Fold a Flopped Flush? Johnnie 'Vibes' Moreno & Brad Owen Discuss Hand
An intriguing cash game hand appearing on the popular Live at the Bike webcast last week has created considerable buzz, one involving a couple of popular vloggers, Brad Owen and Johnnie "Vibes" Moreno.
The game was $5/$10 no-limit hold'em with a $20 straddle under the gun, and the hand began with Owen opening for $40 from early position with and getting two callers, one on the button and Moreno from UTG with after having straddled. Owen had about $2,400 to start and Moreno $3,400.
With $135 in the middle the flop came came all spades — — giving both Owen and Moreno flushes. Moreno checked and Owen bet $50, chasing the button. Moreno then check-raised to $175.
Owen didn't take long before reraising to $500, with commentator Ryan Feldman noting "a three-bet on the flop, which you don't see very often" as he did.
Moreno thought for about 30 seconds, then let his hand go. Take a look (the hand takes up the first couple of minutes of the video below):
PokerNews reached out to both players for some commentary on this interesting hand.
Owen on Reraising the Flop
"My goal was to get his whole stack," explains Owen. "I thought he had a big hand he'd be willing to get it in with. I could've flatted and potentially gotten one or maybe two more streets of value if I got a good runout, but it really narrows my range if I call his raise. I think he would've been suspicious and played cautiously."
Indeed, Owen's decision to three-bet was designed to make it seem less likely he was as strong as he was.
"Since almost no one else on the planet reraises with the nuts on that flop, I thought it would look more like a bluff," says Owen.
"Since we were on a stream I thought it would seem more likely I'm bluffing and since we're on a stream I thought it would be less likely that he would make a hero fold, because if you're wrong in that spot then you never hear the end of it."
Moreno on Folding a Flopped Flush
For Moreno's part, in his comments about the hand he spoke more generally about decision-making in poker before offering some specific analysis of the situation.
"I've noticed that in poker especially, people always want to know the 'one thing' that will solve a problem," says Moreno. "As if there is a magic pill that they can take to fix their poker woes."
"In relation to my fold with a flopped flush, there wasn't a single reason that led to me folding," he continues. "I had many pieces of information to decipher that led me to the conclusion that I should fold."
From there, Moreno shared his "main reasons" for letting his hand go. This first concerned Moreno's lack of past history playing with Owen, though he did have some idea of how Owen's experience might have related to his three-betting the flop.
"Brad and I don't have any history of playing together, nor have I watched many of his hand histories on his vlog, but my impression of him is that he will not be getting out of line vs. me," says Moreno.
"I know that $2/$5 is his normal game, and I'm aware that this is slightly bigger, and deeper than his normal game. I'm also aware that he knows I'm very comfortable in this size game. I play these stakes and stack depths as my norm. This meta game leads me to believe that he would rarely go to war with me on a flop without the effective nuts."
Moreno also points out something we don't see on the video starting with this hand — game flow.
"Brad had been playing fairly tight up to this point," notes Moreno. "After facing a check-raise, Brad decided to three-bet the flop within 10 seconds. I felt that this was a bit of a reactionary process for him. I lumped a reactionary process from someone as calculated as Brad as strength."
There were a couple more reasons why Moreno was encouraged to fold.
"Given that he opened in early position, I felt his range was likely weighted toward higher flushes vs. smaller flushes," Moreno explains.
Meanwhile, Owen bluffing (or semi-bluffing) seemed unlikely to Moreno, but remained a possibility.
"I was purely guessing, but I decided that the only bluffs he would ever have in this spot would be ," he says. "With this narrow of a bluffing range, and feeling that his frequencies for bluffing would also be very low, I decided to make an exploitative fold."
Moreno adds as a disclaimer that "exploitative folds should only be made when you feel your opponents will be unbalanced" as was the case for him in this instance.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
It was an impressive fold, backed by a insightful thought process.
"All the credit in the world goes to Johnnie," says Owen. "He's a great player and got away from a hand and a situation in which most people stack off. It's fun to watch and learn from him."
You can watch and learn from both players here:
- Johnnie "Vibes" Moreno: YouTube channel, website
- Brad Owen: YouTube channel, "Off the Felt" poker forum
Pamela Maldonado contributed to this article.