Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets Sports Betting

Poker Hand of the Week: 4/17/14

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

There are nine players remaining in a massive field, big buy-in tournament. You are already in the money and guaranteed at least $100,912 from your $3,500 investment. Even better, with 9,655,000, you are currently in second place overall.

The blinds are currently 40,000-80,000 with a 10,000 ante, giving you 120 big blinds to work with. There is one short stack with less than 15 big blinds, but everyone else is working with 30 or more.

The chip leader, with about 155 big blinds, min-raises to 160,000 in middle position. You look down at 7Spade Suit6Spade Suit and call from the cutoff. The button, a dangerous player currently riding a hot streak, reraises to 475,000. He started the hand with 6,325,000 in chips.

The initial raiser calls, as do you. The flop falls QDiamond Suit10Club Suit8Club Suit and everyone checks. The turn is the 5Club Suit and the initial raiser checks. With your open-ended straight draw, you bet 840,000. The button calls and the initial raiser folds.

The river is the QClub Suit, pairing the board and putting four clubs out. Your opponent has 5,000,000 in chips remaining. The pot size is 3,315,000.

The Questions

Do you check or bet? If checking, why? If betting, how much? Given your opponent’s three-bet preflop, flop check and turn call, what kind of a hand might he be holding? Is the river a good enough scare card to attempt a bluff? How often does his range include a big club? What does your line say about your hand? How often does a bluff need to work in order to be profitable?

What Actually Happened

At the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown final table, Chance Kornuth opted to fire in a bluff of 1,500,000 holding 7Spade Suit6Spade Suit on a board of QDiamond Suit10Club Suit8Club Suit5Club SuitQClub Suit.

His opponent, Mukul Pahuja, tanked for awhile before finally calling. Kornuth showed his bluff and Pahuja turned over ADiamond SuitAHeart Suit to take the pot.

Kornuth went on to finish in sixth place, earning $247,954. Pahuja was eliminated in second place, banking $691,965. The eventual winner was Eric Afriat, who took home $1,081,184 and his first WPT title.

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 6 years ago

I face this scenario often because I get involved in a lot of drawing hands. My initial thought after reading your synopsis was to throw out a bet of $1.6mil. As far as I'm concerned with my chip lead in this stage of the tournament I can fold to any raise knowing for sure I'm beat. I choose to bet 1.6mil as it's about half the pot and almost double my last bet. I represented that I had a hand before the 4th club fell. My top pair could have turned to trips or I had a big flush. Kind of strange that Pahuja couldn't lay it down with 2 red cards in his hand; I'm curious what he would have done if faced with losing his entire stack right then and there. That would have been an over bet IMO. Some people just can't let go of aces.


over 6 years ago

As played, I think a smaller bet of 1 to 1.2 million on the river can represent the Kc or Ac and gets a fold from our villain. I also think a larger bet of 2-2.3 million gets a fold by representing our Q10, and full house combos. We are likely checking almost all of our range on this flop to the 3 better and he is aware of that. When villain checks this flop, he is doing so with a hand that has showdown value, but is fearful of being check/raised by either villian's flush draws, open enders, and two pair combos. (AQ,JJ, KK, AA, is a strong part of that range). He is C-Betting this flop with all of his sets, and most likely his air as well, that way he knows exactly what to do when he is check/raised and leaves himself an easy decision. When we lead the turn for a little over half pot, we are doing so with all of our sets, two pairs, KcQx, AcQx, combos, and some air knowing that he checked back the flop and is fearful of the fact that this flop hits our pre-flop flatting range pretty hard. The river is interesting in that the only hands betting for value on the river here are boats and Kc/Ac combinations. By making a smaller "value bet", we are making it look as though we know he has a strong holding but want him to pay off our second or nut flush, but still are capable of folding in case we get raised from his tricky full houses. If we make a larger bet 2-2.3, we can represent our Q10, 1010, 88 combos that want to be called by our opponents AcX, KcX combos.


over 6 years ago

In a final table tournament situation such as this I ask myself "Do I need to win this pot to win the tournament"? In this situation on the river I have 8,330,000 in chips before acting and I would give up the pot and check the river. I'm still in very good position near or in second place in chips. It is too likely given the previous action by Villain (preflop 3 bet, flop check and turn call) that he has AA or AK with a club. He might have JJ or 99. He most likely would have bet AQ, KK or any set on the flop for value and to protect his hand. He would have most likely have folded 77 or AK without a club on the turn and he unlikely 3 bet with AJ/66 or worse holdings but if he has AJ he would only call the turn bet with a club. What does he think I have? I didn't 3 bet preflop. I bet the turn 2nd to act after the flop was checked down. I could have a wide range making it easier for him to call a bluff and he has the chips to do it and is feeling confident. The only bet that may work would be to represent a full house with a larger size bet that criples him such as 2.75M, but that polarizes my hand to a narrower range or a bluff, so I would give up the pot and check.