In this strategy column for PokerNews, I go over a multiway hand with Alex ‘Assassinato’ Fitzgerald that he played in an event at the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP).
We discuss how to play suited connectors against a three-bet, as well as the correct poker strategy for adapting against recreational players that you can tell are weak. In the WSOP there are plenty of these types of players in the small events so try to identify them quickly!
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The hand took place in a low buy-in tournament at the 2021 WSOP with blinds at 100/100. A player in early position min-raised to 200 and Fitzgerald flat-called in the hijack with . The button three-bet to 800 and the early position player called. Fitzgerald also called off his roughly 250 big blind stack.
The flop landed to give Fitzgerald top pair with a marginal kicker. The early position player checked and Fitzgerald also checked, as he should do with nearly his entire range. The button bet 2,100, a large sizing on a relatively uncoordinated board. The early position player called and Fitzgerald also called.
This is a tricky spot. Whenever the player on the button bets the flop against two opponents, they should have very good made hands and good draws. Against this range, Fitzgerald’s hand should be alright. The early position player should also have a lot of high equity hands after calling since they are out of position and facing a big bet.
However, in a small buy-in event at the World Series, lots of players show up to gamble, meaning Fitzgerald can call here. If this hand took place against two world-class players, I would probably fold immediately.
The turn brought the and the early position player led out for 5,000. What would you do as Fitzgerald in this situation?
- Raise to 10,000 (Min)
- Raise to 22,100 (All-in)
Moving all-in is out of the question, as is min-raising to find out where you stand. Folding would be reasonable with such a marginal holding, but a call also becomes reasonable if you think you think the early position player in weak and that the button is likely to fold.
“Looking back on this hand, I think the opponent missed an opportunity to bluff the river by moving all in.”
Since a good player would be unlikely to lead out into two opponents in this spot, I can get on board with a quick and confident call that may discourage your opponent from making a move on the river and going all-in. But without any reads on either player, I would probably just fold here.
Fitzgerald decided to call and the button folded. The river brought the and the early position player checked. Fitzgerald opted to check back, winning the pot with a pair of queens when the opponent showed for a missed flush draw and a turned pair of sevens.
Looking back on this hand, I think the opponent missed an opportunity to bluff the river by moving all in. Fitzgerald’s range consists of a lot of busted draws and top pair hands, and if the opponent rips it in, it’s pretty tough for him to call with one pair.
For his part, Fitzgerald played the hand well and won about as much as he possibly could with top pair and a marginal kicker.
For more on this hand check out my breakdown in the following video:
Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at JonathanLittlePoker.com. Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at PokerCoaching.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.