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Poker Hand Of The Week: 3/13/14

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 three-handed for a major tournament title. Despite being a relatively unknown player and up against two very talented opponents, you are holding a massive chip lead with 11,125,000. With the blinds at 60,000-120,000 with a 20,000 ante, you have over 92 big blinds.

Your opponents are villain no. 1 with 2,040,000 (17 big blinds) and villain no. 2 with 2,855,000 (24 big blinds).

You start the hand with the button and look down at QDiamond SuitJDiamond Suit. You raise to 325,000 and villain no. 1 in the small blind moves all in for 2,020,000. Villain no. 2 in the big blind then moves all in over the top for 2,835,000.

You have 10,780,000 left and its another 2,510,000 to call.

The Questions

Do you call or fold? What are the arguments for folding? What are the arguments for calling? What kind of a price are you getting to call? How often do you expect your hand to be live? Does the fact that both players are better than you influence your decision?

Chris MoormanWhat Actually Happened

Facing two all-ins over his opening raise at the 2014 World Poker Tour L.A. Poker Classic, Glenn Lafaye opted to call with his QDiamond SuitJDiamond Suit and try to win the tournament right then and there.

Villain no. 1, Michael Rocco, turned over AClub Suit8Diamond Suit. Villain no. 2, Chris Moorman, revealed 10Club Suit10Spade Suit. The flop fell KHeart SuitQSpade SuitJHeart Suit, giving Lafaye the lead.

The 3Spade Suit on the turn changed nothing, but the ASpade Suit on the river gave the pot to Moorman with a Broadway straight. Rocco was eliminated in third place, earning $423,440.

Moorman nearly tripled up, giving him a stack of 7,750,000 to Lafaye’s 8,270,000 going into heads-up play. After 35 hands, Lafaye was eliminated in second place, banking $662,840. Moorman took home his first major live tournament title and the $1,015,460 first-place prize.

*Photo Courtesy of the World Poker Tour

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.



almost 8 years ago

QJ suited, preflop, against two all-in opponents is not a very good spot to risk about 25% of your stack. You have to figure the possible cards for your opponents are overcards, or a pair.

Even though the odds are with you to be either singly, they're against you to beat both.

I'd get out of the way and play the winner.


almost 8 years ago

It's a fold!! You want to gamble it up against two players for the win when clearly you are not ahead of either's range? It's not like they have 4 bigs. The sb's range might be wide but the bb certainly is strong here. If you call and happen to find yourself in a best case scenario here, as was the case, you are still a dog. So you're getting 2:1 on the call so what? You could easily be dominated. More importantly, if you lose the pot, you'll be essentially heads up with almost even stacks against better opposition. I think it's better to fold so you can guarantee being heads up with a 2:1 chip lead. You have a better chance HU with a substantial chip lead vs good opposition than you do to gamble it up w QJ pre vs two opponents who's ranges are both ahead of yours and can easily have you drawing thin.


almost 8 years ago

Completely agree with this stance. If you fold one of them will be eliminated or practically crippled. It lets you preserve a large chip lead. You don't mind either player winning either your heads up(with 2-1 chip lead) or you in position to steal from 2nd in chips every time the short stack folds.


almost 8 years ago

First of all, I don't EVER consider ANY other player at a table "better than me." I don't care who it is. As for the hand, I would rather have 5,6 suited to make that call than Q,J. But I wouldn't risk doubling-up one of the players, who likely has me dominated to almost an even stack with me to go heads-up. V1 is likely at least ahead of me, but V2 is DEFINITELY ahead. No matter what, one player will bust, or be completely crippled, & I can maintain a big chip-lead. It's an EASY fold.


almost 8 years ago

We can debate the chances of beating both other hands, but compared to X chance of winning outright and 1-X probability of ending up 8-7, there is no debate that if we fold, the outcome will be 2:1 or 2:1:chipandachair.
This seems to be a clear "pick a better spot" situation. Fold, and then outplay with a 2:1 advantage, armed also with showdown knowledge of what kinds of hands your remaining opponent(s) bet with.
Resist the temptation for the quick win, when it wasn't just risk-taking and quick solutions that got you this far.


almost 8 years ago

The preflop equities in this hand were
QdJd 37.1
Ac8d 25.3
TsTc 37.6

So for this exact hand, a fold is a disaster.

However, given the following ranges

Villain 1 [Ax,KQ-KT,AA-55]
Villain 2 [AA-TT,AK,AQs] (Reraising range is tight based on ICM)

QdJd 26.64%
Ax,KQ-KT,AA-55 24.73%
AA-TT,AK,AQs 48.63%

We are getting 2.03:1 pot odds so we need at least 33% equity. Even if Villain 2 is shoving with any pair + AK/AQ, we still only have 31.5% against their combined ranges.

I think it's a fold.


almost 8 years ago


Given how close that is, don't you think that his skill disadvantage leans it towards a call?

Also, I think your villain ranges are a little too tight. Villain no. 1 is probably making the same move with deuces and Villain no. 2 would do the same with eights and possibly AJs.

