THE BASICS OF JACKPOT POKER – EPISODE 7
With Americas Cardroom bringing the Million Dollar Jackpot back to the Jackpot SNG games, I thought it would be a great time to cover some basic strategy concepts to help you maximize your longevity in the games while awaiting that life-changing spin.
I’ve already mentioned a number of times on this blog that I believe that in low-stake hyperturbo games – specifically the Jackpot Poker games – a bad bluff is better than no bluff at all, and so I decided to showcase exactly that for you here today.
Read: I often tell my students that if you’re not building reads in a hyperturbo from the very first hand, you’re most definitely missing out on some value. That’s because with so little time to gather information and such distinct player-types to be found in this game format, even just 3 or 4 hands can often be enough to build some very loose reads on your opponents. That was just the situation I found myself in here, with my opponent in the BB having entered every pot so far – either by limping or completing – and making a bet following any check. It might have only been a sample-size of just a handful of hands, but a 100% vpip without any preflop aggression is rare enough that it immediately stood out.
With the button limping and my BB opponent unlikely to isolate thanks to the read I just mentioned, my 58s seemed just strong enough to complete and head to the flop.
Obvious check spot for me. Not much to note other than the fact that the button checked behind on an ace-high board after open-limping and seeing both his opponents check the flop, implying to me he was likely a weaker, more passive, player since most would take the opportunity to fire on such a dry board.
The turn brings a 9 with a flush-draw, giving me a weak gutshot. And while I would often use the situation to test the button player with a bet since I had no showdown value and could not really check-call a bet, I made the decision to test my read on the big blind and see if he’d fire at the pot with the intention of check-raising so long as the button folded ahead of me. Fortunately, things went according to plan with my opponent making a minbet in a spot where very few people would ever do so with a real value-hand. In my mind, his range likely capped out at a weak pair or some sort of draw, though if he was really as strict with his no preflop aggression as he had seemed so far I suppose it was possible for him to hold some aces as well. Still, with my preflop SB-completing range holding many more weak aces than his check-behind range, and him just minbetting a now somewhat drawy board, I felt I had a distinct range advantage and thus should continue with my plan for the hand as intended and complete the check-raise, which I did. The real question, however, was to what size.
In my mind, bet-sizing in unique situations is one of the most “artistic” elements of poker – particularly against new opponents at the lower-limits – allowing more room for making decisions based on “feel”. That’s why, after evaluating the spot in its entry, I elected to size up my check-raise to more than the size of the pot. In the heat of the moment my thinking was that since my opponent likely had zero reads on me, I wanted to seem as much like an amateur looking to get value from a slowplayed 2pr+ hand while both dissuading him from peeling the river with a weak pair/draw as well as setting myself up to apply max pressure with a larger river bluff if required.
And while it worked out in this instance, with my opponent quickly folding his hand, in hindsight I do think this was the “bad” part of this bluff, with me likely being able to achieve the same thing with a smaller betsize. Because, as someone who likes to steal more than their fair-share of pots, the smaller the sizing used, the lower the frequency we need to succeed at to achieve long-term profitability; which is an even more critical factor in a low-edge, high variance game like a Jackpot Poker SNG.