Tricks to Watch Out for When Moving Up in Stakes w/ Vlogger Lex O Poker
Lex Ozias

If you’ve been considering moving up in stakes, this week’s video and strategy column is for you!

Poker Vlogger Lex O (AKA Lex Ozias), who grinds mid-stakes cash games primarily in South Florida, gets involved with an aggressive player at higher stakes than he normally plays. After flopping top pair on a connected board, Lex O decides to check and things get spicy! Was he expecting the tricks that his opponent showed up with?

The hand took place in a $10/$25 no-limit hold’em cash game at the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. It began when Lex O looked down at the {10-Hearts}{9-Hearts} under the gun and raised to $75. The next player to act called and the rest of the field folded to bring about a flop of {10-Spades}{7-Spades}{4-Spades}.

Lex O identified that the villain in this hand is an aggressive player which helped formulate his strategy against him. In my experience, “bad” players will often play too tight in medium stakes games, while in higher stakes games the “bad” players will often play too loose and call wide.

Lex O can bet this flop as he should have a lot of value hands in his range, but he should also be checking sometimes. That’s what he did here and then called when his opponent bet $75. Lex O had an easy call with his marginal made hand and should try to get to showdown as cheaply as possible.

Both players checked the {8-Hearts} turn, and given the action it is likely that Lex O had the best hand; however, the villain could be checking back on the turn for deception or with a better ten. There are no many hands in the villain’s range that will contain an eight.

In games liket this when moving up in stakes, you should avoid presuming that you know your opponent’s strategy without solid and continuous proof of their tendencies. You should try to avoid being too specific when narrowing your opponent’s range.

On the {q-Diamonds} turn, Lex O checked and his opponent bet $225. What would you do in this spot?

  • Fold
  • Call
  • Raise to $700
  • Raise to $1,200
Jonathan Little Strategy

I think that Lex O should fold in this spot. It’s annoying but I think you just need to fold. I think the villain has more queens in their range than Lex O thinks. As your opponent’s value range gets wider and wider you should be more inclined to just generally fold.

A lot of players in medium stakes games are too weak and passive. A good exploit against these players is to apply a lot of pressure to their ranges that will often only contain pairs, but like I said, in the higher stakes games you will find that players make much lighter calls. So in this case, they’d probably call you with just a pair of queens and a spade blocker.

Be aware of the line that your opponent has taken and whether it is credible if they are trying to represent strength. In the video, Lex O says his opponent could “never” have certain hands, but I’m not so sure. You need a big sample on an opponent before you can confidentially make such claims.

As it happened, Lex O was bold and went for the triple-check, river check-raise by bluffing it for $1,200. If you’re trying to get an opponent off a queen here, which is what Lex O is trying to do, I like the sizing. You’ve got to go big. When you are looking to bluff raise you should pick a size that will make it difficult for your opponents to call with marginal made hands.

Unfortunately for Lex O, the bluff didn’t work as his opponent called with the {a-Diamonds}{q-Spades} for a winning pair of queens Lex O put him on the correct range, but remember, as you move up in stakes you will face opponents that will battle you far more frequently. They don’t like to give up on hands.

For more on this hand, check out my breakdown in the following video:

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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