Noah Schwartz Breaks Down Crucial PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Pot-Limit Omaha Hand
Schwartz Wins PLO Event To Get A Quick Start On 2012
Noah Schwartz thinks this is going to be his breakout year. That’s bad news for the rest of the players on the tournament circuit, because he already has over $2.3 million in lifetime earnings. Not bad for a 28 year old.
Schwartz has been running hot lately. The two-time World Poker Tour final tablist has had a number of close calls, going deep in two Epic Poker League main events and finishing fourth in a World Series of Poker Europe bracelet event, but it wasn’t until the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure that he was able to close out a marquee win.
The Miami, Florida resident took down the $5,000 pot-limit Omaha turbo event at the PCA to give himself a great start to the year, defeating a stacked final table that included Phil D’Auteuil, Robert Mizrachi, Erik Cajelais and eventual runner-up finisher Chino Rheem.
Here, Schwartz breaks down a key hand that took place early on in the tournament, which allowed him to play on cruise control the rest of the way.
|Event||PCA $5k PLO||Blinds||400-800|
|Players||Noah Schwartz||Ludovic Lacay||Unknown|
|Hand||K K Q 9||A Q J 10||A K Q J|
Ludovic Lacay and Amnon Filippi limped in early position and an unknown player raised to 4,000 from the cutoff.
Noah Schwartz called from the small blind, as did Ashton Griffin in the big blind. The action came back around to Lacay, who decided to make a pot-sized raise to 20,800.
Filippi folded and the cutoff thought for quite some time before moving all in for a stack of 63,000. Schwartz called, Griffin folded and Lacay called all in.
Schwartz showed K K Q 9, which had Lacay’s A Q J 10 and the unknown’s A K Q J in bad shape. The board fell 7 7 5 8 3 and Schwartz picked up the double knockout and a stack of 173,800, which accounted for over six percent of the chips in play despite the tournaments still being in the fifth level.
Julio Rodriguez: Can you take us through this key hand?
Noah Schwartz: Sure. This hand was probably the most important hand I played all tournament, even though it happened while were in the fifth level. After I won this hand, I was basically able to have my way with the table and coast to the end.
The thing about this tournament was that it was a turbo and the blinds were escalating every 15 minutes. Because of that, every hand you decided to play became that much more important. I knew that the key to this tournament was to get hold of some chips early. That becomes especially important with a game like pot-limit Omaha, where you need to sustain some beats, because no hand is that much of a favorite over any other.
JR: There were two limpers to you and a raise from late position. Why not reraise to isolate with a hand like double-suited kings?
NS: Considering the aggressor’s stack size and the fact that my hand plays alright against multiple opponents, I decided to call. A lot of players might want to isolate with a hand like mine, but that can get you into trouble.
Even if you do manage to get it in heads-up, there’s a good chance that you are going to be up against one of two hands. The first type of hand is, of course, going to be aces. Given the action so far, that was definitely a possibility. The other type of hand that might want to get it in preflop is a rundown hand, something like Q-J-10-9 or 8-7-6-5 double suited. Although you have a slight edge against those hands, it’s not really worth it to be flipping without some dead money in the pot to add to your equity. So for all of those reasons, I didn’t mind calling and letting them into the pot.
JR: Did you start to regret your decision to flat call the raise after Ashton Griffin followed you in the big blind?
NS: Well, you have to remember, my hand is pretty cut and dry. It’s not like I’m holding a small rundown hand, where I’m going to flop some type of wrap draw, but perhaps put myself into a bad situation with an inferior flush draw. My hand is easily defined, so I’m able to take more flops and get away from it should certain cards hit the board.
JR: Ludovic Lacay then pots it 20,800, essentially committing himself.
NS: Ludovic had been pretty active and mixing it up quite a bit. Earlier, he had three-bet from out of position holding 10-9-3-2, so I knew that even though he was going to go with it after putting in more than half of his stack, it didn’t necessarily mean he was holding a monster. That limp-reraise play can just as easily be a squeeze now that he sees dead money in the pot.
Now my decision all boils down to what the unknown player decides. Had he instantly moved in, I would’ve easily mucked, assuming I was up against aces. But this guy took his time and seemed genuinely concerned not only about Ludovic, but about me behind him. After all, I did have him covered. I decided that he wasn’t confident.
Eventually, he talked himself into a shove and because of that hesitation, I called behind him. The other consideration I took was that even though my hand doesn’t play well against a hand like aces, I had to account for the other players who had shown interest in the hand. Ashton could very easily have an ace in his hand, as could Amnon. Even if Ludovic had aces, I still only need to beat the unknown player to break even thanks to the stack disparity between the two players.
JR: Then you got a look at their cards.
NS: Yeah. As it turns out, I pretty much had them both in jail. My diamonds were no longer good, but both players hands were very similar, giving me a pretty substantial edge in the hand. To top it all off, I didn’t even really have to sweat the board, which came out pretty raggy. On the turn, I really only had to worry about a nine, which would’ve still given me the side pot, or one of the two last aces, which may or may not have already been folded.
JR: Looking back on that hand, how do you feel about your line?
NS: Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I played the hand. By flatting the initial raise, I was able to under-represent my hand, which probably contributed to Ludovic’s squeeze attempt. The unknown was a little suspicious, but even he couldn’t figure me for that big of a hand sitting behind him.
Had this hand taken place in a normal, non-turbo tournament, I would’ve probably folded and waited for a better spot. But because of the fast-paced structure, I realized that it was the best opportunity to accumulate a big stack and, more importantly, put myself in a position to win.
JR: How important was this hand to your overall performance in the tournament?
NS: After that, I had enough chips to do what I wanted. I started three-betting in position more often and taking flops in position whenever I got four-bet. Because of my stack, I was able win pretty much all the pots that nobody else wanted. It didn’t matter if I failed to connect, because there was always the threat of going broke whenever anybody saw a flop with me.
More importantly than what that stack allowed me to do, is what it prevented others from doing. Now let’s say I raise in late position and get three-bet by one of the blinds. I can not only comfortably call and take a flop, but I also know just how defined my opponent’s hand is. Because of the stack sizes, he isn’t three-betting me light, he’s most likely got a big pocket pair. So when the flop comes down 5-6-7, I can pot with pretty much any four cards and he can’t call. The chips I won not only allowed me to be deceptive, but it forced others to play their hands face up, which makes pot-limit Omaha a much easier game to play.
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