$700 NLHE Heads Up WCOOP

Round 1 vs. Liv Boeree

I wish I had a specific example of this to give – perhaps the hand below will serve – but I got the distinct impression during our match that Liv was capable of playing extremely well but had for some reason decided to treat me as an unsophisticated opponent. That worked out OK for me. One of the more interesting hands we played is serving as this week’s “What’s Your Play?”. Here’s the one that finished the match:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 30/60 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

SB (t3148)
Hero (BB) (t11852)

Hero’s M: 131.69

Preflop: Hero is BB with 8♣, 9♦
SB bets t138, Hero calls t78

Flop: (t276) 7♠, 3♠, 5♦ (2 players)
Hero checks, SB bets t151, Hero raises to t444, SB calls t293

Turn: (t1164) 4♣ (2 players)
Hero checks, SB checks

River: (t1164) 6♣ (2 players)
Hero bets t1164, SB raises to t2566 (All-In), Hero calls t1402

Total pot: t6296

Results:
SB had 10♥, A♠ (straight, seven high).
Hero had 8♣, 9♦ (straight, nine high).
Outcome: Hero won t6296

I guess she thought I wouldn’t have potted it with a hand that could beat the board? I considered just shoving the river, which is something I’d often do as a bluff, but I figured I might as well give her room to do something like this, especially since she’d probably jam it in herself if she had an 8.

Round 2: Ben “NeverScaredB” Wilinofsky 

Ben was a harrowing but entertaining opponent. We’ve never met in person but have spoken online a few times and there’s mutual respect between us. He took some really creative lines that forced me to rise to the occasion and think hard about everything I did, even in seemingly trivial spots. It was tough trying to stay one step ahead of him, and each of us got the best of the other in a few big pots.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 30/60 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Hero (SB) (t9757)

BB (t5243)

Hero’s M: 108.41

Preflop: Hero is SB with 5♣, K♥

Hero bets t120, BB calls t60

Flop: (t240) 3♣, 2♠, 7♦ (2 players)

BB checks, Hero bets t120, BB calls t120

Turn: (t480) 10♦ (2 players)

BB checks, Hero checks

River: (t480) K♠ (2 players)

BB checks, Hero bets t333, BB raises to t1425, Hero calls t1092

Total pot: t3330

Results:

Hero mucked 5♣, K♥ (one pair, Kings).

BB had J♠, K♦ (one pair, Kings).

Outcome: BB won t3330

Bad call by me. I decided I had to call because a pair of Ks is the top of my range after checking the turn, but as we see here that also means that he can make some thin value bets. Think I need a better kicker to call.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 40/80 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Hero (BB) (t7265)

SB (t7735)

Hero’s M: 60.54

Preflop: Hero is BB with Q♠, J♣

SB bets t200, Hero calls t120

Flop: (t400) 4♠, 9♠, 5♣ (2 players)

Hero checks, SB bets t240, Hero raises to t666, SB calls t426

Turn: (t1732) 8♥ (2 players)

Hero bets t888, SB calls t888

River: (t3508) 7♠ (2 players)

Hero bets t1666, 1 fold

Total pot: t3508

Results:

Hero didn’t show Q♠, J♣ (nothing).

Outcome: Hero won t3508

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 40/80 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Hero (BB) (t7405)
SB (t7595)

Hero’s M: 61.71

Preflop: Hero is BB with 4♣, 4♦
SB bets t200, Hero calls t120

Flop: (t400) 3♠, 10♣, 6♣ (2 players)
Hero checks, SB checks

Turn: (t400) 9♦ (2 players)
Hero checks, SB bets t280, Hero raises to t666, SB raises to t1555, Hero calls t889

River: (t3510) K♣ (2 players)
Hero checks, SB checks

Total pot: t3510

Results:
SB mucked 2♠, 7♠ (high card, King).
Hero had 4♣, 4♦ (one pair, fours).
Outcome: Hero won t3510

Round 3: Should’ve Been Easier

This guy was by far the weakest of my opponents, and it took me by far the longest to finish him off. That was partly a choice on my part – I felt my edge was large so I played an extremely small-ball game – and partly a function of his style. He was passive and tightish, though he made some good decisions about when not to let go of relatively weak hands. Though he never got up sufficient aggression, he also did a good job of adapting to my adaptations over the course of our three-hour match. Generally I would win a bunch of small pots, lose some medium-sized ones, and we just didn’t play that many big ones. The first one we did play went badly for me:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 25/50 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Hero (BB) (t8248)
SB (t6752)

Hero’s M: 109.97

Preflop: Hero is BB with K♠, K♦
SB bets t100, Hero raises to t350, SB calls t250

Flop: (t700) K♣, 6♠, J♠ (2 players)
Hero bets t350, SB calls t350

Turn: (t1400) 5♣ (2 players)
Hero bets t1000, SB calls t1000

River: (t3400) 3♣ (2 players)
Hero bets t2222, SB raises to t5052 (All-In), Hero folds

Total pot: t7844

Results:
SB didn’t show
Outcome: SB won t7844

Yes, it’s an unlikely backdoor draw, and it was early in the match, but after playing with this guy for as long as I did, I remain confident that I was beat here.

