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Poker Hand Of The Week -- 11/2/12

You Decide What's The Best Play

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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 are among the final two for a major tournament title and so far, during your brief time playing heads-up, your opponent has gotten the better of you.

With a stack 69.6 million, you have nearly 35 big blinds. Your opponent, with 128.6 million, has just over 64 big blinds.

Your opponent has the button and min-raises to 4 million. With QSpade Suit JSpade Suit, you decide to three-bet to 9.5 million. Your opponent then puts you all in for your last 59.8 million.

The Questions

Do you call or fold? Do you regret three-betting out of position? Would flatting have been a better option? Are you calling here every time you think your two cards are live or only when you think you have the best of it? If folding, what would be your strategy now down 2-1 in your heads-up match?

Greg MersonWhat Actually Happened

This hand should feel pretty familiar to anyone who watch the finale of the 2012 World Series of Poker main event final table. Much to everyone’s surprise, Jesse Sylvia called all in holding QSpade Suit JSpade Suit, and was fortunate to be drawing live against Greg Merson’s KDiamond Suit 5Diamond Suit.

Unfortunately for the Martha’s Vineyard native, the board ran out 9Diamond Suit 6Club Suit 3Heart Suit 6Spade Suit 7Club Suit, giving the title and the $8,531,853 first-place prize to Merson. Sylvia earned $5,295,149 for his runner-up finish.

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.

 
 
 
 

Comments

Adam6
9 years ago

personally it was enough of a loss at 9+ i w oulda let his get that and build his ego and got a better spot, suited q,j in the heat of the moment is cool but not final table cool, at that level a better spot coulda been picked as well as better position. i woulda mucked and threw of his game the next few hands before moving like that. why grind so hard and play marginally for a 50/50 or even know your calling behind pre flop. retrospect he shoulda taken the loss and stole the blinds to get that back with marginal raises or a quick bluff to recoup the loss

 
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Pedro3
9 years ago

Do you call or fold? FOLD
Do you regret three-betting out of position? Yes, this is the perfect hand to flat call pre flop, you are out of position so you can call pre flop if you hit you can check raise all in, villain is going to call because you dont have a big stack.

Would flatting have been a better option? YES
Are you calling here every time you think your two cards are live or only when you think you have the best of it? When i have best

If folding, what would be your strategy now down 2-1 in your heads-up match? With such a small stack , k-7 plus, any pair , q 10 +, an of course any ace is good

 
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Highraker
9 years ago

Well, i would consider to make the three bet here, even out of position. Heads up means representing a lot of hands so i prefer to put the pressure on my opponent.

Facing a re-raise means a fold to me. 100%. What hand can i beat? I need to hit to win the hand.

What people need to know is that this hand happened after playing 12 hours. It happened but it should not happen if and when you wanna grab a bracelet and becoming a world champion!

 
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WintimeUSA
9 years ago

bad call! shouldve flatted pre, qj suited plays great post flop, but i dont want to get 70mill with it pre, i was shocked that merson had k 5.

 
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answer20
9 years ago

Maybe we were a little tired or perceptually card dead, but with 35BB you can just flat call here and look for a nice Flop to try and get back to a better chip ratio. In this case here you probably will be faced with a c-bet and then can make your move ... or not.

Both players did so well to stay 3-handed for such a long time that this type of move was a surprise until below 20BB or so ... folks have come back from 11 to 1 stacks heads up so this was not a place to push the button. The same could be said for Merson ... such a weak King ... where shoving (or folding) was really the only play with this holding he really cold have been in a bad spot with such a weak side kick. Was there a little 'extra' in this 3-bet size that may have indicated weakness?

 
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Arkyten
9 years ago

Flat. See Flop. Then use the Hollywood sigh and whisper, Guess I'm All-In.

 
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DuckThis
9 years ago

The real problem is that Jesse used some information he had gotten from Greg in a hand with Balsiger. Greg told Jesse "you just have to go for it sometimes" when Greg got Balsiger to lay down QJ in a stone cold bluff. Jesse found out that Greg had Q 10 and would of lost that hand to Balsiger.

Folding would of been the right call.

 
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crosow
9 years ago

Definitely a situation where flat calling is optimal. JQ plays great post flop but not great to call off 50 Mil in chips, espeically when considering the difference between 1st and 2nd prize $, and the once in a lifetime oppurtunity to be playing heads up for this much $. That said I think Sylvia played well, but should have let this hand go IMO..

