are paying for my time, so you have final say on how the session looks like. As I play 96% of my volume on Unibet (a poker site without any scripts or huds), I will not be giving in depth advice in either of these two areas.

Hand review example:
If you want an example of how I think about poker, check out this hand review (which was also featured as a strategy article in Bluff Europe magazine): Interesting hand from the Unibet NL800 streets

Coaching rates:
1 hour: €80
3 hours: €225
5 hours: €350

If you are interested in getting coaching or just want more information, tune in to my stream and simply ask in the chat, pm me through one of my social media channels or email me here: contact@uhlenpoker.com.

Monthly Norwegian poker streams!

Hello, dear blog readers! This post will be written in both English and Norwegian, so if you prefer reading the Norwegian version, scroll down below the English part! (Skriver denne bloggposten både på norsk og engelsk, så scroll ned om du heller vil lese den norske versjonen)!

English

I have been considering to do Norwegian speaking poker streams on Twitch for a while now, as I am indeed Norwegian myself. However, I think there are both potential upsides and downsides to this.

A clear upside is that I can reach and connect with an audience who might not be interested in watching my English streams. Another upside is that I can connect better with the Norwegian poker community, which I have been a part of since 2004. Potential downsides I see is that my regular viewers might tune in when they see I go live and be like “wtf is this?”. I think this problem can largely be avoided through information through social media etc. though.

So I have decided to give this a try, and the plan is to do streams in Norwegian the first Friday every month. If this works out, great! If it does not really work out, we will just omit it and go back to 100% English speaking streams. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

On very short notice, the first stream will be tomorrow (Friday 7th of July), and I will begin at 17:00. To promote this first Norwegian speaking stream of mine, I will be hosting a couple of freerolls, as well as giving away a bunch of Unibet tournament tickets throughout the stream. In total there will be a few hundred euros of free value to be had during the stream, so unless you absolutely despise free money, make sure to tune in at 17:00! These freerolls and giveaways will naturally only be available for the Norwegians tuning into the stream, and yes, geo-restrictions will be put in place. 😉

So let’s hope this will be a success, so we can continue doing streams like this monthly! Hope as many of you as possible have the time to check it out, and please don’t be shy if you have suggestions/comments/criticism/whatever!

So the stream will be found at www.twitch.tv/uhlenpoker and if you don’t have a Unibet account yet you can create one through this link: Sign up here and receive 100,- NOK for free as well as a €200 playthrough bonus, that releases as you play.

Norsk

Jeg har vurdert å kjøre norsktalende poker streams på Twitch en stund nå, siden jeg er nordmann selv. Jeg tror forøvrig det er både potensielle fordeler og ulemper med dette.

En klar fordel er at jeg kan nå og bli kjent med et publikum som kanskje ikke er interessert i å se mine engelsktalende streams. En annen oppside er at jeg kan connecte bedre med det norske pokersamfunnet, som jeg har vært en del av siden 2004. Mulige ulemper jeg ser er at mine regelmessige seere kan tune inn når jeg går live, og tenke “hva faen er dette?”. Jeg tror forsåvidt dette problemet i stor grad kan unngås gjennom informasjon på sosiale medier etc!

Så jeg har bestemt meg for å prøve det ut, og planen er å kjøre en norsktalende stream første fredag, hver måned. Hvis dette blir en suksess, flott! Hvis det ikke funker særlig bra droppes det bare, og jeg vil gå tilbake til 100% engelsktalende strømmer. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

På noe kort varsel vil den første streamen være i morgen (fredag den 7. juli), og jeg begynner klokka 17:00. For å skape litt blæst rundt denne første første streamen kjører vi et par gratisturneringer på Unibet, i tillegg til å gi bort en haug med Unibet turneringsbilletter underveis. Totalt vil det være noen hundre euro i gratis verdi å plukke opp, så med mindre du absolutt forakter gratispenger: vær på plass kl 17:00! Disse gratisturneringene og turneringsbillettene vil naturligvis bare være tilgjengelige for nordmenn, og ja, geo-restriksjoner vil bli satt på plass. 😉

Så da er det bare å satse på at dette blir kjekt, så vi kan fortsette å kjøre et slikt opplegg fremover. Håper så mange som mulig har tid og mulighet til å sjekke det ut, og kom gjerne med forslag/innspill/kritikk/hva som helst!

Streamen er altså på www.twitch.tv/uhlenpoker, og om du ikke har Unibet konto kan du opprette det via denne linken: Registrer deg her, og få 100,- kroner gratis og spille for, samt en €200 pokerbonus som utløses etterhvert som man spiller. Snakkes på Twitch!

