Poker Hand Of The Week
You Decide What's The Best Play
Ask any group of poker players how you played your hand and they’ll come up with dozens of different opinions. That’s just the nature of the game.
Each week, Card Player will select a hand from the high-stakes, big buy-in poker world, break it down and show that there’s more than one way to get the job done.
You have a slight chip lead and you are heads-up for a major tournament title.
You are dealt 6 3 on the button and decide to min-raise to 500,000. The big blind three-bets to 1,250,000.
You call and the flop comes J 7 5. Your opponent bets small, only 625,000 and you decide to call. The turn is the 9 and your opponent bets again, this time 1,325,000.
Your opponent has about 9,300,000 left and you are sitting with 10,800,000 million.
What do you do with your double gut shot and flush draw? Do you move all in now or take another card? What do you do if you miss on the river and your opponent checks?
The Argument For Shoving
The best reason to shove is because at the moment, you have some fold equity. After all, you are still holding six-high and even though you may have up to 15 outs to win the pot, you don’t really want to rely on making your hand when you have the possibility of winning without a showdown.
Furthermore, if you do decide to call and evaluate the river, you may wind up having trouble getting value out of your hand. Your opponent may give up if he was bluffing, seeing as you just called two streets or he may become scared when a heart or a four-liner to a straight hits the board and refuse to pay you off.
Because you are looking at a draw-heavy board, shoving also has the added benefit of folding out better draws than yours. Bigger heart and straight draws will suddenly be getting a terrible price to continue, allowing your small draw to avoid disaster.
Your opponent has 9,300,000 million (37 big blinds) remaining and assuming he folds to a shove, you will be stacked with 17,200,000 million (68 big blinds). That’s a nearly 2-1 chip advantage that will allow you to apply pressure for the duration of the match.
The Argument For Calling
Let’s look at the action so far. Your opponent three-bet to 1,250,000 preflop, bet 625,000 on the flop and then followed that up with 1,325,000 on the turn. Doesn’t it seem like he may be trying to induce a raise?
Given the current stack sizes, a shove could be considered overkill. The pot only has 5,135,000 in it and you’d be risking an additional 10,625,000 to win it. If you get called and lose, you’ll be left with only 1,500,000 (6 big blinds).
But what hands actually call a shove of that size? You are certainly getting called by all strong hands, such as sets, two pair, straights and overpairs. You may even get hero called by most jacks, simply because the board is so draw heavy. Even if you get called by a draw, it will usually be a better one than you are currently holding. Don’t forget that you’re only holding six high.
Calling, however, leaves you with options on the river regardless of what comes. If you hit your draw and your opponent checks, you can go ahead and bet for value. Something around the size of the pot that will leave your opponent with just enough to give him false hope. If you miss your draw and your opponent bets, you can comfortably fold knowing you’ve salvaged your tournament. If you miss and your opponent checks, you can decide whether or not a bluff is in order.
What Actually Happened
Vadzim Kursevich raised to 500,000 on the button and Paul Guichard three-bet to 1,250,000 from the big blind.
Kursevich called and the flop fell J 7 5. Guichard bet 625,000 and Kursevich made the call.
The turn was the 9 and Guichard bet 1,325,000. Kursevich moved all in and Guichard immediately called with 5 5 for a set. Kursevich showed 6 3 for straight and flush draws.
According to the Card Player Poker Odds Calculator, Kursevich would win the pot only 29.55 percent of the time because some of his flush outs would now give Guichard a full house. In order to win the hand and the tournament, Kursevich needed any non-board pairing heart, eight or four.
The river was the 8, giving him the EPT Deauville title and a first-place prize of €875,000.
What would you have done and why? Let us know in the comments section below. The best answer will win a Card Player prize pack.
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