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Poker Hand Matchup: John Riordan vs. Steve Zolotow

Swords J 7 3 Q 9

John Riordan

Win Pre-Flop Win Post-Flop Win Post-Turn

Starting Stack: 1,380,000


61.97 %

86.26 %

100.0 %


Steve Zolotow

Win Pre-Flop Win Post-Flop Win Post-Turn

Starting Stack: 250,000


37.6 %

13.74 %

0.0 %

Posted On: Jul 20, 2021


Preflop, with six players remaining and blinds of 10,000-15,000 and a big blind ante of 15,000, John Riordan raised to 30,000 from under-the-gun. Steve Zolotow called from the hijack. On the flop Riordan checked, and Zolotow checked behind. On the turn Riordan checked. Zolotow bet 40,000, and Riordan check-raised to 80,000. Zolotow called. On the river Riordan bet 140,000, and Zolotow called.


Two-time bracelet winner and Card Player columnist Steve Zolotow had just shy of 17 big blinds when this hand got underway, making him the clear short stack. The next-lowest player on the leaderboard, Cary Katz, had more than double his chips. John Riordan remained the chip leader, starting with over 90 big blinds. He placed two of those into the pot as the first to act with A-10 suited. Zolotow made the call on his left with K-Q offsuit. Riordan flopped the nut flush draw and checked. Zolotow checked behind and the Q© on the turn gave him top pair while completing Riordan’s flush draw. Riordan had his opponent drawing dead, and he decided to check a second time, prompting Zolotow to make a bet of just under three big blinds. Zolotow’s top pair with a king kicker could likely get called by worse hands. In this instance, though, he had run into the nuts. With his short-stacked opponent having a strong enough hand to bet on the turn, Riordan decided to go for a check-raise, clicking it back to Zolotow for 80,000 total. Zolotow made the call and the 9´ completed the board. Riordan bet enough to put Zolotow all-in. Not too long before this, Riordan had made a similar river bet against Jason Koon with an unimproved A-Q high, so Zolotow was definitely aware that his opponent could be making a move in a spot like this. Zolotow seemed wary, though, perhaps because of the small check-raise he faced on the turn. “I have a really good hand that feels like it’s no good,” he said. Unfortunately for him, he made the call after some more thought and was shown the exit. Zolotow earned $45,000 as the sixth-place finisher. This was his sixth cash in the past two months, bringing his year-to-date earnings to $434,600.

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