38 Comments

  1. The question is a bit hubristic when enough light is shined on it. It doesn't matter how much studying, analysis or effort you direct toward the game, no one is ever going to eliminate the luck element. For those who desperately want to believe luck can be conquered, it is this type of question they might find themselves pondering. The most proficient GTO practioner will never be able to exploit luck. For that we should be thankful.

  2. His mistake not shoving the flop. If you’re gonna gamble don’t pretend to play poker. Alec already decided this guy is a fish, saying he don’t know is kinda being humble and for the sake of analysis. Nobody calling 3 bet with A9s without that fact. River is snap call.

  3. When it got to the river, I think you should have re-raised and put him All In. Considering his stack, compared to the pot size, it's a relatively small price to pay to know for sure. He would have folded (obviously) unless he had ANYTHING.
    Having said that, I tried going all in once like this guy on a bluff and it didn't work 🙁 My guess is you would have folded though.

  4. I'm just learning so still just getting feet wet with all the GTO stuff, but it just baffles me to see these high rollers opening w J/2 of any thing, much less staying to showdown. Must be nice to have money to burn so easily. Even though, why not wait for better starters? I hope that means I'll do okay with the common sense approach. A little math, a little gut. I think I read Dan Harrington saying something similar. Or maybe it was Alec. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Staring at the board and the sort of bob-and-weave sway tells me he's winding up for a bluff. You're more likely to stare at your chips if you have it. It's like he's figuring out what he can pretend he has. I think it's a mistake to assume this is "unconscious" or "gut" or "instinct". These are objective signs he's throwing.

  6. didn't you see that neon sign on his forehead while he was -playing with his chips and decided to make it look like a value bet?? I saw it…it said "I GOT NOTHING"….i know I could see the cards…but that's what I would have seen regardless…that guy is not a good poker player…I'm glad you took him.

  7. Reason/Logic vs. Emotions a classic debate in many other areas other than poker…politics, marriage, having children, etc…in the end it is a choice that maybe we are not even in control? ("freewill/responsibility vs. hard determinism/no responsibility?)

  8. I don't play higher than 3/5 live but this is exactly the sort of hand that I would get to the river with in this way. In a 3-bet pot, all of the aces you'll encounter are out-kicking you, which means you can't get value from any weaker ace, and it's going to hard to get value from JJ-KK because the ace on the flop is very likely to kill your action. Therefore, the suited ace functions well as a bluff-catcher. It's even better because when he barrels this board, he's representing an ace, but you know because of your blocker that he has less combos of those than he thinks. In fact, if your plan is to fold to aggression on this board, it is probably best not to call the 3-bet with this hand at all. If you ever raise the turn or the flop to protect yourself from hands in his 3-bet bluffing range such as 7c8c or 9cTc, then your calls, plus the fact that you flatted pre (presumably you have a 4-bet range that includes the nuts and occasionally AK) mean that you're actually at the top of your range on this river. I mean… given my ranges, I would be, but I dunno about how you build your ranges.

  9. Hey alec, You stated that this guy bought in for 10k and this was the 1st hand you've seen him play when you were in this session. You say he worked his stack up to 17k. If he worked his stack up to 17k that means he won a few pots during this session. How come you didnt observe him play the hands where he picked up a couple of pots? I assume you were on the table when he won a few hands because you knew that he had only bought in 10k. Please clarify. Thanks.

  10. To paraphrase a David Sklansky thought, talent beats game theory. In my mind the talent is observation and focus. Not listening to the little voice inside of you. You can always justify a bad call by saying I felt he was bluffing. I probably would have called here but so would of a lot of players. Players want to see and they don't want to be bluffed.

  11. have to agree.. i like to watch players, see if i can see anything, especially when not in the hand, this guy definitely looked less confident.. just MY read.. he looked like he was trying to muster the courage to bet the pot, which MIGHT.. might, have gotten you to fold.. but his bet was just not enough..he was, i think, waffling with just check/folding, and betting.. as he didnt have the stones for this level of "game", so enjoy his chips in good health..

