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Hand 2 Hand Combat -- Jesper 'Kipster' Hougaard

Forgets to Play the Player and Gets Played

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Oct 01, 2009

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Event: World Series of Poker main event 2009
Prize Pool: $61,043,600
Entrants: 6,494
Blinds: 3,000-6,000 with a 1,000 ante
Chips: Hougaard: 175,000; Villain: 300,000

Rebecca McAdam: Set the scene up for me. How many players were there, and what position were you in chip-wise?

Jesper Hougaard: There are 520 players left. I’m sitting with 175,000 which is approximately half the average. I recently doubled up through James Akenhead with J-J when he decided to make a hero call on me with his massive stack. He had 4-2 suited.

Jesper Hougaard
An old guy, who has only been at the table for 15 hands, limps from under the gun. He hasn’t played a hand yet, he has about 300,000, all his chips are in oranges though, which gives me the impression that he is a very solid player. It’s folded to me in the cut-off. I raise to 21,000 with Ad 8d, and everyone folds except the limper.

RM: Why do the orange chips give you that impression?

JH: It means he doesn’t win a lot of pots, he just has the big chips rather than the ante chips, which means that he’s most likely pretty solid.

RM: Did you have a plan of action here?

JH: The thing is I could have talked to you about a hand where I look like a genius or a fool, and in this hand I look like a fool. Basically, I’ll walk you through my thoughts behind the hand, because I’ve talked about it to a lot of people.

I have a read on this guy that he’s pretty solid, and he limps from first position. It folds to me and I have Ad 8d. Now at this point I realise that Ad 8d probably isn’t ahead of his limping range — this isn’t the kind of guy that limps in with 9-8 suited or K-J off-suit, so A-8 suited is definitely behind his limping range. But I decide that I’m going to utilise position, and he’s going to check-fold a lot of flops. So, I’m trying to take the initiative in the pot and then I’m going to bet pretty much any flop. I hope the flop comes 10-2-3, that I don’t hit anything, and he doesn’t hit anything, and I’ll pick up the pot. I raise it and he calls just like I expect it.

Flop: ASpade Suit 7Diamond Suit 5Club Suit (pot: 60,000)

JH: When this flop comes it’s kind of cool because I have top pair, that’s better than I expected. Basically at this point, I had taken my time all through the tournament, I had thought through everything, but here the action happened way too quickly. In this spot, there’s no value in me betting, I should have really checked behind on the flop, now that I have show-down value. Also most of the time my top pair is going to be good. But if I bet and get raised, I pretty much have to fold. So I bet 16,000, but get check-raised very quickly to 45,000.

RM: So the 16,000 is a feeler bet?

JH: I bet very small to say, “Haha! There’s nothing you can do!” because most of the time he has a pair of eights or nines — I’m thinking he limps pretty much with pairs from under the gun and most of the time he’s not going to connect. So, I bet like one-third of the pot just to pick it up right there. I should have checked but I just recently doubled up and I wanted to create some momentum and just take down a nice enough pot. Anyway, I bet 16,000, at which point he check-raises me pretty quickly. At this point I hate my life, I’ve found myself in a terrible situation. I have two backdoor draws — I have the backdoor diamond draw, I have the backdoor straight draw — and I have top pair.

I should fold here, and that’s the reason I should check behind on the flop, now that I have a lot of showdown value, and if I bet and get raised by a tight guy, I have to fold. When he raises me to 45,000, I immediately say out loud, “Oh right, this is what old people do, they limp-call A-Q.” I actually thought he had A-Q, but still I had this mental meltdown where I just shipped the money in.

RM: What were the reasons behind your shove?

JH: I kind of decided I have top pair, I’m short stacked, I’m not folding, which is completely the wrong way of thinking about it. I’m pretty much hoping to bet and take the pot right there. If I’m playing say a young Internet kid, a lot of the time he’s going to turn up with 8-6 for the straight draw or something like that, but against an old guy, he’s just never ever limping with 8-6 suited and check-raising me on that flop. He’s an old solid guy and there’s just really no value in me shoving, so it’s definitely the wrong play. The thing is I move in and then he thinks for like 15 seconds, and I’m thinking, “Yes! If he doesn’t insta-call me here, there’s no way he can call. Yes, I’m back in the tournament, now I have a stack I can play again!” But after 15 seconds he says, “I call,” and shows A-K. So he kind of semi-slow rolled me.

RM: Why do you think he played it this way?

JH: Because he was a terribly bad player. I think he limped with A-K because that’s what old people do, they limp-call with A-K and A-Q because they don’t know how to play when they miss. Now if I had played properly post-flop, my preflop play would have been OK, because every single time it comes something like 10-4-3, I bet and pick up on the flop right there because the guy check-folds his A-K. I was surprised he had A-K, I would have thought that he would have moved me in preflop with A-K. I think he played the hand strange which confused me, and my post-flop play was bad — I really should have checked the flop, or if I bet I definitely should fold to a raise.

RM: Do hands like these put doubts in your head in future tournaments?

JH: No, not really, like he’s an old American guy who has played hold’em with his friends for the last like 15 years, he doesn’t play what I would call a correct style of poker. And I don’t run into these guys a lot in the European Poker Tour’s because people that qualify or buy-in generally know how to play. In this specific case I don’t think the hand teaches me much aside from the fact that old guys play differently — I’m just joking. Against a young aggressive Internet player that would have been a decent play but against this old guy, it’s a bad play. Pretty much the story of the hand is — I started out playing the player, and then during the hand I forget that I’m playing the player.

Jesper Hougaard made $48,901 from this year’s WSOP including his 523rd place in the main event for $23,196. Spade Suit

Hougaard is only 24 but has made final tables at the World Series, the Irish Open, and a side event at the EPT, not to mention the many online including his recent big Sunday Million win. It wasn’t until his double bracelet success last year however, that his name became as known as it is today. He took down the $1,500 no-limit hold’em event at the 2008 WSOP in Vegas, earning his first bracelet, and then went on to win the £1,500 no-limit hold’em event at the 2008 WSOP Europe held in London. He is one to watch in any event he takes part in, and no doubt will keep hitting the top spots on the international circuit. His next goal is to cash big in, or perhaps win, an EPT, and also to continue winning online.