It is an old story in poker that never loses its appeal: the duel between professional and amateur.
During the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop, Rick Salomon faced off against Christoph Vogelsang, one of the most successful professional players in the world.
The players were already in the money, and in a tournament like this, the prize jumps are higher than anywhere else.
Check below to see how the hand went down and some analysis on the eventual result.
Rick Salomon, Shredded
We are witnessing the richest final table of the year. Seven players are left in the Big One. Daniel Negreanu is leading the field and Rick Salomon following with 24 million while Christoph Vogelsang has 17 million.
The blinds are 400,000/800,000 with a 100,000 ante, and Tobias Reinkemeier limps from under the gun. It is folded around to Rick Salomon in the Small Blind, who completes with 8 8 7 7
Vogelsang checks his option, and we are off to the flop with 3.1 million chips in the middle. And what a flop it is. A A 7 7 7 7
Both blinds check to the initial limper. Reinkemeier bets 800,000, and Salomon raises immediately to 2.1 million.
Vogelsang calls and Reinkemeier folds. The pot is now 8.1 million chips, and the effective stacks of the players are at 20 million and 14 million, respectively. The turn is the 9 9
Salomon bets another 2.6 million and Vogelsang calls again. The pot is now 13.3 million chips and Vogelsang has 11.4 million left. On the river 5 5
Salomon bets another five million chips, Vogelsang moves all-in and Salomon quickly calls. The German shows A A 7 7
and wins the 34 million chip pot. Salomon is left with only 6.1 million.
“Tough luck,” is what Rick Salomon probably thought. Two divorces from Pamela Anderson and now this.
Of course, it is really bad luck to hold such a strong hand and then still run into a monster. But let’s see if he really had no chance of limiting his losses.
Pre-flop, there is certainly nothing we can complain about. 7-8 is definitely a hand you complete the small blind with.
Of course, you always have to keep an eye on a limper from early position. The flop is where things get interesting.
After the blinds check to him, Reinkemeier – who actually holds K-T, tries to represent an ace (or two). Quite often in a situation like this, this move works, but here it obviously won’t.
Rick Salomon check-raises with his trips. It is a tricky move. He is representing a seven, which he actually has, and which is pretty credible, as he only filled up from the small blind.
The move fits Salomon’s loose playing style, so he has a good chance of winning extra chips from an ace here.
Interestingly, Vogelsang calls. A call from this sandwich position represents amazing strength, as Vogelsang still has Reinkemeier to act behind him.
This should have set Salomon’s alarm bells off. It is almost a form of tilt that he keeps betting another two streets, because then he also has to call Vogelsang’s all-in, as the pot odds force him to.
Salomon made one basic and crucial mistake: He didn’t ask himself, which worse hand than his own would pay him off three times here?
Eventually, what happens is what often happens in a situation like this – he gets shown a monster.
Of course, there are possible worse hands that could call – 76, 74, 73, 72. But the number of better hands is simply a lot bigger. They are AA, A7, K7, Q7, J7, T7, 97, and 57.
Salomon should have exerted some pot control at least on one street. If he checks the turn, he might invite a bluff from Vogelsang, or he might get a check-behind from a monster hand that doesn’t want to chase a customer away.
Check-call would have been the optimal, that play would have minimized the loss.
A very educational hand, and Rick Salomon learns the difference between an amateur and a professional.
A top player wouldn’t lose 17 million chips in this hand. What looks like bad luck at first glance (OK, it is regarding how the cards were dealt), is really a difference of the players’ strength.