If your ranges were adjusted, does that make it a call? Doesn't that make this situation read dependent?


almost 8 years ago

As I had eluded to above, increasing the ranges to include pairs doesn't benefit our hand that much (including AJs, which dominates us actually makes it worse then just adding pairs).

Based on your ranges:
QdJd 28.34%
Ax,AA-22,KQ-KT 26.96%
AA-88,AK,AQ,AJs 44.70%

Regarding the skill disadvantage, I would argue that taking a 2:1 chip lead going into heads up play, with the skilled player being under 50bbs negates the skill of that player more then vs. playing him heads up the other 70% of the time with 1:1 in chips.

You have to remember that while we win outright 28.34% of the time, his edge in terms of outcome if > when we are 1:1 in chips then 2:1 in chips.

Disadvantage(%) CALL FOLD Difference
0.01 63.4534 65.34 1.8866
0.02 62.7368 64.68 1.9432
0.03 62.0202 64.02 1.9998
0.04 61.3036 63.36 2.0564
0.05 60.587 62.7 2.113
0.06 59.8704 62.04 2.1696
0.07 59.1538 61.38 2.2262
0.08 58.4372 60.72 2.2828
0.09 57.7206 60.06 2.3394
0.1 57.004 59.4 2.396
0.2 49.838 52.8 2.962
0.3 42.672 46.2 3.528
0.4 35.506 39.6 4.094
0.5 28.34 33 4.66
0.6 21.174 26.4 5.226
0.7 14.008 19.8 5.792
0.8 6.842 13.2 6.358

By my guesstimations, the bigger the skill difference, the better it is to fold. It seems counterintuitive at first, but makes sense if you really think about it.


almost 8 years ago

I'm not sure ICM considerations are a valid reason to call. To keep it simple,lets assume no ties between opponents and that if we call, we always eliminate villain 2 in the side pot (best outcome).

Whether we call or not, we will get second place money as either opponent will be eliminated and we will have a ~2:1 chip lead 100% of the time going into heads up play.

Alternatively, if we call, we win first 25% of the time and get heads up ~1:1 in chips say the other 75% of the time. If we are equally matched, we should win first ~25% + (.50*75%)= 62.5% vs. a ~66% win rate with 2:1 chip lead.


almost 8 years ago

You are three handed so fold & let one of the villians go bust & concentrate on winning the head's-up match which you will be starting with a 2-1 chip lead.


almost 8 years ago

"Does the fact that both players are better than you influence your decision?"

Now that's quality journalism!


almost 8 years ago

I would call even knowing that my hand could be overcoated/dominated due to thé posibility of knocking out two players; even if I lose the hand I still have the chip lead heads up or in three handed play. The arguements for folding is that you're basically locking up at least 2nd place and going headup w a bigger chip lead but I still lean on calling because your getting 3 to 1 on your odds to call and to win the title and even if I lose I still have à punchers chance at the title. I would expect my hand to be dominated 9 out of 10 times which makes the price right to call. The fact that the two remaining players are well know players would not influence my decision.


almost 8 years ago

I am looking at it this way. Initially, I have a pretty decent hand 3 way, a chip stack to back it up. No brainer pushing right here. But, when not one but both players go all in, and one has 24 BB left, not yet even close to desperate, I have to re-think who might have pushed with what. My first concern, is if I call, and lose, my chip lead will shrink to almost even. If I let the two players go at it, no matter who wins, I am still close to 2-1 in chips, a very valuable position.
Why not call, end the tourney right there ? Well, if only one player shoved all in, yes, with QJs, that is worth the risk to knock out and increase my lead, with minimal pain to my stack should I lose. But, the 2nd player who also shoves, knowing I made a raise that very well could be a decent hand, HAS to be a concern on my part.A triple up, to one player, takes this back to a coin flipping heads up match. I would rather keep my chips, see what transpires, then proceed from the advantage of a still substantial chip lead, regardless of the actual outcome.


almost 8 years ago

though its an easy price in i would have folded as a strategic move, i'd have folded to let one or the other either get eliminated or severely crippled.....getting heads up is more important and a better approach than a three way race where anything can happen with the worse thing being tripling up a short shortstack......and given the action its unlikely QJ is ahead preflop.


almost 8 years ago

With this big of a lead, I'm never, EVER folding here. It could be Phil Ivey and Phil Helmuth in the hand I don't care. The only thing that would be bad is a chop between the two other players. I don't mean to be too critical but this is the biggest no brainer hand of the week i've seen. What is there to discuss, really? I'm saying this coming from the standpoint that I'm going into heads up, or winning the tournament outright at the completion of this hand. Sorry guys I just don't see the big decision. The only decision on my mind is what am I ordering as the flop comes out: Champagne, or Whiskey? ;)


almost 8 years ago

Easy fold. One player obviously has a pair and the other likely an Ax. I don't want to be up against KQ, AQ. One player is going to be out or crippled and I continue to have a substantial chip lead.


almost 8 years ago

fold and play heads up with 10 mil and chip lead. stupid to call.