Players: Michael Pickett vs. David Peters
Tournament: World Series of Poker Circuit event at Harrah's Rincon
Situation: $10,000/$20,000 with a $2000 ante
Heads-up for the proverbial bracelet, Michael Pickett has been dictating much of the play, mostly running over the seemingly inexperienced heads-up player, David Peters. Peters was playing a mostly push or fold strategy and Pickett was taking lots of pots with standard aggression both pre-flop and on the flop.
The hand begins with Peters limping from the button with a stack of $560,000. Pickett, in the big blind with the big stack of $2.4 million, checks his option.
The board comes down A♦ 9♣ 3♣. Pickett bets out $20,000 and and Peters calls. On the turn the 7♦ comes off and Pickett fires another $60,000. Peters once again calls.
The river brings the J♣ and Pickett continues his aggression with a $200,000 chip bet. David Peters shoves the rest of his chips into the middle and Michael Pickett insta-calls, tabling T♦ 8♠ for the straight. A dejected Peters turns up his J♥ 9♦ for a no-good two pair.
Pre-flop, David Peters employs the oft-mocked limp-the-button strategy with his J♥ 9♦. As I always say, especially heads-up, you should never limp the button.
With a strong two-gapper he should have made a normal raise in this spot. However, he chooses to limp and Michael Pickett checks his option with T♦ 8♠.
When the flop comes down A♦ 9♣ 3♣, Pickett does what he has been doing. He takes an aggressive stab at the pot by betting the pot into the pre-flop limper. He feels Peters will most likely fold in this spot and he will be able to pick up some free chips.
Peters makes a good read. He knows Pickett has been playing aggressively and that his pair of nines is probably the best hand. He makes the call. What Peters should have done, however, is make a raise to take down the pot immediately.
The turn brings the 7♦. This gives Pickett an open-ender. If he bet the flop with nothing you can guarantee he will continue his aggression now that he has a strong draw. He once again makes a pot-sized bet. Peters, with second pair, again believes his hand is good and makes the call.
The river brings the J♣ and it's all over but the crying. This card makes Pickett his straight and it makes Peters a second-best two pair. Pickett again fires a pot bet and this time Peters moves in.
Pickett makes the easy call and that's it. David Peters ends up with $120,156 for second place and Pickett takes $229,002, a seat to the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP Circuit ring!
This hand shows aggression is the key to a good heads-up strategy. Pickett had been chipping away at Peters all day and Peters was happy just calling when he should have been taking the initiative away from his opponent by raising his good hands.
It's a very solid hand from Pickett because he recognized he could steal pots from his opponent and continued doing what he had been doing. This time he ended up making a large hand and got paid off - with a WSOP Circuit title.
More Strategy Snapshots: