Here are some hands I wrote up for the Cardplayer article Final Table Takedown.Â These were some of my more interesting hand from the final 2 and final tables of the tournament.
Hand 1: A5s is so pretty, how could you fold?
So right now there are 12 people left in the tournament and both tables are playing 6-handed.Â We have 4 more people to go until play ends for the night and things have been pretty tame.Â My opponent in this hand is Alan Sternberg, who I donâ€™t know much about except that he had amassed a very large stack of chips at the other table, which typically means he was playing a lot of hands.Â So far at this table he has played a good number as well, and has never failed to fire multiple barrels.Â He has been to showdown twice, once as a bluff, and once with a monster.Â Basically, he reminds me a lot of me before I became a more disciplined player (i.e. not firing on every street).Â So this is my read, for good or bad, after not very long with him.Â Â Onto the hand:
With blinds at 20k/40k, Alan raises the CO to 95k, which he has done on about 70% of cutoffs that have folded to him.Â I 3-bet in the small blind with A5hh to 280k.Â Alan has about 1.7M total, which is 42 big blinds and right around average chips.Â I have about 5M in my stack here and am the chip leader by quite a bit.Â I have been 3betting a good number of pots where I think people are opening light.Â Anyway, I stick out the 280k and Alan looks upset and then within 3 seconds, he announces â€œall-in.â€Â So Iâ€™m trying to figure out what he hasâ€¦ if he has a very big hand, I think heâ€™s much more likely to 4bet small to induce me to shove.Â So I heavily discounted big pairs and AK.Â I DO think he might shove a hand like a small-medium pocket pair or AQ-AT or something, but I thought he would take a lot longer to do it.Â First, you have to work up the nerve, but besides thatâ€¦ calling with those stacks in position was a very viable option for those hands, and I think heâ€™d need to take the time to think about whether calling was better than shoving or not.Â So based on that, I just really thought he was bluffing.Â And since he reminded me of me a couple years ago, I figured it was some suited connectors thinking he DIDNâ€™T want me to 5-bet shove on him light since he knew I was capable, and â€œwell, if she DOES have AK or something, my suited connectors are very live.â€Â Plus, A5s is pretty.Â So I called.Â To my great delight, he turned over 65s, and I raked in a very large pot.Â That hand was also a huge confidence boost for me heading into the final table, which always helps.
Hand 2: Flush draw!
Ok weâ€™re down to 3 handed at the final table.Â Iâ€™ve been hitting some pretty big hands and have managed to win most of them, and am up to about 10.5M chips.Â Mike Beasley has a little over 4M in chips, maybe 4.3M, and Mike Woods has 5.5M or so.Â Mike Beasley limps on the button, which is something he had not done yet, I donâ€™t think.Â Just from my limited experience seeing people limp buttons 3-handed, I find that rarely if ever is the first limp a monster.Â I mean, thereâ€™s no reason to limp a monster the first time if youâ€™ve been raising, because the first time you just rarely get played back at.Â So anyway, the blinds are 50k/100k at this point, so everyone still has over 40BB. Mike Woods completes in the small blind, and I check my option with Q6hh.
The flop comes K33hh.Â Mike Woods checks and I check, knowing that on this type of board texture Mike Beasley is very likely to take a stab with whatever T high he happened to limp in with.Â Â He bets 200k into a pot of about 330k.Â SB folds, and I raise to 550k.Â I didnâ€™t make a huge raise because I wanted to represent strength as I could very easily have a 3 since I checked the big blind.Â Mike then 3bets me to about 1.2M.Â At this point, itâ€™s possible that he has a 3 and plays it this way, but I donâ€™t think there are that many 3â€™s in his limping range â€“ A3, Q3s, 34s, etc.Â but itâ€™s definitely a small part of that range.Â I do not think he would play a K like this unless itâ€™s a very big king like AK or KQ, and once again, I didnâ€™t think he was limping those hands preflop right now.Â Any other K, itâ€™s better for him just to call and let me bluff, since his 4bet would often fold out all worse hands, especially bluffs, which should make up a decent part of my range on this board texture.Â Like, if he has K6, then he only really beats a bluff since he loses to a 3 and most kings, so if he is going to continue, it should be by calling and letting me bluff.Â So I didnâ€™t think he had a king.Â Given he knows the board texture is one which neither of us hit that often and I have been check-raising and raising at every opportunity, I thought there was a good chance he was just playing back at me.
Now, if I go all-in, I risk 4.3M and worse yet, if I lose, Iâ€™m down to about 6M and instead of having a commanding chip lead, I actually find myself in 2nd place.Â I really didnâ€™t want this to happen, but at the same time, there was 2M in the pot and I thought he would fold his hand a large percent of the time.Â Basically I had to risk 3.8M to win 2M, and I thought he would fold about 3/4 of the time, making the shove itself +EV without counting my equity if called.Â When you add to that the fact that when called (usually by a 3), I still have around 25% equity to win 6M (so 1.5M more), and it was a very easy shove for me.Â So shove is what I did, Mike folded, and I took down another decent pot.
Hand 3: Pair mining
This last hand is more standard I guess, but I thought that itâ€™s a good illustration of how preflop bet sizing can help make a read.Â This was HU when I had a massive chip leadâ€¦ I had entered HU with 18.8M to Mikeâ€™s 2.7M, and this was just after we began (I guess all the HU was just after we began, since it lasted 7 hands!).Â Mike had 2.6M here.Â I limped the button with K7o since I like to see a flop and make a good pair with that hand since I can value bet it and make some chips postflop, but when I get shoved on pre I canâ€™t call 26BBs.Â So I limp (still at 50k/100k).Â Mike raises OOP to 450k, which was an extremely large raise for a tournament.
His large raise got me to thinking â€“ I didnâ€™t think he had a monster ever â€“ HU those are too precious and you canâ€™t risk me folding.Â This was a bet that screamed â€œI have the best hand right now, I swear, but please donâ€™t call me as this will be extremely tough to play OOP.â€Â To me, that means some sort of Ace or a small pocket pair.Â With that in mind, the only hand Iâ€™m in trouble against is A7 and otherwise, making a pair will likely be very profitable, as he will c-bet the flop and I will jam and sometimes get a fold and sometimes a call depending on board texture.Â Basically, I will be in a really good spot postflop except in the unlikely scenario where he hits top pair and my 7 makes middle pair (but I was folding if an A came); you have to allow for the occasional bad luck when putting yourself in certain situations.Â So here, I put myself in a situation to make a pair in position and probably win the tournament right there if I did so.
Anyway, it worked out as planned â€“ the flop came K83r and Mike bet out 1M into a pot of 900k.Â I went all in pretty quicklyâ€¦ I was trying not to seem super strong so he might put me on an 8 and call with two overcards.Â In any event, with that board texture thereâ€™s not much I could do to get a call with worse, since he couldnâ€™t even put me on a flush draw.Â He folded for 1.1M more and I took down a 3M chip pot.Â At that point, I had 20M and Mike had 1M and we got it all in preflop the next hand, and I won the tournament!