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Poker Strategy -- David Sands Breaks Down Online Win

Sands Explains Three Key Hands in Monday $1K Victory


David SandsDavid “Sir Sands” Sands is having quite the year online. He is currently ranked in second place on the Card Player Online Player of the Year rankings and has earned more than $900,000 in the process, bringing his lifetime winnings to nearly $1.4 million.

Despite a limited playing schedule, Sands has made the most of it, racking up 14 wins in some of the toughest tournaments online against some of the best competition in the world. His remarkable run has him in position to claim the title of 2009’s best online player if he can overcome Steve “gboro780” Gross down the home stretch.

When asked for some insight into his game, Sands responded by taking us through one of his marquee wins of the year, when he took down the Full Tilt $1K Monday. Here, he breaks down three keys hands that catapulted him to victory.

Hand No. 1 — All-In With Nothing

Monday $1K Blinds/Antes 300/600 with a 75 ante
Player David Sands Pot Luck Poker
Hand ASpade Suit 8Spade Suit ?
Chip Count 36,529 57,875

David Sands raised to 1,570 on the button, and Pot Luck Poker reraised to 4,700 from the big blind.

Sands made the call, and the two players saw a flop of 7Heart Suit 3Heart Suit 3Spade Suit. Pot Luck Poker bet 6,700, and Sands reraised all in for his last 31,754.

Pot Luck Poker folded, and Sands scooped the pot.

The Analysis

David SandsJulio Rodriguez: Here, you get reraised out of the blinds and elect to take the flop in position. What it just too small of a raise to fold?

David Sands: His three-bet sizing here is really standard, certainly big enough to get most players off the A-8. I had been opening a lot at this stage of the tourney, especially from late position, so I expected to get three-bet a decent amount of the time. As such, I didn’t necessarily give my opponent a lot of credit for a having a big hand. I actually considered four-betting, but felt that stack sizes where such that he could five-bet shove often enough with marginal hands, making a four-bet on my part unprofitable.

JR: What kind of hand were you putting him on?

DS: I am putting him on two decent Broadway cards such as K-Q, A-J or A-Q. I think it’s unlikely I ever had the best hand.

JR: How do you usually handle three-bets from the blinds when you raise with a decent, but not spectacular, starting hand?

DS: That all depends on stack sizes. I would not usually flat the three-bet if doing so would leave my opponent a pot-sized bet with which he could shove most flops. In this spot, I really like the flat-call, because we are deep enough that he cannot commit himself with a continuation-bet on the flop.

JR: What about your stack size?

DS: I knew my stack would hurt him, and I also felt that he expected me to four-bet or fold. I feel my flat represented a lot of strength, which ultimately enabled me to win the pot with what was almost certainly the worst hand.

JR: What is your final read on his hand?

DS: A-J or A-Q seems the most likely hand he held in this spot.

Card Player Pro

Hand No. 2 — Making a Big Call

Monday $1K Blinds/Antes 1,200-2,400 with a 300 ante
Player David Sands xGameSetMatchx
Hand 8Heart Suit 8Diamond Suit AHeart Suit KSpade Suit
Chip Count 247,165 98,804

xGameSetMatchx raised to 6,335 from under the gun, and David Sands called from the big blind. The flop came down 6Spade Suit 5Spade Suit 2Club Suit, and Sands checked.

xGameSetMatchx bet 9,900, and Sands raised to 23,780. xGameSetMatchx then shoved for 92,169, and Sands made the call.

xGameSetMatchx showed AHeart Suit KSpade Suit, and Sands revealed pocket eights. The turn and river came 3Club Suit and 8Club Suit, and Sands took the pot with a set of eights.

The Analysis

David SandsJR: In this hand, you have a pocket pair and defend in the blinds. Did you ever consider reraising preflop, or did you think that would put you to a tough decision on the flop?

DS: Since the villain raised under the gun and we were very deep, I think flat-calling is optimal here. Had he raised from the button, I would have given him less credit for having a big hand and would be much more likely to three-bet.