  12. This is such an incredibly interesting topic, and worth a lot more discussion. How much should I depend on the data points at the time, vs how much should I go with "my gut?" Others here make a fair point, by virtue of your substantial experience, your gut is going to be much more accurate than us fledgling amateurs. BUT, you can also legitimately argue that the sub-conscience mind (alt for "gut") is actually factoring in WAY more information than we realize, and we may be surprised that that "gut feel" is actually backed by a lot of analytic reasoning, and incredibly subtle observations, just at a sub-conscience level. Having said that, as a management consultant around risk management, I consult and speak at a lot at conferences about how, and why, we as humans are inherent really bad at assessing risk, and tend to prioritize data points which support our position or intention. In short, we are usually more interested in finding data points to rationalize the decision we've actually already made then data points which challenge that decision. Pros are much better at recognizing, and pushing past, those biases, so I would love to see some more thoughts and examples on factors which should influence the value you place on your "gut." Great content, thanks!

  13. I don't know if you will ever read this alec but I hope you do. What you neglect to acknowledge in your analysis is the opponents range. We are in a 3 bet pot which in theory means ranges are tighter. Opponent has bet the A88 flop which should narrow his range. When he continues on turn after you call the flop it begins to make his range more polar. Would OP value bet AT or AJ on the turn in a 3 bet pot? Even if you say yes to that it becomes even more polar when he bets the river. You have AK AQ sometimes AA all the 8x in your range calling a 3 bet from the button. When he bets the river his range is arguably AA AK A8s and 88 or a bluff. Many players may not even bet AK on the river for value and instead opt to put it in their check call range as you have 8s in your range. With you holding an A you remove a vast majority of his value hands. In this particular case the blocker really does matter. I think your "gut" in this situation is actually just a subconscious application of this thinking. His demeanor may also have an effect on this like you stated but the actual ranging on each street could lead a thinking player to the same conclusion. Thanks for the hand

  14. Here is the explanation of his intuitive read. We can assume Alec has educated himself on tells, behaviors, body language. There are 1000's of pieces of information that we learn over the tons of books and videos we read and see. If someone asked us to recall every piece of data we can't. So what is happening is that his brain has instantly calculated all this information subconsciously recalling things he learned instantaneously. Thus leading to a read like this. Watching this video I can tell you exactly what he saw…. discomfort. The opponent was all happy until he got called on the river and he didn't have a river plan and his mood turned uncomfortable. His head nodding is someone making a choice between two opposite decisions. A player with quads lets say doesn't have a polarized choice. He has a scaled choice in his bet size. Also notice the opponent took short time on the flop and turn, then a long time on the river. This again signals to me he has a plan to the turn and didn't plan for the river. When players just say "fuck it I am bluffing all 3 streets" they plow through the betting with the same length timing tell which usually is pretty quick completely ignoring the texture and changes. Sometimes when someone is strong they do the same thing when the board is threatening, but they have the nuts, and the river is a blank. I find the better player will take the most time on the flop planning the hand, then smaller times on the turn and river but not quick actions.

    Reads aren't the whole hand though. A read like this affects 10% of a hand usually. Either shifting a call to a fold lets say due to the adjustment on how often you need to call based on the pot size and their frequencies. OR in an exact spot like this where the range is very polarized but you have no information really to make a mathematical decision.

    These reads are very subject to money fear shutting them down BTW. Thus why you should not play with money fear.

    I had a hand the other night very similar to this and the opponent behaved exactly like this guy did on the river.

  15. What sense did an out of position bet on an off suit J2 make? None whatsoever. It's difficult to ignore the 'inside' knowledge that the guy actually had a crap hand but here goes. Logically he should have had something in the range of A with K to 10 maybe suited, or Ks through Js or even 10s. It was your call on the flop that made him think you did not have an A in your hand and induced him to keep firing thinking he could get a fold. So letting him bet and just calling all the way down the line, including the river, was the right play. It minimized your possible loss in case he somehow had the range that made sense on the river, but took most of hs stack anyway. Obviously he would never have called a raise on the river anyway.

  16. Yeah, I think its a fold unless you know the opponent, like you said alot of the Ax hands you would beat are 2 pair on this runout, so you are only beating a couple of Ax hands. You are only beating a 3 barrel bluff with A9 and with his bet size on the river I think he dug his own grave.

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