Strategy Snapshot: Drawing Blood from a Stone

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25 August 2008, Created By: Daniel Skolovy
Strategy Snapshot: Drawing Blood from a Stone
With the long march to the Main Event underway on ESPN, we revisit Event 1 for today's snapshot and watch Andy Bloch milk maximum value from Mike Sexton with perfect bet sizes.

Players: Andy Bloch vs. Mike Sexton

Game: 2008 World Series of Poker Event 1, $10k Pot-Limit Hold'em World Championship

Situation: $30k/$60k blinds; four players remaining at the final table

Stack Sizes: Bloch $4.42 million; Sexton $1.5 million

The Setup

The hand begins with Andy Bloch raising from the small blind to $180,000. Sexton makes the call from the big blind and they see a flop heads-up of J K 7.

Bloch checks the action to Sexton and Sexton checks behind. The turn brings the 5 and Bloch bets $250,000. Sexton flat-calls.

The river drops the 5 and Bloch bets another $250,000. Sexton tanks before eventually calling. Bloch shows K 9 and Sexton mucks the J T. Bloch's two pair, kings and fives, is good for the $1.36 million chip pot.

The Breakdown

It's folded to Bloch, who makes a steal raise of 3x the big blind with K 9. In a blind-versus-blind situation Bloch would open up the small blind with a very wide range of hands.

Andy Bloch
Bloch: Knows his ABCs.

He is looking to take the pot down immediately. Sexton has been playing very tight against raises at this final table and Bloch knows Sexton will fold here a lot of the time.

Sexton decides to defend his big blind with J T, however. The game is Pot-Limit and he only needs to call $120,000 more in a $240,000 pot. He is getting 2-1 and will have position throughout the hand so he elects to defend.

The flop comes J K 7 and Bloch decides against firing a continuation bet. Top pair is a big hand in a blind-versus-blind situation, and he's likely trying to disguise the strength of his hand. Thus he chooses to check the action over to Sexton.

Sexton decides to check through and allow a free turn card. As I said, Sexton has been playing very tight. Most players will fire with second pair in a blind-versus-blind pot when checked to but Sexton decides to check through.

The turn brings the 5. Bloch can be almost certain his hand is good here. Sexton plays very ABC poker, and checking the flop in position makes it obvious he doesn't have a king.

Bloch bets $250,000 into a $360,000 pot, knowing he has the best hand.

Sexton now sees that Bloch raised pre-flop, checked the flop, and now bet the turn after the flop was checked through. Bloch's range is still very wide, consisting of a number of bluffs that Sexton's pair of jacks is ahead of. Thus, Sexton makes the call on the turn.

The river brings the 5. This card changes nothing. Bloch can put Sexton on a very narrow range. He called pre-flop, checked through on the flop and called a turn bet. His hand is almost always a jack - likely J-T or Q-J.

Mike Sexton
Sexton: mucks.

Sexton would have bet the flop with any king and even a nit like him would have reraised pre-flop with A-J. Thus his range is almost exactly J-T - Q-J.

Bloch knows this, and knows that Sexton likely won't call a large bet. Thus he chooses to bet $250,000 again. This is an extremely small bet, about a quarter of the pot. Bloch knows that Sexton is rarely going to fold getting 4-1 with a decent pair hand.

It is a great bet and it works perfectly, as Sexton calls, getting those great odds. Any larger a bet and Sexton would have folded.

A well-played hand on Bloch's part. He puts his opponent on a hand and makes great bet sizes the whole way, deriving maximum value.

Bloch, always the bridesmaid never the bride, goes on to finish second - his first bracelet so near and yet so far away.

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Fakhra 2009-07-21 12:50:00

I love it. Thanks for the info!

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