This week's hand is a tournament hand that starts out slowly but turns into a spectacular battle you wouldn’t expect.
The protagonists involved are Aussie Millions Main Event runner-up Lennart Uphoff from Germany and Raiden Kan from Macao.
You’re in for a treat, dear readers, as this is a scenario you don’t get to see very often.
Flop to River
Our hand is from the Aussie Millions Main Event 2015. There are 10 players left and they’ve all secured AUD$95,000.
But of course, now everybody wants to get their hands on the main prize of AUD$1.6 million. There are no real short stacks and most of the remaining players hold between 1-2m chips.
The blinds are at 15k/30k/3k so everybody still has some room to play.
With 1.3 million in front of him, Raiden Kan raises from the small blind to 90,000.
Uphoff calls in the big blind with about 2 million chips left.
There's 195,000 in the pot and the flop falls A A 3 3 10 10
Both players check. The turn is the 2 2
Both players check again. The river is the K K
Kan checks again and Uphoff bets a meagre 65,000. The action goes back to Kan who checkraises all-in for 1.2 million!
Uphoff thinks about it quickly and then calls, showing
His opponent shows 10 10 8 8 Q Q 8 8
for a bag of thin air. Kan busts from the tournament.
This is a truly unusual hand and we’re now going to check if Kan’s play here was that of a genius or a madman.
There’s not much to say about the pre-flop action. Kan’s hand is a little over average and Uphoff defends his big blind with a typical hand to defend with – a suited one-gapper.Get $88 FREE No Deposit
There's an ace and a flush draw on the flop and both players check. After a blank 2♦ on the turn there's still no action from either player.
Then the K♥ appears on the river and there is plenty of action! Kan checks and Uphoff bets his flush very small.
The way the hand went down Uphoff must think that his opponent doesn’t have anything as Kan checked for the third time.
He bets only a third of the pot, hoping Kan might have a king, a three, a low pair or at least a queen – anything that Kan might call with.
Instead, the man from Macao goes all-in! He massively over-bets 1.2m chips into a pot of only 260,000.
Exactly Two Hands
An over-bet like this one reduces his hand range to exactly two possible hands: the nuts or a total bluff.
Uphoff calls rather quickly because it is extremely unlikely that Kan is holding the nuts with Q♥ Xh which he’s trying to represent.
Kan is an aggressive player who would almost certainly have followed with a c-bet on the flop if he had the draw to the nuts. Also there's an ace on the flop which makes it an ideal flop for a c-bet.
Instead of three checks, two or three bets would have been a much more credible line. So, was Kan just playing stupidly? Unfortunately yes, and for several reasons.
An Expensive Mistake
His first mistake is believing he can actually represent the nuts here, which is hardly possible against an opponent paying attention. It's much more important, however, that Kan apparently missed the possibility of his opponent having a flush.
Uphoff hits a pair of tens and a flush draw on the flop which means he has already showdown value. His opponent is hardly going to call with a worse hand.
The turn doesn’t change anything which is why Uphoff waits for the river to bet, hoping that his opponent finds a call. The third and equally important point is Kan’s bad timing for a monster bluff.
He’s risking 1.2m chips to win 260,000 which means his bluff has to work 80% of the time to be profitable.
On top of that, these are the last 10 players in the Aussie Millions Main Event. A mistake now would be extremely expensive.
Raiden Kan is an experienced player with $750,000 in tournament winnings. He’s risking it all in an important hand, and he’s not paying enough attention.
His own range is a lot weaker and his opponent's range is a lot stronger than he thinks. He decides to make a bold move that leads him to disaster.