By popular request, poker mastermind Christian Soto is back on the podcast this week going over hand histories. First he discusses the infamous $20,000 pot he played on Live at the Bike versus Hashtag King. How did he handle this maniac and get stacks in as a 75% favorite? Then Soto goes street-by-street, action-by-action, picking apart a live $1/$2 hand host Zac Shaw played, where all involved take questionable lines. Get your hand history fill from one of the best hand breakdown artists out there on this wee’s Official Red Chip Poker Podcast.

Featuring: Soto & Shaw

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Zac: Christian Soto, welcome back to the Red Chip Poker Podcast. How you doing?

Christian: Man, I can’t believe I’m back. It’s been a while.

Zac: It’s been too long. We love to have you here. Our listeners love to have you here. I want to jump right into a hand because this happened several weeks ago, months ago at Live at the Bike. It’s the hand that everyone was talking about back then. It was the guy everyone was talking about back then. Hashtag King. He’s not really around anymore, is he?

Christian: Yeah. I haven’t seen him so much around. I mean, maybe I’ll find a way to contact him and let you guys know.

Zac: The only value he had there was maybe some entertainment I think, but he was definitely someone that a lot of players were targeting. You got involved in a really interesting hand on the show and had a really interesting result. Can you run us through it?

Christian: Yeah. I think remember it pretty liberally. You might have to fill me in on the spots I don’t have it written down. This hand I opened to $225. Oh okay so, we’re playing a $5/$10/$20 on Live at the Bike I’m $10K effective, so there’s 500 big blinds. Hashtag is also 10K effective so that’s gonna kind of come into play. Everyone else is like scattered in between but in this situation, we’ll only talk about these two stacks. So, I opened to $100, which is 5X. I started opening 5X in this game initially and then they started copying me, which is whatever. Anyways, so I opened up to $225 from UTG+1. He 3-bets me from the first middle position to $225. So, I opened to $100, he 3-bets me to $225, falls back around to me I call. Flop comes queen, 10, deuce or queen, 10, three with one diamond, the 10 of diamonds. I check and he’s gonna bet $915, which is like double pot, so we have a decision there, and I call.

Zac: Sow when you call that bet what are you putting him on there?

Christian: I think, like his 3-bet range contains a lot of hands that, you know it’s gonna be wider than most people so I think he has, like Broadway combinations like KJ, AJ, I think he has like things with a back door so like ace X with a back door, ace wheels with a back door, I don’t think he had though like one pair that is a queen or a 10. So he’s pretty polarized on the flop, so he either has something massive like aces or he has just like a draw, like a backdoor draw or just like nothing.

Zac: And is that because of the range you’re putting him on? Because of the over bet, the bet size, both, one or the other?

Christian: Yeah the bet size is signifying like he’s polarizing himself right away. You know with a player like this we really shouldn’t kind of be thinking like that, he could just kind of have random hands, but in general it means like he either has aces or he has a set of 10s or he has nothing and his nothings are usually gonna be draws. So it’s queen, 10, deuce I believe so him having like four, five of diamonds or him having like king jack, something like that, that like either has a front door draw or a backdoor draw will be from the chart of his range. So like A5s or something, I was gonna say there’s a spade on the flop, like those kind of hands is like what’s gonna be the majority of his range. It won’t be like king queen, you see what I’m saying?

Zac: Gotcha. So you feel pretty confident calling that over bet. Then the turns comes a three of diamonds and now the pot is around $2300 and what’s the action there?

Christian: So I’m gonna check and he’s gonna bet I believe $2300, which is pot. So again he’s putting on a ton of pressure and you know he’s pretty polarized, again it’s like one of those situations where he’s saying I either have it or I got nothing you know what I mean? So that’s kind of my take on it in that situation. It feels like his sizing is like, it’s just telling me exactly what I’m saying it’s either he has a really big hand or he has nothing.

Zac: So were you thinking, I mean what was your plan like on the flop when you called that big overbet? Were you expecting him to barrel in to you with that polarized range?

