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Hand of the Week: Robl Scissor Kicks Matt Kirk with Q-high
This week, how can we not look at a mind-bending hand from the highest-stakes televised cash game we've seen in years?
As you might have guessed it's from the $250k Aria Super High Roller Series in Las Vegas with some of the game's best and most interesting players taking part.
On Day 2 of the 3-day affair stars like Antonio Esfandiari, Sam Trickett, Doug Polk and Patrik Antonius took their seats but it was Andrew Robl responsible for the most spectacular hand.
Flop to River
The game is No-Limit Hold’em with $400/$800 blinds and a $200 ante. In this hand Patrik Antonius has put in a straddle of $1,600.
It’s folded around to wealthy businessman and respected player Paul Newey in the cut-off, who raises it up to $4,500.
Polk gets out of the way but Matt Kirk ($275,000 stack) – an extremely loose-aggressive player – re-raises from the small blind to $18,000.
Andrew Robl sits in the big blind. With $1.3 million in front of him he 4-bets to $50,000. But that's not the end of it as Kirk re-pops it to $100,000!
Robl thinks about it and calls. There's now $207,700 in the pot and the effective stacks are $175,000.
The flop falls
Kirk leads out with a bet of $35,000. Robl pauses and calls. The pot has grown to $277,700 with effective stacks now $140,000.
The turn is the
Kirk bets again, now $50,000, which leaves him with $90,000 behind. Robl takes quite some time then decides to put his opponent all-in. Kirk quickly folds and Robl wins a $467,700 pot.
Robl shows and the internet forums lose their collective minds. Even the commentators need several minutes to recover.
This is an incredible hand and it’s impossible to understand without knowing a little more about the context in which it happened.
After Newey’s standard raise the hyper-aggressive Kirk re-raises from the worst position at the table, the small blind.
His range is very wide at this point and the Australian PLO whiz might do this with a lot of hands.
Robl sits in position behind him and puts in a cold 4-bet, which is a re-raise against two players still to act.
In the good old days of poker this would have been a clear indication of a hand in the range of AA, KK, QQ, and maybe AK.
Here and now that's no longer necessarily the case. Kirk’s range and Robl’s position are more important in this situation.
Kirk Adds to the Madness
When Newey folds Kirk adds to the madness by 5-betting to $100,000. This creates a pot of $157,700 with pot odds of 3-1 for Robl’s call.
So Robl does call and they go to a 7♣ 2♣ 2♠ flop. It’s a flop that shouldn’t have changed either of the two players’ hands.
Before we carry on check out the chips both players have left in front of them.
Robl is very deep, but Kirk has only $175,000 left which means further bets will commit him to the pot. Both Kirk and Robl have to keep this in mind.
Kirk puts in a very small bet of only $35,000 which is about 1/6 of the pot. This could mean one of two things:
Either he’s very strong and is trying to milk his opponent, or he's weak and is trying to buy the pot for little money.
This shows very well how strongly polarized the ranges of very loose players are. Part of their strength lies in their erratic play and how unpredictable it is if they ever have anything or not.
A Cunning Plan
Robl calls, as we know now, with queen high. He already has a cunning plan and he’s going to put it in practice on the turn.
The A♥ appears, which is a card that helps both players’ ranges, but Robl’s more so than Kirk’s.
An A-x hand is one that these players like to bluff pre-flop with because it’s less likely that the opponent has A-x, too.
Kirk bets very small again but the $50,000 still signals that he’s not going to fold. Kirk's message: With the pot already over $300,000 and only $90,000 left, there's no chance he can get bluffed now.
Robl still moves all-in and it’s a phenomenal bluff. As Kirk has sent the message he won’t fold he now has to think that Robl at least has one ace.
Hands like pocket jacks or kings which fit well into Kirk’s range have no value at this point.
With a bluff like this Robl can get a large number of much better hands to fold although he himself can’t even beat king-high.
On the other hand Robl is taking a big risk because had Kirk gone all-in on the turn from first position Robl would have had to fold.
Andrew Robl show us the art of bluffing on the highest level.
It’s a move that only works against a world-class player, though.
Don’t try this at the lower limits in online poker rooms; it might cost you dearly.