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

40K Day Three NLHE Hand Of The Day

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The action started with Lex Veldhuis opening the pot for 95K from middle position. Justin Bonomo came along, calling in late position, and Noah Schwartz joined in the fun by calling from the big blind.

The flop came A-K-3 with two spades. Schwartz checked and Veldhuis made a continuation bet of 175K. Bonomo called and Schwartz then check raised to 650K prompting a quick fold from Veldhuis. Bonomo took a few moments to think things through and then moved all in. Schwartz didn't snap call but he didn't take too long to make the call with pocket 3's for a flopped set. Bonomo only had A-10 off suit (with no spade) and was drawing virtually dead. The set held up and Schwartz doubled up to 3 million while Bonomo dropped to 2.7 million.

The reason I wanted to discuss this hand is because I think it's a good example of a player not thinking things through. Some players would make the argument that the play isn't a bad one from Bonomo, especially given his chip position, but I think if you play the hand out and think it through, that an all-in move here is a bad option to take. Let's look at the hand from beginning to end:

Pre-flop, Lex, a loose aggressive player, could be opening with a wide range of hands. Bonomo knows this and has the stack and position and makes the call. Like Lex, Justin's range here is pretty large. He could have anything as he's known to use position to try and take pots off of people. Schwartz, however, by flat calling in the big blind has told us that he has a hand that he likes but not one that he's in love with. If I was playing at the table, I would think a hand like suited connectors, a small pair, or a marginal hand like K-J or K-10.

On the flop, Schwartz checks and Lex makes a fairly standard continuation bet. This doesn't change Lex's range any as he would make this bet with the nuts or with air. Bonomo flat calling the raise either means one of two things –

1) he's trying to take the pot away from Lex on the turn by floating him on the flop or
2) he has a good piece of it and wants to use his positional advantage to extract more chips from Lex.

Schwartz then check raises. This should set off alarm bells for both Lex and Bonomo. He flat called a raise pre-flop and then check raised a board like A-K-3. There are two spades on the board and Schwartz has made a large raise. This isn't the typical play that a player with a flush draw would make. Usually a player with a flush draw who is out of position will do one of three things, lead out, check call, or check raise all in (I've seen the check raise over bet all in with a flush draw so many times that with most players it's almost routine to look them up). Schwartz did neither of those three things so I think it is safe to eliminate a flush draw.

So what possible hands could Schwartz have?

I think we can eliminate aces, kings, or ace king as most of these hands would have re-raised pre-flop. It is possible Schwartz could have been trapping with one of those three hands, but it is unlikely. A hand like A-Q or A-J is possible. K-Q or K-J? Probably not.

I think Schwartz would lead out with those hands to see if anyone has an ace. That leaves one other possibility. Pocket 3's. The way this hand has played out makes 3's a hand that is definitely in Schwartz's range. A hand like a rag ace? Again, would probably lead out to see where they were at. So we've narrowed Schwartz's hand down to one of three hands (although I am sure some would argue that a flush draw is a possibility, I just think it's too small of one to include it). All three of these hands beat A-10. The question then becomes can we induce a fold from a hand like A-Q or A-J if we move our stack in and exert pressure? Schwartz has committed nearly half his chips and really the only hand he could realistically fold here is a complete bluff which we've already ruled out. The best action here would be to just cut your losses and fold.

Moral of this hand? Even top pros with big stacks can be guilty of not thinking things through and analyzing the situation. Don't make that mistake. When you're facing a situation in a multi-way raised pot, work through the different scenarios in your head and put your opponents on a specific range of hands.

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