Christian: So this is the thing, when you’re playing someone like this you kind of have to understand what allows them to win you know? So when he wins it’s mostly because he puts on so much pressure or causes like one big mistake or someone pays off to much or whatever you know what I’m saying? The entire strategy for players like him are based off pounding away with reckless abandonment, with no real strategy but just putting so much pressure on you that you either fold or make a big mistake. So there’s a lot of discussion I think even preflop like should I be 4-betting this hand or just calling and looking back on it I think that depending how often he calls a four bet I should be 4-betting him pretty aggressively with the top of my merged range.

So if he has no 3-bet fold range then 4-betting him becomes very profitable, obviously it’s high variance but whatever, you know? We’re just gonna have to play for what we’re given. So when we flopped top pair, top kick there I’m feeling pretty good. I feel like okay we’re gonna play a pretty big pot I’m not folding pretty much almost ever. Now when he takes this line I have to start making different decisions. He’s polarizing himself on flop and turn and now when he lands on turn it’s a situation where he bets $2300 in to $2300 right? And now it’s a decision of how often does he bluff the river? And because effectively we’re always paying right? Unless like a king comes we’re gonna pay this river no matter what happens. So now the decision is how often does he bluff the river and if the answer is almost never, given the line that we’re taking, given our side of the line we called the 3-bet, we called an over bet on the flop, we called the pot sized bet on the turn, he’s not gonna bluff this river. We’re effectively saying like hey we’re showing down our hand no matter what you do you know?

So I think he’s like aware enough to understand that our hand is one that’s gonna see, we’re gonna see a showdown right? So when that happens, when we’re in these spots, all the reverse implied odds if we just call the turn lands on us because he’s never bluffing the river but we’re always paying, you see what I’m saying?

Zac: Yeah.

Christian: We’re still ahead of his range by a long shot so that’s why I shoved the turn. Does that make sense? Did I explain that correctly? Not correctly but like effectively?

Zac: It made sense to me, which is kind of impressive given that it is very high level strategic thinking there. Your first point: Even a maniac is gonna understand when they have two over bets called that does make sense that you would plan for him never to bluff the river but then that added level, it’s impressive, man. I love the run through of that hand.

Christian: Yeah thanks I mean-

Zac: What was the result, share the result.

Christian: Yeah I mean so ends up calling with six five of diamonds, which is like he turns a flush draw and a gutty and we run it twice and we just hold. It seemed like, it was a 1000 big blind pot with one pair and I know people like, they just think I talk a big game you know? Like I did it, I did it on live TV 1000 big blinds one pair. So I mean it was fun, I mean obviously it was a very unique situation with him because he kind of allows it to happen but yeah I mean we held like it was a $10k pot with one pair, 1000 big blinds it was pretty insane.

Zac: So let that be a lesson to any of our listeners out there who have trouble dealing with aggressive maniac kind of players like that.

Christian: Yeah the main thing is like you have to understand why they win. When maniacs win why is it you know? And it’s kind of because like for the most part people just bluff catch them down and then they just get there and you pay or they put too much pressure on you and you just end up folding because the run outs come out badly for you, you know what I’m saying? It’s mostly just like playing this, a little bit too bluff catchy in spots where you should kind of be denying their equity in spots where they’re unlikely to continue bluffing.

Zac: Gotcha. That’s an unforgettable hand, it’s up on our Red Chip poker pro membership and there’s a whole deeper analysis there by you as well as some other hands you played. So definitely check that out if you’ve got the membership and speaking of things that are going on we’ve got a webinar coming up that you’re going to be hosting. Kind of a follow up to your last one. You want to tell us a little bit about what’s going on there?

