Elite Poker Player Sets The Trap In High Stakes Game (Analysis)

I have a cool hand to share with you today!

The stakes are $200/$400 (with a $100 ante). This one took place on the online felt between one of the world’s greatest cash game players (Linus Loeliger) and one of the world’s greatest tournament players (Michael Addamo).

Let’s dive into the action.


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Preflop

Addamo raises to $880 with Kd 6d from Middle Position. Linus calls with 5s 3s from the Button. BTC200K-FORSURE (an unknown player) calls from the Big Blind with an unknown hand.

The effective stack between the Addamo and Linus is around $35,000 (87.5bb).

Simple Preflop Analysis

Addamo makes the correct raise with King-Six suited. It is a mediocre hand, but with the ante in play, he has extra incentive to raise. It’s worth noting that this is one of the weaker hands with which he should raise (King-Two suited and Queen-Six suited should be folded).

Faced with this raise, Linus makes a very loose call with Five-Three suited. While this call is too loose in theory, he is one of the best players in the world, so I’m sure he made this call for exploitative reasons.

We never find out what BTC200K-FORSURE was holding, so I can’t comment on his play.

Advanced Preflop Analysis

Given the ante in play, Addamo should be open-raising with a wider range than in a regular 6-max game. Normally, you’d want to raise with around the top 20% of hands from this position. With an ante, that increases to around the top 25% of hands with the ante.

King-Six suited is towards the bottom of that 25% range. His raise size is good. Anything between 2bb and 3bb should work well as it gives him good pot odds on his raise.

Linus’s call with a low suited gapper is probably a bit spewy, at least in theory. It will be an uphill battle to make this hand profitable. I think it’s fairly likely he sees the relatively unknown player in the Big Blind as a weak player. So, he called with this hand in order to play a pot in position against that weak player. But that’s just speculation on my part.

The theoretically correct strategy for Linus in this spot would be to mix between cold-calling and 3-betting with the top ~15% or so of hands. With this strategy, the strongest possible hands (like Pocket Queens or better, Ace-Queen suited, and Ace-King) would always 3-bet. The other hands should mix calling and 3-betting at varying frequencies.

BTC200K should play quite loosely from the Big Blind because he is getting such great pot odds. He only needs to win the pot 14% of the time to break even on a call (he must call $480 to play for a pot of $3,440).

Flop

The flop comes Jh 5d 2d. The pot is $3,440.

BTC200K checks. Addamo checks with Kd 6d. Linus bets $800 with 5s 3s. BTC200K folds. Addamo raises to $3,600. Linus 3-bets to $6,898. Addamo calls.

Simple Flop Analysis

Since we don’t know what BTC200K had, we can’t analyze his check and fold.

Addamo checks with his second nut flush draw, which is a good play. Betting wouldn’t be a bad play, but his check is theoretically sound. It’s important to check with some flush draws, especially when out of position, to make your checking range more diverse. This makes you tougher to play against.

Faced with this check, Linus makes the correct decision to bet small. His hand needs some protection and would benefit from getting folds, even if he currently has the best hand.

Addamo makes a great decision to check-raise with his flush draw. It will put Linus into a very difficult spot with his weak, one-pair hands.

Linus’ decision to re-raise is very unconventional. It probably isn’t correct in theory, but I assume that he had a good reason to play this way.

Advanced Flop Analysis

BTC200K has the weakest range by far, so checking is the best option for him with his entire range. 

Despite the fact that he has a flush draw, Addamo should also probably check his entire range here. The rest of the players combined will have more nutted hands than he does.

Linus is incentivized now to bet for a very small size here with a lot of medium-strength hands and semi-bluffs. The idea here is that by risking a little bit of money, he accomplishes a few things:

Addamo should be check-raising here, so his decision is correct. This range should consist of overpairs, strong top pairs, overcards with backdoor draws, and flush draws. This strategy is optimal because he doesn’t want to let Linus realize his equity for so cheap.

Linus makes a rather unconventional play here and 3-bets. We don’t usually see 3-bets as part of an optimal strategy for the in-position player, especially on boards such as this one and at a high stack depth (almost 100bb deep).

But if we want to look at why Linus might have decided that this is the best strategy, we need to understand when such a play would be optimal. This line with 53-suited would be best if Addamo:

  • Is too bluff-heavy with high equity hands that will call the raise
  • Is too bluff-heavy with weak semi-bluffs that will fold against the 3-bet
  • Will fold some strong hands such as overpairs with a diamond that block his bluffs

There may be one more reason why Linus might prefer 3-betting with this hand: Equity realization. If he thinks that he will be able to navigate the future inflection points more accurately, then it can make sense to choose this line.

As far as blocker selection goes, having the 5 is a good choice as it blocks the set of 5’s that Addamo is representing while it unblocks his bluffs. Also, Linus still has outs to make good two pairs and trips in case Addamo has a strong but vulnerable hand.

Addamo’s call is good here. He is getting great pot odds, only needing to win the pot around 19% of the time once he calls. An easy feat with a high flush draw.

