Hand of the Week: Lodden & Mateos Walk High Wire in Monaco

Does he or doesn't he?

This week’s hand is a breathtaking duel taken from the final table of the EPT Grand Final Main Event in Monte Carlo.

The eventual winner, Adrian Mateos, and Norwegian icon Johnny Lodden get involved in an 11-minute hand which paved the way to victory for the Spaniard.

It was Mateos' second major live title before he's even turned 21. He won the WSOP Europe Main Event in 2013 at just 19.

With $3.4m in career live earnings Mateos now sits behind only Carlos Mortensen on Spain's all-time money list.

Flop to River

Adrian Mateos
Mateos: Pro #1.

It’s the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo and there are only four players left.

Two professionals – Adrian Mateos and Johnny Lodden – and two amateurs – Muhyedine Fares and Hady Asmar.

The chip counts and payouts are particularly important here. The blinds are 40,000/80,000/15,000.

This is how the stacks looked before the hand started:

Adrian Mateos 7.2 million
Muhyedine Fares 3.8 million
Johnny Lodden 3.7 million
Hady Asmar 2.5 million

And these are the payouts for the top four players. Everybody will win at least €379,000.

1st - €1,082,000
2nd - €679,000
3rd - €486,000
4th - €379,000

The difference between finishing second or fourth is €300,000 and the difference between fourth and first is around €700,000.

So let’s go to the hand. Johnny Lodden sits in the cut-off and gets    

He raises to 160,000. Mateos call from the button and, after some thought, both players in the blinds call, too. There's 680,000 in the pot.

The flop falls      

Fares in the small blind, Asmar in the big blind and Lodden all check. Mateos bets 275,000. Fares calls, Asnar folds and Lodden raises it up to 715,000.

Mateos gives it some thought and then calls. Fares gives up his hand and the pot has now grown to 2,385,000.

The turn is the  

Lodden checks again. Mateos now bets 650,000. Lodden takes his time and decides to call. There's now 3,685,000 chips in the pot.

We’re going to the river and it is the  

Lodden checks another time. Mateos now takes quite some time and then puts Lodden all-in. Lodden has a very hard time deciding what to do. He thinks about it over four minutes (!) and eventually folds.

Mateos shows     for a total bluff. He wins the hand and later, also, the tournament.

By the way: Fares folded 9 6, which would have been the best hand. Check out the hand as it played out. You really shouldn’t miss it.

Hand Analysis

This was surely one of the most interesting hands we’ve seen this year on the live circuit. Let’s look at some of the details more closely.

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Pre-flop nothing spectacular is happening. Lodden has a pocket pair and raises; Mateos holds a nice suited connector hand with JT and calls.

He could 3-bet this hand but he’s in position and this hand plays well against more than one opponent.

Fares’ call with 9-6s is rather dubious considering he’s in the small blind. He should probably just fold.

Asmar in the big blind on the other hand has almost an automatic call with 8-6s. The pot odds he gets are just too good.

After the flop, things become interesting. Nobody really hits anything but things start to heat up quickly.

Lodden Gets Creative

Fares hit middle pair but he checks, of course, to see what happens. Asmar doesn’t have anything but Lodden decides to get creative.

He checks to invite Mateos to bet. He’s taking the chance immediately and bets a little less than half the pot.

Fares calls with his pair, Asnar gives up, but Lodden now comes back with the check-raise.

This is a great move! Mateos is a hyper-aggressive player. If he had an ace he’d probably re-raise so Lodden’s bet is rather legitimate.

On the other hand you have to ask what Lodden is really representing here. The board is pretty dry and if Lodden had the ace he would probably c-bet.

Adrian Mateos2013 WSOP EuropeEV0710K NLH Main EventDay 4Giron8JG3000
Has his plan sorted.

A Lethal Float

At least that's how Mateos seems to look at it. He’s calling with nothing but position.

In the face of all this action Fares folds the best hand, but considering how he’s crammed in he really doesn’t have any alternative.

Mateos has his plan already sorted out and it does include an all-in. By just calling he actually makes his hand look stronger than by raising.

But as he could also run a bluff, his range is already very polarized and we’re only on the flop.

The turn is the 4 which doesn’t change much. Lodden now has a gutshot but the main question for him is, "Am I still ahead with my pocket pair?"

Lodden checks the turn as Mateos took over the initiative on the earlier street. The Spanish player puts in a very small bet, giving Lodden 5-1 pot odds which he can hardly refuse.

This might mean that he either tries to make Lodden call, but it could also mean that he wants to leave himself a way out of this situation.

The Grand Finale

Lodden makes the call and sees another ace on the river. This is a very good card for the Norwegian. If he had been ahead, he still is.

So he checks and now Mateos takes some inspirational time off. Eventually he pushes all-in and puts Lodden to the ultimate test.

Johnny Lodden
Lodden: Wasn't willing to let amateurs ladder up.

It takes Lodden more than four minutes to come to a decision. He folds. Several thoughts must have been going through his head.

For one, he didn’t quite believe Mateos had much. Lodden might even have been quite sure that his opponent had nothing, as his play smelled like a bluff in all moves except for the flop-call.

But Lodden also had to consider the tournament situation. If he calls here and is wrong, he cashes for €379,000 and leaves the bigger payouts to the two amateurs.

If he folds he still has the chance to outlast at least one of them and earn at least €100,000 more.

Herein lies Mateos’ big advantage. He’s got the one stack big enough to bust any of the other three players and he knows that Lodden definitely wants to survive the amateurs.

Thus, to our benefit, a fantastic hand evolved. And Mateos really had to sweat it for four long minutes before he could be sure that his bluff went through.


With their marginal hands Adrian Mateos and Johnny Lodden are showing us tournament poker on a high-wire.

This hand could only have one winner but both would have deserved it.

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