Poker Zoo 77: Tight Ralph Raises His Game

We stay in the live streets this week and talk hands with Ralph B., a low-stakes cash game reg I know through Red Chip Poker. As for many players, Covid shook up Ralph’s poker life, and in his case, decided it was time to turn a break-even passetemps into a winning habit. Today, we find out how the new approach is doing and get into some strategy.

We also get a little deeper into the Detroit and Michigan poker scene, feeding off the Jambasket episode.

Now, Ralph claims to always be the tightest and most aggressive at the table – maybe it’s true, maybe not, but it’s a style that can work, especially in a full ring game. However, is he doing it right? Ralph sent in two hands to go over:


My stats are 18/12, meaning I am almost always the tightest player at the table as well as the most aggressive. I rarely limp in unraised pots. My higher aggression numbers result in players playing back at me when I raise from EP, either donking or raising me on RD boards. My counter is making sure I play hands on a randomized basis which provide board coverage from EP. I play 50% SC’s down to 45s, and 33% PP 22-66. Also play A5s 100% of the time. My overall EP range is slightly under 10%. Hero is UTG with 4c5c. Eff stacks 650. V is a LAG in the SB and has me covered. V likes to semi bluff and squeeze. Live $2/5 8 handed. Hero raises UTG with 4c5c to 15. Folds to MP who calls 15. Folds to LP who calls 15. SB raises to 50. Folds to Hero who calls 50. MP and LP fold. Two players see the flop. Pot 135. Calling this 3 bet seems to a sticking point for many. I am calling 35 to win 95, and we are deep. But the SPR will be 4.6, lower than ideal.

SB 3 bets are supposed to be really tight, but I back off on that a little based on observed play. Even still, using a 10% 3 bet by SB, Hero is a 68%/32% dog. Continuation will be obviously board dependent. Flop 3h 4s 6c. This is not supposed to hit either of us but has actually hit me pretty good. My flopzilla EQ is up to 67% If I was on the BU, I might get jiggy with a c bet from the SB, but since I’m under the gun that story doesn’t sell as much. SB bets 75. SB is betting about 55% of the pot, a standard c bet at $2/5 heads up on a connected board. Hero calls 75. I plan on shoving on any turn club or card completing any of my other draws. Pot 285, 1.8 SPR. Turn Ac. I said I was shoving any club turn, but I lied. Picked up club outs as long as SB is not on clubs. Ac now on the boards drops possibility of SB being on clubs significantly. But the A has me concerned. SB could easily have a broadway A that he c bet on a whiffed flop. Now has he hit? Flopzilla EQ drops to mid-50’s, mid 40’s if you keep more A’s in SB’s range. SB bets 220. Pot 505. I’m getting 2.3- 1 to call. If all 20 of my outs are good, I’m a 60/40 dog, and there are more chips to be played for. Hero gets alligator arms and just calls. River Th. SB checks. Hero???


Am I maxing EV by shoving a flop with an SPR of roughly 2, or betting something closer to my theoretical EQ on the flop and looking to shove the turn? $2/5 8 handed. $535 eff stacks. Hero has been quiet recently, after having back-to-back hands where he doubled up with AA vs. AQ and losing $500 set over set where V hit a two outer on the river. Neither player in this hand was involved in the earlier hands. UTG here was lose, but had not pulled anything like this. UTG+2 has been relatively quiet. UTG limps 5 UTG+1 raises to 25 Folds to Hero who 3 bets to 75 with Qs Qc. Folds to UTG who CALLS 75 UTG+1 calls 75 Pot 225 ish We’ll pause our regularly scheduled program to ask the question WTF does UTG have that limp calls 75??? Flop 7d 8s Ts Checks to hero. Hero has 460 behind. Hero bets??? I have thought about this hand a lot. I lost my discipline on the flop, got rattled by the limp call. Options are 1) check or small bet 2) jam 3) middling bet like 150 which accomplishes absolutely nothing. Hero bets 150. Utg folds, does not show. Prolly AK. utg +1 calls. Turn 8d. Hero shoves. V tanks and calls. River Kd. V shows Td9d.

Some thoughts on poker education for those in Ralph’s position are here.

2 thoughts on “Poker Zoo 77: Tight Ralph Raises His Game

  1. That was extremely interesting and helpful. Ralph is intelligent, articulate, and asks really good questions. As I mentioned to you I am going to try to light up my game again and this is an interview that I will keep on file and review again.

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