Hand of the Week: McAllister's Remarkable Runner-Runner Royal

McAllister2
Phillip McAllister.

It was one of the most spectacular hands ever at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure.

This week young British grinder Phillip McAllister made a royal flush, which was obviously notable in its own right.

Even more notable, however, was that there was more than just one strong hand in play.

In fact three players made it all the way to the river – a remarkable turn of events deep in one of the year's most important tournaments.

Flop to River

It’s Day 4 of the 2016 PCA main event. There are 31 players left in the field and the blinds are 8,000/16,000/2,000.

UTG+1, France's Paul Tedeschi (stack: 472,000) raises to 36,000. Phillip McAllister (1.7 million) calls from the button.

The small blind folds but the big blind, Fabian Chauriye (1.59 million), calls as well. There's 130,000 in the pot.

The flop is      

Chauriye checks, Tedeschi checks behind and McAllister bets 48,000. Chauriye and Tedeschi call to bring the pot up to 274,000.

The turn is the  

Again, both Chauriye and Tedeschi check and McAllister bets 136,000. Chauriye calls but Tedeschi now moves all-in with 388,000.

The pot is now at 934,000. McAllister calls and then Chauriye calls, too. Tedeschi is now all-in but both McAllister and Chauriye still have over a million chips behind.

The river is the  

Chauriye takes the lead and bets 300,000 but McAllister now pushes all his chips in. Chauriye goes into the tank and stays there almost five minutes before eventually releasing his hand.

The showdown is between Tedeschi and McAllister.

The French player held    

McAllister managed to fill up to the best hand in poker with    

We don’t know what Chauriye had but he certainly had hands like T-9 with one heart or K T in his range. Watch the hand again here beginning at 6h 19 min.

Analysis

Let’s have a look at the different stages of this fascinating hand. Pre-flop, there is really nothing extraordinary about it.

Tedeschi raises with his pocket queens and gets two reasonable calls. McAllister is on the button with his K-T and Chauriye gets 5.5-1 pot odds in the big blind, justifying a wide calling range.

On the flop Tedeschi goes for a rather surprising line. He decides to slow-play his top set and hopes for an aggressive McAllister to take a stab at the pot.

paultedeschi
The plan works!

All Possible Draws

And his plan works! McAllister has no part of the flop and tries to buy the pot.

His bet of 48,000 chips into a 130,000 pot means that his bluff only has to work 30% of the time. Right now the British player has absolutely nothing, but there are a lot of good turn cards for him.

Any Broadway cards will give him straight draws (or pairs), a heart would give him a flush draw, and another club gives him the chance to represent a club flush.

But McAllister certainly didn’t expect what was going to happen then. Chauriye calls, and then Tedeschi over-calls with the smallest stack.

The J on the turn brings McAllister all the possible draws. It’s checked to him again, but before he semi-bluffs his open-ended straight flush draw he asks Tedeschi for the size of his stack.

If the French player had been already committed McAllister might even have checked here. But now he sees two ways to win. Bet and make the opponents fold or hit the river.

Higher Goals

Chauriye’s line is still a bit obscure. He calls a second time in the sandwich and then sees Tedeschi move all-in.

Tedeschi is exactly where he wants to be. He flopped a monster (he actually still has the second nuts), he tried to get as many chips into the middle as possible and he still has an eye on the final table of this event.

Fabian Chauriye
Fabian Chauriye

Tedeschi is not looking for the next pay jump; he has higher goals.

But the board has suddenly become very dangerous for him and the pot has grown so big that it’s not a surprise anymore that both his opponents call.

From McAllister’s point of view, a call is obvious here. He has to pay 252,000 to win a pot of 934,000 and he has 11 real outs (hearts except the 4 and 8, aces and nines).

He has 30% equity even against Tedeschi’s big hand. It seems like Chauriye also had great pot odds and couldn’t fold – don’t forget there are more than a million chips in the middle right now.

The End is a Real Climax

The river is indeed the best possible card for McAllister, but it's even more than that. Chauriye, who had been just calling earlier, is now taking the lead.

Royal Flush
What a climax.

For Tedeschi this is already bad news but things are going to get much worse as McAllister goes all-in pretty quickly.

It’s a very strong move, as it can hardly be a bluff with Tedeschi already all-in.

Even if McAllister made Chauriye fold he’d have to show his hand, and if he was bluffing, he would lose the 1.4 million main pot.

It’s difficult to say why Chauriye takes so long to fold. It seems rather unlikely that he had a smaller flush because it’s hard to imagine two hearts that would pay so many chips to get to this river.

The most likely cards in his hand are K T and maybe T-9. However his fold is unavoidable and we’re going to showdown.

The end of this dramatic hand is a real climax – a clean royal flush!

Conclusion

In this fascinating hand Paul Tedeschi goes down a risky path and opens the door to a spectacular finale by slow-playing his strong hand.

However, both his and McAllister’s moves are explainable and reasonable.

Chauriye’s game, meanwhile, leaves a couple of questions unanswered.

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