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Poker Hand Of The Week: 7/20/13

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

There are 20 people left in the biggest tournament of the year and after two more players are eliminated, there is a sizable pay jump. With 8,025,000 in chips and blinds of 100,000-200,000 with a 30,000 ante, you are sitting with 40 big blinds.

An opponent with 6,345,000 raises to 400,000 in middle position and you call from the big blind with JClub Suit8Club Suit. The flop comes down JSpade Suit9Club Suit5Club Suit, giving you top pair and a flush draw.

You check and your opponent bets 500,000. You have 7,595,000 remaining and your opponent has 5,415,000 behind his flop bet.

The Questions

Do you call or raise? If calling, what is your plan for non-club turn cards? What is your plan if you make your flush, given the fact that you are out of position? If raising, how much? Does the pay jump affect your decision?

Amir LehavotWhat Actually Happened

Facing a 500,000 bet from Amir Lehavot on a board reading JSpade Suit9Club Suit5Club Suit, James Alexander decided to raise all in holding JClub Suit8Club Suit.

Lehavot snap called with 5Diamond Suit5Heart Suit for bottom set and it held when the turn and river fell 5Spade Suit4Spade Suit, giving him quads. Lehavot doubled to 13 million in chips, while Alexander was crippled to just 1,680,000.

Lehavot went on to make the World Series of Poker main event final table and Alexander was eliminated in 19th place, earning $285,408, failing to make the next pay jump worth an additional $72,000.

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

Nate4
over 7 years ago

well, i think that the most straightforward answer is to chk/raise or chk/jam... i don't really like those options dues to the fact that it will close out off of his "air" hands. and only allow him to continue with hands that are in the top of his value range...
IF you Chk/raise something like $1.5M might be a good size. but we would be putting a total of $3.2M in the pot with action back on the PFR with $5.45M behind.
IF/WHEN he 3 bets all in (on the flop), you have to call $5.45M to win $14.1M (-ish assuming there are 6 players).

IF WE are up against just one pair hands like AA's, KK's, QQ's i quess that we are getting an okay price to gamble...
IF the VILLAIN has a hand that IS in his value range, what would he be willing to "get it in" with? AA, KK, QQ, AKs(clubs), AQs(clubs), KQ(clubs), QTs(clubs), 99, and 55 are all well within the Villain's range. as he only 2X(min raise) pre flop. and, against this range, you would no t quite be getting the right price to call off.

However, keeping with the theme of the "title article"

I think that CHK/CALLING is the BEST option. it allows you to control the size of the pot for (at least) one more street. and you can re-evaluate on the turn.
By,CHK/CALLING, i think this also allows us to keep a bluff or two in his range. thus extracting more value from worse hands...
Another advantage and possibly the most IMPORTANT advantage to CHK/CALLING, is that it gives you the chance to CHK/FOLD on subsequent streets! as it is not that likely top pair middle kicker would be the best hand at show down. (if) when the villain opens pre, and barrels all 3 streets. (unless you have a sic read)

Just remember that you don't have to win every pot in a tournament. you only have to win the last one!

-Big Country

 
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FoxAssassin
over 7 years ago

Ok first of all I'm not that good of a player and I'm giving this a go..

J8 suited on the bb 20 people to go and a good 8m in chips I would not call pre flop just because I'm out of pos and if I hit I would not know if its any good. At this stage of the game everyone will be tight and not wanting to bust and j8 is to much of a risk..

But in this spot lets say I called and that is the flop.. I'm
Mostly blind here I have no idea what villain has so I'm guessing so I would check see the size he will bet. I would just call his bet just because if he has AA or anything better then a pair of jacks I need to improve. Don't want to gamble so close to the win..might just call. If a turn comes a brick I'm check folding.. If a club hits I would bet out 600,000 and if he calls and brick hits the river I would bet 1.2m... If he raises the turn or river I'm all in..

Even if I made the flush there is a chance he will not pay me off so there is no point.. Hand can be played tricky when your first to act without gambling.

 
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FoxAssassin
over 7 years ago

Sorry hard to play the hand first to act is what the last bit was meant to say

 
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Jo-Anna
over 7 years ago

On the flop, I would have bet half the pot, about $450,000 as a feeler; of course villain would have called or raised (to which I would call except not an all-in). Seeing the turn was a spade, it makes the hand easier to get out of considering there would only be a small percentage of hitting a flush anyway. If villain pushes all-in or puts a large bet on the turn, to me, it's an easy fold.

 
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EvilJade
over 7 years ago

I would call.

