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Final Table Takedown: Frank Lagodich Books Four Wins In 2022

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Jan 11, 2023

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Frank Lagodich has been playing poker for eight years and professionally for the last four. This has been a banner year for the 26-year-old, booking four wins.

His run actually started in October of 2021, however, when he made the final table of the World Series of Poker Double Stack event, taking fifth for $123,710.

Then in March of this year, the Ohio resident finished third in a WSOP Circuit event in New York, before following it up with a win at the Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Florida just a couple weeks later. In the summer, he added another trophy by taking down a Wynn Classic event for $107,165.

In November, Lagodich traveled to Chicago for the WSOP Circuit main event at the Grand Victoria Casino. Over the course of four days, he outlasted a field of 1,070 to score a career-high payday of $275,896.

To top it off, just two weeks later he returned to the Hard Rock in South Florida and won the $5,000 deep stack event at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open for another $133,241. He now has nearly $1.1 million in career tournament earnings.

Card Player caught up with Lagodich to break down a few key hands from his run to the Circuit title in Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @franklagodich.
Stacks: Frank Lagodich – 1,800,000 (36 BB) Brek Schutten – 6,000,000 (120 BB)
Blinds: 25,000-50,000 with a 50,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 18

Craig Tapscott: You’ve had an amazing year. To what do attribute the big surge in your results?

Frank Lagodich: I play mostly every day. I travel frequently for tournaments and when I’m not traveling, I’m playing cash games back home. I credit my recent success to being around great and supportive people, and simply just putting in the volume. I have cool friends that are always rooting for me and wanting me to do well, and the positivity can go a long way for the mental game.

It’s all momentum from there. Anytime you have a win or a final table it is a nice confidence boost and I think multiple deep runs in a short period of time is helped by that.

Schutten opened from the cutoff to 100,000.
FL: I was in the big blind with AClub Suit 10Spade Suit.

CT: Did you have any experience with Brek, who has been doing quite well himself the last couple years?

FL: Despite being the final two tables, I hadn’t played much of the tourney with Brek up until that point. But I was familiar with his accomplishments and knew he was likely the best player left in the field. He had just won a large three-way pot, so he was not only the best in the field, but he also had plenty of chips to play with and pressure his opponents. I knew he could be wide in this spot with him having a big stack and opening in a later position.

CT: What’s the plan?

FL: I could have opted to three-bet. However, if he came back over the top, I would have to lay down my strong hand. If I three-bet and he called, I would be put in an awkward spot being out of position and not very deep compared to the pot size. For these reasons, I decided to just defend my blind and go to the flop with a relatively under-repped holding.

Lagodich called.
Flop: QHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 8Club Suit

FL: I flopped well hitting middle pair with an ace kicker. Knowing Brek is likely going to continue the aggression with any two cards on this flop, I checked it over to him.

Lagodich checked. Schutten bet 100,000.

FL: At this point, I wanted to keep this pot small, there were a lot of turn cards that put my hand in a dicey spot. Knowing he could be all over this board or have total air, I decided on a call. I was getting a great price, had a good hand, and wanted to keep all his bluffs in.

Lagodich called.
Turn: 6Spade Suit

FL: This card was kind of interesting, not a total brick but not scary enough for me to bow out just yet. We both had wide ranges in this spot and could have lots of different draws or made hands. My hand still felt strong, but I was still very aware that if I’m not already beaten, I might need to fade a lot of outs. With him still having the aggression…

Lagodich checked.

FL: I checked it over to him with intention of calling once more to see the river.
Schutten bet 300,000.

FL: The pot was starting to become very crucial for my tournament. I knew I was still going to call, but now this is a sizeable pot going into the river. I stuck with the plan and made the call.

Lagodich called.

CT: At that point in the hand, what range were you putting him on?

FL: He can surely have all the made hands that I’m just dead to such as Q-Q, 8-8, 6-6, the unlikely 10-10. All the straights, J-9 and 7-9 suited. He can have a lot of top pair with a draw-type holdings as well.

But, when you consider the situation and his capabilities, there are seemingly infinite bluffs and semi-bluffs. Any hand containing straight blockers, heart draws, low pairs, and whatnot would make for a continue here. He could also be playing the weaker part of my range, not necessarily having a hand that makes sense but just knowing that I have a lot of single-pair holdings. He would know that this would put me in a really tough spot.

River: 4Club Suit

FL: I was happy with this card and felt relieved that the heart draw had not completed, but the hand was far from over. Given the texture on the flop, this is about as good of a runout as I could have hoped for without having improved my hand any further.
Lagodich checked.

FL: I checked it over once more hoping to show down my pair of tens. But Brek had other plans and decided to put out a polarizing pot-size bet on the river.

Schutten bet 1,000,000.

CT: He was definitely putting you to the test. Perhaps putting you on the exact type of hand you had.

