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Hand of the Week: Brutal Overbet Ties Baumann's Hands
In poker, if you can narrow down your opponent's range while keeping your own range wide, you can do almost anything.
In our feature hand this week French Winamax pro Gaëlle Baumann has a pretty good hand deep in the Main Event and knows her opponent is often bluffing in this spot.
Still, there’s nothing she can do about it.
Flop to River
It’s Day 5 of the 2016 WSOP Main Event with 221 players left racing for a spot at the final table and the main prize of $8 million.
Baumann, who made headlines when she finished 10th in the main event in 2012, is in early position and finds
She’s just won a nice pot and stacked up to 2.4 million chips (100 bb). The blinds are 12k/24k/4k and she raises to 55k.
On the button, Jason Strasser (1.1 million chips; 46 bb) calls as does Jason McConnon (2.3 million; 96 bb) in the big blind. McConnon has 6-1 pot odds. There's 213,000 in the pot and the flop falls
McConnon checks; so do Baumann and Strasser. Pot size is still 213,000 as they go to the turn
McConnon bets 128,000. Baumann calls and Strasser folds J♣ J♥. Pot size is now 469,000 and both players have more than two million chips behind. The river is the
McConnon bets 775,000, which is more than 1.5 times the pot. Baumann thinks it over and then folds her hand with a little smirk. She actually had the best hand as McConnon held
Watch the hand play out in the video below. It starts at 28m.
By investing 31,000 and making a smart move, McConnon was able to extend his stack by more than 300,000 -- even though Baumann had the better hand.
Let’s take a closer look at how he did it.
Pre-flop, Baumann makes a rather loose raise from early position. She has a suited ace but the kicker is not very good and she could easily be dominated.
Strasser calls on the button with jacks. We know he had jacks, but for Baumann his range has a lot more pairs, suited connectors, Broadway hands and A-X hands in it.
McConnon’s range is even wider. He gets 6-1 pot odds in the big blind so he can call with almost any hand.
Way Ahead or Way Behind
After the A♠ 8♠ 8♦ flop Baumann finds herself in a common situation. She’s either way ahead against pairs or Broadway hands or she’s way behind versus a better ace or an eight.
There's a flush draw on the board but flushes are rare and there aren’t many two-spade hands in either player’s ranges.
When McConnon checks the flop Baumann does the right thing and checks behind. There’s no reason for her to bet as there are very few hands worse than hers that could call.
Strasser on the button doesn’t like the flop at all as he can beat neither an ace nor an eight.
Consequently, he also checks, hoping the hand gets checked through all the way.
McConnon Takes a Stab
McConnon doesn’t find anything on the board but when it’s checked around on the flop he goes for plan B. He bets 128,000 into the pot of 213,000, signalling that he has at least an ace.
If no one else has an ace, he might win the pot right there. Bauman can’t just fold, of course. Her check on the flop was partly hoping to induce a bluff and maybe win some extra chips.
She calls, and that’s hand over for Strasser. With a bet and a call he realizes that his jacks can’t be the best hand anymore. There's now 469,000 in the pot. It’s quite a sizeable pot.
A Final Twist on the River
Baumann’s call tells McConnon that she's hit the board. The most likely hands in her range are an ace with a strong kicker like A-K, A-Q or A-J.
Apart from these hands, plus the two unlikely monster hands pocket aces and A-8, McConnon can rule out almost any other hand as Baumann called the turn with Strasser sitting behind her.
Baumann’s range isn’t ultimately clear but 90% of it is top pair, mediocre kicker.
How do you win the pot against a hand like this if you have nothing? With a brutal overbet!
McConnon has the range of his opponent figured out and he knows what to do. He bets 775,000 into a pot of 469,000.
Baumann can’t really call here as the big blind may well have an eight or even a full house.
Baumann realizes there's a high chance McConnon's bluffing but she just can’t do anything against it as he would play a monster the same way.
At the end of the day McConnon makes a nice bluff that benefitted from the stack sizes, too. He didn’t have to risk his tournament life and was still able to go after a sizeable pot.
Jason McConnon makes a spot-on analysis of his opponent’s range and exploits it to win the hand with nothing.
Gaëlle Baumann’s hands are tied. Her opponent’s range is polarized but has too many eights in it, so the odds just don't justify a call.