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Arnaud Mattern

French Pro Keeps Wits About Him In Sin City

by Rebecca McAdam |  Published: Oct 01, 2012


Arnaud Mattern: Vegas means home for the World Series Of Poker, and every serious player spends a decent amount of time there during the summer with the hope of bringing back a gold bracelet; But it can be also interesting to play cash games on the side in order to be able to afford staying there for a while and to pay for the expenses. The hand I’m going to share with you was played in a live game, $5-$10, in one of the strip casinos.

Rebecca McAdam: What is the standard like?

AM: Level of play can vary a lot, you can find any type of players here — Wealthy tourists for the majority, who saw poker on TV and are looking for a sweat, some Internet grinders (lots of them during the summer), some old people killing time, and a small portion of live pros who, in general, don’t like playing big pots, stay away from other regulars, and have no online background.

My targets will be mostly the tourists, then the old people (I know it sounds merciless, what can I do), and ultimately the weak regulars that have inferior skills, are afraid to get involved with marginal hands, or play too straightforward.

This hand takes place against two grinders who are not fish, but haven’t a huge bankroll (scared money), are playing rather ABC poker, and don’t balance their ranges very well.

I have $3,500 in front of me, I raise QHeart Suit JSpade Suit in middle position to $40. I get called by the button [villain 1] who’s sitting with $2,000. He fits the profile “weak, easy to read regular”.

The big blind [villain 2] also defends, he has roughly $2,500. He is also a typical Internet player, pretty straightforward.

Flop: JHeart Suit 9Heart Suit 6Club Suit

AM: That’ s a good flop for me, nevertheless it’s slightly connected and there is a flush draw, but I still have top pair with a decent kicker.
Villain 2 (big blind) checks, Mattern bets $80, Villain 1 (button) calls pretty fast, and Villain 2 then calls.

Turn: 5Diamond Suit

All players check.

RM: Why a check here?

AM: I’m facing two opponents who showed interest on the flop, and my hand is not worth a second barrel I guess. Then the button checks too, which leads me to think he doesn’t have a monster (no set, and probably not two pairs either).

River: QDiamond Suit

AM: I make top two pairs. The big blind decides to lead with a bet of $320 in a pot of $365… Almost a pot sized bet.

RM: What are you thinking here? Do you have an idea what he is holding?

AM: The situation is worrying: I watched this player for several hours, he would not try a bluff in those kinds of spots against two players, he plays a rather ABC style of poker, and for him to bet that big I think he has something close to the nuts and is compensating for the turn being checked, he’s trying to get value against a top pair with a strong kicker, or even two pairs. It would definitely not be his style to transform a missed flush draw into a bluff in order to represent a straight (not saying that this play would not be good, but my opponent doesn’t think on that level).

The worst hand he could have is Q-J, same hand as mine, trying to get value with his top two pairs. His range is pretty easy to determine — he is 100 percent value betting, maybe with a straight or two pairs (with a set he would have likely check-raised the flop, or at least opted for a more aggressive line on such a draw-y board).

So, I’m either behind, or I’m calling to split. Last but not least, there is still a player behind me left to act, and if he wasn’t drawing for a flush, it‘s likely that this river helped him even more than me.

To sum up, not a great spot at all; among my two opponents one of them is often gonna show me K-T (overcard and gutshot on flop), 8-7, or T-8.

RM: So your decision is to bow out?

AM: I decide to fold my top two pairs. The button calls right away with TSpade Suit 8Spade Suit (second nuts straight), and the big blind reveals 8Club Suit 7Club Suit for third straight.

Lesson to remember: it’s crucial to take into account the general style of your opponents, whether they are beginners or seasoned, and to play the situation accordingly. ♠

Wherever the stop may be of a European Poker Tour, Frenchman Arnaud Mattern will be there. With one EPT title to his name he has come close since to becoming the first to have two. The friendly pro is well-known the world over for his charisma and passion for the game, but also for his cool and dangerous presence at the felt. Mattern is a regular cash game player, but has more than $2 million to his name in tournament winnings. He is always striving towards his next live title, and with his dedication and determination it’s just a matter of time before he gets it.