Since making the move to Las Vegas a year ago, poker vlogger Jaman Burton continues to provide his growing subscriber base with fun and enthralling footage straight from the poker table. Despite being the host of The Drawing Dead, Jaman was drawing anything but dead when he looked down at pocket kings at the Bellagio. Facing recreational players, Jaman elected to slowplay his premium pair to draw some action, but did it pay off by the river?
The Game: $5/$10 No Limit Hold’em Stack Sizes: 300 Big Blinds Effective Where: The Bellagio
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Let’s Go Kowboys
Following a limp from a recreational player in middle position (MP), Jaman raised it to $40 from the small blind holding K♥-K♣. Much to Jaman’s surprise, the MP player three-bet to $120 after a fold from the big blind. Not wanting to scare away hands he could extract value from, Jaman called taking it to the flop.
After an opponent in MP limps and three-bets, it is important to consider what hands they may do this with. Many recreational players will see this line and assume their opponent is holding pocket aces, but that is a dangerous assumption to make. Unless you have accurate information on an opponent, you must consider the entirety of their range and avoid fixating on the one hand that beats you. There are plenty of hands like A-K and A-Q in the MP player’s range that are crushed by kings, out of position Jaman should have four-bet utilizing the strength of his hand.
The Pot: $250 The Board: 8♠-8♥-6♣ Effective Stack: 288 Big Blinds Effective
Out of position with what was likely a safely paired board, Jaman considered donk betting but opted to check. Much to Jaman’s surprise, his opponent checked it back.
The 8♠-8♥-6♣ board was a weird flop for the MP player not to bet, as Jaman had practically no eights in his range. By not betting on the flop, Jaman’s opponent basically confirmed he was not holding aces and was representing hands like A-K or A-Q. Disappointed at no additional money being added to the pot, all Jaman could do was hope to attract some profitable calls later in the hand.
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Going For Value On The Turn
The Pot: $250 The Board: 8♠-8♥-6♣-9♠ Effective Stack: 288 Big Blinds Effective
Seeing a safe card on the turn, Jaman was hell-bent on getting some value after the flop checked through. Leading out for a half-pot bet of $130, Jaman was called after some thought from his opponent.
Jaman was in an interesting spot on the turn as his opponent’s range contained a lot of ace-high hands. Betting the turn was ideal, not because of the potential ace-high’s in his opponent’s range, but to extract value from the hands they could call with (like A-9). Jaman’s main concern was not getting outdrawn, but rather getting value for his kings. With his half-pot bet, Jaman expertly drew value for his cowboys.
Annoying Cards Found On Fifth Street
The Pot: $510 The Board: 8♠-8♥-6♣-9♠-7♠ Effective Stack: 275 Big Blinds Effective
The 7♠ on the river not only provided one-liner straights, but completed some full house combos and the spade-flush. Regardless, Jaman was confident he was ahead, but still elected to check and evaluate the bet sizing of his opponent.
A lot of players make the mistake of assuming certain hands are outside their opponent’s range, even though they may very well be possibilities. There will be instances where the opponent will flip over A-10 suited, despite doing everything to suggest otherwise. While a small value bet would have been permissible, Jaman was wise to check out of position and evaluate his opponent’s action.
A check-raise may sound like a good idea to some players, but in this spot it was better off avoided. Pocket queens and jacks are likely folding to a river check-raise, so what hands could Jaman possibly have targeted that he beat? Checking and calling a reasonable bet was the optimal play, but after a contemplative check from his opponent, Jaman was in for some heartbreaking news.
Conclusion: The Tricky Limper Gets There
Begrudgingly deciding to check, the MP player flipped over 10♦-9♦ revealing he had completed his one-liner straight on the river. Despite the justifiable disgust, Jaman showed his world-class sportsmanship by taking the loss in stride. It is unfortunate when lessons come from losses, but it is important to remember even recreational players are capable of mixing it up. A special thank you to Jaman Burton for allowing us to analyze his hand footage, be sure to check out other poker vlogs on his YouTube channel.
About The Author
Two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little is a powerhouse in the global poker community. He's authored several bestselling strategy poker books, and accumulated over $7 million in live tournament cashes in the last 15 years. Crowned 2019 Poker Personality of the Year at the Global Poker Awards, the American pro is constantly rolling out a stream of exclusive articles, videos, and webinars here on PokerCoaching.com.