Hand of the Week: Flopping Flushes at the WSOP

Craziest Hand of the $50K

This hand of the week is almost too dramatic to be true.

It’s not only about money but also about a WSOP bracelet.

The hand was played during Event 1, the Casino Employees event.

It all looks very clear and simple in the beginning but then goes downhill quickly.

Don’t worry, however, because all’s well that ends well

Flop to River

We've reached the heads-up portion of the first 2015 WSOP event. It’s a long-running tradition to give this first event to the tournament staff only.

This year’s Casino Employee’s event attracted 688 runners but that number has been reduced to just two with Brandon Barnette and Greg Seiden competing for the bracelet and $75k.

The blinds are 20,000/40,000/5000. Barnette has a big chip advantage with 2.6 million chips (65 bb) as opposed to Seiden’s 800,000 (20 bb).

Barnette is in the small blind and finds    

He raises to 100,000. Greg Seiden wakes up in the big blind with    

He calls. There are now 210,000 chips in the pot and the flop falls      

Seiden checks, Barnette bets 235,000. Seiden pushes all-in with 695,000 and Barnette insta-calls.

The turn is the   and the river is the  

Seiden hits runner-runner full house and doubles up. You can watch the hand in the video below from roughly 6:00.

Analysis

Playing heads-up for a bracelet is a very special situation, especially if you’re usually the one dealing the cards.

Brandon Barnette winner photo
It all worked out for Brandon Barnette

Brandon Barnette came within inches of the win here, before he got hit by a terrible bad beat.
Pre-flop, Barnette raised to 2.5 bb or 100,000 chips with a nice suited one-gapper.

Maybe a little too much, as Seiden’s stack is a good size for a shove and Barnette can’t really call all-in. Plus he has position.

Seiden decided to play his kings slowly. In this spot he can shove with a large range of hands but can only get called by a small range.

Considering this, Seiden would pretty much waste his kings if he went go all-in and Barnette folded. Particularly as Seiden really needs a double-up.

Mathematically speaking Seiden’s play is perfectly justifiable, especially since he’s now a 79-21 favorite.

But the flop A Q 4 is pretty much a nightmare for him. He doesn’t hold a diamond in his hand, and there’s also an ace on the board.

Seiden played it by the book and checked to his opponent. Barnette had no intention of playing it slowly. Instead he slightly overbets the pot sliding 235,000 into the middle.

That brought the pot up to 445,000 and Seiden had 695,000 chips behind. If Seiden calls here he cannot fold anymore — no matter what the other streets bring.

Chips in Racks
WSOP chips

This might be the reason why he goes all-in (he might have planned this line even earlier), but the move doesn’t really make much sense.

After Seiden’s all-in there are 1.14 million chips in the pot, and Barnette only has to put in 460,000 more to call, equaling pot odds of 2.5 to 1. Barnette can’t fold any hand that beats Seiden.

Seiden really only has two options on the flop. Either he gets rid of his hand, which would feel terrible at this point of the tournament or he just calls and hopes for Barnette to bluff the turn so he can double up.

The major difference between this and his actual play is that here Seiden gets chips from hands that are weaker than his and that he has beat, while he doesn’t get those with his bluff shove.

This is pretty much a standard situation where you should never turn your hand into a bluff.
When the money goes into the middle on the flop, Barnette actually has 97% equity, but then falls to a classic runner runner suck-out.

On the turn, the equity is still 91%-9%.

Conclusion

Brandon Barnette was dealt a terrible blow. As it turned out, however, Lady Luck hadn’t left him completely as he went on to win the event.

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