Did Ne­gre­anu make a wrong move?

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - POKER - By Bryan Devon­shire

At the 2015 World Se­ries of Poker Main Event, Daniel Ne­gre­anu made a run at the fi­nal ta­ble that even­tu­ally fell just short. He busted out in 11th place, and his bust-out hand was an in­ter­est­ing one that sparked a lot of dis­cus­sion

Blinds were 200,000-400,000 with an ante of 50,000. Ac­tion folded to Joe McKee­hen, who was on the but­ton with nearly 14.2 mil­lion in chips. McKee­hen made the min­i­mum raise to 800,000. The small blind folded, and it was Ne­gre­anu’s turn in the big blind with As 4d. He had a stack of just over $6.2 mil­lion, good for about 16 big blinds.

Ne­gre­anu called. I would have shoved.

I like shov­ing be­cause it is lower vari­ance and is proven to be prof­itable.

McKee­hen had been rais­ing a lot -- on maybe 80 per­cent of the hands. What per­cent­age of hands

Daniel Ne­gre­anu’s hand:

Joe McKee­hen’s hand: would he be will­ing to call a Ne­gre­anu shove with? If McKee­hen shoved and lost, he’d be down to 20 big blinds him­self. I reckon he’d be fold­ing much more than he’d be call­ing, and if he folded, Ne­gre­anu would wins 1.7 mil­lion with­out a fight. That’s a 25 per­cent in­crease to his stack.

With Ne­gre­anu call­ing, he’ll lose the pot post-flop more of­ten than not. Rarely is he go­ing to be a heavy fa­vorite with A-4 off­suit on any flop, and he’s al­ways go­ing to be risk­ing vari­ance to his stack. You and I aren’t as good as Ne­gre­anu, though.

Ne­gre­anu wrote a blog post about this hand and gave two

Flop: rea­sons for his pre­flop call. First, it bal­ances his pre­flop call­ing range. Sec­ond, he gets ex­tra value on ace-high flops, since he’s al­ways get­ting a con­tin­u­a­tion bet out of his op­po­nent, and some­times his op­po­nent will go nuts on ace-high flops.

What Ne­gre­anu didn’t men­tion is that he’s really good at read­ing peo­ple, and he prob­a­bly had some sort of tell on Joe that got stronger af­ter the flop. He shouldn’t have had much of a pre­flop flat­ting range with 20 big blinds, and the idea of bal­anc­ing that range with 11 peo­ple left in the Main Event is silly. Ten hands ear­lier, Ne­gre­anu had shoved 20 blinds over McKee- hen’s open. Sure, the op­po­nent is go­ing to con­tin­u­a­tion-bet ace-high flops, but I’d rather just take the pot and move on to the next hand than hope to see one of three aces on the flop just to get an­other 700,000 out of McKee­hen. There was al­ready 1.7 mil­lion in the pot be­fore the flop.

The flop came 10d Ks Ad. Ne­gre­anu checked, McKee­hen bet 700,000, and Ne­gre­anu shoved for 5.8 mil­lion.

This was the play I really didn’t like. Ne­gre­anu’s plan for flat­ting was to let his op­po­nent go nuts on ace-high boards, and for Ne­gre­anu to use his read­ing abil­ity. This wasn’t the best ace-high board, so Ne­gre­anu pan­icked and shoved, be­cause now the board was drawheavy, and he didn’t want McKee­hen to get there -- those chips in the pot were im­por­tant.

If he didn’t want McKee­hen to get there, then Ne­gre­anu should have shoved pre­flop when he had fold eq­uity.

McKee­hen called and turned over Jd 3d. Ne­gre­anu had al­ready let him get there and didn’t have enough money to get McKee­hen to fold his 12-outer. Now, Ne­gre­anu was all in as a 56 per­cent fa­vorite -ex­actly the spot he wanted to avoid.

The turn was the 3h, giv­ing McKee­hen more outs, and the Qh on the river gave McKee­hen a straight and sent Ne­gre­anu home. McKee­hen went on to win the tour­na­ment and take home $7.68 mil­lion.

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