Alright, let's try this out. I generally express my thoughts on hand histories best in concept videos but this month I had a hand that was so interesting I felt like I should probably blog about it. Consequently, I've decided to experiment with the written format. I hope you enjoy.
This hand was played at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, FL around 10pm on a Tuesday. I bought in for the max of $600 and quickly doubled up to $1,200 right before this hand occurred. Villain opened to $20 UTG in a nine-handed game. Villain is a local pro. He is exceptionally loose-aggressive in 2/5NL games and his intelligent post-flop skills result in a very solid win rate for him. It folded around to me in the big blind and I looked down at KQo. Against a normal UTG opening range of around 7% this is a clear fold; however, against this opponent I think it's a call. He's probably opening close to 20% of the time and KQ performs well enough against that range to continue.
The flop came J62r and I checked. Villain bet $25 and I called. Now this may seem like an unorthodox play to most people but I had very specific reasons for it. I know this player well and I know that he doesn't barrel with hands that have decent showdown value. Knowing that, it's easy to extrapolate and figure out that he's often checking back ace-high on this board. If that's the case his betting range becomes overpairs, sets, good top pairs, and air like KT/QT/T9s/98s/78s/etc. My pair outs dominate most of his air range and add extra value to this play. Additionally, there are several cards in the deck that improve my hand to a gut-shot or open-ender. All in all, any ace, king, queen, jack, or ten improves my hand significantly more than it improves Villain's range. This makes floating with KQo a great play if I think Villain will often check back a significant portion of his air hands on the turn, allowing me to stab the river.
The turn was an offsuit ace. I checked and Villain bet $55. The thing about this turn is that it benefits my range more than his. Villain is checking back so much ace high on this flop that his bluffing range is kind of unsupported on this card. His only real value hands end up being sets and AJ and even if he has an ace, my play looks extremely, extremely strong. Very few people check-raise bluff in this spot and before I decided to check-raise I thought that there was a decent chance I could get my opponent to fold a hand as strong as AT. I check-raised to $175 and Villain quickly folded. I was of course very happy with the my play but more importantly, I was very happy with my thought process.
To summarize, it's really easy to just fold this hand pre-flop. It's also really easy to fold this hand on the flop or the turn. But I think if you want to have a top win rate you have to start recognizing situations like this. Find situations where Villain's range has inconsistencies. In this hand Villain just didn't have enough ace high in his betting range on the flop. In other hands the inconsistencies can be more subtle and it will require much more attention to notice these flaws. Either way, make sure you continue to improve your attention to detail. And as always make sure you run good, have fun, and constantly look for ways to improve. Good luck at the tables!