Fun hand from the WSOP Main Event

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The World Series of Poker Main Event is upon us, so today I wanted to share a key hand I played in the 2014 WSOP Main Event that propelled me into cashing for $22,678.

On Day 3, I had 100,000 chips (we started the tournament with 30,000 chips) at 2,000/4,000 blinds with a 500. I was fortunate enough to wake up with A-A on the button. Everyone folded around to me and I made my standard raise to two big blinds, 8,000. Read More

Tough spot against a creative player

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A while back I had the opportunity to play in the €5300 European Poker Tour Malta main event. Things were going reasonably well. I had built my 30,000 starting stack up to 80,000 when the following hand took place. My opponent in this hand is a world-class player who regularly takes creative betting lines. While he generally plays a tight, aggressive strategy, he is certainly capable of getting well out of line if he thinks the time is right. Read More

A common blunder

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The following hand is from a $1,500 buy-in World Series of Poker event. Up until this point, I was extremely card dead. I actually only played three pots that went to the flop in the first three hours of play. When you happen to get relatively few playable hands, it is usually a good idea to attempt an intelligent, well-timed bluff, especially if your opponents realize that you have been tight and will give you more “respect” than usual.

At 75/150 with 7,500 chip stacks, I raised to 400 from middle position with Js-10c.

This is a situation where I would almost certainly fold under normal circumstances but since I appeared so tight, I decided to get a bit out of line.

A tight, aggressive player called on the button and everyone else folded. The flop came Qs-9d-8c, giving me the nuts.

It is always nice to flop the nuts!

While checking to slow play is an option, I think betting is a much better play. If you check, looking to check-raise if your opponent bets, your opponent will frequently fold, winning you only one small flop bet. If you check-call, hoping your opponent continues betting on the turn, you will often be disappointed when the turn checks through because most players realize you must have a reasonable hand with showdown value to check-call the flop. In general, checking leads to small pots and betting leads to large pots. When you have the nuts, you want to play large pots. Also, it is quite easy for your opponent to connect with this board, making a bet by far the best option.

I made a standard continuation bet for 575 into the 1,025 pot (I probably should have bet a bit larger, perhaps 675). My opponent confidently called. The turn was the (Qs-9d-8c)-6d.

As on the flop, I do not like checking because if I check-raise, my opponent will usually fold to my obviously strong action and if I check-call, there is no guarantee he will bet the river.

I elected to bet 1,500 into the 2,175 pot. Much to my surprise, my opponent raised to 3,800.

At this point, I was quite confident that he had a hand he thought was strong, most likely 10-7, Q-Q, 9-9, 8-8, Q-9 or 9-8. Since a Jack or 10 could appear on the river, allowing my opponent to get off the hook with most of that range, combined with the fact that I would only had 2,725 left in my stack if I called, I decided to go all-in. Even if I had more chips, perhaps up to 10,000 on top, I would have gone all-in. Clearly my all-in is very strong but I did not think my opponent would care. He instantly called and proudly turned over his Kh-Qc, which was drawing dead.

While I think my play was fairly standard, I think my opponent played his hand horribly. I like his preflop and flop calls, but once I bet the turn, I either have a made hand that has K-Q crushed, a draw that has relatively few outs, or a total bluff. While my opponent is destined to lose a big pot when I happen to have him beat (unless he calls the turn and makes a big river fold) when I have a weak draw or bluff, he really wants to keep me in the pot. By raising the turn, my opponent forced me to play perfectly.

Interestingly enough, once I pushed all-in over my opponent’s turn bet, even though he had to call only 2,725 more, I think he should have folded. Given the action, I simply must have a premium hand. When you are drawing dead or nearly dead against your opponent’s entire range, you must make a disciplined fold, even if you made an error to get to the current situation. I think my opponent should have called my turn bet, keeping me in the pot with my entire range.

Especially in small and middle stakes tournaments, a huge portion of your potential profit will come from your opponents’ errors. If you make relatively few mistakes and your opponents constantly make gigantic blunders, as my opponent did in this hand, you will make a significant profit in the long run. No fancy plays are required! That said, in order to entice your opponents to make egregious errors, you have to be somewhat involved in pots and give the impression that you are willing to gamble. If they know you have the nuts every time you put a chip in the pot, they will stay your of your way, making it difficult for the chips to flow your direction.

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Playing fast and slow

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I recently played an interesting hand in a $1,500 buy-in live tournament. Everyone started with 15,000 chips at 50/100 with hour-long levels, meaning there was lots of time to hang out and wait for strong hands. I realized that everyone at my table was implementing that strategy so I quickly adjusted and decided to attempt to steal every pot once it was clear no one was interested in winning. This allowed me to double my starting stack within three hours with almost no risk, which is always an amazing result. You will find that when you are constantly pushing your opponents around, your observant opponents will eventually assume that you are overly wild and may adjust. Read More

Commentating/analyzing six WSOP final tables

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I am excited to announce that I will be either the commentator or providing analysis of key hands during breaks for six WSOP final tables this year on PokerGo.

PokerNews has full details about the entire WSOP streaming schedule here. 

I am currently set to commentate or provide analysis at the following final tables (subject to change):

  • 6/14 – $1,5000 Millionaire Maker
  • 6/16 – $3,000 NLHE 6-handed
  • 6/17 – $10,000 HORSE
  • 6/21 – $5,000 NLHE 6-handed
  • 6/27 – $3,000 PLO 6-handed
  • 7/2 – $5,000 NLHE

Read More

Set turned into a bluff catcher

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catcher-failI recently witnessed this hand in a $1,000 buy-in even that clearly illustrates a flaw in many amateur players’ poker strategies. With blinds of 200/400 with a 50 ante with 23,000 effective stacks, everyone folded around to the button, a reasonably tight player, who raised to 900. The player in the small blind, we will refer to him as Hero, called with 3c-3s, and the big blind, an unknown player, called as well. Read More

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