Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine

Poker Strategy -- John Cernuto Discusses Hand at PCA

Analyzes a Hand From PokerStars Caribbean Adventure on Day 1A


John Cernuto“Miami” John Cernuto is competing at the 2010 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and the long-time pro has had to tweak his game in order to succeed against the overwhelmingly large field of players. He demonstrated an adjustment he made by analyzing a hand he played early on Day 1A of the event.

Review of the Hand:

Blinds: 150-300

Preflop Action: Cernuto limps with 8Spade Suit 6Spade Suit in middle position, and Villain raises to 1,700 in the hijack. Cernuto calls. The pot is now 3,850.

Kristy Arnett: Tell me about your thought process preflop?

John Cernuto: First of all, 8Spade Suit 6Spade Suit is a hand that normally I would play in position, but the mood at the table was there was not a lot of isolation plays going on. There were a few, but you could get in with two or three limpers and maybe catch a decent flop. With this hand, normally I’m not going to play it out of position for a raise; I’m not going to call that kind of a raise. However, there was a certain criteria I felt was met. For one, this particular player would make this raise with a raggedy ace, a decent ace (maybe), and a medium-sized pair. It was obvious he didn’t want a whole lot of action.

The second thing is that he never played his hand very strongly, so if he was weak on the flop, he’d check. So, I figured that if I don’t make my hand, I can certainly get away from it on the flop, but if he checks, I can outplay him and pick up the pot. So, I’ve got some implied odds that I can steal the pot from this guy, and if he bets the flop and I get a piece of it, there is a very good possibility that he’ll pay me off, because he also pays off weakly. So, because of the gentleman who made the raise, I decided to play this hand.

I read him as weak, and I thought he would pay me off if I hit. That was the most important part about making the decision to play the hand, because if it was one of these Internet kids who was going to bet high on any flop and not give me a chance to pick up the pot, I’m not going to come in for that kind of money.

Flop Action: The flop comes 6-5-4 rainbow. Cernuto checks, and Villain bets 3,000. Cernuto calls. The pot is now 9,850.

JC: I got a good flop for my hand, top pair and straight draw, but we are still deep-stacked. I didn’t want to make the pot big; I’m out of position. If I was in position, I might have raised him, but I don’t know what he’s going to do. I’m playing a mediocre hand out of position, so I checked to him.

KA: What kind of range are you putting him on after the flop action?

JC: I’m taking him off just an ace high. I’m thinking he has a weak ace that has a pair on the board, or a medium-sized pair. I don’t put him on anything like aces, kings, or a set because of his bet sizes preflop and on the flop. So I figure I’m just going to make the call, because I don’t want to get blown off of my hand.

Card Player Pro

Turn Action: The turn is a 7, completing the rainbow. The board now reads 6-5-4-7. Cernuto checks, and Villain checks. The pot is still 9,850.

KA: You make your straight on the turn. Why did you decide to check?

JC: I’m thinking that here’s where I get paid off. I don’t want to lead [out with a bet] and lose him, though, just in case he does just have a pair.

KA: Did you expect him to check behind?

JC: Yes. At least my summation, my read on him was that unless he had a monster, he was going to check behind me, which was OK, because I know he’s going to pay me off on the river if he has the overpair.

River Action: The river is a 5. The board now reads 6-5-4-7-5. Cernuto bets 5,500, and Villain folds. Cernuto wins the pot of 9,850.

KA: Since you didn’t put him on a set, this is a good card for you, right?

JC: Yes. When the river card hit, I was thinking I was definitely going to get paid off by an overpair now. I made a medium-sized bet knowing it was going to get paid off, that’s why I played the hand in the first place. Well, I guess I was wrong. He showed me to two nines and folded. [Laughs]

I mean, I’d love to tell you that it worked out, and I was right 1,000 percent, but it didn’t work out. I still won the pot, but when he showed me the two nines and threw them away, my jaw almost fell out. Maybe he had a read on me, I don’t know, but like I said before, against 95 percent of the players, I would have just folded. In this case, the mood of the table, the player I was playing against, and the implied odds of getting paid off, I played it. It worked out OK.

Cernuto finished day 1A with 36,500 in chips. He was not able to make it past day 2, however. Follow all of the action live with Card Player’s live updates.