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Doug Polk Chases a Flush Draw in Massive Pot (Analysis)

Since becoming a part-owner of The Lodge Card Club, Doug Polk has been playing poker regularly for the first time since his heads-up challenge vs Daniel Negreanu.

Some of his sessions have been played on The Lodge Live stream — which has been on hiatus for a couple of months — including the hand that I’ll be analyzing today.

Let’s dive into the hand.

Preflop

The game is No Limit Hold’em. The blinds are $5/$10 with a $25 straddle.

Big Tony opens to $150 from UTG+1 with 5♣ 5. Andrew Neeme calls with A♣ 7♣ from UTG+3. Doug Polk calls with 3 2 from the Cutoff. DQ calls with J♠ 9♣ from the Big Blind.

preflop action screenshot doug vs dq

Preflop Analysis

Quick caveat: I want to start off by saying that it is very likely that both Doug and Andrew Neeme were playing much looser than they would in a normal game because they wanted to maximize the fun (rather than their win-rate) in this streamed game. This may have been the case for the other players as well. That being said, I will analyze this hand from the standpoint of gaining the most amount of money.

Big Tony makes two mistakes here with Pocket Fives: His raise is too loose from UTG+1 and his raise size is way too big.

When you are open-raising, your main goal is to steal the blinds*. For this reason, you want to make the raise as small as possible without giving the Big Blind too good of pot odds to defend. For this purpose, a small raise size of 2.2 to 3 big blinds is adequate. The lowest pocket pair he should look to open from that position are 77 or 88.

*Only the top 2-3% of hands actually want to get called, the rest would prefer to outright steal the blinds. 

Andrew Neeme’s call is also too loose, even if Big Tony is raising a wider range than he should. His range should be extremely tight given that the pot odds he’s offered are atrocious (needs to call $150 to win $340, roughly needing 44% equity). Also, there are many players behind who can squeeze him out of the pot. He should probably be defending with hands like AJ-suited and better, KQ-suited, Pocket Nines plus, and probably AQ-offsuit.

If Andrew’s A♣ 7♣ cold-call is on the losing side, then Doug’s call with 3 2 from the Cutoff is way out of line. He was definitely “there for the lolz.”

DQ’s Big Blind defense with J9-offsuit is also a losing call. He’s against strong ranges (at least in theory) with an offsuit hand that will often be dominated, all while playing out of position to 3 players.

Let’s see three!

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The Advanced Solver Ranges for cash games — one of five sets of preflop charts in the Upswing Lab.

Flop

The flop comes A J 9. The pot is $630.

DQ checks. Big Tony checks. Andrew bets $250. Doug calls. DQ raises to $1,800. Andrew folds. Doug calls.

flop action doug vs dq

“Have you looked?” Doug asks his opponent (who is known for playing hands without looking at his cards).

Flop Analysis

The flop gives DQ two-pair, Doug a flush draw, and Andrew top pair.

DQ’s check is completely fine given that he should have the widest and the weakest range. He should check with his entire range of hands here.

Big Tony’s hand is too weak to c-bet, so well played on his part by checking.

Andrew’s bet with top pair is probably fine given that there is an extra incentive to protect his hand in a multiway pot.

Doug’s call is also good with a flush draw.

DQ’s check-raise is okay. But I think check-calling is probably better given that his hand will often drop in value massively on the turn. Any A, K, Q, T, 8, and any diamond would make his hand shrivel up quite a bit. That’s over half the deck. That being said, he will be able to continue value betting should any other card fall on the turn.

Faced with the raise, Andrew’s fold is fine given that DQ’s range is extremely strong.

With Andrew out of the way, Doug’s call is definitely good given that when he hits the flush, he has implied odds against this relatively loose player.

Turn

The turn comes the 3, making the board A J 9 3. The pot is now $4,400.

DQ fires a $2,500 bet. Doug calls.

turn action doug vs dq

Turn Analysis

DQ’s bet is fine given that he only has a pot-sized bet left on the river if Doug calls. 

Doug’s call is correct as well. He almost has good enough pot odds to call profitably, and that crosses the threshold into certainly profitable when you factor in the implied odds — i.e. if he hits his flush, he may win a little (or a lot) more on the river.

River

The river comes 7, making the final board A J 9 3 7. The pot is $9,400.

DQ makes a small bet of $3,000. Doug puts DQ all-in for a total of around $9,000. (The stacks sizes shown in the video are wrong so I am not sure about the exact size.) DQ tank-calls.

doug vs dq on the river

River Analysis

DQ makes a fairly big mistake by betting on a river that completes basically every weaker hand that Doug called with on the turn. His hand is toast once the flush completes since Doug’s range is now condensed to only hands that beat him. In other words, Doug either has a slow-played two-pair that beats Jack-Nine or a flush.

Doug’s raise is the best line he could take since DQ would have probably bet all-in with a better hand than his. Raising to a smaller size or just calling would leave too much value on the table.

Building on what I said previously, DQ makes a mistake by calling Doug’s shove here. There is no logical hand that Doug could have here that doesn’t beat his Jack-Nine. Doug would have to be getting very feisty with a hand like K Jx, but it’s extremely unlikely he would have played that hand in this same way.

Wrapping Up

That’s all for this analysis! I hope that I was able to shed some light on what actually happened in this hand.

If you enjoyed the analysis or you think either played should have done something different please let me know in the comment section down below!

Want to read an article that is extremely relevant for Texas poker players? Check out 3 Tips for Playing Double Board PLO Bomb Pots.

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!

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