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How Ethan "Rampage Poker" Yau Exploits Loose & Splashy Opponents!

Ethan Yau RampagePoker

If you want to learn how to exploit the loose and splashy regs at your casino, look no further than this week’s strategy column on PokerNews!

We love Ethan Yau, AKA Rampage Poker, on this channel and when he uploads hands like this one (which he does regularly) it isn’t hard to figure out why.

A lot of people like to rush to build a gigantic pot when they have pocket kings, but sometimes that isn’t the ideal way to play them. If you are one of these people, then this video is definitely for you and I suggest you stick around until the end.

The hand took place down in Texas, in a game of $2-$5 no-limit hold’em. Yau, who in March has a very up-and-down month, looked down at the {k-Spades}{k-Diamonds} on the button after the player in the cutoff, who was described as playing a lot of hands, had opened for $20.

"Yau can use a larger raise size as he is confident his opponent will be capable of calling with most of their raising range."

Remember, just because an opponent plays a lot of hands does not necessarily mean they will have a wide range when they decide to raise. That said, when a passive opponent decides to take an aggressive line it is likely that they are at the top of their range.

Yau, a former MSPT Venetian champ, ended up three-betting to $100. Typically when three-betting in a live cash game you should not use such a large raise size, but Yau can use a larger raise size as he is confident his opponent will be capable of calling with most of their raising range. Against calling stations you should aim to three-bet a more linear range using a larger raise size to build bigger pots with your nutted hands.

Both blinds folded, the cutoff called, and the flop fell {8-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}. The original raiser opted to lead out for $150 and Yau just called with the plan to let him “hang himself.” Why not raise here? A lot of players think that raising in this spot is optimal as it builds a bigger pot and protects their hand from draws.

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When Rampage’s opponent leads here they’re likely doing so with a polarized range of either premium-made hands, strong draws, or junky draws. If his opponent likes those hands and jams all in if Yau were to raise, then the latter would be faced with a tricky decision given the deep stack sizes (420 bb effective).

Straightforward players are unlikely to put all their money in with a bluff which puts a hand like pocket kings in really bad shape when facing a three-bet jam on this flop. Furthermore, Rampage’s opponent might perceive a call as a sign of weakness and may decide to fire on all three streets with a worse hand.

The {2-Diamonds} turn saw the player in the cutoff fire out a $350 bet into the pot of $607. The board became a little more draw-heavy, and some ofRampage’s opponent’s range will have picked up additional equity on this turn.

Rampage should not change his strategy on the basis that his opponent could have picked up additional equity and should just call in this spot. You don’t want to discourage your opponent from continuing to bluff if that is indeed the case. Some players will call a three-bet preflop with a wider range looking to apply aggression on any board in an attempt to win the pot.

As your opponent’s range contains more and more just absolute nonsense you should be way more inclined to call because they are sometimes drawing dead. You do not want to raise and let them fold.

Yau did just call and the pot grew to $1,307. The {3-Spades} paired the board on the river giving Yau the best possible two pair barring his opponent having pocket aces, which is a real possibility here. The player in the cutoff bet $520. What do we do with the kings in this spot?

  • Fold
  • Call
  • Raise all in to $1,470
Yau Little Hand

In this spot, I think Rampage should either call or shove all in. Rampage should not fold here, which would be atrociously bad, as his opponent’s range can contain missed draws that may attempt to bluff as well as some worse hands that have been overvalued.

The player in the cutoff could have flopped a set the way this hand played out, and along with some other likely holdings there are 16 effective nut hands in the range of Rampage’s opponent. Rampage should compare the number of worse hands that will call a shove to the number of nutted hands before making his decision. Will the cutoff call an all-in shove with a hand like {a-}{8-}? Maybe with pocket jacks or queens?

By my count, there are 27 worse made-hands that are most likely to be in Rampage’s opponent’s rage that might take this line and call a jam. Knowing your opponent is very important in figuring out how wide you should raise for value in this spot.

A lot of loose and splashy players will find a hero call if Rampage shoves on the basis that all of the draws have bricked on this river. If Yau believes his opponent falls in this category, he should definitely move all in.

That’s exactly what he did for $1,470, and the player in the cutoff thought for a while before calling with the {10-Spades}{10-Hearts} for an inferior two pair. Just like that Rampage scooped a $4,247 pot!

It was a nice shove from Rampage as some players do not always shove enough for thin value as they assume they will never get called by worse. This hand shows that way of thinking is flawed.

For more on this hand check out my breakdown in the following video:

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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