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Final Table Takedown Chris Moorman, Online Tournament Poker’s Biggest Winner, Captures First World Series of Poker Bracelet

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Dec 06, 2017


Chris MoormanChris Moorman officially sits as the most accomplished online poker player of all-time, becoming the first player ever to achieve the $14 million milestone in lifetime online tournament winnings. Moorman has transitioned from online poker easily to live poker with huge success as well. He has $5.1 million in live tournament winnings, and earned his first coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelet in 2017.

Prior to that Chris crushed the field at the 2014 World Poker Tour LA Poker Classic, where he booked his first career WPT title and pocketed $1,015,000 in winnings. Chris is also an accomplished author, recently adding, Moorman: The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player of All Time to his previous best seller, Moorman’s Book Of Poker.

Event: 2017 WSOP $3,000 six-max no-limit hold’em
Players: 959 • Entry: $3,000 • First Prize: $498,682 • Finish: 1st

Key Concepts: Meta-game; Bet sizing

Tom Middleton raises to 6,000 from UTG. Moorman raises to 21,000 from the big blind holding QDiamond Suit QClub Suit.

CT: I know Tom is a good friend of yours, so what’s your read?

CM: As he is 2.5x raising from UTG I want to be defending slightly less often. And I’m three-betting slightly more often due to the worse odds that I am getting to defend in comparison to a min-raise which was common from the other players at the table.

Therefore, I am going to be three-betting with J-J plus and A-Q and most A-K combos. I will also be bluffing with some low suited connectors for board coverage, which may allow me to possibly over realize my equity post flop with these holdings in comparison to just flat calling.

Middleton calls.

CM: I will let you know from the start that Tom called with KClub Suit 10Club Suit. I think it is a fine call, but should be close to the bottom of his defending range in this spot.

Flop: 10Diamond Suit 5Spade Suit 4Spade Suit (pot: 45,200)

CT: Great flop for your hand.

CM: For sure.

Moorman bets 16,000.

CT: Why that sizing?

CM: Well I bet 16,000 which is a pretty standard sizing of one-third of the pot. Tom knows that I will be likely continuation betting this flop 100 percent of the time, as it is much better for my range than his.

Middleton calls.

Turn: 5Heart Suit (pot: 77,200)

Moorman bets 27,000.

CM: I fire a second barrel. I don’t need to bet too large here as it’s a lockdown turn card, which means most of his hands don’t have that many outs against my value combinations, unless he specifically has a hand such as a nut flush draw.
Middleton calls.

River: KHeart Suit (pot: 131,200)

Moorman shoves all-in.

CT: Seems like a pretty standard shove from your thought process about the hand.

CM: Well I don’t put very many kings in his range at all, other than KSpade Suit QSpade Suit, KSpade Suit JSpade Suit, KSpade Suit 10Spade Suit. I felt like I would be wanting to bluff-shove this river even if I had a hand such as 7Diamond Suit 6Diamond Suit.

Middleton calls and wins the pot of 284,400.

CT: What were your thoughts when the hand was done?

CM: In retrospect, I think my logic was a bit flawed here and that by this river I have very few bluffs. As a result, I need to protect my checking range. This is actually a great hand combination to check call all-in on the river, as I don’t have any blockers to any of Tom’s potential missed flush draws. At the time, I was thinking I would like to be bluffing this card very often, but actually it might be a little too thin to shove queens for value. And a check-call actually works really well when I unblock all of his flush draw combos. As it turns out the end result would have been the same.

But, if Tom had QSpade Suit JSpade Suit, he is likely to jam when I check on the river here and has to fold with just queen high when I choose to jam. By the river he only has a couple of bluff catchers such as A-10 and J-J that will check behind versus a check, but are likely to call a river jam. With two flush draws bricking out, there are way more combos of missed flush draws for him. So, I think with a marginal value hand such as Q-Q with none of the flush cards, it is the perfect candidate as a hand to turn into a bluff catcher myself and end up check-calling the river.

Key Concepts: Three-betting; Disguising the strength of your hand; Hand ranges.

Craig Tapscott: OK. Set this hand up for us.

