Hand of the Week: Parlafes' Spectacular Fold with the Second Nuts

Dany Parlafes
Well played, Dany Parlafes.

This week we’re staring down an impossibly difficult situation.

Well, we're not. But Romanian Dany Parlafes was. It was heads-up in the finale of the 2015 EPT Deauville main event and Parlafes held the second nuts on the river.

Then he faced an important decision. Is it even possible to fold the second nuts in this spot?

Flop to River

Some background: Parlafes has been dominating most of the final table. He started the heads-up against Ognjen Dimov from Bulgaria as the chipleader but then the tides turned.

With blinds at 60,000/120,000/20,000 Parlafes holds 4.6 million chips. Dimov is in the lead now with 13.3 million. Parlafes is in the small blind and receives    

He fills up and Dimov checks. There's 280,000 in the pot.

The flop is      

Dimov checks again and Parlafes bets 200,000. Call from Dimov and there's now 680,000 in the pot.

The turn is the   Check, check.

After the   falls on the river Dimov leads out with a 1.2m bet. 

This send Parlafes into the tank. The Romanian takes several minutes and then folds the second nuts.

In the video you can see that Dimov was indeed holding T-8 for the nuts. Watch the complete hand below:

Analysis

Parlafes makes a remarkable fold here; one that you don’t get to see every day.

Ognyan Dimov 1
Check is the appropriate move.

Q 8 is an above-average hand heads-up so Parlafes definitely wants to play it -- particularly as he’s in position.

He limps in, which sort of limits his range as he wouldn’t play like that with, say, the top ten possible hands.

Dimov holds a strong one-gap suited connector. He has no reason to get ahead of himself as this is a hand that might hit the flop well but is rarely ahead pre-flop.

A check is the appropriate move here. On the flop Dimov hits an open-ended straight draw which he checks over to Parlafes.

The Romanian only holds an overcard. He tries to steal the pot with a bet. Dimov calls with his draw and with the 6 on the turn he immediately improves to the nuts.

He checks again hoping that Parlafes will continue betting. The Romanian has slightly improved, too. In addition to his overcard he now also has an open-ended straight draw.

Although he certainly could bluff here he decides to check, which is the better move as he keeps all his options for the river.

The Nuts, An Eight or Total Junk

Parlafes’ straight draw gets there on the river but he doesn’t get much time to celebrate. Suddenly Dimov takes the lead and bets 1.2 million into a pot of 680,000 chips.

This is an excessive overbet. It’s well-played and offers maximum polarization of Dimov’s range.

If Parlafes doesn’t have anything he’s going to fold anyway. But if he has a set or an eight it’s extremely tough for him to fold.

Parlafes is also faced with the problem that he can only expect to call for a split pot if Dimov isn’t bluffing, as the Bulgarian’s move only makes sense with the nuts, an eight or total junk.

From this follows that the pot odds for Parlafes, which are at an unattractive 1.5-1 anyway, have just become even worse. In many cases he’s not calling 1.2 million to win 1.88 million, but only to keep the 340,000 he already invested in the pot.

dimov winner main event photo stoddart
Spectacular fold wan't enough.

These mathematical considerations probably influenced Parlafes’ decision to fold his hand but there might have been a read, too.

At that point the two players had already played 130 hands heads-up. The Romanian proved to be an expert in defensive poker strategy but he couldn’t make things go his way again.

Conclusion

The perfect card on the river gives Ognjen Dimov, who went on to win the EPT Deauville main event, the chance to put his opponent in an incredibly tough spot.

Dany Parlafes actually does find a fold with the second nuts in a heads-up match, which makes this one of the best and most spectacular folds this year.

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