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Poker Hand of the Week: Cliff Josephy vs. Gordon Vayo

Let Us Know How You Would Have Played The Hand


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 Hand

With just three players remaining in the 2016 World Series of Poker main event, Cliff Josephy raised to 2,500,000 on the button. Gordon Vayo called from the small blind and chip leader Qui Nguyen three-bet to 7,700,000 from the big blind.

Josephy called, as did Vayo. The flop came down KDiamond Suit3Club Suit2Spade Suit and Vayo checked. Nguyen bet 9,900,000 and Josephy called after about a minute in the tank. Vayo also called and the turn was the 4Diamond Suit.

Vayo checked, Nguyen checked and Josephy bet 21,000,000. Vayo moved all in for 75,100,000 and Nguyen quickly folded. Josephy called, turning over 2Diamond Suit2Club Suit for bottom set, but Vayo held 3Diamond Suit3Spade Suit, leaving him drawing to just one out. The river was the 6Diamond Suit and Gordon dragged the pot.

The Questions

What do you think of Nguyen’s preflop three-betting size? Should Nguyen be making a continuation bet into two opponents on such a dry flop? Given the effective stack sizes, what do you think of Josephy’s turn bet? Is he betting for value or to protect his hand? If Josephy didn’t have near the top of his range, would Vayo’s all-in bet still have been a good move? Would Vayo have been better off just calling the turn bet, hoping to get more action from Nguyen? Is there any way for Josephy to get away from his hand?

The Aftermath

Qui NguyenAfter doubling up Vayo, Josephy was left crippled down to just eight big blinds. Although he battled back a few times to make things interesting, he ultimately went out in third place, earning $3,453,035.

Vayo went on to finish in second place, taking home $4,661,228. Despite his unconventional playing style, Nguyen ultimately won the tournament title, the bracelet and the $8,005,310 first-place prize.

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.