Turn

The turn comes the Ad, making the board Jh 5d 2d Ad. The pot is $17,236.

Addamo checks. Linus checks.

Simple Turn Analysis

An action turn gives Addamo the nut flush while severely downgrading Linus’ pair of fives.

Despite having the nut flush, Addamo’s decision to check is correct. He is trapping and letting Linus bluff or bet worse hands for value.

Linus makes the best possible play by checking back. His hand is weak and it will be hard for him to get many hands to fold.

Advanced Turn Analysis

A great card for Addamo and a horrible card for Linus. 

Addamo’s range now improves to contain the top set. Plus, his bluffs have improved to a flush.

Linus won’t have many flushes at this point since 3-betting with anything other than the nut flush draw on the flop doesn’t make much sense. And since the Ad came on the turn, there is no way he had the Ace-high flush draw on the flop.

Both players played this street correctly in my opinion.

River

The river comes the Qc, making the final board  Jh 5d 2d Ad Qc. The pot is $17,236.

Addamo checks. Linus shoves all-in for an effective bet of $27,007. Addamo calls and scoops the $71,252 pot.

Simple River Analysis

Addamo makes a good decision to check with the nuts, although betting would have been fine as well. His decision to check works perfectly as Linus takes the bait.

Faced with this check, Linus makes the correct bluff. It will be hard for him to have any worse hands that arrive at the river, so there is no chance he can win by checking.

Obviously, Addamo makes the correct call with the nuts. Not much to say there.

Advanced River Analysis

The Qc is a total brick. The effective nuts do not change.

Addamo realizes that Linus has a capped range from which it’s going to be very hard to extract value. This happens because Addamo’s range has improved so much on the turn. 

In theory, we would probably expect Addamo to mix between checking and betting with this hand. In practice, if he thinks that Linus might be the type of player to overly attack a capped range, or simply has a weak range, then trapping would be the superior action. 

Linus’ 3-bet on the flop was quite suspicious to begin with, especially against a shorter than 100bb stack. In this case, it makes even more sense for Adammo to give Linus some rope to put some more money into the pot with a high probability of him holding a weak hand.

When Linus faces a check on the river, he is never winning if he checks back. On top of that, he is very likely at the bottom of his range in a spot where it is very hard for him to have bluffs. This makes it a prime situation for turning his hand into a bluff, so his play is good (but he probably never should have been in this spot to begin with).

What do you think of how this hand was played?

In these battles of elite players, there will be a lot of back-and-forth exploitation going on. Sometimes one player gets the upper hand, sometimes the other one.

That’s all for this article! I hope you enjoyed it and that you learned from it! 

What do you think of Linus’ 3-bet on the flop? What do you think of Addamo’s trap on the river? I am curious to hear your opinion!

Till’ next time, good luck, grinders!


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2024 College Basketball Player of the Year Odds: Can Edey Repeat?

College basketball hit the halfway point of its regular season this week, meaning there are still lots of games to go—not to mention tournament play, as teams bid to reach March Madness and ultimately the Final Four. But if sportsbook odds are any indication, the national Player of the Year race has already become a foregone conclusion.

2023-24 Wooden Awards Odds

Odds to win the POY Award
Player Odds
Zach Edey (Purdue) -300
Hunter Dickinson (Kansas) +1000
Kyle Filipowski (Duke) +2000
R.J. Davis (UNC) +2000
Kevin McCullar (Kansas) +2000
Tristen Newton (UConn) +2500
Tyson Walker (Michigan St.) +2800
Armando Bacot (UNC) +3000
Caleb Love (Arizona) +3000
Tyler Kolek (Marquette) +3500

Purdue center Zach Edey, bidding to become the first back-to-back recipient of the John R. Wooden Award since Ralph Sampson in the early 1980s, is now such a favorite that he’s become a negative moneyline play at most sportsbooks. Odds of Edey repeating as Wooden Award winner are now around -300, which means a sports bettor would have to wager $300 to earn $100 in winnings should Edey claim the honor for a second consecutive year.

Edey, who entered this week averaging 22.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, has gradually tightened his grip on the Player of the Year award as the season has gone on. The Purdue big man opened at odds of around +155. After leading the Boilermakers to the title in the toughest Maui Invitational field ever, those odds moved to +130. Now they’re in negative territory, well ahead of those of No. 2 odds choice Hunter Dickinson of Kansas, who can be found at +600 to +1000, depending on the sportsbook.

Even though the top-ranked Boilermakers suffered their second loss of the season Tuesday night at Nebraska, Edey has scored in double-figures every game this season and has posted nine double-doubles, tied for sixth nationally. He ranks eighth nationally in scoring, 11th nationally in rebounding, and 15th nationally in field goal percentage. While he was held to just two points in the first half against the Cornhuskers, he hasn’t really had a bad game.

