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Poker Hand Of The Week -- 5/2/13

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

There are 10 players left in a major live tournament. With a stack of 2,688,000 and blinds of just 12,000-24,000 with a 4,000 ante, you are among the tournament’s chip leaders.

A young, aggressive player raises from middle position to 49,000 and you make the call from the hijack. The cutoff, sitting with 438,000, also calls, as does the big blind. The flop comes down QHeart Suit JDiamond Suit 4Heart Suit and the action is checked to you. With an open-ended straight draw, you decide to bet 94,000.

The cutoff then moves all in behind you for a total of 385,000. The big blind and the original raiser both fold. There is 727,000 in the pot and it will cost you an additional 291,000 to call.

The Questions

Do you call or fold? What kind of hand does your opponent need to have in order to make your call profitable? Is there any concern that you may be up against a flush draw, killing some of your outs? Assuming you have eight clean outs, how often do you win this hand?

Michael LinsterWhat Actually Happened

At the WPT Bestbet Open Main Event in Jacksonville, Florida, Michael Linster felt priced in with his 10Spade Suit 9Spade Suit on a flop of QHeart Suit JDiamond Suit 4Heart Suit and made the call against his all in opponent, Pete Chwala.

Chwala showed KClub Suit QSpade Suit and his top pair held when the board ran out 7Spade Suit 2Spade Suit. Chwala doubled up and went on to finish in fourth place for $79,619.

Linster rebounded from that pot to win the tournament, his first WPT title and the $321,521 first-place prize.

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 8 years ago

Seems like a reasonable call. His big raise seems to indicate he is protecting a pair or maybe even two pair against someone running out a flush or straight. Unlikely that a flush draw eats out like that.

You hit you straight draw, what, something like 33% of the time? So the pot odds are in tat zone to call if you want. The big factor in my mind is that you can afford to make this call with your stack size. So, a good chance to take out an opponent and you can afford the hit if it doesn't come through. Plus, given your bet, yo re basically pot committed.

Another factor in calling, if you were on the fence, is that you are closing out the action. No fear of a big re-raise again behind you.

I would have done the same thing, although odds are I would not have been a chip leader that far in the tourney! The stack size to M in the pot is pretty nice.


over 8 years ago

Worst case hands that I see hero being up against would be either the flush draw that could end the hand for us, trips, or two pair. Another concern hand that hero has to worry about is any hand combo that has a K in it to reduce the number of draws to hero's straight. The cutoff most likely doesn't have a monster given that he called pre-flop instead of pushing all in at that point w/ 2 already in the hand so I think we can eliminate big holdings here like JJ and above plus big Aces. I also think that with the push from the cutoff that we have to think it more likely that he has a made hand at this point than a flush draw at this point (unless his flush draw was something like JT of hearts). Given this information, I'd think that hero is about 25% to win the hand here - which is more or less the odds that he's facing w/ the decision to call or fold.

OPK makes good points about hero's decision being the last action in the hand and that the hero's stack size can definitely absorb the potential loss. One piece of additional information that would at least be useful would be relative chip counts at the table - but knowing that at least at the start of the hand that hero is amongst the leaders means that we can't be much worse than middle of the pack after the hand should we fail to draw out.

I think hero really needs to make the call here for a few reasons: 1) the price of the call is reasonably close to the winning expectation for the hand; 2) any EV I'm giving up in the hand hero should be willing to risk to gain eliminating a player, further cement chip position, and the equity of moving up the payout ladder of the tournament; and 3) even if hero loses the hand here, I think it has a chance to help his table image a bit in that it tells the table (particularly short stacks) that hero is willing to play his draws aggressively and as such helps to polarize the hands that the opposition will play - specifically, hero may be able to place opponent's on more made hands than draws (why would an opponent push a draw against someone that would be willing to push their own draw) whereas the opponent's will not know whether hero is pushing a draw or their own made hand?


over 8 years ago

With that board and his flop bet, Hero created a wonderful opportunity for the villain to make a move with his relatively small stack. Villains small stack size should be the critical deciding factor as to whether Hero makes a flop bet and what the size of that bet should be, as Hero should assume villain could very likely move all-in in response to an opening bet.
Villain should be looking for these kinds of opportunities to make a play and the Hero should be thinking about how to deny those opportunities by passing on a play or sizing his bet to make calling an all-in attractive.
If Hero thinks he wants to make a play for the pot on the flop, I think he needs to bet something closer to 125-130K. That's a reasonable bet for his draw and makes an all-in play less attractive to the villain and easier for the hero to call


over 8 years ago

You are up against a range that looks something like:


Against this range we are a 2.52 to 1 underdog.
The pot is laying 2.48 to 1.

It's very close based purely on pot odds and the call represents about ~11% of our remaining stack.

I'd probably call but I'm not sure folding would be a worse play.


over 8 years ago

Insta call. No further discussion needed.