How useful is an Ace blocker on the bubble?

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Barry Carter shares another hand from a deep €100 SuperNova run with our friends from The Chip Race podcast.

Last month our friends Dara and David from The Chip Race reviewed a session played by Barry Carter in the €100 SuperNova on Unibet. Today we take a deeper look at one of the key hands. If you missed the first deep dive you can find it here. 

We are on the exact bubble of the SuperNova, I am 16/45 with 88,580 chips with blinds at 1,400/2,800. It is folded to me in Middle Position with A T. I normally would fold here but the Big Blind is quite short but safe (46,810) and with an Ace blocker myself this seemed like a good spot to pick up an easy blind who might over fold here. 

David Lappin: I think you can make a case for a very tight fold here on the exact bubble. I recognise ‘yaableat’ as a regular at this table who can 3-bet you and put you in the bin a lot. I’m not sure your blocker matters here because nobody needs an Ace to 3-bet you here. 

Dara O’Kearney: I kinda disagree, I think people nit up a little too much on the bubble, particularly with this kind of stack. We are well covered by the big stacks but they don’t want to get coolered for 86k. If the big stacks are 3-betting every hand I just let it go but if I haven’t played a hand in a while I’ll happily open and I’ll accept the inevitable and fold to a 3-bet. The blocker helps, the range he is supposed to 3-bet is very Ace heavy, if he 3-bets a lot wider than that we should not open the hand on the bubble. 

It’s a fairly simple calculation, if we are raising to 5,600 to win 7k. If it gets through 40% of the time we have a profitable spot, so we ask our self if ‘yaaableat’ 3-betting us 60% of the time?

David Lappin: I look at it from the other perspective, I know if I was ‘yaaableat’ with that big stack I am looking to be way looser than the solvers advise. I would feel like there are more exploits available. 

Dara O’Kearney: That’s a fair point. We started the hand with roughly six starting stacks so our equity here is something close to €600. The €147.84 min cash is nice but with that equity we shouldn’t over focus on locking up the mincash. Also having a big stack on the bubble is worth a lot. So if I thought ‘yaaableat’ was 3-betting too wide, I would take my courage in my hand and 4-bet when he does, knowing he has to fold a lot of the time when I do. Even when I run into it there will be flips and 60/40s, if I win that now I am in an amazing spot to make a deep run. 

We get called by the 2nd biggest stack in the Small Blind, the Big Blind folds. The flop is K 4 3

David Lappin: Should the Small Blind have a leading range here? I think he should. 

Dara O’Kearney: I agree. He can lead almost any two cards here it’s so profitable. All he has to do is throw at 6k here and we have to fold most our range. It’s massively profitable to call in these spots when you cover somebody and just donk the flop. 

I did consider this simply because it is a big topic in the new book Dara and I are working on right now. When he didn’t I thought I could easily rep the King here and I fired a 7k bet myself. 

Dara O’Kearney: I personally would just check. If I was in the Small Blind’s seat I would lead when I have nothing and check/raise when I have a good hand. If he folds he has a worse hand than ours, we still benefit from him folding out equity, but given the extreme ICM I just hope to get to showdown. 

David Lappin: In spots like this you are supposed to play all your range as a bluff catcher. When you do have a good hand you check back and let him try and bully you off it. 

Unibet hand

He calls and the turn is a 2 and it goes check check.

Dara O’Kearney: Once he calls the flop I would try and get to showdown.

Unibet hand

The river is a T giving us second pair and he bets 9,800 into the 30,800 pot.

Dara O’Kearney: I would fold the river to any normal sized bet but I am not folding to this. He could be blocker betting a worse hand like A4 or 88. 

Unibet hand

He shows me K J to take it down with top pair.

David Lappin: You had a very easy call at that price, knowing you’ll still have 20 bigs if it goes wrong. 

Unibet hand

In case you missed it you can see the whole session right here:

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