I know this a non-standard play as most would raise to push thinking that they are facing an overpair near a money bubble but the flop is not going to make an over-pair fold thinking that you hit 2-pair.
So you are just in a coin flip vs AA-QQ if you get all in after the flop.

For a non-club turn card I would check fold.

The pay jump does affect my decision but not as much as my position.

I know that this type of play does make me appear weak tight but I would sooner play aggressively with position.

Note(1) That the min call pre-flop is ok but you are hoping to get 2 pair or flopped flush which both very unlikely. The flush pair and top pair back kicker is ok for one c-bet call on the flop but unless I hit my flush or 2 pair I'm check , folding.

Note (2) I will go broke if a J or 8 comes on the turn.

 
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Lisa1
over 7 years ago

It depends on what sizable means, if we're talking several thousand like the pay bumps in the WSOP I can see just calling since we're definitely getting a good price to call with the equity we have with top pair and the outs we have to the flush if our top pair isn't good. I don't see folding here and I think it's really close between call and ck/raise and both are fine. I lean more to a ck/raise. If we ck/raise I think we make it about 1.3M. If we choose to ck/raise we have to be prepared to get it in if we get reraised. Being out of position if we hit our flush we'll have a hard time getting paid for it so that's why I lean towards a ck/raise.

If we flat and the turn isn't a club, jack or 8 we can check/call or more than likely check/fold.

If we ck/raise and he flatted (which would be horrible but happens) and the turn isn't a club, jack or 8 I think we can either ck/fold or bet smallish to keep control of the pot and see the river, I much prefer the later. If he flatted the raise on the flop he probably has an overpair but he's afraid we hit a set or he's fairly weak and will likely just fold or just flat again letting us see a cheap river.

You don't ask but if the hand goes this way, ck/raise, bet turn, then what do we do on a non club, non J or 8 river? Depends on how weak we think he is and how likely we think he is to fold. We do have some showdown value with our jacks so we can just check evaluate but we can also bet the river, if I bet, which I think I prefer, we need to bet a little big, while still making it look like a value bet, I think. If he has an overpair he's likely folding to a decent size river bet. We can also shove the river but I think this tends to look really bluffy and makes us more likely to get hero called.

If we hit our flush I might lean towarda a river shove hoping he takes it as a bluff and will pay us off.

 
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Allison
over 7 years ago

My gut instinct would be to call. The problem with any sort of c/r or c/jam is that anything that calls that has us CRUSHED. We have a hand that we can somewhat disguise if the flush or the straight comes through, allowing us to get more value or to induce a bluff. If it's a blank on the turn, then it's likely that we still have the best hand and we can continue to get value. However, if it's not a blank, we can c/c or even get away from it.

 
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Ben3
over 7 years ago

I call the first bet knowing I have 9 outs to a flush. If he bets too much on the turn the I must assume he has a Full House or 4 of a Kind. Too many people get stuck in the fact that they have top pair with a good draw, and that's what costs a person money. I must take into consideration how much money I may be losing if I make the wrong call this late in the tournament as well. J-8 suited in middle position is something I probably lay down knowing I can be outkicked or someone may hit trips on the flop. I don't want to get all my chips in against A-J, K-J, Q-J, or J-10 pre-flop or post-flop. With 20 people left you choose your hands wisely and carefully based on position, and how many chips your opponent has that you may be calling in any given situation.

 
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OPK
over 7 years ago

I think a call is in order here. Problem with c/r is that we are out of position, and we may be crippled or pot committed if we get too far too early.

Do we really want to jam here? I wait for a better opportunity, and/or wait for eliminations to move up the money board. Now, if a club comes on the turn, I probably check/jam unless the turn pairs another card (making a boat more likely, perhaps).

Interesting question is: how do you play it differently if you had suited Jack-over card as opposed to an 8.

 
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Thomas13
over 7 years ago

Because the hand is so close to a huge pay jump, I think it forces hero to play this hand conservatively. Seeing as he is out of position, I think the best play is to just call the flop bet and see what the turn does. In the late stages of a tournament like this, you want to avoid going broke/busting and I think the best way to do that is to control the size of the pot. Here, the hero gets to see if his hand can improve on the turn while only committing a little more than 2 more BB. For that reason, only a call is in order then if your hand doesnt improve on the turn it makes it a little easier to let go. A raise on the turn basically opens up pandora's box and easily allows this hand to get out of control. Overall, a little more than 4BB committed to speculate on a top pair flush draw flop seems worth it, but if you're gonna play it that way you also have to be prepared to let it go if you don't catch it.

