Players: Joseph Hachem and Jordan Morgan
Tournament: WPT Season 6 World Championship
Situation: Level 2 (blinds $100/$200)
Stack sizes: Starting stacks $50,000
This strategy snapshot comes directly from the rails of the ongoing WPT World Championship at Bellagio.
In this hand, action is folded to Jordan Morgan, who raises to $700 from middle position. Two players call and Joe Hachem makes the call on the button.
The flop comes A-7-4 all rainbow. The flop is checked through and the turn is a 6. Morgan, the original raiser, now bets out $2,000.
It's folded to Hachem, who makes it $7,000. Morgan three-bets to $12,000 and Hachem four-bets it for $22,000.
Finally Morgan moves all-in for $49,000 total. Hachem tanks and eventually folds 5-3 - the second nut straight - face up. A bewildered Morgan turns over a set of aces and rakes the pot.
How Hachem folds this is unknown to me and, from what I gather, also to everyone else.
The play starts with Morgan raising his AA from middle position. He elects to go with 3.5x the big blind, a fine play. He gets two callers behind him and Joe Hachem, drawn in by the tasty pot odds, decides to make a dubious call with 5-3.
On the button with three people already in the pot, calling with 3-5 is not terrible, but it's pretty borderline.
The flop comes A-7-4 rainbow. Morgan decides to slow-play his top set, figuring that one of his three opponents behind him will bet. However, the flop gets checked through.
The turn brings a 6. Morgan with top set bets $2,000 into $3,100. Hachem, who just hit his miracle turn card, now has a straight. He elects to raise to $7,000.
Morgan, who has an almost unbeatable hand (that is, unless some crazy called pre-flop with 5-3 or 5-8), three-bets to $12,000. Hachem makes it $22,000 with his second nuts. Morgan, wanting to go to value town on a smaller set or two pair, shoves for $49,000.
Morgan can't be blamed for playing this hand this way. He has a monster and it is very unlikely for Hachem to have a hand that beats him. He shoves the turn, wanting a call.
Hachem, for some reason, goes into the tank. In all reality this should be a fist-pump, chair-twirl call. There is one hand that beats him: 5-8. As I said in my Putting Your Opponent on a Range article, you should be attempting to put your opponent on a range, not trying to put him squarely on one hand.
If Hachem had tried to put his opponent on a range he would have realized that he crushes his opponent's range.
Let's take a look: first of all, Morgan raised from middle position. Though he could be doing this with 5-8, that is very very unlikely.
He could also be doing it with hands like AA-22, AK-AJ, K-Qs and a plethora of less likely hands. When he checks through the flop his range is fairly polarized though; he either has a weak hand or a big hand. He is not likely to check something like A-Q into three live players.
Once the turn brings the six, Morgan bets. He may do this with some of the weaker hands after nobody else showed strength but it probably means he has a strong hand.
Now Hachem raises. Any weak hand would be folded by Morgan. Instead he three-bets. This makes his range precisely AA, 77, 44, 66 and the possible, but much less likely, A-K and the very very very small chance of 5-8.
Hachem is ahead of Morgan's entire range (except the unlikely 5-8). Somehow, though, Hachem puts his opponent on the exact hand of 5-8 and folds.
Now this would be bad on its own if the players were playing cash games with 1000xBB stacks and Hachem was forced to call 800 BBs on the turn.
However, this was not the case at all. At the beginning of the hand, each player only had 250 BBs. Hachem puts over half of his stack into the pot on the turn and then folds.
This is terrible. This hand will leave people scratching their heads for years to come. If you are going to call pre-flop with 3-5 what flop are you hoping for where you will commit all of your chips?
This hand just shows that even well-established pros can make mistakes. Sometimes it is very hard to remove yourself from the situation you are in to make a decision with a clear head.
Sometimes these decisions look bad in retrospect but when you are in the heat of the battle you can't think clearly enough to make a proper, well-informed decision.
Or perhaps we are all wrong and Hachem saw the dealer accidentally expose the river card, which would have paired the board. :P Well I highly doubt it - but an interesting hand nonetheless.
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