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Tough Spot in WSOP PLO Tourney

by Daniel Negreanu |  Published: Oct 07, '14


Ok, I'm going to get straight to the point here and go right into the hand. It's level 10, blinds 500-1000 and the avg is about 50k, with me sitting on close to 70k. The player under the gun opens to 2200, I call in second position at a 7 handed table with Ad3d5h7h. The cutoff calls, Ismael Bojang calls on the button, and the big blind defends so it's 5 way action to the flop.

Flop comes 10-3-3 rainbow. The under the gun player bets 4200, I decide to just call. It's folded to Bojang on the button who makes it 9k. The under the gun player tanks for a long while then folds- I call.

Turn is an Ace giving me a full house. I check, and Bojang bets 16,500. I'll stop here and ask the question: what would YOU do?

The dilemma here is different than it would be in a cash game, there is added incentive to fold in a tournament especially when you are above the average late in the event. In a cash game, that has no relevance, you simply play the hand based on its merits.

So, if you look at my hand you may think, "What is there to think about? You have a full house and can only lose to exactly pocket tens!" Well that may be true, but the fact is, he is either bluffing, or has exactly two tens in the hole. Sure there is a chance he also has the A3 in which case I'd be splitting the pot, but it's far more likely that he either has TT or is running a pretty brave bluff.

You see, when I call the flop bet and also his raise, he just absolutely knows without question that I have at the very least, trip 3's. For him to raise the flop in a 3 handed pot, and then bet a substantial amount on the turn, it screams of TT. You can rule out him having AA, it would have been silly for him to not raise the pot with AA on the button in a multi-way pot before the flop, so it's one of:

B) A3
C) Bluff

The cost of calling and then being faced with another potentially large river bet is significant in a tourney. If I fold, I still have a healthy above average stack. If I call and am wrong, I've just blown my tournament.

What about calling the turn and then folding if he bets the river? That's just not a good idea against a good player like Bojang. I had to make my mind up on the turn and go with that decision all the way, one way or another.

I decided to let the hand go and I showed it. Bojang quickly tabled his hand and showed... A Q Q T!!! He bluffed me and it was a brilliant play. In pot limit Omaha much more so than in hold'em, blockers can play a key role in how you play a hand and Bojang played it perfectly. He had one Ten making it much less likely that I'm actually holding TT. he also had an overpair so he could get lucky and catch a Queen. Once the turn came an Ace, he actually had a few outs, an Ace, Queen, or a Ten.

I thought about the hand quite a bit after the fact and I'm honestly quite happy with the fold. If someone explained the hand to me, and that they had the A3, I would tell them it's a fold for sure. Sometimes in poker you can make what appears to be the wrong decision in the moment, but in the long run that decision will serve you well.

In the end, I made it through day one with a healthy 68,800 and we will play down to a final table tomorrow. My intention is to end day two with the chip lead going into the final table, then celebrate with a glass of champagne after winning my 7th bracelet :-)

Daniel Negreanu is the 2004 CardPlayer Magazine and World Poker Tour Player of the Year. He presents his poker strategies in one-on-one virtual training at and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.
Read all of Daniel Negreanu's poker blog and poker articles at Full Contact Poker.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of


over 6 years ago

Great read. How about betting 1/3 or 1/2 the pot on the turn, instead of checking? How often is he holding 10/10 or A/A in this spot? Its almost never A/A. Would he give you credit for a full house and risk re-raising if you lead the turn?

Is this a case where you are saying to yourself, "I'll look for a better spot."?

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