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Poker Hand Of The Week -- 1/17/13

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 heads-up for a tournament title and are up against a very aggressive and very accomplished pro. You have a tendency to play very unconventionally, and are known for taking somewhat confusing lines.

With 1,855,000 in chips (37 big blinds) against your opponents 8,345,000 (167 big blinds) and blinds of 25,000-50,000 with a 5,000 ante, you aren’t short stacked, but are severely out chipped.

Your opponent min-raises on the button to 100,000 and you make the call from the big blind with ADiamond Suit 2Heart Suit. The flop comes down QClub Suit 3Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit, giving you bottom pair. You check, your opponent bets 100,000 and you check-raise to 250,000.

Your opponent calls, and you slow down by checking the AClub Suit on the turn. Your opponent bets 225,000 and you decide to just call with your two pair. The river is the 5Heart Suit and you decide to lead with a bet of 500,000. Your opponent then moves all in. You have 775,000 behind.

The Questions

Can you possibly fold two pair in this spot? Does your remaining stack influence your decision? If you could change one or two things about your line, what would it be? What realistic hands could your opponent shove with that you can beat? What realistic hands could your opponent shove with that have you beat?

Vanessa SelbstWhat Actually Happened

Despite betting nearly a third of his stack on a board reading QClub Suit 3Diamond Suit 2Diamond Suit AClub Suit 5Heart Suit with ADiamond Suit 2Heart Suit, Vladimir Troyanovskiy somehow managed to fold and preserve his tournament life in the $25,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 High Roller.

It turned out to be the right decision, as his opponent, Vanessa Selbst, was holding 6Club Suit 4Club Suit for the nut straight. Troyanovskiy battled back and was one card away from making a match of it, but Selbst nailed a three-outer on the river to bust him and win the tournament, along with the $1,424,420 first-place prize. Troyanovskiy picked up $792,180 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.



5 years ago

Im jamming on the turn . I feel that the Villian is drawing at this point or has also hit their A. I want them calling off a stack against my two pair at this spot. 2 pair IMO is extremely strong , when its heads up and especially when your low stacked .


5 years ago

If you simply check-call the flop, I'm ok with checking the Ace on the turn. Because you check-raised, you HAVE to be strong on the turn. Simply check-calling the flop would represent you drawing to the flush (which did not hit) or that you are weak (which you were) both of which would warrant a check on the turn. HOWEVER, the hero chose to Check-Raise the flop, so the hero must be come out betting the flop or at least coming over the top after the bet of 225,000 on the turn by the villain.


5 years ago

I don't see any way I'm not jamming the turn here. Yes, that means I lose because she can justify the call with her stack and 12 outs. But that's life.


5 years ago

I'm pretty sure I'd call. I like the line Hero took, Disguise the strength of the hand on the turn, to hopefully get a big call on the river. If you did the job you were trying to on the turn, your opponent can value bet any two pair and maybe even a weak Ace/strong Q. After all your intention on the turn was to show some weakness. But my line would have been to go all in on the turn. When your out-chipped 4 to 1, with two flush draws on the board and potential open ended strait, there's way to many outs to get beat here. You have the weakest A's up, even a medium ace has 9 outs on you. There's close to a million in the pot and you've only got 1.2 behind. If you take it down here you've increased your stack by about 33%, if you opponent calls with a draw and misses, your doubling up. Besides the outs that can beat you, there's a massive amount of River bluff cards for your opponent to use against you. Villain is not putting you on a draw that's for sure, so any club or Diamond hits and they're still putting you all in. Take the money while you can in this spot.


5 years ago

I would have to start with my play on the flop. I check, he bets, I don't check-raise here because what exactly am I saying? Now, when the Ace on the turn hits, I check again, assuming he will follow in the same path of betting, I check raise him here and leave it up to him if he decides to shove All In. If he does, I almost snap call.


5 years ago

As played, I think this is a clear call.

If we bet this river, we're trying to induce a bluff from Villian. The river bet can't be considered a value bet because we don't beat anything that will call us. Are we really hoping that Villian makes a crying call with a small pair like 66 or 77? The only other hands in Villian's range that call us are baby sets (22, 33 and 55). All other hands will either shove or fold. Since we know that Villian is a very aggressive player, we expect her to shove a bunch of missed draws and turn some weaker made hands like a pair of aces or smaller two pairs into a bluff. The reason is because we can't really rep the straight here when we bet. The only plausible combinations of 4's that get to this river are 42s, 43s, 54s and 54o (maybe 64s as well). Everything else would have folded at some point. Villian, being an aggressive player, would recognize this and pounce on our bet to represent the straight herself. So, when we're raised, we got our wish and have to snap it off.

