High Stakes Poker Strategy Snapshot: Ivey 5-Bets Light

Published On: 6 April 2010 / Modified: 12 February 2019
Created By: Daniel Skolovy
Phil Ivey

Episode 8 of GSN's High Stakes Poker has come and gone and if we've learned one thing from that episode it's that Ivey's a sick, sick man.

We've also learned that if you're Barry Greenstein 100% of your raises will be three-bet and you're legally obligated to fold.

Other than that not too much happened, the game played shorthanded pretty much the entire episode with at least one or two players away from the table on any given hand.

It made for an interesting dynamic pre-flop with the game playing more like an online six-max game than your run-of-the-mill full ring live cash game.

This weeks snapshot is a great example of that.

Ivey Sees Dead Money

At the time of the hand the game was playing six-handed with the blinds $400/$800 with a mandatory $1,600 straddle AND a $200 ante.

The hand starts out with Barry Greenstein raising to $5,500 in the cut-off.Phil Ivey immediately makes it $18,000 on the button and the two blinds fold.

Lex Veldhuis tanks in the straddle and cold four-bets to $51,600. Greenstein turbo folds and Ivey thinks before moving all-in for $197,200. Veldhuis folds and Ivey picks up the $77,500 of dead money.

The Breakdown

This hand is an excellent example of short handed No-Limit Hold'em and the levelling that takes place.

There are a few factors that contribute to this being such an interesting hand. The game is short handed, there's forced straddle, and every one of the six players are aggressive and thinking.

Phil Ivey

With the forced straddle and the $200 ante, there is $4,200 in the pot before the cards are even dealt.

Dennis Phillips folds UTG and Barry Greenstein raises to $5,500 in the cut-off with the Q T.

QT is a fine hand on it's own to raise in the cut-off in a six-handed game, add in the dead money before the flop and it's a no brainer.

Phil Ivey, directly on Greenstein's left, immediately three-bets to $18,000 on the button with the 5 2.

Ivey three-bets on the button as a bluff. He knows that with so much dead money in the pot Greenstein is going to be raising a much wider range than normal.

Ivey treats Greenstein's raise as even more dead money and attempts to steal all of the dead money with a re-raise.

Now the 5 2 probably isn't the best hand to use as a three-bet bluff. Generally you want to have a hand that at least has some equity if called.

52o has basically none, but the fact that Ivey's in position and playing three-bet pots out of position is so difficult and because the situation is so, so good Ivey can basically three-bet 100% of his range in this spot profitably.

The two blinds fold and Lex Veldhuis tanks and eventually cold fourbets to $51,600 with the K J.

Veldhuis four-bets for the same reason that Ivey three-bet. He realizes there is so much dead money before the flop and that Greenstein is going to be raising very wide, and thus Ivey's three-betting range is wider than normal as well.

So he elects to cold four-bet with K J as a bluff. It has to be as a bluff because neither Greenstein nor Ivey are ever calling a cold fourbet in that spot with a worse hand.

Lex Veldhuis

Chances are there will never be a flop. They will either both fold or one of them will move in.

Though K J is a pretty hand it really doesn't matter what Veldhuis' cards are because the chance he plays a flop is basically zero. The only thing the K J is good for in this spot is card removal.

Greenstein folds and Ivey thinks before moving in. Now we're on that comical crappy sitcom level of thinking.  The "I know that you know, that I know, that you know, that I know....."

Ivey knows that Veldhuis knows that Greenstein was likely raising very wide pre-flop, he knows that as a result Ivey's three-bet range is wider too, which of course makes Lex Veldhuis' four bet range wider.

Long story short, Ivey believes that Veldhuis is light, which he is. All that's left is to find out if Ivey has enough fold equity to make him fold.

Ivey asks how much Veldhuis has left ($140,000ish) and then shoves when he gets his answer.

Ivey feels that when he shoves $200,000ish into the $77,500 pot that Veldhuis will not be priced in to call with his bluff and will have to fold his re-re-re-steal hand.

Veldhuis does muck and Ivey's correct on all accounts, which seems to be a running theme.

More Strategy Snapshots from High Stakes Poker Season 6:


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acesacesaces 2010-04-07 20:30:09

Sick move for sure but it seems Lex Veldhuis is the only person Ivey would pull the trigger with this sort of fivebet bluff. I still think cold fourbetting, even with the game structure, looks pretty damn strong.

Would Ivey do this against any other player at the table if the situation was different?



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