Chris Klodnicki Breaks Down Final Hand of His Epic Poker League Main Event Win
Klodnicki Goes To War Preflop Against Lichtenberger
Chris Klodnicki is one of poker’s most consistent players on the tournament circuit, having cashed for nearly $4.5 million in his six-year career. Though he excelled as an online player under the name SLOPPYKLOD, the Voorhees, New Jersey native has really proven himself over the past three years in the live arena.
In 2008, Klodnicki finished 12th in the World Series of Poker main event for $591,869 and followed that up with a win at Borgata later that year. After picking up a WSOP Circuit ring in 2009, Klodnicki nearly did it again in 2010, finishing runner-up at the Northeast Regional Championship in Atlantic City.
Most recently, Klodnicki took down the Epic Poker League Mix-Max Championship event at the Palms in Las Vegas, scoring the biggest payday of his career at $801,680. Here, we take a look at the final hand in that event.
|Event- Blinds||EPL Mix-Max Main Event||10,000-20,000 w/ a 3,000 ante|
|Player Name||Chris Klodnicki||Andrew Lichtenberger|
|Hand||A 4||A K|
During the second contest in the best-of-three heads-up match, Lichtenberger min-raised to 40,000 on the button and Klodnicki three-bet to 110,000.
Lichtenberger then four-bet to 260,000 and Klodnicki thought a bit before making it 505,000.
Lichtenberger then paused before reraising to 750,000, which representing a bit more than one-third of his total stack. Klodnicki called and the two players a flop of 8 7 3.
Klodnicki then led out for 500,000 and Lichtenberger moved all in for his remaining 1,369,000. Klodnicki made the call and the two players revealed their hole cards.
Klodnicki’s A 4 was behind Lichtenberger’s A K, but the 4 on the turn and the 2 on the river gave him the winning hand and the tournament title.
Julio Rodriguez: Describe your battle with Lichtenberger up until this point.
Chris Klodnicki: We had been playing heads-up for quite some time. I believe our first match was about three hours long and now we were in the middle of another super deep match that could have last another few hours. Had he won the second match, we would played for even longer. Because I came into heads-up play with the chip lead, I was able to start each match with a 2-1 advantage. That’s about where our stack sizes were when this hand came down.
JR: Was this the type of preflop aggression that had been going on all match?
CK: Andrew and I had engaged in a fair amount of preflop wars at this point, so what went down in this hand wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary.
JR: The real turning point in this hand came when you decided to five-bet out of position. Can you explain why you chose that play?
CK: When I five-bet there preflop, I’m folding to any shove. I don’t expect him to ever six-bet light there and I know my hand is a huge dog to anything he’s raising with. That being said, after he basically clicked it back, meaning I only had to call another 245,000 after already putting in 505,000, I figured I could justify a call against anything but pocket aces.
Thinking back on it, I’m not really in love with my five-bet, because it put me into such as awkward situation. I think just calling his four-bet isn’t that great either, because I’m out of position and will miss most flops, so I guess I could have folded. The other point is that I can’t really seven-bet shove, because by this point he had already put in a third of his stack and was never folding. So I’d basically be shoving with zero fold equity against what was undoubtedly a better hand.
Now, I also know that he is almost always going to be committed to any flop. The only exception I can think of is if he had a hand like pocket jacks and the flop came down A-Q-Q. Even there, it would be tough for him to fold since I’d mostly like be checking it to him for a continuation bet.
JR: Instead, the flop gave you the nut flush draw and brought out three rags. Why did you decide to lead with a bet instead of check-raising, or check-calling all in?
CK: That bet was just designed to get the money in, really. There’s a tiny, but extremely unlikely chance that by betting, I can get him to lay a hand like A-Q or A-K down, but more often than not, he’s going with it, especially after committing so much of his stack preflop. I guess I just wanted to be the aggressor and not the guy calling off with a flush draw, even though I knew that would be the right decision anyway.
The entire final table lasted for over 15 hours, so fatigue was definitely a factor. Looking back, I probably didn’t want to get more than half my stack in preflop and on the flop holding just ace high, but the series of circumstances kept compounding in a way that kind of forced my hand. Had I just called his initial raise or his four-bet and then check-raised the flop, I would have probably won a much smaller pot and the tournament would have continued, but instead it turned out for the best because I hit one of my outs and won the title.
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