Furthermore, we're getting 2.8:1 to call, with 2.16M in the pot and 775k to call. We only need win 27% of the time for the call to be profitable. Villian's bluffing frequency will certainly be high enough for the call to be correct.

Of course, this is a pretty rough spot, but Hero got into the situation be making a pretty bad check/call on the turn. Villian's range consists mostly of draws when she bets so small on the turn, and by calling, we'll be playing the river out of position with a bit more than a pot-sized bet behind. Check raising all in is obviously the standard, and much better, line.

I do like the flop check raise because we can assume Villian to be on an 80%+ range for min-raising the button, which means that her range is mostly air when c-betting this flop.

On the river, I prefer a check-call or check-fold depending on Villian's bet size. Betting to induce is okay, as I already mentioned. Bet-folding is the worst option out of the four, given the pot odds and the fact that Villian will have a lot of missed draws in her range.


5 years ago

I wrote out a response without seeing what villain had or who it was. I was surprised of the hand, but not as much after seeing it was Vanessa. PF min raise on Btn from very agg opp = very wide range. Std Cbet on flop, but calling a CR narrows this villain's likely range to hands of medium strength (most any decent Q, A-3, medium pocket pr) or complete air. I base this on bkgrd saying hero took strange lines, so villain may think a medium strength hand is good and not fold. Also, villain is very agg, so may continue with air in position with many chips. I rule out big hands and big draws as I expect this villain re-raises those hands. Rule out bare flush draw since accomplished villain likely would fold to CR (you have the Ad). I also rule out straight draws since same player would likely not call CR when a flush draw is possible. On the TURN, I don't think an A helps villain (to have better hand than I) unless he has exactly A-3. I believe villain re-raises A-Q on flop due to texture and aggressiveness. As hero, I believe I am ahead at this point. With two flush draws on board and an agg opponent, I look to CR this aggressive opponent by going all in. Since hero check calls, I would be looking to get my chips in with safe river cards. Even though the river card puts 4 card straight on board, it does not fit too many hands I have in my opponents range. As the hero, I look to value bet. After getting raised all in, I re-evaluate. Hero knows that villain knows hero has committed over half his chips and may feel committed with 15bb left. Villain has also seen hero act agg on flop and river. Even though villain is agg, it appears this river card has beaten hero. Villain has to expect a call fairly often based on the prior action. This screams strength to me. I now think villain likely had 55 or 44 and thought it was good on flop due to hero taking strange lines as mentioned in bkgrd. Then agg villain represented the A on turn. Then villain hit set or gutshot on river and is shoving for value. I fold here based on my analysis and having 15bb still has a glimmer of hope. I would be very surprised to see 4-6 here; however, now that I know it was Vanessa, it is not as shocking. The exact cards do not matter, because she was strong as it appeared she was.


5 years ago

Not sure how you check the Turn when Ace-rag hits and allow draws to go free in this spot. BUT you are only behind AQ or A3 at this point and if we get a smooth call on Turn and the draws do hit then you will have to put in more chips on River or get pushed off your hand with a strong bet that is sure to come if you check .. bluff or not. Not so sure we want to trap being outchipped so much right now.

Checking the 'scare' card Ace would have allowed for a check-raise opportunity if VS bets out on Turn. It didn't come so we are stuck value betting the River and getting pushed off our hand by making a nice read on our opponent. Question comes to mind that wouldn't it be better to check River also? Or did we have to bet something to complete our read on VS?


5 years ago

Not a hard lay down; opponent knows you could have Q4, A4, 44, 43, 54, 42, so her shove is clearly a straight and not any other hand. With you having only 775,000 behind she is not going to shove with anything else as she can call or fold to your bet and still most likely win the tournament.

Being out chipped against a player who bluffs and floats, and being out of position, I would have played this hand differently. I am okay with calling the min-raise and check raising the flop - so far so good. Her call of the check raise was a sign of weakness and indicated she was drawing to hit something and end it, otherwise she would have shoved right there. She could have A4, A5, flush draw, 24, 25, 34, 35, 45, AK, or the hand she had. So when the ace comes on the turn I don't want to give a free card. With the potential flush draw, I would shove all in as my action on the turn. Most likely I am ahead unless she hit a straight, which is a low probability with the various hands she could have. She may call if she hit a bare ace and I will be a big favorite. If she calls with a big draw, like the hand she had, at least I am not giving her a good price. I would rather chip up by 350,000 than try and milk it or bluff catch.