Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Can Alan Keating Get Paid on the River?
Last Updated: November 5, 2023
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The hand we’ll look into today features a familiar face and one of the biggest action players you’ve had a chance to see on live poker streams and shows – one and only Alan Keating.
If you’ve had the opportunity to see him play, you know that Keating is not afraid to mix things up and battle hard, whether he has a good hand or not.
Can that image help him get paid big on the river, though?
The action begins with blinds $400/800 and $1,600 straddle. It folds all the way around to J.R. in the big blind, who limps in with J♣8♦ from the stack of $375K.
Keating is in the straddle and has him covered. He looks down at a very nice hand – 10♦9♦, and decides to up the price of poker, making it $6.6K to go.
J.R. decides to make the call, and with his particular hand, out of position, and with stacks being so deep, this is probably not the optimal play. On the other hand, Keating does get out of line a lot, so if there is anyone I’m not folding against, that’s someone like Alan.
The flop is a dynamic one, as it comes Q♣8♣7♥, giving both players something to work with. J.R. hits the middle pair, while Keating is open-ended.
J.R. plays in flow and checks to Alan, which is perfectly standard, especially against the type of player who could easily raise if you led into them and put you in a tough spot.
Keating has an easy continuation bet with a hand that can improve and can even stand a raise. So, he bets out for $10,000, and J.R. calls.
The 3♦ peels on the turn, and this card doesn’t change much, as it isn’t likely to improve either player all that often.
When J.R. checks, Keating comes out betting once again, this time making it $35,000 to go!
This is the spot where Alan will likely want to take a very polarized line with his best made hands and his good draws, giving him an opportunity to bet big on the river.
The risk here is that you might get check-raised, which will put you in an uncomfortable spot. However, players in live cash games don’t check-raise as often as they should, according to the GTO, unless they have a really big hand.
Facing this bet, J.R. is in a dicey spot, as he knows that he’ll likely face a big river bet no matter what. Still, he decides to call and see the final card.
The river is a brutal card as it comes J♥, improving J.R. to two pair but giving Alan the absolute nuts.
J.R. checks once more, and the action is to Keating. Sitting with the best possible hand, his only decision is how much to bet. What would you do in this spot?
After giving it some thought, he decides to go for a big overbet, making it $322,000 – three times the size of the pot – and putting J.R. all-in.
I think this is the situation where you want to go for a big bet. A lot of big draws missed, and this is the perfect spot to use big sizing, both with very strong hands and some busted draws.
One exception would be if you are up against an opponent that you think will always fold to a big size. In that case, you can use a smaller sizing when betting for value and the bigger one when bluffing.
And, if you have an image like Keating, you can be pretty sure that your opponents will find calls with quite a few hands, especially the ones as strong as sets and two pairs, so this isn’t much of a concern.
All that being said, can J.R. figure this one out and find the fold, or does Alan’s image help him get paid despite the massive overbet? Check out the video above to find out!