Farha runs KK into Greenstein’s AA on High Stakes Poker

An ALL IN Expert Case Study

This infamous hand occurred at the end of the night on Season 1, Episode 5 of HSP. Even if you’ve seen this hand before you should watch it again before continuing on with the analysis:

The game is eight handed, $300/$600 blinds with a $100 ante (Pot $1,700). Jerry Buss is the first player to act. He folds and so does Daniel Negreneau. Barry Greenstein raises to $2,500 with AA (Pot $4,200). Jen Harmon and Eli Elezra fold. Sammy Farha, playing from the small blind, re-raises (3-bets) to $12,500 (Pot $16,700) with KK. Shawn Sheikhan folds the big blind and the action is back on Barry.

Barry quickly re-raises (4-bets) $50K more (Pot $76,500). Barry started the hand with about $190K, about $10K more than Sammy, so they’re each risking a whopping $180K. Sammy is put to a decision for all of his chips — he has kings… KINGS… should he ever fold? What would you do? What if you had QQ or AK, or 76?

ALL IN Expert Can Help

If you know what type of player your opponent is (tight, maniac, etc) you can use this information to estimate what type of hands he has (his range). ALL IN Expert will then use the pot size, stack sizes, and your opponent’s range to show you exactly what you should do in that spot.

Let’s see how it might have aided Sammy in this hand:

1. Sammy is deciding whether he should re-raise (5-bet) all in, so we go to Preflop Raise:

2. Next, we enter information about the pot and stack sizes. ALL IN Expert supports simple addition and subtraction so you don’t ever have to pull out your calculator. Sammy started with $180K ($180,050 to be exact), already contributed $12,500, and will have to put in $50K more before he can raise the rest of his stack.

3. Finally, Sammy has to estimate Barry’s range. Click Create a New Range. This will bring up a separate window for you to estimate Barry’s range:

Now, you have to use your judgement to determine what hands belong in Barry’s range. Since Barry is a tight-aggressive player, his re-raise (4-bet) range is fairly narrow. However, given Sammy’s wide re-raise range, we’ll loosen Barry’s range some to be: QQ, KK, AA and maybe AKo (offsuit) and maybe AKs (suited). For calculations, ‘maybe’ means that a hand is half as likely.

4. Finally, we determine what range Barry will call an all in with. Given the strength a re-raise (5-bet) from Sammy would show, I’d say Barry would only call with KK or AA. We create a new range for Barry, calling it ‘Barry will call a 5-bet’ using those hands, then click Calculate:

That’s it! ALL IN Expert will automatically calculate which hands you should go all in with, taking into account everything that you’ve told it. It will calculate your Expected Value for each of the 169 unique starting hands by factoring in your fold equity and all in equity, and then display it as a color coded range:

Not only should Sammy go in with KK, he should also go in with 76 suited!

It may surprise you to see how many hands Sammy should go all in with. The reason is because of the ranges we assigned Barry. If we had made Barry’s re-raise (4-bet) range narrower, say to QQ, KK, and AA (without AK), there would be less profitable hands that Sammy could go all in with because Barry would be folding less often. With the ranges we assigned, going all in with KK is an easy decision. Hovering over KK shows that it will net Sammy $9,800 in the long run, or about a 20% return on his money. Even for a hand as seemingly weak as A5s, an all in would net Sammy more than $13K in the long run. In this situation, Sammy would prefer to go all in with A5s over KK. From this example, you can also see the power of suited connectors, which fair well against Barry’s calling range.

Next, we’ll take a closer look at Barry’s decision.

Eyes On Barry

Sammy deliberates for several minutes before announcing that he’s all in. Barry has an easy decision with AA and quickly calls, but what if he had AK, KK, or QQ? Using ALL IN Expert, we can figure it out.

Barry does not have an option to raise, so we’ll use Preflop Call this time.

For Preflop Call, its even easier than before. Enter in the pot size, how much Barry has to call, and Sammy’s range. Given Barry’s comments during the hand, we’ll say he puts Sammy on a range of QQ, KK, and AA. We create a new range with those hands and click Calculate.

What range should Barry call an all in with? ALL IN Expert tells us the answer:

Sammy’s range is so strong that Barry has to fold everything except QQ, KK, and AA.

So far we’ve seen what hands Sammy should go all in with and what hands Barry should call with; but, what happens if Barry knows that Sammy adjusts his all in range?

Advanced Features – Barry Strikes Back

Now bear with me: pretend you’re Sammy. Put down the cigarette and think about how you would play this hand. You’ve used ALL IN Expert and you see that you should move in with a much wider range than you previously thought. (Unless you put Barry on a different range, in which case your range will change). You take advantage of the situation and move in with the profitable hands shown a few steps back. However, Barry knows this (Barry knows everything, actually). He knows you’ve used ALL IN Expert, and he knows what range you’re going to move all in with. How should Barry adjust his calling range?

1. You can use ALL IN Expert to save only profitable hands as a new range. Go back to the profitable hands that Sammy can shove with, and click the colorful icon in the bottom right corner:

2. Redo Barry’s decision, except this time use the new range you just created. We get a completely new range of hands Barry should call with:

Given Sammy’s new range, Barry adjusts his calling range to virtually every hand.

Final Thoughts

Poker can be a very tricky, counter intuitive game. Knowing how to factor in all of the relevant information can be tough and the math daunting. ALL IN Expert helps you train for these tough decisions so that when its your time to act, you can make the best decision possible. With some practice, ALL IN Expert will help take your game and your profits to the next level.

Good luck at the tables!

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