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Poker Hand Of The Week -- 12/13/12

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 are sitting five-handed in a marquee tournament with a slight chip lead and a stack of 75 big blinds. There is only one player in the danger zone, the big blind who holds 10 big blinds.

The second shortest stack at the table, one of the less active members of the final table with 40 big blinds, raises on the button to 135,000 with blinds at 30,000-60,000.

You look down at KDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit from the small blind and make the call. The short stack in the big blind folds. The flop comes down AHeart Suit QDiamond Suit 6Diamond Suit, giving you a straight draw and the second nut-flush draw.

You decided to lead for 150,000 and your opponent calls. The turn is the 3Heart Suit, putting a potential heart flush and additional straight draws on board. You bet 230,000 and once again, your opponent calls.

The river is the 3Spade Suit, missing your hand completely. Your opponent has 1.905 million remaining and you have him well covered.

The Questions

Do you check or bet? If betting, how much? Are you betting for value with king high or as a bluff? What kinds of hands can your opponent be holding given his line? If your opponent is drawing as well, wouldn’t your hand win at showdown? What kinds of hands can you get your opponent to fold? If your opponent bets after you check, what do you do?

Ravi RaghavanWhat Actually Happened

At the World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Antonio Esfandiari opted to check the river on a board reading AHeart Suit QDiamond Suit 6Diamond Suit 3Heart Suit 3Spade Suit.

His opponent, Thomas Winters, checked behind, showing KHeart Suit JHeart Suit for a busted straight and flush draw. Esfandiari showed KDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit for the same busted draw and the two players chopped the pot.

Esfandiari wound up finishing in fourth place, earning $329,339. Winters took third, banking $483,031. The eventual winner was Ravi Raghavan, who took home a first-place prize of $1,268,571.

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 9 years ago

I enjoy these but can you please take the time to draw the graphic correctly? It really hurts when trying to visualize the hand.


over 9 years ago

BryceFox, what do you mean by draw the graphic correctly? All of the cards, stack sizes and labels are correct.

If you are referring to position, that is addressed in the hand description. The cards listed are not listen in position order, nor is there even a button on the table. The "hero" is always listed before the "villain."


over 9 years ago

The flat call on the flop and turn seem to indicate a general lack of confidence in the hand. It's hard to believe that a solid player would slow-play or play a dry ace so passively on such a draw-heavy board, especially after a blank hits on the turn. I would've made what appears to be a value bet, between 1/4 and 1/3 the pot, on the river. I believe that would get hands as strong as QJ or even KQ to fold.


over 9 years ago

With a tight player in position and two flat calls all ready... I see myself checking. I have fired two barrels all ready and a third is unlikely to phase the player. Unless of course he is on a busted draw. However with the tight image. The raise preflop. There are just so many hands that could beat you. AQ, AJ to name just two. Firing a third shot would open you up to getting raised. Some times it pays to put the breaks on and this is one situation I would do so.


over 9 years ago

This scenario can be broken down multiple ways. Generally five handed the ranges are going to be pretty wide. Since our opponent is relatively short stacked with only 40bb's it is easier to assign a range to his hand. I would initially believe he has A-X so calling preflop is appropriate. When the flop comes out and opponent checks it is a strange move. The fact that he calls a bet out of turn drastically narrows his range. Lets think of the hands that people would do this with. A monster like A-Q or any two pair holdings as well as any flush draws. The turn card is a blank so if we are going to tell a story lets tell a good one and barrel again. The fact that he just calls yet again screams nuts or a draw. Since he checks for a third time we wouldn't expect a competent opponent to check a monster on the river he loses to much value, and we are representing a A-X type hand. So since our hand only beats a bluff and doesn't have much show down value we have to bet. The right bet amount I believe is 1.2 million. Your likely to get your opponent to fold any Q -X and any draw. He will most likely call with any ace since the board paired in the river giving him aces and threes with a queen. Your making your opponent call of his entire tournament with a 2/3rds size bet In essence your putting him all in.


over 9 years ago

Flat calling preflop with KJ and position on the hand is correct i believe. After flopping the huge draw, and you're opponent checks, Betting is the correct play, maybe 2/3 pot.. Now when he calls the bet, you can narrow down his range. K J is unlikely, since we hold KJ, So we have to put him on an AA, KK, QQ, A9-AK, maybe KQ, 2 diamonds is unlikely, as we're holding that. When he checks the turn, You can discount AK i'd say, as he wouldn't want you to have a free look at the river if you're on diamonds. So now i'm placing his range on AT, A9, or AA or QQ.. A weak ace, or a monster. The KJ is possible, but again, unlikely as we're holding it. When he checks the river a 3rd time, you can discount AA and QQ, unless he think's you have complete air, and wants to induce a bluff, which, if he has AA, he probably thinks you have Air, so a check would be the right play as there very few hands you can have. I think when he checks the river, there's virtually no hand you can beat.. The only hands you could beat are a diamond draw, which you have, so it's unlikely. Normally i would say that considering there's nothing you can beat, to bet.. But in this scenario, i think giving up on the hand and checkhing behind is the right play.. You're going to get called by just about ANY Ace, the only possible hand you can get to fold is the KQ, JQ type hand, but given the amount of hands that beat you, and will always call, vs the two hands that MIGHT fold.. I think the check behind is the right play, pray he turns over KJ like he did for a chop.. Yes the bet here would have worked, but probability wise, i dont think it is the right play.