Last night's feature table had two notable Aussies: WSOP player of the year Jeffery Lisandro and 2005 Main Event winner Joe Hachem.
In this hand, it's Australia vs the world when Claus Nielsen gets not one but both to lay down better hands.
The Set Up:
With the blinds $1,000/$2,000, Claus Nielsen raises it up to $5,200 from middle position.
Hachem re-raises to $15,000 from the hi-jack and Lisandro flat-calls in the small blind after some thought.
Nielsen calls as well and they see a flop of 6♥ 4♣ A♥. Lisandro checks and Nielsen leads into Hachem for $22,000. Hachem folds after some thought and Lisandro does as well.
Nielsen mucks and takes the pot without showdown successfully getting Hachem to fold Qh Qc and Lisandro to fold Ks Kc.
The hand starts out folding around to Nielsen in middle position who makes it $5,200 to go with 8♠ 4♠.
Mixing it up with a raise from middle position with a suited gapper can be fine some of the time but you definitely don't want to make a habit of it.
For example, if the table is playing tight then often a steal from middle position is going to be given much more credit than a steal from late position.
Next Hachem re-raises to $15,000 with Q♥ Q♣. A big pocket pair in late position is an easy three-bet for value because your opponent can call with a very wide range of worse hands.
Lisandro chooses to just flat-call in the big blind with K♠ K♣.
He's obviously trying to trap one or both of these players. He probably feels that with the pot already re-raised he'll have no problem winning either opponent's stack on a good flop.
The problem with that thinking is that often when you try to trap a re-raise with KK or QQ, or even AA for that matter, your opponent is often re-raising with AK.
If you just flat-call and the board comes six high, your opponent just isn't going to put another penny into the pot when they may have called a shove pre-flop. So you end up making less money and not more.
Nielsen calls as well having to call just under $10,000 to win a pot of $39,000. With good odds he decides to see a flop.
When the flop comes down 6♥ 4♣ A♥, Lisandro checks.
This is another problem with slow-playing KK before the flop. Sometimes (like now) the flop will come ace high and had you shipped pre-flop your opponent with QQ probably would have called.
But now the board is ace high and you're both gun shy so rather than winning his whole stack you may win only a small pot or even get bluffed off the best hand.
When Lisandro checks, Nielsen elects to donk-lead into the three-bettor for $22,000.
He may feel that the only ace Hachem is re-raising in this spot is AK and thus most of his re-raising range is made up of large pocket pairs - none of which like the ace.
He probably also thinks his raise and call makes it more likely for him to have an ace than his opponents.
So he leads for $22,000 which is less than half pot - a great bet size because it doesn't risk too many chips.
Should his bet be called, he knows he's dead unless he improves. But since his bet is so small, if he's called he can give up and it's not a huge deal.
Hachem thinks and folds his big pocket pair. Lisandro does the same.
All in all, a decent hand. And one that shows slow-playing big pocket pairs, though sometimes sexy, can also get you into some difficult spots.
Up next on ESPN: Day 4, and perhaps Ivey's first words!
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