Christian: Yeah I mean first of all the first webinar went amazing, like I’ve never hosted a webinar before but it went rather well considering that it was my first webinar. A lot of people attended and I thought it went great, I’ve watched it back and I thought that I gave away too much but it was really good and I was really happy about that so I decided to do a second one and kind of pick up where we left off. So I can’t cover the entire strategy in three hours but I could pick up where we left off but so this webinar will cover like all the deviations I make like in terms of the strategy. Like where do I deviate form normal strategy, what causes that to happen and everything that goes in to that so a lot of my exploits you know? Then secondly we’re gonna cover range advantage and understanding board textures, run outs and like everything that goes in to that, so those will be like the two major topics, I’m sure I’ll add other things in to it but I feel like those two major topics, understanding obviously range advantage, understanding how to proceed in boards that are advantageous to you. When do you triple barrel bluff? What kind of hand combinations you need. Understanding range neutrality.

That’s like really were we make all of our money in range neutral boards where we’re finding like check raises with over pairs and like we’re check raise, check raising, etc. You know things like that and you know obviously range disadvantage is where a lot of people make a lot of mistakes so I’m like, I feel like pretty confident in my ability to teach all of that and like really dive in to it. so in the first webinar we dove in to it but like, you know it was a segment. Like now this is gonna be like a focal point and you know combining that with all the deviations we make, how we exploit our opponents, how we go to war, how we over three bet, I feel there’s gonna be a ton of value and I’m pretty excited about it.

Zac: So you mentioned range advantage, range neutral boards, I want to talk about those concepts, real quick though this is targeted for the end of September and if you want to get in on it go to Red Chip Poker, make sure you’re on our mailing list and we’ll let you know when it happens and how to get in there. So range advantage, this is something we talked about on a previous podcast but this is the first time I’ve heard range neutral board. How do those two concepts work together and just run me through that.

Christian: Sure, I mean so, this is what I’ll say like in general there’s three major boards, there’s like you can subdivide them even further like range, neutral, advantage, whatever but in general it’s gonna be under range advantage now there’s three different subsets right? How we classify boards, it’s either gonna be range advantage, which is gonna be obviously favoring you. Range neutral, which is kind of like a jump ball so to speak and then range disadvantage, which favors the caller. This is all assuming we’re the original raiser right? In range neutrality what’s happening is that the equities of the ranges run rather close. So when you take a board like jack nine six two tone. That board is gonna run, the equities are gonna run rather close because your opponent has a lot of equity to continue in the hand. So they’re gonna have a lot of jack-Xs, you’re gonna share all sets, he’s gonna have like jack nine as two pair and he’s gonna have a ton of equity hands so like KT, QT, 87, T8, all flush draws. They’re all continuing so his equity, his continuance range is rather high as well as like run outs sometimes will favor him. So because of that, it becomes kind of neutral and the reason it is actually neutral and not a disadvantage is because the top side equity still remains with us right?

So we still have queens, kings, aces and we share all sets, and we have ace jack as well in our range so because of that the topside equity remains with us but his continuance equity and range is rather large.

Zac: Okay.

Christian: Did I sound like a doctor or something like …

Zac: PHD level poker right there yeah.

Christian: Just like rambling like …

Zac: Well I got the vibe of it, I’m not sure if I’m ready to put it down at the table yet but maybe can you give an example in like a spot or a hand?

Christian: Sure I mean yeah let’s talk about like I mentioned jack, nine, six right so it’s one of those spots where, you know when you open and get called I mean I don’t really want to say this man but like when you open and get called on jack, nine, six is like a pretty cool spot to go for some check raises. Just because like what I said he has a lot of continues as well as the run outs are gonna get kind of ugly right? Sometimes, obviously it could run out deuce but it could also just run out like jack, nine, six, eight, seven and that sucks. So it’s a good spot to go for some check raises so in general on range neutral boards is where you’re gonna be implementing some check raises and you know it’s something that I hold really close to me so I don’t want to just put it out on the air but I’ll definitely talk about it in the webinar. Just know that on range neutral boards going for some check raises is really cool.

Zac: That sounds like a really cool trappy kind of play. Okay I get it now, I’m gonna try it.

Christian: Alright cool.

Zac: Got time for one more hand review?

Christian: Yeah man I got a lot of time I just woke up.

Zac: Right on. Hey man it’s the morning that’s respectable for a poker player, up in the AM.

