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Poker Hand of the Week: 9/18/14

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

It’s day 2 of a major tournament, but you are still a few hundred spots from the money. The blinds are currently 1,000-2,000 with a 300 ante, meaning your stack of 142,600 is worth 71 big blinds.

A players raises from under the gun to 4,200 and the small blind, a young, but experienced tournament grinder, calls in the small blind. He started the hand with 132,800.

You look down at ASpade SuitAClub Suit in the big blind and raise to 16,800. The original raiser folds and the small blind calls. The flop comes down 9Club Suit8Club Suit7Spade Suit and the small blind checks to you.

With such a coordinated flop, you check behind. The turn is the 5Spade Suit and your opponent bets 18,000. You call and the river is the JSpade Suit. Your opponent checks. You have 107,500 remaining, your opponent has 97,700 and the pot size is 76,500.

The Questions

Do you check behind and take the free showdown? Do you bet? If betting, how much? Are you betting for value or as a bluff? Given the fact that your opponent called an initial raise and three-bet out of position and fired on the turn, what kind of hand is he likely to be holding? Can you get called by worse?

Zo KarimWhat Actually Happened

At the 2014 WPT Borgata Poker Open main event, Jeff Papola checked the river on a board of 9Club Suit8Club Suit7Spade Suit5Spade SuitJSpade Suit. His opponent, Zo Karim, checked behind holding ASpade SuitAClub Suit.

Papola could only show KSpade SuitKHeart Suit and Karim raked in the sizable pot.

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

Pedro3
7 years ago

A tournament grinder in the small blind is capable of check raising the river as a bluff in this spot, the board has flush and straight possibilities when checking out of position like papola did its very likely that your opponent will try to bet the pot
usually in tournament poker value betting thin can put you in some messy situations my advice is to check back

 
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AceupmySlv
7 years ago

Really? 'With such a coordinated flop of 9s 8s 7c, you decide to check behind'? Huh? Isn't that reason you would be betting there to run out possible draws, back doors, gut shots etc.? Once you are to the river and played it so poorly, who knows. I still value bet the river based on my opponents line up until this point.

 
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Vincent4
7 years ago

How are we checking behind on that board? We have position......and the ace of clubs. Anyway, as played, it is an easy value bet. We are betting for value, and then folding to a raise. Why would he turn kings into a bluff raise here?

What hand can he be representing betting the turn and checking the river? If he has a 6, nut straight, or backdoor flush he has to bet for value. If he has a two pair hand (if he does, he sucks) he will check call and we are beat, that's why a nice 40k bet does the job just fine. We are beating almost all of hands that call to trap utg from sb, then call a raise. If he is not trapping and has a huge or made hand, he will bet it for value on the river, black and white.

Oh and value bets made for thin value, but in this case it is pretty clear that it is pretty weak to place aces checking behind. WE HAVE POSITION

 
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OPK
7 years ago

Agree with Pedro. As Vincent says, we have position. But what do you do with a big check raise bye villain? He could have a straight but raised the turn and checked the river when it ran spade spade to make a three spade flush on the board. He could have two pair. And yes, we are lucky that villain has one of the few hands that he might pay off a value bet - but there are not many of those hands.

Take the pot with top pair, smile, and next hand.

 
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OPK
7 years ago

I will also add that villain is obviously a tricky player, calling in the small blind with pocket kings pre-flop instead of raising to push out the BB. Who put him on KK?

 
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Miguel3
7 years ago

3bet pot, in such a coordinated board Id sometimes cbet flop, our actual equity here is not that big here so controlling the pot is not bad, Villain could have called preflop with any pocket pair trying to get a set but that's not gonna happen very often, I think Hero didn't cbet cuz he had limited Fold equity and for hands like KQs, QJs, JTs, JJ, this is an excellent board so in case a horrible card comes n the Turn we are playing a small pot.

Turn for me is a call, I think he hardly ever has 6x, but calling here and evaluating river is ok.

River, not a good card, we have showdown value, wouldn't bet most of the times cuz worse hands aren't gonna pay but I think betting 1/3 pot is not bad...if reraised we can fold, it will depend a lot on Villain's image, if he's a LAG or a NIT, our image, and other factors.

 
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Chris64
7 years ago

At first I agreed with Pedro in that a tournament player could easily check-raise bluff here, and indeed I think in many cases and in a big tournament I would probably check back on the river.

However, there is an important bit of information that makes a decent (1/3 pot) bet the optimal play in my opinion- the player called a reraise preflop after smoothcalling the other player and him folding, which suggests a strong pair holding. He is very likely going to bet the river if he's hit a set of Jacks (or set from the flop) or made a straight with Tens, as he is experienced and he knows if he checks the Hero is likely going to check behind, especially as he basically has made it quite clear he has AA at this point. And the Villain is also going to fire at the river if he has complete air. So all things considered it is actually quite easy to read the Villain for KK or QQ here and get a bit more value from the hand.

It is of course quite important to have a read on the player at this point, but I believe the above analysis is sound especially if the player is not as tricky as some.

Thank you for reading.

 
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OPK
7 years ago

Chris you raise an interesting point. But does the two pre-flop calls mean high pair? 2700 antes plus 4200 bet ahead of villain (plus his 1k SB and our $2k BB behind) makes his completion sound with a pretty wide range. When we make what looks like a squeeze play, the pot is 27900 and villain needs 12600 to call -- again, not bad odds with a hand you've already deemed playable.

66, TT, AT, A6s, maybe even JTs seem in play. Maybe even more likely than the KK, which usually raises in the SB here.

Interesting, which is what makes this fun.

 
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