Your Call: Karl Mahrenholz gets into a tricky spot with A-K’s Karl Mahrenholz tests out your poker skills with this tough hand from a recent major tournament. Can you work out the best move?

Event: £500+£50 GUKPT Walsall
Stack: 75,000
Blinds: 400/800/a100

The situation

This hand was one I played from the last level of day 1A of this year’s GUKPT. This event has a good structure with one hour levels. I had been at the table since the dinner break and in that time not many players had busted. I recognised a couple of good regular players and also some of the local players, as Walsall was my local casino when  I first started playing.

My image leading up to this hand was relatively solid. I had built my stack very early on and since moving tables had been reasonably card dead and not taken any bad hands to showdown.

In this hand the action is folded to me UTG+1 and I raise to 1,650 with A-K. It is folded to the player in the hijack position, a local who I recognise and have played with before. He is a good player but doesn’t seem to get out of line very often. He decides to three-bet to 3,950 from a stack of 80,000. Everyone else gets out of the way and I make the call for the extra 2,300. The flop is K-T-3 rainbow. I check and he bets 5,500 into 10,000. I call and the turn is the 2♠. I check and he bets 11,000 into 21,000. I call and the river is the Q. The pot is 43,000 and I have almost 55,000 behind.

The action is on me. What is your play – check or bet? If you are checking, what is your plan? If you are betting, how much and what are your reasons?

The solution

When breaking down his range on the river, a good hand seems extremely likely given the action and the stereotype of this player. Of the hands that connect the strongest with this board, K-K seemed unlikely as there are only two Kings left in the deck. I also ruled out A-J and K-Q as these hands didn’t fit the range I thought he would three-bet preflop. Q-Q would have rivered a set but I thought it unlikely that he would bet the turn with Queens when he was in position. That leaves A-A and A-K as the most likely hands.

He would still be left with a good stack if he folded and the fact we were very close to the end of Day 1, combined with how much more likely it is my range would connect strongly with this board than his, led me to shove the river. It was definitely a high variance play, but one which felt right given the action at the time. After an extremely long tank my opponent folded A-K face-up and I went through to Day 2 with a very good stack.

(The winner this month is Chris Briddon. While he didn’t think Karl should shove the river, he did analyse the hand correctly and came closest to the correct answer. Congratulations!)

Send your answer to us by email ( or via Twitter @PokerPlayer365. The first correct answer drawn at random will receive a pack of PokerPlayer playing cards. Closing date for entries is September 11. The solution (and the winner) will appear here on September 25.

Pin It

Comments are closed.