 
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Thomas7
9 years ago

is call was actually not as bad as you would think. His equity vs. Merson's range is about 45 Percent. (AQ, any pair, 1/2 combos of AK, AA-QQ (discounted to just one combo each). Merson is not shoving any hands that will be behind if called with an Ace high hand and will most likely not over play his true value hands preflop is how I"m coming up with this range. Also you have to figure there may be some air in Merson's range which in this hand it was the air portion but generally we can assume an opponent will have air in that spot not two often (maybe one in ten times). So if you consider the pot odds for the actual range, the fact that Merson's range has air, the disadvantage of losing more chips playing against someone that maybe be more experienced head up, I think this is a call.

Also its very possible that Syliva had some good reads on his opponent because he made many great laydowns in standard spots to call three handed. He seem to be right in these laydowns an unusual amount of times. So I'm thinking he had a read that said I really think he's on the weaker part of his range (Air and 33-77)
Given the chip disadvantage I think Sylvia needs to take this plus ev spot. Given the pot odds and the further hole he'd be in if he folds.
** discounted combos reffer to only counting a portion of the combinations of that hand. For example you could hold AA six different ways but if you reraise most the time and didn't preflop we would only count one combo in that opponents range.

 
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x19
9 years ago

after thinking a couple minutes i'd fold...... i'd be thinking he's trying to run me over or i'd fear he was already on a pair or possibly AK or AQ.......even a pair of deuces is dominant.... no need to put life at risk with QJ and 36 bb's, even though it is suited its a fairly easy fold.....if i folded i would have still had enough to mount a comeback fairly easy with a better holding and/or position.....fold fold fold...even though i'd hate it......just too many hands could have dominated QJ........however, i can see someone pushing with that hand in certain situations but just not calling an all in after a standard raise.

 
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Lisa1
9 years ago

I don't mind the 3 bet pre at all but I think a flat is somewhat better, I'm about 75% in favor of flatting vs 3 betting.

However, when Merson puts Silvia in for the rest of his stack Silvia should have laid it down. I did the math, to the best of my ability with the information presented, and Silvia was only getting about 1.3:1 on a call meaning he needs at least 44% equity against Merson's range for a call to be profitable. Merson would need to be shoving better than 25% here to give Silvia even close to the equity he needs to make this a profitable call. When we add in what's a stake I want much better odds than that.

Silva still has about 30bb left after folding so he can definitely fold here and wait for a better spot.

 
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celebritypokerj
9 years ago

Beat a super tough opponent, need a one gamblish play. QJs calling is okey. Most case flip. (Personally hate calling with QJs, because easy dominate of course! This situation I don't really know I respect his live poker read)

Playing with not great player to don't need crazy gamble. Wait more better spot. then paid off.

 
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Burky33
9 years ago

I think this situation calls for a "stop and go" play. I would flat the min raise because QJs is too strong to fold but I don't want to play for all of my chips here. The villain's all-in calling range is going to have my QJ dominated a lot of times. So I flat the min-raise.
I would then lead small on any flop. This may induce a raise from my opponent which I would have to equate my equity in the hand to call. If I catch any piece of the flop, I would go for it.
If the flop is 3 cards under our QJ and villain calls my 4BB bet, we should have a pot of about 16BB. I'm shoving my remaining 27BB's no matter if the turn is a brick or hits my hand Q or J. My shove is either a bluff or for value on the turn. He's then put to the test. Good luck........

 
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SoCalBuck
9 years ago

I would 3-bet the QJ just as Sylvia did. QJ is standard in a re-steal range, especially when steals are occurring 50%+ of time.
I would leo call Merson's shove. You are getting 3:2 on the call, and QJ suited has better equity than that vs. Merson's range (likely to be 22+, suited A, suited K, maybe some suited Q, most Broadway combos).

 
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Bryant1
9 years ago

Not considering all the factors and information leading up to this hand I would fold to the 4 bet all in. In order to call based off of that information I would need an A, a K, or preferably a pocket pair obviously. Folding means I'm losing a little bit but I still have enough of a stack to make some plays and I most likely will still have time to catch a little bit stronger hand to go all in with.
However, given the way things had been going down during the tournament with Mersons play I would have most likely called the all in with the QJ. I would have put myself at an under but close to a coin toss which in my opinion with a short stack heads up isn't a bad move.

 
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bluesbread
9 years ago

Most of the responders are being totally results-oriented. They claim they would have done something different because they know Sylvia lost the hand and the tournament. Sylvia made a fine play. It didn't work, that's OK.

 
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