This hand comes from the top poker vlogger in the industry, Brad Owen, playing in a live cash game at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada! In this live cash game hand, Brad is in a tough spot on the river facing a check-raise. Multi-way spots can be difficult to play, but check out how Brad maneuvers this one. Poker isn’t always about winning big pots, sometimes it’s about minimizing losses!
The Game: $5/$10 Live No-Limit Hold’em Cash Game
Where: The Bellagio
Stack Size: $2790
Editor’s note: This video comes from Jonathan Little’s YouTube Channel. If you would like to stay up to date with more video content such as this, including hand breakdowns from Negreanu vs Polk, Tom Dwan, Bryn Kenney and more, click here.
This hand begins with Brad Owen getting dealt Ace-King in the Cutoff with about 300 big blinds behind. He raises (as he should with his entire opening range) to $30, and the player on the button and the big blind call. The big blind had about $1500 behind, making him the effective stack in this hand.
Playing the Flop
The Pot: $95
The Flop: A♠-T♣-7♦
Effective Stack: $1470
This is a board that connects fairly well with all of the players ranges. With that said, Brad has the most nut hands in his overall range. This is because the player on the BTN and in the BB would likely 3-bet preflop with hands like AA, TT, AK, AQ, and other strong hands. When you have the most nutted hands in your range, you typically get to bet fairly often, using a large continuation bet size. This spot is a little bit different though because it’s multi-way. When it’s multi-way, you should bet less often because there are multiple opponents who can have strong hands.
Brad goes ahead and bets about 75% pot, which is great, and both the BTN and the BB call.
Playing the Turn
The Pot: $245
The Turn: (A♠-T♣-7♦) –K♥
Effective Stack: $1320
The turn brings the (A♠-T♣-7♦) –K♥, giving Brad Owen top two-pair.
When you turn two pair, but a possible straight comes in on the turn, what would you do with the AK? Would you check, bet 1/3 pot, bet 2/3 pot, or bet full pot? Let me know in the comments section below!
Although the AK isn’t the nuts here on the turn, it’s still a very strong hand and betting again for a large size is great. There are still plenty of hands that Brad can get value from here such as any A-X, KQ, K7, KT, and many other hands.
Brad goes with a little over a 2/3 pot bet on the turn and only the player in the big blind calls.
Playing the River
The Pot: $525
The River: (A♠-T♣-7♦–K♥) – T♦
Effective Stack: $1180
The river brings the (A♠-T♣-7♦–K♥) –T♦ and is really where this hand gets interesting!
The big blind player checks and Brad has to decide to go for value or not. In this spot, although sometimes you’re going to be beat, there are still plenty of worse hands to get value from such as all of the AX’s like AJ or A9. Brad bets $400 into the $525 pot and gets check-raised to $950. Gross!
In spots like this, you want to be thinking about your pot odds: how often you need to call and win for your call to be profitable. In this situation, Brad has to risk $550 more to win a total pot of $2425. That means for this call to be profitable, Brad needs to win ~23% of the time. In spots like this, it means that your opponent needs to be bluffing really often. Ask yourself, in live cash games, do people check-raise the river as a bluff very often? I don’t think so, and neither did Brad as he makes a big fold on the river to the check-raise.
Brad Owen Makes a Big Fold & Saves Money
In this hand, Brad Owen faced a really tough spot where most players would just make the call and watch their chips get pulled in by their opponent. Instead, Brad minimized his losses when likely behind, didn’t get attached to a previously strong hand, and made a great fold! He also maximized value on the flop and turn which will lead to long-term profitability.
That’s weird. The Brad did NOT fold to the river check-raise on, he made the call! The text says the opposite.