Jonathan Little Hand of the Week: Nik Airball Goes for a Massive Bluff
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The hand I’ll be analyzing today is from the Hustler Casino Live stream and features two regulars: Rampage and Nik Airball.
One thing important to keep in mind before we get into the analysis is that earlier in the sessions, Rampage pulled a bluff against Nik and managed to get it through, although Airball was on the cusp of calling with just a pocket pair of deuces.
This hand starts with Rampage raising the $800 straddle to $2,000 holding A♥K♦. The action folds to Nik Airball in the straddle, who decides to 3-bet with A♦3♠, making it $10,000.
Rampage is the effective stack with $350,000, and he quickly calls Nik’s 3-bet. This is a pretty standard call in a very deep stack scenario, as 4-betting a hand like Ace-King off is certainly not mandatory.
The flop comes Q♥Q♠2♦, and Airball fires a small continuation bet of $6,000. This is solid sizing on the boards where your opponent can have trips, which is certainly the case here, but you should have a range advantage.
However, Nik is a player that blasts off with a variety of hands, so the perception of the range advantage isn’t necessarily there. If he doesn’t have very many good hands in these spots, his opponents will catch up to it.
That said, if you’re 3-betting a hand of this type, your plan is certainly not to check-fold when you don’t connect, so Nik’s c-bet makes perfect sense. He does need to keep barreling on a lot of turns for this play to work, representing a very strong hand.
Naturally, Rampage calls the small flop bet as he’s not the type of a player who likes to fold a lot against aggressive opponents, and he does have two over-cards.
The turn brings the Q♦, and Nik Airball fires for almost a pot-sized bet, putting out $30,000. Rampage calls quickly once again, and the pot bloats to over $92,900.
Nik’s continued aggression makes sense as this is a spot where he’ll have a fair few queens as well as big pocket pairs, like pocket aces, kings, and jacks. On the flip side, he also has a lot of air, with ace and king-high types of holdings and suited connectors with backdoor options on the flop.
All these things considered and taking Nik’s image into account, Rampage has an easy call with his hand, as he is beating all of his opponent’s bluffs. On top of this, AK also blocks many of Airball’s strongest potential holdings.
The final card is 8♦, which does bring in the flush, and Nik Airball overbets the pot for $110,000.
So, should Rampage call here? I think the fact he holds K♦, blocking some weird flushes, is pretty good, and he still blocks pocket aces and kings, KQ, etc.
Although it may not look like it, this hand is pretty much a must-call when all the relevant factors are added together.
Nik has played the hand as if he had a full house or quads, but people who love to get involved and bluff a lot don’t always have what they’re representing.
So, can Rampage sniff this one out and make the right play? If you somehow haven’t seen this hand yet, check out the video above to find out!
Jonathan Little is a two-time WPT champion with more than $7 million in live tournament winnings and best-selling author of multiple poker strategy books. If you want to learn from the best and increase your edge at the tables, make sure to get your FREE 3-day pass and check his training site at pokercoaching.com