This poker hand between Mariano and Dan “Jungleman” Cates took over the poker world this summer.
It seemed like everyone and their grandma was weighing in with their opinion after it happened.
It happened on a $400/$800 Hustler Casino Live stream with an $800 big blind ante and roughly $150,000 effective stacks.
I’m going to break it down for you in this article. Let’s jump in.
Jungleman raises to $2,600 from the Hijack with . Mariano 3-bets to $8,600 from the Cutoff with . Jungleman calls.
This is a well-played street by both players.
From the Hijack, Jungleman should be open-raising around the top ~25% of hands given the ante present in the game. KQ-suited is part of that range, so well played.
Mariano should be 3-betting with around the top 10-15% of hands. Pocket Aces obviously makes the cut.
Facing this 3-bet, Jungleman should be have a calling range that looks something like:
- Some low pocket pairs (around 50% frequency for each)
- Pocket Nines and Pocket Tens (100% of the time)
- Suited broadway cards (that sometimes 4-bet)
He should be 4-betting his premium hands like Pocket Queens or better.
The flop comes . The pot is $19,200.
Jungleman checks. Mariano c-bets $13,000. Jungleman calls.
Jungleman should be checking his entire range here. He will be way behind Mariano’s range due to the discrepancy in the amount of third pair type hands (such as pocket pairs) and the lack of overpairs in his range.
Despite being roughly 200bb deep, Mariano should not be employing a big bet strategy here. Rather, he should be looking to fire a small c-bet (20-40% of the pot) with his entire range. This works because his range advantage is so massive that Jungleman is forced to over-fold (i.e. fold disproportionately often compared to the pot odds he is getting).
A big bet such as this will put a strong player on alert that you might have a stronger range than expected.
Facing this bet, Jungleman must continue with his top pair plus flush draw. The question is: should he be raising or calling?
Normally, raising would be a good idea given that he would fold out plenty of hands that have equity. But when Mariano bets this big size, his range should theoretically be stronger. Because of this, calling is the best option given the amount of equity (48% against Mariano’s Aces) and playability that he has.
The turn comes the , making the board . The pot is $45,200.
Jungleman checks. Mariano c-bets $40,000. Jungleman calls.
The turn is a brick, which allows Mariano to keep value betting without fear as both his specific hand and overall range remain strong. Plus, the flush draws (and straight draws) haven’t been completed.
(It’s worth noting that both players have flush draws in their range, here, but Jungleman has more of them.)
Jungleman makes the right play by checking for the reasons mentioned above.
Mariano is in the clear to keep value betting his Pocket Aces as they are way ahead of Jungleman’s range at this point. A big bet like he made is perfect. He doesn’t want to go bigger than that since he’d start losing value from worse hands that Jungleman would otherwise call with.
His size also sets up a nice river shove which, in theory, allows him to win the pot with the most amount of hands from his range. This concept is called geometric bet sizing.
Faced with a bet, Jungleman cannot fold his hand. He has plenty of equity and implied odds. The question to ask is whether shoving generates higher expected value (EV) than calling. The answer to that is: no.
In order for a raise to be higher EV than calling, Mariano would have to fold some stronger hands than King-Queen and also call with some weaker hands. This is not likely to happen in this situation — Mariano would probably call the shove happily with his overpairs and even Ace-Queen.
The river is the , making the board . The pot is $125,200.
Jungleman checks. Mariano goes all-in for $85,300. Jungleman calls, winning the $295,800 pot.
The river is a nut-altering card since flushes have now been completed. Having said that, while Jungleman has made more flushes than Mariano, overall their ranges are very close in EV due to the amount of two pairs and better Mariano has in his range.
Jungleman should once again check his entire range since this card hasn’t disproportionately helped his range.
Mariano is faced with a close decision between checking back and shoving for thin value. The EV of these decisions are pretty close when he has Aces with the , which blocks the majority of Jungleman’s flushes ( , , , ).
This leaves Jungleman with only a few flushes like , and maybe . This decision also boils down to how willing is Jungleman to call the shove with his top pair type hands. The more likely he is to call with them, the better a shove with Aces becomes, and vice-versa.
That part remains undetermined and up for speculation.
While many online commenters were quick to criticize Mariano’s play, a lot of strong poker players (including Doug Polk) complimented Mariano on making a solver-approved shove against a top player like Jungleman.
Faced with the all-in, Jungleman has an easy call with his King-high flush.
Do you think Jungleman would have called the river with a hand like top pair?
That’s the critical point on which the river analysis rests. If Jungleman would call with top pair (like the solver would), Mariano made a very smart shove on the river. However, if Jungleman would over-fold with top pair, Mariano’s shove becomes a losing play.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
That’s all for this breakdown. I hope you enjoyed it and that it inspired you to keep working on your game! As usual, if you have any questions or feedback please let me know in the comment section down below!
Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!
Note: Want more high level analysis? Doug Polk is releasing in-depth hand review videos every Friday as we approach the October 9th launch of his new course, The End Boss System. Watch Doug’s most recent video here!