JR: I understand the check-raise on the flop, but doesn’t his shove indicate a high pocket pair most of the time? I mean, he did raise from under the gun and bet it the whole way. What led you to believe that your eights were good?

DS: Yes, usually his shove on the flop would indicate that my eights are crushed. However, I felt like I had a pretty good timing read on this player and read his shove as weakness.

JR: Looking back, what do you think his thought process was? Was he simply too attached too his A-K, or did he think he was representing real strength, enough to take you off of a pretty good hand?

DS: Probably a combination of both. He likely knows I never have K-K or A-A, so even if he’s behind, he’s still 25 percent to suck out on the turn or river with his two overs. He also knows I am capable of making a check-raise in this spot with air, so he probably figured I fold to his shove often enough that the move shows profit in the long run.

JR: What happens if the flop comes queen or jack high? Do you still proceed the same, or do you go into check-call mode?

DS: I’m definitely more likely to slow down if an over hits, however, I am unlikely to call more than one street with a vulnerable hand like pocket eights. Check-calling in this spot is bad for two reasons. One, it gives your opponent an opportunity to bluff you on future streets. Two, it gives your opponent a good chance to make the best hand on subsequent streets.

Hand No. 3 — Getting Maximum Value

Monday $1K Blinds/Antes 1,700-3,400 with a 400 ante
Player David Sands Corey “Comandr_Cool” Burbick
Hand KHeart Suit JDiamond Suit ASpade Suit 10Club Suit
Chip Count 248,027 297,458

At the final table, six-handed, Corey “Comandr_Cool” Burbick raised to 8,500 on the button, and David Sands reraised to 22,780 from the big blind. Burbick made the call, and the flop came down QSpade Suit 9Spade Suit 5Club Suit.

Sands continued with a bet of 29,780, and after using up some of his time bank, Burbick made the call.

The turn was the 10Diamond Suit, and Sands bet 37,780. Burbick called, and the river was the 5Diamond Suit. Sands moved all in for 157,287, and Burbick called with ASpade Suit 10Club Suit for second pair. Sands showed KHeart Suit JDiamond Suit for the nut straight to scoop the pot and increase his stack to more than 500,000.

The Analysis

JR: Once again you’re in the blinds, and this time Corey opens the button. Is K-J a hand you’d always three-bet in this spot, six-handed? Or did you think you could take advantage of the situation and put him to a tough decision? He had the chip lead at the time, so why not stay away from him?

DS: Well, I am never flatting out of position against a great player like Corey. Nine-handed I might be more inclined to find a fold, but six-handed, the K-J is simply too far ahead of his opening range from the button to fold. Some people may elect to take a more conservative line against another player with a big stack, but I am playing only for first place and thus adopt the philosophy that since I need to accumulate all the chips at some point to win, I might as well play pots against the other big stacks.

JR: You end up flopping a gutshot-straight draw and you make a continuation-bet. Would you make that same bet, regardless of the flop? If not, what kind of flops are you looking for?

DS: I am continuation-betting the majority of flops here. If I flopped second pair on a scary board, something like A-J-9 or Q-J-9, I may go into check-call mode. However, with a king high here, I feel a continuation-bet is best.

JR: You hit your gin card on the turn; did you ever consider slowing down and letting him catch up? Had you not hit your gutshot, would you still have fired again?

DS: Since we were very deep and Corey is more than capable of floating the flop to make a play on the turn, I would likely have followed up my flop bet with another bet on the turn had I missed. I put him on a weakish pair he thinks is good and wants to show down. As it turns out, this line would have almost certainly won the pot, since Corey had A-10 and is folding to a turn bet if he doesn’t make a pair after calling the flop.

After making the nuts, I bet again on the turn to build the pot so I can make a pot-sized shove on the river. I really felt Corey was trying to hero-call me here (partially because of the rail) and wanted to encourage him to do so.



12 years ago

I dont like the call with the 88s when he 4 bet ur check raise all in. There are too many hands that the utg raiser has that has u cruashed (99s, 10s, JJs, QQs, KKs, AAs.