Your Call: Karl Mahrenholz at the UKIPT London main event

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

Karl Mahrenholz has a marginal hand on the river versus an aggro Scandi

Event: UKIPT London Main Event

Stack: 40,000
blinds : 100/200
Karl’s hand: 6-5

Board – Q-7-2-J-6

Situation: This tournament had almost 1,100 players over three starting days. The starting stack was 15,000 and levels were one hour long. This hand took place in only the fourth level of the tournament. My table was mostly made up of unfamiliar players who I presumed to have qualified online (I’d not seen them at any other UK event). The standard was highly varied with some very weak players. The player to my immediate right was the most aggressive at the table and I had played with him recently in an event in Prague. The player on my left was Danish pro Lars Bonding who I know to be a highly aggressive and skilled player. Before this hand I had chipped up nicely to 40,000, mainly through playing pots with the weaker players at the table and making some good hands against them.

Action folded to me on the button. I raised to 425 with 5-6 and Lars was the only caller from the small blind. The flop came Q-7-2 with two of my suit. I decided to check behind as I didn’t want to face a check-raise and could disguise my hand somewhat. The turn was an offsuit Jack and Lars checked again. I bet 550 and he check-raised to 1,625. I called and the river was the 6, giving me fourth pair. Lars bet 3,200. Can you find a hero call? Is it an easy fold? Would you ever raise? What do you think is my best play and why?

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Last month

Karl gets himself into a river pickle

Event: GUKPT

London Main Event
Stack: 30,000
blinds : 75/150
Karl’s hand – K-J

Board – A-K-K-8-3

Situation: The table was full of well-established pros and everyone seemingly competent. I opened K-J offsuit from mid-position to 350 and got called by the cutoff and both blinds. The flop was A-K-K with a diamond flush draw. I bet 200 into 1,400 and only the cutoff called. The turn was the 8. 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?

Solution: The key to my thinking was my bet sizing. My bets on both the flop (200 into 1,400) and the turn (500 into 1,800) were really small and would keep in a lot of hands, particular against a stubborn opponent who is likely to not believe me for a hand. At no point in the hand did my opponent re-check his cards, meaning he must know the exact suits of both his cards. If they were both diamonds he would no doubt have raised at some point which meant they were likely either both of a different suit or possibly both black (a more experienced player is likely to remember both suits even if they are different. That was still possible, just not as likely in my opinion). When the fourth diamond hit the river it’s a great (mandatory even) bluffing card when I check. Even if he suspects I have a King he can still win the pot and so whatever hand he has reached the river with, he can turn into a bluff. This, combined with not checking his hand, led me to call. He had 3-3 and he’d rivered a full house.

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