Your call: Karl Mahrenholz at the GUKPT London

Can you think like a pro? Take a look at this hand and email with your thoughts on what Karl Mahrenholz did and why…

Karl gets himself into a river pickle

Event: GUKPT London £1,070 Main Event
Stack: 30,000
Blinds: 75/150
Karl’s hand: K-J
Board: A-K-K-8-3

Situation: This tournament had around 400 players over two starting days. Each player was allowed to re-enter up to three times. I was playing Day 1A – everyone started with 20,000 chips and the levels were 60 minutes long.

This hand took place in only the third level of the tournament. Despite starting the day on a seemingly soft table I was moved quite early on to a table with people who had entered late. As such this new table was much tougher with several well-established pros, and everyone seemingly competent. I’d been at this table for around two hours when this hand came up. My image had been fairly good and I had chipped up to 30k.

I opened K-J offsuit from mid-position to 350 and got called by the cut-off and both blinds. The flop was A-K-K with a diamond flush draw. I bet 200 into 1,400 and only the cut-off called. This opponent was someone I had played with quite a bit before but not for a while. He is mainly a recreational player who I perceive to have an opinion of me that I’m a lot looser than I generally am. That image is probably not helped by a couple of button versus big blind hands we’d played already where I won with weak holdings.

The turn was the 8 bringing the flush. I bet 500 into 1,800 and he called. The river was the 3 bringing a four-flush. I checked and he bet 1,500 quite quickly without looking at his hand. What is my best play?

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A strong opponent presents a tricky river decision

Event: Genting Poker Series £440 Main Event

Stack: 100,000
Blinds: 400/800/100 
Karl’s hand: Ah-8c
Board: Q-9-3-A-Q

Situation: I had been on the same table since the start of play and several of the original players were still present. My opponents were mainly passive or solid. I had built my stack from 25,000 up to 100,000 and hadn’t shown down any bad hands or been overly aggressive. I opened A-8 offsuit from mid-position to 1,800.

Everyone folded to the BB who called. He was a strong player – I knew he wouldn’t be calling with too wide a range. He started the hand with 50k. On the flop he check-called my bet of 2,400. He checked the turn and I bet 3,000. He check-raised to 7,200. I called. The river paired the Queen. He bet 11,100. What is my best play and why?


The flop play seems standard. The turn is interesting because my standard line might be a pot control one of checking back but I figured he would think I would represent the Ace a fair amount. By betting weak I was trying to induce a raise from his weaker hands.

When he check-raised I thought these vulnerable hands were most likely. 3-3, Q-9, A-9 or A-3 were value hands he could also have. When he bets big on the river I could only see 3-3 or Q-9 as value hands. Why would any other Queen raise the turn when the obvious play would be to call? I decided missed straight draws and weak pair hands that he was turning into a bluff were most likely. I called and he had Q-J. I was very confused by his play here as I don’t think many players are ever turning a hand that strong into a bluff on the turn.

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