NL Hold’em Hand Analysis below are advanced content. We assume that the reader understand fundamental concepts of hand ranges, odds, bet sizings and basic mathematics of poker.
- Effective stack is 100BB
- Hero opens from MP with K♠ Q♠ for 3BB.
- Button 3-bets to 9BB.
- Hero calls.
Flop 7♦ 8♦ 4♠ (19.5BB)
- Hero checks
- Villain bets 6.5BB (1/3 pot)
Versus this small of a flop bet, we should be able to continue with our range very often. The question is, should we call or raise ?
Raising makes sense because we can definitely have nut combos like 77 and 88 that raised and called a 3-bet preflop, which is unlikely found in villain’s preflop 3-bet range. We can also ocassionally have 78s, which makes top two on the flop. Villain is much less likely to 3-bet with those hands. With 6 combos of sets and maybe 1 combos of 78s, we have a total of 7 nut combos. Our bluff combos contains 3 combos T9s that are not diamonds, some backdoor flush draws like A♠ Q♠, K♠ Q♠, J♠ Q♠, J♠ T♠; for a total of 14 combos.
If we raise to 26BB and villain calls. On the turn we can comfortably bet all in on a turn card that is unlikely in villain’s range. For example, in this case, a spade, or any 2, 3 for a total of 14 combos, a K or Q will give us top pair and allowing us to go in check/call mode on the turn.
We will also have a call range which includes hands like QQ, JJ, TT, 99; decent diamond flush draws like A♦ Q♦, K♦ Q♦, J♦ Q♦, J♦ T♦, T♦ 9♦; for a total of 21 combos.
Hero has a hand that fit well in the bluff raise range, but couldn’t pull the trigger and made a call instead.
Turn 7♦ 8♦ 4♠ 3♠ (32.5BB)
- Hero checks
- Villain bets 11BB (1/3 pot)
3♠ is practically a blank on this board. If villain was ahead with the nut straight on the flop, this card doesn’t change anything. It’s very unlikely that villain makes 2-pair or sets with this turn card.
This card gives hero a flush draw and hero might be tempted to donk here. However, when hero calls the flop, their range is limited and 3♠ is unlikely going to improve hero’s flop check/call holdings. When hero donks, it’s possible that villain might raise all-in, forcing hero to fold high equity drawing hands.
Here, villain bets another 1/3 pot bet; which makes sense with villain’s overpair holdings and flush draws. If villain 3-bet with 56s preflop, they now risk getting outdrawn and should have probably bet larger.
Hero’s hand just improved to a flush draw after calling the flop, so folding for such a small bet here is out of the question. Should hero call or raise all in?
Since hero check called the flop, hero’s range is capped and fold equity is limited. When hero raises all in, all villain’s flush draw will fold (which have the same equity as hero’s hand), and some of villain’s over pair, like AA, KK, QQ may call, which we are well behind.
Calling is reasonable here as hero is getting 4:1 to call; although not sufficient in pot odd, but with the stack behind, implied odd is sufficient. However, if we call here and miss the river, we will have little room to bluff and check/fold is generally the unavoidable.
As played Hero calls.
River 7♦ 8♦ 4♠ 3♠ 4♣ (54.5BB)
- Hero checks
- Villain bets 28BB (1/2 pot)
- Hero folds
As played, once the hero miss and river is a blank, there’s not much that the hero can do.
Alternatively, had hero decided to raise the flop and villain called, Turn 7♦ 8♦ 4♠ 3♠ would have 71.5BB in the pot. Hero could make a pot sized all-in and put massive pressure to the villain.
In summary, as played, hero’s passive play puts themselves in very marginal spots where ranges are capped and easy to read. Had hero took a more aggresively line, lots of spots become immediately non-marginal and there’s a clear decision to make between betting and folding.