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Final Table Takedown With Andrew Moreno

Moreno Breaks Down Victory At Wynn Millions For $1.46 Million

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Mar 09, 2022

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Andrew Moreno has been playing poker for two decades. He started just because it was a fun game to play with friends, and he never would have guessed that the game would introduce him to his wife, former poker journalist Kristy Arnett, and take him all over the world, provide him opportunities to mentor others, and make him a millionaire. 

Moreno started off grinding small-stakes cash games in Las Vegas, and now regularly plays up to $25-$50 no-limit hold’em when he’s not battling it out on the tournament tables. Last summer, Moreno navigated his way through a field of 1,328 at the $10,000 buy-in Wynn Millions main event, earning a $1.46 million payday after making a three-handed deal. Additionally, he also has final table appearances at the 2016 WSOP Monster Stack event and the 2019 WSOP Circuit main event at the Bike.

Moreno has coached poker and run a successful stable for the past five years. Coaching has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his career. Andrew can be found at amo4sho.com/coaching and on Twitter @Amo4sho.

Event: 2021 Wynn Millions Main Event
Buy-In: $10,000
Entrants: 1,328
Prize Pool: $12,483,200
First Place Prize: $1,460,000

Stacks: Andrew Moreno – 2,000,000 (25 BB) Villain – 3,000,000 (38 BB)
Blinds: 40,000-80,000 with an 80,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 16

Action: Eight-handed, it folded to Moreno in the small blind holding QHeart Suit 10Heart Suit.

Craig Tapscott: So, what is your mindset when dealing with this blind-on-blind action holding a pretty decent starting hand?

Andrew Moreno: I need to be a bit careful with my stack given I am getting a little short and I can’t raise, and then call a three-bet from the BB who covers me. It would be a disaster for me to raise and let the BB jam all-in with ace high and whatever random bluffs he may choose.

CT: What kind of read did you have on the Villain?

AM: I hadn’t played too much with him the whole tournament. He appeared to be a professional poker player.

CT: So, you chose to…

AM: For the reasons I stated regarding my stack size, I opted to limp to ensure that I could see the flop in the event the BB does decide to raise.

Moreno completed from the small blind, and the Villain raised to 240,000. Moreno called.

FLOP: 8Club Suit 7Spade Suit 2Spade Suit (pot: 580,000)

AM: This was a pretty decent flop for my limp calling range, but a pretty bad one for my actual hand.

Moreno checked, and the Villain checked behind.

TURN: JDiamond Suit (pot: 580,000)

CT: He checked the flop. What range of hands can you put him on?

AM: Once he checks back on the flop, his hands look like a lot of weak showdown value and some total give ups. Sure, he could have some traps, but you don’t see that too often on a board like this. I decided to bet out.

Moreno bet 390,000 and the Villain called.

AM: He didn’t take too long before calling.

CT: Did that send up any red flags? The timing of his call?

AM: I didn’t take too much from the timing. I could tell that he never considered folding, though. Which made me think he may have a pair.

RIVER: 10Spade Suit (pot: 1,360,000)

CT: It seems like this could be a good card for you.

AM: Yes. The 10Spade Suit completed the front door flush and put a four-card straight on the board. Now, I beat a lot of hands that he would take the check-back on the flop, and just call turn line that he took. However, my hand is too weak to value bet and is too strong to bluff.

Moreno checked.

AM: I was really hoping he would check back an inferior value hand, but my opponent had other plans.

The Villain moved all-in.

AM: I was in a very difficult spot for my tournament life. Now I had to try to put the puzzle together for what would be the biggest decision of my nearly 20-year career. I had to decide how thin he would jam the river for value.

CT: So, he probably doesn’t have a flush.

AM: Nope. You don’t often see players check back flush draws in position on a board like this. I mostly ruled out flushes for that reason. I also ruled out most of the two-pair combinations because those combos would usually come from him betting a pair or a straight draw on the flop. I determined the most likely value hand he had was a straight. Now I just needed to work out how many combinations of 9-X he would have. Any hand with a nine in it would want to either bet for protection, or semi bluff as straight draw on the flop. 

