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Tournament Poker Edge Analyzes Hand By Jeff Papola

Nick Blumenthal and Jeff Papola Battle in the Blinds With Big Money on the Line


Jeff PapolaCard Player has teamed up with the great minds from Tournament Poker Edge to bring you top-notch hand analysis from key hands during the World Series of Poker.

This time around, we’ll take a look at a hand played by Jeff Papola in event no. 10, the $1,500 six-max no-limit hold’em tournament. Papola has proven to be one of the top six-max players at the WSOP having finished first, second and third in that variant in the last two years.

Most recently, Papola found himself three-handed with online pro Nick Blumenthal and amateur Geffrey Klein. Blumenthal held the chip lead and had a position advantage, but with Klein short stacked, Papola could have easily waited it out for a $120,000 pay jump.

Instead, he and Blumenthal went to war in a battle of the blinds in which neither player was willing to back down. Here is a look at that hand.

Here’s a look at that hand.

Event — Blinds/Antes $1,500 Six-Max No-Limit Hold’em 20,000-40,000 with a 5,000 ante
Player Names Nick Blumenthal Jeff Papola
Chip Counts 5,100,000 2,750,000
Hole Cards ADiamond Suit 3Diamond Suit KClub Suit QSpade Suit

The Hand

With only about 800,000 remaining, Geffrey Klein folded his button and Jeff Papola raised to 110,000 from the small blind. Blumenthal called from the big blind and the flop came down KDiamond Suit 9Heart Suit 4Diamond Suit.

Papola continued with a bet of 140,000 and Blumenthal raised to 320,000. Papola reraised to 565,000 and Blumenthal moved all in. Papola snap called, showing KClub Suit QSpade Suit for top pair.

Blumenthal showed ADiamond Suit 3Diamond Suit for a flush draw with an overcard and it hit when the turn and river fell 9Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit. Papola was eliminated in third place, leaving Blumenthal and Klein to battle it out for the title.

Hand Analysis By TPE Pro Charles "HagbardCeline" SizemoreStreet By Street Analysis


Action — Klein folds his button, Papola raises to 110,000 from the small blind and Blumenthal calls.

Analysis — Everything preflop is pretty straight forward. K-Q is a very strong hand short-handed, as is A-3 suited. Blumenthal could three-bet in this spot, but calling and playing the pot in position is also fine. He could have the best hand, depending on the game flow and dynamic at the time.


Action — The flop comes KDiamond Suit 9Heart Suit 4Diamond Suit and Papola continues with 140,000. Blumenthal raises to 320,000 and Papola reraises to 565,000. Blumenthal moves all in and Papola calls for his tournament life.

Analysis — Papola flops top pair on a pretty wet flop. He’ll be betting this flop often, even when he misses. He wants to get value from his hand and make any draws pay to see the turn.

Blumenthal flops the nut flush draw and an overcard with his ace. Papola will be betting this flop with most of his preflop range and a raise will take down the pot pretty often. He can Papola to fold some better hands as well as inducing a raise from a worse flush draw.

Papola has a very strong hand and isn’t going to be folding three handed. Not only can Blumenthal be getting out of line, he can also be raising worse hands than K-Q for value. Papola could call, but it will basically turn his hand face up, whereas by three-betting the flop he can still have bluffs in his range. He likely three-bets small in order to induce Blumenthal to shove worse hands like K-J or K-10 and draws instead of shoving and giving him the opportunity to fold them.

When Papola three-bets the flop, Blumenthal could call. However, Papola can not only be bluffing here, but he’s almost certainly raising worse flush draws. Klein is also so short that Papola will have a tough call with the hands he’s raising for value, and getting him to fold pairs and taking the pot right here is a fine outcome. Even when Papola calls, Blumenthal has good equity. Shoving is clearly the best play for Blumenthal.

Papola didn’t three-bet the flop with K-Q to fold. He most likely raised as small as he did in order to give Blumenthal room to shove, which he did and now Papola follows through with his plan and calls all in.

Turn and River

Action — The turn and river fall 9Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit and Blumenthal makes his flush. Papola is eliminated from the tournament in third place, leaving Klein to battle it out with Blumenthal for the bracelet.

The Tournament Poker Edge Perspective

ICM (Independent Chip Model) does infer that at this point in the tournament, with pay jumps so large, the chips you stand to lose in a spot like this are more valuable than the chips you stand to gain. So, while there are other ways that Papola could have played this hand to avoid having to commit his whole stack, he has such a strong hand and is so far ahead of Blumenthal’s range that it’s hard to argue against Papola’s line.

Most of the time, Papola will hold and be the chip leader with a solid edge over his opponents and be the clear favorite to win the tournament. This time it didn’t work out, but at least he can pat himself on the back for not playing scared or passively to move up the money ladder.

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over 6 years ago

That was a fun pot to watch.