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Final-Table Takedown: Kyle Cartwright Continues on a Heater to Claim Fourth WSOP Circuit Event Gold Ring

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Jul 01, 2012

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Kyle CartwrightKyle Cartwright started playing poker at the age of 15 with friends. When he turned 18, he deposited on Party Poker and got second place in the first tournament he played in. In the spring of 2011, Cartwright entered five tournaments at the WSOP Circuit events in Tunica, MS and won two of them and cashed for 14th in one other.

He then traveled to the St. Louis WSOP Circuit event and won the main event there for $142,000. It’s by no coincidence he has been traveling the circuit ever since. He has made the final table of one World Series of Poker $1,500 event, eventually taking 8th place for $64,000. Cartwright now is the proud owner of four WSOPC rings and is looking forward to winning his first WSOP bracelet this coming summer.

Event 2012 WSOP Circuit Event Harrah’s St Louis
Players 229
Entry $1,000
First Prize $55,533

Hand No. 1

Key Concepts: Blind vs. blind; Sometimes you run into a cooler.

Athipoo Phahurat raises to 40,000 from the small blind. Kyle Cartwright raises to 120,000 holding ADiamond Suit AHeart Suit.

Craig Tapscott: There is a little back story to this matchup, correct?

Kyle Cartwright: Yes. Athipoo Phahurat is my roommate.

CT: Dealt aces against your roommate in a blind on blind situation. That has to be a dream come true. What were your chip positions at the table?

KC: The funny thing was we were first and second in chips at the table. We had a huge advantage over the other two opponents with only 3,500,000 in play. So when I raised him, he gave me a glaring look and then he…

Phahurat calls.

Flop: KSpade Suit 7Diamond Suit 3Spade Suit (pot: 252,000)

Phahurat checks. Cartwright bets 200,000.

CT: When you throw this bet out there, what was the plan?

KC: When I made this bet, I knew he was either going to fold or raise. I knew he was never flatting there. Even though he is my roommate and a good friend, I am still playing to win, just as he is.

Phahurat raises to 400,000.

CT: What range of hands are you putting him on after this raise?

KC: When he threw out the raise I knew he had A-K or maybe even K-K, but that was pretty unlikely since he had just called my reraise preflop. There were no other hands in his range that he could have. He wasn’t raising me with 10-10 – Q-Q. And he more than likely would fold smaller pairs since there was no reason to get involved with me given the other two stacks were so short. So really the only hand he could have there is A-K.

CT: Does his min-raise set off any alarms for you?

KC: Once he min-raised me, I knew I was about to play for my whole stack and more than likely double up, unless I got very unlucky. The K-7-3 flop just couldn’t have hit him except if he had A-K or the very unlikely K-K.

Cartwright moves all in. Phahurat calls and reveals ASpade Suit KHeart Suit.

Turn: 9Diamond Suit (pot: 2,406,000)

River: 4Heart Suit (pot: 2,406,000)

Cartwright wins the pot of 2,406,000.

KC: It was a pretty cooler spot for him and there was not much he could do. I really did not want to battle with him until we got heads up, but we had no choice with what we were dealt four-handed. It was by far the biggest pot of the tournament, which ultimately propelled me to the win.

CT: What kinds of things do you do to adjust your game when the table becomes shorthanded?

KC: Well you first off have to open up your range of hands. You can’t just sit back and wait for premiums when the blinds are hitting you every two hands. I like to put pressure on players when it’s shorthanded because the pay jumps are so severe at final tables. If I am chip leader four or five-handed, I like to pick on the next biggest stack because they want that pay jump if there are stacks much shorter than them.

Hand No. 2

Key Concepts: Stack sizes; Applying pressure with the big stack.

Musa Mustafa raises from UTG to 50,000.

KC: Mustafa was second in chips and the other two players had a combined total of 650,000 between them.

CT: In this situation, what’s your strategy to abuse the table?

KC: I was preparing to raise any two cards because of Mustafa’s stack size compared to the other two stacks. The pay jumps were very significant at this point, and I wanted to abuse this with such a large stack.

Cartwright reraises to 135,000 holding JDiamond Suit 5Club Suit from the big blind.

CT: Let the abuse begin. What are you thinking in this spot?

KC: I’m thinking he would more than likely fold or if he actually had it, go all-in. He surprised me though and…

Mustafa calls.

Flop: 7Club Suit 4Heart Suit 2Spade Suit (pot: 298,000)

Villain checks. Cartwright bets 155,000. Mustafa calls.

CT: You have to be a little hesitant after he called your flop raise. What hand range do you have him on?

KC: I put him on pairs eights through tens and thought I could get him off of it with a scary turn card.

Turn: 6Diamond Suit (pot: 608,000)

KC: The turn gave me an open-ended straight draw. It was actually a really good card for me.

CT: Can you continue to apply the pressure here?

KC: I thought it would give me at a minimum eight outs to win if not three more, since I had an overcard to the board. I didn’t think he could possibly have a five in his hand. I counted down his stack. He had around 450,000 behind. So I thought for a little while and…

Cartwright moves all-in.

KC: He tanked for a good five minutes and said if those two players weren’t so short stacked this would be a snap call. It was exactly what I wanted to hear. I knew as soon as he said this, he was going to fold. He still tanked after saying this, but eventually…

Mustafa folds. Cartwright wins the pot of 608,000.

KC: I showed him the J-5 and he was none too happy. I then busted him the very next hand. After he busted he told me he folded 5-5.

CT: Kyle. Share with our readers the changes in your game that you have made to put yourself in contention so often recently for big paydays. Did you have leaks in your game?

KC: I did. When I first started playing live poker, the biggest leak in my game was that I did not understand my own image at the table. Most of the players I play with don’t realize and quite frankly don’t want to believe that I am actually a tight player. Players rarely fold to me and I have had to incorporate this into my game. I am not sure if it is how I dress, how I look, or how I carry myself at the table, but I rarely get credit for a hand. Realizing that other players view me as reckless and knowing when they aren’t likely to fold to me has been a huge improvement in my game over the past year.

CT: Anything else?

KC: I also room with, in my opinion, some of the greatest up and coming poker players in the world. They are Tripp Kirk, Matthew Hankins, AP Phahurat, and Huy Nguyen. Anytime I have a question about a hand, I have some of the greatest poker minds out there I can ask. I try to add in bits and pieces of their game into mine to make myself a better all around player. ♠