Additional Hand

published on 05/05/08 at 7:40 am

John The Greek LeontakianakosAt the Foxwoods WPT main event this year I found myself in a hand where pot the ability to calculate pot odds became critical.

It was during the last level of day one. I had managed to grow my chip stack to 50,000 putting me in the top 25% for the day. A comfortable position and the chip leader at the table. The blinds were 300-600 with a 75 ante. So there were 1,650 in the pot pre-flop every hand. I picked up 10h-10d on the cut off. There were two limpers in the hand already. I raised to 2,000. Both the blinds called as did the two limpers.

The flop came 10c-7s-3s.

Everyone checked around to me. Even though I hit this flop well with top set, I did not like the two spades on board and decided to price everyone out. With 8,750 in the pot I bet out 15,000. The logic in this was to take the pot down right there and then. Someone would have to call, risking 15,000 to win 23,750, thus getting roughly 1.6:1 odds.

I got one caller. The turn was a 2h, a blank. As my opponent had about 23,000 in chips left and had obviously missed the turn, I decided to put him at risk for his tournament life and pushed him all in. Even though there were plenty of chips left in the pot, he was only getting 2:1 odds to make the call. No where near what one would need on a flush draw with only one card to come. After thinking about it for two minutes, my opponent called and turned over As – 10s. He had been playing top pair, top kicker with the nut flush draw. The strength of my hand was well camouflaged as he completely misread his outs. He assumed that even if he is behind in the hand he can win by catching any 10, Ace or spade, not realizing that he was a 8:1 dog the hand and would have to hit a spade that does not pair the board to win. The river was a 9s and he took down the pot.

This hand is a classic example of how people ignore odds and percentages and continue in the hand regardless. This time he was lucky, but 7 out of eight times he will get sent to the rail with that call. As difficult as it is all one can do is play good poker and hope that the appropriate play is rewarded. When pricing your opponent out and receiving a call from a player that is significantly behind gives you a huge advantage with one card to come and is exactly the call that you want most of the time, as, in the long run, the odds will always be in your favor.

John “The Greek” Leontakianakos is a professional poker player with 27 years of experience. He is currently in the process of publishing a book on poker and runs his own website called JohnTheGreekPoker.

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