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Hand 2 Hand Combat -- Peter Eastgate and Aaron Gustavson

Peter Eastgate and Aaron Gustavson Take it to the River

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Jan 01, 2010

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Eastgate Gustavson
Event European Poker Tour London Main Event
Buy-In $8,286 + $414
Prize Pool $5,639,984
Entrants 730

At the final table of the PokerStars European Poker Tour London main event, two hands occurred involving the same two players which were detrimental to the event’s outcome. The way the first was played influenced the second but both had very different consequences. Card Player spoke to former world champion Peter Eastgate, and the event in question’s winner Aaron Gustavson to find out what both player’s thoughts were about the hands.

Hand No.1
Eastgate: 8-8
Gustavson: 6-5
Board: AClub Suit 7Heart Suit 3Club Suit 6Heart Suit 8Heart Suit
Players remaining: 7
Blinds: 40,000-80,000 with a 5,000 ante.
Gustavson: 6.7 million
Eastgate: 3.8 million

Eastgate raises to 190,000 from early position, Gustavson in the big blind asks him how much he has, and then calls. The flop is AClub Suit 7Heart Suit 3Club Suit. Both players check and the turn is the 6Heart Suit. Gustavson checks and Eastgate bets 200,000. Gustavson calls. The river is the 8Heart Suit. Gustavson checks, Eastgate thinks for a little bit, and then pushes 400,000 over the line. Gustavson takes out the amount and shuffles it around. He then takes another stack out and raises to 1 million. After a minute, Eastgate calls. “Have you an ace?” asks Gustavson. “No,” is the response as Eastgate shows pocket eights for the set on the river. Gustavson mucks his hand, but later confesses to holding 6-5 for a turned pair and busted straight draw.

Hand No. 2
Eastgate: K-J
Gustavson: A-5
Board: QClub Suit 5Spade Suit 2Spade Suit KClub Suit 5Heart Suit
Players remaining: 2
Blinds: 80,000-160,000 with a 20,000 ante
Gustavson: 14,045,000
Eastgate: 7,895,000

In the first hand of heads-up play a huge pot breaks out. Eastgate raises on the button, and Gustavson calls in the big blind. The flop comes QClub Suit 5Spade Suit 2Spade Suit and Eastgate bets 370,000. Gustavson calls, and the turn is the KClub Suit. Eastgate bets 725,000, and Gustavson once again makes the call. The river is the 5Heart Suit and Gustavson checks. Eastgate then bets 1,135,000 and after a few moments Gustavson raises it to 3,300,000. Eastgate counts his chips, looks at Gustavson, and goes into the tank. The pot is now 7,325,000 including almost a third of Eastgate’s chips. After a few torturous moments, Eastgate lets it go and exhales saying, “Oh boy!” Gustavson chips up to more than 16 million while Eastgate moves down to 5 million.

Rebecca McAdam: Firstly, what were your thoughts behind your call when Gustavson check-raised you on the river and you had a set of eights [hand no.1].

Peter Eastgate: He made quite a tiny check-raise and I eventually called him because I didn’t necessarily believe that he would do that with a straight. It’s very believable that he could have a flush but maybe he would make a bit of a bigger raise. Anyway, I was getting good odds, and he could have a worse set which was played in a strange way, or some weird two-pair combination. So that’s the reason I just called, I don’t see that there’s any value in three-betting on the river.

That hand paid dividends to the heads-up play where he check-raised me again on the river. This time [hand no.2], I bet out 1.1 million, obviously the blinds and stacks were a bit bigger, but in relation to how many chips were in the pot, he made a bigger raise — he made three times my bet on the river, and something just felt wrong about it. He did it in a different way and I thought that the reason why he did it in a different way might be that he just had it this time, but obviously the previous hands always play a part in the current hands.

RM: It must have been quite difficult because on one hand you might think he wouldn’t do it again without having the hand to back it up, but on the other hand, maybe that’s what he wants you to think.

PE: Exactly, that’s the psychological element, and there are all these levels, like first level and second level — those kind of things can drive you nuts.

RM: Is that what you were thinking?

PE: Yeah I try to process all that kind of information, but I only go to like the first or second level, not to any deep level or anything.

RM: You said afterwards you had K-J, so you had top pair (two pair including the board) and he had trips with A-5, you must be happy with your fold there then?

PE: Well I still lost, I didn’t come back (laughs). I contemplated was it the right move to reraise all in with A-9 in the end or did I take the right approach on the game — should I have limped a little bit more, but it lasted for so few hands, it was over before it had really begun. Poker for me is all about decisions, and if I feel like I made the right decisions, then I can go home and sleep very tight about that.

Julio Rodriguez spoke to Aaron Gustavson to find out his thoughts on these hands:

Hand No. 1:
The flop gave me a gutshot. I paired on the turn and check-called, planning to take it away on the river depending on what came. When the 8Heart Suit hit the river, I thought it was the perfect card, considering it was a heart. I could represent, and it didn’t look like it hit his range too hard. Little did I know, he hit his set. I was a bit unlucky in that regard. I think almost any other river card I can get him to lay his hand down. Unless, of course, he decides to check it back, but I think he would fire again on the river most times, even if he didn’t spike the 8. Not to mention that he doesn’t always have to have a hand there, and my pair of sixes has some showdown value when he checks behind.

Hand No. 2:
Eastgate was definitely my strongest competition at the table, and it didn’t help that he was sitting on my left the entire time. I didn’t expect heads-up play to go so quickly, but I knew that we were both more than capable of getting it in light against each other, considering how aggressive we are.

I had A-5. He’s very aggressive and willing to bluff a good amount. My plan going into it was to check-call a lot, keep the pots small, and let him do the betting for me. To be honest, my pair of fives is probably good there most of the time, even without making trips. I mean, he said he had a king, and I believe him, but it’s not a hand that’s going to show up all that often.

If it was a blank and he bet, I would’ve been in a tough spot to make the call. I think that leading the river gives away my hand, so I thought I’d let him take another stab at the pot. Check-raising definitely looks bluff-ier, and given our history with that first hand we played, I thought there was a good chance he’d pay me off this time. Instead, he made a good laydown. Fortunately, the pot was big enough to give me a big chip advantage. Spade Suit

Eastgate backed up his World Series of Poker 2008 win with yet another fine finish coming in second for $844,285. It was Gustavson’s turn to take the spotlight however, and he took home $1,354,042 for first place.