Hand of the Week: Morgenstern’s Disastrous Main Event Déjà-Vu

Anton Morgenstern
Déjà-vu all over again.

Two years ago German Anton Morgenstern was on the verge of making the WSOP Main Event November Nine.

With a huge chip lead with just over 20 players left he lost two big hands against Mark Newhouse and he was gone.

Nobody expected him to repeat his run, but he did this year. Then history repeated itself.

Again, with only three tables left, Morgenstern busted. This time in 22nd place compared to 20th place two years ago.

His last hand evoked memories of 2013.

Flop to River

It's Day 7 of the 2015 WSOP Main Event. Just 22 players are left and the blinds are at 80,000/160,000/20,000.

For the next pay jump players have to reach 18th place, which would guarantee an added $60,000.

Anton Morgenstern had been active on Day 7 but lost half his stack. In this hand he’s left with 3.2 million chips, corresponding to 20 bb.

He’s in middle position when he finds    

It’s folded to him. Morgenstern raises to 325,000. Pierre Neuville calls from the cut-off but Marco Sequeira (stack: 14.5 million) 3-bets from the button to 1,125,000.

The war is not over yet because Josh Beckley cold 4-bets all-in from the big blind with 3.225 million. Morgenstern calls all-in, Neuville folds and Sequeira also calls.

Beckley shows    

Sequeira shows    

The board runs out          

Beckley’s kings hold and he triples up. He moves on to reach the November Nine. Sequeira falls to 11.2 million and Morgenstern – again – busts.

Analysis

Before we take a closer look at this one, let’s take a quick look back. In 2013 Morgenstern lost a huge pot as chipleader against Mark Newhouse.

Anton Morgenstern
Not this again.

It was the beginning of the end for him and he busted shortly after. This time the situation is different as Morgenstern has only 20 bb left and is under pressure.

Having had a bad start to the day he’s struggling to get himself back in a better position to go on and finally secure himself a spot in the November Nine.

With pocket tens in middle position – the fifth best starting hand in Texas Hold’em – he standard-raises to 2 big blinds.

Note that any player re-raising behind Morgenstern is automatically pot-committed if Morgenstern 4-bets all-in.

Take a look at the numbers to make this clearer. Morgenstern raises 325,000 chips into a pot of 380,000.

A 3-bet would have to be about 1m chips. If Morgenstern then pushes there would be 4.6 million in the pot, meaning that the 3-bettor would have to call 2.2 million.

This corresponds to pot odds of over 2-1 and that would be a definite call.

Morgenstern would obviously be fine with that scenario. There are only four better Hold'em starting hands and his pocket tens are certainly ahead of any opponent’s 3-bet range.

Josh Beckley
Josh Beckley

But things never go down that easy in poker, do they? First, Pierre Neuville flat-calls. Then Marco Sequeira re-raises to 1.125 million and, from last position, Josh Beckley goes all-in with his complete 3.2 million stack.

A Fateful Call

Now this had to make Morgenstern think. We haven’t had the chance yet to watch the hand on TV so we don’t know how long he actually took to make his decision.

But regardless of that the correct move here would have been a fold. Beckley’s range in particular is very strong here.

After a raise, call and re-raise he cold 4-bets all-in knowing that there are three players left to act behind him -- and probably also knowing that he has zero fold equity against Sequeira.

Beckley’s range reaches from JJ+ and AK upwards – that makes 40 possible combinations (six combos each for AA, KK, QQ and JJ as well as 16 AK combos).

Against this range T-T has an equity of only 33%. Now, if we’d only look at the pot odds, that would even be enough. But there is still Sequeira behind us and he’ll almost certainly call.

Sequeira gets 3.5-1 pot odds and he’d be left with a healthy stack even if he loses the hand.

Anton Morgenstern
Did that really happen again?

Taking the combined ranges of Beckley and Sequeira into consideration pocket tens don’t look very good.

A fold would’ve been the right move.

Conclusion

For the second time Morgenstern falls with the finish line in sight.

And, just like two years ago, one wrong decision is all it took.

It wasn’t half as blatant as the one in 2013, but it still had to hurt.

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