Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine


Poker Training

Newsletter and Magazine

Sign Up

Find Your Local

Card Room


Flushing Away Chips With A-7 at the World Series of Poker Europe

A poorly played hand

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Nov 26, 2010


With 30 minutes to go before the 7 p.m. dinner break in the main event of the World Series of Poker Europe, I was in full control of my game. I was sticking to my game plan of playing very tight and reraising my opponents once every 30 minutes or so when I thought they were weak. Because I was playing so patiently (they had to give me credit for having a hand when I did reraise), and because I seemed to be pretty sharp (I seemed to know when they were weak), I won almost every pot that I reraised preflop. Oftentimes, I had nothing! So, I was picking up about the right amount of “free” chips, and my patience kept me in there and gave me a chance to play some big pots with some strong hands.

I had 34,000 or so in chips — we started with 30,000 — and the blinds were 150-300, when the following hands came up. First, I picked up A-A, and won a small pot, but I showed the hand to reinforce my tight table image. The very next hand, I picked up J-J, and won a nice pot.

Now I was up to 40,000 when I looked down at the A♦ 7♣, and opened for 800. A kid behind me called, and so did the player in the big blind. The flop came down Q♠ 7♦ 5♦; I bet 2,000, the kid called, and the big blind folded. The turn was the 9♥; I studied for a long while, and bet 4,000. The kid studied for a while, and called. The river was the A♣, I bet out 10,000, and the kid called. I announced, “Aces up,” but the kid quickly tabled 5-5, and scooped the pot with a set of fives.

Let’s take a closer look at this hand. Basically, I hate my 800 opening raise with the A♦ 7♣. I remember that I was thinking, “OK, you’re on a good run of cards, so let’s deviate a bit from the tight plan and raise.” Truly, this is not a bad way to think, because it seems that when a person is winning pots, his opponents seem to fear him more. I like the kid’s call of the 800 with 5-5.

On the flop, I like my bet of 2,000. I have to bet, as there is an excellent chance that I have the best hand. I love the kid’s call with a set. Some people would say that the kid should raise to protect his hand (there was a flush draw and some straight draws on this flop), or to get more money into the pot. Too often, however, I find that my opponent is in bad shape when I have a set, so why raise someone out of the pot when he’s in bad shape? Also, if you have a set and your opponent is bluffing, why raise and deny him the opportunity to bluff off his chips?

On the turn, my bet of 4,000 was sketchy. I should have asked myself, “What hand can my opponent have that I can beat right now?” Basically, I could beat only a flush draw. So, a better move would have been to check, and use my reading abilities if he bet. The kid’s call was a really good one. Most players would have raised in order to try to protect their hand from all of the draws that existed, and I don’t blame them, but I still like the call.

My bet of 10,000 on the river was a little weak. First, I didn’t give myself a chance to pick off a bluff. Second, a bet of 10,000 easily could force my opponent to fold a queen. I should have checked or, even better, bet 4,000 or so, and given my opponent a chance to call me with a queen. All in all, it was not a well-played hand by me. ♠

Learn more about Phil by going to his website,, and visit his webstore at