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Poker Hand of the Week: 9/11/14

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 major tournament title and are already guaranteed a big seven-figure payday. You are a seasoned tournament pro with a lot of success both live and online. Your opponent is younger and is a well-known online heads-up specialist, but is currently in the middle of a huge live tournament heater.

With 21.2 million in chips, you have just over 70 big blinds to work with at the 150,000-300,000 with a 50,000 ante level. Your opponent has you slightly covered with 23.8 million.

You look down at 10Heart Suit3Heart Suit on the button and min-raise to 600,000. Your opponent calls and the flop is QHeart Suit5Heart Suit5Diamond Suit, giving you a flush draw.

Your opponent checks and you bet another 600,000. Your opponent then check raises to 1.6 million. You call and the turn is the 3Club Suit, giving you a pair to go along with your draw.

Your opponent bets 2.8 million. The pot is currently 7.3 million and you have 18.95 million remaining in your stack.

The Questions

Do you call, raise or fold? If calling, what is your plan for non-heart rivers? What is your plan if you hit your flush? Does your position affect your decision? If raising, how much? Are you raising to induce action or to get a fold? What kinds of hands are in your opponent’s range given the action so far?

Daniel ColmanWhat Actually Happened

At the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open and facing a 2.8 million bet from Daniel Colman, Mike Leah opted to call with his flush draw.

The river was the 9Spade Suit, making a final board of QHeart Suit5Heart Suit5Diamond Suit3Club Suit9Spade Suit. Colman bet 6 million and Leah took some time before calling with his 10Heart Suit3Heart Suit for bottom pair.

Colman rolled over 9Heart Suit5Club Suit for a full house and took more than a 3-1 chip lead in the match. Leah was eventually eliminated in second place, earning $1,047,638. Colman took down his third major tournament title of 2014, banking $1,446,710.

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.



6 years ago

The turn flat was what I was thinking but I dunno about the river call. I've played with Leah before and he's a clever, fun thinker; I'd trust his read in most cases. However, from the pure text version of this hand, I probably fold/shove the river depending on everything we can't garner from this web page.


6 years ago

With flush and pair I would call, bet call half the pot if flush came. Check fold river. Half pot bet to induce raise. Coleman has wide range I would put his range from small pair to 1-2 gapper.


6 years ago

Let's break it down. Opponent did not re-raise preflop, so unlikely he is holding a medium to high pocket pair, or AQ, KQ. His check raise on the flop likely rules out a 5 in his hand as most likely he'd slow play a 5. He is therefore most likely to have (a) Qx, (b) a flush draw, or (c) total air. We are ahead of b and c and have 11 outs to Qx. If our 3 is currently good it is vulnerable to 7 outs on the river vs. two random cards higher than a 3 if our opponent holds no hearts and has one card higher than a 10, or 13 outs versus a higher flush draw (10 if our opponent has a 2 in his hand). With a showdown if he has Qx we have a 25% chance to win, if he has air we have an 84% chance to win, if he has a bigger flush draw we have a 70% chance to win.

So what is our best play? Would he call a raise (or re-raise) with air? Not likely. Would he call a raise (or re-raise) with a flush draw? Possibly, particularly more likely since he has been on a heater. Would he call, re-raise or fold Qx? We don't know, it could go any of the three ways.

What do we want to happen? We want him to fold the best hand but call with the worst hand.

My preferred play: Make it $7.5 million. Raise to represent that we have AQ/KQ or a 5 and make it look like we are "afraid of the flush draw". Opponent will see we are pot committed and it looks stronger than going all in. Position is a factor in that if opponent calls and checks the river we can also check behind or go all in depending on our read of the river card and the opponent - we only go all in if we think we are bluffing and can get him to fold to our bet half of the time. If opponent goes all in after our bet we must call and take our chances. If opponent calls and goes all in on the river we call if we make a flush or another 3, but likely fold to anything else unless we have a really strong read that our 3 is good.


6 years ago

Opponent check- raised the flop and led out on the turn. Not getting right odds to call for a flush draw, and if he has a better flush you are toast. Pair of 3's not looking good. I fold, and try to trap next good opportunity.