FL: My thoughts exactly. This bet put me into the tank. I really took my time to think it through. How lightly was he making this size of a bet for value? Does he do this with just a queen? Does he do this with two pair? What two pairs can he have? I figured I block good two-pair holdings having a ten myself and I block A-Q.

All things considered, it was hard to put him on just a queen or two pair. With this bet sizing, I felt it was an all-or-nothing type of hand. He either had something very strong or total air. Unblocking the heart draw, I decided my hand was a pretty solid bluff catcher. My intuition was leading me toward a call.

I counted out calling chips, realizing if I was wrong, I would still have 10 big blinds to work with. If I was right, it would be a nice confidence boost. I would have a solid stack myself and be able to start applying some pressure against the rest of the table. I glanced at Brek a couple of times, my gut still telling me to put the chips in.

Lagodich called. Schutten revealed 9Diamond Suit 5Diamond Suit. Lagodich won the pot of 3,060,000.

FL: I think he played it well all things considered. His hand just makes for a mandatory bluff given the runout. Flops the straight draw, turns a double gutter, unblocks the hearts, and blocks the straights.

After the fact, we briefly spoke about the hand and he said he had regretted leaving me the comfort of still having 10 big blinds behind. Not sure what I would have done if he managed to find an overbet shove on the river. I’m just glad that wasn’t the case.

Stacks: Frank Lagodich – 16,000,000 (80 BB) Jill Bryant – 6,825,000 (34 BB)
Blinds: 100,000-200,000 with a 200,000 big blind ante
Players Remaining: 3

FL: I found myself in a very ideal situation with three players remaining. I had half the chips in play and my opponents were polar opposites. I noticed Jill Bryant was adjusting by playing much more aggressively, and my other opponent was being much more patient. It was time to get to work to win this event.

CT: How had play changed three-handed?

FL: Jill was not letting either of us see a flop. She would either fold or announce all in. I opened, Jill shoved. I opened, Jill shoved. And once again, I would open, Jill would shove. OK. So that’s how this was going to be.

CT: It sounds like she was playing to win to me.

FL: She was playing with absolutely no fear and applying maximum pressure, seemingly trying to end the tournament as fast as possible. I quickly realized it was a matter of time before I would need to call and play a massive pot preflop.

The button folded.

FL: I had KSpade Suit QSpade Suit in the small blind. Jill is in the big blind. Here we go, this is probably going to be the one, I think to myself.

Lagodich raised to 500,000. Bryant shoved all in.

FL: I asked for an exact count and told her I’m probably going to have to make the call as the dealer is counting her stack. It was 6,825,000. A lot of chips to put in preflop. If I called and won, I would be heads-up with a massive chip lead. If I lost, I would no longer be chip leader, but I would still have over 9,000,000 to work with. I could live with that.

Lagodich called. Bryant turned over ADiamond Suit 3Spade Suit.

FL: It was off to the races. I was annoyed that I was slightly behind as she had been shoving a lot. I knew I could be dominating her in a lot of cases, but it was more or less a massive coin flip. I immediately saw a KHeart Suit in the window as the dealer peeled the flop. Bingo.

Flop: KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 6Diamond Suit
Turn: 5Spade Suit

FL: The turn brought Jill no help. I just had to fade three outs on the river to immediately lock up another $45,000 and be heads-up for the ring with a massive chip lead. I even prepared myself at this point to tell Jill nice run and wish my other opponent good luck as the dealer dealt…

River: AHeart Suit
Bryant won the pot of 13,650,000.

FL: Jill had basically the whole poker room rooting for her as she was a local. They would audibly cheer for her with every pot she won, and they did not hold back on this one. She stood up with her arms in the air and cheered with them. I watched hugs and high-fives all around.

CT: You had to be a bit deflated after that card fell.

FL: I was, for about five seconds. It was obviously a crazy card to see given the situation. It was a very pivotal hand and gave her lots of momentum. But I prided myself heavily on not letting it affect me. I have been emotional at the table in the past, over an ugly runout. But I wasn’t going to let this one slip away.

I tossed my [headphones] back on to drown out the chatter and got back to work. There was still plenty of poker to be played. I had to stay focused. Jill and I eventually got heads-up. I was at a 3:1 chip disadvantage but I managed to come out on top after about an hour of play.

CT: Looking back on the hand, what takeaways if any, did you have on how you kept your composure and got back to business?

FL: I honestly was genuinely happy for her. It was awesome to see all the love and support she was receiving, and this just amplified the excitement even more. As for keeping my composure I really don’t know what it was. I was totally in the zone, so I think I was just really focused. It was obviously an insane swing of a hand, but I just never lost sight of the objective. It was a situation where there was nothing you can do to control it so best to leave it and move on to the next hand. ♠