Already one of the larger stacks in the room, Estrella Baltazar took the chip lead outright this level in a huge hand. We made it to the table on the river with the board showing ...
Poker Hand Of The Week -- 8/18/12
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 major tournament and have the second biggest stack at the table, but not by much. The third largest stack, a solid, creative player, min-raises to 120,000 from under the gun and you call from the button with pocket jacks.
The blinds fold and the flop comes down 5 4 4. Your opponent continues with a bet of 130,000 and you decide to just call.
The turn is the 6 and your opponent checks. You bet 235,000 and he calls. The river is the K. Your opponent checks once again and you decide to go for value with a bet of 475,000.
Instead of calling or folding, your opponent check raises to 1,400,000, leaving himself with 1,905,000 behind. You have 3,065,000 behind your river bet. Folding would put you in third place with 51 big blinds. Calling and losing would put you in third place with 35 big blinds.
Do you call, raise or fold? Is your opponent raising for value or as a bluff? What value hands is your opponent raising that you can beat? Is it possible that your opponent is turning a value hand into a bluff? Can your opponent be holding a flush? Would your opponent take this line with a paired river king? How about trip fours?
The Argument For Calling
This is an odd line for your opponent to take with anything but a flush or a full house. The flush is unlikely, because your opponent would have undoubtedly bet the turn after picking up more outs. The full house is also unlikely, because after you call the flop, most players will continue to bet for value with their full house or trips. Even just one pair of kings is unlikely to raise on the river.
So that narrows your opponent’s range to big hands or bluffs. Given the pot size, your opponent only has to be bluffing in about 1 out of 3 situations for the call to be a break even play, not to mention the fact that winning this pot will give you the chip lead and all of the momentum.
The Argument For Folding
The river check raise bluff is an incredibly effective play because it almost never happens. It’s just not something that most players are capable of pulling off, especially at the final table of a televised, major event. Your opponent can’t be raising for value on this river with any hands that you have beat. He’s unlikely to raise the river with a six, five or lower pocket pair, because those hands tend to have some showdown value as bluff catchers.
So what’s more likely? That your opponent has all of a sudden decided to wait until the river to bluff you or that you are legitimately beat by a real hand? You still have 51 blinds if you decide to fold, more than enough to mount a comeback.
What Actually Happened
After Chris Lee check raised to 1,400,000 on the river, Anthony Gregg went into the tank for more than three minutes before making the call, turning over pocket jacks.
Lee could only show A 5 for a pair of fives. Gregg took the pot and the chip lead, which he used to propel him to victory in the WPT Parx Open Poker Classic and the first-place prize of $416,127. Lee went on to finish in third place for $158,450.
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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