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Hand of the Week: Altergott Pays Off Thin-but-Lucrative River Bet
The Celebrity Cash Kings cash game in Rozvadov last week featured a handful of the game's best players.
World-class poker minds like Ike Haxton, Daniel Colman, Daniel Cates, Phil Gruissem, Liv Boeree, Igor Kurganov and Max Altergott all rotated into the game and made it tough on each other.
The stakes were high and the clashes unavoidable.
This week we'll look at a big hand that happened between German young gun Altergott and the casino’s owner, Leon Tsoukernik.
Flop to River
The game is €200/€400 No Limit Hold’em and Kurganov has also put in a straddle of €800.
There is a limp from Swiss high roller Besim Hot with pocket threes but Altergott raises it from the cut-off to €3000 with A♠ 9♥
He has about €120,000 behind. Haxton and Cates fold but in the small blind Tsoukernik re-raises to €10,000 - with more than €120,000 behind.
Hot folds but Altergott calls in position. Tsoukernik is known for playing like an absolute maniac.
There's now €22,000 in the pot and the flop is 9♠ 7♥ 5♣
Tsoukernik checks, Altergott bets €10,000 and Tsoukernik calls. Now €42,000 in the pot and the turn is the Q♠
Now Tsoukernik takes the lead and bets €20,000; Altergott calls. €82,000 in the pot and the river comes 8♥
Tsoukernik thinks about it and bets another €45,000. It takes Altergott several minutes to figure out what to do before he calls.
Tsoukernik shows A♥ Q♥ to win the pot of €172,000!
You can follow the hand in this video at 2h52min.
Despite not holding premium hands both players invest plenty of money into this pot.
After the early position limp Altergott uses a playable hand to try and steal the pot from the cut-off or to carry on heads-up against the Swiss limper Besim Hot.
Altergott surely wasn’t hoping for a re-raise from Tsoukernik in the small blind, but as the King’s casino owner is such a loose player this doesn’t necessarily mean he has a strong hand.
Hot can obviously not continue but Altergott sits in position and gets 2-1 pot odds for the call.
Tsoukernik misses the flop. In fact, he’s now reverse dominated by Altergott.
He checks but considers his overcards to maybe still be the best hand. Thus he sees no reason to fold when Altergott bets.
The Queen Changes Everything
The turn makes things very interesting. The queen changes everything and it's typical for Leon to now take over the initiative.
If he was a guy known to do that only when he has a hand it would be an easy fold now for Altergott. Unfortunately, Tsoukernik could do this with anything.
This brings the pot up to €82,000 while both players hold rather marginal hands. The eight on the river doesn’t really change anything.
Theoretically a straight is now possible if one of the players holds a six or J-T, but looking at the action we’ve seen these scenarios are extremely unlikely.
The most remarkable move now is Tsoukernik’s bet on the river with top pair. Many players would check here and try to get to showdown cheaply.
However there are several hands that are weaker than Tsoukernik’s and might still call.
A Thin But Lucrative Bet
Considering the past action, Altergott could for example hold tens or jacks here and these really wouldn’t want to fold on this board.
Tsoukernik’s bet is exceptionally strong because he has been caught bluffing so often.
Once he does have a hand, he strongly needs to maximize his profits to make up for the failing bluffs.
This brings us to Altergott’s main problem. He knows he’s playing against a loose-aggressive maniac and he’s holding a bluff catcher hand.
Of course he has to ask himself which hands Tsoukernik would play that way. On the river players’ ranges are often highly polarized but many players would check A-Q there.
Presumably, the main factor for Altergott’s decision is that a hit on the turn is very difficult to figure out. That doesn’t only apply to sets, but also to top pairs.
Also 2.8-1 pot odds made it very tempting to call.
At the end of the day Tsoukernik played his hand very well -- in particular by putting in a thin-but-very lucrative value bet on the river.