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Poker Hand Of The Week -- 7/22/12

You Decide What's The Best Play


Give us your opinion in the comments section below for your chance at winning a six-month Card Player magazine digital subscription.

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 navigated your way through a monster field in the World Series of Poker main event. There are just 12 players remaining and with 15.6 million, you are in good shape to make the final table and become a member of the October Nine.

With the blinds at 120,000-240,000 with a 30,000 ante, a player with above average chips raises to 500,000 in the cutoff and gets called by the button and the small blind, who has you well covered.

Sitting in the big blind with KDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit, you come along as well to see a four-way flop of KHeart Suit 7Diamond Suit 3Diamond Suit. The small blind checks, you check, the original raiser checks and the button fires in 1.45 million.

The small blind then raises to 3.4 million. You have just over 15 million remaining in your stack, which is just enough to cover the button. The small blind has you out chipped by about 10 million.

The Questions

Do you call, raise or fold? If raising, how much? If calling, what is your plan for the turn? What kind of hands can the button and the small blind be holding?

The Argument For Raising

You’ve flopped top pair and the second nut flush draw, so in all likelihood, you have at least 12 outs if your opponent is holding a king with a better kicker. By raising to an amount that commits the rest of your stack, let’s say around 6.5 million, it sends a clear message of strength to your opponents and may get them to lay down better kings. Even if your opponent holds the nut flush draw and decides to call, you are still ahead with your pair and hold blocker cards, making you a strong favorite.

The Argument For Calling

You may have a pair and a flush draw, but how many outs do you really have? Your opponent in the small blind showed significant strength by check-raising the button’s bet, meaning there is a chance that your pair of kings is irrelevant. Furthermore, by calling and keeping the pot smaller, there is a chance the button folds, allowing you to play the rest of the hand in position against the one player at the table who can bust you.

Scott AbramsWhat Actually Happened

After Jesse Sylvia check-raised from the small blind to 3.4 million, Scott Abrams then reraised to 7 million. Russell Thomas and Steven Gee both folded back to Sylvia, who moved all in.

Abrams immediately called with his KDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit, but was in rough shape against Sylvia’s set of sevens. The turn and river fell QClub Suit 6Club Suit and Abrams was eliminated in 12th place, good for $590,442.

Sylvia took the massive pot, making him the overwhelming chip leader heading into October’s WSOP main event final table, where he will start with 43.875 million, about a fourth of the total chips in play.

What would you have done and why? Let us know in the comments section below and try not to be results oriented. The best answer will receive a six-month Card Player magazine digital subscription.



over 5 years ago

i would have lead out and bet 1/2 pot on flop and call a raise if it wasnt to much the guy with the set could also move allin which tells u a behind and can fold ur draw stick around to make the final table.


over 5 years ago

Yes you could have made a bet on the flop and the hand probably still plays the same way. With the button raising you and small blind re raising. I think the check was fine on the flop. if it was just the button raising and small blind folds. I would re raise but since the small blind re raised. It was an obvious fold. Small blind is usually holding a monster in that spot and your just hoping to hit the flush. Better to fold the flush draw there and wait for a different spot.


over 5 years ago

After checking the flop, button fires 1.45m and then the SB raises to 3.4m. I would have took my time, and tried put them both on hands. Nut flush draw, set, or AK. With those hands in mind, I'd just call, since you still have 15m and position on the SB. Plus, the button still has an option to play for stacks. See a cheap turn! If an Ace of dime on the turn...time to rock n roll! SO WE JUST CALL THE FLOP! Qc on the turn though. Don't give up yet, you still have a flush draw and top pair. Depending if the button played or not, proceed with caution if the button is still around though. I'm unsure of the SB's stack. I'd call any half pot or less, bets from the SB instantly even if the button is still in. Anything bigger than that would put you in a tough spot. Especially with top pair and flush draw, so many outs and a favorite hand of many players. 6c on the river. Sick! No one has 45, Now you have to worry about AK or sets. You just have KJ now. After the turn, if you still have enough chips to fight on, you can laydown KJ. If they bet the river what can you beat? K10< or the nut flush draw. Most likely holingd will be AK or a set if they continue to bet. Anyways, that's what I would do. James Gavin aka beautifulrain/beautifulreign


over 5 years ago

its an easy fold...not only are there multiple possible made hands that dominate but there is also the possible nut flush draw and a likelyhood somebody else could be eliminated or severely wounded...only a min raise preflop is all that is invested so that as well should be easy to ignore....this stage primary focus should be surviving to make the final table unless you hold an extremely strong hand....let the others eat each other up and just get pair with second flush draw is not even close to playable under the circumstance unless its cheap or you have a huge chip lead and wont be harmed too badly should you lose.


over 5 years ago

I agree! It is like having pocket A's. You are 3 places out of making the final table. With the flop and bets, I would have folded the shown hand as well as pocket A's. To close to the big show!


over 5 years ago

Theres lots of equity in staying alive with a healthy chip stack to get final table money and sponsorship money, so I'd be inclined to small-ball here. M is 30ish so I don't need to make a move yet. 4 handed in a raised pot, KJ is weak. I'll check to see what the raiser and button do since I have good relative position. The small blind didn't squeeze so I'm thinking maybe he holds a pair or a similar hand to mine, QJ or something. There's 2.3 million in the pot, so SPR is around 6. When the button bets his range is fairly wide so I'd plans to check raise him to take it down on the flop and be done. If he calls I'll check it down unless a diamond comes. He can't call unless he beats me or hes drawing, and the raiser isn't likely to check a big hand 4 way with a king on board and a possible flush draw. Unless someone demonstrated a penchant for playing 56 this late, I'm not expecting that.

