Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Poker Hand Of The Week

You Decide What's The Best Play


Ask any group of poker players how you played your hand and they’ll come up with dozens of different opinions. That’s just the nature of the game.

Each week, Card Player will select a hand from the high-stakes, big buy-in poker world, break it down and show that there’s more than one way to get the job done.

The Scenario

You have a slight chip lead and you are heads-up for a major tournament title.

You are dealt 6Heart Suit 3Heart Suit on the button and decide to min-raise to 500,000. The big blind three-bets to 1,250,000.

You call and the flop comes JSpade Suit 7Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit. Your opponent bets small, only 625,000 and you decide to call. The turn is the 9Heart Suit and your opponent bets again, this time 1,325,000.

Your opponent has about 9,300,000 left and you are sitting with 10,800,000 million.

The Questions

What do you do with your double gut shot and flush draw? Do you move all in now or take another card? What do you do if you miss on the river and your opponent checks?

The Argument For Shoving

The best reason to shove is because at the moment, you have some fold equity. After all, you are still holding six-high and even though you may have up to 15 outs to win the pot, you don’t really want to rely on making your hand when you have the possibility of winning without a showdown.

Furthermore, if you do decide to call and evaluate the river, you may wind up having trouble getting value out of your hand. Your opponent may give up if he was bluffing, seeing as you just called two streets or he may become scared when a heart or a four-liner to a straight hits the board and refuse to pay you off.

Because you are looking at a draw-heavy board, shoving also has the added benefit of folding out better draws than yours. Bigger heart and straight draws will suddenly be getting a terrible price to continue, allowing your small draw to avoid disaster.

Your opponent has 9,300,000 million (37 big blinds) remaining and assuming he folds to a shove, you will be stacked with 17,200,000 million (68 big blinds). That’s a nearly 2-1 chip advantage that will allow you to apply pressure for the duration of the match.

The Argument For Calling

Let’s look at the action so far. Your opponent three-bet to 1,250,000 preflop, bet 625,000 on the flop and then followed that up with 1,325,000 on the turn. Doesn’t it seem like he may be trying to induce a raise?

Given the current stack sizes, a shove could be considered overkill. The pot only has 5,135,000 in it and you’d be risking an additional 10,625,000 to win it. If you get called and lose, you’ll be left with only 1,500,000 (6 big blinds).

But what hands actually call a shove of that size? You are certainly getting called by all strong hands, such as sets, two pair, straights and overpairs. You may even get hero called by most jacks, simply because the board is so draw heavy. Even if you get called by a draw, it will usually be a better one than you are currently holding. Don’t forget that you’re only holding six high.

Calling, however, leaves you with options on the river regardless of what comes. If you hit your draw and your opponent checks, you can go ahead and bet for value. Something around the size of the pot that will leave your opponent with just enough to give him false hope. If you miss your draw and your opponent bets, you can comfortably fold knowing you’ve salvaged your tournament. If you miss and your opponent checks, you can decide whether or not a bluff is in order.

Vadzim KursevichWhat Actually Happened

Vadzim Kursevich raised to 500,000 on the button and Paul Guichard three-bet to 1,250,000 from the big blind.

Kursevich called and the flop fell JSpade Suit 7Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit. Guichard bet 625,000 and Kursevich made the call.

The turn was the 9Heart Suit and Guichard bet 1,325,000. Kursevich moved all in and Guichard immediately called with 5Heart Suit 5Spade Suit for a set. Kursevich showed 6Heart Suit 3Heart Suit for straight and flush draws.

According to the Card Player Poker Odds Calculator, Kursevich would win the pot only 29.55 percent of the time because some of his flush outs would now give Guichard a full house. In order to win the hand and the tournament, Kursevich needed any non-board pairing heart, eight or four.

The river was the 8Club Suit, giving him the EPT Deauville title and a first-place prize of €875,000.

What would you have done and why? Let us know in the comments section below. The best answer will win a Card Player prize pack.



9 years ago

I would have just called to see the river and not risk my stack.


9 years ago

I would have called, to see the river...if i hadn't hit, i would still have enough chips to continue.


9 years ago

I would have shoved to either represent that I turned the straight or to simply force him to make the big decision to hero-call me. As the hand did play out the way it did, shoving may have been the wrong play, but it paid out.


