Hand of the Week: van Hoof Musters Courage, Seizes Moment

Ten days after the finale of the 2014 WSOP we can't stop looking back on a particular, fascinating battle at the final table.

Nobody busted in this hand but there are several interesting aspects to it -- especially if you consider the tournament situation and the incredible amounts of money involved.

It's hand #36 for the November Nine and the players involved are Jorryt van Hoof from the Netherlands and Andoni Larrabe from Spain.

From Flop to River

All nine players are still at the table and everyone is sure to take $730,000. But the pay jump to eighth place is more than $200,000.

The blinds are at 200,000/400,000/50,000. Van Hoof and Larrabe are second and fourth in the current chip counts.

It gets folded to van Hoof on the button who finds    

He raises to 1m, Mark Newhouse folds his small blind and Larrabe calls from the big. There's now 2.65m in the pot and effective stacks are 22m.

The flop falls      

Larrabe checks. Van Hoof bets 1.4 million and gets a call. The pot is 5.45m with 20.6m effective stacks.

The turn is the  

Now Larrabe takes the lead with a bet of 3.35 million. Van Hoof takes his time but eventually calls. There's now 9.5 million chips in the pot with 17.2 million left in front of the players.

The river is the  

Larrabe checks and only seconds later van Hoof moves all-in. Larrabe checks his cards and quickly folds the bottom end of the possible straight.

He was holding    


Pre-flop this is a standard situation. Van Hoof raises the button but of course this time he’s holding a premium hand.

A quick check of the cards and a fold.

At this stage and in this situation you can expect him to raise a big range of hands so Larrabe’s 9 8 is a very good hand to defend from the big blind.

The flop J T 9 is a true action flop and both players have hit it in some way.

Larrabe checks bottom pair with an open-ended straight draw. Van Hoof c-bets middle pair with a gutshot to the second nuts.

As van Hoof does that pretty much every time, Larrabe has no reason to give up his hand.

The king on the turn makes things interesting. Suddenly, Larrabe takes the lead. His bet is asking van Hoof whether he really wants to carry on in this hand.

Two Pair and Far From Giving Up

But van Hoof has just hit two pair and he's far from giving up the hand. Not only could he have the best hand he also has position and can see what Larrabe does on the river.

Two pairs, one mighty bluff.

After van Hoof’s call the situation heats up even more. The 7 on the river gives Larrabe a straight but van Hoof has a lot of queens in his range, even A-Q, for a better straight.

Larrabe checks to get to showdown and win the hand but van Hoof recognizes his chance to turn a good hand into a profitable bluff.

He could just check here because he can beat a lot of hands and might only get called by better hands. But then he has the great idea to just win the hand every time by moving all-in.

By checking Larrabe has capped his range – it’s obvious that he doesn’t have a queen. Van Hoof uses this bit of information to win a 9.5 million pot with the worst hand.

Larrabe simply has to fold as by calling he would risk his tournament life.

In retrospect it becomes apparent that Larrabe should have bet the river. If he bets small here, maybe three million, he would have kept representing the queen he had already represented on the turn.

Van Hoof would have had basically no chance of pulling off the same bluff after that.


In an eventful hand Jorryt van Hoof gets the opportunity to turn two pairs into one mighty bluff.

The hand shows very well how strong and fearless van Hoof played on the first day of the November Nine final.

Larrabe was relying too much on his hand’s showdown value. Checking the bottom-end straight limited his range and told his opponent that he didn’t have the nuts.

Van Hoof mustered all his courage and forced Larrabe to fold.

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