Chris Moorman: To start the hand I’m second in chips with six players remaining. Myself and Michael Gagliano have a significant lead over the rest of the field. But given that he covers me and is the only person who can bust me, I have to be very careful in pots versus him. He knows I know this, so it can actually become a bit of a cat and mouse situation.

Gagliano raises from the button to 150,000. Moorman rearises to 505,000 from the big blind holding QHeart Suit QSpade Suit. Gagliano calls.

CT: Could you have just flatted and been a little sneaky with queens?

CM: Well no. And if I get reraised, I’m not excited to three-bet and just call with pocket queens from the big blind. And I think I’m too high up in my range to be just flatting preflop versus a button open from the chipleader.

CT: Why that bet sizing for your three-bet?

CM: As far as my sizing goes I could definitely go a little bit bigger here. Given the ICM (Independent Chip Model) situation, I’m more polarized than normal and won’t be three-betting a hand such as 9-9 which would normally be a 100 percent three-bet in the big blind versus a button opener.

CT: What is your read on his flatting you?

CM: I think his flat call in position with queen-ten suited is completely standard and mandatory given that we started the hand over 65 big blinds deep and he will have position on me post flop.

Flop: QDiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit 5Heart Suit (pot: 1,100,000)

CT: Great flop. Holy cow!

CM: Yes. The flop is obviously an incredibly favorable one for my hand, giving me top set. But it also is quite a scary one for me as it connects very well with his range. I’m just flatting pocket fives, Q-5, 10-5 suited, Q-10, and even pocket tens here preflop, so the only nut combination I have is pocket queens. Obviously, I can have kings and aces here which are likely to be the best hand, but they aren’t going to be very excited to put a lot of money in post flop in this situation. Even a hand as strong as ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit on this flop isn’t really going to want to get it all-in on the flop, as I don’t think this opponent is going to get a dominating draw all-in on the flop. Probably only big made hands, such as Q-10 and pocket fives. For this reason, I elected to check which I would do with my whole range in this spot.

Moorman checks. Gagliano bets 525,000. Moorman calls.

CT: So you felt no reason to bet or check-raise with your top set?

CM: Well once Michael bets I think it’s by far the best play to just call here. It allows him to fire off a multi-street bluff with a weak draw and it protects some of the weaker parts of my range.

Turn: 8Club Suit (pot: 2,150,000)

Moorman checks.

CM: The turn doesn’t change too much other than making a straight for his four combinations of J-9 suited. I check once again…

Gagliano bets 1,050,000.

CT: Is it time to bring the hammer down?

CM: Well I’m now faced with an interesting decision once Michael bets again. At this point if I just call there is going to be just under half pot on the river. Normally an opponent may give up on their bluffs with this pot to stack ratio on the river, however, given the high-pressure situation of a big final table and my stack size of close to two million (over 30 big blinds still), if I fold the river I think it’s still a great spot for him to bluff-shove the river with a hand such as K-J. For this reason, I decided to call rather than jam and protect my hand here.

Moorman calls.

River: 2Diamond Suit (pot: 4,250,000)

CT: This is not the ideal card for you.

CM: I know. The river completes the flush. But at this point there is just too much in the pot and my opponent can value jam worse sets and two pair for value, so I just have to call an all-in shove if that is what he does.

CT: What do you think is going on in his head?

CM: Michael has an interesting spot, whether to jam or check behind. I do have some flushes in my range such as ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit, but they are very few and far between. He blocks pocket queens and pocket tens (which he may or may not perceive me to three-bet preflop) so he is actually beat very rarely here. My most likely hands at this point are kings or aces, so I think he absolutely has to jam for value here. If he gotten to the river with a hand such as K-J, A-J or K-9, then he has to bluff jam this card. For me, if I had aces or kings here, it would be a tough spot. I think ultimately, I’d call off with aces and fold with kings as I block a lot more of his bluffs with pocket kings (K-J offsuit and suited).

Moorman checks. Gagliano moves all-in. Moorman calls. Gagliano reveals QClub Suit 10Club Suit. Moorman wins the pot of 5,930,000.

CM: Overall, I think both of us played the hand well. And even though it was essentially just a huge cooler in an amazing spot, it’s interesting to analyze what we should be doing with different parts of our ranges here. ♠