Poker Hand Of The Week -- 3/24/12
You Decide What's The Best Play
Give us your opinion in the comments section below for your chance at winning a six-month Card Player magazine digital subscription.
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 sitting four-handed in a big buy-in tournament and everyone is about even in chips. You are dealt K K on the button and min-raise to 200,000.
An aggressive player who you have slightly out chipped three-bets from the blinds to 460,000 and, in an effort to disguise the strength of your hand, you decide to just call.
The flop comes down 7 6 3 and your opponent bets small, only 270,000. He has 2,340,000 behind and you have him covered by 595,000.
Assuming you have the best hand, how do you extract the most value from an aggressive opponent? Is it better to just call this bet, raise or perhaps even shove? What kinds of hands are calling a raise in this spot? Is there any merit to protecting your overpair from any drawing hands?
The Argument For Calling
Your opponent three-bet preflop, typically indicating a strong hand. For that reason, you are a likely to be either way ahead or way behind. You are way ahead of most overpairs and ace-high type of hands and way behind to hands like sets or pocket aces.
If you are way ahead, then just calling the flop bet allows your opponent to continue to hang himself without much danger of you falling behind on the turn. Raising would only scare away hands like A-10, A-J, A-Q and A-K. If you are way behind, then just calling the flop bet allows you to keep the pot small and potentially get away from a cooler situation.
The Argument For Raising
It’s true that your opponent is likely to be either way ahead or way behind, but raising guarantees that you make the maximum if you happen to be up against another over pair. Given your line, there’s no reason for your opponent to believe that a hand like pocket tens or pocket jacks is no good, so raising will allow you to knock him out while only sweating two outs.
Also, raising has the added benefit of narrowing your opponents range and prevents both players from freezing up on a scary turn card. Say your opponent had pocket tens and a queen rolled off on the turn. This may cause him to shut down and not allow you to extract any more value. Furthermore, an ace could hit the turn, putting your hand’s strength into question as well.
What Actually Happened
Four-handed at the EPT Madrid main event final table, Bruno Lopes raised to 200,000 on the button and Frederik Jensen three-bet from the blinds to 460,000. Lopes called and the flop came down 7 6 3.
Jensen continued with a bet of 270,000 and Lopes raised to 650,000. Jensen then moved all in for a total of 2,610,000 and Lopes instantly called holding K K.
Jensen showed 6 5 for second pair and a straight draw and connected when the turn and river fell 5 8 giving him the winning two pair.
Lopes was left crippled and was eliminated in fourth place shortly thereafter. Jensen went on to win the tournament along with the €495,000 first-place prize.
What would you have done and why? Let us know in the comments section below and try not to be results oriented. The best answer will receive a six-month Card Player magazine digital subscription.
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