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Hand 2 Hand Combat: Felipe Ramos

Out Of The Comfort Zone With Felipe Ramos

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Jun 01, 2012

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Felipe RamosRebecca McAdam: Give me a little bit of background information about the hand you’re going to discuss.

Felipe Ramos: This tournament is very complicated. I mean, the field was always full of sharks and after Black Friday this situation increased, mainly because we lost hundreds of satellites winners, so the field was even tougher.

Although my participation has been profitable over the years, I was really looking forward to overcome my best result there, which was a 22nd place in 2009. That was a totally deceiving result considering I had a lot of chips all the time, then got coolered in the end and lost a 50 bbs pot with A-A versus Kenny Tran and his 4-4 which improved to a set on the flop. That time, I had terrible seat draws for the whole tournament and I thought that this time the situation could be even worse.

For my surprise I started off the tournament in a pretty soft table. The only notable there was the main event champ Pius Heinz and definitely a guy to respect a lot. This means that I brought in a very loose agressive strategy that day, was playing loads of hands, raising, three-betting and four-betting very, very often.

Once I figured out that my opponent from my immediate right didn’t like to fold as he flatted all my three-bets, I simply decided to stop bluffing that guy and play hands that really had a good value. And that happened pretty fast, as he opens from the button for 600 with blinds at 100-200. He was definitely from Latin America or Mexico, no doubt, but was still a random to me, even though I already had a lot of info from that day. He liked to play a lot of hands too and I had three-bet him four times already to be exact and couldn’t make him fold in any situation, meaning that all the hands went to showdown and I lost all of them too. This time I picked up a legit hand. I had QSpade Suit QClub Suit in the small blind and I knew already he was a huge calling station, right?

RM: What were your stacks like?

FR: At that time I had 22,000 and he had 45,000.

Villain opens 600 from button, Ramos makes it 2,600, Villain insta-calls.

FR: I decided to put a different strategy here by three-betting this time a larger amount than usual.

Flop: 10Club Suit 6Club Suit 2Spade Suit

FR: I figured out that the best option versus this player was to try to get a feel if he had a piece of that flop or a pair that would make him lose a lot of chips to me considering he couldn’t fold and my terrible image at the table that day. It sounds weird because I usually play a very tight and controlled game during day 1, but as I was clearly the second best player at that table I decided to attack from the very beginning and that strategy was about to turn very profitable.

Ramos bets 3,300, Villain snap-calls once again.

FR: I was certain I had the best hand here.

Turn: KHeart Suit

Both players check.

RM: Why did you slow down here?

FR: Well, it was the best decision in my opinion as I thought my opponent had a pair in his hand to call the flop bet or maybe A-10. By checking the turn I could control the pot size and extract some good value on the river, because if I bet there I think I could make him lay down that kind of a hand (even him!) [Laughs]

River: 5Spade Suit

FR: That was the perfect card to value bet and get called by a whole lot of hands worse than mine.

RM: How much?

FR: I had a 16k stack on the river and decided to bet 4,800 into a 12k pot. That was the first time he took his time… before grabbing some 5k chips to put me all in. Well, that was really weird. He could play a draw like that and so he missed it and tried a move as he knew I would never let that pot go uncontested. I really like my play overall and would never check-call the river versus that type of player and the only reason to check that river would be if I thought for a second that I was losing the hand (so I would check-fold).

RM: What went through your mind in regards to what he was holding?

FR: His range was very wide. As I said he could possibly have A-10, this means he could also have K-10s or have called my flop bet with overcards (with a K). He could also have hit a set on the river. The hands I think he would never have there would be a set or a big draw. These type of hands would have made him raise me on the flop right away and there is a very reduced chance that I could be wrong here about this, so this option is excluded. He had the balls to make a stone cold bluff too and he was clearly an undisciplined player with nothing to lose.

That was a very hard decision to make considering the open situation I was in, I was starting to blame myself for going out of my normal strategy, but I think that this is exactly what the best players in the world do, they force their edge from the beginning considering the favorable situation found in this tournament, mainly because of the seat draw.

This is definitely not a good situation to be in for all your chips in the beginning of the third level of a deep stack major tournament. As I couldn’t figure out for real if I had the best hand or not by reading that unclear situation, I tried to complete my thoughts by picking up tells. The main one was that he finally took some time to decide what to do. Considering that I thought that his thoughts about poker were pretty basic, it would be very normal to slow play the river. The other hands I played against him were kind of simple hands where he had made a flush or two pair and decided fast based on the pot size, thinking I had a good enough hand to call a value bet.

Thinking about all of this I decided to fold. My face was showing my disappointment as he flashed a king. In the end, K-10s was the most likely hand, along with K-Q and K-J. But that is one thing that was really bothering me before the showdown: Did he have such a strong hand to move all in on the river? Shouldn’t he be calling me there with a king or worse? Well, he did not have K-K for sure, so in my opinion the most likely hand would be K-10s. It was very strange and his move on the river sounded very suspicious, it almost cost me a bust out in this hand. ♠

Felipe Ramos, originally from Brazil, can be found at almost every major international poker tournament across the globe. The 28-year-old pro is growing ever closer to the million dollar mark in lifetime winnings and is highly regarded whether on the virtual or live felt.