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Hand of the Week: Fedor Holz Teaches a Master Class
At this point it feels like Fedor Holz has pretty much won everything he’s played this year.
The Vienna-based German recently won the WCOOP main event as CrownUpGuy, he has five cashes and a win at EPT Barcelona.
Only days ago he won the Mega Poker Series main event. Our Hand of the Week takes place at the final table of that event.
In this hand there are still six players left in the Mega Poker Series at the Poker Royale in Vienna.
The current chipleader is Gerald Karlic, holding about 4.7 million chips. Holz is in third position with 2.2 million.
From the Flop to the River
The blinds are 25k/50k/5k so we are starting with 105,000 chips already in the pot.
It’s folded to Holz in the hijack, who finds
He raises to 110,000 and only Karlic in the big blind calls. The pot has grown to 275,000 and the flop is
Karlic takes the lead and bets 150,000. Holz calls, and the pot is now 575,000 chips big. The turn is the
Karlic bets again, this time 260,000. Holz makes another call, and pot swells to 1.09 million. The river is the
Now Karlic bets 620,000. Holz thinks about it for about a minute and eventually calls with king-high. Karlic only has
Holz wins a 2.375 million pot. He then goes on to win the whole tournament.
We are witnessing a duel between two players who are very self-confident because of their recent success. Holz’s raise might look a little loose, regarding his position, but at this stage of the tournament it’s absolutely standard.
Karlic defending the big blind is actually more surprising because he is very often dominated with this hand. He does get 3.6 to 1 pot odds, but without position a hand like this is rarely going to be successful.
But Karlic has a plan and it’s beginning to unfold on the flop. The flop has only low cards, which probably miss most of Holz’s range.
Also Karlic is chipleader, so why not exert some pressure on his competition?
Seeing Karlic’s donk bet, Holz is faced with two possibilities. A fold is of course not an option, as he’s holding two overs and the second nut flush draw.
He’s picking between calling and raising at this point. A raise might well win the hand right there, but by just calling Holz makes sure that Karlic will keep on betting the bluffs in his range whilst Holz can still hit and win even more chips.
The turn 5♦ doesn’t change much. It doesn’t help or hurt either player. Karlic sticks to his plan and carries on trying to push Holz off his hand.
Again, Holz can either call or raise. A raise would be disadvantageous, because Holz wouldn’t be able to call a shove by Karlic for the low pot equity with only one card to come.
At the same time Holz would chase away all the hands that are worse than his while he would get called only by hands better than his. Holz is still drawing to the flush and might still hit a pair to win against a bluff.
Holz calls and the river is another meaningless card. Of course it’s possible that either player has a queen, but it’s not likely.
Karlic doesn’t really have a choice. He has to go through with his bluff to polarize his range.
Holz is now facing a problem. Karlic’s range consists of a lot of bluffs and a few monsters (plus there is a negligible chance he has a queen).
Also there are several A-x hands that haven’t improved on the board but are still the better hand.
In a situation like this a player like Dusty Schmidt might shove in a cash game, but in a tournament there is too much variance for such a move.
At the end of the day there are still many hands in Karlic’s range that are worse than Holz’s, like 7-6, 4-x, and suited connectors, but there are very few strong hands.
In the final stages of a big tournament the chipleader Karlic tries to use power of the big stack to push his opponent off his hand.
Holz, on the other side of the table, plays rope-a-dope in position so Karlic can bluff on every street.
He had planned to call on the river all along, but it takes a lot of courage to really pull through to the end.
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12 March 2018 70