9 years ago

"Villain" correctly led out with his set on the flop.The correct play was for "Hero" to raise on the flop. This is an "information" raise.

"Villain" then either folds, calls, or re-reraises. Calling gives "Hero" no information, but a re-raise does. "Hero" then folds.

If "Villain" calls, not wanting to take "Hero" out of the lead, he most likely (unless he is a top player) will check on the flop. Again not wanting to take "Hero" out of the lead. Now "Hero" has fortuitously caught a draw. He can now decide to take a free draw with the intent to bet or raise on the river regardless of the card that falls.

In this case, unless "Hero" hit his draw, he will lose this pot.


9 years ago

Alls fair in heads up play. Pre-flop I agree with both players, kursevich would've been happy just picking up the blinds but ran into a small pocket with much more value heads up. Guichard was correct 3 betting with a correct amont probly hoping the same, to take it down right there, but Kursevich called and off to races they went. The flop really showed no trouble for Guichard with a set. I think alot of us have done the same mistake when flopping a set and getting too excited, already siking ourselves into thinking case closed, this pot is mine. But, tournement chips have more value since you just can't buy in again at this stage. So, I think a couple breaths and some humbleness would have brought Guichard back to reality and figured out how sweet the pot already was and take it down straight up on the flop with a raise slightly bigger then the pot hoping to take it down right there. If Kursevich decided to bluff an all-in right there, Guichard would've had to call because folding a set heads up with that board is uncalled for. So, my conclusion is that Guichard opened up pandoras box with that weak 500k flop bet, Kursevich never should have seen the 9 of hearts.


9 years ago

Some hands are just meant to happen!! With both parties having a plan pre-flop which collide based on any number of factors. For sure in this case our Hero is stubborn both pre-flop and flop by taking a line with intent to steal (or catch a dream card on the Turn). Previous action should have set up this play whether it be riding an up-swing, stopping a slide or trying to break up a stagnent part of the match. The Villain bets out 'weak' on Flop trying to keep the hand going only to run into the worst card possible on the Turn. Hence the Hero continues his steal plan with a re-raise overbet which could be protecting a made hand, putting the Villain to the test with a heavy draw and potentially ending the match or just a bluff. A bluff was unlikely into this board, but possible based on the weak Flop bet by the Villain. At this point you have to assume the Villain is ready to 'gamble' with most likely the best hand knowing that he is still nearly 25% to catch up if he is somehow behind. With decently sized heads up stacks this even you are almost never going to get the right price to call a Turn shove so it just comes down to what plan did you have for this hand and making the decision. Obviously in this case the Villain's plan was to slow play the set and it just didn't work out this time.

As for just calling the Turn, obviously if the Villain checks the River you have to consider bet sizing with the worst possible straight and what to do against a re-raise. One could be content with catching 2 lucky cards and moving on rather than risk even more chips in a hand that could still slip away (any 10) or at worst be a chop.

Each of these player's 'plans' are included in my game and I don't blame the Villain for the weakish Flop bet, but I probably would have made a larger Turn bet to imply that the Turn helped me ... this possibly could have led to avoiding the all-in decision until the River when I can see the whole board. Knowing the Hero might go all-in on the Turn (and that I will call him anyway) an additional 3 to 6 BB in the Turn lead-out bet while still leaving a decent amount behind lets me make a decision if another 'bad' card (especially a Heart) comes on the River. There is no one way to play any hand and in this case the Hero was ready to gamble (knowing he was behind for sure) and the Villain just ran into a runner runner wipe out ... see you accross the felt.


9 years ago

I actually have two answers here:

First, I would have folded the 63 to the reraise preflop. Even when heads-up, I like raising on the button with many holdings, but folding when my opponent shows aggression back. Both players are very deep stacked here, so the initial raise loss is minimal, but the potential to trap my opponent in a later hand is great if he/she thinks they can push back frequently preflop and get me to fold.

Now, assuming that the hand plays out as written, I would prefer to call and see the river card. Committing my whole stack with a 6 hi draw, that MAY even have dead outs, is simply too risky. I would not even mind if I missed the river, and had to fold to a bet on river, leaving me with 10million and still more than a fighting chance to win the match later.