CT: What did your gut say to do?

AM: Well during the last minute of my nearly five-minute river tank, I was telling myself, “You have to put the money in. I know it’s scary and you’ll look like an idiot if you’re wrong, but you have to go with your read.”

That was the reason this hand was so important to me. I said to myself, “I trust you, and if you’re wrong, you did what you thought was right.” It really is quite hard to put the money after five grueling days on a nearly $20,000 pay jump as well.

Moreno called, and the Villain showed KSpade Suit 7Club Suit. Moreno won the pot of 4,100,000.

CT: That call must have been a huge boost for your momentum going into the final table.

AM: It was. It also gave me the confidence to trust myself once I had reached the final table. I felt like it sent a message to the rest of the players that I go with my reads and I’m not afraid to stick all the money in with a weak hand on such a big stage.

Stacks: Andrew Moreno – 1,800,000 (12 BB) Villain – 13,000,000 (87 BB)
Blinds: 75,000-150,000 with a 150,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 9

Action: Villain raised to 300,000 from the button. Moreno looked down at KClub Suit KSpade Suit in the big blind.

AM: The action folded over to the chip leader who min raised. After the small blind folded I am elated to look down and see two kings in the big blind as the shortest stack at the table.

CT: You’re sitting on 12 BBs. Easy shove. Right?

AM: Yes. The standard play here is to three-bet all-in given how short I am. I would certainly get called by any pair as well as a lot of his ace high hands. However, I felt the most attractive option was to play my hand as a trap and just call preflop.

I knew that as the chip leader, he would be raising with the widest range at the table. Given that, I also knew he would then have quite a lot of hands that would raise and then fold to my shove. By playing my hand as a flat, I trap in the weakest parts of his range and I’m able to check-jam many flops very comfortably.

CT: When you do that, what kind of range will he put you on?

AM: He knows I am calling with a ton of weak hands in the BB, so it also balances out quite nicely to protect my range.

Moreno called.

FLOP: 7Club Suit 6Spade Suit 6Diamond Suit (pot: 675,000)

Moreno checked and the Villain bet 275,000.

CT: What’s the best option now? And more importantly, what did he expect you to do?

AM: I had to decide if I should call or raise. If I called, it was going to look very suspicious. I was so short at this point that if I flopped any piece of the board, he would expect me to jam all-in. If I had 4-5 suited or 8-5 suited, 8-9 suited, perhaps even 9-10 suited I would check-raise all in. All my pocket pairs (except A-A and K-K) as well as most of my ace highs would have been all in preflop. So really, my all in will look like 7-X, a very occasional 6-X, or a straight draw. 

CT: The suspense is killing me. (laughs)

AM: Well, I decided to raise all-in and was delighted to see my opponent had…

Moreno moved all-in. The Villain called and tabled QClub Suit 7Club Suit.

CT: Nice play.

TURN: JHeart Suit (pot: 3,675,000)

RIVER: 3Club Suit (pot: 3,675,000)

AM: Thanks. The Q-7 is a hand that he would have folded to my jam preflop. That hand had very poor equity versus my trap. I believe this was the key hand at the final table that gave me a chance to do well.

CT: It’s not the standard play most players would adopt with 12 big blinds.

AM: Most people will jam all-in when they have 12 bigs in the BB when facing a raise. Slow playing preflop is very scary on such a big stage playing for so much money. I believe this was the correct play, even if I would have busted because of it.

CT: This had to create a huge momentum for you at the final table.

AM: I was riding the confidence from the big hero call on the eve of the final table in the previous hand. I was able to win and take down the Wynn Millions final table playing as the shortest stack nine-handed. The thing I am most proud of was believing in myself that I could do it and playing courageously.

CT: Having watched your career for many years and your professionalism in all aspects on and off the table, congratulations. So well deserved.

AM: Thank you, Craig. ♠