In this edition of Strategy Snapshot, PL.com breaks down the undoing of Erick Lindgren at the hands of Men "The Master" Nguyen on Day 3 of the WPT World Poker Open.
Players: Erick Lindgren and Men "The Master" Nguyen
Tournament: 2008 WPT World Poker Open
Situation: Day 3. $3,000/$6,000 blinds, $1,000 ante. 27 players left.
The hand begins folded around to Men the Master in late position, who makes a raise to $20,000 with QQ. Men the Master is currently jockeying for the chip lead with approximately $400,000. It's then folded to Russ "Dutch" Boyd, who makes the call out of the small blind.
Erick Lindgren in the big blind is currently the chip leader with $480,000. He also comes along for the ride with A♥ T♥.
The flop drops down Q♥ 4♥ 3♦. Boyd checks and Lindgren donk-bets $55,000 into the pre-flop raiser with the nut flush draw and one overcard. Men the Master announces raise and makes it $135,000 to go with top set.
Boyd folds and Lindgren jams all-in. Men the Master turbo-calls and flips up his top set.
Lindgren will have to hit one of the remaining nine hearts or two running cards to make a straight if he wants to win this hand. Unfortunately for E-Dog the board bricks out T♠ J♠ and he is crippled.
This hand shows how one small decision can set in motion a chain of events that spirals out of control and eventually leads to your undoing. Men's raise of just over three times the big blind is standard. Once Dutch Boyd calls there is already $47,000 in the pot.
E-Dog is getting a little over 3-1 on his call with his decent suited ace. The other option he could have gone with is the squeeze.
Late in the tourney, Men would be opening with a fairly wide range. He would know Dutch also knows this and he could have put in a large raise in an attempt to win the pot immediately. Anyhoo... in the end E-Dog decides to just call.
The flop brings E-Dog the nut flush draw. After Boyd checks E-Dog donks $55,000 (around two-thirds of the pot) into the pre-flop raiser. This bet is somewhat of a probe bet. He wants to see if Men was making a move or if he has a real hand.
Men makes a value raise to $135,000, which should tell E-Dog that he is serious about the hand. E-Dog after some consideration decides he is most likely going to call this bet. He has nine outs to the nut flush as well as a possible three outs with his ace. Obviously the ace outs are not outs at all but there is no way he could have known that.
If Men had a hand like KK then E-Dog would have the full 12 outs. E-Dog might be thinking that if he calls the flop, the pot will be so bloated with so little left to bet on the turn he couldn't possibly fold then. So he may as well get it all-in now.
Or he could also be thinking in the back of his mind that Men could still be weak. Men could have perceived the donk bet for weakness and raised any hand he raised pre-flop with, which would still be a wide range.
With all this going on in his head, E-Dog decides to get it all-in on the flop. Men gets to make an easy call and luckily for The Master the board bricks out.
This hand is a perfect example of how sometimes it's better to just fold, because playing a marginal hand out of position can lead to some very difficult decisions.
I don't necessarily disagree with any of E-Dog's plays in this hand. He just got himself into a very difficult situation. I don't think there is an optimum way to really play this hand; it's just an inherently tricky situation.
Folding pre-flop is tough because Men could open with a wide range and he is getting 3-1 with a good suited ace. Three-betting pre-flop opens you up to lose a good amount of money if you get re-raised or called and raised on the flop.
Bet-folding the flop could lead you to get bluffed off your very good hand. Check-calling is just not very aggressive.
I really like the way E-Dog tried to take a stranglehold on the hand. He wanted to be the aggressor and he tried to wrestle the lead from Men the Master. Unfortunately he was up against a monster and was unable to suck out.
Remember kids, poker is a fickle mistress and one misstep could leave you sleeping on the couch for nights on end!