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 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