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Poker Hand Of The Week -- 2/7/13

You Decide What's The Best Play

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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.

The Scenario

You are currently in third place at a six-handed final table. With 6,075,000 in chips, you are still quite comfortable with the blinds at 60,000-120,000 with a 10,000 ante. There are three shorter stacks at the table, but they are by no means desperate.

You are dealt JClub Suit 10Spade Suit in the hijack and min-raise to 240,000. The small blind, a good player with the chip lead and a stack of 10,560,000, calls your raise. The big blind folds.

The flop comes down KDiamond Suit 9Heart Suit 8Spade Suit and your opponent checks. You fire in a continuation bet of 230,000 and your opponent makes the call. The turn is the 2Spade Suit.

Your opponent checks and you bet 370,000. Once again, your opponent calls. The river is the JHeart Suit, giving you second pair. Your opponent checks. You have 5,235,000 remaining.

The Questions

Do you check behind or bet? If betting, how much? Are you betting for value, or as a bluff? Are you worried that if you bet, you may be raised off of a hand with decent showdown value? What kind of hand could your opponent be holding after checking all three streets?

Andy HwangWhat Actually Happened

On a board reading KDiamond Suit 9Heart Suit 8Spade Suit 2Spade Suit JHeart Suit at the 2013 Borgata Winter Poker Open, Andy Hwang decided to bet 415,000. His opponent, Matt Haugen made the call and mucked after seeing Hwang’s second pair.

Haugen ended up finishing in fourth place overall, earning $222,336. Hwang used that pot to continue climbing his way up the leader board, ultimately finishing in first place, earning his first WPT title and the $730,053 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.

 
 
 
 

Comments

Sacha
over 1 year ago

The answer lies in the opponent's image/range. If the player is a loosy player he might call preflop, out of position, with 9T or 8x hand. If he's somewhat tighter, his range will be around Kx or a pair probably. Since there's a third heart coming up on the river (in the real scenario), aswell as made straight draws, I will just check the river and hope my pair is good. I don't think there will be enough weaker hands he will call with, in this situation.

 
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Davey72
over 1 year ago

The villain calls the min raise, if he's a good player he has the
ability to mix it up. It feels like he had Kx probably K8 or K9. He gets lucky and flops two pair which would explain calling each bet. I think if he was drawing to a straight he would have raised. Now the question is was there a flush draw in the sample hand, because it only is showing two hearts. The actual hand showed three hearts that changes the situation. It feels like two pair, so i would check
the river and see the showdown.

 
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ThadRay
over 1 year ago

The first step is understanding his calling range which allows us to eliminate most hands that he would 4bet with, AK-AJ for sure, and probably A10, and pocket pairs mostly down to 8's. 9's are probably a 4bet, and there's a good chance (depending on my image) that 8's are too. At this point I'm putting him on suited connectors, medium suited aces,and 8's and under pocket pairs. After he calls my flop c-bet, I can narrow his range a little bit, as he's exercising some pot control showing that he has a playable hand, but doesn't want to play a big pot. I can mostly eliminate pocket 8's. When he calls my turn bet I can generally eliminate all smaller pairs as there are three over cards, and I've indicated that I like my hand, leaving his range to be mostly A8, A9, 67,(with the possible flush draw) or 10J.The river pairs me, and completes only a gut shot which really isn't in his range. I feel confident betting for value knowing that at worst, it ends in a split pot.

 
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ThadRay
over 1 year ago

I would put the villain on A8,or A9, most likely A9.

 
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ThadRay
over 1 year ago

Sorry, I meant 3bet.

 
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robtr3
over 1 year ago

I agree that image and range are important, but even the tightest of defending-your-blind ranges leave open too many possibilities for a hand that makes your second-pair/only-decent-kicker second-best. Also, continuing for only half the pot twice on that kind of board makes it very plausible for you to be on a draw which missed on the river but still made a decent hand as was the case here. A value bet based on a conclusion that your opponent has only one pair < J's seems to have much less chance of being called by an inferior hand and accomplishing its objective than it does being value-raised by a better hand (even the tightest of ranges fit many different two-pair-or-better possibilities), overshove-bluffed (unless you know for sure, do you really want to have to deal with that?), or answered with a fold. The conservative player in me says be happy with your rivered second pair and hope for the best; you may even get a nugget of information out of your opponent in the process if he's compelled to show first.

 
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ThadRay
over 1 year ago

I think really the only two pair hands that he could have would be J8, or J9 which would explain him sticking around after the flop.I think that if he has k8, or k9, we get check raised on the flop, and the 2 on the turn is pretty much a blank. I think if he has J8 or J9, he has to bet for value on the river, although if he thinks we're really aggressive he might check, planning on a check raise, but you can't really play scared at a final table, so although a check raise with j8 or j9 is possible, I think the best play is to get that last street of value. We also have to think about what hands he thinks we're likely to be playing in this manner, most of which have his range dominated.

