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Luke Staudenmaier: What's My Line?

Getting Paid Off In the Early Stages of a Tournament


Luke Staudenmaier at the Bellagio CupEvery Thursday, Card Player sits down with some of the best in the game to discuss pivotal hands from the week’s biggest tournaments on the circuit.

This week we spoke with Luke Staudenmaier, who finished third in the Bellagio Cup IV main event, the first stop for the World Poker Tour’s seventh season. Staudenmaier, who first made his mark with two final tables at the Empire State Poker Series, earned $452,465 for his deep run. The online pro, who plays as IWEARGOGGLES, has made more than $300,000 online in 2008 in Card Player’s Online Player of the Year-qualifying events alone. Staudenmaier has won the Sunday $750,000-guaranteed event on Full Tilt and finished second in the Sunday Million on PokerStars in mid-March, just a week after taking down the Sunday Warmup tournament on the same site.

The hand in question was played out in the early stages of the Bellagio Cup IV tournament and catapulted Staudenmaier into the chip lead, a position he would hover around until the final table. After securing a spot in the final 10, Staudenmaier doubled up three times to ensure that he received some TV time on Fox Sports Net when the final table airs next year.

Event - Blinds/ Ante Bellagio Cup IV 200/400 with a 50 ante
Michael Mizrachi Luke Staudenmaier
Chip count About 76,500 About 98,500
Hand A A 6 6


Michael MizrachiMichael Mizrachi raised to 1,500 in early position and Luke “IWEARGOGGLES” Staudenmaier made the call from the small blind.

The flop came K 10 6, and Staudenmaier checked. Mizrachi continued with a bet of 2,500, and Staudenmaier check-raised to 7,000. Mizrachi called, and the turn was the 2. Staudenmaier bet 12,000, and Mizrachi once again made the call.

The river was the 2, pairing the board, and Staudenmaier moved all in for about 77,000. Mizrachi, who was covered for his last 55,000, went into the tank. After a few minutes, Mizrachi got out of his seat and asked, “Do you have a full house? I can beat K-10.” Clearly frustrated with being put through the mental grinder, Mizrachi finally called off the last of his chips.

Mizrachi showed pocket aces, but Staudenmaier revealed his pocket sixes for a full house. The Grinder was eliminated, and the young online professional chipped up to nearly 175,000, giving him the chip lead early on in day 1.

The Interview


Julio Rodriguez: Luke, I was wondering if you could take me through the hand where you eliminated Michael Mizrachi to take the chip lead.

Luke StaudenmaierLuke Staudenmaier: Sure, but we actually played a pretty big hand for a chop shortly before that that may have influenced his later decision.

[In that earlier hand], he opened under the gun for 1,500, and three people called. I also called on the button with K-J and flopped the nuts when it came Q-10-9. He bet on the flop, and I just called along with one other player.

The turn was a rag, and he bet 7,000. The other guy called, and I raised to 25,000. Mizrachi called, and the other guy got out of the way.

The river was a king, and he shipped it in. I called instantly and saw we were chopping when he showed J-8. It was a pretty gross three-outer for half, but I think it set up the next hand I played with him when I was able to bust him.

JR: On his final hand, Mizrachi opened for another preflop raise in early position.

LS: Yeah, he raised to about 1,500, and I called with pocket sixes. The flop came K-10-6 rainbow, giving me bottom set. On the flop, I checked, and he bet 2,500. I quickly check-raised him to 7,000, and he called pretty fast.

A deuce hit on the turn, and I fired in 12,000. It didn’t take him too long to call. The river was another deuce, and I jammed it in. He took about five minutes, giving me a speech, trying to get me to give something up, but eventually he called.

JR: He showed pocket aces. Would that normally be a profitable call against you?

LS: Definitely not. We played a few pots, and I lost most of them if not all of them, so I don’t think he called out of frustration. I just think the chances of me bluffing in that spot are really low. If I have K-10, like he imagines I might, chances are that I’m going to give up and check to him, just because that river could counterfeit my hand. I don’t really know what he was thinking. It might have just been a brain fart.

JR: By shoving the river, what hands are you expecting to get called by in that spot?

LS: I was almost 100 percent sure he didn’t have pocket tens or kings, so I wasn’t worried about getting called by a better hand. If I had known he was holding aces, I probably would’ve checked the river, thinking he’d shove on me. He would’ve known my presumed two pair was now counterfeited. Not knowing the strength of his hand, I figured if I shoved I could get action if he decided to make a hero call.

JR: After you pushed all in, he basically told you what he was holding by saying he could beat K-10. What did you do to induce a call from what you now knew was a weaker hand?

Luke StaudenmaierLS: I actually thought about gulping a bit and looking away for a little while, but I don’t know, against him he would probably be able to pick apart a complete act like that. I think he’d know right away that I was faking it. We’ve played before, and I think he knows I’m solid, so I decided to keep my mouth shut, put my head down and hope for the best.

I feel that against a lot of other players at that table, he probably would’ve folded, but since he knows I’m better than the average player …

JR: Capable of making a move, perhaps?

LS: Maybe … I don’t think I would be making a move for 200 big blinds. I don’t know, I guess it’s not too terrible if he thinks I’m turning a hand like K-10 into a bluff in that spot.

JR: Thanks for the analysis, Luke.

LS: No problem.