 

Interesting hand from the Unibet NL800 streets

To give some context for the hand in question, we are playing at an NL800 cash game at Unibet Poker. The hand is played at a fairly soft table, but the villain in this particular hand is one of the toughest regs in the game (although I did not know that at the time, and this is not the real Jakeeeeeeee fwiw). To explain how we should be constructing a defending range against villains line, I will use the concept of “minimum defence frequency”.

The hand begins with me looking down at KQo in the small blind, and I open for 3x the BB to €24. I’ve got close to €2000 at the table and the big blind covers me. He 3-bets to €80 and now we have a decision. We could turn this hand into a bluff by 4-betting, as our hand has very strong blocker effects, blocking many of his value hands (QQ/KK/AQ/AK). However, our hand plays fairly well post flop and I think our hand is just too strong to turn into a 4-bet bluff here.

So I click call and the flop comes AdTc7h. I check (as I would with my entire range in this spot), and he bets 1/3 pot for €52 into the pot of now €157. I like this bet size by him, as it is a cheap way for him to put pressure on my range. KQ is not a super strong holding at this point, but we have a gutshot to the nuts as well as some showdown value with our KQ high cards.

I call and the turn brings the gin card, a jack. So we turn the nuts, but there is now also a flush draw on board with two hearts. I check again and he makes a slight overbet for €300 into €261. At this point we have two choices: we can either flat call and let him keep barreling his bluffs, or we can raise to get value from his value hands (AA, JJ, TT, AJ, AT etc) and to prevent him from drawing cheaply to a heart flush.

I ultimately decide to flat call, as I strongly suspected he would keep firing the river with a lot of his bluffs, thinking that my range would be somewhat capped just flatting the turn. The river brings the 4 of hearts, completing a possible flush. This is not a great card as we no longer hold the nuts, and a heart flush is definitely possible for our villain here. I check a third time and he overbet-jams for €1537 into the pot of €861 for slightly less than 2x pot. Sigh…

What now?

What we need to do in a spot like this, is to think about our range, and what hands we get to the river with. Then we need to decide what pot odds we are getting, and how often we need to call. To figure out how much we need to call this bet, I will use the concept of minimum defence frequency (MDF). MDF is basically the minimum we need to call to avoid that our opponent automatically profits with his bets.

Villain is here risking €1537 to win €861. So:
B (ratio of what he is risking to what he can win (bet size/potsize) = 1537/861 = 1,79
A = B/(B+1) = 1,79/2,79 = 0,644
MDF: (1-A)% = 1 – 0,644 = 35,6%.

This means we need to be at least calling 35,6% of our range. This should basically be the top of our range, but blocker effects to his possible value-jams need to be taken into consideration. If we assume his value-jamming range on the river is KQ straights and all flushes, then holding a king, a queen or a heart in our range is naturally good, as it reduces the number of combinations he can have of those holdings.

Let’s assume we get to the river with all suited aces, A9o+, KJ, KQ, JT, 98s, 77, TT and JJ, and some heart flushes (all Axhh, KThh, QThh, T9hh, T8hh and 89hh). The total amount of combinations we reach the river with is then 127. If we want to reach our MDF of 35,6% we then need to call 45 of these combinations. If we call all straights and flushes, that totals to 33 combinations, meaning we need to find 12 more combinations to reach our MDF. The remaining 12 combinations should be strong hands that also blocks our opponents value jams. So for example, calling a hand like AxQh would be better than calling TT, even though AxQh is weaker in terms of absolute hand strength. This is because AxQh blocks both the KQ straights and his Qxhh flushes, lowering the frequency our opponent will have these holdings.

Breaking down the hand we can see in this example that KQ definitely is a call. In real time I was not super confident though, as I suspected that my average opponents at Unibet were underbluffing this line. Anyways we ended up pressing the call button, and villain showed Kh5x for king high. I remember my Twitch chat going off the rails when he showed his hand here, but in reality, this is a really good bluffing hand on this runout. The Kh is obviously a very good card, as it blocks all Kxhh flushes as well as the KQ straight. The Kh is probably the best blocker card to take this line with, as the Ah has enough showdown value to check back at some point. Also by not holding the ace, he unblocks a lot of the hands he wants to put pressure on (all the Ax hands). The 5 in his hand doesn’t mean all that much, but it unblocks a lot of the hands I will call twice with and fold river, like AQo/A7s/JTs.

The hand in question was streamed live on my Twitch channel, and I exported the clip to YouTube after. Check it out here: YouTube