Zachary Clark: What's My Line?
Crazy Zachary Talks About a Monster Hand from the WPT Legends of Poker
Every Thursday, Card Player sits down with some of the best in the game to discuss pivotal hands from the week’s biggest tournaments on the circuit.
This week, after covering the World Poker Tour Legends of Poker tournament at the Bicycle Casino, we spoke to Zachary Clark about a hand he won during the play-down day that propelled him to the final table. At the time of the hand,
|Event/Binds-Antes||WPT Legends of Poker||10,000-20,000 with a 3,000 ante|
|Player||Zachary Clark||Layne Flack|
|Chip Count||1.6 million||1.7 million|
Zachary Clark raised to 49,000 in middle position and Layne Flack decided to call behind him.
Gary Najaryan, who had been crippled in a previous hand, then moved all in for his last 109,000 from the small blind.
Clark thought it over, then reraised to 194,000. Flack made the call, creating a side pot, and the two opponents saw a flop of J 8 4.
Clark bet 80,000, and Flack called. The turn was the 5, and Clark checked. Flack checked behind, and the river was the 2.
Clark counted down his stack and bet 205,000. Flack called, once again, but mucked his cards after seeing Clark's 4 4 for a flopped set. Najaryan flashed K K, and was eliminated in 14th place.
Julio Rodriguez: You came in raising from middle position, which is understandable. But then you reraised when it got back to you, creating a side pot. Were you simply trying to isolate against the short stack’s all in?
Zach Clark: Yeah, I was pretty much trying to isolate. I knew that Layne Flack was going to call more than the average player, so I definitely second-guessed myself for trying it. Layne is definitely more likely to call with a wider range, so perhaps it would have been better to just call.
But, at the time, I felt like I couldn’t just call with all of that money out there. I know Layne has the ability to fold some really big hands, and it would be difficult for him to shove on me without a monster. If he did shove on me, then I could still easily get away from the hand. I figured I was making my hand pretty transparent, or so I thought.
Once he called, I realized my mistake. Of course I flopped a 4, which is such a luckbox move. I knew he couldn’t put me on fours, since I was representing so much strength preflop.
JR: Once he calls your isolation raise, what are you putting him on? A really strong hand?
ZC: No, not necessarily, just because it’s Layne. He has the ability to call really light and see a lot of flops. In hindsight, that’s what makes my preflop raise so marginal. I was lucky to flop a set, given his tendency to call a lot.
JR: You hit your set, you move past your mistake, and now you want to get maximum value. I’ve been watching you all tournament, and you made it a habit to bet really small amounts, sometimes giving your opponents huge pot odds.
ZC: Yeah, I guess you can say I undervalue rather than overvalue. The thing is that I’m always getting paid off, at least a little, with my good hands. Another element is that by betting small, I’m allowing some of these crazy aggressive players to come over the top of me with any two cards.
JR: Aren’t you afraid of being too predictable?
ZC: Not at all, you see, your steal bets are also small, meaning your opponent’s will give you free pots with relatively little risk. If they come over the top of me, then I will have found out where I was in the hand without risking too much of my stack. These little pot stabs have a great long-term expected value.
That being said, I definitely have a problem of undervaluing my hands. Sometimes I’ll put in a small bet on the river, and right away I’ll know I could have gotten paid more. It happened earlier in the tournament when I had made the nut straight on the turn. My opponent hit his card on the river, and I probably only made half as much as I could have if I was one of those home-run hitter players that is constantly betting the perfect amount to get called.
JR: The 5 on the turn puts a flush possibility out there. Are you scared that Layne called you with a flush draw?
ZC: No, I pretty much decided to check to disguise the strength of my hand, seeing if he’d be willing to fire at it.
JR: He didn’t bite and checked behind. You bet out 205,000, and he called pretty quickly.
ZC: Yeah, that’s another thing. At the time, 200,000 was not that many chips, but getting his chips into my stack is such a big jump in equity. That’s a 400,000 swing. I just thought it was more important for me to get that 200,000 right then and there than to only sometimes get a little more.
Like I said earlier, there are those out there who get maximum value every time, but I try to minimize my shortcomings and play as optimally as I can.
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