PokerStars Championship Barcelona

So I’m here in beautiful Barcelona, for a couple of weeks filled with sunshine and live pokers. The day after arriving I decided to hop into the “National Championship” €1,100 main event. This was of course also the same day as the horrific terror attack at La Rambla in the heart of Barcelona. Naturally, there was a lot of tension in the poker room. People were busy on their phones, getting updates on the progressions of the event while assuring their loved ones that they were safe. Truly horrifying stuff, again… Anyways, let’s get on to the poker.

Hand #1 – Rivering a full house and getting paid

We are playing 250/500/50, and the CO opens to 1100. For context, he was a private equity investor from New York, and he was splashing around a fair bit. Button calls, I call sixes from the SB and BB defends as well. Flop comes 369hhh, so we flop middle set on a monotone board. I check and so does everyone else. Turn comes Js, and we for sure need to bet now, to get value and protect our hand on this very draw heavy board. I bet 3,200 into the pot of 4,950 and the open-raiser calls. River is the 9c, giving me a full house. I figured that my opponent was likely to have at least a jack after calling the turn, or potentially a hand containing the ace of hearts. I fire out a bet of 7,600 into the pot of now 11,350 hoping to get some value. My opponent moans and groans for a bit, before calling. I turn over my full house and to my surprise, he turns over AhTh for the flopped nut flush. Seems like we got lucky there!

Hand #2 – Flopping a nut flush multi way

So UTG+2 opens to 1,800 on 400/800/100. I call AQdd OTB and the BB defends. They are both good and solid players. Flop comes 459 all diamonds, giving us the nut flush. They both check to me and I fire out a bet of 2,700 into the pot of 6,300. I think you could make an argument for going both bigger and smaller here, depending on how you want to size different parts of your range. Anyways, the BB calls and the turn comes 2c, changing nothing. He checks and I bet 7,200 into 11,700, with effective stacks being around 30k. He calls making the pot 26,100 with him having approximately 23k behind. River comes the 8d, not a very good card making a 4-card flush on the board. Most of our bluffs on the turn are gonna be hands that contain the ace or king of diamonds, so river basically leaves us with 0 bluffs. He checks and I try to come up with a size where we can get called by the K or J high flush, in case he has those. If he doesn’t have a medium-high flush here I don’t think we are ever getting called anyways. I bet 6,700 and he folds JTdd face up. FML

Hand #3 – Getting the rest of his chips

One orbit after we played the AQdd vs JTdd hand, we get another spot vs the same opponent. I open KK to 1,800 OTB and he 3-bets from the BB to 6,500, leaving himself with 18,000 ish behind. I thought this was a weird size for him to use, as it does not look like I have fold equity anymore, as he makes it more than 25% of his stack. At least it’s not a size most people would make, with the intention of folding. I also decided that flat-calling here would look too strong, so I put him all in. He snap-called and turned over AJo. I hold and he busts.

Hand #4 – Tough spot with AKo

We are now playing 800/1600/200, and UTG opens to 3,200. UTG+2 3-bets to 8,000. UTG is playing a 50k stack and UTG+2 has over 100k. I’ve only been at the table for a few orbits but UTG seems semi-fishy, while the 3-better seems solid and good.
I am sitting on the 3-betters direct left and I look down at AKo, with a 73k stack. So IMO I have a few options here. I can:

1. 4-bet and call all-in.
2. 4-bet and fold to all-in.
3. Flat call and play some poker.

I’m still not sure which of these options I prefer, and I would love some feedback here. I decided to go for the 4-bet fold option, as I figured it would look ridiculously strong, and he would maybe only shove AA/KK/probably QQ. We also have the best blockers for this play, blocking both AA and KK. So I made it 17,700 with 55,500 behind and the 3-better thinks for a long time before shoving. I fold my hand and he tells me he had QQ. He said he wasn’t expecting me to fold however, and he thought he had little fold equity. Meh, I dunno. Leave your input in comments through the last post on my Facebook page, and I’ll pick a winner who gets a couple of €10 tickets on Unibet!

Hand #5 – Flipping with AQs vs 77

Some orbits later we are playing 1,000/2,000/200 and I look down at AQs with my 44k stack from UTG+2. I make it 4,400 and get two callers from middle positions. BB squeeze-jams for pretty much exactly my stack and I call. He turns over 77 and board runs out A98 (yey), 7 (ney), 9 (meh).

