Can you play like a pro? Take a look at this situation and let us know what you’d do…
This hand comes from the second level on Day 1B of the recent UKIPT Isle of Man and was played by Amy Trodd. This event had a sizeable overlay with a mixed field of pros, qualifiers and some PokerStars staff who were allowed to play this event. The structure was the usual 60 minute levels with a 20,000 starting stack and this table was one of the tougher in the room with Max Silver, Jon Spinks and Mick O’Grady. There were also a couple of weaker players who were playing fairly wild already. Before this hand Amy had been playing very solidly because of the dynamics already present at the table.
Jon Spinks raised from early position to 250, Amy called in the cutoff with A-Q and both blinds called. Amy hadn’t played with Jon before so each knew little about their respective games. On the A-Q-8 rainbow flop, Jon c-bet 750 into 1,000. Amy called after a short think and both blinds folded. The turn was a Nine, which also brought a flush draw. Jon bet 2,200 into 2,500 and Amy called. The river was an offsuit King and Jon then bet 6,000 into 6,900 without much delay. What would you do here with top and third pair? Call, raise or fold?
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Your call – Karl Mahrenholz, London UKIPT
In this hand the UTG player min-raised to 4,000 and had me covered. Everyone folded, I made it up with 9♣-8♣ in the SB and the BB folded. I had no real info on this player apart from that he was a young European with a decent stack. The flop came K-9-3 with one club. I checked, and he asked to see my stack before checking behind. The turn paired the Nine. I checked and he bet 6,500, which I called. The river was the 5♦. I checked again and he moved all-in for 65,000 effective into a pot of 24,600. What’s my best play, call or fold?
His check back on the flop didn’t tell me much other than he had a marginal showdown hand, or a slow played bigger hand. It was a very dry flop where he may even slow play/pot control top pair. His 6,500 bet offered no new information but I thought my hand was good. I checked the river in the hope he would go for value with a King. When he set me all-in I was completely surprised.
If he’s bluffing why risk so much? My hand looks like a marginal two pair hand with a King/pocket pair or possibly a Nine. Neither would warrant putting me all-in in an attempt to win the pot. Likewise I thought this bet with a strong hand was a mistake. Sure, I may pay off with a Nine but would surely fold anything else. After a long think I decided it was more likely he was gambling I had a Nine and going for the lot rather than risking more than twice the pot in a spot where a smaller bluff would do the same job. I folded and he later revealed he had A-9.
Congratulations to Jonathan Lemon who correctly guessed that our opponent likely has a monster hand after he bets so big on the river, and noted that the slow structure allows Karl to make a tight fold. Think you can play like a pro this month? Send your answers for the new situation to firstname.lastname@example.org – give the best answer and you’ll win a pack of PokerPlayer branded playing cards!