Christian: Man I was up, I literally … we started at 10:30, we were supposed to start at 10:30 I woke up at 10:15 so …

Zac: Plenty of time.

Christian: Yeah oh I had time to spare.

Zac: Well so this is actually a hand, and I appreciate you doing this, I played this hand just yesterday at the Sands, which is a place where I see Fausto Valdez a lot. Your esteemed student who is now a coach and we interviewed him on the podcast recently.

Christian: Yeah man he’s great. He’s really come up and I’m pretty proud of all his accomplishments, he battles man.

Zac: Yeah he really has the heart and the mind as well so it’s always awesome to talk to him and he’s really in the trenches right now grinding out that $2/$5.

Christian: Yeah for sure.

Zac: I’m sort of not so much in the trenches, I’m much more recreational, I’m hitting the casino a couple times a month and just trying to play the best I can and approach it, hit my A game. I’m not sure that this hand is, maybe it’s just a cooler I don’t know but there were some spots where I was confused as to what to do and it’s your typical one two game, fairly on the passive side in terms of all my opponents, which is nice.

Christian: Yeah.

Zac: I had KK in middle position, two limpers and I raised it up to $18, the big blind was the only person that called. Then the flop came jack, nine, six with two spades, I don’t have-

Christian: Wait, wait. Before we get in to all that so what does, how much do you have? How much does the limpers have? what does, and also what does $18 mean in this game? Kind of those kind of things.

Zac: Awesome I love this okay. Well I mean I was kinda sticking to, okay stack size I had I think effective stacks were probably around 250, 300 in terms of the big blind at least I think I had him covered. The limpers all were around that range too. The raise to $18 I was basically raising to $15 as a default and then adding a few bucks for limpers.

Christian: Okay.

Zac: In the game I was really one of the only players that was making those big pain-thresholdy kind of raises.

Christian: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Zac: So they were mostly gonna respect but I was getting to that point at the table where now they were calling a little more frequently because they don’t want to feel like I’m bullying them.

Christian: Yeah, alright.

Zac: I learned that from watching you Christian.

Christian: No that’s good I mean it’s really good that means that making it $18 with kings is really, really good.

Zac: Yeah ’cause I would be doing that with a bunch of other hands too so …

Christian: Yeah, yeah alright sounds good.

Zac: So the weird thing was the flop comes jack, nine, six and it’s kind of one of those boards you were just talking about. Two spades, so a lot could happen here and now maybe I already feel like I could’ve played this better now that I got a little mini lesson from you but what was weird was the big blind donked in for 25 in to a pot of about 40.

Christian: Do you have the king of spades?

Zac: No I don’t have the king of spades.

Christian: Okay what kind of player is this guy?

Zac: Yeah he’s your typical passive on the tighter, nittier side.

Christian: How old is he?

Zac: Older gentleman probably in his 50s.

Christian: Okay. I would probably, so with the king of spades I would lean towards a call, without the king of spades it’s kind of disgusting. But when he’s leading here, this kind of player at one two who’s tight, I don’t think he has like queen 10. I think he has like queens, I think he could have aces, I think he could have like ace jack suited, king jack suited be block. So like his range is pretty tight, so he led for how much?

Zac: $25 in to $40. You don’t think he has like ace X hands that are drawing to the flush?

Christian: He does but like …

Zac: Not a big part?

Christian: Yeah I mean it could be like ace 10 suited, ace queen suited, ace king suited of spades as well as queens as well as ace jack, I think also we should discount jack, jack because he’s gonna lean towards a check you know? I think he’s gonna lean towards a check with the nut. So I think I would raise here with not the king of spade. With the king of spades I feel a lot more comfortable just calling. ‘Cause we turn spades and it’s like okay we can just call down. No king of spade I think I would just raise and call it off if he jams and not feel great about it but I’m gonna call.

