As his YouTube subscriber total grows and grows, vlogger Brad Owen continues to be the king of poker vlogs. The king would take his chariot convoy down the Strip to the Aria, to take part in a $5/$10 cash game. Flopping a beautiful set, Brad looked to get as much value as he could from his opponent, but was he successful?
The Game: $5/$10 Cash Game
Stack Sizes: 280 Big Blinds Effective
Where: Aria – Las Vegas, Nevada
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Folded to “Rocko” on the small blind, Rocko would raise $30, leaving Brad with a decision to make holding 9♦-9♠ as the big blind. Looking to play the flop, Brad elected to call.
Considering Brad’s play, he was likely better off three-betting Rocko’s raise. Whenever you are the big blind facing a raise from the small blind, or any late position raiser, you always want to be three-betting your best hands, as well as hands that flop well (when you are out of position). When you don’t three-bet hands like pocket nines, it portrays your three-betting range as always being strong, making you easy to play against!
The only time you would avoid raising pocket nines is if the small blind raiser is an extremely conservative player that only raises with the best premium hands. With Brad not having a tight read on his opponent, he was better off raising his pocket nines preflop.
The Pot: $60
The Board: J♥-9♥-3♦
Effective Stack: 277 Big Blinds Effective
Hitting middle set, Brad was likely thrilled to see his opponent lead out for $20. Wanting to keep his opponent in the hand with his draws, Brad called the $20 bet.
With Rocko’s bet being so tiny, Brad should have raised with his flopped set. While Brad may have wanted to keep Rocko in the hand with his draws, there is little benefit in keeping a drawing opponent in the hand when their draw actually gets there. If Brad were to have reraised and forced Rocko to fold a hand like K-10 offsuit, it wouldn’t be a big deal because that hand isn’t going to add more money to the pot unless it gets there with a queen.
In general, when facing small bets you want to raise with your best hands, especially when deep stacked.
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The Pot: $100
The Board: J♥-9♥-3♦-K♠
Effective Stack: 275 Big Blinds Effective
With a king creeping across the board, Rocko led out again, but this time sized up to a $140 oversized bet.
While the oversized bet isn’t something you often see in cash games, as you move up in stakes it becomes more and more common. Facing an overbet in-position, you usually don’t want to raise with any part of your range, as your opponent’s range will have a decent amount of nuts. While Rocko may have had Q-10, Brad could have rationalized raising if he thought Rocko wouldn’t be able to have folded a paired king. From a GTO point of view, maybe Brad shouldn’t raise in this spot, but if he could tell Rocko liked his hand, it was in his best interest to raise.
Trusting that his set of nines was ahead, Brad raised $400, drawing a call from Rocko.
The Pot: $900
The Board: J♥-9♥-3♦-K♠-4♥
Effective Stack: 235 Big Blinds Effective
Following a check from Rocko, Brad was left with the decision whether or not to go for value.
When the small blind bets the turn and calls the raise, he is likely to be holding a king or a flush draw that got there on the river. You may assume it was in Brad’s best interest to check, but with the wide assortment of king-x combo’s in Rocko’s range, Brad definitely should have bet, but for how much?
Targeting paired kings or possibly K-J, half pot was likely the right size for Brad to pursue value. While Brad wasn’t necessarily maintaining a GTO strategy, the proper GTO play would have been to bet large or pot-sized with hands that are almost always good, like a flush. Since Brad didn’t have a flush, he should have bet for a smaller size, half pot being optimal.
Although a bit larger than what we would have recommended, Brad put out a $700 bet. Following Brad’s bet, Jocko would go into the tank suggesting Brad’s set was likely good, but would he pay Brad off?
While Jocko was in the tank, another player at the table exclaimed how he wanted to play a bad hand against Brad so he could “make it into the vlog”.
I can relate to Brad in the fact that sometimes at the table people recognize me, causing them to pursue action for the sake of wanting to “play a hand against Jonathan Little”. Due to their motivations, often they will call me light, or play overly aggressive in an attempt to bluff a recognizable player.
I mention this as while I think Brad made too large of a bet on the river, his fame in the poker industry could cause opponents to call him too wide, even when the size of the bet suggests they shouldn’t. Despite being the king of poker vlogs, Brad’s fame wasn’t enough to induce a call from Rocko, who laid down K♣-Q♠.
Even though he couldn’t get additional value on the river, Brad showed off his poker prowess in this hand. Thank you to Brad Owen for letting us review another one of his hands, if you want to see more of Brad’s action at the table, be sure to check out his YouTube channel.