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Poker Hand of the Week: 8/14/14

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 heads-up for a mid-stakes regional tournament title. The blinds are 20,000-40,000 with a 5,000 ante and you have a small chip lead with 3,420,000 to your opponent’s 2,590,000. Both you and your opponent are solid, live tournament grinders with plenty of wins on your resumes.

Your opponent limps the button and you look down at 3Heart Suit2Heart Suit. You check your option and the flop comes down 9Diamond Suit3Club Suit2Spade Suit.

You check and your opponent bets 50,000. You check raise to 190,000 and your opponent calls. The turn is the QDiamond Suit and you bet 450,000. Once again, your opponent calls.

The river is the KDiamond Suit and you check. Your opponent suddenly bets 650,000. He has 1,255,000 remaining behind.

The Questions

Do you call, raise or fold? If raising, how much? What hands will your opponent call off with that you can beat? Is there any reason to raise as a bluff? How likely is it that your hand is best? What does your opponent’s river bet say about his hand? Would it have been better to bet the river yourself and name your price?

Tristan WadeWhat Actually Happened

At the WSOP Circuit stop at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, David Diaz was facing a bet of 650,000 holding 3Heart Suit2Heart Suit on a board reading 9Diamond Suit3Club Suit2Spade SuitQDiamond SuitKDiamond Suit.

Diaz opted to raise all-in, putting his opponent Tristan Wade to the test for the rest of his stack. Wade quickly stood up and began openly analyzing his decision. Eventually, he called, tabling QClub Suit9Club Suit for a better two pair to double up.

Diaz was left with just 830,000 and was eliminated shortly afterwards. He earned $66,039 for the runner-up finish. Wade banked $106,806 and his first WSOP Circuit ring and 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.



8 years ago

That was a flat call to fold for me. From a pure text-article-based-read, it seemed to me like he paired his nine on the flop or had a slight under/over pair to the 9.

Too many hands completed by the turn and river but with the unusual play and being heads-up, folding 2 pair doesn't always seem right.

Since a flush/straight was never repped, too hard to buy the shove on the river.


8 years ago

Considering he is a solid grinder I would be suspect of his limp from the button heads up ( which I would be wrong). I especially think this when he flats the CR on the flop. at that point I put him A-9, Big Pair, A-K. I love Diaz blocker bet on the turn and I would do the same. The opponents bet size on the river screams 2 things- Value or Bluff to leave fold equity. The only hands you really beat if you are Diaz given the current action is something like A-Q, A-K, which with the pot size and being heads up might be enough to justify a call. This is a flat call for me because I am to much of a donk to lay this down heads up even though his betting line screams we are beat. Diaz clearly shoved for value so I want to know what range of hands he put this guy on to think he was getting any value out of a shove?


8 years ago

The crux of this hand is "what does villain think we have?" so let's take a look.

We CR the flop; probable holdings = A9, K9, Q9, J9, T9, 98, 92, 93, 23, 99, 22, 33, 45o, 45dd.

We bet near-pot on the turn apparently unafraid of the Q. We can now take A9, K9, J9, T9 and 98 out of the equation leaving us with Q9, 92, 93, 23, 22, 33, 99, 45dd and 45o. The only hands that villains fears at this point are 22,33 and 99.

Our check at the river says "I don't have a set or 45dd". Villain can now deduce that we have either two pair or 45o. The river CR looks like a desperate bluff by 45o - a made hand would either value bet or check-call. (There would be no reason not to extract value with 45dd since the flush comes runner-runner) As I see it, our river CR bluff has exactly 0 chance of winning the pot.

Final conclusion; based on what we think that he thinks, villain is not going to bet any hand in this situation that is not Q9, K9 or 45dd; all of which have us crushed. There isn't any value in betting since we can't be called by less and we are not going to get a better hand to lay down. The only play that makes sense to me is check-fold.


8 years ago

Since it is heads up, everybody is playing a wide range of hands.

Here is how i would play:

A limp from the button in the late stage suggests two possibilities:

1. He is just playing a marginal hand. (No clue of what he has - could be anything)

2. He has a monster and wants to trap you with AA, KK, QQ. (I give this a 10% chance)

PreFlop: I would check my 3 2, obviously.

Check raise to 190k and his call suggests the following:

Following is what he could have:

22, 33, 99, 10 10, JJ, QQ, KK, AA
A9, K9, Q9, J9, 10 9 or a 9 with a weaker kicker.
AK, AQ, A2, A3, K2, K3, Q2, A3, 9 2, 9 3.

22, 33, 99, 10 10, JJ is a definite raise before flop. So I eliminate that.
AK, AQ - very unlikely that he would call. Still possible. So I eliminate those choices.

Any pair (no matter whether it is middle of bottom pair) is big heads up. So I narrow down his range to:

Since I have a 2 and 3, I eliminate all the combinations with a 2 and 3.

So, I narrow down his range to:

A 9, K 9, Q 9, J 9, 10 9, 10 10, JJ, QQ, KK AA.

I think A 9 would also be a raise before flop (heads up)
Same with 10 10, JJ.

So range norrows to
K 9, Q 9, J 9, 10 9, plus (QQ, KK AA - if he was trapping)

Turn Q- Q 9, QQ, got there. I would bet and since he calls, I will get more worried.

I can beat only K 9, J 9, 10 9, KK, AA

River K - K9, KK got there. So I can beat only 10 9, J9, AA.

So if I check and he goes all in - I would go into tank and would have a very tough time calling it.

For a 650k bet, it is easy to say i would fold - given the above analysis. But I have two pair heads up and I would call it 95% of the time. But I will not go all in for sure.

If it was online, it is a call or all in for sure.