And the winning has certainly helped Edey cement himself as Player of the Year odds frontrunner. Now, could that change? Purdue has tough road games at Wisconsin, Illinois and Ohio State coming up in the back half of its Big 10 schedule. It would likely take some upset losses, and some of those opponents shutting Edey down—which to this point, hasn’t really happened—for the likes of Dickinson or Duke center Kyle Filipowski to close what’s currently a sizable gap.

The Favorite: Zach Edey, Purdue

Edey has played at a consistently high level against a schedule that to this point ranks as the second-toughest in the nation, according to the analytical site KenPom.com. But conference play is a different animal—opponents are more familiar, and games are more physical—and that contrast has perhaps been evident in Edey, who had totaled 10 points and 15 boards, and then 15 points and seven boards in back-to-back Big 10 games through Tuesday. 

Those are very good numbers, to be certain, but not quite the 28 and 15 he was putting up with regularity back in November and December. The conference grind takes a toll on everybody, and Edey’s hold on Player of the Year frontrunner odds may hinge on whether he can maintain a form that produced double-doubles in 11 of his final 14 games last season.

The Challenger

Who might challenge Edey in becoming this year’s college basketball player of the year?

Hunter Dickinson, Kansas

Kansas has one of the worst cover rates of any team in the Top 25, continuing to win games that are closer than they should be. But that’s not the fault of Dickinson, a Michigan transfer who’s thrived in Bill Self’s offense, where he’s surrounded by great supportive players who can take the pressure off the big man in the middle. Dickinson hit for 30 points and 11 boards in a close win last weekend over TCU, emblematic of the type of contribution he’s making night in and night out.

Dickinson entered the week with averages of 19.4 points and 12.4 rebounds, and double-doubles in seven of his last nine games. He plays well in transition, shoots well from the outside, and can be unstoppable when he gets the ball down low. Dickinson plays in a deeper league than Edeydoes, and has more marquee games against ranked opponents still ahead of him. It will take more 30/11 nights against the likes of Baylor and Houston to make this Player of the Year race more interesting than it is now.

The Dark Horse

If you’re looking at making a big splash on the oddsboard, maybe consider this UConn Guard.

Armando Bacot, North Carolina

Guard R.J. Davis may lead North Carolina in scoring, but it’s big man Bacot who makes the Tar Heels go. The 6-11, 240-pound Bacot has proven an impossible matchup in the ACC, where he’s able to overpower interior defenders and get high-quality shots. In his previous two games entering the week, Bacot had not only notched double-doubles, but also shot 50 percent or better from the field. His averages—14.9 points and 11.1 rebounds—don’t accurately speak to how valuable he is.

But for Bacot to truly wedge his way into the Player of the Year conversation, he’s going to need more of the 25-point games he’s had just once so far this season. With Davis hitting for 20.6 per game, there’s not really the need for that yet in a weak ACC. But this is a thin Tar Heels roster, and UNC is winning largely behind a two-man game. The idea that Bacot could catch fire like he did at the end of the 2021-22 campaign—when his eight straight double-doubles led the Tar Heels to the national title game—isn’t out of the question.

Last 10 Best College Basketball Players Of The Year

Last 10 NCAA Naismith & wooden POY Award Winners
Year Player School
2022 Oscar Tshiebwe Kentucky
2021 Luka Garza Iowa
2020 Obi Toppin Dayton
2019 Zion Williamson Duke
2018 Jalen Brunson Villanova
2017 Frank Mason III Kansas
2016 Buddy Hield Oklahoma
2015 Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin
2014 Doug McDermott Creighton
2013 Trey Burke Michigan

 

Jalen Brunson, the player of the year from 2018, is having a standout year for the Knicks. In his first season with the Knickerbockers after signing on as a free agent, the former Villanova Wildcat is averaging 23.9 points, 6.2 assists and 3.6 rebounds and has pushed the Knicks into a playoff spot. The Knicks! 

If Brunson’s impact continues, New York could see the playoffs for just the second time in the last 10 seasons. 


How To Read Naismith And Wooden Player Of The Year Odds

If this is your first time betting on NCAA College Basketball Player of the Year odds and you aren’t sure about the difference between the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award, don’t sweat it.

They’re essentially the same individual award but the voting structures are slightly different. The Wooden Award is determined before the NCAA March Madness tournament and voted on by over 1,000 sportswriters across the country, while the Naismith Award is finalized by a board of selectors along with fan voting and is announced in April.


Understanding College Basketball Player Of The Year Odds

At your college basketball sportsbook of choice, you’ll see prop odds to win College Player of the Year listed like so:

Zach Edey -150

Jalen Wilson +500

Brandon Miller +600

When there is no clear favorite due to the lack of a minus sign (-), the player with the lowest odds is the fave. In this case, though, there is a minus-money favorite in Edey. The others are considered underdogs.

If you’re loving Edey at -150 and you bet $100 on him, you’d get a payout of $166.67 – your original money is returned coupled with your winnings of $66.67. To see what you’d win based on the odds and the amount you bet, check out our odds calculator.