Archive 2014

[Exclusive] WCGRider’s Six-Figure Hand Analysis, HU vs. Isildur1

By Full Tilt Posted at 2:56 pm on 14 February 2014

Written by Douglas “WCGRider” Polk


Welcome to my first post for the Full Tilt Poker Blog. I wanted to pick a subject matter that you guys would find interesting.

I think one of the biggest No-Limit Hold’em pots on Full Tilt Poker in 2013 fits the bill. I was playing heads up against Viktor Blom.

The session ended up going, well, badly –

Click to enlarge graph

Click to enlarge

You know it’s going to be a good day when you have a 1.8M downswing, mid-session. I had opened the match winning a decent bit and stacks were getting deeper and deeper.

It was only a matter of time until we were going to play some massive pots.

Finally, we got our moment –

Seat 3: Isildur1 ($233,500)

Seat 6: WCGRider ($293,073)

Isildur1 posts the small blind of $400

WCGRider posts the big blind of $800

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to WCGRider [Ac Ad]

Isildur1 raises to $2,400

WCGRider raises to $8,800

Isildur1 calls $6,400

*** FLOP *** [Ts 4c 7h]

WCGRider bets $12,000

Isildur1 raises to $32,000

WCGRider calls $20,000

*** TURN *** [Ts 4c 7h] [5h]

WCGRider checks

Isildur1 has 15 seconds left to act

Isildur1 bets $43,200

WCGRider has 15 seconds left to act

WCGRider has requested TIME

WCGRider calls $43,200

*** RIVER *** [Ts 4c 7h 5h] [3d]

WCGRider checks

Isildur1 bets $149,350, and is all in

It’s funny, at this point I felt strangely calm, even though if I called this would be the biggest pot of my life. Before I was going to think about whether to call this massive bet, I needed to take a step back and to look at the facts of the match:

– We are 300 big blinds deep.

– My opponent is very aggressive.

– My opponent is representing that he has a straight.

– My opponent snap-shoved.

If my opponent had less than a straight, it would be a very tough place to shove. He can’t imagine I will call with too much less than two-pair or my own straight, so he would have to proceed with caution. Therefore even if he would shove a set, no player would be sick enough to snap-shove, he would have to at least think for a few moments here before committing to a 470k pot when any 6 beats him. It’s important to use timing when appropriate to analyze hands.

Let’s think about what his hand actually is. The following hands are straights –

2-6/3-6 – He wouldn’t call these hands vs. a 3-bet.

4-6 – He wouldn’t raise a pair vs. a bet, that hand can showdown and suffers from putting more money in the pot.

5-6 – This is a serious threat (although 5-6 probably checks the turn).

6-6 – This hand calls the flop.

7-6 – This hand calls the flop.

8-6 – This hand is a threat.

9-6 – This hand is a threat.

T-6 – This hand calls the flop.

J-6/Q-6/K-6 – These hands fold the flop.

A-6 – This hand calls the flop.

A-2 – This hand calls the flop.

So now we’ve broken down our “threat” range into three possible straights. We lose to 5-6, 8-6, and 9-6. Both 5-6 and 6-8 would probably call whether suited or not, but 9-6 would really need to be suited to call a 3-bet.

Now that we have identified the threats, we should figure out what hands we beat. This is a really critical part of the analysis process. You need to not only think about what he can have, but how he would play it. Let’s say he would always play 5-6/6-8/6-9 like this (keep in mind, 5-6 might check turn and 6-9 offsuit folds preflop to the 3-bet). Then what he is saying is this:

“I am going to raise my straight draws on the flop, so if I hit a straight I can value-bet.”

This is where things start to fall apart for our opponent. His bet represents three unique holdings that beat me. However, let’s look at all flop straight draws. On T-7-4 the following hands are straight draws that didn’t river straights.

J-9 – Would raise, bet turn, and want to bluff river.

J-8 – Would raise, bet turn, and want to bluff river.

8-9 – Would raise, bet turn, and want to bluff river.

5-3 – Would raise, possibly bet turn, but check river.

8-5 – Would raise, possibly be turn, and possibly bluff river if it bet the turn.

So I’m looking at a value range of 5-6, 8-6, and 9-6s. And I’m looking at a bluff range of J-9, J-8, 8-9, and 8-5s. There are more bluffs than value-bets and that includes him betting both 8-5s and 5-6 on the turn.

We can conclude that – *If my opponent is raising all straight draws on the flop, and will bluff this river, he will have more bluffs than valuebets.*

The last piece to the puzzle here is probably the biggest question. “Is my opponent the type of player that is willing to put in 300 big blinds, at the highest stakes, against a tough opponent, on a complete airball?”

That’s when I knew what I had to do…

WCGRider has 15 seconds left to act

WCGRider has requested TIME

WCGRider calls $149,350

*** SHOW DOWN ***

Isildur1 shows [8d 9h] Ten Nine high

WCGRider shows [Ac Ad] a pair of Aces

WCGRider wins the pot ($466,999.50) with a pair of Aces


We all have tough days and we all have tough spots.

But it’s important, regardless of whether your main game is 5c/10c or you’re a nosebleed regular, that you maintain your composure and do some hand reading.

At the end of the day, you have to make reads on your opponent. Isn’t that what poker is all about?

You can follow Doug on twitter at @DougPolkPoker.

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