After that it was back to the same MO: win a bunch of small pots, lose a bigger one. Eventually I got it in with 99 vs his AKo preflop and won the flip to get back in the game. Then I won another big one with 99:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 125/250 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Hero (SB) (t5928)
BB (t9072)

Hero’s M: 15.81

Preflop: Hero is SB with 9♣, 9♦
Hero bets t500, BB calls t250

Flop: (t1000) 9♠, 10♥, 8♦ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t500, BB calls t500

Turn: (t2000) K♥ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t1234, BB calls t1234

River: (t4468) K♠ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t3694 (All-In), BB calls t3694

Total pot: t11856

Results:
Hero had 9♣, 9♦ (full house, nines over Kings).
BB had A♥, A♦ (two pair, Aces and Kings).
Outcome: Hero won t11856

I ground him down some more, then got it in with A4o to his A8o for his last 8 BBs and doubled him up. Finally he jammed A2o over my min-raise with TT and I held to eliminate him.

Round 4: Eugene Katchalov

Since we were the last to finish, my next round started immediately, and I was not pleased to see Eugene Katchalov seated across from me. My game plan against him was completely different. Now I wanted to swing for the fences and force lots of big pots, since I didn’t have any delusions of outplaying him in the small ones. My range for calling a pre-flop min-raise in Round 3 was dramatically from my range in Round 4, partly because I was 3-betting more often but mostly because I was throwing a lot of hands to Eugene that would have turned from out of position against my previous opponent. It didn’t help that I took a sizeable loss on the very first hand we played:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 25/50 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

BB (t7500)
Hero (SB) (t7500)

Hero’s M: 100.00

Preflop: Hero is SB with 10♣, 10♦
Hero bets t100, BB raises to t300, Hero raises to t750, BB calls t450

Flop: (t1500) J♦, 3♣, 2♦ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets t666, BB calls t666

Turn: (t2832) 3♦ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero checks

River: (t2832) 5♣ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero checks

Total pot: t2832

Results:
Hero mucked 10♣, 10♦ (two pair, tens and threes).
BB had J♥, A♦ (two pair, Jacks and threes).
Outcome: BB won t2832

I held my own and even managed to claw some chips back from him, though they were hard fought. I managed to get it all in good, but it was more or less a cooler really, and I couldn’t hold:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 700 Tournament, 40/80 Blinds (2 handed) – PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

SB (t7976)
Hero (BB) (t7024)

Hero’s M: 58.53

Preflop: Hero is BB with J♠, J♣
SB bets t160, Hero raises to t555, SB calls t395

Flop: (t1110) K♥, 2♦, J♥ (2 players)
Hero bets t666, SB raises to t1760, Hero raises to t6469 (All-In), SB calls t4709

Turn: (t14048) 10♣ (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: (t14048) 4♥ (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: t14048

Results:
SB had 8♥, A♥ (flush, Ace high).
Hero had J♠, J♣ (three of a kind, Jacks).
Outcome: SB won t14048

This was one of my more painful losses of the series, as it came on the bubble and I’d fought long and hard in a lot of tough matches to get there.

6 thoughts on “$700 NLHE Heads Up WCOOP

    • He’s repping either a monster that he slowplayed on the flop (extremely unlikely) or that he turned (also unlikely given that most hands that could turn 2p+ would have bet the flop), and Ben is surely in the top .1% of all poker players in terms of his willingness to bluff in spots like this.

        • I wouldn’t say that’s the primary purpose, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to fold if he does 3-bet. It’s for thin value: he can call with worse (draws, most notably) and if I can make him fold a hand with two live overcards, we’ll that’s better than letting him see the river for free! It’s far from a certainty, but I can expect to be good often enough simply because he’s betting most hands better than 44 on the flop.

  1. Well, that’s a tough cooler for sure. I find it funny that Eugene plays his tournament on this hand. I mean, he must think that you are a good player and that his edge is thin to go for a FD on this flop which is totally hitting your range. Or that you were bluffing that bad.

    • This is a very standard stack-off for both of us. I had been 3-betting him a fair bit, so it’s not like I just always have it when I bet the flop, and he needs very little fold equity considering how good his equity will be when we get it in. He’s flipping with many top pair hands and can be way ahead if I jam on him with a draw. If he expects to have a huge edge in the match you can make a case for not raising the flop, but once he raises, he certainly needs to call it off.

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