How To READ When Your OPPONENT Is STRONG

$2/$5 No Limit Cash Game – Encore in Las Vegas, Nevada

YouTube poker vlogger Jaman Burton continues to bless the internet (and our blog) with quality, live poker content. One of the premiere poker vloggers based out of Las Vegas, Jaman’s pocket jacks were a great aid in showing how to properly read an opponent’s hand strength. With a paired board, was Jaman able to navigate his jiggity’s and not go broke?

The Game: $2/$5 No Limit Cash Game – Encore
Blinds: $2/$5
Stack Sizes: 200 Big Blinds Effective

How To READ When Your OPPONENT Is STRONG Featuring Jaman Burton!

Gettin’ Jiggity With It

Following a limp from the under the gun (UTG) player, Jaman would look down at pocket jacks and made it $25, a strategically sound play with a premium hand. Drawing a call from both the big blind and UTG limper, three players would make it to an interesting flop.

One Short Of A Jackpot Flop

The Pot: $80
The Board: 7♠-7-4
Effective Stack: 195 Big Blinds

A paired board would bring in draws and potentially full houses for Jaman’s opponents range, leaving him in a precarious spot to navigate his overpair. Checked to, Jaman had the benefit of position to influence his strategy, but what was the right play? Whenever it is multi-way and you are checked to on paired boards, you must be cautious as failing to do so could be expensive. Accounting for both a limper and the big blind being involved in the hand, the suited connectors in both player’s range can easily produce hands that destroy Jaman’s jacks. While caution is advised, betting is still the ideal move as it gets called by not only better hands but also hands you beat. Weaker pocket pairs and draws that potentially miss will willingly call small bet sizes and add money to the pot, money that could very well find it’s way to your stack. It is worth noting that when you are playing live you have the opportunity to pick up live tells on opponents, these tells could very well assist you in gauging your opponent’s hand strength.

Betting for a small size was the ideal move, Jaman did just that for $50 drawing a call from both remaining players.

To The Turn

The Pot: $130
The Board: 7♠-7-4-9
Effective Stack: 185 Big Blinds

The flop call from both players strongly suggested they were either drawing or had a made hand. While the 9♣ on the turn was relatively safe for Jaman’s jacks, his opponent’s flop actions suggested he wasn’t completely out of the woods. Jaman would again be checked to, but what was the right play? Betting with the jacks is a difficult play as you are very vulnerable to check-raises you have to fold out. Good, aggressive opponents will raise with draws that lack showdown value that force you off of hands you could very well be ahead in. While Jaman could have strategically checked, betting was still a viable option depending on the sizing. Betting for a small size gets called by worse hands, and while it may also induce folds it limits the damage when you do get check-raised. As you have a better idea of how your opponents are going to respond to a bet, you can be inclined to bet unless they suggest they have you beat.

While checking and betting small were the ideal moves, Jaman elected to raise for a larger size of $110, bringing about a call and then a $400 raise from both opponents.

Know When To Fold’Em

While Jaman likely regretted his large bet sizing, whenever your large bet gets raised you know for certain it is time to fold. Sevens, pocket fours, and pocket nines were all well within the range of both opponents putting Jaman in a spot where he had to give up on the hand. Being a disciplined player, Jaman found the proper fold. Mucking his cards, the big blind player would shove the remaining $1100 in their stack producing a call from the UTG player. While Jaman would have piece of mind when both the pocket fours and pocket nines were revealed, the J on the river proved the mental anguish poker can produce.

Even though he would have won the hand, Jaman played a sound strategy and maneuvered the hand properly. Sometimes it hurts seeing what could have been, but most of the time, it’s better to prevent losses. Be sure to check out Jaman’s YouTube channel, and our past hand reviews featuring his content!

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