Kane "Nascar_1949" Kalas, 22, is a video instructor on the Poker Phenom training website. In the first two months of playing poker professionally, Kalas went from playing $0.50/$1 to $25/$50 no-limit hold'em. He continues to play high-stakes cash games online and recently moved from Miami, Florida, to Costa Rica.
For this edition of Strategy with Kristy, brought to you by South Point, Kalas talks in depth about playing small pocket pairs in six-max no-limit hold'em cash games, demonstrated by hand histories in a $25/$50 game.
Here is a snippet from the interview:
Let's talk about the first hand. You open to $128 from under the gun with pocket sixes. An opponent named, "Flufferd" reraises to $400 from the big blind. What are your thoughts on when you can flat a hand like this in position?
First of all, "Flufferd's" raise size was pretty small. He made it $400, and I'd expect most people to make it $450 or in the high $400s. That definitely gave me a little incentive to call. Also, the fact that he three-bet out of the blinds is pertinent in this situation. I probably would very rarely be calling with pocket pairs 100 big blinds deep out of position versus a regular player.
I haven't played too much with "Flufferd," but I think based on his play, he was competent. When you get 200 or 300 big blinds deep, it becomes much more lucrative when you're out of position. In this case, though, I was in position and getting a good price to call. I do think that "Flufferd" has a tight range since I opened under the gun, however, if he's running a HUD [heads-up display], he probably knows I open more than most players under the gun. That could make his three-bet a little bit lighter, but nonetheless, I expect him to have a pretty tight range here.
I'm looking to flop a set or a board where I can continue. Of course, there are a lot of boards I'm giving up on, but I'm just getting such a good price in position, especially to play for stacks on a good flop against a relatively tight range.
And the flop is . He checks to you. Tell me about why you decided betting is better than slow-playing.
I really like a bet here as part of my entire range. I think that checking back a set here may be lucrative in a vacuum, but for my range, I actually want to be betting here quite a lot. This is a board where my opponent is likely to be check-folding a decent amount of hands.
It's very unlikely he's three-betting pocket sixes, sevens, nines or eight-ten out of the blinds. It's much more likely that I have those hands defending the three-bet. My range hits this board a whole lot harder than his, so when he checks here, I want to be betting with my pocket sixes or with whatever hands I could have here on a bluff.
In this spot, he ended up check-folding. I imagine he had something like ace-king or ace-queen that he was just taking a check-folding line with. I would expect him to check-call with an overpair sometimes. Although, I would expect him to bet that on the flop. Just in terms overall, I think I should be betting this board with my sets and all my air.
Tune in every Thursday for new episodes of Strategy with Kristy, brought to you by South Point. Feel free to send in questions, ideas or suggestions for the podcast to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also remember to follow PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.
*Photo courtesy of Zimbio.com