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Hand 2 Hand Combat -- Brandon Schaefer

The Mighty King-Queen of Clubs

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Mar 01, 2010


Hand No. 1
Event: European Poker Tour Deauville
Chip counts: Schaefer: 30,000; Villain: 15,000
Blinds: 300-600

Hand No. 2
Event: European Poker Tour Grand Final Monte Carlo
Chip counts: Schaefer: 60,000; Isabelle Mercier: Unknown (A lot more than Schaefer)
Blinds: 1,000-2,000

Rebecca McAdam: Tell me why your favourite hold’em hand is the KClub Suit QClub Suit?

Brandon Schaefer: Most tournament players in 2010 know that K-Q is the nuts but I figured it out five years ago, in 2005. Two of the most important hands of my poker life were both won with the KClub Suit QClub Suit.

Hand No. 1: The first hand was at European Poker Tour Deauville. It was the middle of day two, I had a decent sized stack and I was starting to ramp up the aggression, raising a lot of pots preflop. With blinds at 300/600, and a stack of 30,000, I raised to 1,500 from under the gun with the beautiful KClub Suit QClub Suit. It quickly folded around to the big blind who just as quickly shoved for 15,000 total.

I knew there was no way I could call but I didn’t want to snap-fold so I double checked my cards, sighed, then looked at my opponent. I was kind of shocked to see him glaring at me, arms crossed in a very aggressive manner. He seemed to be saying, “Hey Buddy, you’re not going to steal my blind’. It didn’t make much sense to me so I started thinking deeper about the hand. I said to myself, “Man, this guy could have any two cards here. K-Q suited is better than any two cards. He also seems like he wants to make a statement so he could have two rags and wants to show me cheese once I fold.” Suddenly, I really wanted to call. I thought about it for about a minute more, counted out the 15,000 chips, and said aloud, “This might be terrible, but I call”. He grimaced and said, “Nice call” and tabled the mighty Q-3 off-suit. King-high held up and suddenly I had 45,000 chips and the image of an aggressive lag-tard who didn’t fold. The table was terrified of me and I started raising nearly every hand. I kept this up all the way to the final table and eventual EPT title. The hand that got it all started was the mighty K-Q of clubs.

Hand No. 2: The second hand was a month later, at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. We were right near the bubble, with 29 players remaining and 27 getting paid. With blinds at 1,000/2,000, Isabelle Mercier, sitting on a massive stack, raised to 6,600 from the cutoff. In the big blind, with about 60,000 chips, I looked down at the ol’ KClub Suit QClub Suit. I contemplated shoving but eventually decided to just call.
Brandon Schaefer
The flop came down 6Spade Suit 4Club Suit 2Club Suit. I checked with the intention of shoving over her continuation bet. She thought for a bit then fired a big bet of 16,600 which was a little bigger than the size of the pot. This threw me off a bit but I went with my plan and shipped for about 60,000. She tanked for a bit then finally called with black aces, one of the worst hands I could see. I was still 30 percent to win the hand and ended up binking running queens to ship a very important pot.
I’m proud of this hand for two reasons. First off, I proved to myself that I was willing to “play to win” and wouldn’t let the bubble scare me into playing passively. Secondly, I was proud of the way I reacted to the queen on the river. I was thrilled and my heart was pounding out of my chest but other than a guilty smile, I hardly celebrated at all. We’ve all seen idiots go bonkers after winning a pot and I’m glad to know I’m not one of them.

So there it is. If you ever catch me five-betting all in with the K-Q of clubs, now you know why. It’s a hand that has been very good to me, for a long time.

RM: Are you suggesting this is the way everyone should feel about KClub Suit QClub Suit or is it just because of your connection with it. I mean do you rank it as a good hand or just a good hand for you, like if you were on a final table and someone shoved and the call was for your tournament life, is this a call you would make with KClub Suit QClub Suit preflop?

BS: Not everyone should feel this way about KClub Suit QClub Suit. I think everyone who plays poker has a hand that’s special to them, right? I remember reading some article about Greg Raymer and pocket eights but only eights of a specific suit and he won’t fold them preflop for any amount. I don’t quite go that far, like if someone shoved and I saw their hand was A-A, I would fold. But I’m more inclined to call or re-steal in marginal spots if I have KClub Suit QClub Suit. I certainly will play it harder than the math ways is warranted but I won’t take it too far.

RM: Finally, do they have to be that particular suit?

BS: Yes, they have to be clubs (laughs).

Astonishingly, Brandon Schaefer took down season one’s European Poker Tour Deauville for a payday of $186,562, and then went on to finish in second place at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo for $465,853 shortly after. Since then he has been a dominant presence and a much-loved character both on the international live poker scene and the virtual felt. Spade Suit