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Poker Hand of the Week: 4/22/15

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 12 players left in a massive big buy-in tournament that started with 1,476 entrants. With 6,325,000 in your stack, you are the overall chip leader, although nobody in the tournament is desperate at the moment. The blinds are 30,000-60,000 with a 10,000 ante, giving you 105 big blinds to work with.

With each of the two remaining tables six-handed, you raise from under the gun to 130,000 holding KSpade Suit10Diamond Suit. The button, who started the hand with 3,055,000 and is one of the more notable players left in the tournament, calls.

The flop comes down KDiamond Suit7Club Suit3Club Suit and you make a continuation bet of 215,000. Your opponent calls and the turn is the 10Heart Suit, giving you two pair. You check and your opponent bets 350,000. You check raise to 900,000 and your opponent calls.

The river is the QSpade Suit. There is now 2,640,000 in the pot.

The Questions

Do you check or bet? Your opponent called a flop bet and then a check-raise on the turn. What does that say about his hand? If betting, how much? Is there any value to turning your hand into a bluff catcher? What hands are in your opponent’s range that would bluff the river? What worse hands would bet for value? What better hands could your opponent have?

Joe EbanksWhat Actually Happened

At the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown, Andre Crooks opted to check with his KSpade Suit10Diamond Suit on a board reading KDiamond Suit7Club Suit3Club Suit10Heart SuitQSpade Suit.

His opponent, Joe Ebanks, checked behind and the hands were tabled. Crooks showed his two pair, but Ebanks revealed KHeart SuitQHeart Suit for a better two pair and took the pot.

Both Crooks and Ebanks went on to make the final table.

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.



4 years ago

Let's assume that your opponent has put you on the king in your hand - so - short of him having trips of sevens or threes, you'd have to believe that KQ or KJ is in his calling range - along with a small/medium pair- unlikely he'd call with K-7 or K-3 since you opened the betting UTG. I'd discount him having AK or AA, or QQ since he'd be unlikely to call before the flop with a premium hand - he'd want more chips in the pot. I'd see the Q on the river as a real problem - but, since I'd also believe he'd bet K-J I'd make a bet a value bet on the river because I'd think I had a fifty-fifty shot of taking down the pot. The fact that your opponent checked behind but had a better hand is just lucky for you.


4 years ago

I agree with the assessment above - I rule out a set as I think he'd play it differently on the turn... QK is for sure in his range here.. I was surprised by the check on the river also - I mean what a perfect value spot... He saved some valuable chips by checking and not seeing a bet on the river..


4 years ago

If I'm in this spot I really hate seeing a Q on the river as that is probably one of the worst river cards you can see in this situation. Your opponent could have had a big combo draw like AJ, or J9 or clubs that got there on the river, and if you bet you are definitely getting raised and likely in a spot where you can't call. Also KQ is the next most obvious hand that beat your holding on the last card. Furthermore because of the critical juncture you are at in the tournament (12 players remaining) and with massive payout jumps likely right around the corner you don't want to jeopardize your chip lead. I don't mind check calling here for pot control like our Hero did in this spot however I think most pro's would agree that a medium sized value bet (about 1,200,000) is the optimal play here for several reasons;

1) Your opponent is likely only raising you if he has you beat especially considering his stack size making it easy for you to get away from your hand if you do get raised. Its highly unlikely your opponent will raise a half pot size bet without 3 of kind or better in this particular spot.

2) Worse Hands are paying you off, namely KJ, K9s, KXcc, Maybe even a few hands that hold a single Q such as AQcc, or JQ.

3) You don't put yourself in a tough spot where you are faced with an all in bet of $2,000,000 or so. By making a defensive style bet you save $ when you are beat.

I believe both the Hero and the Villain misplayed their hands on the river here. The Hero should have led for somewhere around 1.2M chips. Also the villain made a mistake in checking back a very strong 2 pair on the river.


4 years ago

First off, 'Cutoff' basically showed his cards on the flop. Once the flop came 'Cutoff' should've raised. I would raise 100% of the time in the situation 'Cutoff' was in. You have to find out where your opponent is in the hand. If you raise on the flop, and say, you get re-raised you have to lay it down due to the chip size, and amount of players left. Easy play. Second of all, 'Hero' should've bet the turn. Terrible check there. Let's say the guy has a suited connector (KQ, QJ, etc.) and the suits are clubs. You took a chance at him checking, and the club coming on the river. On the river it was a great check by both players. No hands would've called a bet on the river with that board unless you were beat, and then you were most likely going to get raised. Three 7's or Three 3's would've raised on the flop, so those hands were automatically out of the range of hands I had him on. 'Cutoff' didn't re-raise pre-flop, so pocket Queens are no possibility. KQ is the most probable hand he could've had.