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Run it Twice -- Brian Rast

Tsarrast Talks Us Through a Pot-Limit Hold'em Hand


Brian RastBrian "tsarrast" Rast is a professional cash-game player who regularly competes in the highest hold'em and pot-limit Omaha (PLO) games online. Rast sat down with Card Player to talk about an interesting pot-limit hold'em hand he played at a mixed $500-$1,000 table.

The Game

Date: 02-03-09
Type: Cash games
Game: Pot-limit hold'em
Blinds:  $500-$1,000

The Lineup

Seat 1: tsarrast ($101,485) -- Button
Seat 2: OnTheRize ($107,971.50) -- Small blind
Seat 3: SxMxF ($17,000)  -- Big blind
Seat 4: Howard Lederer ($53,979)
Seat 6: IAmSoSo ($18,497)
Seat 7: durrrr ($132,270)
Seat 8: Gus Hansen ($40,186)
Seat 9: trex313 ($39,955)

Key Concepts

  • Go through proper thought process on three-bets preflop in position
  • Put players on hand ranges to get max value on big hands

Run it Twice -- Review of the Hand

Preflop Action: Gus Hansen raises to $3,000, and tasarrast reraises to $10,500 with J 8. OnTheRize calls from the small blind, and Gus Hansen calls. The pot is now $32,500.

Kristy Arnett: How is your table image up to this point, and why did you decide to reraise with this hand preflop?

Brian Rast: I’ve been playing pretty nitty against Gus. I was wondering whether or not he was adjusting to me, but I really thought that if I three-bet him, even in position, he would probably give me a lot of credit. Even if he calls, it’s OK, because I still have a pretty playable hand in position. I have a little room to maneuver a bluff, since we are so deep, and I might get him to fold a better hand, like if he had a hand like K-J, he would fold to a continuation-bet on a low flop. I thought it was a good spot to three-bet, because I feel like I play pretty tight preflop in the no-limit hold’em portion in $500-$1,000. When OnTheRize calls out of the blind, Gus obviously calls, which he will with most of his hands that he opens, because, well, he’s Gus, he doesn’t like folding [laughs].

Flop Action: The flop comes K 3 2. All players check. The pot is still $32,500.

KA: Obviously that’s a great flop for you. How did you decide whether to fast- or slow-play?

BR: Right, I obviously flop gin. Now the only question is, “What am I going to do to get max value?” When it checks to me, I felt like there was a good chance that OnTheRize had a strong hand like tens, jacks, queens, or even a king. If he had a king, pocket aces, A-K, or kings, he’s not going fold, but if he has queens, jacks or tens, he might fold if I continuation-bet here, because he’s afraid Gus might squeeze, or that I have A-K. I thought if he did have a hand like that, he might put in one more bet if I checked. So that’s the biggest reason why I decided to check. I wanted to squeeze one more bet from medium-strength hands.

Turn Action: The turn is the 4. The board reads K 3 2 4. OnTheRize bets $14,000, Gus Hansen folds, and tsarrast calls. The pot is now $60,500.

KA: Why did you decide to just call the turn instead of raise?

BR: When OnTheRize bets the turn and Gus folds, I thought that raising here would look really strong, and I wouldn’t do that with almost all of my range. If I wasn’t slow-playing and checking a very strong hand like a flush on the flop, then I was checking behind for pot control. He can only beat the hands I’m checking behind for pot control, and I would never raise on the turn with those hands. So, if I raise on the turn, I’m basically screaming that I flopped top set or a flush. I pretty much have to call, because that is what I would do with almost all of my range.

River Action: The river is the 2. The board reads K 3 2 4 2. OnTheRize bets $42,000, and tsarrast goes all in for $76,985. OnTheRize folds. tsarrast wins the pot of $144,497 (-$3 after rake).

KA: You decided to go all in on top of his bet for the last $13,000 for extra value. Were you sure he didn’t have a full house?

No, I wasn’t completely sure, but I was trying to think of the hands that beat me. He never has pock fours here. He might have kings full. Now, the king of hearts is on the board, and I have the jack of hearts, so it’s unlikely that he has an ace with a low card of hearts, since he called a raise and a reraise preflop. He’s either got A Q or kings full, so there are only four combinations of hands that he could have that beat me. The other hands he could have are A-K, or maybe even pocket aces that he was trying to play tricky. I thought there was enough value in raising just the last $13,000, since he would probably call me with aces or A-K.



almost 12 years ago

so what did he have... oh he wont tell you... Ask that guy thats working with pokerstars... he has access to all our hand histories... he can tell us what he had...