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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2009 | The Works

40K Day Two NLHE Hand Of The Day

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Early on in day two, a huge pot developed between Sorel Mizzi and Michael DeMichele. Mizzi opened the action from under the gun with a raise to 12,500. From middle position, DeMichele made it 29,000 to go and everyone folded to Mizzi who flat called. The flop came 8-8-4 and Mizzi led out for 40,000. DeMichele called and the turn was another 4. Mizzi led out again, this time for 90,500 and DeMichele again called. The river was a third 4, making the board 8-8-4-4-4 and Mizzi moved all in for his remaining 170,000. DeMichele took several minutes before making the call and mucked his hand when Mizzi showed pocket aces.

You might wonder why I am choosing this hand to discuss since we don't know what DeMichele's hand is, and the reason is because it's a good one to illustrate why just calling bets is so troublesome and the different thought processes that can be used in this hand. Let's evaluate the hand street by street and see what we could have done, and if there was anything we could have done differently if we had a hand like K-K or Q-Q.

Pre-flop Mizzi open raises from early position. While Mizzi is a known loose aggressive player, the fact that he is raising under the gun should tell DeMichele that his range of hands is narrower than it might be if he was raising from say, middle position. DeMichele probably has a strong hand – I'd put it in the range of one of four hands... kings, queens, jacks, or ace king. He has position on Mizzi and wants to make sure no one joins in on the action so he makes a re-raise to 29,000. This is a perfectly acceptable play, and is in fact preferred in this situation.

When Mizzi flat calls the re-raise, that should narrow the range of hands he likely has. It's unlikely that he was making a typical loose aggressive steal raise with a hand like suited connectors as playing this hand out of position heads up in a large pot isn't a good idea and Mizzi probably would have folded to the re-raise with this type of hand. The same could probably be said for a small pair and a medium pair like 7's or 9's is on the very low end of his range. Pocket 10's or pocket jacks are definitely within the realm of possibility. I think you can rule out queens and kings, because those two hands would probably put in a third raise to define DeMichele's hand. Aces are a possibility, because this is a good situation to slow play them (heads up in a raised pot against another aggressive player).

When Mizzi leads out on the 8-8-4 flop, that should narrow Mizzi's hand down even further. It's either tens, jacks, or aces. With all three of the those hands, leading out is a likely play. DeMichele, in my opinion, plays the flop poorly by just calling. He has no idea which of those three hands. He might think that Mizzi is taking a stab at the pot and want to see what he does on the turn, but if he has a hand like queens or kings, he needs to find out which of those three hands Sorel has. If he puts in a re-raise to say 100K, Mizzi would probably fold hands like tens or jacks and would come over the top with aces.

When the turn is another 4 and Mizzi leads out again, DeMichele has three plays he can make and he chooses the worst option by calling. With 170K left behind them and a pot of over 300K if DeMichele calls, there will be only one play that Mizzi makes on the river... and that's all in. By just calling here, DeMichele is guaranteeing facing a large and difficult bet on the river. Moving all in is another option, especially if you know you are going to call an all in bet on the river any way. Here is where flat calling on the flop is problematic. DeMichele has no idea where he stands and now he is facing risking most of his chips or folding, and he has a hand like kings or queens, it's difficult to justify folding in this situation. Folding is the third option. Can you fold a hand like kings or queens here? Absolutely. Especially when the player you are facing is one of the few players at the table that can cripple you.

When Mizzi moves all in on the river, I think DeMichele's decision should be an easy one. It's clear Mizzi likes his hand and thinks its best. He's not shown any reluctance after being re-raised pre-flop, being called on the flop, and being called on the turn. While it's true that Mizzi is capable of firing three bullets, it's very unlikely in this situation when you factor in all the different variables. DeMichele, however, doesn't think it through properly and makes the crying call and is crippled.

The moral of this hand? Raise to get information about the strength of your opponents hand. Just calling bets is a recipe for disaster, and this hand was living proof of that.

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