But then the small blind check raises. New plan. There's now 7 million in the pot and a bettor and a raiser. If I call I'm in a big pot with a mediocre hand with the preflop raiser behind me and the post flop bettor. I'm not calling. The call would make the pot nearly as big as my stack and I'd be priced to chase alot of hands to my detriment. Its this size of raise that makes me think the small blind is not taking an underpair over the top against the buttons wide range. I don't see a gutshot possibility, and if he has a draw, it likely includes the Ace so my flush outs are discounted severely. With the current size of the pot, i dont expect much fold equity, since raising all in would still offer almost 2:1 to the small blind, and I'm probably way behind if he calls. I look back at payoff equity and final table sponsorship and the risk is just to great compared to the reward.
I fold.


over 5 years ago

I would bet on flop,1/3 of pot,then if somethin' happen' u get information what u need.If someone re-raise and then re-re-reaise,u know that ur KJs not good enough,what is stronger then your hand: AKs/o,KQs/o,overpair aces,sets,2 pairs.SB shows a strenght with that re-raise.Its Main Event,its 15m prize,is that was decision worth 15m?I wouldn't be in hand with that re-raise,simply u want to win it,not get lucky with second nut flush,fairly talkin' hes hand was 19th on board.And what we learning about poker-made the BEST POSSBILE HAND and that wasn't in this keys,so muck it.He played that hand like on Zynga(I don't work with them,simply was like that kind of game).Online players whos coming doesn't have briht future with that kind of decision(s).With hope that You'll get me a subscription.
posted from Serbia,poker entuziast.


over 5 years ago

Bet the flop!

You called the pre-flop raise and hit one of the best flops possible for your hand. By betting, this implies big strength to bet into 3 others from early position this late in the tournament with what's on the line.

If the button still raises and sb re-rsises then you have to assume your way behind unless you have a crazy read on both your opponents. What can you be beating or have outs to at this point?

Also by betting you put yourself into control. This may actually scare off the button from raising or even calling.

If you get a fold from the button you may now just get a call from sb trying to slow play (knowing their hand) or possibly scared of a set of kings, although highly unlikely given pre-flop action and the flush draw possibilities. This scenario also gives you a cheap look at the turn if they just call.

More likely, the sb raises and then you evaluate if you have the correct pot odds to make the call and peel off the turn. However if you do flat and take a turn your opponent is most likely going to put you on the flush draw so if the 3rd diamond hits you may not be able to get much more out of your opponent.

So, with the raise and even with proper pot odds your probably best to fold and look for better spots with so much on the line.

If you didn't bet the flop then you still have to fold the bet and raise cause you really don't know where your at now. The hand looked great on the flop at first but now is only top pair with decent kicker.

Hand ranges:
Button: Stone cold bluff, 56d, Axd, AK, AA, KK, KQ-K9, 33, 77, T9d, T8d, 98d
SB: AA, AK, KK, Axd, 33, 77, maybe KQ


over 5 years ago

The SB raises to 3.4 million. You are acting next. There are two diamonds on the board. At the very least the SB is putting you on a diamond flush draw because you checked the flop. Alternatively the SB thinks you're slow-playing kings with a weak kicker. (You obviously don't have a set of kings because you only called pre-flop.) By this logic, we can assume that the SB believes that they have the best hand after the flop and wants to make it expensive for you to try to complete your flush draw. Fold. In tournament play, you don't want to commit so much of your stack on a draw that's marginally EV positive.


over 5 years ago

I would have done the same thing he did.


over 5 years ago

I think it is a fold. Esentially KJ is a bluff catcher. Fold>Call>>>Reraise. By calling, you are basically committing your whole stack. For people who are calling the flop, what are you doing on a blank turn? I feel like a lot of people are just calling to hit their flush. It just puts us in a bad spot as our hand isnt great. Take away the flush draw and its a standard fold assuming the opponents are not getitng out of line. Calling to hit 20% isnt good at all here.

Calling is definitely better than 3 betting because he folds all of his bluffs and ships every better hand. I understand that we are never dominated, but we are never in good shape when he 4 bet shoves. FT bubble of the wsop main even with a decent chip stack makes this a fold with one pair due to ICM.


5 years ago

A 3 bet on the flop is the mistake made in this hand for me. You are only squeezing out the hands you want to get into a big pot against, such as a PP or a weaker flush draw (unlikely but there are two blinds involved here). Two pair you can basically rule out with this texture.

Never folding a flop like this is likely to burn you at times, but you also don't look like a fish when you play a big pot drawing at the world playing against the cutoff and SB.

Congratulations to Scott on his huge score, its much easier to say fold here when we know the diamond isn't coming!