So that was it for the PSNC ME. I’m not really sure what else I will be playing while I am here. Originally I was planning to play the €1k, €2k and the €5k, but I think I might skip €2k and €5k and just grind alot of cash games instead. Way lower variance and more freedom to do other stuff! I’ll make sure to write down some interesting hands from the cash game streets, so expect those in the next blog post!

Until then – thanks for your attention and stay safe out there!

Bonus picture:

The guy to my right was destined to be a nit.

Can I really fold a full house here?

Now, this hand is a truly interesting one! We are playing 500/1,000/100 and Ian opens to 2,000 UTG. I call from the HJ with the lovely QJ of hearts. Button, SB (Lappin) and BB also call and we see a flop of AsJc6h. Checks around. Turn brings the Js giving me trips and also bringing a flush draw. It checks to me and I bet 5,200 into 10,900, trying to get value from Ax hands and making flush draws pay to see another spade. Lappin has other plans, however, and check-raises to 15,600 from the SB. I think his range here is very strong overall, as I am showing a lot of strength betting into 4 people on this board. I think his value range is: 66 (3 combos), AJs (1 combo), KJs (1 combo). The reason I exclude AJo and KJo here is that I think he would not flat call these pre-flop, but rather squeeze AJo and probably fold KJo. His bluff range is quite hard to estimate here, but it will obviously be made up of spade hands. His (assumed) possible spade flush draws here are: KQ, KT, K9, QT, Q9, T9, T8, 98, 97, 87, 86, 76, 75, 65, 64 and 54, in total 16 combos.

Lappins potential spade draws

This is clearly a rough guesstimation, but it will do. I don’t think he would check-raise all these combo’s, so let’s make some more assumptions. Let’s assume he folds his worst ones, calls his best ones (the royal draws) and bluff check-raises the medium ones. Let’s remove KQ, KT, QT, and then 98 and everything below. That leaves us with K9, Q9, T9, T8 so four bluff combos in total.

Lappin giving the stare down treatment (Photo by: Tommy Mandel)

I think QJ is a clear call here, as first of all he could be bluffing, and second of all we have outs against some of his value range. We make the call and the river brings the 6d, making the final board AsJc6h Js 6d. Lappin thinks for a bit and shoves his whole 53k stack into the pot of 42k. Let’s sit back and do two things here. Let’s have a look at my perceived range on the river, and then another look at his. My range after first betting into 4 people on this turn, and then calling a check-raise, is probably KJs, QJs, JTs, J9s and nothing else. I think I bet all my 2 pair/set hands on the flop, and I fold all my flush draws vs the turn check-raise. FWIW I think Lappin is a good enough player that he understands this. Now let’s have another look at his range on the river. 66 is still there, but it’s now 1 combo instead of 3. AJs is still the 1 combo, and KJs is still 1 combo (but we are now chopping with that one). His bluffs are still the same 4 (guesstimated) combos.

Davids guesstimated range

Against his guesstimated range we have 64% equity. Even if he only bluffs half of the spade combos we gave him, we have 50% equity. So let’s find out how much equity we need to have here to make the call.

Villain is here risking 52,000 to win 42,000, so:
B (ratio of what he is risking to what he can win (bet size/potsize) = 53,000/42,000= 1,26
A = B/(B+1) = 1,26/2,26 = 0,558
Minimum Defence Frequency: (1-A)% = 1 – 0,558 = 44,2%.

So we can see that even if he bluffs only half of the estimated bluff combos we gave him, we need to call here. The big question is however, would he bluff here? Does he trust enough in our ability to make big laydowns? Does he expect us to hero-fold our jack here? I thought about the hand for a couple of minutes, before some Italian guy at our table called the clock on me. Fuck Kassouf for making this an accepted thing to do, but I digress…

In the end, I state that I would fold this hand vs everyone else at the table (which honestly I think I would) but that I believe Lappin is tricky/good enough to try to make me fold a jack here. I make the crying call before my 1-minute clock runs out and Lappin tables 66 for quads. He scoops a nice 150k pot and I am left with 35k or so.

If you wanna check out other interesting hands from this tournament, including how I lost my last 30 bigs with JJ vs Ian Simpsons AQ, check out my previous post.

Next tournament will be PSC Barcelona in a couple of weeks. I will be selling some action for the €1,1k, €2,2k and €5,3k events down there, so get in touch through some social media if you are interested in a piece!