Sometimes They Have It

 

There are four players left at a final table and I’m sitting on The Button holding Js-10h. The player to my right (The Cutoff) folds and the action is on me. I have about 46 big blinds in my stack while the two players on my left have around 20 big blinds. Because I have over 20 big blinds and two cards over 7, I’ll make a minimum raise into the Pot.

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Play close attention to the flow of action:

Pre-Flop:

  1. I raised to $40,000
  2. Player 122 called $40,000
  3. Player 273 folded

Flop:

  1. Kd-6s-Kc
  2. Player 122 checked
  3. Action on me

Js-10h is a bad hand on a Kd-6s-Kc flop because I have no pairs and no draws. The Poker Model recommends making a continuation bet in this spot to win the Pot right now. I’d typically make an average-sized continuation bet (⅓-⅔  pot), but because I’m deep in the tournament and the blinds and antes are so high, making a slightly smaller bet should have the same effect. For this reason, I make a slightly smaller bet.

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I bet $24,750 and Player 122 raises to $49,500. Before I fold my hand, I do some calculating. With any average hand, like one pair, Player 122 would have just called, keeping me honest and looking to improve on the Turn. With most draws he would make the same play, but there are no draws on the board. Player 122 is saying “I have a king” with this raise. The odds of flopping three-of-a-kind are 73:1 or 1.35% chance. There are hundreds of other hands that are not three-of-a-kind. This means that it is much more likely that Player 122 is bluffing here than actually holding the King. For this reason I make a 4-bet bluff, hoping to get Player 122 to fold, leaving myself with over 20 big blinds.

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Follow the action:

Flop:

  1. I 4-bet to $111,000
  2. Player 122 called

Turn:

  1. Ace of Spades shows
  2. Player 122 checks
  3. Action is on me

I was hoping to bluff Player 122 into folding on the Flop but my plan did not work. His call on the Flop is a major red flag that I am behind and he most likely has a King. Now I must give up on the hand and conserve the rest of my chips.

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Turn:

  1. I checked

River:

  1. Player 122 checked
  2. I checked
  3. He shows Kh-Jh for the win

As expected after the call of my 4-bet on The Flop, Player 122 shows a King. I chose to make this calculated play because the math indicated that my opponent was probably bluffing. In this case, the math was wrong and I was wrong. The most important part of the hand is ensuring that I did not continue to bluff on the Turn and River, blowing my whole tournament. As you continue your poker journey, I urge you always keep in mind that no matter how unlikely, it’s always possible that they have it.

Brett

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