Poker Hand Of The Week
You Decide What's The Best Play
Give us your opinion in the comments section below for your chance at winning a Card Player prize pack.
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 are seated at a six-handed final table and are dealt A 6 on the button.
The action folds around to the cutoff who raises to 35,000. You call, as does the big blind.
The flop comes A J 2 and everyone checks to you. You bet 50,000 with top pair and only the big blind calls.
The turn is the 9 and your opponent checks. You bet 50,000 and he raises to 200,000.
You call and the river is the 3. Your opponent bets 600,000 and you have 1,431,000 left in your stack.
Your opponents in the hand are young, successful online pros who show a lot of creativity in their games and you are perceived to be an inexperienced amateur.
Do you call, fold or shove? How often is top pair, medium kicker good in this spot and what kind of hands is your opponent check-raising on the turn and firing on the river with?
The Argument For Calling
Obviously, a call is only justifiable if you can put your opponent on a hand you can beat. This includes most combinations of jacks, A-4 and A-5, as well as all busted draws and complete bluffs.
The problem (or benefit) is that you haven’t really defined your hand to your opponent, since you decided to bet super small on the turn. Your opponent could have easily read this as weakness and therefore decided to try and raise you off your hand. This essentially turns your hand into a bluff catcher, but only if you follow through and catch the bluff.
Also, should you call and lose, you’d still be left with 831,000, or 52 big blinds. Should you win, you’d be chip leader.
The Argument For Folding
Even though you under represented your hand, you still don’t beat much as far as value hands are concerned. Even if your opponent had a hand like K J or Q J, it’s not guaranteed that he’d turn them into bluffs, since he has some showdown value.
Your willingness to call the turn check-raise should also discourage any big bluff attempts, which makes it more likely that your hand is beat. Most players at the final table of a major event would hesitate to pull that trigger twice, even aggressive, young online pros.
If you fold now, you’d still be left with 1,431,000, or 89 big blinds. Plenty of chips at this point of the tournament.
The Argument For Shoving
This option should only be considered if you believe you have any fold equity, since your opponent will almost never call you with a worse hand. In other words, you wouldn’t be shoving for value, you’d be turning top pair into a bluff.
After betting 600,000, your opponent has 867,000, which is still 54 big blinds.
So do you think that your image, combined with the line you have chosen to take, can get a better hand to fold? If so, what hands? Does a shove get hands like A-K, A-Q, A-10, A-8 and A-7 to fold? What about stronger two pair hands like J-9? After all, a shove would be putting your opponent to the test for pretty much their whole stack.
What Actually Happened
In the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Matt Juttelstad raised to 35,000 from the cutoff and Gigi Gagne called from the button. Keith Ferrera also called from the big blind and the flop came down A J 2.
Action checked to Gagne who bet 50,000. Ferrera called and Juttelstad folded. The turn was the 9 and Ferrera checked again.
Gagne bet another 50,000 and Ferrera check raised to 200,000. Gagne called and the river was the 3. Ferrera bet 600,000 and Gagne called with A 6.
Ferrera showed A 2 and took down the pot with two pair. He would go on to finished sixth for $42,185. Gagne finished second, earning $158,194 and Juttelstad won it all, banking $268,444.
UPDATE: Congratulations to milehi5oh, this week’s winner of the Card Player prize pack! If you didn’t win, don’t worry. We’ll have another Poker Hand of the Week ready to go this Saturday.
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