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Poker Strategy -- Raymond Wu on EPT London

Wu Takes On Benny Spindler in Crucial Hand

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Raymond WuTeam PokerStars pro Raymond Wu represented his site well at the PokerStars EPT London main event. Wu navigated his way through a field of 730 before busting out in seventh place, netting himself a final-table finish and earning £87,000.

A total of 24 players returned to battle to the final table on day five, including the likes of Annette Obrestad, Theo Tran, Vivek Rajkumar, Marty Smyth, Andrew Lichtenberger, and Kevin Schaffel. During the play-down, Wu got involved in an interesting hand with Germany’s Benny Spindler that had many onlookers scratching their heads.

The pot catapulted Wu up the leader board, putting him in prime position to make the final table. Here, Wu explains his thought process and what he thinks of not only his line, but Spindler’s, as well.

Event — Blinds/Ante EPT London 12,000-24,000 with a 2,000 ante
Player Raymond Wu Benny Spindler
Chip Count 1.2 million 1.2 million
Hand KSpade Suit JClub Suit ASpade Suit ADiamond Suit

The Hand

Benny SpindlerRaymond Wu raised to 62,000 under the gun, and Benny Spindler called from the button. Both players saw a flop of JDiamond Suit 4Spade Suit 3Club Suit, and Wu continued with a bet of 75,000.

Spindler made the call, and the turn was the QSpade Suit. Wu checked, and Spindler fired in a bet of 112,000. Wu called, and the river was the JSpade Suit.

Wu checked once again, and Spindler thought for a bit before betting 250,000. Wu went into the tank for several minutes before finding a call, and Spindler showed ASpade Suit ADiamond Suit. A surprised Wu revealed KSpade Suit JClub Suit for the winning trips.

After the hand, Spindler took a hit down to about 700,000, and Wu chipped up to about 1,700,000.

The Analysis

Raymond WuI raised K-J under the gun and was called by Benny. I was thinking at the time that when he calls my preflop raise, it can be pretty much any two cards except for aces, kings, or queens. I just thought his range was that wide.

He’s a pretty aggressive player, so if he did have a premium hand like aces, he should have three-bet me, knowing I wouldn’t give him much credit. Or at least that’s what I thought he would do, take advantage of his image with a big hand.

The flop came jack high, so at this point I’m pretty happy. Betting the flop is a must for me, since I can be continuation-betting with a wide variety of hands, and he knows that. I’m not the type of player who just checks when they hit and bets when they miss. People pick up on that, and I’m not about to give too much away.

After I bet and he calls, I’m in a tough situation, since I still don’t know very much about his hand. A normal player, you’d start to narrow it down. Maybe he has a medium pocket pair, maybe a jack, or some kind of straight draw. But with Benny, he could just as easily be trapping me or be floating me with complete air.

The turn is a queen, which is not a very good card for me. The reason for that is because it is only a good card for me if I want to continue to bet as a bluff, since hands like pocket fives will probably fold. But betting for value is now tough because many of the hands that call me have me beat, and I could easily get raised off my hand by making the pot bigger. You don’t want to inflate the pot in a hand where you are not super comfortable.

He bet one-third of the pot pretty quickly, and I don’t know enough to know where I’m at, so I decided to call and re-evaluate on the river.

The river was another jack, giving me trips, but it was also the third spade, putting a backdoor flush on board. This is where it gets really interesting. To a good hand-reader, my hand is pretty much screaming a jack or a very unlikely queen. Honestly, he should know that I’m not check-calling the turn with a hand like pocket eights or nines, because that is just extremely thin.

Once I call that turn bet, my hand is pretty much face up, in my opinion. With that in mind, you can see why I took so long to call his river bet. It was for about half the pot, which at that stage of the tournament was very significant.

I was very, very surprised that he would bet the river with pocket aces. I think his line was very weird, to be honest, in that he didn’t reraise preflop, didn’t bet the flop, bet small on the turn, and then tried to get value on an extremely dangerous board on the river. I can’t see how he would ever get called there by anything other than a hand that beats him, other than possibly K-Q or A-Q, but those are only two hands out of many.

His hand was very disguised, and I obviously got lucky to win the pot, but I think he ultimately misplayed it by not checking behind on the river, otherwise he’s just turning his aces into a bluff.