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Poker Hand of the Week: 3/3/16

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 68 players remaining in a poker tournament, but only 63 will make the money. You have 170,500 in chips at blinds of 2,000-4,000 with a 500 ante, giving you 42 big blinds to work with.

A player who started the hand with 257,500 opens in early position to 8,000. It folds to you in the small blind and you see 9Spade Suit8Club Suit. Sensing you can get away with some bullying near the money bubble, you decide to three-bet to 23,000.

The big blind folds, but unfortunately, the original raiser four-bets to 41,000. You go into the tank for a bit but ultimately decide the raise was too small to fold. You call, and silently rejoice as the flop comes down 10Diamond Suit 9Diamond Suit 9Club Suit.

You check, and your opponent bets 29,500. You have a total of 129,000 remaining.

The Questions

Do you call or raise? If raising, how much? If calling, what is your plan for the turn? Does the flops draw-heavy texture mean you should play this hand fast? Does the approaching money bubble mean you should play this hand more cautiously? What’s the best way to get maximum value? What kinds of hands are in your opponent’s range?

What Actually Happened

At the 2016 L.A. Poker Classic main event, Binh Nguyen flopped trip nines on a board reading 10Diamond Suit9Diamond Suit9Club Suit and checked. His opponent, Corey Hochman, bet 29,500.

After cutting out a call, Nguyen moved all in for 129,000 and Hochman instantly called with ASpade SuitAHeart Suit. The turn and river fell JHeart SuitKHeart Suit and Nguyen doubled up.

Hochman was left short stacked but ultimately made it into the money before busting in 59th place for $18,240. Binh Nguyen went on to finish in eighth place, earning $127,660.

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 2 years ago

Their is a classic poker hand hero makes 3+ mistakes ( to be a bully with a short stack and 3bet and flat call a 4bet built a big pot with trash playing out of position against a early position raiser) and gets luckily on flop and wins a long shot
Flop play. Villain range equity 49% (overpair)
hero equity is 71% (trips)
this is a easy play get all the money into pot on flop or turn or river the sooner the better (play fast)
Hero profile is a (lucky aggressive overplays ,out of balance)


almost 2 years ago

First of all I am never going to fold this hand. If I am beat so be it. So that said I am looking to get paid off on all my chips. The question then becomes "what is the best strategy to accomplish getting paid off for all my chips".

Let's take a step back and analyze what our opponent has. They raised in early position and then 4-bet our 3-bet out of the small blind, with a larger stack size and nearing the money bubble. This opens up their range somewhat, as they are in position, but their range is still fairly tight 95% of the time - Big pocket pairs (10s or higher), AK, AQ or big suited connectors (QJ or higher). The C bet on the flop means very little, other than creating a pot size of $120,000. So let's break it down. There are 32 combinations of AK or AQ, 2 of which are in diamonds. There are another 32 combinations of KQ and QJ, 2 of which are in diamonds. And there are 6 combinations for each of the 5 pairs, or 30 over=pair combinations. So 30 hand combos that missed the flop entirely, 30 hand combos with a gut-shot, 30 over-pairs, and 4 flush draws.

Now let's see what they think we have. They don't think we have 89! They will put us on an even tighter range than we put them on since we have less in chips and made our action out of position. This also argues for their range being over-weighted to over-pairs (AA, KK, QQ in particular).

So based on all this "imperfect" information, what is out best play? I don't want to give a cheap turn card with 30 gut shots hand combos and 4 flush draw hand combos possibly out there. Also, if they have an over-pair it will be hard for them to fold or not go all in if I raise. There is $120,000 in the pot. I would raise to a total bet of $70,000 - a raise of $40,500. This leaves me with $88,500. If my opponent re-raises I go all in. If my opponent calls I shove the turn. Why do I take this line? I am giving my opponent a bad price for a gut-shot, a slightly bad price for a flush draw (but only 4 out of 94 hand combos are a flush draw, and I think if they have a flush draw they will shove my raise anyway), and I am encouraging them to shove if they have an over-pair or even a gut-shot as they may think they have fold equity. Then on the turn I am happy to shove and take it down or get called, either way. I want to always be making them make a poor decision and not give free cards or try to suck them into bluffing.


almost 2 years ago

Correction: there are 15 open-ended straights hand combos of QJ (without a flush draw) and 15 gut-shot hand combos (without a flush draw). No difference in the play, but just to make it accurate.