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Yesterday was part 2 of our 5 Part Special of A Week in the Life of the 2011 EPT Berlin winner Ben Wilinofsky by Lee Davy and here’s part 3:

Can you dissect an interesting hand from last week?

I have an interesting hand from the direct bubble of the Super Tuesday. I can’t remember the exact stack sizes but I covered everyone in the hand.

Ronnie Kaiser raised in either the cutoff or the high jack, the button called with roughly 30 BBs, and I decided to flat from the small blind with . I think the standard is to three-bet or fold here, but I had been opening a lot on the bubble, and I expected Ronnie to play pretty well against a three-bet.

Even if the button wasn’t going to four-bet me light, I still expected him to have some pretty strong hands to four-bet with that he didn’t want to get in against Ronnie on the bubble – but would get in against an obvious squeeze. I was getting about 4 to 1 immediate odds to flat so that’s what I did.

The flop came…

and a red-ace, so I had a gut shot and a flush draw. I think this texture is really, really interesting and I decided to lead for a few reasons. First of all, I think the standard play would be to check-raise, because Ronny gets a chance to c-bet his weak/air type hands, and the button gets a chance to put chips in the pot against a wider range, then fold when I check-raise.

But if I end up constructing a check raising range with my strong hands, strong draws and some check-raise-folds (although it’s pretty hard to have a check-raise-fold range if the button enters the pot, because he is going to have a fairly tight range to enter the pot with a 27-30BB stack and will have a lot of strong hands), my check-call range ends up being really weak and both players can bet reasonably thinly for value, and as a bluff, since my best hand is going to be ace-ten usually.

Leading the range…

I think I am better off leading the range I want to continue with and it was fairly easy, with three streets of standard bet sizing, to apply pressure for stacks. I’m also sandwiching the better player between the player on the button and myself when I lead. He has fewer tricks he can pull because there is another player behind him that’s going to have something strong enough to continue with some of the time.

I think I prefer constructing a leading range that would include stuff like jack-nine-suited, sets of nines sometimes (nines is probably the exact pocket pair that three-bets sometimes and flats sometimes), ace-jack, and ace-nine-suited as value hands that I’m willing to get all-in; some medium strength hands like ace-ten and maybe even A8s.

By chucking some medium strength value hands and maybe all of my nut flush draws with the top pair, and also combination draws, it allows me, instead of constructing a strong check-raise and a weak check-call range, to construct a lead-get it in range and lead-fold range. Plus, I can still apply pressure for stacks and have a little more merged range to continue, making it harder for the better player in the pot to make good decisions, allowing me to turn one-pair hands into a bluff more convincingly, and preventing him from hero calling really light because my range is merged a little.

About 56%…

Anyway, in the hand in question, I decided to lead for about 56% of the pot, Ronnie Kaiser flatted and the button folded. The turn was a seven, which doesn’t improve my hand. Eight-ten suited got there – but that’s not a large part of my perceived range. I decided to lead again. If I am going to lead flop I should usually be emptying the clip with most of my range, although my plan is going to change on river cards. I will be shoving spades, I am going to check-fold aces and jacks; those cards just cut my number of value combos too much, and makes it too easy for him to hero call. I think when the turn is a seven, I have to bluff eight rivers, since in addition to QT, flush draws with a ten get there, as does AT, so there’s very few hands that are weak enough for me to bluff with on that river.

Merged …

Many of my merged one pair hands are going to have two pair on the river, which makes it really difficult for me to have a hand that bluffs on an eight. I lead again and he called, the river was a jack, and I decided to shut down. It cuts into my combos of jack-nine suited and ace-jack a lot, and a lot of my bluffs are still going to be bluffs on that river. I think he’s going to hero call, even though I’m putting him all-in on the bubble, with any ace and definitely any jack.

If the ace had been a spade…

I think if the ace had been a spade and the jack had not been a spade, I would have been able to bluff that river, because my flush draws with jacks in them improved, which means there are fewer bluffs I can have, and there are a couple more hands in my value range.

I think the decision to lead the flop made the rest of that hand very interesting in a spot where most people don’t have much of a leading range.

Ronny Kaiser actually went on to win that competition, what did he showdown?

He checked back and had the ace of spades with an eight.

Coming Up In Part 4

In Part Four, we delve into Ben Wilinofsky’s private life and his fight against depression and anxiety.

About the Author

Lee Davy is a writer from Ogmore Vale in South Wales. You can follow his views and opinions through his blog at or on Twitter

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