 
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robtr3
over 1 year ago

Not to be ruled out, either, are T7 and QT, and your turn bet wouldn't exactly deter your opponent from sticking around with those holdings. Again, after the river he has more reasons to fold or check-raise (and the latter could be either for value or to bluff) than he does to flat-call and pay you off...and if he does have only one pair of 9's or one pair of 8's he has plenty of reason to conclude that calling will accomplish nothing more than paying you off. No need to complicate matters with any kind of river bet; it's more likely to cause you problems than it is to extract value.

 
 

ThadRay
over 1 year ago

For some reason it wouldn't let me reply to your post directly? I don't think checking behind is necessarily a bad play, just one that I (depending on the table dynamic, and my opponent) most likely wouldn't make. I think we can exclude Q10 from his range after our flop bet. He's getting less than 3 to 1 on a gut shot draw, which is not a profitable play. Unless he's a really trappy player, I think he bets 710 on the river for value... Remember, he's first to act. I don't know... I like my play considering the info that I had. Obviously there are other ways to play it, and I've never played for that much money in my life, but I think it's definitely a profitable play.

 
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ccg39761
over 1 year ago

I think the right play is to check behind. All we know about villain is that he is a "good player" and he has cold called in the small blind. The small blind is the worst position in the game and his range must be pretty tight. After the river there just are not that many hands we can extract value from with the exception of some 9x combinations like T9s. Other hands that he check calls the turn and river with will include KQ, KJs, 98s, JT some spade combinations like AsJs or AsTs that picked up a backdoor flush draw on the turn and occasionally a strangely played AK. Just check and show down the hand. The information you get from having him reveal his hand will be valuable as well.

 
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uw_ima_legend
over 1 year ago

Reading through the hand, my indication was to check the river and take my chances that 2nd pair was good. A number of factors went through my mind:

1) Villain is a good player and chip leader at the table. Generally speaking, I'm not inclined to get into a position where I play huge pots with the chip leader w/o a premium hand.

2) My pre-flop action was a min-raise which villain simply called out of the SB. The pre-flop range for the SB could be anything from (suited) connectors (including small suited connectors), to small/mid pocket pairs, to connectors w/ a 1 gap, with remote chances of some big hands here laying in wait to trap.

3) Given the flop action, I'd have reason to be concerned about my C-bet (which I need to do given my hand/position/action) given the hand ranges described above. I still need to worry about SB pairing the board (including top pair) or some kind of draw to the board. I also have to worry about him reading right through my C-bet and seeing if he can get another bet or two out of me w/o a hand (assuming he has a hand). One good thing that I can do here though is at least eliminate the likelihood of suited connectors (at least that didn't hit a part of the flop) being in his hand range as well as most likely pocket pairs under the board.

4) Given SB's check on the turn, I don't have a problem making another stab at the pot (although I might have sized the bet just a tad larger to discourage a flat call). I'm very concerned at the call though on the turn because now I know that the SB has at least connected w/ the original flop one way or another. He's not flat calling me on the turn with a draw to the straight. If the SB had one of those types of holdings and had interest in continuing to play the hand, I'd have expected either leading out on the turn to test whether I had any muscle behind my C-bet or to initiate a strong check/raise on the turn and put me at a decision for my chips given that I've fired really 3 very small, weak bets into the pot at this point. Given that there are straight/flush possibilities on the board at this point, I'm in a really bad spot if the SB puts any pressure on me. The fact that he's not tells me that he's more than content to sit back and let me keep digging myself into the ground.

5) The best/worst card I could hope for is the J on the river. The J at least gives me the ability to have some showdown value - that's the good news. The bad news is that I really don't have a strong holding here. When the SB checks, the questions that I have to ask are a) what could the SB hold that not only do I beat, but I could get him to call me with when he's beat, b) what could the SB hold that beats me, and c) what do I do if I bet and SB raises me? The answer to the first question is very simple to me - the only hand combinations that I can beat are more or less exactly 10-10, 10-9, 10-8, 9-7, or 8-7 (the last 2 HIGHLY unlikely that I'd get a call on). What could SB hold that beats me? Any K, Q10, QJ, J10 (chop), 9-8, and 10-7 ... lots of combinations there (definitely more than what I can beat), and of course trips. And finally, I can't say that I like 2nd pair a lot if I throw in a bet and have to make a decision for even more chips. At every point in the hand SB has shown a desire to play the pot and allow me to take the lead ... a lead I've been very willing to run with. I have to beware of a trap being set. I have limited hands that I can beat from the SB that would even consider giving me a call at this point. What I can beat is 2nd or 3rd pair on the flop or missed draws. That's really it. I've taken a couple of stabs at the pot and haven't walked away with it. I'm not dead in the hand if I check. But I'm not investing anything more into it. Use the option to check behind and see if you can pick up the 1.8M in chips out there (a nice reward for a busted draw that turned into 2nd pair on the river). Worst case you still have $5.2M behind and still have plenty of room to play ...

 
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