Zac: After I looked at this hand later I felt like that was the mistake I made, I should have raised, I ended up calling just because I’ve been kind of playing a slightly more, I don’t want to say passive but kind of, I don’t know kind of trying to be a little bit laid back on the aggression because it’s been getting me in to some rough spots. On this board you’re right it’s just like that disgusting feeling but-

Christian: It’s just like there no real good turn. There’s jack, nine, six, I guess a seven is good because he doesn’t have eight 10. The thing is with these guys it’s kind of good when you have really good hands because you can narrow their range rather, kind of pin point exactly where they stand in terms of their range and then just make a decision whether you’re ahead enough or behind you know? It’s like we’re definitely ahead enough I think in this spot once we discount, I would discount him having aces and I would also discount him having jack, jack. Just because aces three bets a decent amount and jack, jack checks a decent amount. So that make us just like have way ahead of his range in my opinion but then when we call without the king of spade there’s gonna be some nasty turns man. A queen a 10, a spade, an ace, a lot of things could go wrong here.

Zac: It kind of sounds like it might be on the side of a cooler but I’ll let you be the judge when we get to the end.

Christian: Okay.

Zac: The turn comes a jack. So pairs the jack on the board.

Christian: Okay he’s probably gonna check.

Zac: He checks.

Christian: Yeah you check.

Zac: Yeah I checked in this spot because again I just had that disgusting feeling.

Christian: Although like … I mean checking, alright checking’s kind of standard I think in this situation. I think the majority of like, I think everyone checks here but I’m not sure man this, without the king of spade and him, I mean does he lead ace jack is a question but like whatever we’re just gonna probably lose a bet to ace jack anyway. I wouldn’t hate a bet honestly. I think we’re still significantly ahead of his range. I still think he calls with queens and some spade draws. We only now lose to like ace jack and like nine, nine that we already lost to on the flop. I wouldn’t hate a bet but checking’s standard. I think, checking’s definitely not a mistake it’s just like when we can narrow his range down like that maybe betting is okay.

Zac: And with the jack coming obviously not a spade so we still have the two spades on board and I’m trying to think if what happens if a spade comes out or if one of these disgusting cards comes out on the river and I get bet in to. Do I just have to fold immediately?

Christian: Yeah I think if like the eight of spades or something comes you just have to fold, which is like, that’s what I’m saying when we check the river is he bluffing the river? I don’t mean, sorry when we check the turn do we think he’s bluffing the river at any frequency? Hell no. This guy’s never bluffing. So it’s like one of those spots where the times that he does have equity like spades or whatever, we’re just letting him get there for nothing you know? And I hate that saying like oh you let him get there whatever but it’s one of those things that like we’re just letting his equity actualize for free when he does have a draw as well as we’re not behind that often in my opinion. But I think checking is still the standard good, considered good play I just think that this guy has like, I mean I just think he has queens and spades and every so often he has a jack. So I think we should just bet.

Zac: And I think that’s …

Christian: I think you could also bet small too like you don’t need to bet big, like so when he leads for $25, he led for $25 in to $40 right?

Zac: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Christian: So $50, $90 and now you checked, I think you could be like either, you could be rather small you could bet like $35 and allow him to continue with some of his weaker hands like queens or you could bet like $40 whatever, $35 I think is good but my friends in the Berkey lands might not like that sizing, but whatever. I think it’s really good because you allow him to continue with a wide range, you don’t polarize yourself, you could still have an array of hands and he’s kind of forced to defend it and I don’t think he’ll defend it through a check raise. I think this guy’s just always gonna either gonna call or fold. So I think that, that’s good but that’s like, you know not considered standard.

Zac: Okay. I mean I’m gonna go back and listen to this podcast, study this some more but to finish the hand the river just bricked out like an off suit three and this is when I probably made a mistake because he bets $50 in to about like a $90 pot.

Christian: Yeah I mean it sucks. I think that this is why I wanted to bet the turn you know? Because this is what I’m saying so I think this is a major, major problem that low stakes players have. And you’re a recreational player so whatever it doesn’t matter you do what you want but I think all the way up to from $1/$2 to like $50/$100 that’s the biggest I’ve played live $50/$100 they all check that turn. Everyone. Even the good players right? The reason is because there’s this continuance of like the strategy is to bluff catch. If you flop top pair, let’s say like you call from the big blind, you flop top pair it’s like check call, check call, check decide or if the turn’s bad like in this spot you check it back and then see if he bluffs the river and then you make a decision. It’s this continuous bluff catch strategy. Whoever attended webinar number one that was like the first thing I said was everyone in your pool bluff catches. So in this spot that you got in you checked back the turn and you checked back the turn and when he bets you’re saying okay is he bluffing or not?

