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Hand 2 Hand Combat: Melanie Weisner

Bubble Trouble

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Dec 01, 2011


Melanie WeisnerMelanie Weisner: It’s the exact bubble of this event and I have around 100,000 in chips. The average stack is around 45,000. I have been playing very aggressively and this kid on my left had just three-bet jammed 18 big blinds a few hands prior. He has about 36,000 to start the hand. I open from middle position to 3,500 with KHeart Suit QDiamond Suit and he thinks for a minute and calls from the cutoff.

Flop: THeart Suit 7Heart Suit 6Diamond Suit

Weisner checks, villain bets 4,600, and Weisner calls.

MW: I call with the intention to check-raise (and sometimes lead) a bunch of turns that either improve the equity of my hand or are scare cards.

Rebecca McAdam: Did you have an idea of his range at this stage? Would he be good enough to get involved with you on the bubble with a less than premium hand?

MW: I definitely thought he had a value hand at this point, be it something like 9-9, 8-8, A-10, etc.. I obviously don’t put him on a set but it’s certainly in his range and even though his range should be pretty strong it hits his range more than mine. I definitely didnt think he would get involved with absolute air at that point, since I was playing very aggressively and he didn’t really have a stack to move me off of much. I also wouldn’t say getting involved with me with a bad hand would be indicative of him being good or tricky, due to his stack size it would just be a fundamental error. But given the previous dynamic, I definitely thought he would have three-bet J-J+.

Turn: JHeart Suit

Weisner checks and Villain quickly checks back.

MW: At this point I know he is trying to get to showdown with a value hand and he can never have a flush or straight so I plan to check-raise a lot of rivers when I don’t hit and he goes for thin value.

River: 2Spade Suit

Weisner checks, Villain bets 7,900, Weisner jams for 20,000 more. Villain goes into the tank.

MW: He tanks forever and starts mumbling to himself, talking the hand through to himself, and says that he has a monster (which I was a little confused about since he didn’t bet the turn). He says, “You wouldn’t just check-call the flop with air… but you would have done… if you had…” and puts his head in his hands and just keeps talking to himself in agony.

Meanwhile, the guy on my direct left, who has been very demure and quiet the entire level, decides to call the clock. The guy in the hand is visibly upset, calls the floorman over and asks if the bubble has burst, to which the floorman scolds him, “I cannot give you any information regarding that!” The guy who called the clock looks pleased.

Based on his out-loud analysis of the hand I can tell the guy is a pretty decently thinking player and is clearly affected by the tournament elements at the time. I watch as the guy is in visible agony over this decision and the floorman counts down to zero and his hand is declared dead. I show the king high and the guy looks like he wants to die. He tells me he had sevens and starts lamenting about how he should have bet the turn. He congratulates me on a nice play and we discuss the hand a little further, about the value hands I would take that line with etc.. He seems pretty crestfallen and says he has got to take a break now and leaves the table.

We’re a few minutes into the next orbit when the guy on my left says, “Just so you know, I knew you were bluffing. But I thought you deserved the pot and I thought he’d fold if I called the clock. Ha ha!”

Here’s to the guy on my left!

RM: How useful is the bubble in terms of more experienced players using it to their advantage?

MW: The bubble is incredibly important to tournament play and more experienced players will be able to utilise it as an important time for chip-accumulation as a lot of weaker players will adjust their play for the worse as they are extremely worried about making the money. It is definitely a time when I try to prey on the weaker players at the table or the players overly concerned with making the money. It’s also a time where a lot of people will make very big stack errors i.e. raise/fold stacks they shouldn’t because they will still raise but not want to commit their tournament life, or flat way too shallow because they don’t want to commit themselves preflop etc.. It is definitely a time when I capitalise on weakness to accumulate chips. If there are a lot of aggressive players at the table, there’s that dynamic to play off as well (you can pick some good three-bet spots to players that are opening a ton trying to get through the scared money etc.).

RM: What did you think when he said he had sevens?

MW: I wasn’t very happy because given his check back on the turn, I put him on a hand that was two pair at strongest. I’d expect a set to bet the turn most of the time.

RM: When he was tanking and asking you questions, did you engage in conversation with him at all? Do you usually in these situations?

MW: I didn’t. I just let him sweat basically. I didn’t think talking would get him to do one thing or the other really so I just decided not to engage. I do engage when I think I can manipulate the person into doing what I want them to do.

RM: Did your opponent make it through the bubble and regain composure or did he end up tilting his way out of the event?

MW: He made it! [Laughs] The bubble burst after that hand as we were hand-for-hand. I think he did a good job of regaining composure but he just seemed defeated after that point. ♠

Melanie Weisner, a 25-year-old poker pro from Houston, Texas, ended up cashing in 14th place in this event for $24,679. The winner in the end was Arkadiy Tsinis. The fun-loving, intelligent American has done well in both online and live events and has quickly become a force to be reckoned with on the international scene. Only recently, at this season’s European Poker Tour London, she scored a fourth place in the £5,000 no-limit hold’em heads-up event for $31,260 and a third in the £1,000 no-limit hold’em event for just under $24,000. At time of writing, Weisner’s lifetime winnings total $533,087 but at such a young age, the poker world is indeed her oyster.