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Poker Hand of the Week: 11/6/14

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 international tournament title. You are already guaranteed $1.3 million, but are playing it out for the $1.8 million first-place prize. With 34.05 million in chips, you have the chip lead over your opponent who has 16.95 million.

Your opponent is a high-stakes cash game grinder who has a decent amount of live tournament experience. The blinds are currently 300,000-600,000 with a 50,000 ante, giving you 56 big blinds to work with.

Your opponent has the button and raises to 1.3 million. You look down at QClub Suit8Heart Suit and make the call. The flop comes down QSpade Suit9Heart Suit7Heart Suit, giving you top pair and you check. Your opponent bets 1.6 million and you call.

The turn is the 3Heart Suit, giving you a small flush draw to go with your pair. You check once again and your opponent bets 4 million. You call and the river is the 5Heart Suit.

You check and your opponent moves all in for 10 million.

The Questions

Do you call or fold? Your opponent raised preflop and bet all three streets, what does that say about his hand? Do you regret not raising on the flop or turn? How likely is it that your eight-high flush is the best hand? If your opponent has a bigger heart, what hands would make sense given his line? Could he be turning a non-heart value hand into a bluff? What sort of live reads would you be looking for in order to make this decision?

Steve O'DwyerWhat Actually Happened

Facing a decision on a board of QSpade Suit9Heart Suit7Heart Suit3Heart Suit5Heart Suit holding the QClub Suit8Heart Suit, Steve O’Dwyer decided to make the call at the 2014 ACOP Super High Roller event.

His opponent, Ryan Fee, could only show down 6Spade Suit5Diamond Suit and was eliminated. Fee earned $1.3 million for his finish and O’Dwyer picked up the third major title of his career, along with $1.8 million.

O’Dwyer now has career live tournament earnings of just over $7 million.

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 6 years ago

We're not trying to trap with top pair, mid-kicker with all the draws on the board so why play the guessing game? Best to just shut it down on the flop with a check-raise to 5 million. Scary call on the river as you can only beat a bluff and Fee certainly could have held a higher heart. We must have picked up on Fee raising light or just getting aggressive heads up. With him raising pre-flop and betting all 3 streets with 5-6o, it says more that he has been getting out of line rather than him having a monster. The odds of Fee holding a heart are just under 50% and he may play the same either way. On the river, against an unknown opponent, I would typically fold; call against aggressive players like Fee and really try not to put myself in that position. Although the 8 high flush has a good shot a being the best hand, if it's not, you just switched chip stacks and he has 2/3 of the chips in play.


almost 6 years ago

I would have check/called the flop and check/raised all in on the turn because that's where you are beating the most hands and have a blocker to the most draws.

But, assuming I check/call the turn, I insta-call the river. The odds of Fee holding a BETTER heart are about 50%, and that's assuming he has one. Because I flatted the turn, it's easier for Fee to put me on a heart. In that case he either has to have a big (A or K) heart to want a call.

Even in the unlikely scenario where I lose, I'm still a threat. If you fold, you hand your opponent $7 million and nearly even the stacks against an aggressive player. Folding the river would be an absolutely horrible move.


almost 6 years ago

i would have put all in on the turn try to make the villan fold to avoid e possible highier flush,i would have put the villan on e good pair jj or tens or i would have done like the hero ,i would never fold at eny point of the game.


almost 6 years ago

O’Dwyer played the hand perfectly, the call preflop is standard given the HU play, on the flop there is no need of a checkraise, that would blow the pot and we will be turning our hand into a bluff, very unlikely to fold out better and hard to get value from worst, also the 8h give us all backdoor world.
The turn is not the worst card, if we were ahead on the flop we are still most likely ahead.
The Turn bet is quite big 2/3 of the pot, so after the call the SPR on the river is less than a pot size bet, so you have to think what value hands are betting the turn here to set up a river shove, we block top pair, so his value range is very narrow on the turn, the turn bet size doesnt make a ton of sense for a hand like a Q with a big heart because villain will like to induce action, it might be a little flush, top pair no heart, two pair and sets, or maybe the naked A of hearts and some straight draws, and given that it will make no sense to checkraise the turn as villain hands are Bluffs or hands that have us crushed so we call and might fold to a shove depending on the river,

But the 4th heart on the river is actually very good for us because it gives villain an even narrower value range, now his small flushes could be beat, sets and two pair are loosing to any heart and same with top pair.

So the value range for the river shove is the Kh or the Ah, is not very likely villain will shove a lesser heart for value, and might check back the Th, Jh and probably the Qh.

Wich gives the villain what is called a polarized range on the river, and the bigger portion of his range are not flush hands... so given the action this is a hand very well played from the begining to the end and a river call every day and twice on sunday!


almost 6 years ago

I fold. My experience: 60 years, now play NLH tourneys buyins of $20-150. I consider myself a below average skilled player but haven't had a losing year in the last 9. I am often the worst player at any table. I don't starve if I lose.
--I'd call the 2X PFR w/ just about anything. I would call his $1.6 on the flop [in fact I might have bet about that much to open]. The turn is crap. I can imagine he has Ahxh or pocket pair 9 or better w/heart. The best card I could get on the river is Qd and I've still got crap. I fold here.
[I'm thinking w/ play this bad how did I make to Heads Up?]


almost 6 years ago

With only a 2x preflop raise, I put my opponent on medium pocket pair at best. (If he was holding suited connectors of AJ or better, heraises to 3.5x preflop.)
On the flop when he bet, I call. On the turn, however I raise to $2.4mm putting him on At-best a set, but with a 30% of his stack raise, I confirm whether he's got a set or on a draw. Then depending on if he calls or raises, I go to the river, knowing: High flush or not. If he shoves on the River, I fold. By raising on the turn, I diminish my risk amount by determining my own bet. Also now he may not shove on the River, knowing I may have already made my flush, & am more likely to take down the hand without doubling my opponent up.

His bet line looked weak. Min raise preflop then less than pot bet on the flop. Then he continuation bets the turn. Then huge shove on the river- =Bluff. (Representing a high flush) Runner-Runner?! C'mon you are not betting that hand like that with A10 suited or better.

Preflop bet was the tell.