Zac: Right.

Christian: And it’s like but we just said this guy’s never bluffing. So it’s like this guy’s never bluffing so it goes back to the turn when you decide whether to check or bet it’s like okay if you think this guy’s gonna bluff at a decent frequency than you should check. But the truth of the matter is this guys doesn’t bluff so we should just bet small, fold out his equity share and the times that he calls we could like make a decision on the river if we want to bet or check but for the majority of the time against this guy we’ll probably just check.

Zac: So if we bet and get called on the turn and on the river we get bet in to again we just have to fold or if we get shoved on the turn…

Christian: Oh yeah it’s an easy fold. The thing is that the player you’re playing against he under bluffs so that makes everything easy. You can just like, sorry, whoa. It makes everything easy because you’re never gonna get check raise bluffed on the turn, he never has queen 10 and check raises you. If he has queen 10 and check shoves the turn and we bet those kings and we have to fold, that’s a disaster. That’s the reason why people check the turn is because they think oh I don’t want to get bluffed off my hand, my hand’s too good. This guy’s never bluffing you off your hand it’s just never happening. So because of that, it just becomes somewhat easier just to bet the turn for a small size and if he raises you just fold because he’s not capable of check raise bluffing you it’s just not in his DNA. Maybe in his DNA but he just hasn’t learned it you know whatever the point is he’s not doing it. But when you check now you allow him to bluff but you already said he doesn’t bluff you see what I’m saying?

So there’s a break in logic, it’s like oh I’m not gonna bet the turn because I don’t want him to bluff me off my hand and then it’s like well now he’s bluffing the river like what the fuck? What are you talking about? So yeah that’s kind of what happens. So I think raising flop is good, I think betting small on the turn as played is also good, alright so what does he have, he has aces?

Zac: You know weirdly enough he’s got quads. He’s got quad jacks.

Christian: That’s weird.

Zac: Yeah I feel like I’ve seen this every once in a while at one two where someone flops a set and makes one of these donk bets kind of-

Christian: His lead sucks, it’s just like, it’s bad but it makes sense. It makes sense for him because he calls $18 pre so the only reason I discount that hand is because most people check when they flop the nuts you know? So I mean you could, you would’ve lost more taking my line so you would’ve just gone broke. But I think that, so see like if he would’ve check raised the turn with quads you just fold and it’s just like you feel better about it. But yeah I don’t think you played it that bad, I mean whatever you made a mistake on every street it happens.

Zac: What a fantastic way to end our podcast thank you so much for boosting my confidence and my spirits. No, to be honest, I have learned more about poker from you than anyone else in the shortest amount of time, we’ve only been able to talk a little bit but I’ll never forget that trip back from Live at the Bike when you gave a two hour webinar on the bus to all of us who played that night. So thank you again for going over those hands and contributing so much to the Red Chip poker community here, we really love having you on the podcast and hopefully you can come back soon.

Christian: Yeah man, thanks. So I guess just to remind people, I will have a webinar coming out it’ll be called “I’ll Name This Strategy Later 2”. If you didn’t attend number one you can still get it but it’s not mandatory to attend the second one, like it’s not a prerequisite or anything like that. It should be coming out soon so just keep and eye out on like our Twitter, our website, the mailing list, and all that.

Zac: Excellent. Christian Soto thank you so much for being here.

Christian: Alright, brother.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Matthew

    I’ve never heard someone use the word “like” as much as Soto. It’s brutal to listen to. Help him out Shaw.

    • ed

      he’s also very heavy on the “you know”.
      none of that changes the fact that he’s a much batter poker player than I am, and I learn a lot from his content.

  • persuadeo

    great job.