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Final Table Takedown - Andy Frankenberger Wields an Aggressive Image to Inflict Maximum Damage

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Feb 18, 2011


Andy Frankenberger burst onto the poker scene with more than $1.2 million in live-tournament winnings in the second half of 2010, his first year as a professional poker player. He currently sits in first place in the WPT Player of the Year standings, as he has cashed in three of six WPT tournaments, including two final tables and one title, at the Legends of Poker. He also won a 2010 Venetian Deep-Stack tournament for $162,000, made the final table of a WSOP Circuit Regional Championship, and finished seventh in the Card Player 2010 Player of the Year standings. Prior to 2010, he was a highly successful equity derivatives trader on Wall Street.

Event 2010 WPT Legends of Poker
Players in the Event 462
Buy-in $5,000
First Prize $750,000
Finish First

Hand No. 1
Key Concept: Factoring in your perceived image to determine optimal betting size
Andy Frankenberger limps in from the button with the 9♣ 7♣. Tom Braband calls. Kyle Wilson calls.
Craig Tapscott: Why not raise from the button with this holding four-handed?
Andy Frankenberger: While I certainly might raise with this hand sometimes, I limp here because I feel that Kyle is more likely than most to defend his big blind, either with a call or a three-bet, especially against me with my loose image. The other benefit of limping with suited connectors is that if I hit, I want both players in the pot so that I’m more likely to get paid off. It’s not like playing A-A, where you want one opponent, for fear of someone connecting on a sloppy flop. When I limp and both of the blinds come along, I get to see a cheap flop.
Flop: A♣ K♣ 5♥ (pot: 170,000)
Braband checks. Wilson checks.
CT: Does this situation mean an automatic bet for you?
AF: In general, I don’t think there’s a rule as to whether you should check or bet here with a flush (or straight) draw. I find that it’s best to vary your play with draws, to leave your opponents guessing. With hindsight, there will always have been a better play, but you didn’t know what that was at the time. If I felt that I had a tight image, I might have checked here, since getting paid off was less likely if I hit, while I’d stand to lose less if I didn’t. In this instance, with my loose image, I decide that it’s best to bet, since I can really capitalize on it and win a big pot if I hit.
Frankenberger bets 150,000. Braband folds. Wilson calls.
Turn: 2♣ (pot: 470,000)
Wilson checks.
CT: You’ve hit the flush, so what now? Do you act like you were betting automatically with position after two checks, or bet to build the pot? And what bet-sizing is appropriate here if you choose to bet?
AF: I’m definitely betting here; the only question is how much. I decide that a pot-size bet is better than a half-pot bet, for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m not afraid of looking too strong, because of my image, and secondly, there’s a chance that Kyle is holding a higher club than my 9, so I want to make him pay to see another card.
Frankenberger bets 500,000. Wilson tanks, and then calls.
River: 4♦ (pot: 1,470,000)
CT: Could Wilson have a better flush after that tank and call on the turn?
AF: Kyle could have been “Hollywooding” a better flush with his two-minute tank on my turn bet, but in four-handed play, I’m willing to live with that risk here.
CT: So, what’s the best bet size to get a call?
AF: I decide to shove my remaining stack, which is essentially a pot-sized bet.
Frankenberger moves all in for 1,560,000.
CT: Could you perhaps have made a smaller value-bet to get a crying-call?
AF: There are a few reasons why I shoved rather than value-bet. We had been going back and forth in some big pots over the previous few days. I knew that he wasn’t calling the 500,000 turn bet super light, so I figured that with my image and his willingness to fight, I’d get the call. Obviously, with a value-bet like 500,000, I’m much more likely to get paid, but the choice to me in this instance was clear. If we had been at an earlier stage of the tournament, where I needed chips for my long-term survival, I might have elected to value-bet. Here, though, the shove was the obvious move. If I got him to call — great!
Wilson once again tanks, then folds. Frankenberger wins the pot of 1,470,000.
CT: Did you second-guess your decision to shove after Wilson’s reluctant fold?
AF: Even with the fold, the indirect positive effect of my shove is what many may fail to consider. Late in a tournament, it’s not just about extracting maximum value from each hand. It’s about getting into the head of your opponent. Kyle was visibly on tilt and begging me for some acknowledgement that he made a nice fold. He sarcastically said to me, “If you had the flush, nice value-bet. I would have called a medium bet.” Of course, I didn’t say anything, and left him wondering.
CT: So, obviously, no regrets?
AF: I don’t think the extra 500,000 that I gave up by not value-betting would have put me in a better position than maintaining my ambiguity and making Kyle second-guess his decision. Maybe I’m rationalizing a poor play here — if I knew that Kyle would fold, I admittedly would have played it differently — but I think that given the uncertainty at the time and the potential of him calling my shove, there’s something to be said for my theory.
Hand No. 2
Key Concept: Pressuring your opponents to make difficult decisions late in a tournament
Tom Lee limps in from the small blind. Frankenberger checks with the J♣ 5♣.
Flop: Q♣ 7♣ 5♥ (pot: 300,000)
Lee bets 300,000.
AF: Tom had been playing solid poker — not tight, but solid — ever since I sat down with him on day 4. He had shown a willingness to play large pots, but he didn’t strike me as the type to make a pot-sized bet without a reasonable hand, and certainly not on a stone-cold bluff.
CT: What range of hands did you put him on?
AF: This flop connects with plenty of weak hands that Tom could be holding. I put him on at least a pair, and I’m fairly sure that my chances are good for pushing him off his hand or winning the pot if it goes to showdown. With 600,000 in the pot in a battle of the blinds, folding bottom pair (which I incorrectly assumed was live) with the third nut-flush draw is simply not an option. My decision is whether to call or raise, and if the latter, how much. In this case, I decided to raise big.
Frankenberger raises to 1,700,000.
CT: Why so big?
AF: Well, Tom had been three-betting a lot, and I thought there was a good chance that if I raised to the standard 900,000, he would be likely to call (he was priced in on many hands in his range), reraise, or shove with a medium-strength hand (which would have me beat unless I improved). I elected to overbet and show that I was committed to the pot. To be clear, I wanted to take down the pot right there on the flop, and didn’t want to get all of my chips in the middle. But I was willing to take my chances with my bottom pair and monster draw if I had to.
Lee shoves. Frankenberger calls. Lee reveals the Q♠ 5♦.
Turn: 4♣ (pot: 7,940,000)
River: 7♥ (pot: 7,940,000)
Frankenberger wins the pot of 7,940,000. ♠