Your call: Karl Mahrenholz with a tricky hand from an online tournament

A great flop for Karl Mahrenholz turns into a sticky situation on the river…

Event: Poker Encore iPOPS $500k GTD main event

Stack: 11,500
blinds : 100/200
Karl’s hand: A-K
Board: A-3-3-J-6

Situation: This was an online tournament that took place recently with around 2,000 players on the iPoker network. It was the main event of a two-week long festival for which satellites had been running for a few weeks.

Everyone started with 10,000 in chips and the blind levels were 15 minutes long, making it a really well-structured online event. My table contained a mix of fairly straightforward players and more aggressive players. The average stack at this stage was around 14,000.

This hand took place a few hours into the tournament. I raised to 405 from the hijack with A-K. Both players in the blinds called. I had noted both of these players so far for being some of the more active at the table. The flop came A-3-3 with a diamond flush draw. The pot was 1,215 and both players checked to me. I had been one of the most active players at the table since we started, winning lots of pots without showdown and a couple with speculative hands that had been shown. I bet 499 and the small blind was the only caller. He started the hand with 16,000 in chips. The turn was an offsuit Jack. He checked, I bet 1,400 and he checkraised to 2,800. I called after a short think and the river was an offsuit Six. He bet 8,200 which was enough to put me all-in. What is my best play, call or fold?

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

Last Month

Karl 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: 6h-5h
board: Q-7-2-J-6

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 Bonding – an aggressive Danish pro – was the only caller from the small blind. The flop was Q-7-2 with two of my suit. I checked 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. Could you find a hero call? Is it an easy fold? Would you ever raise? What is my best play and why?


Lars is a very aggressive player and so it’s easy to default to not giving him credit for a hand. But it’s important to run through the hand and think of the most likely ways he would play certain hands. I would expect him to lead the turn with the majority of his bluffs and semi-bluffs. When he check-raises I thought the turn likely improved his hand. Q-J seemed like a hand he would play this way on all streets, and potentially also K-T. When he bet 3,200 into 4,300 I am guessing as to which of the two they are, but I folded. I thought he would more likely lead his semi-bluffs and also there were some other very easy chips on this table. I didn’t find out what his exact hand was, but overall I was happy with how I played this hand.

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