Hand of the Week: Pineau Experiences a “Nutcracker”

Pauli 3

Isn’t it great to flop the nuts?

Sure. But there are times when the board gets nastier on every street and on the river you don’t know what's going on.

It happened to French player Yann Pineau at EPT London.

Making thing worse, Pineau’s opponent in this hand was the later winner of the event, Sebastian Pauli.

Flop to River

We're very deep into the main event of EPT London in 2014. There are just 15 players left and the blinds are 10,000/20,000/3000.

Action is folded around to chip leader Sebastian Pauli (3.5 million chips) in the cut-off. He raises to 40,000.

On his left is Yann Pineau, who calls with     on the button.

Both players in the blinds fold. With 131,000 chips in the pot, we’re going to the flop:


Pauli leads with a bet of 45,000 and Pineau calls. There are now 221,000 chips in the pot and the turn is the  

Pauli bets 85,000 and Pineau calls again. The pot has grown to 391,000 chips. The river is the  

Now Pauli checks. Pineau bets out 175,000. Pauli gives it a few seconds of thought and then moves all-in. Pineau insta-folds.

Sebastian Pauli’s hand was the    


Pineau gets extremely unlucky in this hand. It’s a hand that shows how quickly the tides can turn in poker tournaments. Let’s take a little closer look at the betting rounds.

Pineau 5
Yann Pineau

Pre-flop, Pauli uses his reasonable hand 8 7 to exert some pressure. Pineau could re-raise from the button but his K T seems to be a pretty good hand against Pauli’s raising range.

In addition Pineau has position, so a call against the chipleader is a good decision.

The flop A 9 7 is a dream, of course. Especially for Pineau, who’s flopped the world, but then Pauli is also pretty happy with this flop.

The ace on the board gives Pauli the chance to represent top pair, and he’s also hit bottom pair. A continuation bet is a must here and so is Pineau’s call.

Pineau can’t raise here as there are only very few hands that could call. On the turn things get interesting.

Pineau doesn’t hold the nuts anymore while Pauli improves to trips. The German is now suddenly ahead of most of Pineau’s range so it’s appropriate for him to bet again.

Pineau might call with many worse hands — like an ace or one high spades card. Of course we know that Pineau is really still holding the best hand.

Sebastian Pauli

The river is truly sensational. Runner-runner Pauli gets presented with an absolute monster and checks!

He’s taking a risk here in the sense of maximizing profits, because he would probably get a call if Pineau holds an ace, but nothing more.

Pineau would fold all his bluffs and presumably some of his flushes.

When Pauli checks Pineau decides to bet. He’s really turning his former good hand into a bluff because — seriously — what hand worse than his can ever call this bet?

Pineau’s hand has a lot of showdown value and the only hand he can force to fold is a nine. He’s only beating hands that wouldn’t call anyway so there is no reason to bet here.

As a result the Frenchman unnecessarily loses 175,000 chips which proved to be the beginning of his downfall. Pineau was the next player to bust while Pauli went on to win the tournament.


Unluckily for Pineau flopped nuts were simply not enough to win the hand.

But then he also makes an expensive mistake at the end of the end, perhaps because he was frustrated.

On the other hand Sebastian Pauli somehow manages to turn 3% equity on the flop into a profitable hand and to even induce a bluff by his opponent on the river.

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