Hand Analysis

Hand Analysis

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

With Ben Jackson.

The first big tournament I played as a representative of my new sponsors, Lads Poker, was in London playing the GUKPT Main Event at The Vic. I sat down at a really tough table, with a lot of good players, all of whom seemed to be pros and no one was really giving it away.

The first interesting hand I want to talk about was at the 150-300 level when a good young player opened in mid-position to 700 from a 15k stack. On a 28k stack, I decided to flat A-Qo in the cut off, and everyone else folded. The flop came a pretty nice A-Q-7, two-heart flop. My opponent led for 1k and I decided to call. My reasoning was that he will definitely c-bet his entire range on this board and there are too many hands he is virtually drawing dead with that I don’t want him to fold. It also disguises the strength of my hand well, which on later streets could result in him value-betting a worse hand or calling me with a hand he wouldn’t, had I played it more aggressively.

The turn comes the 3h, putting the flush out there, which I don’t really like – it gives a random hand a bit more equity because I don’t have any heart in my hand. But it also means I can make him bet hands he would have otherwise given up, such as one-heart hands. He checks which makes me quite confident, so I decide to value-bet 1,950. He now check-raises me to 4,400 – a very small bet that I feel polarises him to nuts or nothing, as I would expect him to bet the turn with a hand like K-J with one heart because of his stack size.

I decide to call, thinking he’ll give up on most rivers as I didn’t think he would expect me to fold on the river after calling a turn check-raise. Also, if he does have it, then it’s only costing me 2,200 to fill up and then stack him for another 10k.

The river bricks and he tank-moves-all-in which makes me think it’s even more likely he has it as he had been trying to look like he had a decision and, as he’s a good pro, I don’t think he would tank with a bluff, unless he is just super-levelling me. But because I hadn’t played a load with him I decide to generalise his tank, figure he has it and just fold. This brought me down to about 22k.

Just after this hand, an old guy sat down with about 70k in chips, so I felt he would be either super-splashy or he had just run pretty well so far. It seemed like the latter, and he played a fairly tight starting range, but when in a pot he would play super-hard and only bet pot, which made it quite fun.

I had dropped down to about 17k when he opens at 200-400 UTG to 1,100. I have KsQs on the button and decide to flat. The SB also flats and the flop comes A-2-9 with two clubs. Both check to me and I decide to have a stab of 1,900, as I think the pre-flop raiser would bet any ace and so was most likely going to fold on this board, and, if he decides to call with tens or jacks, I still have two over cards. The SB folds and the pre-flop raiser now calls. Now I’m pretty sure his hand is either tens, jacks, queens or kings, but because I have a king and queen I think tens or jacks are most likely. I’m not loving life as I only have about 13k left at this point against a guy with chunks who is a little splashy when in a pot.

There is now about 8k in the pot. I don’t feel I have a stack to bet turn and bet river with the expectation of him folding as the river bet wouldn’t be large enough, so I’m pretty much done on the hand. The turn comes an off-suit three which makes me more confident not to bet as I was pretty sure he wouldn’t fold on this turn. He checks and I decide to check too, and give up on majority of rivers. The river comes the nut-bluff card for me, the 4c, putting up the flush and now a four-card straight. He checks.

I now have the decision of whether to bluff or not. The problem I have is, if I bluff, it will have to be around the 5k mark, so if I get called I’ll be down to about 20BB. But, on the other hand, if I bluff and it gets through I’m back up to over 20k which allows me to play pots.

Because it’s such a good bluff card and, based on the type of player he is, he pretty much has to have tens or jacks. I decide that I should go for it and bet 5,400. He instantly counts 5,400 from his stack and holds it tightly in his hand as he considers his next move. All I’m thinking about was how long it’ll take me to get my last 20BB in. After about four minutes he finally folds, allowing me to breathe some much-needed air into my lungs!

By the way, if you guys want to play against me online, I suggest you check out Lads Poker. It’s a new site but already has good volume with a wide variety of games, from short stack games playing for pennies up to deep stack games at $10/$20. It also has lots of great promotions, including a rake race which has been going for over seven months. This is a great promotion as it pays out thousands and all you have to do is play!

Tags: Ben Jackson, strategy