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Pretty Lady Bails Phil Out

Catching a card the second day in a row

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Jul 01, 2010


Phil Helmuth - Hand of the WeekAt the WPT (World Poker Tour) Championship recently, I caught a key ace (discussed in my last column) to propel me into day three. After a long and spirited battle, with 20 minutes left in day three, I finally played an enormous pot.

The blinds were 3,000-6,000, and J.J. Liu opened for 18,000 immediately to my right (I was in the cutoff). I called with Q-Q, the player on the button called, and then, from the big blind, Andrew Lichtenberger made it 50,000 more to go. Liu folded, I smooth-called again, and the button folded. The flop came 6-5-4, Lichtenberger bet 75,000, and I called. The turn card was a jack, and Lichtenberger moved all in for 161,000. Decision time, decision time! I counted down my chips, and found that I had only about 172,000, so this was basically a decision for my tournament life. Finally, I called. Lichtenberger showed down K-K, and before I had a chance to utter a single word, the dealer burned and turned a queen. Bam! What a card for me!

How did I play this hand? Well, I smooth-called Liu’s raise to 18,000 for two reasons: First, I wanted the loose and aggressive player on the button to call or reraise; and second, I felt that disguising my hand here was a good thing against Liu, whom I had covered. I love Lichtenberger’s 50,000 raise. It was not the size of the pot, but why drive everyone out? My call was pretty standard, unless I had some sort of “sick read,” which I obviously didn’t in this case.

On the flop, I love Lichtenberger’s 75,000 bet. An all-in move here probably would have convinced me to fold, and he didn’t want me folding pocket queens, pocket jacks, or pocket tens in this spot. And a check would have allowed me to perhaps take a free card and hit; for example, if I had 2-2, 9-9, or A-Q. So, Lichtenberger’s 75,000 bet protected his hand, but it didn’t scare me away from calling with my Q-Q.

Andrew LichtenbergerOn the turn, Lichtenberger’s 161,000 all-in bet was perfect. My call was a little weak, but it was still bordering on being OK. These days, there are lots of crazy Internet players out there who make wild, unsubstantiated bluffs, and that is another reason why I just called all the way through this hand; translation: I was trapping, baby! And I could beat some hands that it may have been natural for Lichtenberger to bet, like 10-10, 9-9, 8-8, 7-7, 3-3, 2-2, A-K, A-Q, A-8, A-7, A-6, A-5, A-4, A-3, 8-7, 8-6, and 5-4. Of course, it is always nice when you have a read on someone, and it would have been really amazing if I had figured out that I was beat and then folded my pocket queens. Great reads can give you extra lives, but I guess that I brought my “B-game” to the WPT Championship this time around.

It was pretty cool to hit a card, and to do it for the second day in a row! In my next column, I will discuss another hand from the WPT Championship. It’s a hand in which I was a little unlucky, but I should have known better than to commit so many chips to the pot.Spade Suit

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