 
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Lisa1
over 7 years ago

You guys who want to just call seem to be forgetting we have top pair as well as a FD we also have outs to two pair or trips giving us about 12 outs total. This combined with our top pair gives us a LOT of equity. Our opponent opened from middle position so unless he's a total nit his range doesn't have to be that tight. Most players are going to cbet a flop like this close to 100% of the time. We are going to take this pot down with a ck/raise a large % of the time and if we get flatted we'll be able to take it on most turns a large %. Just because he flats doesn't mean we can't still take down the pot club or no club.

The big money bump is an advantage for us here as our opponent isn't likely to stack off with a one pair hand. He may call a ck/raise on the flop with AA-KK-QQ or even AJ-KJ but when we fire another barrel on the turn he's just not that likely to continue unless his hand improves.

It's because we're out of position that the more aggressive flop play is often best. By ck/raising we either take it down there or take control of the pot if he flats.

Also are we in it to win it or in it for a few thousand more? If we're in it to win it as we should be aggression is usually best.

 
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OPK
over 7 years ago

Lisa, you make a good counter argument although I stand by the call.

It really depends on whether your read is that Villain is likely to fold to your c/r. If so, you scoop. If (s)he flats, you are getting close to pot committed even if you blank (>50% chance). If he reraises like here, you are pot committed with the same odds.

It goes back to the question I raised, in my mind at least: is this the hand I want to go all the way with after the flop? Or do I take a free card and assess? I wait for a better shot, better position, and maybe a few eliminations to payment for patience. But I agree with your analysis if we are earlier in the tourney and the stack:blind ratio is not as tight.

 
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Robert27
over 7 years ago

I would have most likely min-reraised off the flop raise. If called, I would have hopfully checked down the turn and river assuming the flush was no more or at serious risk after the turn as it's likely my opponent has two spades with the 9, two pair with a 5 just turned full, or an overpair. If re-raised less than my opponent's all-in, I would have just called and if my opponents re-raises all-in, I assume something is up and fold.

After the turn, any big raise has me folding...

 
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lyoungsports
over 7 years ago

I don't like moving all-in in this situation. I think this is a pretty big shove (more than 2 times the potsize), which can often be a sign of a flush-draw. I think when we go all-in we will hardly ever get called by worse, especially considering the pay-jump, because opponents with smaller pairs will know that we could have a hand like we do, and that even if we have a flushdraw, we probably have at least one overcard to their pair, not unlikely two. A bigger flushdraw might call, but we are only flipping against those. Additionally, I'm not sure we will get many better hands to fold, as even overpairs might call hoping we are on a flush-draw, especially because the all-in is so big. If we assume he calls with any K- or A-high flushdraw (ATcc+ and KTcc+ because of his raise preflop), and with AJ and better, we are only 46% against his calling range, and we can assume never to be a favourite. Additionally, it is impossible to get value from worse hands, and as we are all-in we obviously also don't have implied odds for if we hit a flush against a hand like the 55 our opponent turned out to have.

I don't really like just calling either, because if he has a hand like AK or AQ which aren't two clubs, he would be c-betting, but he also has 4 or 5 outs to beat us on two streets (AKcc and AQcc will never fold anyway). If we raise, we chase him off those hands. The same goes for hands like a Q-high flushdraw. Additionally, we don't get any extra information on his hand. Therefore, we won't know what to do on a later betting street if we miss, as we still have a pair and a flush-draw, and he could be barrelling a c-bet, but we could also very well be beat.

This leaves only one option, which is a small raise to something like 1.2 million. This should get overcards to fold, but might keep hands like A9 or flushdraws in, against which we have decent to very good equity.
If our opponent calls, I would bet if we hit the turn, because higher flushdraws are only a very small part of his range, and then I would try to get the money in. If we miss the turn, I would check, and call a small bet if we get good odds for our flushdraw (about 4 to 1), because when he calls the flop and then bets the turn we should assume to be behind. If we call the turn, we can only continue on the river if we hit. If our opponent checks the turn behind, we have to call a small bet on the river even if we miss, because he could have a missed flushdraw, if we hit the river, we should try to get the money in. On the turn that actually happened (5s), I would check-fold, because we might be drawing dead to a boat or quads, like our opponent turned out to have, and then even the equity against other hands that have us beat is rather small.

If our opponent three-bets the flop, I think we have to fold, because then we are almost certainly completely crushed, and because our raise was so small, we are getting less than 2 to 1, which against his raising range is not enough to make the call, especially given the upcoming pay-jump.

 
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